Monday, March 25, 2019

An Evening in 1947

A couple of years back,  I was sent a lovely hemp/silk blend fabric from Organic Cotton Plus.  I posted about the muslin and the making of this dress, but I never managed to post final pictures of the piece.  Bad, bad blogger.

Well, I finally winnowed down the hundreds of photos taken on a day in late October 2017 (for a Marin Symphony performance), and here they are.

I usually have some idea of how I will style a garment while it is in the process of being put together on the sewing table, or perhaps the inspiration comes from handling the piece for hours at a time.  

Sometimes outfits require new accessories (or at least, I think they do), but in this case, I had the perfect options on hand.  First, I was given these vintage earrings years ago, but the beaded bobbles were coming apart.  I was never motivated to fix them until I NEEDED to wear them with this dress.  A needle, piece of thread, and a quick pinch with the pliers was all they required!

The beaded hair flower was carefully tucked away in a box.  I sometimes lament the fact that I can't get away from my preferred color palette, but in these instances, it comes in handy.  Back in 2010, I made another 1940s gown from a purple toned fabric and, of course, required a bit of flair for my hair.  Some poly organza, a lighter, a hair clip, and an antique beaded motif with some issues was all I needed.

And with that, the accessories for my new gown were taken care of.

I do love that 1940s dress design is full of sleeved evening garments which I find so much more interesting than yet another strapless gown.

I picked this particular Vintage Vogue design because of the fact that I wanted to use both sides of my hemp and silk fabric.  The front skirt inset felt like the perfect way to accomplish this.

And I am sure that I had something more insightful to say about this project back when it was fresh in my mind, but I am just going to leave this post here with the note to myself that I am quite pleased with how this dress turned out!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 2354

Hair Flower:  Made by me
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Banana Republic

[Disclosure:  Organic Cotton Plus provided me with this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Haslam System of Dresscutting

A few months back, a new pair of shoes and a special cut of fabric from New York had me searching for a suitable 1940s dress pattern.  

Of course, I couldn't make things easy for myself, because when I came across the middle image sourced from The Haslam System of Dresscutting over at Mrs. Depew Vintage, I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Which meant that I would have to learn how to use these printed rulers and the accompanying diagrams, and hope for the best.

There is not a whole lot of online information about how to use this particular system of drafting clothing to your specific size; just the minimal directions that come with the "book of drafting."  I have previously used the Eclair-Coupe Paris system for this project, but the Haslam system had me stumped for a brief moment.  I was so intrigued by the diagrams and unfamiliar instructions that I completely forgot about the ruler!  After a very frustrating hour, I stepped away, and the solution quickly presented itself.  I was missing an entire piece of the puzzle!

After that ridiculous and rather embarrassing attempt was out of the way, things went a whole lot smoother.

The basic idea is that you take a bunch of measurements including the basics like bust, waist, and hips, but also neck, torso length, shoulder width, arm length, armhole circumference, etc.  Using your own personal measurements, the theory is that your drafted dress foundation will be perfectly fitted to your particular shape.  In reality, things like an erect upper back adjustment cannot be accounted for, so there will probably be minimal alterations to the final drafted pattern to perfectly fit each unique body shape.  I was also completely unsure how much ease might be included, and I couldn't find any mention of it anywhere in the directions.

It certainly was fun to see a basic dress block emerge from making a series of dots on a piece of paper with the help of the special ruler.  Numbered dots correspond to the body measurements that have been taken of the individual to be fit.  It's pretty genius, actually.  The ruler is inclusive of children and adults, from a 24" to a 50" bust.

My main confusion (after the missing ruler incident) was the sleeve.  The only foundation drafting is a two piece sleeve for coats which was not what my chosen dress needed.  I pushed ahead anyway, figuring a little more practice with the ruler was not going to hurt.

Here is my two piece sleeve . . .

which wasn't looking very helpful when compared to my Figure 9 sleeve.  But it's a process, right?!

In the end, I just started with that long dotted line for Sleeve, Fig. 9 which looked like the best way to attempt to recreate the sleeve.

I cannot be sure if this was the intended means of drafting, but it worked out in the end.

But back to my basic dress block . . . from there, the fun begins.  Using the diagrams specific to the dress figure you wish to recreate, there are quite a few changes to be made by measuring, slashing, spreading, and marking all sorts of things.  But that will be for another day.

Clear as mud, right?!?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New Spring Patterns from Simplicity and Butterick

Ever since hearing that Gertie would be moving her pattern line to Simplicity, I had a sinking feeling that their many fabulous vintage reproduction patterns would be decreasing in number from the current catalogs.  And I fear that my suspicions were well founded as there is a single vintage reissue for Spring.  But boy is it a goodie!  I have seen this pattern illustration on Pinterest many times, and I just love that skirt with those oversized pockets.  Do I need another strapless dress in my life?   Probably not, but that skirt will definitely be added to my project list in the near future!

Okay, so there were two vintage reproductions, but I am not counting this caftan.  Simplicity continues to reproduce these things, so someone must be buying them, but I just don't get why we need twenty of the same basic pattern.  It continues to remain a mystery to me.  But if you are in desperate need to use up five yards of stashed fabric, this is your girl!

As for the Gertie patterns, the blouse is my favorite.  I think that this pattern has a lot of possibilities.  In fact, I am in the process of making up a wearable muslin, and so far, so good.

The other Gertie offering is this dress.  That bodice certainly looks Audrey inspired, and I like the lines, although I am not sure I need another simple sun dress.  

Butterick released a single vintage reproduction this Spring, although it is not from the Retro Butterick line.  Are they phasing that out?  I hope not.  This particular pattern is from the Making History line and includes instructions for the hat that is showcased in the photos.  The polka dots and the pink had my immediate attention, and I do enjoy the neckline.  But if I had to choose favorites, I am going to stick with the skirt on that strapless Simplicity.

Hooray for large brimmed hats.  I have a few hat patterns stashed away, and have made a few up in upholstery weight fabric to these to keep the sun off my face while out walking Tino.  I suspect this pattern is very similar to something I already have stashed away, so I will probably skip this.  But I do hope they continue to release more hat patterns.  Those vintage reproduction ones from Vogue were so fantastic.
Well, the back of this dress is gorgeous.  However, the front of Butterick 6661 is not very flattering.  Is it worth altering the shape?  Probably not.  But I do love that strappy back!  And in stripes?!?  Excellent fabric choice, Butterick designer!

And I am slightly intrigued by this blouse.  Throw in a tie collar and I get interested really fast!  The sleeves in views C&D are lovely, but do I really need another shirt pattern in my life?  I am going to have to think about this one.

What do you think of the Spring collections this year?  Did anything catch your eye?