Tag Archives: cotton

Less than 100 years ago in a galaxy far, far away

In June 2016 I was on holidays in Florida and I went to an American Walmart for the first time in my life (there used to be a Walmart in Germany I visited once). I was amazed to see the fabric section. Not really because of the quality, but because in comparable stores in Europe, I have never seen fabric departments at all, only some yarn and some alibi haberdashery. And as I avoided searching for the real fabric shops (I have so much fabric, I really didn’t want to tempt myself) I had a quick look around and bought a patterned fat quarter for my English quilt and a yard of printed Star Wars-cotton as souvenirs. After my return I hesitated to use it as I wanted it to become something special, after all it was a souvenir and it was Star Wars.

This year in April I spent two weeks in Lyons, France, for a professional training. I had done so already in 2016, I had been to a conference in 2013 and I had had an internship in the city in 2012. So I might say I’ve been there a couple of times. And each time I went to my favourite antique book shop, the Librairie Diog√®ne in the old part of the city. Already on my first visit, I spotted an interesting book in the fashion section, the complete issues from “La mode du jour” from 1923 and 1924, bound together in one, massive book. Unfortunately, the price was massive as well and every time, I left it behind. This year I had a heart and asked the owner that I knew this book to have been in the shop for at least five years and if she could re-think the price to sell it. And she did, so I took it home with me.

The special thing about the Mode du jour are the pattern diagrams. The pattern themselves were sold separately, but nearly every issue features a “patron-prime”, a mailorder pattern for a reduced price. These offers were accompanied by detailed drawings of the patterns, so although they lack sizing and measurements, at least for the less complex ones it is perfectly possible to draw a pattern from them. Now, two years of a weekly magazine with a pattern diagram in nearly each of them, that makes 100 authentic 20s patterns, give or take. Now you know why I wanted it? ūüėČ

As I knew I would never wear anything made from the Star Wars-fabric to wear in public, I decided to try a pattern for a short pajama (well, actually it is described as daytime lingerie, but I know I’ll never wear it as such). So, off I went to grab some old newspaper and a tape measure and drew the pattern. For the contrasting facing I used an old patchwork fabric with tiny stars and solid black cotton for the inside (so the facings are doubled and hide all the seams between them).

Well, and then I made a pretty stupid mistake. When sewing shorts with a drawstring, which should be the defining measurement for the waist circumference? Certainly not the waist, but the hips! I did of course use the waist circumference, added like 10cm and constructed all the remaining distances from the pattern scheme with this size as reference. You know when I realized my mistake? When I tried it on for the first time! After cutting, sewing, cutting back the seam allowances and attaching the bottom facing. Of course, it was waaayyyy to small! I threw that whole project in the boo box on the “problems to solve”-pile and made¬†a hideous dress from a table cloth (you’ll see it soon if I ever dare to photograph it). After a while I undid the centre back seam and inserted a godet. It still fits snug and the shorts in general are much smaller than they should be as¬† everything, leg width, length, hip width, is based on the too small waist circumference and its ratio to all the other distances.

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As I don’t have enough fabric left to sew the shorts again I will leave the project as it is. I now have a very loose and comparably stiff fitting top and very tight and modern fitting shorts. When worn together the shorts vanish nearly entirely under the top and as the fit is so tight, to tuck the top into it (as seen on the drawing) looks pretty strange as well.

So, if you want to, use the diagram to make your own pattern but check the measurements!
РWaist circumference of the shorts corresponds to the widest part of your lower body plus a little ease.
РKeep in mind to add some centimetres to the height for the tunnel with the drawstring or elastic.
– the top’s upper edge has to be wide enough to be pulled over your head as there is no closure, it does not necessarily correspond to your bust circumference and will be larger than your upper bust circumference. That does also mean you shouldn’t expect it to fit snug around your chest, it will gape.

As I wanted to be done I just cut holes into the tunnel for the drawstring and added satin ribbon instead of proper straps. It certainly isn’t the modern interpretation of a lovely 20s pattern I imagined, but it is wearable and I’m glad I turned the fabric into something I’ll wear, though maybe not as long and content as I had hoped. But I still have some scraps from the fabric and the pieces from the top are pretty large, too, so I can still make something different. And if everything fails, I’ll have to go back to Florida and visit Walmart again ūüėõ

Als ich 2016¬† in Florida Ferien machte, war ich das erste Mal in meinem Leben in einem amerikanischen Walmart (als Kind war ich tats√§chlich einmal in der Filiale in Karlsruhe). Und ich war so beeindruckt, dass es dort nach wie vor eine Stoffabteilung gibt. Nicht, dass sie besonders gut w√§re, aber die vergleichbaren Gesch√§fte in Europa haben so etwas ja nicht (mehr?), mal abgesehen von drei Garnrollen und etwas Polyarcyl-Wolle. Da ich, um nicht in Versuchung zu kommen, sonst gar nicht auf der Suche nach Stoffl√§den war, schaute ich mich dort kurz um und nahm schliesslich einen Fat Quarter f√ľr meinen englischen Quilt und einen Yard Baumwolle mit Star Wars-Motiven als Souvenir mit heim. Danach lag dieser Stoff dann eine Weile herum, sollte ja etwas besonderes werden.

Im M√§rz/April diesen Jahres war ich dann zum wiederholten Male eine Weile in Lyon auf einer Weiterbildung. Seit meinem Praktikum in der Stadt 2012 war ich nun das vierte Mal da und jedes Mal f√ľhrte mich mein Weg in mein allerliebstes Antiquariat, die Librairie Diog√®ne in der Lyoner Altstadt. Bereits bei meinem ersten Besuch war mir ein dicker W√§lzer in der Mode-Ecke aufgefallen, die Jahrg√§nge 1923 und 24 der “Mode du Jour”, gebunden zu einem grossen Buch und zu einem horrenden Preis. Daher war ich bisher immer tapfer alleine wieder heim gefahren (bzw. mit anderen B√ľchern), dieses Mal nahm ich mir ein Herz, fragte die Dame am Tresen, bekam einen fairen Preis und so durfte es dieses Mal mit mir nach Hause reisen.

Das tolle an der “La Mode du Jour” sind die Schnittmusterdiagramme. Den Heften lag kein Schnittbogen bei, sondern man konnte Einzelschnitte der im Heft vorgestellten Modelle bestellen. Pro Heft gab es ein Schnittmuster zum Sonderpreis, das sogenannte “Patron-Prime”. Und dieses wurde nicht nur ausf√ľhrlich beschrieben und h√§ufig auf dem Titelblatt gezeigt, die Schnittteile wurden im Heft auch als Vorschau gezeigt. Leider ohne Gr√∂ssenangaben oder exakte Abmessungen, aber f√ľr nicht allzu komplexe Schnitte v√∂llig ausreichend, um danach ein Schnittmuster zu zeichnen. Zwei Jahrg√§nge einer w√∂chentlich erscheinenden Zeitschrift und in fast jeder Ausgabe ein solches Schnittdiagramm, das macht ¬†im Grossen und Ganzen etwa 100 Schnittmuster aus den 20er Jahren in einem Band. Wisst ihr jetzt, warum ich es unbedingt haben wollte. ūüėČ

Da ich wusste, dass ich den Star Wars-Stoff sowieso nie in der √Ėffentlichkeit tragen w√ľrde, entschied ich mich f√ľr ein Schlafset aus Shorts und Top. Eigentlich ist es im Heft als Unterw√§sche beschrieben, aber die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass ich es als Schlafanzug trage werde, ist sicher¬†h√∂her. F√ľr die kontrastierenden Abschl√ľsse am Halsausschnitt und den Beinen griff ich auf einen Rest ¬†schwarzen Patchworkstoff mit winzigen weissen Sternen zur√ľck, die Innenseite dieser Belege ist aus einfacher schwarzer Baumwolle.

Ja, in der Theorie klang das so einfach mit dem Schnitt erstellen, aber man sollte nat√ľrlich f√§hig sein, richtig Mass zu nehmen. Und wenn man eine Shorts mit Tunnelzug n√§ht, welches K√∂rpermass bestimmt dann die Taillenweite? Sicherlich nicht der Taillenumfang *seufz* (muss ja √ľber den Popo, also H√ľftumfang!). Hab ich dummerweise ¬†nicht dran gedacht, nur ca. 10cm zur Taille dazu addiert und alle anderen Masse des Schnittes anhand der Gr√∂ssenverh√§ltnisse im Diagramm entsprechend dieses (falschen!) Taillenumfangs berechnet. ¬†Dreimal d√ľrft ihr raten, wann mir der Fehler aufgefallen ist? Bei der ersten Anprobe, d.h. nach dem Schliessen aller N√§hte, inklusive dem Ann√§hen der Belege am Saum und dem¬†Zur√ľckschneiden der Nahtzugabe. Nat√ľrlich war die Hose viel zu eng, weshalb sie erst einmal in die Pfuibah-Kiste¬†auf den “Will ich grad nicht mehr sehen”-Haufen kam und ich stattdessen das scheusslichste Kleid meiner bisherigen N√§hkarriere aus einer gebl√ľmten Tischdecke n√§hte (ihr sehr es, sobald ich es wage, Fotos davon zu machen). Dann durfte es wieder ans Tageslicht, ich setzte in die hintere Mitte einen Keil ein und immerhin kann ich sie jetzt anziehen, aber sie sitzt nicht nur eher eng, sondern auch komplett anders, als eigentlich laut Schnitt ¬†und Zeichnung vorgesehen, weil eben alle Masse auf diesem falschen Taillenmass basierten.

Ich habe zu wenig Stoff √ľbrig, um einen neuen Anlauf zu wagen und immerhin ist das Set tragbar, wenn auch die Hose nun recht modern sitzt, wohingegen das Oberteil so weit und lang ist, dass ich es fast als Nachthemd tragen k√∂nnte, denn dort stimmten die Masse ja wieder. Zusammen getragen wirkt es √ľberhaupt nicht, in die Hose gesteckt wirkt das Top sehr unf√∂rmig und √ľber der Hose h√§ngend verdeckt es diese fast vollst√§ndig. Egal, H√§kchen dran, ¬†beim n√§chsten Mal wird alles besser.

Falls ihr nach diesem Schema euren eigenen Schnitt basteln wollt:
– Die Breite der Hosenschnittteile an der oberen Kante bemisst sich an eurer st√§rksten Stelle des Unterleibs, zuz√ľglich ein wenig Bequemlichkeitszugabe beim Anziehen.
– Denkt daran, etwas H√∂he f√ľr den Tunnelzug bei den Hosenschnittteilen zuzugeben.
– Die Weite des Oberteils am oberen Abschluss bemisst sich weder am Brust- noch am Oberbrustumfang. Da es keinen Verschluss gibt, musst die Weite so gew√§hlt werden, dass ihr das Top √ľber Kopf ausziehen k√∂nnt. Das bedeutet auch, dass ihr kein eng anliegendes Oberteil erwarten d√ľrft, sondern dass es eher weit f√§llt.

Um endlich fertig zu werden, habe ich die L√∂cher f√ľr den Tunnelzug dann nur noch geschnitten und nicht umgen√§ht sowie ein schmales Satinband als Tr√§ger angen√§ht. Auch wenn es am Ende nicht das Lieblingsst√ľck nach historischem Vorbild wurde, es ist f√ľr’s erste tragbar. Ich habe noch ein wenig vom Stoff √ľbrig, um gegebenenfalls noch etwas anderes zu n√§hen, zudem sind die Schnittteile des Oberteils gross genug f√ľr eine Zweitverwendung, falls ich das wollte. Und wenn alle Stricke reissen, muss ich halt noch einmal nach Florida. ūüėČ

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See you soon, bis bald

ette

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.

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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.

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Letztes Jahr verbrachte ich zwei Wochen des¬† Aprils auf einer Fortbildung in Lyon, kurz hatte ich letzten Juni davon erz√§hlt, als ich √ľber einen kleinen B√ľcherfund schrieb. Um abends die H√§nde etwas besch√§ftigen zu k√∂nnen, suchte ich vor meiner Abreise nach einem kleinen, reisef√§higen Projekt, das ohne viel Ausr√ľstung realisierbar w√§re.

Die Wahl fiel auf eine H√§kelspitze aus dem “Bazar” vom 29. Januar 1872, laut Titel eine “Bord√ľre zur Garnitur von Unterr√∂cken und dergl.” Vor allem die Idee, zwei verschiedene Farben zu kombinieren, aber nur mit einer davon wirklich zu h√§keln und die zweite eher wie ein Durchzugband zu gebrauchen, gefiel mir. Die Anleitung forderte Castorwolle in zwei Braunt√∂nen, da ich jedoch mit dem arbeiten wollte, was da war, wurde es Baumwollh√§kelgarn in rot und blau. Castorwolle wird aus Biberfell gemacht, welches mir bisher nur als Material f√ľr H√ľte bekannt war. Ich habe √ľberhaupt keine Idee, wie dieses Haar versponnen aussehen w√ľrde.

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

Nun, so toll war das Projekt am Ende nicht. Die mitlaufenden F√§den sind immer im Weg und verheddern sich nach Lust und Laune und das Ergebnis sah lange nicht so sauber und eindr√ľcklich aus wie in der Abbildung (der klassische “Serviervorschlag”-Effekt). Daher tat ich mich schwer damit, es abzuschliessen und brauchte tats√§chlich bis letzten Monat f√ľr weniger als 2m, zufrieden bin ich immer noch nicht. B√ľgeln half etwas, trotzdem weiss ich noch nicht, wo ich die Spitze verwenden will. Vielleicht h√§tte eine weniger glatte Wolle das Ergebnis verbessert, Biberwolle soll sehr fein sein und verh√§lt 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 Gl√ľck versuchen wollt, ist das hier die Anleitung.

See you soon, love

ette

“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. ūüôā
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 ūüėČ

Wie ich euch ja schon erz√§hlt habe, war ich im Juni zwei Wochen in Florida. Einer unserer Programmpunkte war das Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Es war sehr eindr√ľcklich, wir hatten sogar das Gl√ľck, 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 Gl√ľck einer Space-Shuttle-Technikerin zuzuh√∂ren, die einer Gruppe Kinder Geschichten √ľber die T√ľcken eines Space Shuttles und die gef√§hrlichen Treibstoffe in der Schwerelosigkeit¬† erz√§hlte und wie man als Astronaut im All auf Toilette geht. F√ľr einen kurzen Moment stellte ich mir mein Leben vor, wie es wohl aussehen k√∂nnte, wenn ich “Raketenwissenschaft” studiert h√§tte. Im n√§chsten Moment dachte ich dann aber, dass es wohlm√∂glich im Nachhinein ganz cool klingt, wenn man begeisterten Kindern von seinen Erlebnissen mit hochexplosivem Treibstoff erz√§hlen kann, dass es aber wohl alles andere als lustig ist, mutterseelenallein mit einem Eimer voll Fl√ľssigkeit 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 gl√ľcklich bin. Im √úbrigen sind auch 50 Jahre alte Pestizide alles andere als ungef√§hrlich, 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 besch√§ftigt 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 f√ľr die erste Apollo Mission 1967 ausgew√§hlt. Alles lief nach Plan bis zu einem Probedurchlauf wenige Wochen vor dem Start. Ein technischer Defekt liess in der mit reinem Sauerstoff bef√ľllten Kapsel einen Brand ausbrechen, der k√ľnstliche Druck im Innenraum sorgte daf√ľr, dass alle Versuche, die Kapsel rechtzeitig zu √∂ffnen, 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 zur√ľckbringen 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 f√ľr mich mitnehme? Dass wir nie wissen werden, was uns die Zukunft bringt, aber die wertvollen Momente, die wir erleben d√ľrfen, geniessen sollten. ūüôā
Im Merchandise-Shop des KSC konnte man die Crew-Patches s√§mtlicher NASA-Missionen k√§uflich erwerben, auch wenn einige fiktiv sind (da die fr√ľhen Missionen noch keine offiziellen Patches hatten). Und so w√§hlte ich nicht den Apollo 1-Aufn√§her, sondern den wertvollen Moment, den Gemini-IV-Patch (der einer jener fiktiven bzw. nachtr√§glich 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 w√ľrde er doch irgendwo vergraben werden. Als ich dann auf ein St√ľck roten Baumwollsamt stiess, der irgendwann einmal einer Restekiste entstiegen war, reifte der Plan. Beim Schnittmuster griff ich auf altbew√§hrtes zur√ľck, Burda 4868, ein schlichter Bleistiftrock aus den sp√§ten 80er Jahren. Das hatte ich schon einmal gen√§ht und wusste,¬†es passt und gef√§llt. Die erste Version war aus bedruckter Baumwolle und hielt nicht wirklich lange, da der Stoff einfach zu d√ľnn war.

Reissverschluss und Knopf waren vorhanden, gekauft habe ich das gelbe Ripsband sowie das als Paspel verwendete t√ľrkise Satinband. Da es ein Rest war, musste ich den Bund quer zum Fadenlauf schneiden. Das k√∂nnte bei Samt zu einem etwas wanderw√ľtigen Kleidungsst√ľck f√ľhren, daher ist die Innenseite des Bundes mit einem breiten Gewebeband gearbeitet, welches noch im N√§hschrank 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,
ette

A bag when you need one – Second take!

birdybagIII-parvasedapta.ch

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 f√ľr 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.

birdybagII-parvasedapta.ch

auf Deutsch

Vor ein paar Wochen fand ich bei Ikea etwas ziemlich praktisches, eine Betttasche. Mein Nachttisch ist recht klein und chronisch √ľberf√ľllt, daher gefiel mir der Gedanke einer Ablage, welche die Gefahr das Wasserglas im Dunkeln vom Tisch zu stossen reduzieren w√ľrde. Das T√§schchen lag schon in meinem Einkaufswagen als ich beschloss: Das kann ich selber! Also legte ich es zur√ľck, 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 m√ľsste, welches Format meine Tasche haben soll und was √ľberhaupt rein k√§me. Schnell war klar: das Buch! Eben jenes Buch, welchem man die letzten f√ľnf Minuten Aufmerksamkeit des Tages schenkt. Damit war auch beschlossen, dass ich eigentlich nur eine Tasche brauchte und so entschied ich mich f√ľr ein Design von Bruno Behrendt aus “Kunstgewerbe f√ľr das Haus”, Ausgabe September 1905. Der Entwurf ist gedacht f√ľr 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 f√ľr einen Rest gelbe Baumwolle (2008 f√ľr einen Schlafanzug f√ľr 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: gr√ľn 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 R√ľckseite genommen und B√§nder zur Befestigung angen√§ht. Da die obere Lasche jedoch durch das Lattenrost und das Gewicht von Rost und Matratze eingeklemmt wird, w√§ren die B√§nder eigentlich gar nicht n√∂tig gewesen.

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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.

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Und falls ihr nun wissen wollt was das f√ľr 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 schl√§gt 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

ette

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.

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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.

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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).

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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-Kr√§nzchen, 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.

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So…wo fange ich an…
2012 las ich einen sehr sch√∂nen Post √ľber 50er-Jahre Kleider aus Sari-Stoffen auf Tuppence Ha’Penny Vintage. Offenbar mochte man damals die gold-bestickten Sari-Stoffen und n√§hte modische Kleider mit exotischen Details daraus.

Das widerum warf mich zeitlich noch weiter zur√ľck. 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 f√ľr wenige Wochen in Pakistan arbeitete. Wie ihr euch vorstellen k√∂nnt waren mein Bruder und ich immer neugierig, was er diesmal zu erz√§hlen 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 h√∂chstwahrscheinlich alle schon einmal.

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Leider konnte sich mein Vater¬†mit dem Verk√§ufer absolut nicht verst√§ndigen und verstand auch die Gr√∂√üenangaben auf der Packung nicht. Als ich mein Geschenk auspackte, sah¬†ich mich daher mit einer wahrhaft gigantisch gro√üen Hose konfrontiert sowie einem geringf√ľgig weniger gro√üen Oberteil (die Hosen sind weit geschnitten und werden zusammengebunden, aber es war trotzdem viel zu gross).
Nat√ľrlich freute ich mich trotzdem und war zuversichtlich, das ganze irgendwann mal auf meinen K√∂rper anzupassen. Daher wanderte es erst einmal in meinen Schrank. Oben seht ihr ein Foto das w√§hrend eines Umzugs 2005 gemacht wurde, hinter mir im Schrank seht ihr es h√§ngen.

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Ja, und da hang es erstmal. Zwischendurch nahm ich mir dann wirklich¬†vor es zu √§ndern. Dann √ľberlegte ich, wann ich so etwas tragen w√ľrde und meine Motivation sank zugleich wieder.¬†Gleichzeitig gefiel mir der Gedanke, drei zusammenpassende Stoffe zu haben, auch wenn man sich dar√ľber streiten, ob sie so sch√∂n 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 Umz√ľge, drei Abschl√ľsse (Schule und an zwei verschiedenen Universit√§ten), zwei L√§nder, dieser Salwar Kamiz hat sehr viel von meinem Leben gesehen.

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Mir war klar, dass ich kein Abendkleid aus diesen Stoffen n√§hen k√∂nnte, es ist keine gold-bestickte Seide, sondern bedruckte Baumwolle. Daher schwebte mir eher sowas wie ein Tageskleid vor. F√ľndig wurde ich in meiner Lutterloh-Ausgabe von 1955/6, eine Bluse mit dazu passendem Rock. Den Schnitt habe ich mit meinen Ma√üen vergr√∂ssert und komplett ohne √Ąnderungen gen√§ht. Einzig den Rock habe ich an die Dupatta angepasst: Ich wusste, dass der Schal als Saumr√ľsche Verwendung finden sollte, also schnitt ich ihn in der Mitte durch. Danach war er immer noch so breit wie ca. 2/3 der Rockl√§nge. Ich r√ľschte ihn auf die laut Schnittmuster erforderliche Weite und erg√§nzte den oberen Teil mit dem Stoff der Hose. Aus demselben Stoff schnitt ich die Belege der Bluse sowie Schr√§gband f√ľr die √Ąrmel und den Blusensaum. Die Bluse selber schnitt ich aus dem Kamiz.

Lutterloh-Schnitte geben nur die absolut notwendigen Schnittteile an, Belege, B√ľnde und √§hnliches muss man sich dazu basteln. Daher f√ľgte ich auch direkt noch eine Tasche in eine der Rockn√§hte ein. Der Rock schliesst am Bund mit einem durchsichtigen Knopf und darunter mit zwei Druckkn√∂pfen, durch die ganzen Falten reicht das vollkommen. Bund, Kragen und Belege sind mit Vlieseline verst√§rkt. Da ich von den gro√üen wei√üen Kn√∂pfen nur drei hatte entschied ich mich f√ľr diese assymetrische L√∂sung, abweichend von der Zeichnung.

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Nun, zusammen getragen ist es wirklich sehr…speziell. Die Farben sind mir auch einfach zu viel. Daher konnte ich nicht anders, als es f√ľr die Fotos absolut over-the-top zu stylen. Mit einer wei√üen Bluse stelle ich mir den Rock aber tats√§chlich sehr sch√∂n vor, oder auch die Bluse mit einer Hose. Grad trag ich eine dunkelblaue Strickjacke dr√ľber, so schaut nur der Kragen raus. Zusammen mit dunklen Schuhen k√∂nnte 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 g√∂nne (und vielleicht sogar ein paar Tage wegfahre),¬†machen dieses Projekt einen sch√∂nen Beitrag zum diesmonatigen Krea-Kr√§nzchen 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.

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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

ette

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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The Challenge: #18 Poetry in motion

The Poem: Ford Madox Ford РAntwerp (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‚ā¨ 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,

ette

 

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.)

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

So much for today, love

ette

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.

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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.

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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’√©tranger, 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).

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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 f√ľr’s Haus”.

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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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 f√ľr’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‚ā¨ 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‚ā¨ for all of them, so maybe we could say 7-8‚ā¨.

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

 

See you soon, love,

ette

 

 

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).
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 “Unterhaltungsbl√§tter” 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 ūüėČ ) 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.

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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.

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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-Bl√§tter”, 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‚ā¨ 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).

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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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

See you soon, love,

ette

 

Nearly forgotten – Fall for Cotton

Yeah, it rhymes ūüôā

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.

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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 ūüėČ ).

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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. ūüėÄ

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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(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)

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

see you soon,

love, ette