Tag Archives: Star Wars

Less than 100 years ago in a galaxy far, far away

In June 2016 I was on holidays in Florida and I went to an American Walmart for the first time in my life (there used to be a Walmart in Germany I visited once). I was amazed to see the fabric section. Not really because of the quality, but because in comparable stores in Europe, I have never seen fabric departments at all, only some yarn and some alibi haberdashery. And as I avoided searching for the real fabric shops (I have so much fabric, I really didn’t want to tempt myself) I had a quick look around and bought a patterned fat quarter for my English quilt and a yard of printed Star Wars-cotton as souvenirs. After my return I hesitated to use it as I wanted it to become something special, after all it was a souvenir and it was Star Wars.

This year in April I spent two weeks in Lyons, France, for a professional training. I had done so already in 2016, I had been to a conference in 2013 and I had had an internship in the city in 2012. So I might say I’ve been there a couple of times. And each time I went to my favourite antique book shop, the Librairie Diog√®ne in the old part of the city. Already on my first visit, I spotted an interesting book in the fashion section, the complete issues from “La mode du jour” from 1923 and 1924, bound together in one, massive book. Unfortunately, the price was massive as well and every time, I left it behind. This year I had a heart and asked the owner that I knew this book to have been in the shop for at least five years and if she could re-think the price to sell it. And she did, so I took it home with me.

The special thing about the Mode du jour are the pattern diagrams. The pattern themselves were sold separately, but nearly every issue features a “patron-prime”, a mailorder pattern for a reduced price. These offers were accompanied by detailed drawings of the patterns, so although they lack sizing and measurements, at least for the less complex ones it is perfectly possible to draw a pattern from them. Now, two years of a weekly magazine with a pattern diagram in nearly each of them, that makes 100 authentic 20s patterns, give or take. Now you know why I wanted it? ūüėČ

As I knew I would never wear anything made from the Star Wars-fabric to wear in public, I decided to try a pattern for a short pajama (well, actually it is described as daytime lingerie, but I know I’ll never wear it as such). So, off I went to grab some old newspaper and a tape measure and drew the pattern. For the contrasting facing I used an old patchwork fabric with tiny stars and solid black cotton for the inside (so the facings are doubled and hide all the seams between them).

Well, and then I made a pretty stupid mistake. When sewing shorts with a drawstring, which should be the defining measurement for the waist circumference? Certainly not the waist, but the hips! I did of course use the waist circumference, added like 10cm and constructed all the remaining distances from the pattern scheme with this size as reference. You know when I realized my mistake? When I tried it on for the first time! After cutting, sewing, cutting back the seam allowances and attaching the bottom facing. Of course, it was waaayyyy to small! I threw that whole project in the boo box on the “problems to solve”-pile and made¬†a hideous dress from a table cloth (you’ll see it soon if I ever dare to photograph it). After a while I undid the centre back seam and inserted a godet. It still fits snug and the shorts in general are much smaller than they should be as¬† everything, leg width, length, hip width, is based on the too small waist circumference and its ratio to all the other distances.

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As I don’t have enough fabric left to sew the shorts again I will leave the project as it is. I now have a very loose and comparably stiff fitting top and very tight and modern fitting shorts. When worn together the shorts vanish nearly entirely under the top and as the fit is so tight, to tuck the top into it (as seen on the drawing) looks pretty strange as well.

So, if you want to, use the diagram to make your own pattern but check the measurements!
РWaist circumference of the shorts corresponds to the widest part of your lower body plus a little ease.
РKeep in mind to add some centimetres to the height for the tunnel with the drawstring or elastic.
– the top’s upper edge has to be wide enough to be pulled over your head as there is no closure, it does not necessarily correspond to your bust circumference and will be larger than your upper bust circumference. That does also mean you shouldn’t expect it to fit snug around your chest, it will gape.

As I wanted to be done I just cut holes into the tunnel for the drawstring and added satin ribbon instead of proper straps. It certainly isn’t the modern interpretation of a lovely 20s pattern I imagined, but it is wearable and I’m glad I turned the fabric into something I’ll wear, though maybe not as long and content as I had hoped. But I still have some scraps from the fabric and the pieces from the top are pretty large, too, so I can still make something different. And if everything fails, I’ll have to go back to Florida and visit Walmart again ūüėõ

Als ich 2016¬† in Florida Ferien machte, war ich das erste Mal in meinem Leben in einem amerikanischen Walmart (als Kind war ich tats√§chlich einmal in der Filiale in Karlsruhe). Und ich war so beeindruckt, dass es dort nach wie vor eine Stoffabteilung gibt. Nicht, dass sie besonders gut w√§re, aber die vergleichbaren Gesch√§fte in Europa haben so etwas ja nicht (mehr?), mal abgesehen von drei Garnrollen und etwas Polyarcyl-Wolle. Da ich, um nicht in Versuchung zu kommen, sonst gar nicht auf der Suche nach Stoffl√§den war, schaute ich mich dort kurz um und nahm schliesslich einen Fat Quarter f√ľr meinen englischen Quilt und einen Yard Baumwolle mit Star Wars-Motiven als Souvenir mit heim. Danach lag dieser Stoff dann eine Weile herum, sollte ja etwas besonderes werden.

Im M√§rz/April diesen Jahres war ich dann zum wiederholten Male eine Weile in Lyon auf einer Weiterbildung. Seit meinem Praktikum in der Stadt 2012 war ich nun das vierte Mal da und jedes Mal f√ľhrte mich mein Weg in mein allerliebstes Antiquariat, die Librairie Diog√®ne in der Lyoner Altstadt. Bereits bei meinem ersten Besuch war mir ein dicker W√§lzer in der Mode-Ecke aufgefallen, die Jahrg√§nge 1923 und 24 der “Mode du Jour”, gebunden zu einem grossen Buch und zu einem horrenden Preis. Daher war ich bisher immer tapfer alleine wieder heim gefahren (bzw. mit anderen B√ľchern), dieses Mal nahm ich mir ein Herz, fragte die Dame am Tresen, bekam einen fairen Preis und so durfte es dieses Mal mit mir nach Hause reisen.

Das tolle an der “La Mode du Jour” sind die Schnittmusterdiagramme. Den Heften lag kein Schnittbogen bei, sondern man konnte Einzelschnitte der im Heft vorgestellten Modelle bestellen. Pro Heft gab es ein Schnittmuster zum Sonderpreis, das sogenannte “Patron-Prime”. Und dieses wurde nicht nur ausf√ľhrlich beschrieben und h√§ufig auf dem Titelblatt gezeigt, die Schnittteile wurden im Heft auch als Vorschau gezeigt. Leider ohne Gr√∂ssenangaben oder exakte Abmessungen, aber f√ľr nicht allzu komplexe Schnitte v√∂llig ausreichend, um danach ein Schnittmuster zu zeichnen. Zwei Jahrg√§nge einer w√∂chentlich erscheinenden Zeitschrift und in fast jeder Ausgabe ein solches Schnittdiagramm, das macht ¬†im Grossen und Ganzen etwa 100 Schnittmuster aus den 20er Jahren in einem Band. Wisst ihr jetzt, warum ich es unbedingt haben wollte. ūüėČ

Da ich wusste, dass ich den Star Wars-Stoff sowieso nie in der √Ėffentlichkeit tragen w√ľrde, entschied ich mich f√ľr ein Schlafset aus Shorts und Top. Eigentlich ist es im Heft als Unterw√§sche beschrieben, aber die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass ich es als Schlafanzug trage werde, ist sicher¬†h√∂her. F√ľr die kontrastierenden Abschl√ľsse am Halsausschnitt und den Beinen griff ich auf einen Rest ¬†schwarzen Patchworkstoff mit winzigen weissen Sternen zur√ľck, die Innenseite dieser Belege ist aus einfacher schwarzer Baumwolle.

Ja, in der Theorie klang das so einfach mit dem Schnitt erstellen, aber man sollte nat√ľrlich f√§hig sein, richtig Mass zu nehmen. Und wenn man eine Shorts mit Tunnelzug n√§ht, welches K√∂rpermass bestimmt dann die Taillenweite? Sicherlich nicht der Taillenumfang *seufz* (muss ja √ľber den Popo, also H√ľftumfang!). Hab ich dummerweise ¬†nicht dran gedacht, nur ca. 10cm zur Taille dazu addiert und alle anderen Masse des Schnittes anhand der Gr√∂ssenverh√§ltnisse im Diagramm entsprechend dieses (falschen!) Taillenumfangs berechnet. ¬†Dreimal d√ľrft ihr raten, wann mir der Fehler aufgefallen ist? Bei der ersten Anprobe, d.h. nach dem Schliessen aller N√§hte, inklusive dem Ann√§hen der Belege am Saum und dem¬†Zur√ľckschneiden der Nahtzugabe. Nat√ľrlich war die Hose viel zu eng, weshalb sie erst einmal in die Pfuibah-Kiste¬†auf den “Will ich grad nicht mehr sehen”-Haufen kam und ich stattdessen das scheusslichste Kleid meiner bisherigen N√§hkarriere aus einer gebl√ľmten Tischdecke n√§hte (ihr sehr es, sobald ich es wage, Fotos davon zu machen). Dann durfte es wieder ans Tageslicht, ich setzte in die hintere Mitte einen Keil ein und immerhin kann ich sie jetzt anziehen, aber sie sitzt nicht nur eher eng, sondern auch komplett anders, als eigentlich laut Schnitt ¬†und Zeichnung vorgesehen, weil eben alle Masse auf diesem falschen Taillenmass basierten.

Ich habe zu wenig Stoff √ľbrig, um einen neuen Anlauf zu wagen und immerhin ist das Set tragbar, wenn auch die Hose nun recht modern sitzt, wohingegen das Oberteil so weit und lang ist, dass ich es fast als Nachthemd tragen k√∂nnte, denn dort stimmten die Masse ja wieder. Zusammen getragen wirkt es √ľberhaupt nicht, in die Hose gesteckt wirkt das Top sehr unf√∂rmig und √ľber der Hose h√§ngend verdeckt es diese fast vollst√§ndig. Egal, H√§kchen dran, ¬†beim n√§chsten Mal wird alles besser.

Falls ihr nach diesem Schema euren eigenen Schnitt basteln wollt:
– Die Breite der Hosenschnittteile an der oberen Kante bemisst sich an eurer st√§rksten Stelle des Unterleibs, zuz√ľglich ein wenig Bequemlichkeitszugabe beim Anziehen.
– Denkt daran, etwas H√∂he f√ľr den Tunnelzug bei den Hosenschnittteilen zuzugeben.
– Die Weite des Oberteils am oberen Abschluss bemisst sich weder am Brust- noch am Oberbrustumfang. Da es keinen Verschluss gibt, musst die Weite so gew√§hlt werden, dass ihr das Top √ľber Kopf ausziehen k√∂nnt. Das bedeutet auch, dass ihr kein eng anliegendes Oberteil erwarten d√ľrft, sondern dass es eher weit f√§llt.

Um endlich fertig zu werden, habe ich die L√∂cher f√ľr den Tunnelzug dann nur noch geschnitten und nicht umgen√§ht sowie ein schmales Satinband als Tr√§ger angen√§ht. Auch wenn es am Ende nicht das Lieblingsst√ľck nach historischem Vorbild wurde, es ist f√ľr’s erste tragbar. Ich habe noch ein wenig vom Stoff √ľbrig, um gegebenenfalls noch etwas anderes zu n√§hen, zudem sind die Schnittteile des Oberteils gross genug f√ľr eine Zweitverwendung, falls ich das wollte. Und wenn alle Stricke reissen, muss ich halt noch einmal nach Florida. ūüėČ

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See you soon, bis bald

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 ūüėČ ).

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? ūüėČ

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