Tag Archives: under-/nightwear

Contrast in Colour and Contour

[OT] I love alliterations [/OT]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Challenge: #9 Black and White

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

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

Year: 1905/1906

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

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

First worn:  for the photos, on monday.

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

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

 

See you soon, love,

ette

 

 

HSF Challenge #4: Under it all – A 1941 (slip) dress

As I already said, life kept me busy during the last weeks and even if I had time to sew, often enough I wasn’t in the mood for it.
As the due date for this challenge approached I decided to force myself to make it, though the project I had had in mind first wasn’t realizable anymore in such a short time.

I had no cut-out-and-set-to-work-pattern for anything undergarment-related (but  a Laughing Moon corset pattern but that would have been a little too much in such a short time) and one of my least loved steps while sewing is tracing the pattern.
So I searched for a pattern, that would need only a minimum of effort to prepare, but still be something I wanted to make. I quickly decided to try a Lutterloh-pattern, my first. Not only because enlarging patterns seems to be more fun than drafting them all on your own and second because I already own two Lutterloh-books, but I haven’t realized a single garment from neither of them. An undergarment seemed to be a good project to get to know how this system works.

For all of you who don’t know Lutterloh-patterns: The patterns are miniature sized and need to be enlarged. To enlarge them, you need a special scale that is part of every Lutterloh-book you buy. Most of the old books miss this scale, but it is fairly easy to make one yourself, copying the one in the book. This scale is attached to a standard measuring tape, a tack is punched through the scale, the exact position is determined by your body measurements, and pinned to a mark in the middle of the pattern, the pattern lying on a large sheet of paper. Dots and numbers tell you, where to turn the measuring tape to and how long the distances have to be. Like this you get a series of dots, when connecting these, you come up with an enlarged pattern, fitted to your size.
But the system is very basic. There are no markings, no hints what to fit where, no darts, no information about closure etc. Additionally, these are still historical patterns, so you will have to face the same fitting issues as with other vintage patterns.
If you want to try the system without bying a book (the old ones are pretty expensive), here you can find instructions and some patterns from 1941 issue (the same I own). Note: this is a german system, so are the instructions 😉 And this website tells you to pay attention to the printed size of the patterns, you really don’t have to. The patterns are enlarged radially, all you need is a non-distorted copy so the angles between the different marks are correct. I copied my card because I didn’t want to pierce through the old paper and doubled its size. This changes nothing in the ratio of the numbers, in my opinion it even makes you result more accurate, because the farther away the marks from your tack are, the less inaccuracy will result in the position of the new dots.
And to all american readers: this patterns are without seam allowances.

The project I chose is fairly simple. A slip dress consisting only of two cut parts, front and back (the left one):

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I already own multiple slips in light shades, so when I stumbled upon a black cotton batiste during the search for a fabric, I decided to use this. The fabric was in fact a leftover from a skirt. It had a scalloped embroidered edge, but was 140cm in width, so I had plenty of fabric left after having turned the 55cm next to the embroidery into a skirt, already years ago.
Yes, cotton batiste isn’t the perfect fabric to use for a slip but 1st) I can still wear it with a satin half slip if it really won’t work and 2nd) I intend to wear it not only as a slip dress, but also as a dres to wear at home or maybe even as a nightgown in summer.

Again, I shortened the pattern significantly, not only to fit me, but also to make it fit onto the fabric. Because my original embroidered skirt had been to wide I had cut away some fabric at one side, leaving me with one single repeat of the embroidery pattern still in my stash. Knowing that I will never again find a project with a similarly well matching fabric to use this, I decided to apply it as a decoration to the neckline (to prevent it from being too stiff I cut away the fabric underneath after having applied the embroidery). The rest of the neckline, as well as the straps I faced with a white cotton ribbon in a similar way Gertie described on her blog only days later (really, I had already finished it when I saw her post appear).

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The positions of the upright darts (in the front as well as in the back)  were marked in the pattern, but without scale, so I had to figure out the exact placement and the size myself. There is only one way for me to do things like this: dress my dressform, pin the darts, sew it, try it on. Most of the time, it works 🙂
This time I had to realize, that the fit was still far from being good and that I needed additional bust darts, after having added these I was content.

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Because of my limited amount of fabric I had cut the back in two parts, leaving me with a seam in the centre back. I used this to add a zipper in the waist, otherwise I couldn’t have made my darts so close-fitting while still being able to take the dress off, you see it ends between my shoulder blades.

An interesting side fact: Last year I was able to wear a toile, made from an 18th century robe à l’anglaise, preserved in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. First I thought it was too small, but when I forced my back in a very upright position and pulled my shoulders backwards, it fit! That showed me, how different posture 200 years ago was compared to today. Now, when wearing this I have the same effect. Left the gaping straps when standing as I usually do, right when standing more upright.


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The Challenge: #4 Under it all

Fabric: black cotton batiste with white machine embroidery

Pattern: Lutterloh “Der Goldene Schnitt”

Year: 1941

Notions: thread, white cotton ribbon, nylon zipper

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is historical, the fabric is plausible. That’s it. It is shortened (but ends right below the knee, so not too short for 1940ies fashion), the machine embroidery isn’t authentic at all, neither is the nylon zipper nor its placement in the centre back.

First worn:  today

Total cost: The fabric cost me 5€/m 5 years ago, I bought two metres and made the skirt as well as the slip from it. The ribbon? No idea, was in one of my sewing baskets I bought at the flea market, same applies to the embroidery on the hem, 0,50€ for the zipper. The Lutterloh-book cost me around 40€, but there are plenty of patterns in it.

Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut

It’s already the 1st, that means it’s already time for another Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut-post, hosted by Beswingtes Fräulein each month on her blog Beswingtes Allerlei.

It’s not that I didn’t buy anything interesting since december (last time I participated), but in january I simply forgot it and the days around february 1st were very busy in a very very sad way. So as you can imagine,  I really wasn’t in the mood to chat about old stuff, but was relieved to be able to publish some posts I had already prepared beforehand to fill the gap of the last few weeks.
For the same reason I didn’t participate in the 3rd HSF-Challenge, which would have been “Pink”. But I will blog about my project for the 4th challenge, which ends today, soon.

But let’s talk about something moree cheerful and let me present to you two things I bought in february at the antique fair in Thun:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember finding Vintage lingery at an antique fair, it is just too far away from the focus of most visitors (and sellers alike). I am not much of an online shopper, so I never attempted to buy anything like this on the internet. To be honest, this ist an item I had never searched for, but when I saw it I knew I had to have it 🙂

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A 1930ies pale pink bra with mesh cups. It only has some very few stains and two little holes in the mesh, which is in fact very brittle.

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I love the parallel seams below the cups.

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In the back it closes with two mother-of-pearl-buttons on an elastic:

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The inside shows no label or anything similar.

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Though of course I wouldn’t wear it , I had hoped to create a pattern from it. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit at all, not a bit. It will be much easier to draft a pattern all by myself. But I don’t mind, I still love having it in my collection.

The second thing I want to show you is not very interesting at first glance.

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I already own too many embroidery books, the only thing that attracted me on this 1921 exemplar was its placing in a 50%-off-box and so for 4,50 CHF, I bought it.

There are in fact some nice patterns and ideas in it, so after all it was certainly a good buy.

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A big bonus was, that it still had all its original pattern sheets.

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But only in the evening I cared to take a closer look at the sheets in the back of the book. And what a surprise. There were a lot more sheets than those belonging to the book.

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Different sheets with canvas embroidery, patterns for early machine embroidery and an attachment with embroidery and crocheting patterns.
And then I saw something that really made me scream. A sewing pattern sheet:

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I know that 20ies sewing patterns exist, I have a bunch of scans on my computer from some magazines a dear friend once borrowed me, but they are comparably hard to find and often very expensive.
Now I own at least one sheet and I got it for free, considering that I was willing to pay the 4,50 CHF for the book alone.
Besides some children’s patterns there are at least three patterns for women. Unfortunately all too large for me, but resizing won’t be much of a problem, I hope.

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So much antiques for this month, see you soon, love

ette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what’s this? 70ies! 30ies! 50ies?

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

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

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

Finally I faced the monster.

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

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

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

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

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

The Challenge: #1 Make do & Mend

Fabric: pale pink cotton with machine embroidery

Pattern: basic nightgown pattern from a schoolbook

Year: 1937

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

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

Hours to complete: 4

First worn:  january 3, 2014

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

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

See you soon, love,

ette