Tag Archives: recycle/upcycle

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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. 

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

See you soon, love,

ette

Contrast in Colour and Contour

[OT] I love alliterations [/OT]

Yet again I had to skip a HSF-Challenge, simply because all my UFOs where in such an early state of work that I wouldn’t have been able to finish any of them in time.

But this time I’m back in the game. The task was “black and white” ant though I would have loved to sew a magnificent black robe with white details, I was too eager to start an experiment. So I made this experiment match the challenge.

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Earlier this year, a colleague in the museum asked me if I were interested in some antique patterns she had been given years ago. She had wanted to add them to the museum’s collection, but back then nobody was intested in doing so, so she kept them in her office. Now she found them amongst her documents and finally the now new colleague in the graphic collection will officially add them to the inventory. Before this was done she gave them to me so I could copy them for my own purposes. Besides one pattern sheet from the 1910s all sheets were from 1904 and 1905 issues of the “Schweizer Frauenheim” (because it is museum property I can’t publish any photos).  As Wikipedia tells, this was one of the early magazines of the Swiss women’s movement in the beginning 20th century.

The pattern I chose makes this even more obvious: It is a so called “Reformleibchen” a bodice without any boning, invented as an alternative draft to the heavily boned s-line corset of the 1900s. While it is still tight fitting and more or less supportive, it is not shaping the body, but can be understood as a hybrid between a chemise and a brassiere. I am not completely sure if it names the same thing, but it can at least be compared with the liberty bodice. And of course this new shape wasn’t restricted to undergarments, but is part of the so called dress reform (the second one, there was already a first attempt in the 19th century, today often closely connected with Amelia Bloomer, similar attempts but in different shape were also done by the Pre-Raphaelites, whose women dressed in wide dresses without shaping corsets underneath). In contrast to the early, victorian dress reform, this early 20th century reform gained much more attention and did even appear in fashion plates, but also in caricature.

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reformed dress next to a fashionable dress, Der Bazar, september 1904

In contrast to the s-shaped-Line of high fashion, the reformed dress has no accentuated waist, but falls straight from the shoulders with a wide flared skirt. The decoration is often predominantly placed around the shoulders and ends above the stomach.

caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women's libber, note the short hair cut, from "Die Auster", munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galanted et Esprit de l'étranger, Paris (no date given)
caricature, depicting the woman wearing a reformed dress as a masculine women’s libber, note the short hair cut, from “Die Auster”, munich 1903 as printed in: J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes et Esprit de l’étranger, Paris (no date given)

The “Reformleibchen” consists of flat lying bodice parts and ruffled parts around the breasts. My pattern closes with a facing in the front. The biggest problem I had when working with this pattern was, that I had neither instructions nor pictures of how it was meant to look like, only the different cut pieces with numbers in the corners to match. I first sewed everything together to see how it looks like. Having had embroidered the facing before doing anything else, it didn’t even came to my mind that they should be placed differently than next to each other (thinking of a corset substitute rather than a fitted chemise), but in fact it seems as if these bodices where meant to be closed with buttons in the front (note that the linked example is at least somehow stiffened, maybe not with boning, but something similar as the seams around the bodice show).

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The bodice consists of very loose woven cotton, bought as a duvet cover at IKEA years ago.
Fot the embroidery I used black cotton thread and patterns from a 1906 issue of “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”.

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I used a ribbon with hooks and eyes as closure. Though I doubt that the quality I used existed in the 1900s, I did find similar ribbons in late 19th century garments, so at least the concept was known and used.

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I made no changes to the pattern at all until it was finished but for the hem. In this state, it looked like this in the back:

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Next thing I did was to eliminate approximately 15cm width to make it fit.

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yes, I am prudish and wear a bra, but it was really a little too transparent for my taste not to do so

Only after I had done it I found this caricature, showing an upper garment with a very similar cut in the back without any fitting at all.

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caricature by Koysrand, published in the “Wiener Caricaturen”, no year given, as printed in J. Grand-Carteret: Images Galantes (see above)

Well, it isn’t the best fitting garment I ever made, but it came together surprisingly well and it was a great experience to reproduce such a special and alternative piece of clothing.

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The Challenge: #9 Black and White

Fabric: white cotton (satin or twill, can’t remember exactly and am too lazy to search for my linen tester)

Pattern: reformed bodice from an “Schweizer Frauenheim”-issue of 1905, embroidery pattern for clothing from “Kunstgewerbe für’s Haus”, 1906

Year: 1905/1906

Notions: white cotton and polyester thread, black embroidery cotton thread, white ribbon (to stabilise the rear neckline), black bias binding, hook-and-eye-ribbon.

How historically accurate is it? I was pretty sure about it being quite acurate until I found out about this button-closure-thing. This and the modern hooks and eye ribbon, the polyester thread and the fact that I assume the bias binding not to be correct, 75% ?

First worn:  for the photos, on monday.

Total cost: the fabric cost me 4€ as a duvet cover because the pillowcase was missing, but there is plenty of it left and it was already years ago. Notions came all from my stash as well, can’t imagine having paid more than 5€ for all of them, so maybe we could say 7-8€.

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reformed bodice: Schweizer Frauenheim/ette, 1900s underskirt: flea market (july 2012)

 

See you soon, love,

ette

 

 

from topmost to lowermost

Please note: If you started following my blog more than a few weeks ago, it will not be shown in your feed anymore, because the adress changed (in fact it is unlikely that it ever popped up in your feed, because I received multiple complaints about this problem).
If you would like to keep updated, please make sure you update your bookmarks and feeds, following www.parvasedapta.ch WITHOUT the /wordpress-ending.

 

Now, back to topic:

Finally I am able to participate a HSF-challenge again. Not that I didn’t sew the last month, but I had to make a christening robe for my niece and a baby quilt for my boyfriend’s cousin and his wife, whose baby arrived in january. Both patterns were modern, so nothing to show on this blog (ok well, we could argue that the quilt was made after a 1984 pattern, so according to wikipedia this would have been at least “vintage“. But it’s too late now, because I forgot to take photos anyway).

I had already written most of the post for this month’s challenge when I had to realize, that the project I was working on was doomed and that all I tried to save it only made it worse. I tried to sew a hat, using the scraps from my 40ies coat, to wear with it. But the pattern didn’t work at all with the fabric and now I have no fabric left for a second try (and no motivation, either). I don’t suppose I would have worn it a lot, anyway, so I don’t mind.

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With only a few days laft to complete the challenge I adapted an idea I had already had a few weeks ago: embroidered stockings. I love antique patterned stockings, some are preserved, most aren’t. The final idea came when I saw a portrait of Richard Sackville by Isaac Oliver, wearing blue stockings with gold embroidery.  I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of detail of the painting itself or its reproduction, but it looked very flat and plane to me and so I decided to paint the stockings instead of embroider them.

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I owned a pair of white tights, I don’t remember for how long. What makes them special and predestined for this project, is that they are pure cotton. No elastic or artificial fibres in them, they don’t fit very snug, but always wrinkle a little, so they always reminded me of antique stockings. Now, a few months ago I managed to damage them in the topmost part, there was a hole in them, it didn’t not run, but it was a hole. I don’t know about you, but I hate to wear something damaged, even though I know nobody can see it.
I was already close to throw them into the waste bin, when I finally decided to use them as my test object. And because they do have a certain age I wouldn’t have liked to embroider them, fearing that they won’t live very long anymore.

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To stick with the colour ofSackville’s stockings, I used golden fabric paint. As a pattern I chose an embroidery motive I found in the “Unterhaltungsblätter” I showed you in the last post.

9 May 1925, I used the ornament on the left
9 May 1925, I used the ornament on the left

To avoid stretching the motive when wearing the stockings, I cut a piece of cardboard according to the measurements of my lower leg (it is more difficult than it sounds, gauging the circumference of your lower leg with a tape measure, wearing a corset. And please do not ask why I am wearing a corset on a saturday afternoon at home, I simply wanted to. But I hope that in circles, where people sew and wear corsets, girdles and crinolines I do need neither explanation nor excuse 😉 ) and put it inside the tights. Beforehand I had put them on and had marked where my ankle was.Unfortunately I didn’t measure again before painting, so the pattern on one leg is taller than on the other, but I don’t think anybody will see this.

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To transfer the motive I simply used a stencil I had cut out of a thin plastic register page. After letting it dry completely I added a second, thicker layer as well as some silver to give it as least a slightly plastic look.

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The Challenge: #7 Tops and toes

Fabric: white cotton tights

Pattern: no pattern for the stockings, I just cut the legs off the tights. Pattern for the motive from 1925, found in “Schweizerische Unterhaltung-Blätter”, may 9 1925

Year: motive from 1925

Notions: gold and silver fabric paint, white cotton thread to hem the upper edge of the stockings.

How historically accurate is it? Well it was inspired by historical embroidered stockings, though you can’t call them historical at all.

First worn:  last weekend, after finishing and washing it.

Total cost: I bought the tights years ago in a second-hand shop, they can’t have been very expensive. The paint cost 2€ each, years ago, too.

I was so happy seing this project finished I couldn’t help but improvise a little 20ies inspired photo session with things that I found in my closet (being aware that this is far away from being authentic).

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headband: old, don’t know anymore; bracelet and 1900s barrette: antique stores in Lyon; pendant and 20ies shoes: flea market; shirt: yes or no by manor; skirt: 2nd hand; stockings: 2nd hand/altered by me

The reason why I am sitting, besides that I wanted to show the stockings: the shoes are too small and really fragile, I fear standing on them. So I sat down on the dresser, put them on, had me photographed, put them off, stood up 🙂

Now, having talked about corsets and holes in tights and having posted photos wearing a skirt that can’t conceal that I am really wearing stockings rather than tights, I will leave it with this before it gets even more scandalous 😉

See you soon, love,

ette

 

Nearly forgotten – Fall for Cotton

Yeah, it rhymes 🙂

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.

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laughing or dazzled?

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 😉 ).

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the neckholder closes with two white fabric-covered buttons

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. 😀

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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.

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un-elegant attempt to show you the width of the hem

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).

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where is my belly button? I know I saw it right here…

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.

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Maybe I am a vampire at last, cursing sun already at the first spring day…

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.

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(dress and bolero: ette/Simplicity 7218, necklace: gift, petticoat: Blutsgeschwister, white shoes: Siemes-Schuh-Center, purple shoes: Diesel, fragrance: 4711 Eau de Cologne Lavender & Thyme)

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PS: Needless to say I was unable to decide what shoes to wear and therefore chose both 😉

see you soon,

love, ette

what’s this? 70ies! 30ies! 50ies?

I already mentioned the small antiques Shop “das Puppenhaus” in my hometown quite a few times.
In front of the actual shop the owner installed a shelf with modern, less valuable or broken things. Everything in this shelf is 1€, if you fill one of the plastic bags next to the shelf, it is 3€ total. Of course, what you find there is rarely more than rummage, but if you search for chipped plates, cheesy 70ies novels and other stuff, this is the place to go.
Obviously, you only need to be interested in a very few things to start thinking “mh, maybe I should fill a bag”. What I usually filled the gaps with was clothing, you can always use it as a fabric resource. I found a Korn-Bandshirt, a skirt that now forms part of my quilt and a hilarious 1970ies (?) nightgown.

This colour is very difficult to describe and even more difficult to photograph. It lies somewhere between “very-light-shade-of-pink” and “I-forgot-a-red-sock-in-the-white-laundry”. As you see, it is very wide, label says size 50 (though sizing has changed in the last 40 years, 50 must have been pretty large already back then). The fabric is a very light, sheer cotton with machine embroidery in the front, the back is plain.

Now, this dreadfullness has been in my stock for a rather long time, maybe around 6 years. I always planned to turn it into something wearable, adjust it to my size, make something completely different out of it, I had plenty of ideas. But then, everytime I looked at it I shook my head and put it back.

Finally I faced the monster.

First I cut away all the seams, but kept the hem and the buttonband.
The sleeves’ fabric was very worn and threadbare, I was close to throwing it away (but I didn’t, as you’ll see later). The front and back were each made from one large sheet of fabric without any darts or similar (but for the buttonband). Because the original cut had raglan sleeves, the fabric was much narrower on the top end than at the hem.

I chose a pattern for a nightgown I found in a 1937 schoolbook I bought in april 2013.

I copied the upper parts of the front and back and placed them onto my fabric as high as possible (remember, the raglan cut).  The resulting pieces I sewed together, using french seams. The sleeveless gown was much shorter than I had hoped for, but at least it was already hemmed.

What was left of the fabric were the bits cut away to form the armholes in the front, a larger piece from the back and the sleeves. I cut away all the fabric that was too worn to be used, turning the rest into more or less straight stripes. These stripes, eight in total, I patched together to two rectagles of four, having one embroidered stripe in each of it. I formed kind of a halfcircle to turn them into sleeves. The hem I decorated with a polyester lace, that is in no way less horrible than the original nightgown had been. I set the sleeves in and finished the neckline with white bias binding on the inside (it is a little stiff, I hope it gets better after having been washed a couple of times). I re-attached the ribbon (not before re-sewing it, the thread was more brittle than the fabric itself, and yes, it is off-centre, don’t tell me 😉 ) and found a button in the exact same hilarious pale shade of pink (maybe it even came from this nightgown, I can’t remember if the buttons were already missing or if I took them off).

Well yes, and now it looks like a late 1950ies babydoll-dress, though I made no alterations to the pattern at all. Well, except for the length, the sleeves and the already given buttonband and ribbon.

The Challenge: #1 Make do & Mend

Fabric: pale pink cotton with machine embroidery

Pattern: basic nightgown pattern from a schoolbook

Year: 1937

Notions: thread, polyester lace, plastic button, bias binding

How historically accurate is it? well, the pattern is an original one, the fabric is imaginable in the 1930ies. But the machine embroidery, the length and the overall impression it gives aren’t suitable for this decade at all, so let’s say 20-30%

Hours to complete: 4

First worn:  january 3, 2014

Total cost: maybe less than 1€ (3m bias binding cost 0,80€, I used less than 1m, lace surely was part of a convolute bought somewhere at a flea market, button as well. Costs for the nightgown I already explained above)

And a funny work-in-progress-photo featuring the lady of the house. I had searched for inspiration for the next challenge when I didn’t work on the nightgown (lying in the background), that’s why the magazines still lay on the sofa. Seems as if they have their own bobyguard now. She even stares like an aged librarian.

See you soon, love,

ette