Tag Archives: sewing

A dress…well, yes, a dress!

Besides the stacks of patterns and sewing magazines that are stored in boxes on my bookshelf, I always have a small number lying around, either because I like them and really want to make them or because these would be garments my wardrobe is lacking or that could help getting rid of some special fabric.

This pattern had been lying on this stack a little while. I like it because it is such a simple and yet beautiful design. It seemed to make a good wardrobe basic made from solid coloured fabric but could also be a stunning showpiece if made from an interestingly patterned one.
When the Monthly stitch challenge for February was announced I very quickly decided to finally try this one. The challenge was “solid colours” and you were given a colour depending on the first letter of your first name. My name gave me purple to work with. I had already considered trying this pattern with a very stiff purplecotton  tabby I had in my stash and now the time had definitely come.

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Dating the pattern was a little difficult. The line as such looked 60ies enough, but the length of the dress and the hairstyle looked more 70ies to me. With the help of some dear sewing-friends on facebook we settled on late 60ies for this one.
Sewing went very easy and straightforward. I cut the smallest size, which was 38, and it fit without any alterations. In hindsight I would say the bust darts could sit a little lower, but they don’t look too odd up there, so it is ok for the first try. Unfortunately it tends to climb up even higher than the bust darts, maybe this is due to the pattern or my body  needs something like a shoulder adjustment (but why didn’t I face this problem in other patterns?).
Neckline and the sleeves’ hems I faced with lavender coloured bias binding, more layers of the purple fabric would have been too thick and too stiff. The strap in the waist I faced with a cotton leftover, white with yellow flowers. Unfortunately the white is showing on the edges, I really should have used a darker shade.
The fabric was very cooperative when it came to sewing, it didn’t shift and my sewing machine coped with it very well. But the dense weave caused two problems. The first only a minor one, it was a real pain to pin it, I really had to force the pins into the fabrics and soon my fingertips hurt. The pinholes are still visible everywhere but I assume they will vanish when I wash it the first time. The second one is more annoying: Because of the density of the threads it was next to impossible to gather the sleeve caps, as the pattern demanded. Therefore I couldn’t avoid some small wrinkles when attaching the sleeves.

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The boyfriend kept me waiting a little while, that’s why the dress is a little wrinkled, complaints may be adressed to him.

Well, what more to say? It took me one episode of “The great British sewing bee” and a half of “Bargain Hunting” (yes, BBC-addict, I confess) to handpick the zipper, I really hope Patrick would approve, I had to use a thimble because you can imagine how painful hand-sewing is when the fabric already refuses to let pins pass through it.

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To conclude: It’s a dress! It’s funny, I like it very much but on the other hand it is so neutral. Give a child the task to draw a woman, it would draw her in a knee-length a-line dress with short sleeves and a decently-sized neckline. This dress has all a classic dress features and lacks everything that could stand out or be interesting. It really is a great basic, paired with a cardigan, a brooch and ballerinas you could do anything, from going to work to buying a house, to me it is classic everyday elegance.

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In fact, despite its vivid colour, it is a piece of cake. Which is great because as most sewers I tend to produce way more frosting than cake, which doesn’t really help to build an everyday- wardrobe. So this challenge and this pattern really helped me to produce an unexpectedly unagitated dress, well done!

Auf Deutsch

Neben den Stapeln von  Schnittmustern und Nähzeitschriften welche ich in Schachteln auf meinem Bücherregal aufbewahre, habe ich immer ein paar Schnittmuster herumliegen, entweder weil es Schnitte sind, die ich sehr dringend nähen möchte oder weil ich damit ein Loch in meinem Kleiderschrank füllen oder einen Ladenhüter in meiner Stoffsammlung loswerden kann.

Dieses Schnittmuster lag schon eine ganze Weile auf diesem Stapel. Ich mag es weil es ein einfaches und gleichzeitig sehr schönes Design ist. Es schien als könnte man damit ein schönes uni-farbenes Basis-Kleid nähen, aber ebenso einen richtigen Hingucker, wenn man den passenden Stoff nähme.
Als die Februar-Challenge bei “The Monthly Stitch” verkündet wurde, war mir schnell klar, dass ich diesem Schnitt nun endlich eine Chance geben würde. Die Challenge lautete “Solid colours”, also einfarbige Stoffe, keine Muster, keine Farbkombinationen. Die Farbe wurde nach dem Anfangsbuchstaben des Vornamens festgelegt, was bei mir in lila resultierte. Ich hatte bereits länger mit dem Gedanken gespielt, dieses Kleid aus einem eher steifen  lila Taftgewebe in meinem Vorrat zu nähen und nun schien die Zeit dafür endlich gekommen.

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Die Datierung bereitete mir etwas Sorgen. Die Linie sah mir schon nach den 60ern aus, aber die Rocklänge und vor allem die Frisuren deuteten für mich eher in die 70er. Mit der Hilfe von den wunderbaren Menschen in der “Nähen im Vintage-Stil”-Facebook-Gruppe wurden die späten 60er als wahrscheinlichstes Entstehungsdatum festgelegt.
Das Nähen ging dann schnell von der Hand, ich schnitt die kleinste Grösse, 38, zu und es passte mehr oder weniger ohne Änderungen. Im Nachhinein würde ich die Brustabnäher vielleicht ein wenig tiefer setzen, aber sie sitzen nicht viel zu hoch und sehen daher nicht komisch aus, für’s erste Mal also ok. Beim Tragen neigt es allerdings dazu, hochzurutschen, dagegen sind aber tiefgreifendere Änderungen am Schnitt nötig. Also heißt das Motto bei diesem, ja nicht die Arme bewegen. 
Weil der Stoff so steif und dick ist entschied ich mich gegen Belege und benutzte stattdessen lavendelfarbenes Schrägband am Halsausschnitt und den Ärmelsäumen. Der Riegel in der Taille wurde mit einem Baumwollrest verstürzt, weiss mit gelben Blumen. Leider sieht man ihn an der Kante ein wenig, ich hätte doch besser etwas dunkleres nehmen sollen.
Beim Nähen erwies sich der Stoff als sehr kooperativ, er rutschte nicht und auch meine Nähmaschine meldete keine Beschwerden an. Doch die sehr hohe Webdichte brachte auch Probleme mit sich. Erstens, das ist sicherlich das kleinere, es tat weh! Stecknadeln liessen sich nur mit relativ hohem Kraftaufwand einstechen was schnell zu schmerzenden Fingerkuppen führte. Zudem sieht man die Einstichlöcher immer noch, aber das sollte sich beim Waschen geben. Das zweite Problem ist etwas störender. Weil die Fäden so dicht liegen war es so gut wie unmöglich, die Armkugel einzuhalten, daher hab ich an der Naht doch einige Fältchen.

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here you see the climbing problem, up, up to the sky… hier sehr ihr das Hochrutschproblem….

Was gibt es noch zu sagen? Den Reissverschluss habe ich in Begleitung einer Folge “The great British sewing bee” und einer halben Folge “Bargain Hunting” (ja, ich schaue zu viel BBC) mit der Hand eingenäht, ich hoffe Patrick wäre stolz auf mich. Der Fingerhut war dabei mein treuer Begleiter, ihr könnt  euch vorstellen dass es sonst nicht angenehm gewesen wäre.

Zusammenfassend lässt sich sagen: Es ist ein Kleid!Irgendwie lustig, einerseits mag ich es sehr gerne , andererseits ist es wirklich sehr neutral. Es ist ein Kleid, in welchem ich als Kind eine Frau gezeichnet hätte: knielang, kurze Ärmel, runder Ausschnitt. Es hat alles was ein klassisches Kleid braucht und lässt jedes interessante Detail vermissen. Damit ist es ein sehr schöner Basis-Garderoben-Bestandteil, gepaart mit Cardigan, Brosche und Ballerinas kann man darin so ziemlich alles machen, zur Arbeit gehen oder auch ein Haus kaufen.
Damit hat mir diese Challenge sehr unerwartet zu einem  Allroundtalent verholfen, sehr gut!

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Couldn’t help, I felt like Peg Bundy with this hairdo.

Sorry, aber ich musste bei der Frisur an Peg Bundy denken.

No plastic is good plastic

As you might know my blog’s title includes the motto “caring for tomorrow”. This may not become obvious or be in the spotlight in every post, but it is a very important aspect of my life.
Maybe one of the biggest steps towards a more sustainable life is to realize what plastic does to our planet and to our health and that we do good avoiding it as good as we can (I won’t go much into detail here because I don’t want to proselytise. If you want to inform yourself a quick online-seach should give you a good start) This is anything but easy, in fact so much of our daily life is made from plastic, it is next to impossible  avoiding it completely. So the best we can do is to check our every day routine, where can I avoid plastic with little effort, what can be substituted with something else and so on.

One of the easiest and yet most important things is to do without plastic bags. The vast majority of plastic bags is discarded after having been used only once. And during my years working in a bookshop I have even come across some clients who complained about being used as an advertisement panel when carrying plastic bags, really, what a first world problem! We are used to not forgetting our keys, our handkerchiefs, our gloves at home, but I always encounter the same excuse “I simply forget to take a cotton bag with me”.
Interesting how our brain works sometimes, for me it’s all about prioritising and if I don’t want to forget that bag, I won’t.

I don’t want to talk about cotton bags today, I do have too many of them and I don’t sew any more of them as long as I have all these that somehow gathered in my broom closet over the years. And yes, I do keep one with me in my handbag, always.

But sometimes, a cotton bag just isn’t the right mean of transportation. Think of berries and salad from the market or a cake from your local bakery. So when my mother asked me last year if I was interested in an old basket I said yes immediately. I had planned to get a basket for already some time, but I thought this was something I could easily find on a flea market or in a charity shop and didn’t want to buy a new one, so when my mother said she had been given this old one and didn’t need it, it was just the perfect timing.

My joy ceased abruptly when I saw it the first time:

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This was most probably the ugliest basket I had seen my entire life. That yellow stuff you see at the sides is yellow pvc-tablecloth and was supposed to cover the basket but the elastic inside was a little out of shape, so it just hung down very poorly, looking even more horrible.
The naked basket I liked much better:

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But it has a little problem: As I said, it is old. I don’t know how old, but old enough for the  material to get brittle. It still can hold weight, but the single stalks break very easily, especially at the bottom. Carrying a bottle of milk is fine, but you have to be careful not to throw anything directly onto a single stalk or it could break, therefore destabilising the whole basket. Here you see the problem:

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Well, I had two choices: Leave it as it was, knowing that the basket would be completely damaged and unuseable in the foreseeable future (and risking to cover the street with my groceries one unlucky day) or I could face and solve the problem.
You can imagine that I wouldn’t write this post if I would have went for the first option 😉

I decided to copy the pattern from the ugly yellow cover and to add a lining (could you call this a lining in this case or is there a more appropriate word?).  The bottom piece of the lining I attached to a piece of cardboard, so that the basket underneath would be protected from anything heavy falling on one single stalk.
I used an old lavender coloured tablecloth I got years ago for free because it has some stains. I wasn’t able to cut away all the stains, but they are on the lining so not visible because of the cover (and I can’t wash the lining, so it will be even more stained in the future, I suppose). The tablecloth had a darker stripe woven around the edges, some 10cm away from the hem, I placed these stripes vertically in the lining (below the handle) and included it in the design of the cover as well.

Somehow I made a massive mistake when calculating the lining, you see I had to add a quite wide strap to make it fit. Here a photo how it looked before I added the cover, you can see the dark woven stripe below the handle:

parvasedapta.ch - Embroidered Basket V
Let me tell you, sewing something onto a basket is NOT funny. I attached the lining with a straight needle and it was not easy at all, for the cover I used a curved needle. I have to admit, it worked better, but my fingers started to cramp because of the unfamiliar form. I am quite sure  that this was the first and the last basket I ever made a cover for.

parvasedapta.ch - Embroidered Basket I
I decided to add a little embroidery to make it less plain. I went for a design I found in an early 20th century pattern sheet for machine embroidery, I already briefly mentioned it in this post. I searched for the book it belonged with (“Das Sticken mit der Nähmaschine”) online and it is dated around 1910-20 (no year was printed on it, these are the seller’s guesses) And no, I didn’t machine embroider it, but used back and stem stitches which resulted in a rather naive and plain embroidery effect, but I like it pretty much.

parvasedapta.ch - Embroidered Basket III

You can see how I included the dark stripe into the design.
I overlapped the two sides as the yellow pvc had done also, don’t ask me why the two sides look so asymetrical, they should be identical (and it is on purpose that I didn’t put one side on top of the other, this would have looked even more odd).

parvasedaota.ch - Embroidered Basket II
The edges are the original hem of the tablecloth, on the back of it I attached some cotton ribbon to thread the elastic through. Now it closes properly again.

The pattern sheet I copied the embroidery from is in a very fragile condition and tears when I unfold it, so I will try to use it at little as possible in the future. The pattern I used for this project I had traced onto tissue paper. To keep it, without manipulating the pattern sheet again, I digitalized it. And because I am so kind I will share it with you, klick on the image to enlarge it (and tell me when you makee it, I am curious to see your version):

parvasedapta.ch - embroidery pattern

 

I like the result very much and love to take it with me to the market. And though I know I won’t try to sew with baskets again, it was well worth the effort.
parvasedapta.ch - Embroidered Basket IV
See you soon, love,

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Underneath the Mango tree…

Deutsche Version unten

While I flipped through my piles of old paper to find some Christmas images to post last december, I found a very cute tutorial for a little christmas gift idea, a thimble holder. The tutorial was labeled as something easy to be crafted by children to make a little present for their mums.

tutorial thimble holder, parvasedapta.ch
The thing on the left (from: Ringiers Unterhaltungs-Blätter, December 19th 1925)

All you need is some cardboard, an empty matchbox and coloured paper and pencils to decorate.

The little thimble holder is a humble craft for boys or girls. Two rectangles are cut into the matchbox in that way, that they stay connected to the matchbox  on one side to be put upright, so that the cardboard-back can be attatched to them through slits. For the thimble a round cutout as seen in the picture is sufficient. After the cardboard-back has been prepared, it is connected to the box with adhesive tape on the back and the bottom. Now it can be decorated with white and coloured paper and painted. In the openings on the sides the donor puts small needle wrappers.

I skipped the adhesive tape and used glue for everything. Today not only suitable for mummies for Christmas, but also as a little present for a good sewing friend.

Well, maybe my expectations were a little high, but it wasn’t that easy as I had thought, working with something as small as a matchbox is tricky even for my small hands, I can’t imagine it being easier with clumsy children’s fingers. Maybe this was meant for children a little older than I imagined.

thimble holder, parvasedapta.ch

Maybe you wonder why I didn’t post this for Christmas? First because I thought even though it is labeled a gift idea it could be made any time of the year as a random gift. Second because I wanted to try this and had neither time nor matchboxes. Yes, you heard right, all I had were matchbooks or the modern, small matchboxes, but not the old-fashioned large ones. It is easy to buy them at the supermarket by the dozen, but I had enough matches and didn’t want to buy that many more. I finally found a little box only slightly larger than a matchbox and brand-new vintage-styled mini-matchboxes in a hipster-shop (1,50CHF for one single matchbox, really? This is what I do for you!). So my two versions are a little smaller and a little larger than the original size should have been, imagine a size in between 😉

parvasedapta.ch, tutthiholIIparvasedapta.ch, tutthihol

When I was done with the first one it looked indeed like the drawing but I hadn’t been aware until then it strongly resembled a tombstone. Don’t you think? For me this was a quite creepy thought, imagine a child giving some tiny cardboard tombstone to its mother on Christmas eve, with her initials on it?! Maybe I’m making things up and a mother would never see something like this in her offspring’s bricolage, but adore the thimble holder as it is.

thimbleholderIII, parvasedapta.ch

Anyway, I decided to give the second version a completely different design. Maybe it is because I am longing for some warmth, maybe it was too late in the evening and me being ridiculous, this is what my mind came up with:

thimbleholderII, parvasedapta.ch

This time I hid the straps beneath the palm’s trunks. The red around the thimble is meant to be a fire, the thimble being a cauldron with the dinner cooking inside (as I said, it was late).

I don’t know why the original tutorial kept the straps visible, but of course, if you cover the cardboard completely, you could as well hide the straps beneath it and make a design completely independent (but it is interesting to think of designs with them as well, imagine a thimble holder bearing the Spanish coat of arms with the Pillars of Hercules on each side, how very elevated).

Deutsche Version

Als ich kurz vor Weihnachten ein schönes Motiv für einen Weihnachtspost suchte, stiess ich auf diese niedliche Anleitung, eigentlich gedacht für Kinder, um ihrer Mutter eine Kleinigkeit zu Weihnachten zu basteln. Es ist ein kleiner Fingerhut-Halter aus einer Streichholzschachtel, in die Spalten an den Seiten kann man noch kleine Nadelbriefchen stecken.

Weihnachten war dann doch etwas knapp um das noch nachzubasteln, zumal ich keine klassische Streichholzschachtel finden konnte, nur -heftchen oder diese flachen Schachteln. Am Ende fand ich eine leicht grössere Schachtel zuhause sowie eine auf vintage getrimmte Mini-Schachtel in einem Hipster-Laden (für 1,50CHF, pffft).
Die Originalgrösse dürfte also ziemlich genau zwischen meinen beiden Versionen liegen.

Für euch brauch ich die Anleitung ja nicht übersetzen, klickt auf das Bild oben, dann sollte alles gut zu lesen sein.

Das Basteln ging dann recht schnell, allerdings war es doch ziemlich friemelig und ich kann mir kaum vorstellen, dass kleine Kinderhände das ohne Hilfe und Frust basteln könnten (alleine diese Streifen aus dem Deckel schneiden in der Grösse), möglicherweise bin ich da aber auch zu sehr Perfektionist und ein Kind hätte so etwas nicht so schön komplett mit Buntpapier bezogen.
Als ich dann mit der ersten Version fertig war, sah es zwar aus wie auf der Zeichnung, aber irgendwie erinnerte es mich sehr an einen Grabstein. Vielleicht sieht eine Mutter nur die liebevolle Bastelei ihres Nachwuchses, ich sehe wie ein Kind seiner Mutter zu Weihnachten einen Papiergrabstein mit ihren Initialen schenkt. Wie aufmerksam!

Wie auch immer, ich beschloss, das zweite Design sollte ein wenig anders, weniger friedhöflich sein.
Möglicherweise liegt es an dem Sonnenmangel Ende Januar, vielleicht war es auch einfach etwas spät am Abend und ich albern wie ein übermüdetes Kind, heraus kam die “Wie eine einsame Insel sicher nicht ist aber jeder sie sich vorstellt”-Idylle.

Man beachte die roten Dreiecke um den Fingerhut, erkennt man, dass es ein Kessel mit Abendessen über dem Feuer sein soll?

thimble holder, parvasedapta.ch

Man kann sich noch eine Vielzahl weiterer Variationen einfallen lassen, wie beispielsweise diesen geschwungenen oberen Abschluss anders formen, so dass er nicht mehr wie ein Grabstein aussieht. Oder man kann, wenn man wie ich das ganze Ding in Buntpapier wickelt, die Kartonlaschen komplett verschwinden lassen und ist dann ganz frei in seinem Design. Aber mit den Laschen rumzualbern macht auch Spass, warum nicht einen Fingerhuthalter mit dem spanischen Wappen, gehalten von zwei Kartonlaschen den Säulen des Herakles.

Auf jeden Fall finde ich es nicht nur ein niedliches Geschenk für Mütter zu Weihnachten wie es 1925 mal angedacht war, sondern auch ein schönes Mitbringsel für eine nähende Freundin.

Und weil so ein Projekt Erinnerungen an gemütliches Basteln an kalten Wintertagen wach ruft und weil meine grössere Variante dazu passend auch noch ein wenig Sonnenschein verbreitet geht es mit diesem kleinen Papierprojekt zum Krea-Kränzchen von Kaffeeliebelei und Palandurwen, dessen Januar-Motto ganz passend “Warme Gedanken” ist.
Und weil es ja auch ein Upcycling-Projekt ist, darf es auch zum Upcycling-Dienstag im Februar.

See you soon, love

ette

In the wee small hours of history

parvasedapta.ch-bronze age shirt

Let’s have something unusual today 😉

Maybe you wonder, remembering I said I don’t want to publish modern projects on this blog? Well, you are absolutely right about what I said and absolutely wrong if you consider today’s project being something modern.

parvasedapta.ch-bronze age shirt II

In fact, this is by far the oldest and most antique project I have ever made or shown.
Before you are too confused now: We are talking about the shirt, not the skirt 😉
The first time I saw this pattern was in 2012, I discovered it in a book on prehistoric textiles in the library of the musée des tissus in Lyons.  I copied the pattern to try it back home (unfortunately without noting in which book I had found it. That really is a pity because until today it is the only version of this pattern I know that comes with measurements).

parvasedapta.ch-bronze age shirt back

Only later I realized I owned a book myself that had the pattern in it.* And among Archaeologists it is pretty well known: This blouse was found in numerous women’s and girl’s graves dating from the bronze age. For example it formed part of the clothing worn by the Egtved girl who died around 1370 b.c., though the skirt that was found as well is today much more famous than the blouse.

parvasedapta.ch-Bronze age shirt back II

What fascinated me about this bronze age pattern, was that it was cut from only one piece of fabric.  Today it is assumed that the special cut and the sizing of the blouse can be connected to fur- and leather-sewing-techniques of the time. Considering you only need a piece of fabric measuring 110cm x 60cm this seems quite plausible as it should be a size you could easily cut from a cow’s or a stag’s skin. The blouses found were however made from woven fabrics.

parvasedapta.ch-Bronze age shirt III

You can find a scheme of the pattern here, just scroll down to the end of the page, here you have a perspective drawing that could help you understand how it is assembled. And finally, this drawing shows the outlines from the different blouses found (the link to the original source unfortunately doesn’t work). The pattern and the measurements I copied back in Lyons (and therefore the ones I used for making this blouse) were taken from the example in the middle, the Borum Eshøj-blouse. What you see is that most of the preserved blouses have an additional strip sewn onto the lower edge of the main part, like this it was possible to adjust the hemline even if the width of the fabric or the skin wasn’t enough. The strip found on this blouse was 5cm wide, I made mine much wider and doubled it so it would give a little structure to the blouse (the fabric I used is very thin and unlike the heavy cloth used 3000 years ago). If made narrower (or directly added to the pattern and cut in one piece, as today a width of more than 60cm should be that much of a problem) it could pass for a very modern shirt as they were very en vogue last summer. And the length of the sleeves is adjustable as well. The version above was made with a 30cm wide neck opening while the sleeves each measure 40cm from the neckline to the hem (therefore the 110cm I talked of above).  Making a version with longer or shorter sleeves would be perfectly easy.

The fit is not as bad as you could imagine. Because of the lack of a proper seam underneath the sleeves you can’t insert gussets, but that is not that big a problem because the blouse should be pretty wide, unlike mine which is in fact too small (sits a little tight, breathing isn’t that good an idea when wearing it). But this was because I started to work with the measurement taken from the original (80cm bust circumference *cough*), planning to adjust a second version to my size. Haven’t made this second version so far, so you get to see the too small first version today.

parvasedapta.ch-Bronze Age shirt IV

And look, it could very well pass as a vintage pattern, don’t you think?

I love this pattern because it is quite simple to make (only the seam allowances have to be comparably narrow), very very old but absolutely timeless in its style. Imagine this in a brown wool and you surely have some kind of prehistoric garment. Use a patterned viscose as I did and it looks like a summer blouse that hides its historic background perfectly. Keep in mind that you have some seams in the back when chosing the fabric, otherwise it might look odd, cutting through a large motif.

But to me this project is still one of the best examples of how simple a sewing pattern can be and how important the fabric and its pattern is when it comes to the impression a garment gives.

parvasedapta.ch-Bronze Age Shirt V
1st outfit: skirt: edc – shoes: G-Star, 2nd outfit: skirt: ette – shoes: Limelight

I am participating with this post in Idle Needle’s “Make, Thrift & Tell” January challenge (Patterns). It is a lovely idea and she is having a link party over at her blog!

To finish with: The post’s title came to my mind when I looked out of the window the morning I wrote the post (yesterday, so tuesday) and had Sinatra’s In the wee small hours of the morning in my head immediately.  Unfortunately the photos I made directly afterwards were all blurry, so I can only show you the scenery in bright daylight (imagine this only lit by a small street lamp).

parvasedapta.ch-snowy garden

This is how the garden looks today. At least somebody in the house appreciates snow (I don’t really), our landlord’s dog, caught in full speed:

parvasedapta.ch-dig in the snow

See you on sunday, love

ette

* From this book I also drew all the archaeological information given in this post:
Karin Grömer: Prähistorische Textilkunst in Mitteleuropa. Geschichte des Handwerkes und der Kleidung vor den Römern, Wien 2010.

 

A confession…or maybe two..no…ahem, three?

First I want to thank you all for your comments on my 2014-round-up and your advise on how I should cope with my concerns.
Yes, you are completely right, this is my blog and I should show here what I want. But I still like the setting of this blog as it is. In the end I have come to a conclusion, consisting of mainly three changes:

– I won’t participate in this year’s Historical Sew Monthly (it has changed to only half the challenges for 2015).  If something I make coincidentally fits a challenge I will maybe post it in the facebook-group, but on the blog it will appear as a project without any greater connection to the HSM. Participating in this project means that you are willing to participate in as many challenges as possible. As I can’t say I want this to be my aim for this year, I would consider it weird to post accidentally fitting projects as challenge entries.

– in the future I want to be less strict with what I show here. If I make something with a modern pattern that I consider suitable for the blog, I will show it. Short, I want to be less strict to myself. First product of this change of mind you can see further below.

– I still won’t include modern looking patterns, I would like to keep the historic/retro touch of this blog. But I can’t deny that I love some modern styles, too and so I want to be able to give in and sew something completely different when I want to. At the same time I want to push myself a little, try new styles and materials, I just like a good challenge.
Therefore I joined the monthly stitch collective. As with the HSF you face monthly challenges, but these aren’t limited to historical styles and you have a group-blog for all participants instead of a link-up (Oh, and you are free to join as many challenges as you like).
I am sure you will see some projects published both here and on the MSC-blog, but other projects will be shown on just one of the two.  My most recent post on the MSC-blog will be linked below the MSC-button on the right and I will inform you about them on my facebook-page. Like this I am able to show you my modern sewing projects as well, without changing this blog’s  focus.

I hope these changes will help me find a balance between historic and modern sewing and I hope you are ok with them.

Now, let’s come to the confessions mentioned in the title. First, I cut my hair and this already in late november. The photos I posted in december were all made only days before this. The better part is still long and brown, but on a day off alone in our flat I apparently stood in front of the mirror too long and cut myself a fringe. I had considered this already for some time but always convinced myself, that long hair without a fringe is more versatile (and it is!). Well, this particular morning reason lost and enthusiasm took control.
I am still not sure wether I want to keep it or will already start to let it grow longer again.

Second and third confession are very closely connected to each other: I have to much fabric, that’s for sure. I don’t want to buy any new fabric, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. But when I went to Ikea a couple of days before Christmas I somehow ended up in the fabric section…oops. You see where this is going 😉
Amongst all the bolts lay a leftover of white lace with polka dots, 1,5m to be exact. And before I had even realized what happened it lay in my basket. But only because I had a very clear idea in mind and indeed, I managed to realize this idea before Christmas eve. This is the third confession because this makes it a 2014 project and I didn’t include it in the round-up. The main reason for this is, that I didn’t know wether I should show it or not. But, as said above, I decided to be less strict with myself and because I wanted to show it, I just do now 🙂

parvasedapta.ch-Lace Skirt IV

My idea was a very simple half-circle-skirt with a layer of lace on top. As fabric to go underneath I chose a magenta-coloured microsuede I bought already years ago. I loved the pattern on it, but soon considered it to be “too much” and so it lay in my stash for a very long time (very long in this case means at least seven years, though I can’t tell exactly).
Some years ago I turned some of it into a wrap-dress (Burda easy fashion spring/summer 2006), using the shiny back as the main fabric and the patterned right side only for accents.

parvasedapta.ch-Lace Skirt II

For the skirt I proceeded similarly, the lace is facing the shiny side (making a very slippery slip indispensable because the patterned side is …well…sueded)) while the waistband shows the patterned, right side of the fabric.
I treated both layers (lace and fabric) as one and only hemmed them seperately. For the underskirt I used white bias binding, what  is my favourite hemming method for round hems. When the skirt was done and had hung for one day on my dress form I cut the lace’s hem , leaving it a little bit longer than the fabric underneath.
The skirt closes with a zipper and a hook in the centre back.

parvasedapta.ch-Lace Skirt I

Well, and that’s all I suppose. The waistband is stiffened with fusible interfacing. I didn’t calculate how it works with other sizes, but the cutout in the middle of the half-circle was enough to make a 2cm-wide waistband from it, of course with a seam in the middle. But if you don’t have any more fabric, 70/75cm (depending on the width of your fabric, 140cm or 150cm) is enough to make this skirt in a small size.  Please consider that the length of the skirt depends on your waist circumference, the larger this is, the slimmer is the ring that forms your skirt and thus higher is the final hem.

parvasedapta.ch-Lace Skirt III
pullover: Lyon flea market – skirt: ette – underskirt: ette, (used to be a curtain) –  stockings: ars vivendi – shoes: limelight – hairbow: ette (pattern: Der Bazar 1872)

As you may have imagined, this whole idea, spontaneous lace-buy and quick execution before Christmas was an attempt to substitute the not finished Christmas dress. Funny enough, even though I finished the skirt I didn’t wear it on Christmas Eve, as was planned, but the next day when we visited some friends.
Today I can tell you I finally finished the Christmas dress yesterday, now I only need some time to make some good photos with it.

I wish you a lovely sunday!

ette

Somebody found my sewing-mojo?

No?…Well, was worth a try…

This week’s or better yesterday’s agenda:

Oah, jetzt aber schnell!
Nur noch der Saum!
Ich könnte hier nochmal nachbessern
Ich bin fertig, zeige aber noch nichts
Ich bin ein Streber und nähe jetzt noch ein Tüdeldü für meine drei Weihnachtskleider

Ohoh, I should hurry!
Only the hem left!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Auf deutsch:

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

So much for today, see you soon, love

ette

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

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

mh…ok…never mind…

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

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

But now, the Weihnachtskleid!

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

Oh, so ein schönes Schnittmuster wird da genäht, ich entscheide mich schnell um
Ich habe mich für mein Traumkleid entschieden und bleibe dabei
Ich nähe mal lieber erst ein Probemodell
Schnitt kopieren, zuschneiden, wer sagt eigentlich, dass Nähen Spaß macht? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Auf Deutsch

Da mein letzer Post noch keine Zusammenfassung hatte, ein kleiner Rückblick:
Den Schnitt, für den ich mich entschieden habe, fand ich Anfang des Jahres in einem Buch über Stickerei aus den 20ern. Ich bin nähtechnisch gänzlich unerfahren mit Mode dieser Zeit, zudem habe ich dank eines missglückten Projekts vor fünf Jahren eine Abneigung gegen karierte Stoffe entwickelt. Beide dunklen Flecken in meiner Vita möchte ich mit diesem Projekt also ausmerzen.
Stoffe sind daher ein rosa-braunes Karo (synthetisches, gab es mal günstig bei Butinette) und für die Details rosa Baumwoll-Samt (aus einem Trödelladen).
Sobald ich verstanden hatte dass die Rocklänge in der vorderen Mitte nicht 10cm kürzer ist als an den Seitennähten (58<>68cm), sondern der Druck so verlaufen ist dass er aus den 5en lauter 6er gemacht hat, ging alles ganz problemlos und aus dem Liniengewirr wurde schnell ein Schnittmuster.
Der Schnitt ist für 96cm Brustweite angegeben, viel zu viel für mich. Habe daher sowohl beim Rock als auch beim Oberteil, vorne und hinten, 2cm Weite pro Schnittteil weggenommen, das macht 8cm total, sollte langen (hoffe ich doch). Das komplizierteste war noch die beiden Abnäher in der Schulternaht zu verschieben, aber sonst sieht es so aus, als hätte ich meine erste vernünftige Schnittanpassung erfolgreich bewältigt (normalerweise näh ich einfach enger und schneide weg bis es passt). Die Länge des Oberteils schien zu stimmen, wo der Saum schlussendlich endet entscheide ich sowieso erst ganz am Schluss.  Dank des Gürtels der die Ansatznaht bedeckt und des Saumbesatzes habe ich da ja recht viel Spielraum, sollte es doch zu lang sein.
Als nächstes heißt es nun, den Schnitt auf den Stoff zu bringen. Dafür muss ich mich aber erstmal entscheiden, was im schrägen und was im geraden Fadenlauf geschnitten wird. Und dann gilt es, Dämonen  Karos zu bändigen.

See you soon, love,

ette

Weihnachtskleid <-> A Christmas dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My pattern:

img158

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

Here are the fabrics I am planning to use:

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

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

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

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

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

And the lining:

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

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

So far, I hope you are with me?

See you soon, love,

ette

(s)It(h) is getting colder

Though I do of course sew other things as well as do and love other things besides sewing, I decided at one point to limit this blog to textile history and sewing projects made after historical patterns. Like this I hope to give my blog a clear silhouette, knowing well that this also means I can only show you a part of my personality.

HSF challenge #20 (“Alternative Universe”) now enables me to show a passion of mine that hasn’t been mentioned on this blog. First you should know, I am a little nerd. I love science and technical history and I always put my two cents in whenever I know something about biology or astronomy (oftentimes embarassing half-knowledge, I fear). Influenced by my boyfriend I love old and new Video games and can name a frightening number of Marvel or DC heroes.

I am however not a big fan of science fiction though I have some favourites. I had a phase watching a lot of Doctor Who (though this might have been caused by David Tennant, I haven’t watched a single Matt Smith episode, I’m afraid). I love the Stargate movie (and hate the series) but have never watched a single Enterprise-movie (only the first J.J.Abrams Star Trek-film and I may have a look at the second, it is said that B. Cumberbatch is brilliant in this one 😉 ).

But, BUT, I love, love, love, adore….Star Wars. Don’t ask why. My father doesn’t like it, he couldn’t even remember having watched the old movies before Episode 1 hit the cinemas.
It seems as if I watched them pretty early. I can remember me, being maybe 10 or 12 years of age,  pacing through our flat in black leggings and long sleeved shirt, using a black shirt from my father’s wardrobe as a cape, my chest adorned with a sheet of paper, on it the poor attempts of a little girl’s crayons to copy Darth Vader’s control panel. Of course I had no helmet because I couldn’t think of anything to improvise it with.

At this point it should be clear that my choice of what to sew for this challenge was set, it had to be something from the Star Wars-Universe. In hindsight I could have chosen any pattern I wanted because it is common knowledge that Star Wars is set

a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

so any recreation of a costume from these movies would have been historical.

Pattern: Burda august 2013, altered
Year: a long time ago

But no, just kidding, I followed the rules and picked a historical pattern for this challenge, too.

Because especially American readers are used to single pattern sheets, this is what an european 40ies pattern sheet looks like. Somewhere in there the pattern I used is hidden.
Because especially American readers are used to single patterns: this is what an european 40ies pattern sheet looks like. Somewhere in there the pattern I used is hidden.

As most Star Wars-enthusiasts I love the old movies, dislike Episode I, despise Episode II and consider Episode III as the at least best acceptable of the three. But because the book about the old Star Wars costumes is only published at the end of the month I had to work with the one I had, the book about the costumes in Episodes I to III: Dressing a Galaxy.

While some of the senat’s members wore beautifully Belle Epoque-inspired robes, I knew I wouldn’t have neither time nor fabric to copy these.
Then I saw the costume photos of Christoper Lee’s charakter, Count Dooku:

He wears a long brown cape, lined with satin in a lighter shade of brown.

The cape consists of a front, a back and side parts, so it has modeled shoulders and something like a sleeve cap.

The shoulders are decorated with parallel lines of topstitching.

Yes, that was the inspiration I needed! I had planned to do a cape anyway, so why not make a suble Star Wars-inspired one.

Maybe another reason that made me pick this costume without any reluctance was a sewing pattern in a women’s magazine I had found only one week earlier on a flea market.

Because I don't own the magazine I only have the drawing (the pattern sheet included the patterns of two magazine issues)
Because I don’t own the magazine I only have the drawing (the pattern sheet includes the patterns of two magazine issues and I bought it with the other)

A cape pattern for a fur cape from January 1945. See? Front, back, side parts, sleeve cap, all I need. And the striped pattern of the fur gave me the rest to consider this pattern absolutely perfect.
I did not want to make a mid-calf-length cape, this would have been a little too much super-hero-attitude for everyday-wear, so the length was perfect, too.
I love the five small darts on the shoulders. They add something harsh and uniform-like to it.
Because it was a little too large for me (made for 92cm bust circumference) I pinned it to my sewing mannequin and cut away all the excess. Additionally, I reduced the collar to a narrow band collar.

my not-so-professional method to adjust the pattern to my size
my not-so-professional method to adjust the pattern to my size
the adjusted pattern with the new collar line (compare to the drawing above)
the adjusted pattern with the new collar line (compare to the drawing above)

Whilst searching for fabric in my stash I had to realize that I 1) would never wear a brown cape as much as a black one and 2) that I did not have any matching brown fabric I could use for it. And as I already stated, Episode II really isn’t my favourite film neither is Count Dooku my favourite character. Maybe you might already have noticed, despite my long brown hair my first poor attempts in cosplaying did not aim at representing Princess Leia, but Darth Vader. At this point I should confess: I am drawn to evil characters. I am a Vader-, Snape, Lecter-girl, that’s what I am. Sorry, Rebel Alliance, sorry Harry and friends, sorry Clarice.

So when I unearthed a (what I thought was) black gabardine and a Sith-light-saber-red silk-satin, my choice was clear. To make it a cape to wear in cold autumn weather, I decided to add a layer of wool fleece, connecting this to the silk to create a custom-quilted warm lining.

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Now some of you may ask ‘wool fleece, never have seen something like that?’. Well, in a fabric or haberdashery store, I have neither. But I came across this in…a garden centre! Pure wool fleece, made to cover your plants to protect them in winter. Because of this, the wool is of a comparably poor quality and quite dirty (many seeds and dry plants in it), but I considered it to be very interesting and presumably warmer than a polyester fleece of comparable thickness.

the sheep say "we tuck your plants in"
the sheep say “we tuck your plants in”

To avoid shifting I hand-quilted the silk onto the wool fleece before putting together the lining. I cut away the darts and seam allowances so it wouldn’t be too thick at the seams.

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inside out
inside out the other way round
inside out the other way round

Sewing the pieces together was really easy. First you close the shoulder seams, then you insert the side pieces. Before I added these I tested if it fit me and was strongly reminded of Luke’s black outfit.
I hand-stitched the seam connecting the outer and the inner fabric as I did the hems (I hemmed them both seperately.
The side seams as well as the front edges are top-stitched with the sewing machine.

my shoulders are formed differently than my dress form's ones, that's why they wrinkle
my shoulders are formed differently than my dress form’s ones, that’s why they wrinkle

As I said, I thought the gabardine to be black. In some moments I doubted so I held it near a black fabric ‘yeah, it’s black’, held it near a dark-blue fabric ‘yes, that’s really black’ and went on. Only when I wanted to wear the cape with a black dress I finally had to realize: it is a very, very dark blue (or maybe a blue-ish black?)
A little side note: This means I still have not a single piece of black outerwear. My wintercoats and -jackets are orange, brown, grey, dark-grey, dark-blue and now, another dark blue member. Seems like a good excuse to sew a coat, doesn’t it? 😉

You may remember the topstitched shoulders on Christopher Lee’s costume. Well, the pattern I used was slightly more fitted and thus needed shoulder darts. These are much longer than the topstitching of the costume is. First I planned to make the topstitching anyway, using the dart as the given length. But while working I had to observe the dart changing from a straight seam to a very slightly curved line. Because I feared this would look odd with straight top-stitching, I decided not to add any top-stitching at all.

But there still are two small imperial features.
First I had to decide what closure to chose. Count Dooku’s cape closes with a silver chain and a decorative clasp on both ends. This was too extrvagant in my opinion to go with this cape as an everyday-garment, so I turned once again to my favourite villain: Darth Vader’s coat closes with a simple black chain and I happened to have a very similar still in my stash. Without the helmet it looked weird to place it too close around the neck, so I made the ends lie with the shoulder darts. To one end a tiny hook was added to close it with the matching eye on the shoulder seam.

side part darts and chain-closure
side part darts and chain-closure

The second feature: Well, I told you I quilted the lining. While I used radial lines on the side parts and the lower back, I thought the shoulder region could use something more impressive and topic-related:

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What is left to say? I love this cape. First because it is my Darth-Vader-Star-Wars-cape from now on (the assistant of my Professor called it a ‘veritable Dracula-cape’, I can life with this, too) and because I had wanted a cape to wear this autumn. Double-win!

There is only one little downer: The wool fibres keep pricking through both fabrics. I don’t mind that much on the inside (it’s not scratchy, though of course it impairs the effect of the imperial coat-of-arms-quilting), but the outside is looking horribly messy, as if I cuddled a white Persian cat only seconds ago. Anybody experienced something like this and can tell me how to at least reduce this?

Without further ado, here it is, my “what-would a Sith-lady wear when going for a walk on Endor”-cape:

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“Do I have to? I hate woods!”
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“Look at this mud! I really would prefer the death star’s grey steel and concrete…”
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“You want me to show…?”
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“Please, let’s restart, I can do it better!”
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“…like this!” *swoosh*
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“Another photo? This is getting boring and cold.”
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“What should be interesting about the back?”
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“Oh, shut up, don’t make me laugh, that completely destroys my authority. If…only…this…stu…pid…chain…would…argh!”
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“To ask me to undress in front of the camera is either brave or very very stupid. Don’t underestimate the power of the force, my dear!”
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But as I know what you want to see, I am willing to forgive. This is the quilting you are looking for”

The Challenge: #20 Alternative universe

Fabric: dark blue gabardine (55% wool, 45% polyester), red silk satin

Pattern: from “Meyers Schweizer Frauen- und Modeblatt”, issue 4 (january) 1945

Year: a long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Notions: wool fleece, fusible interfacing for the collar, red and black thread, a short piece of black metal chain, a piar of hooks and eyes

How historically accurate is it?  The pattern is authentic, though I doubt it would be suitable for a fabric like this, normally all the darts would have been hidden because of the fur. For the Star Wars universe it would be too short, but maybe as a travelling cloak?

Hours to complete:  lots, maybe 10?

First worn: Tuesday, 21st Octobre

Total cost: I don’t know for sure but comparably expensive. The wool fleece cost 20CHF, the silk 10-15 CHF and the gabardine maybe a little more. So something around 50-60CHF, though I already had the two fabrics in my stash.

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red dress: 2nd hand/h&m – grey wool dress: 2nd hand – belt: mum’s – shoes: 2nd hand/Hush Puppies – cape: ette/Meyer pattern – suede gloves: antique store – sunglasses: Bijoux Brigitte

 

I hope you like it.

Wish you a lovely weekend and may the force be with you,

ette