Category Archives: style/outfits/clothing

Spring in Summer – Printemps Summer Catalogue 1907

It has been months since  I participated in Beswingtes Fräulein’s “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut“, where you show your antique and flea market shopping finds on the 1st of the month. Now this month I am back on track again 🙂

What I want to show you today is nothing more than a fragment. I found these pages in an antique shop in the neighbouring town, they were taped into passepartouts, but were lying in a box without any frame or support. I collected as much pages as I could find and bought the lot for 15 CHF, not very cheap but as I had never seen anything similar in an antiques shop I was willing to pay this price, even though it seemed a bit on the top end for me.
The pages all belong to an early department store catalogue. Maybe you know that in Europe the early 20th century saw a rise of the department store, shops like “Au bon marché” or “Au printemps” became not only the first large and luxurious mall-like stores where you could buy anything, they also offered mail-order and shipped catalogues to their clients.
What I found are pages from the swiss issue of the Summer 1907 mail-order catalogue of “Au printemps“. Most interesting for me was to see how the change from made-to-measure-tailor dresses to store-bought off-the-rack fashion. The women’s fashion in these few pages ranges from made-to-measure over half-sewn and not-sewn to ready-made garments.
Now, without much ado, enjoy all these pigeon breasts:


Auf deutsch

So lange war ich nicht mehr dabei, aber diesen Monat zeige ich euch endlich auch mal wieder ein wenig Trödel im Rahmen von “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut“, gehostet von dem Beswingten Fräulein.
Was ihr hier sehr ist der klägliche Rest eines Kaufhaus-Katalogs von 1907. Kaufhäuser waren um die Jahrhundertwende ja gross im Kommen und boten nicht nur ein ganz neues Einkaufserlebnis in riesigen Luxus-Tempeln die scheinbar alles nur denkbare anboten, es gab auch die Möglichkeit, per Katalog vom Sofa aus zu bestellen, frühe Versandhäuser also. Dies sind Seiten des Schweizer Katalogs des Kaufhauses “Au Printemps” für den Sommer 1907. Gefunden habe ich sie in der Nachbarstadt in einem kleinen Antikladen, sie lagen eingeklebt in Passepartouts, aber ohne Rahmen oder sonst einen Schutz, in einer Kiste mit allem möglichen anderen Krempel. Ich habe so viele Seiten wie ich finden konnte zusammengeklaubt (man darf sagen gerettet^^), trotzdem sind es längst nicht alle. Abgeknöpft wurden mir dafür 15 Franken. Das fand ich ehrlich gesagt recht teuer, aber da ich noch nie etwas vergleichbares gefunden hatte, war es mir die Sache trotzdem wert. Was ich besonders interessant finde, ist der sichtbare Wandel von massgeschneiderter Schneider-Mode hin zu Modellen “von der Stange”. Neben diesen beiden findet man im Katalog auch Zwischenschritte, halbangefertigt und nichtangefertigt.
Und jetzt lasse ich einfach Bilder sprechen 🙂



See you soon, alles Liebe,


My new sewing machine – It’s 1969


So, welcome to the first post in my serie “My new sewing machine“. As you might have already imagined, I was eager to sew something with my new Bernina. I won’t talk much about the machine again, as I have already written a whole post about her.


The attachment list of the Bernina dates from 12/1968, the machine itself was made in early 1969, according to the serial number. So, what was 1969 like?

(all information from the above linked Wikipedia-page)
Looking back 1969 seems to have been all about space. In early  January  the Soviet union sends probes to Venus and Soyuz spaceships  into the sky, the US sends Mariner probes to mars only weeks later and uses Apollo 9 and 10 as test runs for the lunar mission. The hightlight of course being the moon landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, followed by the moon landing of Apollo 12 already in november.

While the Beatles give their last public performance in January and John Lennon marries Yoko One in march, Elvis is in the middle of his comback and Led Zeppelin release their first Album. In August the famous Woodstock Festival  turns three days into an immortal part of music history. “The Godfather” is published and the “Sesame Street” comes to american living rooms, both influencing pop culture until today.

Technical progress can be marked by the first implant of an artificial heart, the maiden flight of the Boing 747 and the first test flight of the Concorde in France, while inMoscow the Tupolev TU-44 had had her first flight already on New Year’s Eve of 1968, two months earlier. These two are the the only commercial supersonic aircrafts until today.

Politics: Richard Nixon becomes president of the USA, Georges Pompidou of France, Willi Brandt chancellor of West Germany (in the same year, Muammar Gaddafi takes over power in Libya, imagine how long all the other politicians had retired and how recently Gaddafi was ousted). The Vietnam war is present age as still is the Cold war.

Born in 1969: Michael Schumacher, Marilyn Manson (interesting side note: the Manson Family was very active later in 1969 and Charles Manson arrested for the crimes he had commited), Dave Grohl, Alexander McQueen, Cate Blanchett, Steffi Graf, Oliver Kahn, Jay Z, Richard Hammond and so many more

Died in 1969: Boris Karloff, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Walter Gropius, Otto Dix, Rocky Marciano, Ho Chi Minh and so many more

So, this would be in your mind or in the near future if you had got a new sewing machine in 1969. While history knows no copyright, magazines do, so I won’t be able to show you a bouquet of 69’s fashion, but limit myself to some links: here’s what you find when you search the V&A’s online database for fashion from that year, see it as a little “défilé de mode”. The seamstress might be more interested to sewing magazines of the said year, here you can find the Burda issue of march 1969, the issue I made today’s project from.

First I thought of this project as a complete fail. I mean, when you get a sewing machine that can do so many interesting and decorative stitches, my project maybe wouldn’t be your first choice. But on the other hand, maybe I first wanted to test the sewing before I headed towards the more fancy bits, no-one said I can only write one post about each sewing machine 😛

So, this is the project I went for:


I don’t wear trousers that much, but if, I mostly wear jeans. simply because that’s all I have, I didn’t own one single pair of trousers made from another fabric when I started this project. So I thought, why not sew something I could use better than a fancy late 60ies dress I would most probably never wear. In my stash I found navy blue trouser-fabric, a polyester-viscose-spandex-fabric with a little stretch.

I can’t tell you much interesting about the sewing itself. The hips were much too round and I had to alter them more than once, I am still not happy with them, but it’s ok. The trousers close with a zip in the front, the belt is completely seperate and optional to wear. I lined it with some patterned Ikea-fabric, the same fabric I used for the facing inside the waistband. A leftover of plastic boning gives it the stiffness it needs, I assume the original was made from sturdier fabric.

The pattern was surprisingly short. I am shorter than the average woman and the hem was even higher as you see now and I still would like it to be a little longer.

Well, not the best fitting project, but wearable.

And to save the best for last: Each day you can pick up a free newspaper on Switzerland’s stations (not very high journalism, but well, it’s for free), each friday the same boxes contain a fashion and lifestyle magazine. This friday said magazine told me, that the 70ies will be very “en Vogue” this year. And look what was featured in the photo gallery: Navy blue flared trousers in a polyester-acetate-cotton-fabric by miu miu. Price? 650€. Considering that my fabric cost me 15CHF I still have plenty of room (meaning money) to produce the perfect fitting navy-blue-trousers for this season and will be, for once, totally fashionable.

Auf Deutsch:

So, es hat ein Weilchen gedauert, aber endlich, willkommen zur ersten Folge meiner Serie “My new sewing machine“, was wäre wenn meine Nähmaschine neu wäre?
Da mein letzter Neuzugang die Bernina 730 war, lag es nahe, mit dieser Maschine zu beginnen. Viel zu ihr sagen muss ich glaub ich nicht mehr, sie hat ja bereits einen eigenen Post bekommen.
Während die Packliste im Koffer von 12/1968 datiert, ist die Maschine laut Seriennummer vom Anfang des Jahres 1969. Also, was passierte denn damals so? (ich habe als Grundlage für die Daten die englische Wikipedia-Seite genommen, daher verlinke ich hier zur englischen Version ).

Das Jahr 1969 stand ganz im Zeichen der Raumfahrt.  Während die Sowiet Union Soyuz-Kapseln startete und Sonden zur Venus schickte, machte die Nasa ähnliches mit Mars-Sonden und startet die Apollo-Missionen 9 und 10 als Testläufe für die Mondlandung. Die Landung der Apollo 11 auf unserem Trabanten am 20 Juli ist wohl allgemein bekannt, bereits im November landete dann die zweite Mondmission, Apollo 12, ebenfalls dort.

Im Januar gaben die Beatles ihren letzten Live-Auftritt und John Lennon heiratete Yoko Ono, Elvis war mitten in seinem Comeback und Led Zeppelin veröffentlichten ihr erstes Album. Das Woodstock-Festival im August ging in die Musik-Geschichte ein.  Mario Puzo veröffentlichte sein Buch “Der Pate” und  die erste Folge der Sesamstrasse flackerte über amerikanische Fernsehbildschirme, beide haben bis heute ihren Einfluss auf die Popkultur nicht verloren.

Auch technisch tat sich einiges. Das erste provisorische künstliche  Herz wurde implantiert, die Boing 747 hatte ihren Jungfernflug und die Concorde hob das erste Mal zu einem Testflug ab, zwei Monate nach dem ersten öffentlichen Flug der Tupolev TU-44, beide bleiben bis heute die einzigen kommerziellen Überschall-Flugzeuge.

Jaaa, Politik: In den USA wird Richard Nixon Präsident, in Frankreich Georges Pompidou. Westdeutschland sieht Willi Brandt Kanzler werden (um sich mal über die Verhältnisse klar zu werden: Alle drei Politiker sind schon so lange Teil der Geschichte. Im selben Jahr übernahm Muammar  Gaddafi die Macht in Libyen und dass er entmachtet wurde ist ja nun wirklich nicht lange her). Der Vietnamkrieg gehörte ebenso  zur tagtäglichen Wirklichkeit wie der kalte Krieg zwischen den Blöcken.

Wer wurde geboren:
Michael Schumacher, Marilyn Manson (interessant übrigens, dass 69 ebenso das Jahr der Manson-Family-Morde und der Verhaftung von Charles Manson ist),  Dave Grohl, Alexander McQueen, Cate Blanchett, Steffi Graf, Oliver Kahn, Jay Z, Richard Hammond und viele weitere.

Wer starb:
Boris Karloff, Dwight D Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Walter Gropius, Otto Dix, Rocky Marciano,  Ho Chi Minh und viele weitere

So, das wäre also die  Gegenwart bzw. die nahe Zukunft Anfang 1969. Während Daten und Geschichte kein Copyright kennen, tun es Zeitschriften durchaus, so dass ich euch keinen bunten Bilderbogen der 69er Mode zeigen kann.  Als kleine Modenschau soll euch diese Auswahl der Mode-Sammlung des V&A dienen. Für die Hobbynäherinnen natürlich interessant, was nähte man denn 1969?  Hier ein Link zur Burda-Ausgabe vom März 1969, der Ausgabe aus welcher das heutige Projekt auch stammt.

Am Anfang dachte ich,  ich hätte eine totale Fehlentscheidung getroffen. Wer so eine Maschine mit Zierstichen bekommt, näht doch keine Hose?! Nun ja, vielleicht mag ich sie erstmal kennenlernen, die Zierstiche kommen dann später 😛 Sagt ja niemand, dass jede Nähmaschine nur einen Post bekommen darf.
Da ich nicht viele Hosen trage, aber wenn dann Jeans (einfach weil ich nur Jeans habe) , dachte ich es wäre an der Zeit für eine Stoffhose.  Einen dunkelblauen Polyester-Viskose-Spandex-Hosenstoff hatte ich noch da und los ging es.

Über das Nähen kann ich gar nicht viel spannendes verlieren. Die Hüften waren viel zu rund, ich musste die Naht mehrere Male ändern, inzwischen geht es, auch wenn perfekt was anderes ist. Die Hose wird ganz normal mit Reissverschluss in der Mitte geschlossen, der Gürtel ist optional. Mit dem gleichen Blümchenstoff  wie innen im Gürtel habe ich auch den Beleg in der Hose gemacht. Damit die Ecken nicht umknicken ist er mit einem Rest Plastikkorsagenband verstärkt.

Der Schnitt ist auffällig kurz. Ich bin ja schon kurz geraten, aber die Hose wie ihr sie seht ist schon unterhalb der eigentlichen Saumlinie umgenäht und ich hätte sie sogar gerne noch ein Stückchen länger gehabt.

Im grossen und ganzen nicht perfekt, aber tragbar.

Und das Beste zum Schluss: Jeden Tag gibt es hier in der Schweiz an den Bahnhöfen eine Gratis-Zeitung. Nicht grad die hohe Kunst des Journalismus, aber dafür eben gratis. Freitags liegt anstatt dessen eine Mode-Lifestyle-Zeitschrift in den Verteiler-Boxen. Diesen Freitag sagte mir das bunte Papier, dass die 70er in diesem Jahr absolut im Trend wären. Und was war auf einem der Fotos zu sehen? Dunkelblaue Stoffhosen aus einem Polyester-Acetat-Baumwoll-Gemisch von miu miu. Der Preis? 650€
Der Sitz von meiner Variante mag nicht perfekt sein, aber da ich für den Stoff auch nur 15 Fr. gezahlt habe, bleibt mir reichlich Spielraum um  das Höschen zu perfektionieren und nur ein einziges Mal komplett auf Höhe der Mode zu sein. Wahnsinn…
blouse: Nine Bird (via Fizzen) – trousers: made by me using Burda magazine 3/1969 – shoes: vintage (via Fizzen)


Soviel für heute, alles Liebe

So much for today, see you soon,


Me made Mittwoch with Jackie O.

A few weeks ago, Klara showed how she styled her summer dresses in winter. And last week, a colleague asked me if I could wear the dress I had made at the public sewing in the bookshop in september, she hadn’t been there and had never seen me wearing it since.

These two things alligned and when I had to work last wednesday, the outfit was quickly chosen. Irony of fate? Said collegue had her day off…


A black shirt seemed too simple, additionally I only have purple shoes with heels, unsuitable for work. Black shirt, tights and shoes? Booooring.
Alternatively, I went with different shades of purple and violet and used black accesoires to calm it down a little. I love this outfit very much and am sure to wear it regularly in the future (it is always so great to find new ways to wear the old garments 🙂 )


Vor ein paar Wochen zeigte Klara, wie sie ihre Sommerkleider auch im Winter trägt. Und letzte Woche bat mich eine Kollegin, doch einmal das Kleid anzuziehen, welches ich letzten September bei einem kleinen Näh-Event im Buchladen genäht hatte, damals war sie nicht da und hatte es seitdem auch immer wieder verpasst.

Diese beiden Dinge kamen also zusammen und so war mein Arbeitsoutfit letzten Mittwoch schnell gefunden. Ironie des Schicksals dass besagte Kollegin frei hatte…


Ein schwarzes Shirt darunter schien mir zu einfach, zudem habe ich zwar lila Schuhe, aber nur mit Absatz und daher ungeeignet zum Arbeiten. Shirt, Strumpfhose und Schuhe in Schwarz? Laaangweilig.
Also entschied ich mich für verschiedene Lila-Töne und schwarze Accessoires, um das ganze doch wenigstens etwas zu erden.
Ich mag diese Kombination sehr gerne und werde sich in Zukunft sicher öfters tragen (ich liebe es, neue Alternativen für alte Kleider zu haben 🙂 )

Und weil der Post damals nur auf englisch war: Der Schnitt ist aus dem Buch “Stilikonen“, das Jackie O.-Kleid in der modernisierten Variante (tieferer Ausschnitt, die klassische hat einen hohen, stehenden Ausschnitt). Was ihr seht ist eine mir viel zu kleine Grösse XS mit maximal herausgelassenen Seitennähten. Immerhin kann ich es inzwischen tragen, auch wenn die Taschen immer noch aufspringen. Die Schnitte fallen wirklich klein aus, also schaut auf die Masstabelle.

dress: ette/Stilikonen - shirt: switcher - belt: charity shop, shoes: bought in Vienna - fragrance: 4711 Acqua Colonia Lavender & Thyme
dress: ette/Stilikonen – shirt: switcher – belt: charity shop, shoes: ?,bought in Vienna – tights and headband: ? – brooch: gift from mum – fragrance: 4711 Acqua Colonia Lavender & Thyme

Wenn auch von letzter Woche, so ist es doch ein Mittwochs-Outfit und darf damit hoffentlich beim Me-Made-Mittwoch mitspielen.

see you soon, love,


Journal des Demoiselles 1878

Already a while ago I was asked if I would like to share some of the old fashion plates I have.
Of course I would! Unfortunately most are too large for my small scanner and I don’t want to damage them, but I do what I can. Additionally you can already find so many scans on the interweb, so if you are searching for good scans you might want to check if someone else already uploaded what you are searching for.

Here are the colour plates in my “Journal des Demoiselles” from 1878. Unfortunately some are missing, you can find all plates (and the text as well) here. - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VII - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VIII - Journal d Demoiselles 1978 V - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 I - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 II - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 III - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 IV - Journal d Demoiselles 1878 VI


I hope you like them, see you soon,


Black and Blue remodeled

When my father visited me back in october, he asked if we could visit the local antiques shop together. I hadn’t been there for months or even more than a year because the last visits there had been quite unsuccessful and it was quite far from our old flat. Now, from our new home it is less than ten minutes by foot.

And whilst my father didn’t find anything this time, I found something, to be exact two things. The better preserved one I am showing you today, when the second one will be ready to be presented I don’t know, could take some time, so you need to be patient.

This dress hung on a coat rack next to a 60ies ladies suit that didn’t appeal to me at all. But this one did. I would date it around 1940. It has been reworked, it seems as if someone re-used the black silk from an older garment, some seams are oddly placed and you still find remnants of previous ones. The skirt as well as the front part is made from black silk satin, the upper part of the bodice and the sleeves are made from blue silk satin, overlaid with black lace. Small parts like the collar and the cuffs are worked in black silk crêpe.


There is no label to be found and judging from the seams and the fact that an older garment was re-used I assume that this dress was homesewn. The front and the belt as well as the cuffs close with press buttons.


Unfortunately the silk crêpe of the collar has discoloured, maybe caused by light. I plan to hand-wash it with ivy leaves, which can not only be used as a mild detergent, but also helps dark colours to refresh (that’s why you shouldn’t wash light colours with it, it doesn’t only refresh, it obviously kind of dyes), I hope this will help a little.


Only on the way home I realized it had a large tear on the right side of the skirt, beforehand I had thought it was, apart from the collar, in wearable condition. To fix this I arranged a scrap of silk-organza on my embroidery hoop, pinned the tear onto it and darned it with silk thread, which I had splitted in three very thin strands beforehand.

DSC_0001wmDSC_0002wmDSC_0005 (2)wmDSC_0007 (2)wm

Please note, this is very important for me: I am not a conservator, I have never learnt how to conserve and repair old and antique textiles. This is NOT how you should conserve an antique dress, the main premise of museums today is that a manipulation should be reversible. The darning above surely doesn’t accord to any museum practice. I bought this dress and planned to wear it, that’s why I did what I did, not to make anything according to museum standard!


Here you see the outside and the inside of the top part.


A close-up of the skirt. You see the traces of the old seams and that the hem used to be folded on a slightly different position. Below some thread remnants I removed from the old seams. The brown parts are the ones that were exposed to light, the black parts stuck in the fabric, this is what light does to textiles!


I really managed to take not a single photo were the tear is really visible. You can maybe make it out in the one below, it sits at half height.




Unfortunately the sleeves are a bit on the small side, I really have to keep my shoulders pulled up to wear them as long as this. If I should ever really wear it (I maybe won’t dare at all, it is quite delicate), I will maybe try to roll them up on the inside and wear them as 3/4-sleeves, so I won’t have to change them.

dress: antique shop – shoes: Bally/flea market

Side note: The shoes look pretty authentic, but date in fact from the 1970ies. I know for sure because the seller had bought them for herself back then. It was the Bonnie&Clyde-Great Gatsby-mania and the revival of 30ies-fashion that made shoes like this so very popular and close to the original 30ies ones. I own another very similar pair from the 70ies and they are not only very comfortable, but it is also a relief to know that they are not that old and delicate as they look. Oh, and they are cheaper, too 😉

See you soon, love


A confession…or maybe…ahem, three?

First I want to thank you all for your comments on my 2014-round-up and your advise on how I should cope with my concerns.
Yes, you are completely right, this is my blog and I should show here what I want. But I still like the setting of this blog as it is. In the end I have come to a conclusion, consisting of mainly three changes:

– I won’t participate in this year’s Historical Sew Monthly (it has changed to only half the challenges for 2015).  If something I make coincidentally fits a challenge I will maybe post it in the facebook-group, but on the blog it will appear as a project without any greater connection to the HSM. Participating in this project means that you are willing to participate in as many challenges as possible. As I can’t say I want this to be my aim for this year, I would consider it weird to post accidentally fitting projects as challenge entries.

– in the future I want to be less strict with what I show here. If I make something with a modern pattern that I consider suitable for the blog, I will show it. Short, I want to be less strict to myself. First product of this change of mind you can see further below.

– I still won’t include modern looking patterns, I would like to keep the historic/retro touch of this blog. But I can’t deny that I love some modern styles, too and so I want to be able to give in and sew something completely different when I want to. At the same time I want to push myself a little, try new styles and materials, I just like a good challenge.
Therefore I joined the monthly stitch collective. As with the HSF you face monthly challenges, but these aren’t limited to historical styles and you have a group-blog for all participants instead of a link-up (Oh, and you are free to join as many challenges as you like).
I am sure you will see some projects published both here and on the MSC-blog, but other projects will be shown on just one of the two.  My most recent post on the MSC-blog will be linked below the MSC-button on the right and I will inform you about them on my facebook-page. Like this I am able to show you my modern sewing projects as well, without changing this blog’s  focus.

I hope these changes will help me find a balance between historic and modern sewing and I hope you are ok with them.

Now, let’s come to the confessions mentioned in the title. First, I cut my hair and this already in late november. The photos I posted in december were all made only days before this. The better part is still long and brown, but on a day off alone in our flat I apparently stood in front of the mirror too long and cut myself a fringe. I had considered this already for some time but always convinced myself, that long hair without a fringe is more versatile (and it is!). Well, this particular morning reason lost and enthusiasm took control.
I am still not sure wether I want to keep it or will already start to let it grow longer again.

Second and third confession are very closely connected to each other: I have to much fabric, that’s for sure. I don’t want to buy any new fabric, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. But when I went to Ikea a couple of days before Christmas I somehow ended up in the fabric section…oops. You see where this is going 😉
Amongst all the bolts lay a leftover of white lace with polka dots, 1,5m to be exact. And before I had even realized what happened it lay in my basket. But only because I had a very clear idea in mind and indeed, I managed to realize this idea before Christmas eve. This is the third confession because this makes it a 2014 project and I didn’t include it in the round-up. The main reason for this is, that I didn’t know wether I should show it or not. But, as said above, I decided to be less strict with myself and because I wanted to show it, I just do now 🙂 Skirt IV

My idea was a very simple half-circle-skirt with a layer of lace on top. As fabric to go underneath I chose a magenta-coloured microsuede I bought already years ago. I loved the pattern on it, but soon considered it to be “too much” and so it lay in my stash for a very long time (very long in this case means at least seven years, though I can’t tell exactly).
Some years ago I turned some of it into a wrap-dress (Burda easy fashion spring/summer 2006), using the shiny back as the main fabric and the patterned right side only for accents. Skirt II

For the skirt I proceeded similarly, the lace is facing the shiny side (making a very slippery slip indispensable because the patterned side is …well…sueded)) while the waistband shows the patterned, right side of the fabric.
I treated both layers (lace and fabric) as one and only hemmed them seperately. For the underskirt I used white bias binding, what  is my favourite hemming method for round hems. When the skirt was done and had hung for one day on my dress form I cut the lace’s hem , leaving it a little bit longer than the fabric underneath.
The skirt closes with a zipper and a hook in the centre back. Skirt I

Well, and that’s all I suppose. The waistband is stiffened with fusible interfacing. I didn’t calculate how it works with other sizes, but the cutout in the middle of the half-circle was enough to make a 2cm-wide waistband from it, of course with a seam in the middle. But if you don’t have any more fabric, 70/75cm (depending on the width of your fabric, 140cm or 150cm) is enough to make this skirt in a small size.  Please consider that the length of the skirt depends on your waist circumference, the larger this is, the slimmer is the ring that forms your skirt and thus higher is the final hem. Skirt III
pullover: Lyon flea market – skirt: ette – underskirt: ette, (used to be a curtain) –  stockings: ars vivendi – shoes: limelight – hairbow: ette (pattern: Der Bazar 1872)

As you may have imagined, this whole idea, spontaneous lace-buy and quick execution before Christmas was an attempt to substitute the not finished Christmas dress. Funny enough, even though I finished the skirt I didn’t wear it on Christmas Eve, as was planned, but the next day when we visited some friends.
Today I can tell you I finally finished the Christmas dress yesterday, now I only need some time to make some good photos with it.

I wish you a lovely sunday!


How to combine colours – table from 1924

I found this interesting table in a 1924 Dressmaking book. Actually the “Women’s Institute Library of Dressmaking” consists of multiple books, but I only own Volume 2 which covers “Harmony in dress – Beautiful clothes, corsets and dress foundations, silhouettes, colors, fabrics, good taste in dress, millinery and accessories, the dressmaker and tailor shop, european shops”.

This table gives you hints on how to combine different colours in street and evening wear, arranged according to wether they can be used as a second major colour, for accents or only in small doses as trimming. I wouldn’t agree with all the given advises from my modern point of view, but it is very interesting to see what colour combinations were modern and considered interesting  90 years ago. And it can provide help when choosing fabrics and colour combinations to recreate a garment as correctly as possible.

click on the image to see it in full size
click on the image to see it in full size


See you soon, love


Principles and how to overcome them


I don’t like altering clothes. I like to sew new ones and I have no problems with fixing a lost button or a broken zipper. But I don’t anymore buy things to remodel them. I used to do but somehow it never turned out how I wanted it and was always a lot more work than expected.


Additionally, I don’t like to alter old clothes. I mean, these things have survived 40 or 60 years without manipulation and I know how valuable unaltered things from previous centuries are for costume historians because they are so rare. A large shop in Berne selling Vintage and modern clothes alters vintage dresses on a grand scale, because most clients want their skirts to end above the knee and not at mid-calf length. The vast majority of these altered dresses dates from the 80ies, but every now and then you see something older amongst them, too. This altering makes the dresses uninteresting for me (because I like my dresses to end below the knees), but it also means less and less dresses in their original state. Because of this I do not buy these altered dresses and I only buy dresses that fit me. Even if a little shortening or two centimetres less circumference would make them look perfect, usually I don’t buy them and hope they’ll find a more fitting client, in the truest sense of the word.


But this spring another user of my favourite sewing board sold a beautiful late50ies/early 60ies wool shirt dress I wasn’t able to resist, despite it being too large and I threw all my priciples overboard. Because the sleeves and the bodice were made from one piece of fabric that made fitting issues at the shoulders nonexistant, this seemed to be a pretty easy one to be altered to fit me.
And so I did. All I had to do was remove the skirt, shift the side seams to fit my size and re-attach the skirt. Because the wool was so easy to gather I didn’t even have to remodel the pleats.
It was obvious that the skirt had been altered before, there were multiple seams in different threads at the waist. So I wasn’t the first to manipulate it and I was, I admit, a little relieved not to have destroyed something completely untouched (because of the thick fabric and the curved seam underneath the arms I had to cut away the fabric, too. I know, something you never ever should do, shame on me).
Because one button was missing I had to remove the one at the bottom and sewed the buttonhole close so it would be less obvious. Grace to this fine striped pattern it works quite well. I added a small hook and eye to  the waistband because the dress tended to gape, as there wasn’t a button to hold this narrowest part of the dress.


I thought this quite weird and it took an accident to solve this mystery. A few months later the same woman sent me a whole set of hemming feet for my 1932 Pfaff. Before she sent the parcel she asked me if I would be interested in a belt to match the dress, she had found it and hadn’t even known a belt existed. Yes, of course I was! And obviously, with a belt you have far less concerns with a gaping waist 🙂


It has been finished and in my wardrobe quite some time now and I love it. The hem looks a little pointy in the centre front, I think I will add a little press fastener to keep it in place.
The fabric is, as you can imagine, quite scratchy, fortunately I own a shirt with the exact same sleeve length to wear underneath.


Dear Ravna, thank you so very much for selling me something that has already become one of my favourite dresses!

dress: Vintage/altered by me – tights: Fogal – Shoes: wonders – handbag: made by Goldkind – scarf: belonged to my grandaunt – gloves: Vintage/Fizzen – brooch: Antique/Flea market – fragrance: Nina Ricci-L’air du temps

See you soon, love


PS: Forgive me to have skipped this sunday’s Christmas dress post. My weekend was equally parted in work, meeting friends from my favourite online sewing board and being sick. Needless to say the latter third was the time I had planned to use for sewing instead of sleeping and whimpering. I am trying to catch up but the pattern needs more adjustments than expected which makes me progress slower than expected. At least the plaid isn’t the problem 😉

They call me nightshirt

Today let’s talk about how you should not treat an old dress and how you should not buy anything that looks cute.


Many many years ago (must have been 2006 or little earlier), I bought one of my first vintage dresses: A pale pink shift dress of pure silk taffeta. If I recollect correctly, I bought it as a 50ies adolescent dress without ever checking this information. And if I recollect correctly as well, I only wore it once, to wear to a goth disco with satin corset, gloves and black laced boots. I stood out, but I loved it (oh, and pink clip-in extensions)!

what things you still find on your myspace-page...
things you still find on your myspace-page…

I never considered giving it away (hey, it was old and pink!), but I never really wore it. I feared it could be too fragile and when on earth could you wear a pink silk dress?

Meanwhile it moved with me three times and I have learned a lot about fashion and historical sewing techniques. I never know how to style this thing and my boyfriend always says it looks like a nightshirt and I shouldn’t wear it outside. So it lurks in the back of my wardrobe and never really sees the light (if it is really a nightshirt it is also a creature of the night, maybe it’s manipulating me and doesn’t want to see daylight? Help, it’s alive!).

But once in a while I try to wear it, play around a little to defuse this out-of-bed-look and in November I dared to wear it to a concert  (Mozart’s Requiem, a very dear colleague participated and generously invited me and my boyfriend, check out the choir’s website if you life in Switzerland and like classical music). I took the opportunity to have a closer look at it.

an awful lot of handsewing going on inside
an awful lot of handsewing going on inside, the buttons are secured with a thin pink ribbon.
The front. The bow is just decorative, the rest of the band is bias binding made from the same fabric.
The front. The bow is just decorative, the rest of the band is bias binding made from the same fabric.
are these buttons handmade? it looks as if, don't they? To me it seems as if they consist of a ball of wrapped yarn and invisibly attached silk fabric.
are these buttons handmade? it looks as if, don’t they? To me it seems as if they consist of a ball of wrapped yarn and invisibly attached silk fabric.

Coil zipper in the centre back as well as the absence of any old seams or other traces of manipulation make me date this dress into the 1960ies. But I am still amazed of all the hand sewing and old techniques used (I have never seen such a perfectly hand-sewn zipper. You need a magnifying glass and have to look at the back of the seam to see that it isn’t machine sewn). Maybe this was made by someone who had learned sewing already years or even decades ago and still used all this techniques when making a dress for a granddaughter?

Now, back to the dress as a whole. It is a little too large, not the best premise to make a pink shift dress look NOT like a nightshirt.

oh, wait until you see the front, this is going to be fun!
oh, wait until you see the front, this is going to be fun!

And my boyfriend is right, styled wrongly it could really look like “oh, hello Mr. Postman, sorry, I just woke up”

yeah, the hilarious shoes again!
yeah, the hilarious shoes again!

This is how I wore it this evening. Paired with a black cardigan with pink and red embroidery and patent leather high-heels (I switched later to black smooth leather t-straps heels, these somehow felt a little too…*ahem* kinky to wear in a church).


And yes, lots of make-up. Idea is that nobody wakes up with perfectly shiny red lipstick applied.

dress: antique/Das Puppenhaus, cardigan: Voodoo Vixen, high-heels: Christian Louboutin/2nd-hand Secondo Bern, handbag: flea-market, necklace: gift from mum
dress: antique/Das Puppenhaus, cardigan: Voodoo Vixen, high-heels: Christian Louboutin/2nd-hand Secondo Bern, handbag: flea-market, necklace: gift from mum, fragrance: Prada, Amber

Now, what do you think? Nightshirt or wearable? I am still convinced that it really was meant as a dress because of the zipper and the globular buttons, both wouldn’t be very comfortable in bed. But still, it has this air of lingerie….

Dare anybody of you to pin this photo :-P
Dare anybody of you to pin this photo 😛

Now that you have managed to read everything I might reveal that I wanted a “styled” photo to appear in this post first. My idea was that the verdict could be different, depending on what of the two stylings you see first. I would have loved to post this in two different blogs, one with nightshirt-photos first, the other with styled photos on top. I bet it would have made a difference. So are you sure you decided how you wanted to and not depending on what you saw first? 🙂
(I fear I have been reading too much Daniel Kahneman in the last time, but his book is really interesting)

See you soon, love



things I would never have done without Leimomi part 3

It’s been more than three months I last uploaded a HSF-project, oh dear.

After all the messy times I had this summer I was very keen to join the challenges again.
A little summary: I planned to make at least half of the challenges when I started to join. The last project I finished was my #10-ballerina-outfit, my fifth finished project, so I was right on track. Now we are already close to challenge #18 and I my counter is still at five projects. I need to do all coming challenges but one to eventually reach my goal of at least 12 completed challenges, puh…
In fact I did try to make something for #13 “Under 10$” but it became evident in a very early state that it was completely unwearable and so it never made it to the finish line.

Challenge #17 was “Yellow” and I am a few days late, I know, but please, I am so proud having at least finished it, so don’t let it rain on my parade, would you 😉

Now you have to know, yellow really isn’t a colour I like. I own very few yellow garments, somehow they never appealed me. Additionally, my boyfriend works at an international furniture-selling enterprise using the blue and yellow colours of the swedish flag as their trademark, so naturally he doesn’t fancy yellow after closing time.

Therefore the title. I am not sure if I would have made that project without the challenge, this applies as well to the aforementioned ballet-costume and the 19th-century-fabric-box, this explains the “part 3” 😀

The search for some yelllow fabric in my stash wasn’t very fruitful. I found a small piece of mustard-coloured cotton-velvet (too small to make a garment of it), an equally small amount of white cotton printed with yellow flowers and two metres of a light yellow polyester fabric I bought on sale when one of my favourite fabric shops closed. Don’t ask me why, normally I tend to ignore artificial fibres and yellow coloured fabrics.

The fabric has a little stretch and is quite solid so I thought it could become a nice dress for  the approaching autumn days.I picked a dress from the march 1940 issue of “Beyers Mode für Alle”, one of the magazines I bought in Gotha last year.


The pattern itself came together quite quickly. A 88cm bust tends always to be a little on the large side for me, but the waist was fine and so I changed nothing and started cutting (as you see, the bust is ruffled, no use measuring this, if you ask me). I skipped the pockets because I couldn’t see the use of two very narrow pockets getting bulky right between my legs, there are few easier ways to ruin a dress.

Drawing of the pattern pieces. I used the upper, long sleeve
Drawing of the pattern pieces. I used the upper, long sleeve

Only during my sewing some problems began to show up. First, the construction of the shoulders hadn’t been thought through. The shoulder seams lie behind the highest point of the shoulders. That itself is not a problem, but the front part was ruffled and so the sleeve tended to fall off the shoulder in the front. In total the shoulders were slightly on the large side. So what I did was I attached a wide grosgrain ribbon to the shoulder seam, the ends connected to the sleeve cap and the collar. The ribbon itself was 2cm shorter than the non ruffled back, so I gathered the back part a little at the same time, making the shoulders fit better (besides the size being on the upper end of what fits me, the stretch of the fabric and its weight added to this dropping effect. So the ribbon prevents the fabric to stretch as well).

left: the dropping sleeve, middle: the improved version, right: a look at the ribbon
left: the dropping sleeve, middle: the improved version, right: a look at the ribbon

The centre front is far far away from the front edges. This makes the right front edge disappear below the collar and, if you don’t want your buttons to be far away from the edge, it places the buttons off-centre unless they are gigantic. Unfortunately I realized it too late, after I had already finished the two front edges. To solve this I attached the buttons and press fasteners on the right front edge, but only the lowest two counter parts of the press fasteners I sewed as far from the centre as the pattern had wanted them to be. The topmost one I placed as far away from the left edge as the button was from the right one (what means much closer to the edge), the two buttons in the middle I placed accordingly (additionally it looked so very severe with the collar’s edges touching).


Third issue was the very blousy fit. I have no before-photo, but I removed a total 14cm underbust-circumference to make the dress fitting as it is now, before the whole bodice part fit very loosely. Another 6cm circumference was removed at bust-height and the upper sleeves.


The sleeves are puffed and have a dart in the lower half. If I wear long sleeves I want them to be a little more on the long than on the short side. So I decided to keep the length, though it caused a few wrinkles when letting the arms drop. Because the dart was very narrow it was impossible to close it completely. I left the 7cm open and added buttons and press fasteners as well, not at the hem, but 3cm above. Like this the sleeve can slide down a tiny bit more and wrinkles less but is still as long as I like it to be.

yes, a ding at the zipper, I see this. But because it will be worn when it is colder I hope enough underskirts will fix it. If not I can still change this.

A flaw you wouldn’t have noticed but I see at a first glance: the collar! Do you see that slightly darker colour? That’s because my interfacing is green. Wouldn’t have thought it could shine through, but obviously it does.


The length is a little short for 1940, I know. But the dress is so high-necked and well behaved, I thought it needed this length to look less severe.



The Challenge: #17 Yellow

Fabric: light yellow synthetic fabric

Pattern: magazineBeyers Mode für alle”, march 1940

Year: 1940

Notions: various cream and yellow threads (got rid of three different small spools^^); interfacing for the collar, grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the shoulder seams and a narrower one for the waist seam; seven burgundy buttons and different coloured press fasteners, short zipper for the side seam, fusible interfacing

How historically accurate is it? I fear the material of the fabric isn’t authentic, nor is the length of the dress and the interfacing. The pattern and the changes I made are accurate, the buttons and the zipper are old, though not that old, but both plausible for the time (plastic buttons and coloured metal zipper).

Hours to complete:  Maybe 6-8. Sewing itself went quite fast, but all those adjustments and the handsewing (zipper, buttons, hem, shoulder stabilization) took their time.

First worn:  for the photos today, still too warm outside to wear it all day long

Total cost: I know I bought the fabric not long ago, but I have no idea what I paid for it.I assume not more than 10CHF/m, otherwise it wouldn’t have been appealing to me. All notions enlisted came from my stash and were bought with haberdashery convolutes, so different to tell. Only the interfacing was bought new, I think I paid 2€/m.

dress: Beyer/made by me – belt: mango – handbag: flea market – shoes: cube

Though I said yellow is not my favourite colour, I am really happy with the result and looking forward to wear it a lot as soon as it gets colder. 🙂

See you soon, love