Tag Archives: cotton

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):

img142

 

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).

DSC_1809

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.

DSC_1813

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.


DSC_1811DSC_1814

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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