Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swing, Swing, Swing, Swing...

While searching for motivation to make and finish my dress for a 1944 Armistice themed swing dance I came across this blog: . She was near the end of leading a Sew-a-long for a 1940's swing dress. Unfortunately I had already cut the main front pieces of my dress or I would have switched to the pattern that they were using-it was super-cute (a phrase I don't use lightly :)-but I wouldn't have had enough fabric and I had bought all that they had. I did use some of the tips and especially loved Casey's tutorial on belt making. I wanted a cover belt buckle but was too short on time to order one online and they were not sold locally, so off to the thrift store I went and found a hideous (forgot to take a picture) belt with a heart shaped metal buckle. A coat of red paint made it sort of "brush-strokey" and easily chipped, but a coat of red nail polish over that made it just right (done after the picture).
I used simplicity 2917 for the dress(mostly because it was $1.99, it had a 40'sh-ish sweetheart neckline, and I'm familiar enough with princess seams that it fit my rushed time frame and meager budget). I added (pre-made *gasp*) piping and the before-mentioned belt and I lined the entire dress as my fabric was quite see-through. As far as being true to the time period, I would have liked to do more with the shoulders and to have used a non-polyester fabric but I wanted the drape and cheapness so yay for technology! I love how it turned out and wish that I had better pictures (I'm trying to teach my 15 1/2 year old to use my camera but we are still at the take-72-photos-without-looking-at-them -or-checking-the-settings stage :). I took the one of the belt :). Even though I'm a little late I'm going to share this on the Sew A Long.
I have to say that I really loved dressing for the 40's. Shapely (read large, muscular) calves were considered an asset and the dresses were really flattering to my broad shouldered, curvy body-type. Plus I loved the red lipstick and feminine hair styles.
The Swing Dance was really fun. The live band, The Stolen Sweets, was amazing and it was great to see so many of the dancers that we dance with at the Spokane Swing dance Club in their 40's garb (and to watch them dance-lots of talent!). To add to the already great atmosphere of the Glover Mansion (where it was held) there were guys in WWII era American and German uniforms wandering around (not dancers but a few of them tried and did pretty well). It was a great night and I hope they do it again.