Tag Archives: cotton

A little crocheting abroad

Last year in April I spent two weeks in Lyons for a professional training. I told you briefly about it in my post about a little treasure I found there. To do a little crafting as well, I searched my historical magazines for a small project that I could take with me and realise without too much of equipment.

I decided on a crocheted lace I found in the fashion magazine “Der Bazar” from January 1872, according to the title it is meant to be used on “underskirts and the like”. What I liked about it, was the combination of two colours, while only one is used to crochet, the second one just lies inside the stitches. The tutorial asked for two shades of brown castor wool (that means beaver’s wool) but as I didn’t want to buy anything new I went with cotton yarn in blue and red.

Der Bazar, 29. Januar 1872

To crochet this lace wasn’t really fun at all. The loose lengths of yarn tended to tangle and the effect wasn’t nearly as neat as in the illustration. So it took me until a few weeks ago to finish what it less than 2y of lace and I’m still not too happy with the result and keep thinking about how to use it. Maybe a wool less slippery would improve the result, castor wool is said to be very fine and of high quality. I only know it felted into hats, so I have no idea how spun castor wool would look or feel like. Still, it was fun to recreate such an old tutorial and to see how it actually looks like when realised.


Letztes Jahr verbrachte ich zwei Wochen des  Aprils auf einer Fortbildung in Lyon, kurz hatte ich letzten Juni davon erzählt, als ich über einen kleinen Bücherfund schrieb. Um abends die Hände etwas beschäftigen zu können, suchte ich vor meiner Abreise nach einem kleinen, reisefähigen Projekt, das ohne viel Ausrüstung realisierbar wäre.

Die Wahl fiel auf eine Häkelspitze aus dem “Bazar” vom 29. Januar 1872, laut Titel eine “Bordüre zur Garnitur von Unterröcken und dergl.” Vor allem die Idee, zwei verschiedene Farben zu kombinieren, aber nur mit einer davon wirklich zu häkeln und die zweite eher wie ein Durchzugband zu gebrauchen, gefiel mir. Die Anleitung forderte Castorwolle in zwei Brauntönen, da ich jedoch mit dem arbeiten wollte, was da war, wurde es Baumwollhäkelgarn in rot und blau. Castorwolle wird aus Biberfell gemacht, welches mir bisher nur als Material für Hüte bekannt war. Ich habe überhaupt keine Idee, wie dieses Haar versponnen aussehen würde.

on a high resolution screen this photo proves I have a cat^^

Nun, so toll war das Projekt am Ende nicht. Die mitlaufenden Fäden sind immer im Weg und verheddern sich nach Lust und Laune und das Ergebnis sah lange nicht so sauber und eindrücklich aus wie in der Abbildung (der klassische “Serviervorschlag”-Effekt). Daher tat ich mich schwer damit, es abzuschliessen und brauchte tatsächlich bis letzten Monat für weniger als 2m, zufrieden bin ich immer noch nicht. Bügeln half etwas, trotzdem weiss ich noch nicht, wo ich die Spitze verwenden will. Vielleicht hätte eine weniger glatte Wolle das Ergebnis verbessert, Biberwolle soll sehr fein sein und verhält sich sicher anders als merzerisierte Baumwolle. Trotzdem war es ein nettes kleines Projekt, ich mag es ja gern, so alten Anleitungen wieder Leben einzuhauchen.

Falls ihr selber euer Glück versuchen wollt, ist das hier die Anleitung.

See you soon, love


“Gemini IV, get back in!”

Quote at the entrance of the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibition at KSC Visitor Complex

I already told you that we spent two weeks of June in beautiful Florida in the US. One stop was the Kennedy Space Center. We were lucky to even experience a rocket launch, a Space X Falcon 9 rocket loaded with two satellites. As it was amidst the US school vacations, we could overhear a Space-Shuttle-Program-technician talk to a group of kids about her work, what problems they faced, how dangerous the fuel used in zero gravity is and how astronauts use the toilet. I really envied her and imagined for a second what my life would look like now if I had studied “rocket science”. The next second I thought that it might sound pretty cool talking about handling high-explosive fuel all alone in the assembly building, but that it for sure is not when you are maneuvering a bucket full of some liquid that could kill you in an instant and won’t excuse the tiniest mistake. After all I feel very happy and comfortable in my job and to be honest, 50 year old insecticides are not that harmless either, so I’ll stop complaining about the apparent harmlessness of my job.

getting hold of the sky
getting hold of the sky

One fate connected with the history of manned space flight that really touched me was that of Edward White. He was a NASA astronaut and pilot of the Gemini IV mission in 1965. This mission saw the first American  space walk, executed by White himself. He reportedly was so over the moon (haha) being outside the space ship that he had to be ordered back into the ship by mission control several times.
He and the Command pilot James McDivitt came back to earth as celebrated heroes and because of the good work he had done, White was selected for the first Apollo mission 1967. Everything went as planned, but a rehearsal a few weeks before the scheduled launch went terribly wrong. Due to a technical failure a fire broke out inside the pressurized cabin that was filled with pure oxygen. All attempts to open the doors in time were in vain and all three Apollo 1-astronauts lost their lifes in a test that had been considered completely harmless until that day.
And the man that had experienced zero gravity flying in space as one of the first of all human beings on earth died, tied up in a seat that was meant to bring him back into this endless and hostile space and what killed him was no extreme condition outside our earth’s atmosphere, but a simple cable fire whilst being safely on the ground.

What do I learn from this story? That we never know what will be, but that we can cherish the moments in life we love. 🙂
The shop in KSC offers all crew patches ever used in NASA history (and some more fictional designs, as the early missions did not have official ones) and so I did not chose the Apollo 1 patch, but the loved moment, the (fictitious, as the mission had no official patch) Gemini IV patch.

To infinity and beyond
To infinity and beyond

When I was back home I started searching for a new sewing project. I hoped to be able to include the patch as I didn’t want to bury it in my stash for I-don’t-know-how-long. And when I got my hands on a red cotton velvet leftover I had had for years, I knew it had to be as it matched the patch perfectly. As a pattern I chose an 80s pencil skirt Burda-pattern (4868). I had already made it once and I knew it fit. This really is my tried and trusted pencil-skirt pattern when I need one. The first version had been made of a printed cotton fabric that was much too thin for a skirt and therefore didn’t survive very long.

I lacked the matching notions, apart from a button and the zipper, so I bought yellow grosgrain and aqua-coloured satin ribbon to use as piping. To prevent the velvet from pushing the skirt around, I only used it on the outside of the waistband, the inside is covered by a white satin ribbon I found between some other notions.

Long story short: I love it. I was already told it would resemble a school uniform, but I really don’t care. And as this is a NASA-patch, a certain reminiscence of a uniform was maybe even wanted 😉

Wie ich euch ja schon erzählt habe, war ich im Juni zwei Wochen in Florida. Einer unserer Programmpunkte war das Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Es war sehr eindrücklich, wir hatten sogar das Glück, einen Raketenstart mitzuerleben, eine Space X Falcon 9 Rakete brachte zwei Satelliten in den Orbit. Und da es mitten in den Schulferien war, hatten wir das Glück einer Space-Shuttle-Technikerin zuzuhören, die einer Gruppe Kinder Geschichten über die Tücken eines Space Shuttles und die gefährlichen Treibstoffe in der Schwerelosigkeit  erzählte und wie man als Astronaut im All auf Toilette geht. Für einen kurzen Moment stellte ich mir mein Leben vor, wie es wohl aussehen könnte, wenn ich “Raketenwissenschaft” studiert hätte. Im nächsten Moment dachte ich dann aber, dass es wohlmöglich im Nachhinein ganz cool klingt, wenn man begeisterten Kindern von seinen Erlebnissen mit hochexplosivem Treibstoff erzählen kann, dass es aber wohl alles andere als lustig ist, mutterseelenallein mit einem Eimer voll Flüssigkeit zu hantieren, der dich beim kleinsten Fehler ins Jenseits schickt. Also kam ich zu dem Schluss, dass ich in meinem Job doch sehr zufrieden und glücklich bin. Im Übrigen sind auch 50 Jahre alte Pestizide alles andere als ungefährlich, also so sicher wie mein Job klingt, ist er dann doch nicht.

Ein Schicksal der bemannten Raumfahrt hat mich schon vor unserem Besuch im KSC beschäftigt und betroffen gemacht, das von Edward White. Er war NASA-Astronaut und 1965 Pilot der Gemini IV-Mission und auf dieser der erste Amerikaner, der einen Weltraumspaziergang machte. Offenbar war er davon derart begeistert, dass ihn das Kontrollzentrum mehrere Male auffordern musste, wieder in die Raumkapsel zu steigen. White und sein Kommandeur James McDivitt landeten wohlbehalten wieder auf der Erde und wurden als Helden empfangen. Aufgrund seiner guten Arbeit wurde er für die erste Apollo Mission 1967 ausgewählt. Alles lief nach Plan bis zu einem Probedurchlauf wenige Wochen vor dem Start. Ein technischer Defekt liess in der mit reinem Sauerstoff befüllten Kapsel einen Brand ausbrechen, der künstliche Druck im Innenraum sorgte dafür, dass alle Versuche, die Kapsel rechtzeitig zu öffnen, erfolglos blieben. Bei einem als harmlos geltenden Test verloren alle drei Astronauten der Apollo 1-Mission ihr Leben.
Der Mann, der als einer der ersten Menschen des Planeten die Schwerelosigkeit frei im Weltall schwebend erleben durfte, starb in dem Schalensitz, der ihn in dieses kalte und lebensfeindliche All zurückbringen sollte, nicht durch die Gefahren des Weltraums, denen er sich freiwillig aussetzen wollte, sondern durch einen simplen Kabelbrand auf der guten alten Erde.

Was ich auf dieser Geschichte für mich mitnehme? Dass wir nie wissen werden, was uns die Zukunft bringt, aber die wertvollen Momente, die wir erleben dürfen, geniessen sollten. 🙂
Im Merchandise-Shop des KSC konnte man die Crew-Patches sämtlicher NASA-Missionen käuflich erwerben, auch wenn einige fiktiv sind (da die frühen Missionen noch keine offiziellen Patches hatten). Und so wählte ich nicht den Apollo 1-Aufnäher, sondern den wertvollen Moment, den Gemini-IV-Patch (der einer jener fiktiven bzw. nachträglich designten Patches ist).

blouse: tommy hilfiger - skirt: ette/burda - David-Bowie-brooch: Victoria & Albert museum shop - shoes: some small shop in Vienna
blouse: tommy hilfiger – skirt: ette/burda – David-Bowie-brooch: Victoria & Albert museum shop – shoes: some small shop in Vienna

Zuhause juckte es mich in den Fingern, ein neues, kleines Projekt anzufangen. Den Patch wollte ich ungern liegen lassen, denn dann würde er doch irgendwo vergraben werden. Als ich dann auf ein Stück roten Baumwollsamt stiess, der irgendwann einmal einer Restekiste entstiegen war, reifte der Plan. Beim Schnittmuster griff ich auf altbewährtes zurück, Burda 4868, ein schlichter Bleistiftrock aus den späten 80er Jahren. Das hatte ich schon einmal genäht und wusste, es passt und gefällt. Die erste Version war aus bedruckter Baumwolle und hielt nicht wirklich lange, da der Stoff einfach zu dünn war.

Reissverschluss und Knopf waren vorhanden, gekauft habe ich das gelbe Ripsband sowie das als Paspel verwendete türkise Satinband. Da es ein Rest war, musste ich den Bund quer zum Fadenlauf schneiden. Das könnte bei Samt zu einem etwas wanderwütigen Kleidungsstück führen, daher ist die Innenseite des Bundes mit einem breiten Gewebeband gearbeitet, welches noch im Nähschrank lag.

Tja, was soll ich sagen: ganz grosse Liebe! Er sitzt gut, er ist bequem und er ist genauso geworden, wie ich ihn mir vorgestellt habe. Eine der ersten Kommentare war zwar, dass er wie eine Schuluniform aussähe, aber selbst wenn, ein NASA-Crew-Patch darf gerne Uniform-Assoziationen wecken, vielleicht war das sogar ein wenig gewollt.

Ich hoffe er gefällt euch auch, alles Liebe

see you soon,

A bag when you need one – Second take!


A few weeks ago I was strolling through Ikea and saw something I considered very practical, a bedside-bag. My bedside table is very small and always completely overcrowded. What a tempting thought to have some additional space that you can use even in the dark without risking to push the glass of water off the table. This bag was already in my shopping cart when I thought to myself “you can do this yourself, can’t you?”. So I put it back in the shelf, bought a whole lot of other stuff I didn’t need (as always) instead and started planning my own bedside-bag. I knew I wanted mine to be decorated. Therefore I started with the search for a motif first. After having found various designs that fitted different shapes I asked myself what I would put into these bags and the most essential thing was: the book! That very book lying by your bed that gets your last five minutes of attention and energy before you fall asleep. So I decided to cut it down to one bag and settled on a square motif designed by Bruno Behrendt I found in “Kunstgewerbe für das Haus”, issue September 1905. The motif was designed for being painted on or cut into leather to decorate a wallet, therefore the underground should be “very light, grey or yellowish”. Well neither did I have leather in that colour nor did I want my bag to be made from leather. Instead I settled on a bright yellow cotton leftover (I had bought the fabric to sew a pajama for my boyfriend in 2008). To paint the motif I used standard textile paint and a brush, sticking with the colour scheme given in the tutorial:

outline and the centre of the corner-motif: blue
background: black
motif in the corner: green and blueish green
area around the birds’ eyes: white
feathers: skin-colour
beaks: yellow
beak markings: orange

Instead of the u-shaped bar Ikea uses to attach the bag to your bedframe I made the back of my bag of cardboard and added ribbons to tie it to the frame. Afterwards I learned that the slatted frame traps the bag already through its weight so the ribbons wouldn’t have been neccessary.


auf Deutsch

Vor ein paar Wochen fand ich bei Ikea etwas ziemlich praktisches, eine Betttasche. Mein Nachttisch ist recht klein und chronisch überfüllt, daher gefiel mir der Gedanke einer Ablage, welche die Gefahr das Wasserglas im Dunkeln vom Tisch zu stossen reduzieren würde. Das Täschchen lag schon in meinem Einkaufswagen als ich beschloss: Das kann ich selber! Also legte ich es zurück, kaufte anstatt dessen einen ganzen Haufen anderes Zeug, das ich nicht brauchte (wer kennt es nicht) und begann meine Betttasche zu planen. Ich wusste dass meine Tasche ein Motiv haben sollte, also begann ich mit der Suche danach. Nachdem ich schon einige potenzielle Kandidaten gefunden hatte kam mir der Gedanke, dass ich vielleicht erst entscheiden müsste, welches Format meine Tasche haben soll und was überhaupt rein käme. Schnell war klar: das Buch! Eben jenes Buch, welchem man die letzten fünf Minuten Aufmerksamkeit des Tages schenkt. Damit war auch beschlossen, dass ich eigentlich nur eine Tasche brauchte und so entschied ich mich für ein Design von Bruno Behrendt aus “Kunstgewerbe für das Haus”, Ausgabe September 1905. Der Entwurf ist gedacht für eine Brieftasche, das Motiv soll in sehr helles Leder, “grau oder gelblich” geschnitten oder darauf gemalt werden. Nun hatte ich weder helles Leder noch wollte ich eine lederne Tasche. Anstatt dessen entschied ich mich für einen Rest gelbe Baumwolle (2008 für einen Schlafanzug für meinen Freund gekauft). Zum Malen habe ich ganz normale Textilfarbe und einen Pinsel genommen, bei den einzelnen Farben habe ich mich an die Vorgaben in der Zeitschrift gehalten:

Hauptkontur  und Mitte des Eckmotivs: blau
Hintergrund: schwarz
Ornament in den Ecken: grün und blauschwarz
Bereich um die Vogelaugen: weiss
Gefieder: fleischfarben
Schnäbel: gelb
Schnabelzeichnung: orange

Anstelle des U-Profils, welches bei der Ikea-Tasche die Tasche am Bettrahmen befestigt, habe ich eine feste Pappe als Rückseite genommen und Bänder zur Befestigung angenäht. Da die obere Lasche jedoch durch das Lattenrost und das Gewicht von Rost und Matratze eingeklemmt wird, wären die Bänder eigentlich gar nicht nötig gewesen.


Now if you ask what book I am reading at the moment: Joan Haslip – The lonely Empress. Elisabeth of Austria. The book is good, but I don’t think the title was chosen very wisely, as it only helps to stress this romanticised view we have of her while the book is in fact a biography that sticks more to facts than myths.


Und falls ihr nun wissen wollt was das für ein Buch ist: Joan Haslip – The lonely Empress. Elisabeth of Austria. Das Buch an sich ist gut, auch wenn man sich meiner Meinung mit dem Titel keinen Gefallen getan hat. Er schlägt nur wieder in diese romantisierte Sisi-Kerbe, dabei ist es eine Biografie und damit eher an Fakten denn an Mythen interessiert.

See you soon, alles Liebe


Journey to the far east…

Well, were should I start….

Back in 2012 I read a beautiful post on 1950ies Sari-dresses on Tuppence Ha’Penny Vintage. Obviously the 1950ies loved the gold-decorated fabrics and mixed them as well as some Sari-style elements with european contemporary fashion.

This put me back even further in time. In the early 2000 my father worked as as service technician, traveling half the world to install and repair the machines his company sold all over the globe. It must have been 2005 when he travelled to Pakistan for a couple of weeks. As you can imagine we children, my brother and I were always very curious to hear from his travels and sometimes he even brought us some gifts. This time he brought me a traditional garment he found at a Pakistani market. I always thought of it as a Sari, but obviously it is a Shalwar kameez with a dupatta: wide trousers, a long top with slitted sides and a matching scarf, I am sure you know this kind of garment, though you didn’t know its name.


Unfortunately he was neither able to talk to the seller nor able to read the sizes on the wrapping. So when I unwrapped it I found myself face to face with a huge, huge! page of trousers and a not quite as large top (the trousers are meant to be wide and are gathered with a cord when worn, but this was still much too large for me).
Of course I was happy nontheless, thinking I could alter it sometime in the future ( I had just started sewing). So it went into my closet. Here you can see it hanging behind me in 2005, during me moving into a new apartment (therefore the wardrobe still misses its curtains).

18-year old me, deciding which old greeting cards should be discarded
18-year old me, deciding which old greeting cards should be discarded

And there it hung for years. At some point I actually planned to fit it, but then I thought ‘when would I wear it’ and my motivation was gone the same second. At the same time I liked to fact of having three different, but matching fabrics, although we could argue about their beauty (still have to think of 1990ies nightgowns somehow).
Until the above mentioned post. As soon as I saw the dresses made from Sari-fabrics I had to think of my own oriental garment in the wardrobe nearby. But it took me until 2015 to actually realize this plan. Ten years, four moves, tree diploma (the university-entrance one from school and two at two different universities), two countries, this Shalwar kameez has seen a lot of my life.


I knew I couldn’t turn this into an evening dress as the examples linked above, mine wasn’t silk fabric with gold embroidery, but printed cotton. So I searched for a pattern to make something like an everyday dress. I found it in my 1955/6-Lutterloh-book (see Klara, sooner than I thought!), a blouse with a matching skirt. I enlarged the pattern using my measurements and it fit without any alterrations (!). What I did alter a little was the skirt: I knew I wanted to use the scarf as a ruffle at the bottom. Because it was very wide I cut it in half and gathered it until it fit the width of the skirt pattern at half length (well, actually 2/3), the top part I cut according to the pattern.

For the top part of the skirt as well as for the facings of the blouse, I used the trouser’s fabric, the blouse itself was cut from the top fabric. I made bias binding from the trouser fabric to finish the sleeves and the hem and added a pocket into one of the skirt’s seams (Lutterloh patterns are very basic, they include the major pattern pieces, but things like facings, waistband or pockets have to be added and drafted yourself). The front parts and the collar of the blouse as well as the waistband are enforced with fusible interfacing. I only had three of the white buttons so I went for an assymetric closure instead of the two-row variant shown in the pattern. The skirt closes with a clear plastic button and two press buttons (the pleats hide any opening, so a zipper wasn’t necessary).


The two parts together are really…special. I don’t think I will ever wear them like this, the colours are a little too wild for my taste, therefore I styled it a little over the top. But I can easily imagine wearing the skirt with a white blouse or maybe even the blouse with high-waist-trousers. At the moment I wear a navy blue cardigan with it, so only the collar is peeking out. Like this and with matching navy shoes it might even work as a standard outfit.

Whilst the fabric pattern isn’t really oriental and the term Sari is wrong, I still think of it as my Sari-dress and it makes sitar-melodies stick in my brain. This and the fact that today’s post will be the last one in march because I will use the two weeks off work to come as two weeks off blogging and will maybe spend some days away from home, it seems fair enough to link to this month’s Krea-Kränzchen, themed “Fernweh”, so wanderlust.
I won’t be posting here for the next two weeks. Because I start a new job next month I don’t think I will be able to hold my twice-a-week-post-frequency, but have to limit it to one post a week from April on, I’m sorry.


So…wo fange ich an…
2012 las ich einen sehr schönen Post über 50er-Jahre Kleider aus Sari-Stoffen auf Tuppence Ha’Penny Vintage. Offenbar mochte man damals die gold-bestickten Sari-Stoffen und nähte modische Kleider mit exotischen Details daraus.

Das widerum warf mich zeitlich noch weiter zurück. In den 2000er Jahren arbeitete mein Vater als Servicetechniker und kam mit Reparaturen und Inbetriebnahmen in der ganzen Welt herum. Es muss 2005 gewesen sein, als er für wenige Wochen in Pakistan arbeitete. Wie ihr euch vorstellen könnt waren mein Bruder und ich immer neugierig, was er diesmal zu erzählen wusste und manchmal brachte er uns auch etwas mit. Dieses mal bekam ich ein traditionelles Gewand, welches er auf einem pakistanischen Markt gekauft hatte. Lange dachte ich, es sei eine Art “Alltags-Sari”, in Wahrheit nennt sich dieses Gewand aber Salwar Kamiz und besteht aus Salwar, einer Hose, Kamiz, einem langen Oberteil und der Dupatta, einem langen Schal. Auch wenn man den Namen nicht kennt, gesehen habt ihr dieses Gewand höchstwahrscheinlich alle schon einmal.


Leider konnte sich mein Vater mit dem Verkäufer absolut nicht verständigen und verstand auch die Größenangaben auf der Packung nicht. Als ich mein Geschenk auspackte, sah ich mich daher mit einer wahrhaft gigantisch großen Hose konfrontiert sowie einem geringfügig weniger großen Oberteil (die Hosen sind weit geschnitten und werden zusammengebunden, aber es war trotzdem viel zu gross).
Natürlich freute ich mich trotzdem und war zuversichtlich, das ganze irgendwann mal auf meinen Körper anzupassen. Daher wanderte es erst einmal in meinen Schrank. Oben seht ihr ein Foto das während eines Umzugs 2005 gemacht wurde, hinter mir im Schrank seht ihr es hängen.


Ja, und da hang es erstmal. Zwischendurch nahm ich mir dann wirklich vor es zu ändern. Dann überlegte ich, wann ich so etwas tragen würde und meine Motivation sank zugleich wieder. Gleichzeitig gefiel mir der Gedanke, drei zusammenpassende Stoffe zu haben, auch wenn man sich darüber streiten, ob sie so schön sind (ich muss bei der Farbkombination die ganze Zeit an 90er Jahre Nachthemden denken).
Bis ich dann den oben verlinkten Post las. Bei den Sari-Kleidern musste ich sofort an das lila Mitbringsel denken, das da neben mir im Schrank schlummerte. Aber es brauchte doch bis dieses Jahr, bis ich das Projekt endlich in Angriff nahm. 10 Jahre, vier Umzüge, drei Abschlüsse (Schule und an zwei verschiedenen Universitäten), zwei Länder, dieser Salwar Kamiz hat sehr viel von meinem Leben gesehen.


Mir war klar, dass ich kein Abendkleid aus diesen Stoffen nähen könnte, es ist keine gold-bestickte Seide, sondern bedruckte Baumwolle. Daher schwebte mir eher sowas wie ein Tageskleid vor. Fündig wurde ich in meiner Lutterloh-Ausgabe von 1955/6, eine Bluse mit dazu passendem Rock. Den Schnitt habe ich mit meinen Maßen vergrössert und komplett ohne Änderungen genäht. Einzig den Rock habe ich an die Dupatta angepasst: Ich wusste, dass der Schal als Saumrüsche Verwendung finden sollte, also schnitt ich ihn in der Mitte durch. Danach war er immer noch so breit wie ca. 2/3 der Rocklänge. Ich rüschte ihn auf die laut Schnittmuster erforderliche Weite und ergänzte den oberen Teil mit dem Stoff der Hose. Aus demselben Stoff schnitt ich die Belege der Bluse sowie Schrägband für die Ärmel und den Blusensaum. Die Bluse selber schnitt ich aus dem Kamiz.

Lutterloh-Schnitte geben nur die absolut notwendigen Schnittteile an, Belege, Bünde und ähnliches muss man sich dazu basteln. Daher fügte ich auch direkt noch eine Tasche in eine der Rocknähte ein. Der Rock schliesst am Bund mit einem durchsichtigen Knopf und darunter mit zwei Druckknöpfen, durch die ganzen Falten reicht das vollkommen. Bund, Kragen und Belege sind mit Vlieseline verstärkt. Da ich von den großen weißen Knöpfen nur drei hatte entschied ich mich für diese assymetrische Lösung, abweichend von der Zeichnung.


Nun, zusammen getragen ist es wirklich sehr…speziell. Die Farben sind mir auch einfach zu viel. Daher konnte ich nicht anders, als es für die Fotos absolut over-the-top zu stylen. Mit einer weißen Bluse stelle ich mir den Rock aber tatsächlich sehr schön vor, oder auch die Bluse mit einer Hose. Grad trag ich eine dunkelblaue Strickjacke drüber, so schaut nur der Kragen raus. Zusammen mit dunklen Schuhen könnte das sogar alltagstauglich sein.

Obwohl der Stoff nichts orientalisches hat und die Bezeichnung Sari falsch ist, in meinem Kopf bleibt das mein Sari-Kleid und ich muss die ganze Zeit an Sitar-Musik denken. Das und dass dies  mein letzter Post ist, bevor ich mir zeitgleich zu zwei arbeitsfreien Wochen auch zwei Blog-freie Wochen gönne (und vielleicht sogar ein paar Tage wegfahre), machen dieses Projekt einen schönen Beitrag zum diesmonatigen Krea-Kränzchen mit dem Thema “Fernweh”.
In den nächsten zwei Wochen wird es hier also sehr ruhig sein. Da ich ab April zusätzlich einen neuen Job habe, werde ich den 2x-die-Woche-Rhythmus wohl nicht beibehalten können, nach der Pause geht es dann wohl mit nur einem Post pro Woche weiter, sorry.

blouse and skirt: ette with Lutterloh-patterns – hair veil: flea market – flower brooch: nos, gift from mum – belt: from my family – gloves: antique shop – shoes: Siemes Schuh Center – fragrance: Stella McCartney-Sheers

 See you in april, love


And half October like a thousand years…

You know, one thing is to find time to participate in the HSF-challenges, the other thing is to find a matching project.

Challenge #18 was “poetry in motion – bring to life a garment inspired by a song or poem.“.
This really gave me a hard time. I know many poems but not a single one that could inspire a garment came to my mind. And the ones I could think of were all pre-raffaelite medieval-themed ones, but I really didn’t want to sew a medieval dress, I already have one and never wear it, no use for a second.

After having consulted all my (english) books containing poetry I still had no concrete garment to put my finger on, but two poems that left me with some inspiration. The first got dismissed because I couldn’t find neither a matching pattern nor had I a matching fabric (R. Aldington – In the tube). So I was left with

Ford Madox Ford – Antwerp

Those of you who know it might wonder how this might serve as an inspiration for a garment.
The poem was written in late 1915 and tells about the horrors of war the author experienced himself in Flanders after having joined the British Army in August of the same year.
In a little London-Poems-Anthology I found an excerpt of this quite long poem, part VI, the last part. It describes how a crowd of women dressed in black waits for the soldiers at Charing Cross station, not knowing that their beloved are long since dead. Though they do not know there is no hope left in their faces, who appear as dead as the ones of their dear ones.

A great crowd, all black that hardly whispers aloud.
Surely, that is a dead woman – a dead mother!
She has a dead face;
She is dressed in black;

And there is another and another and another…
And little children, all in black,
All with dead faces, waiting in all the waiting-places,

In the dark of the night.
This is Charing Cross; it is past one of the clock;
There is very little light.

There is so much pain.

This black crowd with no hopes left, waiting in the gloom of the station at night created a very clear image in my head. The poem when read aloud has a very impressive rhythm that makes it appear even more vivid to me (I experience very similar effects when reading Paul Celan’s “Die Todesfuge”, maybe some german speaking readers might know the poem).

I can clearly see all that women facing the bare tracks, waiting. They have stood there too often to expect a train and still refuse to stop coming there. They face hunger, the salary of the beloved soldier is missing, they fear to think of the coming winter. The mothers miss their sons, still virtually children. The wives fear the loss of their Sweethearts and have long ceased to answer the whining questions of their children, missing their fathers.

I imagine them dressed in long, droopy robes with no colour, shine or elegance left. Maybe some still haven’t given up hope and have bought a new suit to welcome the homecomer, some may have to work hard to survive and come straight from their masters or in simple clothes they wore to clean the house or harvest some apples.


Therefore I searched for simple patterns with only few elegant touches and no decoration, something like this, imagine it in black cotton or wool, not ironed and without these laughing faces and elegant postures. This was the picture I had in mind.
In the end I went for a pattern from “The Ladies’ Tailor” from 1915, printed in Nora Waugh’s “The cut of women’s clothes” (fig. 50, for those who own it).  Because I ran out of time I only made the skirt and not the matching jacket. The skirt is very tight fitted around the waist and the hips, below the hips it is wide and ruffled. I did not copy the Waugh pattern, but constructed a broad, corset-like shaped waistband on my dress form. A little calculating and dedusting of my geometry skills helped me to construct the ruffled, slightly  flared lower part of the skirt.


The waistband consists of one layer of thick upholstery cotton tabby-weave, covered with the skirt-fabric, a black cotton twill with little stretch.

It is closed with a row of star-shaped buttons in the back. Not historical, I know. But when it was nearly finished and I first wore it, it reminded me of my black, goth teen years and I remembered that I had long wanted to sew a long black all-purpose-skirt. Very unexpectedly, there it was! And because I had used these black star-buttons on so many of my goth garments it seemed to be only appropriate to use the last ones I had for this skirt.

This is also the reason why I made it slightly longer as 1915-fashion would have been. Historically correct it would end just above the ankles. But I really liked the almost floor length look when first trying it, I couldn’t help but make only a narrow hem to leave it as long as possible.


The Challenge: #18 Poetry in motion

The Poem: Ford Madox Ford – Antwerp (esp. part VI This is Charing Cross)

Fabric: black cotton twill with a little stretch, waistband doubled with heavy grey upholstery cotton

Pattern: self-drafted after “The Ladies’ Tailor” 1915 as printed in Nora Waugh’s “The cut of women’s clothes”

Year:  1915

Notions: black thread, eight plastic buttons.

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is close to the original, cotton twill is at least possible for the time. I am sure the construction would have been done differently, with boning and stiff horse hair interlacing instead of upholstery fabric. Buttons aren’t historical at all, nor is the closure itself. A hidden row of hooks and eyes would have been more likely.

Hours to complete: The waistband needed a lot of basting stitches, the buttonholes are handsewn. And the construction of the pattern took a little time. Maybe 5h in total.

First worn: not yet/for photos

Total cost: Fabric was a gift from a friend of my mother’s, lining upholstery fabric a gift from my uncle. Buttons were 25ct each, so 2€ in total, without the thread.


blouse: mavi - shawl: from my grandma; laced boots: flea market (used to be skates)
blouse: mavi – shawl: from my grandma; laced boots: flea market (used to be skates)

See you soon, love,



Sources: All information about the author and the poem as well as the excerpts from the latter I drew from:
Adolf Barth (publ.): London Poems, Stuttgart 2001 (first publ. in 1988), pages 53f and78f

I spotted Hollywood

Some of you might remember my slight obsession with Bette Davis.

Well, most of the time this makes me watch her films and read books about her. But sometimes I can’t resist and buy memorabilia. My most treasured item surely is an autograph my boyfriend bought me for my birthday two years ago.

The framed autograph on my vanity table. Note the box I showed you in my last post in its natural habitat.

But there is another kind of memorabilia that I am itching for. Do you know Hollywood Patterns? The company was founded in 1932 and sold patterns connected to stars and starlets (source). Simply by putting a little photo and the name of a movie star on the envelope turned a standard pattern into a collectible (a method that applies still today, though maybe not anymore for patterns). And as you can imagine, today they are worth even more.

Bette Davis had a total of 16 patterns named after her. Every now and then they pop up on ebay or etsy. To the more or less high prices of the patterns themselves adds the postage from the US to Europe, so to buy one of these is alway quite an expensive pleasure. (Now please don’t link to any pattern you found for sale on the internet, I don’t look at the mentioned websites very often, simply because I don’t want to tempt myself to spend that much money too often ;-). If I am in the mood and the position to buy one, I will search for it.)


Last year in late autumn I spotted a beautiful one on etsy, Hollywood 1221, published in 1934. And my boyfriend was so kind to give it to me as a christmas-present (darling, I love you!).

I already copied the pattern a few days after the holidays (because the pattern is so old I don’t want to use the original pattern pieces anymore), but it wasn’t until before our Sicily-trip I finally decided for a fabric and started cutting (this is the mentioned dress I wanted to sew for the trip but didn’t finish).

The choice of fabric wasn’t that intelligent in hindsight. I used a white spotted green cotton print I bought a few years ago in the odds-and-ends-box of a nearby fabric store that doesn’t exist anymore. I had already planned to use it for my Fall-for-Cotton-dress, but I had too little of it (appr. 1,5m). I chose it because I thought it was close enough to the spotted fabric on the envelope drawing and could look good (but it is not really appropriate for this time, in the sewing magazines I own polka dots don’t appear earlier than late 30ies, in earlier issues I only found them to be used for children’s clothing).
For this project it was just enough, I had to cut the lower back in two pieces, otherwise it wouldn’t have fit.

Well, the resulting dress is really…dotty. The matching of the pattern is at some seams better than at others, unfortunately where it didn’t fit was in the centre front (in contrast to the text on the linked page, it is a two-piece skirt. There is no seam in the pleat and I didn’t think of adjusting the width of it to match the dots).

Can’t help it, but I absolutely love this photo!

The pattern asked for two zippers, on at the side and one in the centre back. I used a white nylon zipper in the neck and a light cream one in the side seam (because I had them in stock, I do know they aren’t authentic for the 30ies)  Both zipper-seams are hand-sewn as is the hem.


I used white thread for all seams, this seemed to be a better match than green one.

The size is a straightforward 12, only thing I changed is I shortened the hem by 7cm.

Because the pattern was too weird with the stomacher in between I applied a rest of white cotton ribbon after having already finished it, now it is a lot better.

yes, too lazy to match my nail polish

I used every bit of it. As you see, it wasn’t enough to attach it on both ends of the stomacher-part in the back as well, the rest I had was just enough to form the button-loop for a button in the neck above the zipper.


As I said, I didn’t change anything. Like the most american patterns, the seam allowance is  included, something still unusual for me, because it makes it difficult for me to imagine how large it will be in the end (and in this case it was difficult to match the pattern as well). When looking at the result it seems as if the bodice is a little too long, when making it again I should try to shorten the stomacher-part.

I decided to take the photos outside, because it was quite a strange light and the appartment pretty gloomy. The day had been hot and only a little later there was a huge thunderstorm. So this may explain why our camera changed the ISO to several thousands without me noticing it (don’t know why it was set in the automatic-mode) and why the white is so flashy.

Well, to end this post: I love it! It looks quite special and still I think the fabric wasn’t the best to use for this pattern and to make it suitable for everyday-use I should reduce the volume of the sleeves a little, they are a bit on the emormous side.

(dress: Hollywood Pattern 1221/ette, shoes: Siemes Shuh Center, fragrance: Stella McCartney – Sheers)

So much for today, love


Contrast in Colour and Contour

[OT] I love alliterations [/OT]

Yet again I had to skip a HSF-Challenge, simply because all my UFOs where in such an early state of work that I wouldn’t have been able to finish any of them in time.

But this time I’m back in the game. The task was “black and white” ant though I would have loved to sew a magnificent black robe with white details, I was too eager to start an experiment. So I made this experiment match the challenge.


Earlier this year, a colleague in the museum asked me if I were interested in some antique patterns she had been given years ago. She had wanted to add them to the museum’s collection, but back then nobody was intested in doing so, so she kept them in her office. Now she found them amongst her documents and finally the now new colleague in the graphic collection will officially add them to the inventory. Before this was done she gave them to me so I could copy them for my own purposes. Besides one pattern sheet from the 1910s all sheets were from 1904 and 1905 issues of the “Schweizer Frauenheim” (because it is museum property I can’t publish any photos).  As Wikipedia tells, this was one of the early magazines of the Swiss women’s movement in the beginning 20th century.

The pattern I chose makes this even more obvious: It is a so called “Reformleibchen” a bodice without any boning, invented as an alternative draft to the heavily boned s-line corset of the 1900s. While it is still tight fitting and more or less supportive, it is not shaping the body, but can be understood as a hybrid between a chemise and a brassiere. I am not completely sure if it names the same thing, but it can at least be compared with the liberty bodice. And of course this new shape wasn’t restricted to undergarments, but is part of the so called dress reform (the second one, there was already a first attempt in the 19th century, today often closely connected with Amelia Bloomer, similar attempts but in different shape were also done by the Pre-Raphaelites, whose women dressed in wide dresses without shaping corsets underneath). In contrast to the early, victorian dress reform, this early 20th century reform gained much more attention and did even appear in fashion plates, but also in caricature.

reformed dress next to a fashionable dress, Der Bazar, september 1904

In contrast to the s-shaped-Line of high fashion, the reformed dress has no accentuated waist, but falls straight from the shoulders with a wide flared skirt. The decoration is often predominantly placed around the shoulders and ends above the stomach.

caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women's libber, note the short hair cut, from "Die Auster", munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galanted et Esprit de l'étranger, Paris (no date given)
caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women’s libber, note the short hair cut, from “Die Auster”, munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes et Esprit de l’étranger, Paris (no date given)

The “Reformleibchen” consists of flat lying bodice parts and ruffled parts around the breasts. My pattern closes with a facing in the front. The biggest problem I had when working with this pattern was, that I had neither instructions nor pictures of how it was meant to look like, only the different cut pieces with numbers in the corners to match. I first sewed everything together to see how it looks like. Having had embroidered the facing before doing anything else, it didn’t even came to my mind that they should be placed differently than next to each other (thinking of a corset substitute rather than a fitted chemise), but in fact it seems as if these bodices where meant to be closed with buttons in the front (note that the linked example is at least somehow stiffened, maybe not with boning, but something similar as the seams around the bodice show).


The bodice consists of very loose woven cotton, bought as a duvet cover at IKEA years ago.
Fot the embroidery I used black cotton thread and patterns from a 1906 issue of “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”.



I used a ribbon with hooks and eyes as closure. Though I doubt that the quality I used existed in the 1900s, I did find similar ribbons in late 19th century garments, so at least the concept was known and used.




I made no changes to the pattern at all until it was finished but for the hem. In this state, it looked like this in the back:


Next thing I did was to eliminate approximately 15cm width to make it fit.

yes, I am prudish and wear a bra, but it was really a little too transparent for my taste not to do so

Only after I had done it I found this caricature, showing an upper garment with a very similar cut in the back without any fitting at all.

caricature by Koysrand, published in the “Wiener Caricaturen”, no year given, as printed in J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes (see above)

Well, it isn’t the best fitting garment I ever made, but it came together surprisingly well and it was a great experience to reproduce such a special and alternative piece of clothing.



The Challenge: #9 Black and White

Fabric: white cotton (satin or twill, can’t remember exactly and am too lazy to search for my linen tester)

Pattern: reformed bodice from an “Schweizer Frauenheim”-issue of 1905, embroidery pattern for clothing from “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”, 1906

Year: 1905/1906

Notions: white cotton and polyester thread, black embroidery cotton thread, white ribbon (to stabilise the rear neckline), black bias binding, hook-and-eye-ribbon.

How historically accurate is it? I was pretty sure about it being quite acurate until I found out about this button-closure-thing. This and the modern hooks and eye ribbon, the polyester thread and the fact that I assume the bias binding not to be correct, 75% ?

First worn:  for the photos, on monday.

Total cost: the fabric cost me 4€ as a duvet cover because the pillowcase was missing, but there is plenty of it left and it was already years ago. Notions came all from my stash as well, can’t imagine having paid more than 5€ for all of them, so maybe we could say 7-8€.

reformed bodice: Schweizer Frauenheim/ette, 1900s underskirt: flea market (july 2012)


See you soon, love,




from topmost to lowermost

Please note: If you started following my blog more than a few weeks ago, it will not be shown in your feed anymore, because the adress changed (in fact it is unlikely that it ever popped up in your feed, because I received multiple complaints about this problem).
If you would like to keep updated, please make sure you update your bookmarks and feeds, following www.parvasedapta.ch WITHOUT the /wordpress-ending.


Now, back to topic:

Finally I am able to participate a HSF-challenge again. Not that I didn’t sew the last month, but I had to make a christening robe for my niece and a baby quilt for my boyfriend’s cousin and his wife, whose baby arrived in january. Both patterns were modern, so nothing to show on this blog (ok well, we could argue that the quilt was made after a 1984 pattern, so according to wikipedia this would have been at least “vintage“. But it’s too late now, because I forgot to take photos anyway).

I had already written most of the post for this month’s challenge when I had to realize, that the project I was working on was doomed and that all I tried to save it only made it worse. I tried to sew a hat, using the scraps from my 40ies coat, to wear with it. But the pattern didn’t work at all with the fabric and now I have no fabric left for a second try (and no motivation, either). I don’t suppose I would have worn it a lot, anyway, so I don’t mind.


With only a few days laft to complete the challenge I adapted an idea I had already had a few weeks ago: embroidered stockings. I love antique patterned stockings, some are preserved, most aren’t. The final idea came when I saw a portrait of Richard Sackville by Isaac Oliver, wearing blue stockings with gold embroidery.  I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of detail of the painting itself or its reproduction, but it looked very flat and plane to me and so I decided to paint the stockings instead of embroider them.


I owned a pair of white tights, I don’t remember for how long. What makes them special and predestined for this project, is that they are pure cotton. No elastic or artificial fibres in them, they don’t fit very snug, but always wrinkle a little, so they always reminded me of antique stockings. Now, a few months ago I managed to damage them in the topmost part, there was a hole in them, it didn’t not run, but it was a hole. I don’t know about you, but I hate to wear something damaged, even though I know nobody can see it.
I was already close to throw them into the waste bin, when I finally decided to use them as my test object. And because they do have a certain age I wouldn’t have liked to embroider them, fearing that they won’t live very long anymore.


To stick with the colour ofSackville’s stockings, I used golden fabric paint. As a pattern I chose an embroidery motive I found in the “Unterhaltungsblätter” I showed you in the last post.

9 May 1925, I used the ornament on the left
9 May 1925, I used the ornament on the left

To avoid stretching the motive when wearing the stockings, I cut a piece of cardboard according to the measurements of my lower leg (it is more difficult than it sounds, gauging the circumference of your lower leg with a tape measure, wearing a corset. And please do not ask why I am wearing a corset on a saturday afternoon at home, I simply wanted to. But I hope that in circles, where people sew and wear corsets, girdles and crinolines I do need neither explanation nor excuse 😉 ) and put it inside the tights. Beforehand I had put them on and had marked where my ankle was.Unfortunately I didn’t measure again before painting, so the pattern on one leg is taller than on the other, but I don’t think anybody will see this.


To transfer the motive I simply used a stencil I had cut out of a thin plastic register page. After letting it dry completely I added a second, thicker layer as well as some silver to give it as least a slightly plastic look.


The Challenge: #7 Tops and toes

Fabric: white cotton tights

Pattern: no pattern for the stockings, I just cut the legs off the tights. Pattern for the motive from 1925, found in “Schweizerische Unterhaltung-Blätter”, may 9 1925

Year: motive from 1925

Notions: gold and silver fabric paint, white cotton thread to hem the upper edge of the stockings.

How historically accurate is it? Well it was inspired by historical embroidered stockings, though you can’t call them historical at all.

First worn:  last weekend, after finishing and washing it.

Total cost: I bought the tights years ago in a second-hand shop, they can’t have been very expensive. The paint cost 2€ each, years ago, too.

I was so happy seing this project finished I couldn’t help but improvise a little 20ies inspired photo session with things that I found in my closet (being aware that this is far away from being authentic).

headband: old, don’t know anymore; bracelet and 1900s barrette: antique stores in Lyon; pendant and 20ies shoes: flea market; shirt: yes or no by manor; skirt: 2nd hand; stockings: 2nd hand/altered by me

The reason why I am sitting, besides that I wanted to show the stockings: the shoes are too small and really fragile, I fear standing on them. So I sat down on the dresser, put them on, had me photographed, put them off, stood up 🙂

Now, having talked about corsets and holes in tights and having posted photos wearing a skirt that can’t conceal that I am really wearing stockings rather than tights, I will leave it with this before it gets even more scandalous 😉

See you soon, love,



Nearly forgotten – Fall for Cotton

Yeah, it rhymes 🙂

Maybe some of you remember. Last autumn Rochelle and Tasha hosted a Fall-for-Cotton-Sew Along. It is already march now, but maybe some of you still remember.
In fact, I managed to finish the dress in time (deadline was september 30th), maybe you saw my final result in the Flickr-group or Rochelle’s final slideshow.
But though I finished the dress, what I didn’t finish was the matching bolero. Days before the deadline I headed to a conference meeting in Lyon, flying from France directly to London for a job interview, came back to Bern after one week only to work the next day, on whose’s evening my dad arrived to help us with moving from our old flat to the one we have been living in for a couple of months now.
As you can imagine, I didn’t have much time to sew at all and with the temperature dropping my motivation to finish a summer’s dress wasn’t as high as it should have been.

But the bolero didn’t need that much work anymore and so one afternoon in winter I was destined to finally finish it, only to realize that I had no idea where I had put the last piece to be attached to the bolero’s hem. It took me some more weeks to find it and so I finally made it without any further catastrophes.
That all happened back in january and now, only a very short time afterwards (cough, attention, sarcasm) I managed to photograph the result.

laughing or dazzled?

I already showed you the fabrics I used, a comparably stiff purple cotton and an old duvet cover printed with purple and brown roses. To line the bodice I used a white cotton batiste.

It ws one of the rare occasions where I worked with a pattern that had the seam allowances included, but it worked surprisingly well. I changed literally nothing (partly because I rarely do and often realize too late, what should have been changed, but mostly because I have difficulties to imagine the outcome of cutparts with the seam allowance included. I know, many draw the actual seam line themselves, but that means to double the work at my most loathed step in sewing, transfering the pattern to the fabric, no option for me 😉 ).

the neckholder closes with two white fabric-covered buttons

I have to admit, the fit is not as perfect as could be and I have to pay attention which bra I wear, because the bodice is a little too large around the bust, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a good push-up. 😀


The skirt consists of four parts that add up to a wide, but not a full circle skirt.
First I planned to shorten it considerably to end just below the knees, but then I loved the idea of having a real tea-length-dress. And knowing I will only wear it with heels, I don’t need to fear to look too short. In the photos I am wearing a small petticoat underneath.

un-elegant attempt to show you the width of the hem

The belt is not attached to the dress. I don’t like the untidy look of it and though I do like the idea of avoiding a too cute bow, to me it looks as if I ran out of fabric. Maybe I will arrange the knot and sew it close, adding a press fastener or hooks and eyes closing to the back (more likely: I will leave it like this and will complain about it as long as I own the dress).

where is my belly button? I know I saw it right here…

Now I only have to wait until next summer, but with the temperature rising outside I am positive that it won’t be too long. Today it was at least not too cold to wear it, though I was happy to stand in the sun.

Maybe I am a vampire at last, cursing sun already at the first spring day…

But honestly it was much too bright. I had the choice between standing in the shadow or being blinded by sunlight. All the photos needed massive photoshopping because on most of them the skirt seemed almost white. And you can clearly see that it was too bright, looking at my >.<-face.

(dress and bolero: ette/Simplicity 7218, necklace: gift, petticoat: Blutsgeschwister, white shoes: Siemes-Schuh-Center, purple shoes: Diesel, fragrance: 4711 Eau de Cologne Lavender & Thyme)


PS: Needless to say I was unable to decide what shoes to wear and therefore chose both 😉

see you soon,

love, ette

HSF Challenge #4: Under it all – A 1941 (slip) dress

As I already said, life kept me busy during the last weeks and even if I had time to sew, often enough I wasn’t in the mood for it.
As the due date for this challenge approached I decided to force myself to make it, though the project I had had in mind first wasn’t realizable anymore in such a short time.

I had no cut-out-and-set-to-work-pattern for anything undergarment-related (but  a Laughing Moon corset pattern but that would have been a little too much in such a short time) and one of my least loved steps while sewing is tracing the pattern.
So I searched for a pattern, that would need only a minimum of effort to prepare, but still be something I wanted to make. I quickly decided to try a Lutterloh-pattern, my first. Not only because enlarging patterns seems to be more fun than drafting them all on your own and second because I already own two Lutterloh-books, but I haven’t realized a single garment from neither of them. An undergarment seemed to be a good project to get to know how this system works.

For all of you who don’t know Lutterloh-patterns: The patterns are miniature sized and need to be enlarged. To enlarge them, you need a special scale that is part of every Lutterloh-book you buy. Most of the old books miss this scale, but it is fairly easy to make one yourself, copying the one in the book. This scale is attached to a standard measuring tape, a tack is punched through the scale, the exact position is determined by your body measurements, and pinned to a mark in the middle of the pattern, the pattern lying on a large sheet of paper. Dots and numbers tell you, where to turn the measuring tape to and how long the distances have to be. Like this you get a series of dots, when connecting these, you come up with an enlarged pattern, fitted to your size.
But the system is very basic. There are no markings, no hints what to fit where, no darts, no information about closure etc. Additionally, these are still historical patterns, so you will have to face the same fitting issues as with other vintage patterns.
If you want to try the system without bying a book (the old ones are pretty expensive), here you can find instructions and some patterns from 1941 issue (the same I own). Note: this is a german system, so are the instructions 😉 And this website tells you to pay attention to the printed size of the patterns, you really don’t have to. The patterns are enlarged radially, all you need is a non-distorted copy so the angles between the different marks are correct. I copied my card because I didn’t want to pierce through the old paper and doubled its size. This changes nothing in the ratio of the numbers, in my opinion it even makes you result more accurate, because the farther away the marks from your tack are, the less inaccuracy will result in the position of the new dots.
And to all american readers: this patterns are without seam allowances.

The project I chose is fairly simple. A slip dress consisting only of two cut parts, front and back (the left one):



I already own multiple slips in light shades, so when I stumbled upon a black cotton batiste during the search for a fabric, I decided to use this. The fabric was in fact a leftover from a skirt. It had a scalloped embroidered edge, but was 140cm in width, so I had plenty of fabric left after having turned the 55cm next to the embroidery into a skirt, already years ago.
Yes, cotton batiste isn’t the perfect fabric to use for a slip but 1st) I can still wear it with a satin half slip if it really won’t work and 2nd) I intend to wear it not only as a slip dress, but also as a dres to wear at home or maybe even as a nightgown in summer.

Again, I shortened the pattern significantly, not only to fit me, but also to make it fit onto the fabric. Because my original embroidered skirt had been to wide I had cut away some fabric at one side, leaving me with one single repeat of the embroidery pattern still in my stash. Knowing that I will never again find a project with a similarly well matching fabric to use this, I decided to apply it as a decoration to the neckline (to prevent it from being too stiff I cut away the fabric underneath after having applied the embroidery). The rest of the neckline, as well as the straps I faced with a white cotton ribbon in a similar way Gertie described on her blog only days later (really, I had already finished it when I saw her post appear).


The positions of the upright darts (in the front as well as in the back)  were marked in the pattern, but without scale, so I had to figure out the exact placement and the size myself. There is only one way for me to do things like this: dress my dressform, pin the darts, sew it, try it on. Most of the time, it works 🙂
This time I had to realize, that the fit was still far from being good and that I needed additional bust darts, after having added these I was content.


Because of my limited amount of fabric I had cut the back in two parts, leaving me with a seam in the centre back. I used this to add a zipper in the waist, otherwise I couldn’t have made my darts so close-fitting while still being able to take the dress off, you see it ends between my shoulder blades.

An interesting side fact: Last year I was able to wear a toile, made from an 18th century robe à l’anglaise, preserved in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. First I thought it was too small, but when I forced my back in a very upright position and pulled my shoulders backwards, it fit! That showed me, how different posture 200 years ago was compared to today. Now, when wearing this I have the same effect. Left the gaping straps when standing as I usually do, right when standing more upright.














The Challenge: #4 Under it all

Fabric: black cotton batiste with white machine embroidery

Pattern: Lutterloh “Der Goldene Schnitt”

Year: 1941

Notions: thread, white cotton ribbon, nylon zipper

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is historical, the fabric is plausible. That’s it. It is shortened (but ends right below the knee, so not too short for 1940ies fashion), the machine embroidery isn’t authentic at all, neither is the nylon zipper nor its placement in the centre back.

First worn:  today

Total cost: The fabric cost me 5€/m 5 years ago, I bought two metres and made the skirt as well as the slip from it. The ribbon? No idea, was in one of my sewing baskets I bought at the flea market, same applies to the embroidery on the hem, 0,50€ for the zipper. The Lutterloh-book cost me around 40€, but there are plenty of patterns in it.