Tag Archives: linen

No Sans-Culotte anymore

It must have been three years ago, my father and I went to an Antique shop in the neighbouring village.

While my father digged his way through old electric stuff and ended up finding a sowjet metal construction kit, I asked the owner if he had anything related to handcrafting. He showed me some Chinese cross-stitch-booklets from the early 20th century and three brown book-like things.

I remember that two of them contained fashion and sewing stuff, the third one predominantly recipes. I wasn’t really convinced about them, but loved the Chinese-Embroidery-booklets. It was all in a whole stack of paper, magazines and stuff the owner had purchased only some days ago. Now, my father found some other things, I did as well and in the end my father asked the owner to offer us a good price for all of it, even though I had no idea what “all” really meant. The owner did, my father accepted and he gave me the complete batch of things to carry, Chinese Patterns, weird brown books, lots of water colour paper and some 1960ies issues of different magazines. Well, he wanted to get rid of them, I thought I can still throw it away later so I took it with me. At home I took a closer look at the brown books, the two with fashion and sewing instructions I stored with my patterns, the one with the recipes went onto my cook book shelf.
I can remember that I wasn’t really impressed by the patterns I had seen, back then I was wearing lots of modern clothing and was only interested in the 1950ies, my Rockabilly- phase. The brown recipe-Book was in fact a collection of magazine-clippings from the 60ies and 70ies with a knitting pattern or fashion drawings every now and then (but only because it was on the back of a recipe). I love to flip through the pages and surprise myself and my boyfriend with some weird 70ies dinner every few months (as I did after making these photos, Vol-au-Vents with mushroom filling and poached eggs, and no, I didn’t manage to make proper poached eggs 🙂 ).

Funny side fact: I found four languages in this collection: German, French, English and one recipe is in Italian.

I always imagined the other two brown books must contain the same sort of things, only with a stress on fashion, so I paid hardly any interest on them.

Only a few months ago I remembered them on a quiet and rainy evening and went through them again. Struth had I been wrong! Those were complete volumes of crafting magazines from 1942 and 1944. I was stunned, shocked by how much my taste and judgement had changed in that short time, I mean, I was close to leave them in that shop, unbelieveable.

The majority of the patterns are instructions for knitting and crocheting. There are many pictures of sewn dresses, but the patterns had to be ordered and didn’t come with the issues. But nontheless, they are so beautiful and such a great source of inspiration.

But! They do contain a small number of sewing projects. Most of them are things like bags, toys or simple children’s patterns, but some very few ‘real’ patterns are in them, too.

Of course there aren’t printed in their original size, but need to be enlarged. Already shortly after I re-discovered the magazines I copied the pattern for this pair of culottes (Frau und Mode. Beilage zum “Blatt für Alle”, 14. Februar 1942). I am not a big fan of working with paper in general (so I am always glad when the work with the actual pattern is done and I can start with the fabric), but I prefer drawing patterns much more to tracing them.

As a fabric I chose this rather coarse linen I bought at Ikea (I bought it already some years ago when it was still available in this light green I used and a light shade of pink). The pattern seems to be made for an autumn outfit and suggests a waterproof cloth lined with a woolen plaid for the cape and one of the fabrics for the culottes. That’s why I didn’t want to use a thin fabric and I am quite happy with the linen. And additionally it is so neutral, you might call it a cake-project, at least I would. In my opinion it doesn’t look that “vintage-y” at first glance, my boyfriend said he wouldn’t call it vintage or 40ies, but old-fashioned and square. Thank you, darling 😉

The pattern is quite spartan, as I assume most patterns of this type are. There is no piece for the belt given, I simply measured the waist size I ended up with after sewing everything together and made my own, as told in the instructions. It’s a little weird: This pattern is intended for 100cm hip size and I had to cut away approximately 4cm off each seam to fit it to my hips (that is 16cm less circumference!), but the waist  size was nearly perfect, I only reduced it by 2cm, so 0,5cm off each seam. Strange proportions.

(feel free to use it, the measurements are given in Centimetres)

Edit: Because I was told the pattern can’t be copied because of some missing measurements on the left side, here are all the measurements that I was able to read. Not readable is the final length of the back piece, I used the length from the front piece and it worked. The length of the inner leg seam can be fitted to the one you end up with after copying the front piece or can be more or less calculated (69,5 (length of the front piece) – 31 (I’m sorry, it is not clear in the drawing, but compared to the measurements of the front pieces, the 10cm have to be part of the 31cm, so it should read 21 + 10 in the drawing) –  ~2 (I can’t read it, but it is visible, that there is a slight curve upwards, like there is on the front piece, I didn’t manage to draw it) = 36,5cm).
Neither visible is, if the edge of the inner leg runs down vertically or in a slight angle like the front seam does. I think I made it vertically and it worked.

I love the style of the pockets, that seam going from the belt to the hem. When sewing the two cut pieces together, they overlap approximately 7cm (you can see the dashed line in the pattern). I am not quite sure if that was the intended size of the pockets, that would mean it would have been scarcely enough to store a handkerchief in them. I added pocket pouches, using an old fabric I had once used to line a waistcoat with it. I am not quite sure what material it is.

Because I was a little frightened the pockets would be the weak spot and at risk of ripping someday at the belt, I decided to add belt loops with a pointed end and placed them directly above the pocket opening. The idea came to my mind because Tasha made similar belt hoops on a skirt in April. In the back I placed them above the darts (you can’t really tell from the photos, I’m sorry)

The pleats are sewn close up to a certain point, I think it is visible in the photos. It is quite weird, because they form kind of a triangle with the crotch seam. Below the seam they are only ironed, maybe I will try to secure them with an additional seam, but I ran out of thread while hemming the legs, so this would mean I would have to buy new thread, I don’t know if it is worth it.

It is closed with a zipper in the side seam, the belt closes with a hook and a crocheted loop.

As always I had to shorten the legs. And for the first time in my life I used a skirt marker for it.  A few weeks ago I found a skirt marker to attach to a doorframe on a fleamarket, it works pretty well.

I have been wanting to photograph it for weeks, but somehow never managed. So I finally did it today, after having been on the move the whole day in a boiling city (after some beautiful rain on Monday the heat is back!). So my styling is improvised and I am looking really tired on some of the photos. Because my boyfriend hates this and thinks it is old-fashioned, I decided to wear the full package, with cravat and laced shoes. I was kind of shocked, because, somehow, it doesn’t look as bad as I imagined it to be, does it?

(blouse: Tommy Hilfiger, cravat and belt: family heirloom, from my grandaunt, shoes: Dosenbach/Deichmann)

I already wore it on our tour to Kandersteg a few weeks ago, styled very simple with a T-Shirt and canvas shoes.

crumpled after a long day of walking.

(shirt: I am by Manor, belt: family heirloom, from my grandaunt, socks: Six, shoes: Pointer)

Yes, I am very pleased with the result. It is not something to wear every day, but it is practical. Made from a more elegant fabric I can really imagine it to wear as a skirt substitute in every day life.  I hope you like it as well.

See you soon, love