The Gatsby picnic 2012


I made the Featured section, whoo hoo!!!

The Facts
Fabric: 2 1/2 yards cotton from Stone Mountain & Daughter
Pattern: Anne Adams 2327
Notions: Modern poly zipper, belting, bakelite buckle from stash, 4 buttons
Year: 1930’s
Time to complete: About 4 hours
First worn: September 2012
Wear again? Probably

Total Cost: ~ 12.00

I’m not even sure where to begin : )

For those of you who may not (yet/still) know I did a tablesetting blog last year. A friend and I have WAY too many vintage dish sets, tablecloths, etc. etc. etc. that we decided the ONLY way to do our collections justice was to bring everything out at least once, make a fabulous setting with it and document it. Last year we were at day eighty-four when we did Gatsby, I planned for WEEKS and cooked and sewed for days. I like what we pulled off and vowed to do better this year, possibly even taking home the small picnic set-up prize.

I don’t know about you but I’m a theme girl. I LOVE themes. So when Angie and I started talking about going to Gatsby, in a moment of sheer brilliance, she said “Why not do an election year since this is an election year?” Perfect! We chose 1936 because of the similarities to the financial and political climate today. It also meant we could dress in cotton or rayon, be comfy and still be fabulous.

Once we had the election theme the rest was as simple as walking around my house and yard, pulling cheerful, vintage red, white and blue items. We hit Stone Mountain a couple of weeks ago and the only reason I mentioned the amount of yardage I bought was I got the end of the bolt. I LOVE this print and thought it perfect for our patriotic theme. Both Angie and I wanted a rayon print but there are very few of them at any fabric store so we settled on nice cottons. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do one of the lovely flowing hem dresses but since we were channeling simple women surviving the depression it would work out.

In between menu planning, props pulling and playing with puppies we sewed. More accurately, I cut my dress out, Angie sewed. We spent the entire day Saturday getting things together, making Mock Apple Pie, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Motor Loaves. I thought we’d be done with everything, dresses included, by 6 or 7. I think Angie packed up at 10.

I used my Anne Adams pattern for the top, I certainly didn’t have enough to do the lovely inset panels on the skirt with pleats so I used Vogue 8812 from my Vacation dress. Once again, and I knew this ahead of time, I frankensteined the back pieces. Joy of joys, I put the top on for a preliminary fitting about 7:00 Saturday night and Angie says “It doesn’t meet”. What do you mean it doesn’t meet?? “It’s about 4″ too small across the back”. Oh no… I had a handful of scraps left and was able to get enough to fix the upper back, I had somehow cut the lower back pieces just fine but had a brain fart while cutting the upper pieces. Two hours and a lot of sweat later we were putting hems in. Oh, and I threw a long zipper up the center back of this sucker since I loath side zippers and struggling to get in and out of my clothing. From the moans and groans from the other women in the restroom I’m glad I did.

The next morning I was up at 4 am. Not because I set an alarm but I couldn’t sleep. My neighbors, who already suspect I’m the local crazy cat/dog/chicken lady, didn’t seem to be upset that I’m moving furniture and boxes and walking a dog in my robe at 5am : ) We got the car loaded by 9:30, got in line for early admission and then spent a frantic hour and a half unloading and setting up our “picnic site”. I knew from last year the judges came around before the gates open at 1, and it really helps to be set up AND dressed BEFORE they see you. I think we had 5 minutes to spare. I had also managed to work up a sweat so my hair was dripping wet and half my makeup was already in my cleavage BUT just as we’re trying to figure out the instructions for judging the fabulous Mena shows up, followed by one of the judges!

I was asked about our set-up, the theme, what was vintage (umm….all of it!), what our food choices were and why (I’ll put more details on both my blogs – loransworld and retrodecosettings), why we chose out outfits, what was the book in my hand? (a Judy Bolton that had my cell phone hiding in its pages) and how many times we had done the Gatsby picnic (this was my second time). She kept saying how much she liked everything, that we were very much in the running, they had a photographer taking lots of pictures, it was all quite exciting. Later she brought by the other judge who didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic but we were hopeful.

In the meantime we ate, we people watched and we were treated to a medley of ukelele hits by Joe, Mena’s guy : ) When Angie shouted out “Play Stairway to Heaven…Freebird!” He DID. On a ukelele. Amazing. We tried to convince him to make his own youtube channel playing the ukelele. You never know….

Aren’t they adorable?!

One of the best things about Gatsby are the cars. This is me and Angie. I wore the same hat I had for the July Fourth challenge because it has cherries on it. My one regret of the dress and this pattern is that its NOT a rayon, the sleeves are a little stiff, I look like I have wings. But once my hair dried I was good for the day : ) Last year I wore a silk chiffon dress, garter belt and stockings and satin shoes and I was dripping all day. I also had a broken foot so I limped beautifully. I figured this year was a major win with nothing broken, although I have a bruise on my leg that is going to be very pretty in a few days…

And we didn’t win : (

Ah well…we couldn’t find the winners so we have to wait to see if we recognize photos on the Gatsby website. And wouldn’t you know it? I didn’t get that many pictures of the set-up! Mena actually has the best one of the table before we ate so I thank Joe for his attentiveness to his surroundings : )

Angie in her gorgeous dress complete with bakelite pin and bracelets.

And me : )

If you look at Mena’s first picture you can see my blue bike in the background. Yes, I brought my bike that I rode in the July Fourth challenge to ride around the grounds : ) It was a lot of fun hanging with Mena and Joe. I was so tired when I finally got home and unpacked that I vowed never to do this again. Give me some time to rest, you never know….

The lovely Mena of the Sew Weekly

Our gorgeous table with the Motor loaves showing under the napkin

What you see here is a Mock Apple pie and our Motor loaves. The Mock Apple pie is a “back of the box” recipe made with Ritz crackers. There isn’t a SINGLE apple in it which is ironic since Sue’s apple trees are practically throwing their ripe apples at us a la “The Wizard of Oz”. What we “think” of when it comes to apple pie is a texture and some cinnamon. The crackers mimic the texture of the apples while a simple syrup with lemon juice and lemon peel give it some tang. Sprinkled with cinnamon you can’t tell the difference! I taste tested this not only on a group of teenagers but at one of our Bob White parties one year. It tends to freak people out just a little…

The Motor loaves were something I had at a Tea room last year. They originated in England when cars became the fashionable thing to play in and there were still servants in kitchens. OK, I’m not sure about the servants thing but I CAN say that these little gems are tasty and take a fairly concentrated effort to produce. Essentially you bake a small loaf of bread, cut the center out leaving the outside 1″ as a “frame” and then cut the middle into slices. You make tiny little sandwiches with the slices (I made an egg salad, a lox, and two ham sandwiches with each loaf) and then wrap each individual sandwich in parchment paper! See what I mean about work!! You then put the wrapped sandwiches BACK INTO the “frame”, wrap and trasport. I think the ones I made last year photographed better. It might be because I didn’t take many pictures this year : )

You can see my last years post here.

Last year, while getting dressed, we met an amazing lady. She had just been diagnosed with metastatic cancer in her bones and her boyfriend of many years had left her. She was in good spirits, upbeat and happy and willing to take on whatever life threw her way. She was there this year!! I didn’t get to talk to her, she was always busy chatting and catching up with people, but the same wonderful smile was there and she looked good. I’ve thought about her often in the last year,  I hope she’s doing as well on the inside as she looks on the out.

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