A few weeks ago, Klara showed how she styled her summer dresses in winter. And last week, a colleague asked me if I could wear the dress I had made at the public sewing in the bookshop in september, she hadn’t been there and had never seen me wearing it since.
These two things alligned and when I had to work last wednesday, the outfit was quickly chosen. Irony of fate? Said collegue had her day off…
A black shirt seemed too simple, additionally I only have purple shoes with heels, unsuitable for work. Black shirt, tights and shoes? Booooring.
Alternatively, I went with different shades of purple and violet and used black accesoires to calm it down a little. I love this outfit very much and am sure to wear it regularly in the future (it is always so great to find new ways to wear the old garments 🙂 )
Vor ein paar Wochen zeigte Klara, wie sie ihre Sommerkleider auch im Winter trägt. Und letzte Woche bat mich eine Kollegin, doch einmal das Kleid anzuziehen, welches ich letzten September bei einem kleinen Näh-Event im Buchladen genäht hatte, damals war sie nicht da und hatte es seitdem auch immer wieder verpasst.
Diese beiden Dinge kamen also zusammen und so war mein Arbeitsoutfit letzten Mittwoch schnell gefunden. Ironie des Schicksals dass besagte Kollegin frei hatte…
Ein schwarzes Shirt darunter schien mir zu einfach, zudem habe ich zwar lila Schuhe, aber nur mit Absatz und daher ungeeignet zum Arbeiten. Shirt, Strumpfhose und Schuhe in Schwarz? Laaangweilig. Also entschied ich mich für verschiedene Lila-Töne und schwarze Accessoires, um das ganze doch wenigstens etwas zu erden. Ich mag diese Kombination sehr gerne und werde sich in Zukunft sicher öfters tragen (ich liebe es, neue Alternativen für alte Kleider zu haben 🙂 )
Und weil der Post damals nur auf englisch war: Der Schnitt ist aus dem Buch “Stilikonen“, das Jackie O.-Kleid in der modernisierten Variante (tieferer Ausschnitt, die klassische hat einen hohen, stehenden Ausschnitt). Was ihr seht ist eine mir viel zu kleine Grösse XS mit maximal herausgelassenen Seitennähten. Immerhin kann ich es inzwischen tragen, auch wenn die Taschen immer noch aufspringen. Die Schnitte fallen wirklich klein aus, also schaut auf die Masstabelle.
Wenn auch von letzter Woche, so ist es doch ein Mittwochs-Outfit und darf damit hoffentlich beim Me-Made-Mittwoch mitspielen.
Today let’s talk about how you should not treat an old dress and how you should not buy anything that looks cute.
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)!
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.
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.
And my boyfriend is right, styled wrongly it could really look like “oh, hello Mr. Postman, sorry, I just woke up”
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).
And yes, lots of make-up. Idea is that nobody wakes up with perfectly shiny red lipstick applied.
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….
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)
Usually there are two things that make it impossible for me to participate in the Me-Made-Mittwoch (= me made Wednesday, like me made may, but once a week): first,I forget it and only remember it took place when I read my blog feed the following morning. Second, even if I remember it I am not content with my outfit or do not wear anything selfmade that day.
Miraculously today was a day were both premises met, so welcome to the first pure outfit post in months!
The shirt was sewn after a Burda-Pattern (issue 2/2010) and I already made it in july 2012. There were a few holes in the sleeves’ seams I fixed a few days ago, so this feels nearly like a new garment. 🙂
Yes, I was in a really good mood, although I had just come home from work. And no, I didn’t wear these shoes for work, but they look so much better than the burgundy loafers I wore during the day.
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 für Alle”, one of the magazines I bought in Gotha last year.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Challenge: #17 Yellow
Fabric: light yellow synthetic fabric
Pattern: magazine “Beyers Mode für alle”, march 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.
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. 🙂
Some weeks ago I strolled across the market in Berne. One seller is a little different than the others, his stand looks more as if he mistook the event for a flea market. All he sells is old books, fabric scraps,90ies pop cds, more or less old and/or interesting haberdashery and some, mostly ugly, clothes. Fabrics and clothes are sold in umbrellas turned upside down and he always sits behind his goods smoking a incredibly large cigar.
Somehow I like it and I have bought multiple fabrics from him.
This time I found a red tshirt in his clothing-umbrella. Nothing special, but good quality and obviously only slightly too large (I hate altering shirts, especially the sleeves. So only a little too large means I can avoid re-modeling the shoulders and get away with shifting the side seams a little), for 1 CHF quite worth a try.
At home I altered it to my size only to realize it had some small stains on the front (yes, of course I had washed it before altering). Seemed as if it hadn’t been that good a deal at all.
Well, there is always room for improvement and I could still throw it away, so I thought why not give it a try and cover the stains.
My inspiration was Elsa Schiaparelli herself. The starting point of her career was a knitted jumper patterned with a large bow on the front, today in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Well, there is still this tiny little white spot in my crafting universe, I can’t knit! I tried it, it’s ok, it worked somehow but not good, maybe I will try again but I didn’t want to wait that long to make something inspired by this garment.
A quick image search online supplied me with all I needed to draft a bow onto the shirt front, as you see a much cuter and gift-wrap-kind-of-bow Schiaparelli used, maybe this is the key to her success, I still like it far more than my own version.
I used black fabric paint, first drew the outlines and afterwards filled it with paint. You can see some brighter spots and dark areas, it is less evident in real life. In addition I wanted to see how it looks after having been washed to make some final corrections.
Next time I will insist on taking the photos again with our real camera, this mobile always changes the colours and produces a weird angle.
Thank you so very much for your comments on my pink ballerina dress, both here and on facebook!
(to those who came here via facebook and may wonder why my post don’t show in their RSS-feed anymore: I had to change my url a few months ago, so when you started following before it can’t work anymore. The bloglovin-link at the bottom of the page was updated, so please renew your feed if you want to keep updated).
Sorry for my radio silence here since the last post. I was on holidays and hadn’t had any time to prepare some posts in advance. And as you can imagine, I didn’t sew very much, either (though I tried to make myself a dress for the holiday, but I didn’t finish it in time).
Normally I have a very strict policy when thinking about blog posts and holiday-photo-posts aren’t what this blog is about. But because I have nothing else to talk about and because I visited a city with a lot of history and art (so there is the connection to this blog) I decided to give you a little glimpse of what my holidays looked like.
These were the first holidays since a short trip to Florence 2012. Because all the holidays my boyfriend and I had had together were domitated either by sightseeing or art and museums I had to promise my boyfriend to accept bathing-relax-holidays this time. For this reason we chose Taormina on Sicily, a beautiful little city directly above the mediterranean sea with lovely old churches and enough art to keep me entertained, but not large enough to seduce me with loads of museums and giant cathedrals (the reason we didn’t go to Palermo).
Our hotel wasn’t located in Taormina itself, but in Mazzaró, a district of it directly by the sea, connected with Taormina via a funicular or a staircase.
This wasn’t only a decision saving money and nerves (because we had rented a car and parking in Taormina is really not relaxing at all), it also enabled us to go to the beach whenever we liked to, the beach being a small natural reserve with the really beautiful Isola Bella. On the island is a very small museum, showing photos of the surrounding reefs and with beautiful terraces from which you have a spectacular view over the mediterranean sea. Unfortunately large areas and even some rooms were closed, but in hindsight I should be lucky that it was open at all.
Taormina itself is famous for its beautiful buildings and its long history. The oldest buildings to witness this history are the greek ruins like the antique theatre. Today it is often called the roman theatre, because the romans enlarged and altered it, leaving no visible trace of the greek predecessor. This place gives you an amazing view on mount Etna. Unbelieveable, but the Romans built a brick wall behind the stage, so the view onto the island (as the greeks wanted it to be) was completely blocked, fortunately not much of the wall is left today and the vulcano is visible again.
Most of the town shows medieval and younger buildings, but some of the old looking landmarks are in fact reconstructions from the 19th century, so you have to be careful when judging them.
Now the maddening part of this city. I said it is famous for its history, its art. Is has rare and beautiful antiques, lots of interesting Palazzi and Churches. And it has a Saracen Castle on the hilltop above the town as well as two museums, an archeological Museum and an Antiquarium next to the antique theatre (website tells me that there are two more museums, I didn’t visit any of them and apparently they are smaller, because they didn’t appear in any of the guides I had). All three, the castle and both museums, are closed. Not for maintainance or because of anything special, in fact I have bo idea why and my guide writes that they have been closed for quite some time now.
So although I expected them to be closed, I am quite disappointed by this. I mean, this is a city famous for its antique heritage, attracting thousands of visitors each year and they don’t manage to keep at least one of the antique museums running?
At one day we made a trip to a nearby village called Savoca. I was confused to see numerous tourist groups stroll through it, not because of the cute little town or its monuments, but because they made guided “mafia”-tours, visiting some film-locations of F.F. Coppola’s “Godfather”. All you heard were things like “And here Coppola shot this scene” and “Look, this is the church where the marriage was filmed”. I overheard a german-speaking tour-guide telling his group that in this area of Sicily your risk your life when photografing people on the street, never knowing who they really are. Well, yes, I know that the Cosa Nostra is active in Sicily, no doubt, but still this sounds like a story a tourist guide wants to tell because it sounds so threatening.
And before someone asks: I wanted to visit this village, because there is a small Capucin convent. The rich and noble men of the village had themselves mummified and burried in the curch’s crypt, you can see their bodies, fully clothed in 18th and 19th century attire, until today (photos of the mummies can be found in the italian Wikipedia-article about Savoca)
Savoca has a little museum, too and this was open! Though my italian is so bad that I didn’t understand a word it was really cute and I was happy to pay the 2€ entrance fee to support it. Beside an old loom and an (to me undatable but presumeably 19th century) table carpet I especially loved this little room.
The damask on the bed is painted with some cute figures and additional ornament.
But the oddest thing is this hook rack. In the middle an antique corset (I don’t even dare dating it. The cut seems to be 18th century but I don’t want to imagine something this old hanging on hooks like that), framed by some priest’s stoles (18th as well, I fear). What a combination! And all in deplorable condition, but the women at the counter didn’t speak anything but Italian so I did not want to start a discussion with them.
Some of you who know me a little better might know that I love art, but that I am absolutely fascinated by nature. I mean, nature is everything, we are nature, art is nature (ok, we are not talking about Jeff Koons’ sculptures here) and no matter how beautiful the things are we create, seing a plant grow from a tiny seed or a small bee working as a part of a whole state is simply breathtaking to me. And so the one thing that impressed me most in this holidays is not man-made:
We visited mount Etna on sunday, it already being very active and throwing lava and rock into the air, covering us in a thick smoke smelling like sulphur. If you ever have the chance of visiting it: Do it! Standing in front of a spitting vulcano and listening to the sound of exploding lava is one of the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had.
You can go by car or rent a bus tour to the Refugio Sapienza, where you will find a large parking place and dozens of souvenir shops and restaurants. From there a funicular brings you to 2500m heigth. If you want to, you can walk from there or you can pay 30€ for offroad-busses to bring you as close as possible to the top. Because of the ongoing outbreak this busses stopped much sooner as normally, so you have to decide if you are really willing to spend the money when the vulcano is as active as it was last week.
Our guide advised us to have a look at the vulcano from Taormina when it is dark and so, after having watched the football match on monday evening in a bar we stayed in Taormina until it was dark. And oh my god, I was completely overwhelmed!
I assume I stood there for over an hour, doing nothing but staring and taking photos (only for the record: from the 665 photos we took, 322 show the Etna, mostly because of the many continuous shootings I made from the eruptions). It was just too beautiful to leave. And though this outbreak endagered our departure flight, I was so grateful to see something this beautiful.
I hope I will be able to sew something in this remaining days of my holidays. but I definitely will cook. Inspired by the HSF, two bloggers created the Historical Food Forthnightly. And because I would like to revitalize my historical recipes on this blog, I hope I will be able to join some of the challenges.
One of my most worn wardrobe basics is my black half-circle-skirt. I made it in july 2012, inspired by a post on Casey’s Elegant musings.
From its beginning it had a few flaws, the worst one a lack of fusible interfacing in the waistband (simply because I didn’t find it and was too eager to sew to search it).
As for so many projects, I used the black fabric I originally had bought for my prom dress, with the wrong side out, because of that terribly shiny surface on the right side; you have seen it in my victorian sewing supplies box I showed you in january.
Now, having worn the skirt everytime as soon as it re-entered my wardrobe after washing, it began to show signs of use, the fabric turned grey and to make things worse I managed to iron it too hot, leaving a shiny mark next to the back seam.
I desperately had to sew to a successor!
After consulting my patterns and sewing books and having considered what would be suitable for every day wear, I went for a 1955/56 Lutterloh-Pattern.
I used the same fabric (but it was the rest, there nothing left of it, finally!) as for the old skirt, again with the wrong side out. For the back of the pocket and the waistband I used the right side, I don’t know if it is really visible in the photos (I have to excuse myself for the photos anyway, the camera settings were complete rubbish and I only noticed shortly before publishing this post, but I didn’t want to wait until I would be able to take new ones).
When looking closely at the shadow the pockets casts in the drawing, you could see that the two parts of the skirt should both form the pocket, creating a really large pocket.
(no, he didn’t tell me that my sleeve was crumpled)
I decided against this, because I know me. Though I love pockets, I would have my hands in them all the time and I would carry around half my handbag in them. Instead I sewed the pocket’s rear piece, cut in one piece with the back of the skirt, directly onto the back of the pocket. The edge on the front part was finished with a wide facing and this facing I connected to the back of the pocket. This left me with a different pocket opening, the rear part lying flat and it left me with a very shallow pocket of maybe 5cm, enough to store some coins for the coffee-break, but not enough to hide my whole purse.
The pattern didn’t include a waistband. So after I had sewn the rest of the skirt, all I had to do was to cut a strip of fabric as long as I wished (it could have been longer, though), enforce it with fusible interfacing (yes, this time I knew where it was!) and a strip of stiff upholstery fabric (because it is really wide and really tight-fitting, I shouldn’t eat too much wearing it).
(nor that my petticoat was peeking out)
Because old Lutterloh-Patterns are not really made for cut-and-go-sewing I started this skirt working very fast and without any serging at all. After I saw that this skirt was really going to be a success, I finished all seams by hand with a red satin binding.
The zipper is hand-inserted, too. The waistband closes with a skirt clasp and two small press fasteners.
Maybe some of you remember. Last autumn Rochelle and Tasha hosted a Fall-for-Cotton-Sew Along. It is already march now, but maybe some of you still remember.
In fact, I managed to finish the dress in time (deadline was september 30th), maybe you saw my final result in the Flickr-group or Rochelle’s final slideshow.
But though I finished the dress, what I didn’t finish was the matching bolero. Days before the deadline I headed to a conference meeting in Lyon, flying from France directly to London for a job interview, came back to Bern after one week only to work the next day, on whose’s evening my dad arrived to help us with moving from our old flat to the one we have been living in for a couple of months now.
As you can imagine, I didn’t have much time to sew at all and with the temperature dropping my motivation to finish a summer’s dress wasn’t as high as it should have been.
But the bolero didn’t need that much work anymore and so one afternoon in winter I was destined to finally finish it, only to realize that I had no idea where I had put the last piece to be attached to the bolero’s hem. It took me some more weeks to find it and so I finally made it without any further catastrophes.
That all happened back in january and now, only a very short time afterwards (cough, attention, sarcasm) I managed to photograph the result.
I already showed you the fabrics I used, a comparably stiff purple cotton and an old duvet cover printed with purple and brown roses. To line the bodice I used a white cotton batiste.
It ws one of the rare occasions where I worked with a pattern that had the seam allowances included, but it worked surprisingly well. I changed literally nothing (partly because I rarely do and often realize too late, what should have been changed, but mostly because I have difficulties to imagine the outcome of cutparts with the seam allowance included. I know, many draw the actual seam line themselves, but that means to double the work at my most loathed step in sewing, transfering the pattern to the fabric, no option for me 😉 ).
I have to admit, the fit is not as perfect as could be and I have to pay attention which bra I wear, because the bodice is a little too large around the bust, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a good push-up. 😀
The skirt consists of four parts that add up to a wide, but not a full circle skirt.
First I planned to shorten it considerably to end just below the knees, but then I loved the idea of having a real tea-length-dress. And knowing I will only wear it with heels, I don’t need to fear to look too short. In the photos I am wearing a small petticoat underneath.
The belt is not attached to the dress. I don’t like the untidy look of it and though I do like the idea of avoiding a too cute bow, to me it looks as if I ran out of fabric. Maybe I will arrange the knot and sew it close, adding a press fastener or hooks and eyes closing to the back (more likely: I will leave it like this and will complain about it as long as I own the dress).
Now I only have to wait until next summer, but with the temperature rising outside I am positive that it won’t be too long. Today it was at least not too cold to wear it, though I was happy to stand in the sun.
But honestly it was much too bright. I had the choice between standing in the shadow or being blinded by sunlight. All the photos needed massive photoshopping because on most of them the skirt seemed almost white. And you can clearly see that it was too bright, looking at my >.<-face.
PS: Needless to say I was unable to decide what shoes to wear and therefore chose both 😉
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,
I don’t know why time is running so fast these days. Between writing job applications, working in the book shop and preparations for our new appartment there seems hardly any time left. I haven’t sewn for days, I didn’t even read much.
The last weekend I went home for a short visit, because my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday. I left Bern on Saturday morning, arrived in my hometown at half past two, the birthday started at 4pm. On sunday I had a long breakfast with my father before heading to my mother, where I spent the afternoon with my siblings and my niece (I gave her the pinafore skirt I showed you, unfortunately it doesn’t fit as I imagined it to, but I hope that this will change in a few months, because it was still a little large for her). Monday morning I went to the town hall, firstly to vote, secondly to renew my ID. In between I had to take a passport photograph, because I had forgotten to bring one, and brought some parcels to the post office. I had lunch at my grandparents’ before I headed to Düsseldorf to meet a dear friend I know from my time at the local university. In the afternoon I went to the airport and arrived in Basel at 10pm where my boyfriend picked me up, it wasn’t until 11.30pm that we arrived at home. How exhausting this weekend had been I only realized the next day, when I felt terribly tired around 1pm and decided to take a short nap. I didn’t wake up before 5pm and went to bed in the evening like always, sleeping my usual 8 hours until next morning. It seems as if I really needed some additional rest.
Tuesday passed in a blink, unpacking luggage, doing the laundry, checking all the stuff on the internet I had missed over the weekend. Today I had to work and me and my boyfriend were really looking forward to tomorrow, when we will both have our day off. Unfortunately our landlord told us directly after we both got home today, that there would be a prospect visiting our appartment tomorrow afternoon, so our day off will be spent cleaning annd tidying up, as we neglected this a little the past few days.
On Friday we will be handed over the keys to our new appartment, which means that I could spend every spare minute packing boxes and driving them to the new adress, besides this I will work a few hours in the local museum, examining some antique traditional costumes in their collection.
As you see, plenty of things to do and no end in sight, I don’t really know when I will be able to sew again and how I am to realize the Fall for Cotton dress I announced so flamboyantly.
To show you at least some photos I will leave you with some outfit-pics, again.
This is what I wore on Saturday to my grandmother’s birthday.
The hat was a present from me to myself after having finished my MA-thesis, it is a late 50ies Schiaparelli hat I bought at ebay America. The dress is the only “designer dress” I own, I found it for a reasonable price in a local outlet centre last year, while searching for an outfit to wear at a wedding (I don’t want to start a discussion about the designer’s statements and the reactions to them. I I do vehemently dissociate myself from any ideas or idealogy of this kind. I bought this dress because I had spent the whole day searching for something affordable and appropriate to wear and had to decide wether to buy this dress or leave with nothing). The shoes are the same white court shoes I showed you with my last wedding-guest outfit, but I embellished them with shoe buckles I found at a flea market some months ago.
Please excuse the bad quality of the photos and me, it was half past seven in the morning.
Here is another photo of the hat I took right after it had arrived:
(hat: Schiaparelli Paris via ebay.com; dress: Galliano; shoes: Siemes Schuh Center; shoe buckles: Flea Market)
I really hope I will be able to show you something more interesting and handmade soon!