Maybe you wonder, remembering I said I don’t want to publish modern projects on this blog? Well, you are absolutely right about what I said and absolutely wrong if you consider today’s project being something modern.
In fact, this is by far the oldest and most antique project I have ever made or shown.
Before you are too confused now: We are talking about the shirt, not the skirt 😉
The first time I saw this pattern was in 2012, I discovered it in a book on prehistoric textiles in the library of the musée des tissus in Lyons. I copied the pattern to try it back home (unfortunately without noting in which book I had found it. That really is a pity because until today it is the only version of this pattern I know that comes with measurements).
Only later I realized I owned a book myself that had the pattern in it.* And among Archaeologists it is pretty well known: This blouse was found in numerous women’s and girl’s graves dating from the bronze age. For example it formed part of the clothing worn by the Egtved girl who died around 1370 b.c., though the skirt that was found as well is today much more famous than the blouse.
What fascinated me about this bronze age pattern, was that it was cut from only one piece of fabric. Today it is assumed that the special cut and the sizing of the blouse can be connected to fur- and leather-sewing-techniques of the time. Considering you only need a piece of fabric measuring 110cm x 60cm this seems quite plausible as it should be a size you could easily cut from a cow’s or a stag’s skin. The blouses found were however made from woven fabrics.
You can find a scheme of the pattern here, just scroll down to the end of the page, here you have a perspective drawing that could help you understand how it is assembled. And finally, this drawing shows the outlines from the different blouses found (the link to the original source unfortunately doesn’t work). The pattern and the measurements I copied back in Lyons (and therefore the ones I used for making this blouse) were taken from the example in the middle, the Borum Eshøj-blouse. What you see is that most of the preserved blouses have an additional strip sewn onto the lower edge of the main part, like this it was possible to adjust the hemline even if the width of the fabric or the skin wasn’t enough. The strip found on this blouse was 5cm wide, I made mine much wider and doubled it so it would give a little structure to the blouse (the fabric I used is very thin and unlike the heavy cloth used 3000 years ago). If made narrower (or directly added to the pattern and cut in one piece, as today a width of more than 60cm should be that much of a problem) it could pass for a very modern shirt as they were very en vogue last summer. And the length of the sleeves is adjustable as well. The version above was made with a 30cm wide neck opening while the sleeves each measure 40cm from the neckline to the hem (therefore the 110cm I talked of above). Making a version with longer or shorter sleeves would be perfectly easy.
The fit is not as bad as you could imagine. Because of the lack of a proper seam underneath the sleeves you can’t insert gussets, but that is not that big a problem because the blouse should be pretty wide, unlike mine which is in fact too small (sits a little tight, breathing isn’t that good an idea when wearing it). But this was because I started to work with the measurement taken from the original (80cm bust circumference *cough*), planning to adjust a second version to my size. Haven’t made this second version so far, so you get to see the too small first version today.
And look, it could very well pass as a vintage pattern, don’t you think?
I love this pattern because it is quite simple to make (only the seam allowances have to be comparably narrow), very very old but absolutely timeless in its style. Imagine this in a brown wool and you surely have some kind of prehistoric garment. Use a patterned viscose as I did and it looks like a summer blouse that hides its historic background perfectly. Keep in mind that you have some seams in the back when chosing the fabric, otherwise it might look odd, cutting through a large motif.
But to me this project is still one of the best examples of how simple a sewing pattern can be and how important the fabric and its pattern is when it comes to the impression a garment gives.
To finish with: The post’s title came to my mind when I looked out of the window the morning I wrote the post (yesterday, so tuesday) and had Sinatra’s In the wee small hours of the morning in my head immediately. Unfortunately the photos I made directly afterwards were all blurry, so I can only show you the scenery in bright daylight (imagine this only lit by a small street lamp).
This is how the garden looks today. At least somebody in the house appreciates snow (I don’t really), our landlord’s dog, caught in full speed:
See you on sunday, love
* From this book I also drew all the archaeological information given in this post:
Karin Grömer: Prähistorische Textilkunst in Mitteleuropa. Geschichte des Handwerkes und der Kleidung vor den Römern, Wien 2010.
Well, what should I say? I didn’t finish the Christmas dress.
I am not far from doing it, so I am still positive (though not entirely sure) to wear it for Christmas Eve.
The last weeks have simply been too much. I am not at all content with the posts I wrote during this sew-along, inexpressive photos of fraying half-assembled whatevers are exactly the sort of thing I did not want to show anymore, they are nothing I am happy to share, neither are they interesting to look at, I assume.
Maybe challenges where you show only completely finished garments are more my kind of thing. So I am not sure if I should join a sew-along anytime soon again.
To throw me even further back I spent half the night awake with stomachache and shivering. As you can imagine that leaves me a bit off today.
Only very short what I have done on the dress, in case you are still curious: The dress itself is done. The belt is ready to be attached to it as are the collar and the jabot. I still have to add the closure (hidden press buttons), stiffen, assemble and attach the cuffs and cut the velvet border for the hem.
Now while I try to recover and clean this mess that is supposed to be a Christmassy-decorated flat, I will leave you with a scan of some Christmas motifs I found in the December 12th 1925 issue of my “Schweizerische Unterhaltungsblätter”.
I won’t translate the text, but will only paraphrase it:
These are supposed to be Christmassy-looking nativity set animals and comets that can be realized in a variety of techniques. The easiest way would be to cut them from eg. paper and glue them together to use as table decoration or for a door frame. Very quick as well would be to do this as appliqué in felt or cloth. To use as cushion cover, book sleeves and the like you can also make them, very modern, from cut leather. And of course simple painting them is quickly done and highly effective as well. The wreath is meant to be copied as a complete circle and can be used for doilies and similar things, but also for leather, wood painting or embroidered items. The bookmark [I suppose they mean the motif on the far right] is made from sheepskin and very solid, it can easily be cut with scissors. You can deepen the lines by dampening the leather with cold water and retrace them with a pointy object, a needle or something similar. An alternative would be to burn the lines.
I think the motifs look very special and unexpectedly abstract, nothing I would connect with old fashioned christmas decoration.
See you soon, and if I won’t manage to post in the next two days,
Oah, jetzt aber schnell!
Nur noch der Saum!
Ich könnte hier nochmal nachbessern
Ich bin fertig, zeige aber noch nichts
Ich bin ein Streber und nähe jetzt noch ein Tüdeldü für meine drei Weihnachtskleider
Ohoh, I should hurry!
Only the hem left! I could retouch this and that I’m done but won’t show I’m way ahead and will add some accessory to my three dresses
my motto could be summarized with the first line only, I am far from being finished…
I am stuck! In many ways.
First, time is working against me. I have to work a lot (christmas + bookshop, well, you get it), I had a conference last week, went to the last lecture before christmas, had to discuss a lot of things with my professor and am working on my PHD-project. When I come home all I wish for is a glass of wine and Downton Abbey in the Blu-Ray-player.
Second, this project is so…demanding, claiming. Not that is is overly difficult, in fact it is fairly easy. And cutting large rectangles isn’t a challenge, even in plaid. But I hate all this concentrating on lines and patterns and grain when the pattern pieces are so simple. It feels like a lot of boring work. To pair things I don’t like (=all this tripple checking for matching lines) with a boring pattern doesn’t seem to have been a good idea. I am sure it will get better when i have finished the basic seams and can finally add the velvet but all this pressing and pleating and cutting and blaaahhh…it’s just not mine….
Still I am determined to finish this project. Not only because I still like the concept and want to sew a 20ies dress,also because I hate to be defeated by something as simple as that.
Third, there are things I would love to sew at the moment, other things. I had a wonderful idea for the HSF-challenge that is due today, it wouldn’t be much work either. And I planned to make my boyfriend something for christmas, I did this every year earlier in our relationship but somehow in the last couple of years I fell off.
But the plaid dress is clouding these projects and vice versa.
Now, enough complaining. What have I done?
I cut the skirt and pleated it. Admittedly that wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be. Modern patterns usually have two marked lines, one marks the fold, the other the place where the fold will lie. These pattern pieces only had one line. Now was I supposed to make knife pleats? And with two lines close to each other that where visible as two pleats in the image? Should I make box pleats, inverted or standard? And how deep? And I had to consider this before cutting, because my pattern repeat had to be followed as well and the pleat depth adjusted to it.
In the end I made inverted box pleats on the side seams, one standard box pleat in the centre front and something that could be defined as a very wide box pleat with narrow walls or simply as two knife pleats facing the sides in the back. All pleats perfectly match the pattern, at least this was a success.
As you might remember, I removed 8cm circumference from the paper pattern because the size was too large for me. When I had finished pleating I had to realize it was still very very large, I think the hip circumference was something like 107cm (I didn’t measure beforehand because I always want to see how the original pattern was meant to look like before I adjust it). Yes, 20ies fashion is supposed to be non-fitted, but it isn’t supposed to be that wide. The magic of this fashion lies in how it hugs the figure without really touching it. So the dress shouldn’t be much wider at the hip as the hip itself, otherwise it would of course look baggy. As a consequence I doubled the depth of the rear parts of the box pleats on the sides, removing 11cm circumference (and before you ask, yes, 96cm is still more than my hip circumference. But first the skirt is going to be gathered at the waist seam a little and second I don’t want to stretch it too far, it should be snug as little as baggy). To stick with the pattern I could only increase the depth of one half of the box pleats at the side. So now they are not only asymmetric (the rear half is deeper than the one in the front, maybe I will at least sew close the excess to make it fall better) but they also shifted from slightly behind the sides to right at the sides. I am not content with this by now but can’t think of anything to change it. If the skirt will still be too large I plan to add a seam in the centre back. Like this I can remove only one pattern repeat (=5,5cm circumference, the pleats are always mirrored on the other side, so I always have to remove 11cm) and the side pleats will at least shift a little towards the back, too.
The top is in progress. I made a mistake when cutting the front parts so the pattern doesn’t match the way it should at the shoulder seams, but I think I am able to ignore that. More annoying is the fact, that the diagonal darts in the shoulder seams look like rubbish. Not because I did something wrong, it just looks weird with the plaid. Well, my hair is long, hopefully it will cover it or maybe it won’t look too bad when worn, we’ll see. At least the side seams look good and the whole thing is remotely resembling a dress.
Now I am facing the difficult decision to wether use this evening to finish the button band in the centre front or to spend it in front of the tv watching Downton Abbey as I have done already the previous nights. I’m afraid one of these alternatives is far more tempting than the other….
So richtig komme ich nicht voran. Die Falten im Rock sind gelegt und sehen schön aus, auch wenn das Schnittmuster mehr als kryptisch war, was die Verteilung derselben angeht. Allerdings war der fertig gefaltete Umfang weit davon entfernt mir zu passen, weshalb ich die Faltentiefe teilweise anpassen musste. Jetzt ist es zwar immer noch nicht ganz passend, aber zum einen soll es am Bund etwas engehalten werden und zweitens, sollte es gar nicht passen nehm ich was in der hinteren Mitte raus und setze dort eine Naht, denn die Falten kann ich ja immer nur passend mit dem Rapport verschieben. Das Oberteil ist vom Sitz her ok, allerdings sehen diese schrägen Abnäher recht merkwürdig in dem Karomuster aus. Aber das kann ich einfach nicht ändern, also bleibt es so. Der aktuelle Stand ist weder interessant noch elegant aber ich hoffe einfach, dass was nicht ist noch werden kann, auch wenn mir nicht mehr viel Zeit bis nächsten Sonntag bleibt und die Motivation zu wünschen übrig lässt.
Somehow I always miss to post what I found on flea markets. Either I don’t make it to write a post in time or I think it isn’t that interesting to show it here. But now after a “few” months’ break, another “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut!“-Post, hosted as each month on Beswingtes Fräulein’s blog “Beswingtes Allerlei“.
The past few weeks have been different and somewhat insecure. After having additionally worked in the museum until September it was hard to adapt to the one salary I earn at the bookshop again and until two weeks ago it wasn’t clear if I could raise my pensum there (luckily I can!). So this month’s motto should have been: Saving. And really, I cooked more often so much I was able to eat leftovers at work instead of buying something for lunch, I reduced my consumption of take-away coffees to as good as none (I think I bought two, one was sponsored by my boyfriend)and I said to myself not to go shopping anymore unless I really needed something. Excluded from this were flea markets and used items, though I think I didn’t visit a single flea market the whole month, don’t have to tempt myself unneccessarily 😉
Well, I am far from being perfect and so I have to admit that this is also the month I bought the most shoes since…well, very long. Five pairs, to be honest, three of them new. Yes, shame on me (but they are so beautiful and were so reasonably priced….oh).
I don’t even know why I begged my boyfriend to stop at this charity shop. I felt I just needed a little shopping feeling and though this would be less dangerous than going elsewhere. Because he really hates this particular shop he only accompanied me a few minutes and left then to wait in the car. Baaaad decision. Right after he had left I picked up a pair of black leather boots for half the price (he wouldn’t let me buy shoes, he hates how many I already own) and then to make things worse I found this amongst the antique books:
And yes, I bought it. With 40 CHF it was quite expensive, but I still think it was a good buy.
A very big book “Lehrkurs der Selbstschneiderei” (training course to home sewing), a smaller appendix with patterns for knitting and crocheting and even a postcard to order other books from this publisher as well as a pay-in slip.
The appendix is not overly interesting to photograph:
But the book itself! It has no date given, but judging from the illustrations and photos it should date from the 1930ies.
And it covers really everything remotely connected with textiles. Dying and weaving…
..different kinds of stitches and embroidery (yes, in full colour!)…
…how to decorate and finish seams and hems…
…knitting and crocheting for children and grown-ups…
…photos of beautiful finished projects…
…different collars and even hat decorations and alterations…
…ideas on how to alter a basic pattern to give it a new look…
…and last but not least some fashion illustrations…
I really hope to use it in the future, though I have to admit I tend to forget these kinds of things when working with patterns and just do as I am told or as I already know. But I really would like to try some of these ideas and at least I paid so much for it, would be a shame if I wouldn’t use it.
Nachdem ich meist entweder das Datum verschlafe und nicht rechtzeitig fertig werde oder ich die erstandenen Dinge nicht für interessant genug erachte, hier nun endlich wieder ein “Getrödelt, Gefunden, Gefreut”- Beitrag von mir.
Eigentlich sollte ich diesen Monat ja sparen, aber aus welchen Gründen auch immer musste ich in diesen Trödelladen und war als ich rauskam um ein dickes Buch und ein paar Schuhe reicher, aber auch um einiges Geld ärmer. Das Buch “Lehrkurs der Selbstschneiderei” hat mich komplett mit Schachtel, beiliegendem Heft, einer alten Bestellkarte und Einzahlungsschein 40 Franken gekostet, etwa 34€. Ein Datum lässt sich nirgends finden, aber anhand der Fotos ist es aus den 30er Jahren. Im Heft finden sich Schnittmuster für Strick- und Häkelprojekte, im Buch selber gibt es dann weniger Schnittmuster (vor allem Basisschnitte zum vergrössern), aber umso mehr Verarbeitungstipps, Anleitungen und Ideen. Und vom Färben und Weben über Stricken, Sticken, Schleifchen machen bis hin zum kompletten Herrenhemd und sogar Hutänderungen ist wirklich alles dabei. Zwischendrin immer wieder Fotos von Beispielobjekten, farbige Seiten und unzählige Beispiele für Krägen, Details, Verzierungen, Borten, Knopfleisten und was-weiss-ich -nicht-alles. Eine Fundgrube, wahrhaft. Dumm nur dass ich solche Bücher meist genau dann im Schrank lasse, wenn ich nähe und die Schnittmuster nach Anleitung oder Erfahrung zusammenknüppel. Ich hoffe wirklich ich bessere mich in dieser Hinsicht und setze zumindest ein paar dieser Ideen um, wär doch schade drum (um die Ideen und um das Geld 🙂 )
Depeche Mode found the right words to describe my progress, I am just hesitating with everything.
Ich bin in Stimmung, erste Nähte sind gemacht! Endlich hab ich angefangen Probemodell sitzt, ich kann den richtigen Stoff zuschneiden Ich bin ein Streber und nähe jetzt mein zweites Weihnachtskleid Plätzchenessen ist doch irgendwie auch Nähen, oder?
I’m in the mood, the first seams are done! Finally got started Toile is fine, off to cut the real fabric i’m a nerd and start my second Christmas dress
Eating bisquits can be considered sewing, too, right?
As I already told you I wasn’t sure on how to arrange the plaid on the dress. Should I leave it as plaid (=changes the look of the dress significantly, could look a little boring), should I cut it on the bias (=would look like the pattern, but could cause problems with the pleats, fabric on the bias acts different), should I combine both (=bias cut the bodice, straight cut the skirt)? I was confused, somehow scared to ruin anything, close to completely shutting down. So I decided to take on step away from the project and sought for advice.
All fashion prints shown in this post were published in 1920ies issues of "Le petit echo de la mode". I only own single pages of these issues so I can't give you exact dates.
I searched for plaid- and lozenge-patterned dresses or garments in 1920ies fashion plates to see how it was done back then. First thing I had to learn:
The pattern is always treated alike in the whole dress. If the bodice is cut in straight grain, the skirt is, too. At this point I said good-bye to my half-straight-half-bias-idea.
The only thing that can indeed be cut differently are little details. Facings, pockets, collars and things alike.
But because I had already decided to use the pink velvet for these parts, this was of minor importance for me.
But what I did learn was that it didn’t look at all weird to have a complete dress cut in plaid in straight grain and that it even seems to have been more common than bias cut dresses.
Indeed I found dresses with lozenge pattern as it is shown in the pattern I’m using, but it is quite unclear if these used woven plaid (what would cause the fabric to stretch) or if they used printed fabric whose pattern was completely detached from its weaving structure. This one for example could most likely be a printed fabric:
Whereas this one looks like a standard woven plaid fabric. Obviously the pleats don’t seem messy at all (my fear when cutting it on the bias). But grey, dear friend, is all theory. Until today fashion magazines show us dresses and patterns that look so different when seen in real life. So maybe I should not use a fashion plate as a reference for fabric behaviour.
So let us come to the most important part of all this chitchat: What did I make of my little plaid-roundup?
Nothing yet. All I have done is marked the velvet parts. But I was somehow busy, somehow lazy this week and didn’t manage to do anything to the plaid at all. So my motto this week was really all about nibbling bisquits.
Weil ich mir ja doch recht unsicher war was den Karo-Zuschnitt angeht (schräg, gerade, teils-teils), habe ich mal ein paar Modezeichnungen aus den 20ern zusammengesucht und verglichen. Es gibt eindeutig mehr gerade Karos als Rauten und wenn etwas schräg geschnitten wurden dann Taschen, Belege u.ä., aber es wurde der Rock immer im gleichen Musterverlauf wie das Oberteil gearbeitet. Mal abgesehen von dieser Erkenntnis und ein paar Markierungen auf dem rosa Samt habe ich diese Woche nichts gemacht. Ich halte es also mit der letzten Zeile des Mottos und sinniere bei einer guten Packung Plätzchen über dieses Projekt nach.
See you tomorrow, I will show you my newest vintage sewing haul, love
it is supposed to be a pun, I fear. Pattern … Patty …. Betty Page
Before I will show you my Christmas dress progress I want to announce something:
Since yesterday my blog has its own Facebook-Page!
If you want to be updated about new posts, informed about things to come or just want to see what I came across in the world wide web that is related to this blog’s and blogger’s field of interest, just like it! All you need to do is to press that little blue button on the right.
But now, the Weihnachtskleid!
I was asked to do this Sew-Along partly in german. And I gladly will. At the end of each post you will find a german summary from now on. Ich wurde darum gebeten, diesen Sew-Along zumindest teilweise auf deutsch zu schreiben. Dem komme ich gerne nach, daher findet ihr am Ende jedes Posts eine deutschsprachige Zusammenfassung.
Oh, so ein schönes Schnittmuster wird da genäht, ich entscheide mich schnell um
Ich habe mich für mein Traumkleid entschieden und bleibe dabei
Ich nähe mal lieber erst ein Probemodell
Schnitt kopieren, zuschneiden, wer sagt eigentlich, dass Nähen Spaß macht?
Oh such a lovely pattern, just changed my plans
I found my dress of dreams and’ll stick to it
Better to do a mock-up first
Pattern tracing, cutting, who said sewing was supposed to be fun?
The last line is especially fitting. I can’t think of anything I like less in sewing than tracing a paper pattern and transferring this to the fabric (well, maybe unripping seams).
But working with old pattern sheets is at least a little more appealing to me than modern one.
Tracing the pattern from the sheet went without any surprises or accidents. Only the skirt length gave me a lot to think about. I seemed as if the pattern asked for a centre front length of 58cm, but a side seam length of 68cm. This looked pretty weird and not at all like in the scheme. But after having compared every single number related to the skirt length I discoverd that the print was blurry and that in fact all “6” were “5”. After this rocky passage I was left with 9 pattern pieces (2x skirt, 2x bodice, sleeve and cuff, jabot, collar and belt). Because the pattern was sized for a 96 bust circumference I had to adjust it, my first proper adjustment ever! The bodice length seemed ok (skirt length will be discussed when everything is done except for the hem), so I only had to change the width. I did this by reducing each bodice pattern piece by 2cm, this makes 8cm less circumference in total. Hope this will be enough (maybe you remember that 40ies patterns for 88cm bust circumference tend to be a tiny bit too large to look good, so I am not yet convinced. But because I fear to make it too small, it’s 20ies after all, I will leave it like this for now).
I will do a separate post in the near future on how to work with such an old pattern, but today I will leave it at the project. This is what my final pattern looks like. You can see that it has two darts in the shoulder seams.To avoid shifting their position I moved each of them 1cm to the side. One of them was still in the “to be pleated away for adjustment”-line, so I cut it open, adjusted the pattern and the dart moved as a whole. Afterwards the two darts stil had the same distance from each other and remained somewhere in the middle of the seam.
Because I changed the bodice, of course I had to change the skirt as well. The rest of the pattern pieces looks like in the image above, I am sure you can imagine this in tissue paper.
Next step will be to transfer the pattern onto the fabric. This means plaid matching, wish me luck (haven’t yet decided what to cut on the bias and what not).
And no, I won’t do a mock-up. Most patterns tend to be too large, so my standard solution is start cutting and shifting seams like mad. Somehow it was wearable most of the times. Additionally, a 20ies pattern with so many straight seams is not a coat or a close fitting suit and I have so much of this darn pink plaid that I could make three dresses without any problems. So if this is really going to fail, I’ll just start anew 😉
Da mein letzer Post noch keine Zusammenfassung hatte, ein kleiner Rückblick: Den Schnitt, für den ich mich entschieden habe, fand ich Anfang des Jahres in einem Buch über Stickerei aus den 20ern. Ich bin nähtechnisch gänzlich unerfahren mit Mode dieser Zeit, zudem habe ich dank eines missglückten Projekts vor fünf Jahren eine Abneigung gegen karierte Stoffe entwickelt. Beide dunklen Flecken in meiner Vita möchte ich mit diesem Projekt also ausmerzen.
Stoffe sind daher ein rosa-braunes Karo (synthetisches, gab es mal günstig bei Butinette) und für die Details rosa Baumwoll-Samt (aus einem Trödelladen). Sobald ich verstanden hatte dass die Rocklänge in der vorderen Mitte nicht 10cm kürzer ist als an den Seitennähten (58<>68cm), sondern der Druck so verlaufen ist dass er aus den 5en lauter 6er gemacht hat, ging alles ganz problemlos und aus dem Liniengewirr wurde schnell ein Schnittmuster. Der Schnitt ist für 96cm Brustweite angegeben, viel zu viel für mich. Habe daher sowohl beim Rock als auch beim Oberteil, vorne und hinten, 2cm Weite pro Schnittteil weggenommen, das macht 8cm total, sollte langen (hoffe ich doch). Das komplizierteste war noch die beiden Abnäher in der Schulternaht zu verschieben, aber sonst sieht es so aus, als hätte ich meine erste vernünftige Schnittanpassung erfolgreich bewältigt (normalerweise näh ich einfach enger und schneide weg bis es passt). Die Länge des Oberteils schien zu stimmen, wo der Saum schlussendlich endet entscheide ich sowieso erst ganz am Schluss. Dank des Gürtels der die Ansatznaht bedeckt und des Saumbesatzes habe ich da ja recht viel Spielraum, sollte es doch zu lang sein.
Als nächstes heißt es nun, den Schnitt auf den Stoff zu bringen. Dafür muss ich mich aber erstmal entscheiden, was im schrägen und was im geraden Fadenlauf geschnitten wird. Und dann gilt es, Dämonen Karos zu bändigen.
Yes, it’s been a while….First problem I have is that our roof is being renewed, it must have been three weeks now since the last weekday without hammering sounds from above. Hope they will finish soon. And two weeks ago the men up there made a terrible mistake by underestimating the Swiss November rain which led to a massive water shower from above…half past five in the morning in our bedroom! You can easily imagine me being awake quite quickly, though I am usually not a morning person. 😉
And by the end of this unfateful week we left home a few days, not only to flee the noise, but to visit our family and friends in Germany. The rest of last week passed in a wink, as usual when its your well-earned vacancy. Yesterday I had my very first lecture in university, I mean, me giving a lecture. Only half an hour, the rest was done by my professor, but it still felt very cool. Maybe a university career could be an alternative to the museum-job I always dreamed of?
Anyway. What’s new in my sewing world? I finished last HSF-challenge, but it took me until this morning that found all photos related to this project, so please give me some days to get it all done (it’s not that big a deal, though).
First official post was due last sunday, so as always I am a bit late. But I am positive to get better, for sure!
This weeks agenda (because it is hosted by german blogs the tasks are as well. I tried to translate it):
Ich bin 1a vorbereitet und habe schon alles zusammengesucht
Weihnachten ? Ist nicht noch Sommer ?
Ich such nach Inspiration und guck mal, was die anderen machen
Schnitt da aber kein Stoff oder andersrum ?
Kleine Rückblende : mein Weihnachtskleid 2013/2012/2011
I am very well prepared, all supplies are gathered
Christmas, isn’t it still summer? Searching for some inspiration, let’s see what the others are planning Got a pattern but no fabric, or the other way ’round? Flashback: my Christmas dress 2013/2012/2011
Well, in this case some things came together:
1st: This year’s christmas will be very quiet. We will stay at home and won’t be able to visit our families in Germany. So no big party, nothing glamorous, no big festive attire needed. But something elegant yet comfortable is desired, Christmas in pajamas doesn’t feel right.
3rd: I love plaid. But I am also horrified to sew it. Already a couple of years ago I bought two lovely plaid fabrics for a steal (synthetics, that’s why they were that cheap I suppose). One, a light green one, remains untouched until today. The other, pink one was the fabric I used for my very first plaid project back in 2009. It was a desaster, but here, to amuse you:
A high-waist skirt made after a 1950ies pattern, one of the first vintage patterns I ever worked with. Unfortunately, although it was quite well sewn, the plaid made the pleats appear dropping, as if I hadn’t paid attention to keep them in place. I wore this skirt maybe twice before it had to leave my wardrobe forever.
4th: As I said, I love plaid and this post of a friend of mine made me think of this vast yardage of unknown terrain in my stash AND made me want to wear plaid immediately.
Now, when I finally found a pattern meant to be used with plaid fabric on this very 20ies pattern sheet everything just popped into place and the plan was set.
As you see, it asks for trimmings in a solid colour and the fabric looks more like a woven lozenge pattern than a plaid. This makes me wonder if I could use my fabric on the bias. This was actually pretty common in the 20ies and bias-cut skirts are available still today. But I fear that the upper dress-part would look weird. Maybe I will cut this straight and only the skirt diagonally?
And the pleats will give me the very same issues I had with the Bette-Davis-dress. This time I want to pay attention to the depth of the pleats so the pattern will match at the edges.
The pattern is too large for me, so this will not only be my first attempt with a 20ies pattern, I will also have to resize it, fingers crossed!
The velvet is comparably thin, but I still fear it could bulk at the hem with all the pleats. That’s why I plan to make a false hem, facing the velvet with a thin lining fabric or a silk leftover:
I don’t know which of them I will use, most likely the champagne one, but maybe there is too little of it left to use it for all the facings (I don’t want to use them only at the hem, but also for all the other velvet details, belt, cuffs and collar)
And the lining:
Maybe green because I like contrast where nobody can see it, maybe the other one because it is as least remotely pink, though it is impossible to photograph.
Somehow I like sewing and working with fabric more than working with yarn, knitting or chrocheting. Funny thing is, I do crochet from time to time, always smaller projects and I do like it. I like to embroider, too. So maybe it is not because I don’t like it, but that I do it too occasionally to fall in love with.
All I can say is that passion hasn’t struck me yet, I hardly know how to knit and I don’t see me learning it properly in the near future.
In consequence this means that the majority of tutorials in my antique crafting (not sewing) magazines remain cryptic to me, as an estimated 95% are knitting tutorials.
To find a chrocheting project that is not toddler-sized or toddler-related is quite hard, if I recollect correctly I counted two or three projects in a whole stack of magazines. So my choice was quite limited.
in the end I went for the one I liked best, though I can’t say it intrigued me.
To make this cardigan you are asked to enlarge the pattern scheme on the top left to its original size and chrochet after this drawing so that it fits the pattern, decreasing and increasing as needed. Sounded as if I could handle that.
Because it was measured to fit a size 46 (way too large for me) I altered it quite heavily. And maybe I exagerated a little with the waist circumference and the waist-hip-ratio, you’ll see later.
In hindsight I should have foreseen that this project was doomed. First, the only wool I had enough of (I didn’t want to buy new wool for this test run) was a structured cotton-viscose-wool in white and bright green. This meant I had to make stripes because otherwise it wouldn’t suffice. A white and green striped jacket, I mean…seriously?
Second, the cover. Sorry, but this baby freaks me out (relieving it isn’t staring at me and points its gorgon-eyes at someone else). And this naked doll plunging upside down beside it, oh dear…evil.
Mh, and there is this hilarious crocheted pullover, I am not sure I even want to complete.
Well, what should I say. I kept on working on it until a couple of months ago. Now in the new flat I stumbled over it and put it on my dress form.
ummm…any questions left? Hilarious hits it, doesn’t it? Or would awkward be a better word for this?
Here you see what I meant with a too sharp waist-hip-ratio. First it looks odd with the ridges and second it seems to be too large at the hips, the hem is dropping quite poorly on the sides (not to mention that this is in no way a 40ies waistline).
The shoulderseams are very (read too) narrow stretching the armhole into a very pointy shape on the shoulder and the sleeves aren’t even started off with.
So this is the biggest appearance this dissipation of (admittedly ugly) yarn has ever had and will ever get. Because I have come to the conclusion it would be the best to simply throw it away.
And to draw at least something positive from this project, I searched for better tutorials in this Frauen-Fleiss-issue to share with you.
First, a cute idea for children, a bowling game made from waste. The pins on the left are made from empty cleaning powder packages, today you could use the ones from Pringles eg. (at least here in Europe the vast majority of cleaning products is liquid and doesn’t come in cardboard tubes anymore). The pins on the lower left are made of empty thread spools. A shame these wooden spools aren’t that common anymore, they look great as pins.
What I find most interesting is how the balls are made. One is an old stocking filled with wadding or sawdust and completey covered with large buttonhole stitched to stabilize it. The other one is made by covering a little rock with wet and scrunched up newspapers. Smooth the surface and let it dry in the bright sunlight. Afterwards cover it with yarn as the drawing shows. This sounds as it could be a pretty heavy and painful ball, depending on the rock’s size and how hard you scrunch the paper.
And the second one, handbags to fit your suit or coat, made from leftover fabric. Though I always thought the handbag doesn’t have to match the coat, but the shoes 😛
So much for today, hope the next crocheting project will be more successful,
Though I do of course sew other things as well as do and love other things besides sewing, I decided at one point to limit this blog to textile history and sewing projects made after historical patterns. Like this I hope to give my blog a clear silhouette, knowing well that this also means I can only show you a part of my personality.
HSF challenge #20 (“Alternative Universe”) now enables me to show a passion of mine that hasn’t been mentioned on this blog. First you should know, I am a little nerd. I love science and technical history and I always put my two cents in whenever I know something about biology or astronomy (oftentimes embarassing half-knowledge, I fear). Influenced by my boyfriend I love old and new Video games and can name a frightening number of Marvel or DC heroes.
I am however not a big fan of science fiction though I have some favourites. I had a phase watching a lot of Doctor Who (though this might have been caused by David Tennant, I haven’t watched a single Matt Smith episode, I’m afraid). I love the Stargate movie (and hate the series) but have never watched a single Enterprise-movie (only the first J.J.Abrams Star Trek-film and I may have a look at the second, it is said that B. Cumberbatch is brilliant in this one 😉 ).
But, BUT, I love, love, love, adore….Star Wars. Don’t ask why. My father doesn’t like it, he couldn’t even remember having watched the old movies before Episode 1 hit the cinemas.
It seems as if I watched them pretty early. I can remember me, being maybe 10 or 12 years of age, pacing through our flat in black leggings and long sleeved shirt, using a black shirt from my father’s wardrobe as a cape, my chest adorned with a sheet of paper, on it the poor attempts of a little girl’s crayons to copy Darth Vader’s control panel. Of course I had no helmet because I couldn’t think of anything to improvise it with.
At this point it should be clear that my choice of what to sew for this challenge was set, it had to be something from the Star Wars-Universe. In hindsight I could have chosen any pattern I wanted because it is common knowledge that Star Wars is set
a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
so any recreation of a costume from these movies would have been historical.
Pattern: Burda august 2013, altered Year: a long time ago
But no, just kidding, I followed the rules and picked a historical pattern for this challenge, too.
As most Star Wars-enthusiasts I love the old movies, dislike Episode I, despise Episode II and consider Episode III as the at least best acceptable of the three. But because the book about the old Star Wars costumes is only published at the end of the month I had to work with the one I had, the book about the costumes in Episodes I to III: Dressing a Galaxy.
While some of the senat’s members wore beautifully Belle Epoque-inspired robes, I knew I wouldn’t have neither time nor fabric to copy these.
Then I saw the costume photos of Christoper Lee’s charakter, Count Dooku:
Yes, that was the inspiration I needed! I had planned to do a cape anyway, so why not make a suble Star Wars-inspired one.
Maybe another reason that made me pick this costume without any reluctance was a sewing pattern in a women’s magazine I had found only one week earlier on a flea market.
A cape pattern for a fur cape from January 1945. See? Front, back, side parts, sleeve cap, all I need. And the striped pattern of the fur gave me the rest to consider this pattern absolutely perfect.
I did not want to make a mid-calf-length cape, this would have been a little too much super-hero-attitude for everyday-wear, so the length was perfect, too.
I love the five small darts on the shoulders. They add something harsh and uniform-like to it.
Because it was a little too large for me (made for 92cm bust circumference) I pinned it to my sewing mannequin and cut away all the excess. Additionally, I reduced the collar to a narrow band collar.
Whilst searching for fabric in my stash I had to realize that I 1) would never wear a brown cape as much as a black one and 2) that I did not have any matching brown fabric I could use for it. And as I already stated, Episode II really isn’t my favourite film neither is Count Dooku my favourite character. Maybe you might already have noticed, despite my long brown hair my first poor attempts in cosplaying did not aim at representing Princess Leia, but Darth Vader. At this point I should confess: I am drawn to evil characters. I am a Vader-, Snape, Lecter-girl, that’s what I am. Sorry, Rebel Alliance, sorry Harry and friends, sorry Clarice.
So when I unearthed a (what I thought was) black gabardine and a Sith-light-saber-red silk-satin, my choice was clear. To make it a cape to wear in cold autumn weather, I decided to add a layer of wool fleece, connecting this to the silk to create a custom-quilted warm lining.
Now some of you may ask ‘wool fleece, never have seen something like that?’. Well, in a fabric or haberdashery store, I have neither. But I came across this in…a garden centre! Pure wool fleece, made to cover your plants to protect them in winter. Because of this, the wool is of a comparably poor quality and quite dirty (many seeds and dry plants in it), but I considered it to be very interesting and presumably warmer than a polyester fleece of comparable thickness.
To avoid shifting I hand-quilted the silk onto the wool fleece before putting together the lining. I cut away the darts and seam allowances so it wouldn’t be too thick at the seams.
Sewing the pieces together was really easy. First you close the shoulder seams, then you insert the side pieces. Before I added these I tested if it fit me and was strongly reminded of Luke’s black outfit.
I hand-stitched the seam connecting the outer and the inner fabric as I did the hems (I hemmed them both seperately.
The side seams as well as the front edges are top-stitched with the sewing machine.
As I said, I thought the gabardine to be black. In some moments I doubted so I held it near a black fabric ‘yeah, it’s black’, held it near a dark-blue fabric ‘yes, that’s really black’ and went on. Only when I wanted to wear the cape with a black dress I finally had to realize: it is a very, very dark blue (or maybe a blue-ish black?)
A little side note: This means I still have not a single piece of black outerwear. My wintercoats and -jackets are orange, brown, grey, dark-grey, dark-blue and now, another dark blue member. Seems like a good excuse to sew a coat, doesn’t it? 😉
You may remember the topstitched shoulders on Christopher Lee’s costume. Well, the pattern I used was slightly more fitted and thus needed shoulder darts. These are much longer than the topstitching of the costume is. First I planned to make the topstitching anyway, using the dart as the given length. But while working I had to observe the dart changing from a straight seam to a very slightly curved line. Because I feared this would look odd with straight top-stitching, I decided not to add any top-stitching at all.
But there still are two small imperial features.
First I had to decide what closure to chose. Count Dooku’s cape closes with a silver chain and a decorative clasp on both ends. This was too extrvagant in my opinion to go with this cape as an everyday-garment, so I turned once again to my favourite villain: Darth Vader’s coat closes with a simple black chain and I happened to have a very similar still in my stash. Without the helmet it looked weird to place it too close around the neck, so I made the ends lie with the shoulder darts. To one end a tiny hook was added to close it with the matching eye on the shoulder seam.
The second feature: Well, I told you I quilted the lining. While I used radial lines on the side parts and the lower back, I thought the shoulder region could use something more impressive and topic-related:
What is left to say? I love this cape. First because it is my Darth-Vader-Star-Wars-cape from now on (the assistant of my Professor called it a ‘veritable Dracula-cape’, I can life with this, too) and because I had wanted a cape to wear this autumn. Double-win!
There is only one little downer: The wool fibres keep pricking through both fabrics. I don’t mind that much on the inside (it’s not scratchy, though of course it impairs the effect of the imperial coat-of-arms-quilting), but the outside is looking horribly messy, as if I cuddled a white Persian cat only seconds ago. Anybody experienced something like this and can tell me how to at least reduce this?
Without further ado, here it is, my “what-would a Sith-lady wear when going for a walk on Endor”-cape:
The Challenge: #20 Alternative universe
Fabric: dark blue gabardine (55% wool, 45% polyester), red silk satin
Pattern: from “Meyers Schweizer Frauen- und Modeblatt”, issue 4 (january) 1945
Year: a long time ago in a galaxy far far away
Notions: wool fleece, fusible interfacing for the collar, red and black thread, a short piece of black metal chain, a piar of hooks and eyes
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is authentic, though I doubt it would be suitable for a fabric like this, normally all the darts would have been hidden because of the fur. For the Star Wars universe it would be too short, but maybe as a travelling cloak?
Hours to complete: lots, maybe 10?
First worn: Tuesday, 21st Octobre
Total cost: I don’t know for sure but comparably expensive. The wool fleece cost 20CHF, the silk 10-15 CHF and the gabardine maybe a little more. So something around 50-60CHF, though I already had the two fabrics in my stash.
I hope you like it.
Wish you a lovely weekend and may the force be with you,
Third challenge in a row, I am optimistic to really meet my goal of doing half of this year’s challenges 😀
The theme for this fortnight’s challenge was “HSF Inspiration”. So basically you could do anything, as long as it had been inspired by some project previously made for the HSF. I started from the back and began looking at the old HSF-photos of 2013, so at the projects I hadn’t seen before, because I didn’t participate last year (I am not sure if you have to be a member of the group, but here is the link to the fb-albums).
After having checked what I had in stock concerning lace and ribbons I decided to try this design:
I was able to use a leftover from a long forgotton project, a wide, mat bias binding in a pale lavender. I paired this with a matching rose satin ribbon and black bobbin lace. The tutorial had asked for black lace and velvet ribbon and green grosgrain ribbon, but neither did I have these colours nor did I want it to be that dark.
Because my satin ribbon was so narrow I doubled it, a third bow would have crossed the line to a gift-wrapping-effect 🙂
I roughly followed the instructions of the tutorial, but my main focus was the picture: The whole thing is based on a circle (the tutorial says half circle, I completely overlooked this), the original of buckram, mine is grey felt. A part of the rim gets covered with pleated ribbon (I cut the bias binding in half) and a layer of lace on top. Now the long piece of lace is attached, as you see it is doubled and sewn together at the straight edges. I had to iron and wrinkle the lace to make it lie flat at the end, I am sure with a tulle lace as shown in the original drawing this was much less bulky. To completely cover the felt I added a rest of the lace to the whole thing. On top of it all I placed the bow I had formed out of the two different ribbons. The lace and the ribbon might be a tiny bit shorter as the tutorial asks for, but first this is all I had left of the bias binding and second I didn’t want to make it too extravagant, so I can maybe wear it without full 1870ies attire.
If you would like to make your own, I tried to translate the istructions for you:
To make this bow arrange a 76cm length of 6,5cm wide green grosgrain ribbon on one end into narrow box pleats of 1cm width each until you end up with 11cm of pleated ribbon. Sew this folded part of the ribbon onto a half circle cut out of buckram (3,5cm diametre), 1cm away from the outer rim.This is covered as the image shows with 5cm of pleated black lace. Now add a length of two laces that you connected at the straight edges, ruffles the last part of it so it forms a half circle. The final length of the lace should be 20cm. Additionally ad a 40cm piece of the green grosgrain ribbon, a 10 and 6cm loop of the same ribbon as well as a small loop and a folded knot of black velvet ribbon. The latter covers all ends and seams of the other loops.
The rest of the satin ribbon I used as a loop on the bottom side to attach it to the head with bobby pins.
The Challenge: #19 HSF Inspiration
Fabric: a small circle of grey polyester felt
Pattern: tutorial without a pattern found in “Der Bazar. Illustrirte Damen=Zeitung, Nr. 21, June 3rd 1872
Notions: black and lavender thread, rose satin ribbon, lavender bias binding (both synthetic fibres), black bobbin lace (maybe cotton or linen).
How historically accurate is it? Not too much. I roughly followed the instructions, I made everything by hand and the result looks remotely like the image in the tutorial. But I used modern, artificial fibres instead of silk ribbons.
Hours to complete: 1-1,5
First worn: not worn yet.
Total cost: Felt and bias binding were leftovers from other projects, the ribbon had been in my stock for years, I assume it cost around 0.50-0.80 €/m. The lace was bought either at a flea market or a charity shop, can’t remember when or how I bought it, I assume I found it in a sewing basket or bag of laces I bought. All in total not more than 1-2€.