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Gatsby Ribbon Frock

Front view of finished gown before a drycleaning was done to remove sizing in the petersham ribbon.

I finished the skirt hem with white 2" horsehair braid.

My focus this year of 2011 has been to tackle projects that I thought about or started sewing YEARS ago.

This project involved a personal interest in ‘making my own fabric’.  In this case, I did so by stitching 7/8″ millinery petersham in rows spaced 1/4″ apart upon 45″ silk organza which I had pre-dyed with ‘Sparkling White’ Jacquard Lumiere paint diluted with water.

I modified a 1938 McCall frock pattern (link provided) to create the gown so that the skirt was in two pieces each front and back cut on a true bias, thus creating the chevron effect down the centers front and back.

I have dreamt of doing this project for 11 years and finally executed it so I could participate in the 2011 Art Deco Society of California’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon.  I am so thrilled with the results!

All are welcome to see more detail and construction documentation on my Facebook album:

or, from my blog posts:

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  1. User avater
    eMMb | | #1

    Beautiful work. How long did this take you to execute?

  2. User avater
    EvaDress | | #2

    Thank you for the compliment eMMb, I did not 'clock' the entire project as it were, but I can tell you that placing and sewing each strip of ribbon on the organza took 10 minutes.

    I used almost 250 yards of 7/8" rayon/cotton millinery petersham from JudithM.com and 5-1/2 yards of 45" net organza from ThaiSilks.com.

  3. User avater
    DustyBunny | | #3

    This is quite lovely. I adore the visual texture that the petersham provides against the silk. Well done!

  4. User avater
    PinkerPaws | | #4

    This is exquisite! What a wonderful concept, beautifully stitched.

  5. kwtxn | | #5

    karen trott

  6. beatriz_cac | | #6

    oh my lord, it looks fantastic!
    could you help me by answering a very quick questionnaire? it's just so i gather some information for my school project, and i would really love to hear the opinions from you experienced artists! you can find it on readers closet, titled "questionnaire".
    Thank you so much!

  7. Shesews518 | | #7

    Wow! Quite impressive!

  8. User avater
    megamom | | #8

    WOW!! Beautifully sewn, a true work of art.

  9. Flatlander49 | | #9

    Stunning! What a beautiful dress so wonderfully executed. You have to be proud! Well done!!

  10. moushka | | #10

    Can you tell if the black dress fabric came that way or was the ribbon added to the bobbinet in the same way you stitched your fabric? It's a lovely garment. Your patience in creating your dress is admirable. You must have the most exquisite wardrobe. Everything you make is gorgeous.

  11. User avater
    EvaDress | | #11


    The original gown was sewn in the same manner-ribbon stitched upon fabric first, then cut out. The difference is that a few strips of ribbon were applied after all construction stitching was complete, such as along the joining of the bodice/skirt and the strips over the shoulders. Thank you for your comments!

  12. janyce | | #12

    Wow! The work that went into this ... but you made your dream come true! The dress is stunning!!

  13. User avater
    EvaDress | | #13


    Thank you for your compliment. I started sewing the ribbon across the cut of organza the end of April, 2011. I didn't clock how many hours total, but I spent May and into June bit-by-bit covering enough of the fabric until I had the amount needed to cut the dress. I then assembled the bodice pieces.

    After returning from travel all of July, I cut and joined the skirt pieces, carefully matching the convergence at center front to get the perfect alignment between the right and left sides. I assembled and finished the dress over a couple weeks' time in August.

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