Tag Archives: dress

Only 316 days to go

Deutsche Zusammenfassung s.u.

Third 20ies-post in a row, hope you won’t get bored? 🙂

Well, some time ago there was a Sew-Along. Its aim was to sew a dress. Not just any dress, a Christmas-Dress. Yes, I am talking about the Weihnachtskleid-Sewalong. It’s been a while 😉

My last post with this tag dates from december 15th, nearly two months ago I’m afraid. At  that stage my dress was far from being finished, the top wasn’t attached to the skirt, sleeves and all the little velvet things like collar and jabot I hadn’t even thought of. But despite my motivation was as low as you could imagine, I did work on the dress and many little steps took me to finally finishing it already one month ago. The first photos of the finished dress (on my dress form in a bad light, you see some of them further down) date from january 10th, so apparently I was already done then.

But it took me until last wekend I finally found the time and the right weather to make some proper photos of it. Or maybe it was again a matter of not-wanting?

You may wonder why. Why didn’t I want to be finished by Christmas when I had the chance to? Why wasn’t I eager to photograph my first ever 20ies sewing project?
Maybe because, the closer I got to the finishing line, the more I realized this was in no way going to work.
The fitting issues were all dealt with, the plaid sewing went without any difficulties, there were no catastrophes, no sewing-machine-breakdowns, no seam-unpicking, no shortage of fabric nothing. What happened?

Well, I should have known earlier: What comes to your mind when thinking of the 20ies? Simple but beautiful styles, quiet and yet eccentric fashion, quality materials, sophisticated cuts, for me the Twenties are pure, calm elegance.
And what did I chose? A dress with Peter-Pan-Collar and jabot in piggy-pink-velvet! Pardon!? What was I thinking? This isn’t elegant, this is ludicrous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0079wm

See? It is a 20ies dress, no doubt it is. But this is a dress you can wear when welcoming your in-laws-to-be when trying to convince then that you aren’t a naughty flapper-girl, but well behaved and boring, far away from anything scandalous.

And for me this is far from being wearable outside a fancy dress party. This has nothing to do with elegant 20ies silk chiffon show-more-than-you-conceal-dresses that would force people to stare with their mouths open, this is a cute little period dress, optionally worn by the well-mannered daughter or the old maid left on the shelf in a clichéd play, though I should have left the skirt a little longer for these two.

DSC_0085wm

And this means as well that for me there was no way I was going to wear this on Christmas Eve. My boyfriend still can’t stop laughing and shaking his head when he sees me wearing this.

DSC_0081wm

Now, after having said all this, let’s talk about the dress a little. Despite the fabrics being not correct at all, I tried to stay as close as I could to the original. All seam allowances on the inside are pinked, the waist seam is covered with a grosgrain ribbon. I used no interfacing, therefore the cuffs are a little on the floppy side, the sleeves close with hooks and eyes beneath the cuffs. The front closes with press-studs underneath the jabot.

DSC_0063 (2)wm

I had initially planned to make the jabot from the plaid fabric. Only later I saw that it was meant to be made from the second fabric. Because the back of the velvet isn’t that attractive I doubled it with the plaid. As you can imagine this resulted in a very stiff jabot, the nice drapery look above is completely fake, everything is sewn in place to make it appear as it does.

DSC_0062 (2)wm

Collar, cuffs and belt are lined with a champagne-coloured poly-whatever-lining-fabric, while the topstitching on the jabot is made with the machine, on the cuffs and the collar I used hand-stitching, as visible above.

DSC_0076wm
this is in fact an outtake, I was closing my cuff at that moment

The skirt was meant to be a little wider than the bodice. I tried to gather as much width as I could without being visible as gathers in the front and back, the rest was put to the sides, so the side panels do appear a little gathered, but I like this effect (and it is very common for 20ies dresses to have gathers or pleated panels at the hips, so maybe even wanted).
And because it had always been too large and too long during its creation, I somehow overdid it and now the skirt is a little on the short side. But I admittedly was too lazy to unpick the hem with all the pleats so I’ll leave it like this.

DSC_0078wm

Well, consider the Christmas-Dress-chapter closed.

I don’t know what I will do with this dress. In a few days there is carnival in Switzerland, though I normally avoid this event, at least I would have a fancy dress to wear if anybody forces me to go.

DSC_0082wm
hat: New Yorker – feathers on the hat: antique/flea market – dress: ette after a 1920ies pattern – stockings: Ars Vivendi – shoes: flea market

Now, what do you say to this pink square frumpy whatever?
And to stay with the sew-along’s motto: 316 days until Christmas 😛

Auf Deutsch:
Auch wenn das link-in schon lange geschlossen ist und man das hier wohl kaum noch als verspĂ€tete Zieleinfahrt werten kann, ich habe diesen Sew-Along zweisprachig gestartet, dann sollte ich auch noch ein paar Worte auf deutsch ĂŒber den Abschluss dieser Odyssee verlieren:
Mitverfolgen konntet ihr den Werdegang dieses Kleides bis Mitte Dezember, da hatte ich Rock und Oberteil als Basis fertig. Alle Anpassungen waren vorgenommen und auch das mit dem Karomuster hatte sich als machbar erwiesen. Warum es jetzt trotzdem so lange gebraucht hat, um fertigzuwerden (zugegeben, fertig ist es schon seit dem 10. Januar, aber erst am Wochenende konnte ich mich zu schönen Fotos aufraffen)? Schaut es euch an! Das hat mit eleganten, mondĂ€nen 20ern nichts zu tun. Rosa Karos mit Samt und BĂŒbchenkragen, was hab ich mir dabei gedacht? Ja, es sieht authentisch aus (nur bei der SaumlĂ€nge war ich ein wenig vorschnell, die ist zu kurz), aber nicht schön. Das trĂ€gt man wenn man jemandem zeigen will, wie lieb und langweilig man eigentlich ist, bei der zukĂŒnftigen Schwiegermutter zum Beispiel. Diese Erkenntnis dĂ€mmerte mir bereits wĂ€hrend des NĂ€hens, weshalb es als Weihnachtsgarderobe dann nicht mehr zur Diskussion stand und so ergab eines das andere und es brauchte seine Zeit, bis es tatsĂ€chlich noch fertig wurde.
Jetzt habe ich ein sehr braves 20er-Jahre-Kleid, dass selbst auf einer KostĂŒmparty bieder wirken wĂŒrde.
Ich bin daher merkwĂŒrdig zwiegespalten, denn abgesehen davon bin ich sehr glĂŒcklich, wie gut alles gelaufen ist und dass es einigermassen sitzt.

Naja, bis Weihnachten sind es noch 316 Tage, bis Rosenmontag nur noch 5, auch wenn ich absolut kein Jeck bin, immerhin hĂ€tte ich jetzt ein KostĂŒm.

See you soon, love,

ette

 

Black and Blue remodeled

When my father visited me back in october, he asked if we could visit the local antiques shop together. I hadn’t been there for months or even more than a year because the last visits there had been quite unsuccessful and it was quite far from our old flat. Now, from our new home it is less than ten minutes by foot.

And whilst my father didn’t find anything this time, I found something, to be exact two things. The better preserved one I am showing you today, when the second one will be ready to be presented I don’t know, could take some time, so you need to be patient.

This dress hung on a coat rack next to a 60ies ladies suit that didn’t appeal to me at all. But this one did. I would date it around 1940. It has been reworked, it seems as if someone re-used the black silk from an older garment, some seams are oddly placed and you still find remnants of previous ones. The skirt as well as the front part is made from black silk satin, the upper part of the bodice and the sleeves are made from blue silk satin, overlaid with black lace. Small parts like the collar and the cuffs are worked in black silk crĂȘpe.

DSC_0034wm

There is no label to be found and judging from the seams and the fact that an older garment was re-used I assume that this dress was homesewn. The front and the belt as well as the cuffs close with press buttons.

DSC_0033wm

Unfortunately the silk crĂȘpe of the collar has discoloured, maybe caused by light. I plan to hand-wash it with ivy leaves, which can not only be used as a mild detergent, but also helps dark colours to refresh (that’s why you shouldn’t wash light colours with it, it doesn’t only refresh, it obviously kind of dyes), I hope this will help a little.

DSC_0092wm

Only on the way home I realized it had a large tear on the right side of the skirt, beforehand I had thought it was, apart from the collar, in wearable condition. To fix this I arranged a scrap of silk-organza on my embroidery hoop, pinned the tear onto it and darned it with silk thread, which I had splitted in three very thin strands beforehand.

DSC_0001wmDSC_0002wmDSC_0005 (2)wmDSC_0007 (2)wm

Please note, this is very important for me: I am not a conservator, I have never learnt how to conserve and repair old and antique textiles. This is NOT how you should conserve an antique dress, the main premise of museums today is that a manipulation should be reversible. The darning above surely doesn’t accord to any museum practice. I bought this dress and planned to wear it, that’s why I did what I did, not to make anything according to museum standard!

DSC_0009wmDSC_0036wm

Here you see the outside and the inside of the top part.

DSC_0035wm

A close-up of the skirt. You see the traces of the old seams and that the hem used to be folded on a slightly different position. Below some thread remnants I removed from the old seams. The brown parts are the ones that were exposed to light, the black parts stuck in the fabric, this is what light does to textiles!

DSC_0037wm

I really managed to take not a single photo were the tear is really visible. You can maybe make it out in the one below, it sits at half height.

DSC_0090wm

DSC_0089wm

DSC_0088wm

Unfortunately the sleeves are a bit on the small side, I really have to keep my shoulders pulled up to wear them as long as this. If I should ever really wear it (I maybe won’t dare at all, it is quite delicate), I will maybe try to roll them up on the inside and wear them as 3/4-sleeves, so I won’t have to change them.

DSC_0087wm
dress: antique shop – shoes: Bally/flea market

Side note: The shoes look pretty authentic, but date in fact from the 1970ies. I know for sure because the seller had bought them for herself back then. It was the Bonnie&Clyde-Great Gatsby-mania and the revival of 30ies-fashion that made shoes like this so very popular and close to the original 30ies ones. I own another very similar pair from the 70ies and they are not only very comfortable, but it is also a relief to know that they are not that old and delicate as they look. Oh, and they are cheaper, too 😉

See you soon, love

ette

Somebody found my sewing-mojo?

No?…Well, was worth a try…

This week’s or better yesterday’s agenda:

Oah, jetzt aber schnell!
Nur noch der Saum!
Ich könnte hier nochmal nachbessern
Ich bin fertig, zeige aber noch nichts
Ich bin ein Streber und nĂ€he jetzt noch ein TĂŒdeldĂŒ fĂŒr meine drei Weihnachtskleider

Ohoh, I should hurry!
Only the hem left!

I could  retouch this and that
I’m done but won’t show
I’m way ahead and will add some accessory to my three dresses

my motto could be summarized with the first line only, I am far from being finished…

I am stuck! In many ways.
First, time is working against me. I have to work a lot (christmas + bookshop, well, you get it), I had a conference last week, went to the last lecture before christmas, had to discuss a lot of things with my professor and am working on my PHD-project. When I come home all I wish for is a glass of wine and Downton Abbey in the Blu-Ray-player.

Second, this project is so…demanding, claiming. Not that is is overly difficult, in fact it is fairly easy. And cutting large rectangles isn’t a challenge, even in plaid. But I hate all this concentrating on lines and patterns and grain when the pattern pieces are so simple. It feels like a lot of boring work. To pair things I don’t like (=all this tripple checking for matching lines) with a boring pattern doesn’t seem to have been a good idea. I am sure it will get better when i have finished the basic seams and can finally add the velvet but all this pressing and pleating and cutting and blaaahhh…it’s just not mine….
Still I am determined to finish this project. Not only because I still like the concept and want to sew a 20ies dress,also because I hate to be defeated by something as simple as that.

Third, there are things I would love to sew at the moment, other things. I had a wonderful idea for the HSF-challenge that is due today, it wouldn’t be much work either. And I planned to make my boyfriend something for christmas, I did this every year earlier in our relationship but somehow in the last couple of years I fell off.
But the plaid dress is clouding these projects and vice versa.

Now, enough complaining. What have I done?
I cut the skirt and pleated it. Admittedly that wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be. Modern patterns usually have two marked lines, one marks the fold, the other the place where the fold will lie. These pattern pieces only had one line. Now was I supposed to make knife pleats? And with two lines close to each other that where visible as two pleats in the image? Should I make box pleats, inverted or standard? And how deep? And I had to consider this before cutting, because my pattern repeat had to be followed as well and the pleat depth adjusted to it.
In the end I made inverted box pleats on the side seams, one standard box pleat in the centre front and something that could be defined as a very wide box pleat with narrow walls or simply as two knife pleats facing the sides in the back. All pleats perfectly match the pattern, at least this was a success.

the pleat in the centre front
the pleat in the centre front
inverted box pleat at the side and one of the pleats in the back
inverted box pleat at the side and one of the pleats in the back

As you might remember, I removed 8cm circumference from the paper pattern because the size was too large for me. When I had finished pleating I had to realize it was still very very large, I think the hip circumference was something like 107cm (I didn’t measure beforehand because I always want to see how the original pattern was meant to look like before I adjust it). Yes, 20ies fashion is supposed to be non-fitted, but it isn’t supposed to be that wide. The magic of this fashion lies in how it hugs the figure without really touching it. So the dress shouldn’t be much wider at the hip as the hip itself, otherwise it would of course look baggy. As a consequence I doubled the depth of the rear parts of the box pleats on the sides, removing 11cm circumference (and before you ask, yes, 96cm is still more than my hip circumference. But first the skirt is going to be gathered at the waist seam a little and second I don’t want to stretch it too far, it should be snug as little as baggy). To stick with the pattern I could only increase the depth of one half of the box pleats at the side. So now they are not only asymmetric (the rear half is deeper than the one in the front, maybe I will at least sew close the excess to make it fall better) but they also shifted from slightly behind the sides to right at the sides. I am not content with this by now but can’t think of anything to change it. If the skirt will still be too large I plan to add a seam in the centre back. Like this I can remove only one pattern repeat (=5,5cm circumference, the pleats are always mirrored on the other side, so I always have to remove 11cm) and the side pleats will at least shift a little towards the back, too.

The top is in progress. I made a mistake when cutting the front parts so the pattern doesn’t match the way it should at the shoulder seams, but I think I am able to ignore that. More annoying is the fact, that the diagonal darts in the shoulder seams look like rubbish. Not because I did something wrong, it just looks weird with the plaid. Well, my hair is long, hopefully it will cover it or maybe it won’t look too bad when worn, we’ll see. At least the side seams look good and the whole thing is remotely resembling a dress.

the front. You see the weird darts?
the front. You see the weird darts?
the side seam. At least this went well and the fit seems to be ok.
the side seam. At least this went well and the fit seems to be ok.

Now I am facing the difficult decision to wether use this evening to finish the button band in the centre front or to spend it in front of the tv watching Downton Abbey as I have done already the previous nights. I’m afraid one of these alternatives is far more tempting than the other….

that's how it looks now. Not very elegant but it could be worse I suppose.
that’s how it looks now. Not very elegant but it could be worse I suppose.

Auf deutsch:

So richtig komme ich nicht voran. Die Falten im Rock sind gelegt und sehen schön aus, auch wenn das Schnittmuster mehr als kryptisch war, was die Verteilung derselben angeht. Allerdings war der fertig gefaltete Umfang weit davon entfernt mir zu passen, weshalb ich die Faltentiefe teilweise anpassen musste. Jetzt ist es zwar immer noch nicht ganz passend, aber zum einen soll es am Bund etwas engehalten werden und zweitens, sollte es gar nicht passen nehm ich was in der hinteren Mitte raus und setze dort eine Naht, denn die Falten kann ich ja immer nur passend mit dem Rapport verschieben. Das Oberteil ist vom Sitz her ok, allerdings sehen diese schrĂ€gen AbnĂ€her recht merkwĂŒrdig in dem Karomuster aus. Aber das kann ich einfach nicht Ă€ndern, also bleibt es so. Der aktuelle Stand ist weder interessant noch elegant aber ich hoffe einfach, dass was nicht ist noch werden kann, auch wenn mir nicht mehr viel Zeit bis nĂ€chsten Sonntag bleibt und die Motivation zu wĂŒnschen ĂŒbrig lĂ€sst.

So much for today, see you soon, love

ette

Principles and how to overcome them

DSC_0020wm

I don’t like altering clothes. I like to sew new ones and I have no problems with fixing a lost button or a broken zipper. But I don’t anymore buy things to remodel them. I used to do but somehow it never turned out how I wanted it and was always a lot more work than expected.

DSC_0006wm

Additionally, I don’t like to alter old clothes. I mean, these things have survived 40 or 60 years without manipulation and I know how valuable unaltered things from previous centuries are for costume historians because they are so rare. A large shop in Berne selling Vintage and modern clothes alters vintage dresses on a grand scale, because most clients want their skirts to end above the knee and not at mid-calf length. The vast majority of these altered dresses dates from the 80ies, but every now and then you see something older amongst them, too. This altering makes the dresses uninteresting for me (because I like my dresses to end below the knees), but it also means less and less dresses in their original state. Because of this I do not buy these altered dresses and I only buy dresses that fit me. Even if a little shortening or two centimetres less circumference would make them look perfect, usually I don’t buy them and hope they’ll find a more fitting client, in the truest sense of the word.

DSC_0026wm

But this spring another user of my favourite sewing board sold a beautiful late50ies/early 60ies wool shirt dress I wasn’t able to resist, despite it being too large and I threw all my priciples overboard. Because the sleeves and the bodice were made from one piece of fabric that made fitting issues at the shoulders nonexistant, this seemed to be a pretty easy one to be altered to fit me.
And so I did. All I had to do was remove the skirt, shift the side seams to fit my size and re-attach the skirt. Because the wool was so easy to gather I didn’t even have to remodel the pleats.
It was obvious that the skirt had been altered before, there were multiple seams in different threads at the waist. So I wasn’t the first to manipulate it and I was, I admit, a little relieved not to have destroyed something completely untouched (because of the thick fabric and the curved seam underneath the arms I had to cut away the fabric, too. I know, something you never ever should do, shame on me).
Because one button was missing I had to remove the one at the bottom and sewed the buttonhole close so it would be less obvious. Grace to this fine striped pattern it works quite well. I added a small hook and eye to  the waistband because the dress tended to gape, as there wasn’t a button to hold this narrowest part of the dress.

DSC_0014wm

I thought this quite weird and it took an accident to solve this mystery. A few months later the same woman sent me a whole set of hemming feet for my 1932 Pfaff. Before she sent the parcel she asked me if I would be interested in a belt to match the dress, she had found it and hadn’t even known a belt existed. Yes, of course I was! And obviously, with a belt you have far less concerns with a gaping waist 🙂

DSC_0019wm

It has been finished and in my wardrobe quite some time now and I love it. The hem looks a little pointy in the centre front, I think I will add a little press fastener to keep it in place.
The fabric is, as you can imagine, quite scratchy, fortunately I own a shirt with the exact same sleeve length to wear underneath.

DSC_0024wm

Dear Ravna, thank you so very much for selling me something that has already become one of my favourite dresses!

DSC_0022wm
dress: Vintage/altered by me – tights: Fogal – Shoes: wonders – handbag: made by Goldkind – scarf: belonged to my grandaunt – gloves: Vintage/Fizzen – brooch: Antique/Flea market – fragrance: Nina Ricci-L’air du temps

See you soon, love

ette

PS: Forgive me to have skipped this sunday’s Christmas dress post. My weekend was equally parted in work, meeting friends from my favourite online sewing board and being sick. Needless to say the latter third was the time I had planned to use for sewing instead of sleeping and whimpering. I am trying to catch up but the pattern needs more adjustments than expected which makes me progress slower than expected. At least the plaid isn’t the problem 😉

They call me nightshirt

Today let’s talk about how you should not treat an old dress and how you should not buy anything that looks cute.

DSC_0027wm

Many many years ago (must have been 2006 or little earlier), I bought one of my first vintage dresses: A pale pink shift dress of pure silk taffeta. If I recollect correctly, I bought it as a 50ies adolescent dress without ever checking this information. And if I recollect correctly as well, I only wore it once, to wear to a goth disco with satin corset, gloves and black laced boots. I stood out, but I loved it (oh, and pink clip-in extensions)!

what things you still find on your myspace-page...
things you still find on your myspace-page…

I never considered giving it away (hey, it was old and pink!), but I never really wore it. I feared it could be too fragile and when on earth could you wear a pink silk dress?

Meanwhile it moved with me three times and I have learned a lot about fashion and historical sewing techniques. I never know how to style this thing and my boyfriend always says it looks like a nightshirt and I shouldn’t wear it outside. So it lurks in the back of my wardrobe and never really sees the light (if it is really a nightshirt it is also a creature of the night, maybe it’s manipulating me and doesn’t want to see daylight? Help, it’s alive!).

But once in a while I try to wear it, play around a little to defuse this out-of-bed-look and in November I dared to wear it to a concert  (Mozart’s Requiem, a very dear colleague participated and generously invited me and my boyfriend, check out the choir’s website if you life in Switzerland and like classical music). I took the opportunity to have a closer look at it.

an awful lot of handsewing going on inside
an awful lot of handsewing going on inside, the buttons are secured with a thin pink ribbon.
The front. The bow is just decorative, the rest of the band is bias binding made from the same fabric.
The front. The bow is just decorative, the rest of the band is bias binding made from the same fabric.
are these buttons handmade? it looks as if, don't they? To me it seems as if they consist of a ball of wrapped yarn and invisibly attached silk fabric.
are these buttons handmade? it looks as if, don’t they? To me it seems as if they consist of a ball of wrapped yarn and invisibly attached silk fabric.

Coil zipper in the centre back as well as the absence of any old seams or other traces of manipulation make me date this dress into the 1960ies. But I am still amazed of all the hand sewing and old techniques used (I have never seen such a perfectly hand-sewn zipper. You need a magnifying glass and have to look at the back of the seam to see that it isn’t machine sewn). Maybe this was made by someone who had learned sewing already years or even decades ago and still used all this techniques when making a dress for a granddaughter?

Now, back to the dress as a whole. It is a little too large, not the best premise to make a pink shift dress look NOT like a nightshirt.

oh, wait until you see the front, this is going to be fun!
oh, wait until you see the front, this is going to be fun!

And my boyfriend is right, styled wrongly it could really look like “oh, hello Mr. Postman, sorry, I just woke up”

yeah, the hilarious shoes again!
yeah, the hilarious shoes again!

This is how I wore it this evening. Paired with a black cardigan with pink and red embroidery and patent leather high-heels (I switched later to black smooth leather t-straps heels, these somehow felt a little too…*ahem* kinky to wear in a church).

DSC_0025wm

And yes, lots of make-up. Idea is that nobody wakes up with perfectly shiny red lipstick applied.

dress: antique/Das Puppenhaus, cardigan: Voodoo Vixen, high-heels: Christian Louboutin/2nd-hand Secondo Bern, handbag: flea-market, necklace: gift from mum
dress: antique/Das Puppenhaus, cardigan: Voodoo Vixen, high-heels: Christian Louboutin/2nd-hand Secondo Bern, handbag: flea-market, necklace: gift from mum, fragrance: Prada, Amber

Now, what do you think? Nightshirt or wearable? I am still convinced that it really was meant as a dress because of the zipper and the globular buttons, both wouldn’t be very comfortable in bed. But still, it has this air of lingerie….

Dare anybody of you to pin this photo :-P
Dare anybody of you to pin this photo 😛

Now that you have managed to read everything I might reveal that I wanted a “styled” photo to appear in this post first. My idea was that the verdict could be different, depending on what of the two stylings you see first. I would have loved to post this in two different blogs, one with nightshirt-photos first, the other with styled photos on top. I bet it would have made a difference. So are you sure you decided how you wanted to and not depending on what you saw first? 🙂
(I fear I have been reading too much Daniel Kahneman in the last time, but his book is really interesting)

See you soon, love

ette

 

slow, slow, slow as you can go (Christmas dress pt. 3)

Depeche Mode found the right words to describe my progress, I am just hesitating with everything.

 

The agenda:

Ich bin in Stimmung, erste NĂ€hte sind gemacht!
Endlich hab ich angefangen
Probemodell sitzt, ich kann den richtigen Stoff zuschneiden
Ich bin ein Streber und nÀhe jetzt mein zweites Weihnachtskleid
PlÀtzchenessen ist doch irgendwie auch NÀhen, oder?

I’m in the mood, the first seams are done!
Finally got started
Toile is fine, off to cut the real fabric
i’m a nerd and start my second Christmas dress
Eating bisquits can be considered sewing, too, right?

 

As I already told you I wasn’t sure on how to arrange the plaid on the dress. Should I leave it as plaid (=changes the look of the dress significantly, could look a little boring), should I cut it on the bias (=would look like the pattern, but could cause problems with the pleats, fabric on the bias acts different), should I combine both (=bias cut the bodice, straight cut the skirt)? I was confused, somehow scared to ruin anything, close to completely shutting down. So I decided to take on step away from the project and sought for advice.

All fashion prints shown in this post were published in 1920ies issues of "Le petit echo de la mode". I only own single pages of these issues so I can't give you exact dates.

Le petit echo de la mode - parva sed apta

I searched for plaid- and lozenge-patterned dresses or garments in 1920ies fashion plates to see how it was done back then. First thing I had to learn:

The pattern is always treated alike in the whole dress. If the bodice is cut in straight grain, the skirt is, too. At this point I said good-bye to my half-straight-half-bias-idea.

img011

The only thing that can indeed be cut differently are little details. Facings, pockets, collars and things alike.

 

img012

 

But because I had already decided to use the pink velvet for these parts, this was of minor importance for me.

img005

 

 

But what I did learn was that it didn’t look at all weird to have a complete dress cut in plaid in straight grain and that it even seems to have been more common than bias cut dresses.

 

img006

 

Indeed I found dresses with lozenge pattern as it is shown in the pattern I’m using, but it is quite unclear if these used woven plaid (what would cause the fabric to stretch) or if they used printed fabric whose pattern was completely detached from its weaving structure. This one for example could most likely be a printed fabric:

img007

Whereas this one looks like a standard woven plaid fabric. Obviously the pleats don’t seem messy at all (my fear when cutting it on the bias). But grey, dear friend, is all theory. Until today fashion magazines show us dresses and patterns that look so different when seen in real life. So maybe I should not use a fashion plate as a reference for fabric behaviour.

img008

So let us come to the most important part of all this chitchat: What did I make of my little plaid-roundup?

img009

Nothing yet. All I have done is marked the velvet parts. But I was somehow busy, somehow lazy this week and didn’t manage to do anything to the plaid at all. So my motto this week was really all about nibbling bisquits.

Auf Deutsch:

Weil ich mir ja doch recht unsicher war was den Karo-Zuschnitt angeht (schrÀg, gerade, teils-teils), habe ich mal ein paar Modezeichnungen aus den 20ern zusammengesucht und verglichen. Es gibt eindeutig mehr gerade Karos als Rauten und wenn etwas schrÀg geschnitten wurden dann Taschen, Belege u.À., aber es wurde der Rock immer im gleichen Musterverlauf wie das Oberteil gearbeitet.
Mal abgesehen von dieser Erkenntnis und ein paar Markierungen auf dem rosa Samt habe ich diese Woche nichts gemacht. Ich halte es also mit der letzten Zeile des Mottos und sinniere bei einer guten Packung PlĂ€tzchen ĂŒber dieses Projekt nach.

See you tomorrow, I will show you my newest vintage sewing haul, love

ette

Patt(ern)y Page (Christmas dress pt. 2)

it is supposed to be a pun, I fear. Pattern … Patty …. Betty Page

mh…ok…never mind…

Before I will show you my Christmas dress progress I want to announce something:

Since yesterday my blog has its own Facebook-Page!
If you want to be updated about new posts, informed about things to come or just want to see what I came across in the world wide web that is related to this blog’s and blogger’s field of interest, just like it! All you need to do is to press that little blue button on the right.

But now, the Weihnachtskleid!

I was asked to do this Sew-Along partly in german. And I gladly will. At the end of each post you will find a german summary from now on.
Ich wurde darum gebeten, diesen Sew-Along zumindest teilweise auf deutsch zu schreiben. Dem komme ich gerne nach, daher findet ihr am Ende jedes Posts eine deutschsprachige Zusammenfassung.
Today’s schedule:

Oh, so ein schönes Schnittmuster wird da genÀht, ich entscheide mich schnell um
Ich habe mich fĂŒr mein Traumkleid entschieden und bleibe dabei
Ich nÀhe mal lieber erst ein Probemodell
Schnitt kopieren, zuschneiden, wer sagt eigentlich, dass NĂ€hen Spaß macht? 

Oh such a lovely pattern, just changed my plans
I found my dress of dreams and’ll stick to  it
Better to do a mock-up first
Pattern tracing, cutting, who said sewing was supposed to be fun?

 The last line is especially fitting. I can’t think of anything I like less in sewing than tracing a paper pattern and transferring this to the fabric (well, maybe unripping seams).
But working with old pattern sheets is at least a little more appealing to me than modern one.

Only to remind you again, my pattern
Only to remind you again, my pattern

Tracing the pattern from the sheet went without any surprises or accidents. Only the skirt length gave me a lot to think about. I seemed as if the pattern asked for a centre front length of 58cm, but a side seam length of 68cm. This looked pretty weird and not at all like in the scheme. But after having compared every single number related to the skirt length I discoverd that the print was blurry and that in fact all “6” were “5”. After this rocky passage I was left with 9 pattern pieces (2x skirt, 2x bodice, sleeve and cuff, jabot, collar and belt). Because the pattern was sized for a 96 bust circumference I had to adjust it, my first proper adjustment ever! The bodice length seemed ok (skirt length will be discussed when everything is done except for the hem), so I only had to change the width. I did this by reducing each bodice pattern piece by 2cm, this makes 8cm less circumference in total. Hope this will be enough (maybe you remember that 40ies patterns for 88cm bust circumference tend to be a tiny bit too large to look good, so I am not yet convinced. But because I fear to make it too small, it’s 20ies after all, I will leave it like this for now).

it is quite small compared to younger pattern sheets, as you can imagine this leads to problems with larger pieces.
it is quite small compared to younger pattern sheets, as you can imagine this leads to problems with larger pieces.

I will do a separate post in the near future on how to work with such an old pattern, but today I will leave it at the project. This is what my final pattern looks like. You can see that it has two darts in the shoulder seams.To avoid shifting their position I moved each of them 1cm to the side. One of them was still in the “to be pleated away for adjustment”-line, so I cut it open, adjusted the pattern and the dart moved as a whole. Afterwards the two darts stil had the same distance from each other and remained somewhere in the middle of the seam.

light lines =old dart position, blue lines= new dart position, red arrow shows you the dart I cut and let overlap while adjusting the pattern to my size. You see that the dart is not distorted though the fold is running through it.
light lines =old dart position, blue lines= new dart position, red arrow shows you the dart I cut and let overlap while adjusting the pattern to my size. You see that the dart is not distorted though the fold is running through it.

Because I changed the bodice, of course I had to change the skirt as well. The rest of the pattern pieces looks like in the image above, I am sure you can imagine this in tissue paper.

bodice and skirt pattern pieces, already adjusted
bodice and skirt pattern pieces, already adjusted, 20ies skirt patterns really aren’t interesting at all…

Next step will be to transfer the pattern onto the fabric. This means plaid matching, wish me luck (haven’t yet decided what to cut on the bias and what not).
And no, I won’t do a mock-up. Most patterns tend to be too large, so my standard solution is start cutting and shifting seams like mad. Somehow it was wearable most of the times. Additionally, a 20ies pattern with so many straight seams is not a coat or a close fitting suit and I have so much of this darn pink plaid that I could make three dresses without any problems. So if this is really going to fail, I’ll just start anew 😉

Auf Deutsch

Da mein letzer Post noch keine Zusammenfassung hatte, ein kleiner RĂŒckblick:
Den Schnitt, fĂŒr den ich mich entschieden habe, fand ich Anfang des Jahres in einem Buch ĂŒber Stickerei aus den 20ern. Ich bin nĂ€htechnisch gĂ€nzlich unerfahren mit Mode dieser Zeit, zudem habe ich dank eines missglĂŒckten Projekts vor fĂŒnf Jahren eine Abneigung gegen karierte Stoffe entwickelt. Beide dunklen Flecken in meiner Vita möchte ich mit diesem Projekt also ausmerzen.
Stoffe sind daher ein rosa-braunes Karo (synthetisches, gab es mal gĂŒnstig bei Butinette) und fĂŒr die Details rosa Baumwoll-Samt (aus einem Trödelladen).
Sobald ich verstanden hatte dass die RocklĂ€nge in der vorderen Mitte nicht 10cm kĂŒrzer ist als an den SeitennĂ€hten (58<>68cm), sondern der Druck so verlaufen ist dass er aus den 5en lauter 6er gemacht hat, ging alles ganz problemlos und aus dem Liniengewirr wurde schnell ein Schnittmuster.
Der Schnitt ist fĂŒr 96cm Brustweite angegeben, viel zu viel fĂŒr mich. Habe daher sowohl beim Rock als auch beim Oberteil, vorne und hinten, 2cm Weite pro Schnittteil weggenommen, das macht 8cm total, sollte langen (hoffe ich doch). Das komplizierteste war noch die beiden AbnĂ€her in der Schulternaht zu verschieben, aber sonst sieht es so aus, als hĂ€tte ich meine erste vernĂŒnftige Schnittanpassung erfolgreich bewĂ€ltigt (normalerweise nĂ€h ich einfach enger und schneide weg bis es passt). Die LĂ€nge des Oberteils schien zu stimmen, wo der Saum schlussendlich endet entscheide ich sowieso erst ganz am Schluss.  Dank des GĂŒrtels der die Ansatznaht bedeckt und des Saumbesatzes habe ich da ja recht viel Spielraum, sollte es doch zu lang sein.
Als nĂ€chstes heißt es nun, den Schnitt auf den Stoff zu bringen. DafĂŒr muss ich mich aber erstmal entscheiden, was im schrĂ€gen und was im geraden Fadenlauf geschnitten wird. Und dann gilt es, DĂ€monen  Karos zu bĂ€ndigen.

See you soon, love,

ette

Weihnachtskleid <-> A Christmas dress

Yes, it’s been a while….First problem I have is that our roof is being renewed, it must have been three weeks now since the last weekday without hammering  sounds from above. Hope they will finish soon. And two weeks ago the men up there made a terrible mistake by underestimating the Swiss November rain which led to a massive water shower from above…half past five in the morning in our bedroom! You can easily imagine me being awake quite quickly, though I am usually not a morning person. 😉
And by the end of this unfateful week we left home a few days, not only to flee the noise, but to visit our family and friends in Germany. The rest of last week passed in a wink, as usual when its your well-earned vacancy. Yesterday I had my very first lecture in university, I mean, me giving a lecture. Only half an hour, the rest was  done by my professor, but it still felt very cool. Maybe a university career could be an alternative to the museum-job I always dreamed of?

Anyway. What’s new in my sewing world? I finished last HSF-challenge, but it took me until this morning that found all photos related to this project, so please give me some days to get it all done (it’s not that big a deal, though).

But already a couple of days ago an annual sew-along was anounced, for the fourth year in a row, the  Weihnachtskleid (=Christmas dress)-Sew Along. After I saw the amazing dress Beswingtes FrĂ€ulein had sewn for last year’s sew along I was eager to participate this year.

First official post was due last sunday, so as always I am a bit late. But I am positive to get better, for sure!

This weeks agenda (because it is hosted by german blogs the tasks are as well. I tried to translate it):

Ich bin 1a vorbereitet und habe schon alles zusammengesucht
Weihnachten ? Ist nicht noch Sommer ?
Ich such nach Inspiration und guck mal, was die anderen machen
Schnitt da aber kein Stoff oder andersrum ?
Kleine RĂŒckblende : mein Weihnachtskleid 2013/2012/2011

I am very well prepared, all supplies are gathered
Christmas,  isn’t it still summer?

Searching for some inspiration, let’s see what the others are planning
Got a pattern but no fabric, or the other way ’round?
Flashback: my Christmas dress 2013/2012/2011

Well, in this case some things came together:
1st: This year’s christmas will be very quiet. We will stay at home and won’t be able to visit our families in Germany. So no big party, nothing glamorous, no big festive attire needed. But something elegant yet comfortable is desired, Christmas in pajamas doesn’t feel right.

2nd: Maybe some of you remember the 1920ies pattern sheet I found in an embroidery book I bought earlier this year. Somehow the wish to sew something from this period grew stronger and stronger in the last weeks, so why not finally do it?

3rd: I love plaid. But I am also horrified to sew it. Already a couple of years ago I bought two lovely plaid fabrics for a steal (synthetics, that’s why they were that cheap I suppose). One, a light green one, remains untouched until today. The other, pink one was the fabric I used for my very first plaid project back in 2009. It was a desaster, but here, to amuse you:

Photo is even worse than the fabric placement...
Photo is even worse than the fabric placement…

A high-waist skirt made after a 1950ies pattern, one of the first vintage patterns I ever worked with. Unfortunately, although it was quite well sewn, the plaid made the pleats appear dropping, as if I hadn’t paid attention to keep them in place. I wore this skirt maybe twice before it had to leave my wardrobe forever.

4th: As I said, I love plaid and  this post of a friend of mine made me think of this vast yardage of unknown terrain in my stash AND made me want to wear plaid immediately.

Now, when I finally found a pattern meant to be used with plaid fabric on this very 20ies pattern sheet everything just popped into place and the plan was set.

My pattern:

img158

As you see, it asks for trimmings in a solid colour and the fabric looks more like a woven lozenge pattern than a  plaid. This makes me wonder if I could use my fabric on the bias.  This was actually pretty common in the 20ies and bias-cut skirts are available still today. But I fear that the upper dress-part would look weird. Maybe I will cut this straight and only the skirt diagonally?
And the pleats will give me the very same issues I had with the Bette-Davis-dress. This time I want to pay attention to the depth of the pleats so the pattern will match at the edges.
The pattern is too large for me, so this will not only be my first attempt with a 20ies pattern, I will also have to resize it, fingers crossed!

Here are the fabrics I am planning to use:

left: light pink cotton velvet, right: light pink and brown plaid (poly-something)
left: light pink cotton velvet, right: light pink and brown plaid (poly-something)

You might remember this pink velvet, it is the same I used for my ballerina-fancy dress.

The velvet is comparably thin, but I still fear it could bulk at the hem with all the pleats. That’s why I plan to make a false hem, facing the velvet with a thin lining fabric or a silk leftover:

DSC_0013wm
two lining leftovers in pink and champagne and a little bit of white silk

I don’t know which of them I will use, most likely the champagne one, but maybe there is too little of it left to use it for all the facings (I don’t want to use them only at the hem, but also for all the other velvet details, belt, cuffs and collar)

And the lining:

the light one is not as champagne coloured as the other, but darker and has a pinkish shade
the light one is not as champagne coloured as the other, but darker and has a pinkish shade

Maybe green because I like contrast where nobody can see it, maybe the other one because it is as least remotely pink, though it is impossible to photograph.

So far, I hope you are with me?

See you soon, love,

ette

things I would never have done without Leimomi part 3

It’s been more than three months I last uploaded a HSF-project, oh dear.

After all the messy times I had this summer I was very keen to join the challenges again.
A little summary: I planned to make at least half of the challenges when I started to join. The last project I finished was my #10-ballerina-outfit, my fifth finished project, so I was right on track. Now we are already close to challenge #18 and I my counter is still at five projects. I need to do all coming challenges but one to eventually reach my goal of at least 12 completed challenges, puh…
In fact I did try to make something for #13 “Under 10$” but it became evident in a very early state that it was completely unwearable and so it never made it to the finish line.

Challenge #17 was “Yellow” and I am a few days late, I know, but please, I am so proud having at least finished it, so don’t let it rain on my parade, would you 😉

Now you have to know, yellow really isn’t a colour I like. I own very few yellow garments, somehow they never appealed me. Additionally, my boyfriend works at an international furniture-selling enterprise using the blue and yellow colours of the swedish flag as their trademark, so naturally he doesn’t fancy yellow after closing time.

Therefore the title. I am not sure if I would have made that project without the challenge, this applies as well to the aforementioned ballet-costume and the 19th-century-fabric-box, this explains the “part 3” 😀

The search for some yelllow fabric in my stash wasn’t very fruitful. I found a small piece of mustard-coloured cotton-velvet (too small to make a garment of it), an equally small amount of white cotton printed with yellow flowers and two metres of a light yellow polyester fabric I bought on sale when one of my favourite fabric shops closed. Don’t ask me why, normally I tend to ignore artificial fibres and yellow coloured fabrics.

The fabric has a little stretch and is quite solid so I thought it could become a nice dress for  the approaching autumn days.I picked a dress from the march 1940 issue of “Beyers Mode fĂŒr Alle”, one of the magazines I bought in Gotha last year.

img002

The pattern itself came together quite quickly. A 88cm bust tends always to be a little on the large side for me, but the waist was fine and so I changed nothing and started cutting (as you see, the bust is ruffled, no use measuring this, if you ask me). I skipped the pockets because I couldn’t see the use of two very narrow pockets getting bulky right between my legs, there are few easier ways to ruin a dress.

Drawing of the pattern pieces. I used the upper, long sleeve
Drawing of the pattern pieces. I used the upper, long sleeve

Only during my sewing some problems began to show up. First, the construction of the shoulders hadn’t been thought through. The shoulder seams lie behind the highest point of the shoulders. That itself is not a problem, but the front part was ruffled and so the sleeve tended to fall off the shoulder in the front. In total the shoulders were slightly on the large side. So what I did was I attached a wide grosgrain ribbon to the shoulder seam, the ends connected to the sleeve cap and the collar. The ribbon itself was 2cm shorter than the non ruffled back, so I gathered the back part a little at the same time, making the shoulders fit better (besides the size being on the upper end of what fits me, the stretch of the fabric and its weight added to this dropping effect. So the ribbon prevents the fabric to stretch as well).

left: the dropping sleeve, middle: the improved version, right: a look at the ribbon
left: the dropping sleeve, middle: the improved version, right: a look at the ribbon

The centre front is far far away from the front edges. This makes the right front edge disappear below the collar and, if you don’t want your buttons to be far away from the edge, it places the buttons off-centre unless they are gigantic. Unfortunately I realized it too late, after I had already finished the two front edges. To solve this I attached the buttons and press fasteners on the right front edge, but only the lowest two counter parts of the press fasteners I sewed as far from the centre as the pattern had wanted them to be. The topmost one I placed as far away from the left edge as the button was from the right one (what means much closer to the edge), the two buttons in the middle I placed accordingly (additionally it looked so very severe with the collar’s edges touching).

DSC_0803wm

Third issue was the very blousy fit. I have no before-photo, but I removed a total 14cm underbust-circumference to make the dress fitting as it is now, before the whole bodice part fit very loosely. Another 6cm circumference was removed at bust-height and the upper sleeves.

DSC_0799wm

The sleeves are puffed and have a dart in the lower half. If I wear long sleeves I want them to be a little more on the long than on the short side. So I decided to keep the length, though it caused a few wrinkles when letting the arms drop. Because the dart was very narrow it was impossible to close it completely. I left the 7cm open and added buttons and press fasteners as well, not at the hem, but 3cm above. Like this the sleeve can slide down a tiny bit more and wrinkles less but is still as long as I like it to be.

DSC_0807wm
yes, a ding at the zipper, I see this. But because it will be worn when it is colder I hope enough underskirts will fix it. If not I can still change this.

A flaw you wouldn’t have noticed but I see at a first glance: the collar! Do you see that slightly darker colour? That’s because my interfacing is green. Wouldn’t have thought it could shine through, but obviously it does.

DSC_0802wm

The length is a little short for 1940, I know. But the dress is so high-necked and well behaved, I thought it needed this length to look less severe.

DSC_0793wm

 

The Challenge: #17 Yellow

Fabric: light yellow synthetic fabric

Pattern: magazineBeyers Mode fĂŒr alle”, march 1940

Year: 1940

Notions: various cream and yellow threads (got rid of three different small spools^^); interfacing for the collar, grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the shoulder seams and a narrower one for the waist seam; seven burgundy buttons and different coloured press fasteners, short zipper for the side seam, fusible interfacing

How historically accurate is it? I fear the material of the fabric isn’t authentic, nor is the length of the dress and the interfacing. The pattern and the changes I made are accurate, the buttons and the zipper are old, though not that old, but both plausible for the time (plastic buttons and coloured metal zipper).

Hours to complete:  Maybe 6-8. Sewing itself went quite fast, but all those adjustments and the handsewing (zipper, buttons, hem, shoulder stabilization) took their time.

First worn:  for the photos today, still too warm outside to wear it all day long

Total cost: I know I bought the fabric not long ago, but I have no idea what I paid for it.I assume not more than 10CHF/m, otherwise it wouldn’t have been appealing to me. All notions enlisted came from my stash and were bought with haberdashery convolutes, so different to tell. Only the interfacing was bought new, I think I paid 2€/m.

DSC_0790wm
dress: Beyer/made by me – belt: mango – handbag: flea market – shoes: cube

Though I said yellow is not my favourite colour, I am really happy with the result and looking forward to wear it a lot as soon as it gets colder. 🙂

See you soon, love

ette

Lavender O.

Well, I promised a report on my SIAB-night, the Sew-In-A-Bookshop-night 😉

To understand what will happen next, a short explanation: Normally this bookshop, as most shops in Berne, closes at 7pm, on thursdays the majority of the city is opened until 9pm, that thursday was Ladies Night, takes place only once a year, shops closed at 11pm.

We installed my table with sewing machine, a little decoration and the book I was presenting at around 6pm. And until 7.30 everything was fine, lots of people in the shop, many curious clients asking what I was doing and so on.

Then it became a little quiet, still some people were passing by, maybe because I sat right next to the doors through which you can leave directly into the railway station. Some stopped and looked interested, I chatted a little, about my sewing, about the book, about whatever they wanted. It was sad it was comparably quiet, I had really hoped for a roaring night.
Only few were interested in the sewing, even less in the book. Most only gazed at the sewing machine and noted that her grannies had machines like this or asked if it was already electric.

At 9pm we had to close the doors to the station (contract conditions) and the last two hours were very quiet, because I sat literally at a dead end. The sentence I had to repeat most often in the last two hours was “No, sorry, exit closed, please use the main exit on the ground floor”. Every now and then somebody spotted me from the far end of the shop and screamed something like “oh, mum, look there” *teenage daughter with mum approaching*staring*smiling*leaving*.

At least this left me plenty of time to sew and I really nearly finished, only the zipper and the hem were missing.

That's how it looked. You will recognize my Bette Davis Dress.
That’s how it looked. You will recognize my Bette Davis Dress I chose to wear that evening.

To conclude, I assume a couple of things went wrong,making it less successful than we all had hoped it to be.

First, the event itself wasn’t promoted enough, neither the presenter nor the bookshop succeeded in making people aware that this night was to be meant as an event. A friend who lives in the city of Bern told me she wouldn’t have known of this Ladies Night without me (and this true friend stayed with me the whole five hours and made the long hours past 9pm appear much shorter as they could have been). So I fear the whole event hasn’t grown big enough yet to attract large crowds of clients and ladies, strolling through the shops on high heels buying lace underwear whilst drinking prosecco (we wouldn’t discuss this clichĂ© here, would we? 🙂 ) The few clients who came were not what I would call the target audience of Retro sewing, in contrast, most knew the sewing machine or the dresses in the book from their own childhood or youth (one middle ages woman was gleaming with joy when spotting Farrah Fawcett in the book. Not because she liked the dress, but “Charlies Angels”) and had no interest in buying such a book.

Second, I chose the wrong approach. Promoting a book that is all about how cool, modern and timeless vintage and retro sewing is, well, you can’t properly do this when sewing in full 30ies attire, looking as if you stepped right out of a time capsule. The group of people interested in the latter one is even smaller than the few people interested in retro sewing. So a more Gertie-like approach with a stunning bombshell dress or a cool modern looking 60ies style would have been more convincing.

On the far right you see the book I sewed from.
On the far right you see the book I sewed from.

Which leads me to this night’s project. Because I was a little scared this would all end up in a catastrophe I chose a really simple design from the book without too many tricky details to pay attention to (well, I had hoped to chat a lot more with clients than I had the chance. Did I mention I did not sell a single book?).

Lets talk about the book for a second (I bought this copy already when it was published in German some time ago, this review isn’t sponsored by anybody. I just think when talking about a pattern in it, I can as well give you a short summary and my opinion on the book itself). The book Famous frocks, in German Stilikonen, presents ten women of the 20th century which are connected to a special and distinct style of dress and became iconic for the fashion of their time (the Link to the German version allows you to have a look inside, just klick the “Im Buch blĂ€ttern” button left of the cover). It starts in the 1930ies with Bette Davis (now you know why I bought it 😉 ), the 40ies are represented by Rita Hayworth. Marilyn Monroe’s iconic 7-year-itch dress is included as well as Audrey Hepburns little black one from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Jackie Kennedy and Twiggy complete this 50ies/60ies group. The younger dresses are inspired by Diana Ross, Farrah Fawcett and Stevie Nicks (the only pattern I had realized from the book until now, you saw it in my Sicily-Post). The last and most recent one is Madonna’s corsage-and-petticoat-style. Each woman is accompanied by one dress pattern, that was inspired by her style. So you won’t find an exact reproduction of an Audrey-Dress in this book, rather the authors took what they considered the distinct features and lines of a style and translated it into a pattern. This makes a total of 10 different patterns, all of them come in a closer-to-the-original-version and a more modern variation.

The only photos in this book show the icons that inspired the patterns, the patterns themselves are only shown in drawings, a technical and a fashion illustration for each version.

All patterns are included in their original size, but because the sheets are printed from both sides, you have to copy the cut pieces. Sizes go from XS (79cm-62cm-88cm) to L (94cm-77cm-103cm) (so really not a wide range, in my opinion, you will see later that XS is already too small for me).
The instructions are very detailed with many drawings, so even beginners could cope with the simpler ones, as long as they know the basic sewing vocabulary.

To conclude: patterns are easy to work with, good instructions, nice layout. Unfortunately size range is very limited and the dresses are only inspired by historical patterns, some stay pretty close but some don’t (don’t expect to sew a 30ies gown with this book, what you get is a knee-length bias-cut dress, for example). The patterns are modern, not based on historical ones, at least that is my impression and I didn’t find a hint that they used actual contemporary patterns for this book.

So much about the book. The pattern I chose was the, who would have guessed after the title 😉 , Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The classic variant comes with a very high and stiff neckline I don’t like that much, so I chose to sew the modern version with a slightly lower neckline and pockets. Pockets not because I needed them (well, I do need pockets, but I try to avoid dresses with them because I tend to bury my hands in them and stand quite crooked), but because I feared to finish early without them.

DSC_0787wm

As already mentioned, I chose to cut size XS, stupidly enough looking only at the waist- but not at the bust-circumference. Because I had no chance to try it on in the shop I only realized it was too small when I had inserted the zipper the next day and wore it for the first time.

DSC_0790wm

Fortunately, the pattern included 1.6cm seam allowance, so I shifted the side seams of the bodice as far as I could, approximately 1cm. These additional 4cm were what it took to fit, thankfully. It still fits quite snug, you see the pockets are slightly gaping, but it is ok, considering that I already had given up hope because it seemed to be so very much too small.

DSC_0785wm

I don’t like  the fit in the back, but I don’t quite know how to get rid of these wrinkles. I tried to pin in different ways (normally I would remove some fabric from the waist seam in such a case), but still more wrinkles show each time. Now I will leave it like that, it is not that bad when standing upright, at least I’am trying to convince myself about this.

DSC_0788wm

As a fabric I chose a lavender-coloured cotton (or viscose, I am not sure) from my stash. Facings and pockets I made from a gingham of the same colour, printed with little flowers. A leftover I had bought years ago, I used it to make headbands from it and sold them via Internet. It wasn’t that successful, so I quit and went back to work as a shop assistant to finance my studies^^

DSC_0793wm

The matching bias binding was an old unfolded one that had lurked in my stash for a very long time, I must have bought it once with a sewing basket or something similar. It was quite narrow and, as I said, unfolded and I always considered it being too narrow to work with it properly. But then I saw the bias binding foot in The Sewing Machine Attachment Book, asking for 24mm wide, unfolded bias binding. That was exactly the size I had. It worked really well, only the very sharp curves around the armholes caused some difficulties.
But this explains a lot: When sewing machines do not come with these feet anymore, no-one will buy unfolded, 24mm-width bias binding in consequence. Or, vice versa, if you can only buy pre-folded bias binding, why should a machine include a bias binding foot? I don’t know what happened, I only know that such a foot is not to be found with modern machines anymore and that unfolded bias binding has become quite rare, I assume a connection 🙂

DSC_0783wm
Rhinestone-Pendant: a gift – shoes: antique/Amuse Brocante, Berne – fragrance: 4711 Acqua Colonia Lavender & Thyme

The upper bust darts end a little too high, maybe this was meant to be a really historic pattern after all and I should have worn it with period appropriate undergarments? Or maybe they just don’t fit my bust and I should adjust them ;-).

See you soon, love

ette