1920’s Day Dress

bernard hewitt 1920s day dressBernard Hewitt 1920s Day DressBernard Hewitt 1920s Day Dress Detail

I made a 1920’s day dress based on an image sourced from an edition of a Bernard Hewitt catalogue published in 1928. I obtained the same fabric as used in the original design, silk crepe. I bought the fabric in white and conducted a range of dye samples in order to achieve the exact shade depicted in the image. I then dyed several metres of the fabric in a large dye vat. The floral design on parts of this day dress necessitated experimenting with different processes. Initially I tried layering white lace on top of the fabric. In hope of creating a more accurate portrayal of the design, I then researched 1920’s floral prints. Finding a suitable print, I enlarged the image and altered its colours (to black and white) in order to produce a screen print. I printed the image onto acetate and exposed it onto a screen. After sampling with various different methods, I decided to use flock paper and a heat press to create a flock finish. Completing the dress, I stuffed the arms with fabric and bent at the elbows, tying them in this position so as to create creases and a worn effect. I also ironed seams and edges into which I had painted soap, thus making the garment appear slightly worn and washed. Furthermore, the original design comprised both the dress and a matching cloche hat. I therefore sourced felt which I then colour matched to the same shade as the fabric of the dress. This was particularly challenging because different dyes were required to dye the different fabrics. After dying, I placed the felt over a hat block and shaped into the cloche style. Making this costume allowed me explore a wide variety of techniques. It was both invaluable and highly enjoyable.