Tag Archives: cotton

what’s this? 70ies! 30ies! 50ies?

I already mentioned the small antiques Shop “das Puppenhaus” in my hometown quite a few times.
In front of the actual shop the owner installed a shelf with modern, less valuable or broken things. Everything in this shelf is 1€, if you fill one of the plastic bags next to the shelf, it is 3€ total. Of course, what you find there is rarely more than rummage, but if you search for chipped plates, cheesy 70ies novels and other stuff, this is the place to go.
Obviously, you only need to be interested in a very few things to start thinking “mh, maybe I should fill a bag”. What I usually filled the gaps with was clothing, you can always use it as a fabric resource. I found a Korn-Bandshirt, a skirt that now forms part of my quilt and a hilarious 1970ies (?) nightgown.

This colour is very difficult to describe and even more difficult to photograph. It lies somewhere between “very-light-shade-of-pink” and “I-forgot-a-red-sock-in-the-white-laundry”. As you see, it is very wide, label says size 50 (though sizing has changed in the last 40 years, 50 must have been pretty large already back then). The fabric is a very light, sheer cotton with machine embroidery in the front, the back is plain.

Now, this dreadfullness has been in my stock for a rather long time, maybe around 6 years. I always planned to turn it into something wearable, adjust it to my size, make something completely different out of it, I had plenty of ideas. But then, everytime I looked at it I shook my head and put it back.

Finally I faced the monster.

First I cut away all the seams, but kept the hem and the buttonband.
The sleeves’ fabric was very worn and threadbare, I was close to throwing it away (but I didn’t, as you’ll see later). The front and back were each made from one large sheet of fabric without any darts or similar (but for the buttonband). Because the original cut had raglan sleeves, the fabric was much narrower on the top end than at the hem.

I chose a pattern for a nightgown I found in a 1937 schoolbook I bought in april 2013.

I copied the upper parts of the front and back and placed them onto my fabric as high as possible (remember, the raglan cut).  The resulting pieces I sewed together, using french seams. The sleeveless gown was much shorter than I had hoped for, but at least it was already hemmed.

What was left of the fabric were the bits cut away to form the armholes in the front, a larger piece from the back and the sleeves. I cut away all the fabric that was too worn to be used, turning the rest into more or less straight stripes. These stripes, eight in total, I patched together to two rectagles of four, having one embroidered stripe in each of it. I formed kind of a halfcircle to turn them into sleeves. The hem I decorated with a polyester lace, that is in no way less horrible than the original nightgown had been. I set the sleeves in and finished the neckline with white bias binding on the inside (it is a little stiff, I hope it gets better after having been washed a couple of times). I re-attached the ribbon (not before re-sewing it, the thread was more brittle than the fabric itself, and yes, it is off-centre, don’t tell me 😉 ) and found a button in the exact same hilarious pale shade of pink (maybe it even came from this nightgown, I can’t remember if the buttons were already missing or if I took them off).

Well yes, and now it looks like a late 1950ies babydoll-dress, though I made no alterations to the pattern at all. Well, except for the length, the sleeves and the already given buttonband and ribbon.

The Challenge: #1 Make do & Mend

Fabric: pale pink cotton with machine embroidery

Pattern: basic nightgown pattern from a schoolbook

Year: 1937

Notions: thread, polyester lace, plastic button, bias binding

How historically accurate is it? well, the pattern is an original one, the fabric is imaginable in the 1930ies. But the machine embroidery, the length and the overall impression it gives aren’t suitable for this decade at all, so let’s say 20-30%

Hours to complete: 4

First worn:  january 3, 2014

Total cost: maybe less than 1€ (3m bias binding cost 0,80€, I used less than 1m, lace surely was part of a convolute bought somewhere at a flea market, button as well. Costs for the nightgown I already explained above)

And a funny work-in-progress-photo featuring the lady of the house. I had searched for inspiration for the next challenge when I didn’t work on the nightgown (lying in the background), that’s why the magazines still lay on the sofa. Seems as if they have their own bobyguard now. She even stares like an aged librarian.

See you soon, love,

ette

What I wore…to celebrate

Monday was the day…I had my very last oral exam, one hour, four topics. I was a really great exam, my Professor simply let me talk and asked some questions at the end of each topic to see if I really knew enough about the subject and was able to react to react her objecting an argument of mine.

I can’t really believe that it is all done now. Nearly as long as I can remember I went to school or to university, when I will be given my report in October I will officially be a Master of Arts. Now I will start searching a job or maybe think about directly going back to university, enlisting as a Ph.D. student.

A friend of mine had her exam after me and as soon as we were both finished we went to have lunch all together, with our professor, her assistant and my boyfriend.
Now, several other friends had their exams the next day and so I joined them on tuesday evening to celebrate a little.

What I wore: I found this dress a few months ago in a vintage shop in Bern. I saw it and knew it was older than the 70ies and 80ies stuff they sell in large numbers (they always have some 50ies and 60ies stuff as well, but I am not always lucky to find something I really like and fit into). So I bought it without even thinking how to wear it. I believe it being late 40ies/early 50ies.

After having watched it a few weeks as it was hanging on my wardrobe door I began combining it with different accesoires and shoes. I have shoes to match the colour of the outfit, I have grey ankle boots, white court shoes, light pink sandals. But it looked all horrible. The cut, the fabric, the colours, all added up to create a lovely granny effect. Lovely if you are indeed a granny and are about to celebrate you 76th birthday, but I still have 50 years to go to do that. So I was sure that I couldn’t style it authentical or even classical. What I did was to break the style combining the dress with a heavy leather belt and black boots.

Because it was pretty cool outside I also added a white cardigan.

Outside I paired it with a creme-coloured trenchcoat and a lovely early 60ies umbrella I bought at a flea market last year.

Outside it has a standard patterned fabric, but on the inside it is lined, so all the wires and bars of the umbrella are covered. Imagine women with their helmet-like 60ies hairstyle, getting tangled in an umbrella would have completely ruined the hairdo. So it was certainly a really clever idea to cover all the frame of the umbrella.

(dress: vintage, bought at Fizzen; cardigan: Carhartt; belt: from my uncle; boots: charity shop; umbrella: flea market)

Yay, Duckface, don’t ask, I was tired and came home late.

See you soon, love

ette