Tag Archives: fancy dress

More bling Monsieur Poiret!

Since my Umbridge-fiasco I had planned to sew another, more wearable 20ies dress, not immediately, but someday.

Then a couple of weeks ago I found an invitation in my mailbox, to a 20ies-charleston-party!
As everyone knows, first reaction to this kind of invitation shouldn’t be “yeah, how cool!” but “ohgoodgodwhatcanIwearIhavenothingtowearohhelpitalreadyisinonemonthtime”, don’t you know?
I asked the host if my Umbridge-dress would fit, that I could play the “girl feeling out of place”, but she insisted that the dresscode was “flapper” and not just “20ies”.

One of my secrets is: I do actually own a real flapper dress, no fringes but tulle covered with sequins. Unfortunately it is in terrible condition. Too torn to be of value for any museum or collector, but complete. I have already bought silk organza and plan to sew this underneath the torn tulle-base to make it wearable again. But I don’t want to rush with this project and I knew it to be impossible to do in a few weeks only. Additionally even though it would have matched the dresscode, if I manage to make it wearable again I wouldn’t wear it to party, it would be a pity if I ruined it on such occasion (I think a sophisticated New Year’s Eve dinner would be a better place to kill it ,-) )

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-Dress1

So, to cut a long story short, sounded like an excuse to sew a dress, didn’t it? 😀
Unfortunately I had to learn that I don’t own many fabrics that would be suitable for a 20ies-party-dress and I was unsure wether to choose fabric or pattern first, as both seemed to be a bit problematic. As I only had one fabric that matched and that I had enough of and that I was willing to use for this endeavor (sorry, no silk satin for a 20ies-test-run), the fabric was chosen first. A black poly-saree-Chiffon with gold and silver border-print I had bought in an Indian fabric shop in Lyons back in 2012. I had always planned to turn it into a skirt, but somehow this glitter always seemed too much to wear everyday and I didn’t like it for being pure plastic. But well enough for a fancy dress, finally.
I chose a Poirot-dress-pattern from 1922 I found in Nora Waugh’s “The pattern of women’s clothes”. Because it was part of a collection that doesn’t exist any longer I can’t show you a photo of the dress, I was unable to find it.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress8

The pattern is really genius. In fact is consists of nothing more but two rectangles, well, the rectangle on the back is stricly speaking a trapeze, being wider on the upper end than on the hem. The genius part is that the back rectangle is larger. It is wider, but because the dress is so wide anyway you can place the seams on the sides of your body, causing the fabric to gather more in the back than in the front. And it is also much longer. Part of this additional length hangs down from the shoulder seams but the length from the arm opening to the shoulder seam is longer than in the front, too. These two things, additional armhole length and overall width, make the rear rectangle form kind of a sack. With the help of the tassels on the part that hangs down the back, the dress is pulled backwards, causing these “sacks” to open as wide as possible. When wearing it, they work like sleeves, covering the upper half of the arms when bend.
And that is not all: According to the drawing in the book, on the fabric of the original dress are asian motifs in the front and the back, so it has kind of an exotic vibe to it. The excessive length on the back above the shoulder seams is just long enough to wear it as a headscarf or place over the shoulders, so it is a dress that allowed you to play with the Image of the foreign, exotic dancer.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress7

Unfortunately my sewing Mannequin was badly adjusted, therefore I made this dress much too short (again!), but I think for a little bit of party it is still good enough. And some day I might try the pattern again, maybe in a gorgeous silk crêpe to wear as a real gala-dress.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress6

Auf Deutsch

Seit meinem Unfall mit dem Umbridge-Kleid habe ich im Hinterkopf, irgendwann noch einmal ein vernünftiges 20er-Jahre-Kleid zu nähen.

Vor einigen Wochen fand sich in meinem Briefkasten zu meiner grossen Freude die Einladung zu einer Charleston-Party. Nun, wie ihr wisst reagiert man auf eine solche Einladung standesgemäss nicht mit “super, das wird toll!” sondern mit  “achdujewassollichanziehenichhabenichtszumanziehenundwelcheschuhesollichnehmenhilfeeee”, wisst ihr, ne?
Ich fragte dann die Gastgeberin, ob mein Umbridge-Kleid zum Fest zugelassen sei, ich könnte das Mauerblümchen spielen, das sich auf einer solchen Party fehl am Platze fühlt. Dezent wurde ich darauf hingewiesen, dass der Dresscode “Flapper” und nichr einfach “20er” sei. Das hiess wohl nein.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress5

Um ehrlich zu sein, ich besitze sogar ein echtes Flapper-Kleid. Keines mit Fransen, aber flächendeckend mit Pailletten bestickt. Leider ist es in einem katastrophalen Zustand, viel zu schlecht um für Sammler oder Museen von Wert zu sein, aber komplett. Ich habe bereits Seidenorganza gekauft, um damit das gesamte Kleid zu unterlegen und die Pailletten durch den zerissenen Tüll-Grund aufzunähen. Das könnte es tatsächlich wieder tragbar machen, aber ich möchte es nicht überstürzen und es ist sicher keine Arbeit, welche ich in der Kürze der Zeit nebenbei hätte beenden können, also hab ich gar nicht erst angefangen. Dazu kommt, selbst wenn es tragbar wäre, für eine solche Party wäre es mir zu schade. So ein Kleid will mit einem Knall gehen, wenn dann ruiniere ich es auf einem pompösen Sylvesterball!

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress4

Lange Rede kurzer Sinn, es sah ganz so aus, als hätte ich eine Ausrede, ein Kleid zu nähen. Wie sich herausstellte bot mein Stofflager keine grosse Auswahl an geeigneten Stoffen und ich überlegte zunächst, ob ich erst den Stoff oder erst das Schnittmuster aussuchen sollte. Am Ende blieb nur ein einziger Stoff der nicht nur geeignet für ein Kleid solcher Art war, sondern zudem noch in ausreichender Menge vorhanden war und den ich bereit war für dieses Partykleid zu opfern (für so ein schnelles Projekt wollte ich nun keinen Seidensatin opfern, ohne den Schnitt zu kennen). Es wurde also ein schwarzer Polyester-Chiffon, ein Sari-Stoff mit gold- und silberfarbenem Glitzerdruck und Bordüren an beiden Kanten. Ich hatte ihn in einem indischen Stoffgeschäft in Lyon 2012 gekauft und hatte eigentlich vorgehabt, ihn in einen Rock zu verwandeln. Es passte dann irgendwie nie ganz und dass er Plastik war schreckte mich auch ab, aber für ein Kostüm ist er jetzt absolut in Ordnung.

Bei Nora Waugh fand ich dann auch einen Schnitt, ein Poiret-Kleid von 1922. Leider ist als Besitzer eine Sammlung angegeben, die nicht mehr existiert, so dass ich euch kein Bild vom Original zeigen kann.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-dress3

Das Schnittmuster ist absolut genial! Im Grunde genommen sind es nur zwei Rechtecke, wobei das hintere ein leichtes Trapez ist, wenn man es ganz genau nimmt. Das geniale ist, dass das rückwärtige Rechteck grösser ist als das der Vorderseite. Zum einen ist es breiter. Das Kleid ist so weit dass die Seitennähte trotzdem an der Körperseite liegen können, aber dafür wird die Rückseite dann natürlich stärker gerafft wenn die Schärpe drum kommt. Zudem ist das Schnittteil auch länger, viel länger. Ein der Teil Überlänge hängt oberhalb der Schulternähte einfach auf den Rücken herab, aber auch die Strecke zwischen dem Ende der Seitennähte und der Schulternaht ist länger als auf der Vorderseite. Diese Mehrweite und -höhe sorgen dafür, dass das Rückenteil an den Armlöchern wie eine Art Tasche fällt. An dem von der Schulter herabängenden Stück hängen noch Quasten, die ziehen zusätzlich an den Schultern und sorgen dafür, dass die “Taschen” so gross wie möglich sind. Beim Tragen funktionieren diese Öffnungen wie Ärmel, wenn man die Arme anwinkelt verschwinden die Ellbogen darin und man hat züchtig bedeckte Oberarme.
Und dann kommt noch etwas dazu: Laut der Schnittzeichnung finden sich auf dem Originalkleid asiatische Motive vorne und hinten auf dem Kleid, ein Hang zum Exotismus lässt sich also nicht leugnen. Nun ist die überschüssige Länge die am Rücken herabhängt genau so lang, dass man sie wie einen Schleier über den Kopf legen kann oder auf über die Schultern drapieren. Das Kleid lädt geradezu dazu ein, angeheitert nach zwei Gläschen Champagner die exotische Tänzerin zu mimen.

parvasedapta.ch-Poiret-Dress2

Leider hat sich die Höhe meiner Schneiderpuppe mal wieder verstellt, weshalb es wie schon das letzte Mal ein zu kurzes 20er-Jahre-Kleid geworden ist. Aber für eine Party vollkommen tauglich! Und vielleicht zauber ich den Schnitt irgendwann noch einmal aus einem luxuriösen Seiden-Crêpe, dann aber bitte für eine richtige Gala.

See you soon, alles Liebe

ette

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 verspätete Zieleinfahrt werten kann, ich habe diesen Sew-Along zweisprachig gestartet, dann sollte ich auch noch ein paar Worte auf deutsch über 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, mondänen 20ern nichts zu tun. Rosa Karos mit Samt und Bübchenkragen, was hab ich mir dabei gedacht? Ja, es sieht authentisch aus (nur bei der Saumlänge war ich ein wenig vorschnell, die ist zu kurz), aber nicht schön. Das trägt man wenn man jemandem zeigen will, wie lieb und langweilig man eigentlich ist, bei der zukünftigen Schwiegermutter zum Beispiel. Diese Erkenntnis dämmerte mir bereits während des Nähens, weshalb es als Weihnachtsgarderobe dann nicht mehr zur Diskussion stand und so ergab eines das andere und es brauchte seine Zeit, bis es tatsächlich noch fertig wurde.
Jetzt habe ich ein sehr braves 20er-Jahre-Kleid, dass selbst auf einer Kostümparty bieder wirken würde.
Ich bin daher merkwürdig zwiegespalten, denn abgesehen davon bin ich sehr glücklich, 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 hätte ich jetzt ein Kostüm.

See you soon, love,

ette

 

Cheating doesn’t pay, HSF #10

Well, this month’s challenge was art. Now you may think, me as an art historian, I might love this challenge and burst from ideas.

mh…not at all. Though I love art and have many works of art in mind I am sure would be a great project to recreate, I had two major problems:

1st: I only very occasionally work from the finished project backwards. I do not tend to recreate garments. I chose a pattern and a fabric and test were they will lead me. Most of the time the result does not meet the expectations I had beforehand, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse.

To use a garment or a piece of art as the first step and trying to recreate this, makes me feel very uneasy. I desperately try to match what I see or want to reproduce with a pattern I have in mind, so I don’t have to create one on my own. I am really cowardish when it comes to experimenting with patterns.

To spoiler you only a little, this was something that pushed me while working on this challenge and I discovered very new ways of creating garments. So this aspect really did pay.

2nd: My fabric-cupboard bursts with fabrics as does the built-in closet next to it. Additionally we will have to move again soon, so buing new fabric was strictly forbidden.

Now let’s come to the cheating in the title: Knowing I would panic when having to recreate a costume without a pattern, first thing I did was flip through my patterns and pattern books. I so hoped that Janet Arnold may have written “comparable to the dress depicted in xyz” next to a pattern she traced or that I may recognize a famous painting or an engraving in one of the dresses in Nora Waugh’s “The cut of women’s clothes”.

Well, neither was the case. So I put these books aside and had a look at all the coffee table and art books I found on my bookshelf. Because it had been months since I read the description of the challenge, I first searched only for some loose inspiration, finally deciding to catch the structure of the fassade of Santa Maria Novella in Florence in a skirt.

Fortunately I re-read Leimomi’s post before I started and realized that she aimed for a much closer connection between the work of art and the project. So my search started anew.

Soon I had to realize that my prohibition of fabric buying was a much larger hurdle than my pattern-paranoia and very quickly I used the fabric question as my main criteria to chose an artwork.

So when I finally found a painting that suited some paticular fabrics of my stash….wonder oh wonder…. the question wasn’t anymore “oh help, I don’t have a pattern” but rather “what can I do to recreate this”.

Pierre Carrier-Belleuse, La danseuse, 1898, in: Moderne Kunst in Meisterholzschnitten, around 1904
Pierre Carrier-Belleuse, La danseuse (?), 1898, in: Moderne Kunst in Meisterholzschnitten, around 1904

 

Now you might say: what, are you kidding? No, not at all. For years I had some light pink cotton velvet in my stash I once found in a charity shop, as well as two Ikea-mosquito-nets, one in white I had bought for my room when I was 16 and a 2nd one in pink I bought from a fellow member of the online sewing board I am registered at, still wrapped.
They had all moved with me twice and I had no idea what to make from them.
And though it is very likely that the top of her dress is satin, it could as well be velvet in this reproduction.

This leads me to the picture itself: I found it in the 1904 (not dated, but dates in the texts suggest this)  issue of “Moderne Kunst in Meister-Holzschnitten”, the translation already says everything: Modern art in Master-Woodcuts. While the majority of the pictures are black-and-white and indeed woodcuts, this is one of the few coloured plates inside. It can’t be a photographic reproduction in colour and it doesn’t seem to have been coloured afterwards, so I assume it is a copy after the original. While searching for the original I got quite confused. The artist, Pierre Carrier-Belleuse, painted a lot of ballet-dancers and the title given in my book, “Er liebt mich nicht”, that means He doesn’t love me, didn’t  show any result at all.
But after some searching online I still hadn’t found the one original, in fact I had found four! All in different sizes, different styles and some undated (there wasn’t a date given in the book, 1898 is the years the dated originals were made).

La danseuse
Ballerina
Forth Position
Forth Position II.

Well, I won’t start arguing about attributions here, but especially the third painting is strikingly different from the other, don’t you think? The version I have printed in my book seems closest to the first and the last link, but I can’t tell for sure.

Now, enough talk about art, let’s come to my dress.
As I already meantioned, this project pushed me out of my comfort zone, giving me not only a period I had rarely worked in, but also the task to reproduce a dress without any pattern at all. I consulted the above mentioned Nora Waugh book and studied the dart placement and the cutting lines of late 19th century garments.  After this I took a piece of cotton and started pinning on my sewing mannequin. And it worked! I am still a little baffles that I had to face neither any disappointments nor catastrophes, as I was so sure they would come.

After I had completed the cotton version, I pinned this to my velvet, using the cotton as my lining (you will laugh when you see a photo of it below. It is the rest of a baby quilt I made for my boyfriend’s cousin, whose wife had a baby in january. Therefore it is a light pink cotton printed with white bunnies and ducks).

I have seen many 19th century costumes in the past weeks and most of them had one thing in common: Today we tend to sew the lining and the outside fabric seperately and connect them only on the edges and maybe a few spots to avoid shifting. The 19th century costumes are usually sewn in one layer, so darts and seams are stitched through all layers, leaving you with the seam allowances inside and not hidden between the layers. Normally the seams are finished with hand stitching or bias binding to avoid fraying.
So this was my method to go: pin the lining, at the same time my just constructed pattern, onto the left side of the velvet, close all seams and darts, stitching through all layers at once. I had cut the lining at the edges where I wanted the bodice to end, so all I had to do was to flap the hem and neckline allowance of the velvet to the inside and sew it. I used boning in the front darts and the side seams or should I say “cable tie-ing”, because that’s what I used (I once bought a package to try it and this were the last six I had, not that I am a large fan of cable-tie-boning, it really isn’t stiff enough for my taste)?

Inside the bodice, the white thread forms the loops to close with hooks
Inside the bodice, the white thread forms the loops to close with hooks, the boning is covered by the darts and the seam allowance, the black hooks keep the skirt in place. The white square is in fact a short ribbon with press fasteners to hold the shoulder straps in place, you can attach it to your bra’s or what else’s shoulder strap you wear below.

The painting doesn’t show very good, how the bodice closes, but it looks like a wrap bodice to me, so I made the front edges a convex shape and closed it with hooks and thread loops, made from white crochet yarn.

DSC_1831

I didn’t know how to make the shoulder-straps, because there was quite a lot of fabric and a sharp curve from the darts. While I could have made a real princess seam and seperating the front into a middle and a side part, I went for a little pleat in the strap.

DSC_1832
here you see the only fitting issue I have, the gap below the arms. It wasn’t there when I first pinned it and when I wear it, it is even worse, maybe two cut parts would have worked better

I don’t have a seperate photo from the skirt. I just used a white cotton ribbon tied around the hips of my mannequin and pleated the mosquito nets onto it. I started at the top of the net and after having finished a round I cut it where I wanted my hem to be and starting anew, always using pink and white alternatingly. I also had real, stiff tulle, but that wasn’t pink and I could have only put it on top of this skirt to have to effect of a real ballerina’s tutu. But when I had finished my mosquito net slaughter I already didn’t know when to wear such a pink tulle skirt, so I assume I would have even less oportunities to wear an even larger tutu.

Because only for the record: I don’t dance at all, the ballet lessons I had in my life can be counted on one hand (I think it was four, I desperately wanted to learn it, but the teacher was just so bad, I didn’t even stayed during the cancellation period my mother had to adhere to).
But: I love ballet slippers and wear them at home all the time. And yes, it is always quite funny when buing them, “oh, you don’t dance…ok” 😀

Oh, I assume you finally want to see the result? Here it is:

tights: Rumpf, ballet slippers: Katz
tights: Rumpf, ballet slippers: Katz

I have to apologize, it was very bad light today and not even photoshop could help that.

Because I didn’t know how the back was meant to be, I went for a simple v-neckline as seen in some of the patterns I had looked at beforehand. When seing it now I have to admit it would have been better to include a centre back seam.

DSC_1833

To avoid a gap between the very low hanging tutu and the bodice, I attached hooks and eyes to connect them (I only had black ones left in this size and didn’t want to buy new ones only for a fancy dress).

DSC_1834

Now, after having finished it only this morning I have to say, the project was much larger than I wanted it to be, I made a dress I will presumably never wear but at a fancy dress party, I spent so much time making it (everything but the side seams and the skirt is hand sewn, because I didn’t want any seams to be visible outside). But I got rid of some large chunks of  my fabric stash, I learned very much and it is so much fun jumping aroung in it 😀 This is for all the ballet lessons I never took.

And only a very little fun fact to close with: Nina has a blog series called Upcycling-Dienstag on her Werkeltagebuch. Every tuesday she or guest bloggers present and collect ideas on how to turn waste into something creative, useful and beautiful. Last week, guestposter Katja shared her idea, how to turn old wooden curtain rings into small picture frames.

Both of the mosquito nets had small metal rings to attach them to the ceiling. While the used one’s resembled more an egg than a ring, the brand new pink net had a still intact one. So when I started driving crazy pushing all this tulle under my sewing machine, I stopped and made some little crafting to calm down again. The search for a matching picture ended when I found an old promotional package of a famous role play game I had never played and will never play (but hey, you can’t throw away cards, maybe there will be an occation to use them, someday).

The tiny foggy and mysthic contrast to this pink ballerina overkill

DSC_1821

DSC_1822

 

 

The Challenge: #10 Art

Inspiration: Pierre Carrier-Belleuse – La Danseuse, 1898

Fabric: light pink cotton velvet, printed cotton, pink and white soft tulle, aka two Ikea mosquito nets

Pattern: None, I only looked briefly at period patterns to check dart placement and the like

Year: 1898

Notions: pink and white poly-thread, pink silk thread, white cotton ribbon, white cotton crochet thread, hooks and eyes, press fasteners, cable ties

How historically accurate is it? I have no idea. I don’t know how dancing costumes were constructed around 1900, if they were boned, if they were worn with a corset etc. Some of the fabrics and materials are possible, some not, the lining is just silly. The sewing itself and the closures are accurate (though I used modern press fasteners, the early ones worked with a different technique).

Hours to complete? Maybe 15-20? I could as well say 2 episodes of “Sherlock”,3 of *The big bang theory” and the first season of “Hannibal” including bonus material (do I have to mention that I love Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal even more than Anthony Hopkins’?)

First worn: Today for the photos (though I wore the skirt for a few hours after I had finished it last weekend)

Total cost: Direct costs, nothing, I had everything in stock. The velvet was bought in a charity shop, can’t have been more than a few Euros. Same applies for the pink mosquito net, bought online. The white one was bought new, but already had had a live above my bed, so I would call this recycling. Notions I usually buy on flea markets, too. The book I found the illustration in cost me 2 CHF. 

fb

Talking about accuracy: The letter I am holding is old, but not old enough, dating from 1921.

See you soon, love,

ette

What I wore…on Halloween or: How to fold a nurse’s cap

Normally official holidays aren’t something you are really aware of. When living in my hometown there were always those holidays who were only marked in the calender and the federal ones who meant a day off school. In this part of Germany, the 1st of November is a federal holiday, so of course Halloween was celebrated every single year since the 5th grade.

Meanwhile I have moved to another country and to a protestant part of it. That means the 1st of november is a working day as every other day (except for the fact that all the people from catholic regions of Switzerland go shopping in Berne, so it is very crowded).
For that reason a dear friend of mine had to plan her Halloween Party on Saturday, so please forgive that slightly belated costume post.

As you can imagine, the last weeks weren’t the perfect time to prepare a perfect costume out of nothing, so I went for something already proved and tested.

My grandmother, born in 1933, became a nurse after she had finished school. I don’t know exactly when she started her apprenticeship, but it must have been somewhen around 1950. What I can say fore sure is that she quit her job in 1965 when my father was born and she has been a stay-at-home-mum ever since, being at the age of 80 today.
This is my grandma in 1953:

A few years ago she told me, that she still had her nurse’s uniforms in the basement. I was very exited and asked her to show it to me. In an old wardrobe she kept multiple of her dresses, aprons and other stuff. I was so very happy (also because my family isn’t very rich or aware of tradition and has only very few family heirlooms and souvenirs) and she asked if I wanted to have one of them. She gave me a dress, an apron, a cap, a surgical gown and even a matching brooch (well yes, the enamel is broken, I think she kept the intact one).

The cap was a bit of a challenge, because she didn’t remember how it had to be folded. Looking at some photos at the internet and with a lot of trial-and-error experience I figured out something that could be at least a possibility of how it was worn, though I am still not sure if this is the right way.

So, if you ever come across something that looks like a gigantic single layer slip, it is a nurse’s cap. It is starched very heavily, I didn’t dare to wash it until today because I am sure I will never be able to starch it as the hospital’s laundry did.

The first thing you’ll need is something called nurse’s pins. I didn’t even know that they existed (having had always assumed that those caps had been pinned with standard pins) until a client of the haberdashery shop I used to work in asked for them (of course, we didn’t have them). But when I found a little box of white-headed pins in a sewing basket I bought on a flea market, I knew immediately what I had found. They are a little longer and stronger as standard pins and, as already meantioned, come only in white.

First thing to do is fold the double-layered part of the cap back.

Pin the ends together to form a circle.

Pin the flap over the ends as shown. You can change the size by reducing or enlarging the overlap of the two ends and of the flap.

And voilà, your cap!

And here is the complete costume:

Somebody at the party asked me if it was on purpose that I wore my apron inside out. But I didn’t. It has one pocket for the right hand on each side, so if it get’s dirty you can turn it around. For someone standing left from me it looks as if my pocket was on the wrong side of the apron.

Me trying to make an ugly halloween-y face. And on the inside you can see a 50 year old (blood?) stain the laundry didn’t manage to eliminate.

I was accompanied by my boyfriend, wearing some giant plastic screws on his head as a costume (he hates costumes, that was all I managed to convince him of) and lots of homemade cookies (these are only the few we kept for ourselves):

I hope you had a nice weekend and a happy Halloween,

see you soon, love,

ette