Tag Archives: under-/nightwear

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

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’√©tranger, 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 f√ľr’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 f√ľr’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‚ā¨ 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‚ā¨ for all of them, so maybe we could say 7-8‚ā¨.

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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 ūüėČ 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 ūüôā
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 √† 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‚ā¨/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‚ā¨ for the zipper. The Lutterloh-book cost me around 40‚ā¨, but there are plenty of patterns in it.

Getrödelt, gefunden, gefreut

It’s already the 1st, that means it’s already time for another Getr√∂delt, gefunden, gefreut-post, hosted by Beswingtes Fr√§ulein 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 ūüôā

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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‚ā¨, if you fill one of the plastic bags next to the shelf, it is 3‚ā¨ 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 ūüėČ ) 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‚ā¨ (3m bias binding cost 0,80‚ā¨, 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