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In Restrospect: Vintage Viewpoint Panel Discussion

Last night I attended the Fashion Group International of Los Angeles’ event, “Vintage Viewpoint: Vintage Influence on Contemporary Fashion” at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandizing (my alma mater).

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The panel was composed of four individuals who come from backgrounds in fashion- either as antique dealers or as designers.  Present were Alicia Estrada, CEO/Designer, Stop Staring!Madeline Harmon, Owner, Chuck’s VintageShareen Mitchell, Owner, Shareen VintageDoris Raymond, Owner, The Way We Wore, and the moderator/master of ceremonies was Kevin Jones, FIDM Museum Curator.

As soon as this event popped up in my inbox, I signed up right away.  Never mind that I’m still not back to normal after the time difference of the midwest, never mind that I’m tired of traveling- I was determined to go.  So I got my little self up to Los Angeles, hung out with my best friend, then dolled myself up vintage (and neglected to take any pictures), and headed out to FIDM in the evening.

I was slightly hesitant, after thinking about it, as to whether or not it would be applicable to me and my upcoming clothing line.  After all, critiquing and noticing fashion trend’s influence to vintage fashion has been sort of a hobby/interest of mine and many of my close friends for as long as I remember.  To be completely honest, I mostly went to see if I could glean some knowledge from Alicia Estrada, who is the designer behind the highly successful vintage-inspired clothing line “Stop Staring.”

And I’ll be honest.  As soon as I drove into the underground parking garage, a fear and dislike gripped my heart.  I am a survivor of FIDM. When I went to school vintage was not “cool.”  I left just at the cusp of vintage becoming mainstream.  I was laughed, made fun of, talked down to, and chided for wanting all of my designs to harken to different eras.  I was told I should do costume design, and that my designs really had no place in modern fashion.

Now, as a graduate, and a gal who spent a lot of time making a brand and an (albeit tiny) name for myself and my vision, and now among the rank of those hopeful to start a ready to wear line, here I am, back in my old stomping grounds, feeling pretty shy and yet willingly submitting myself to a “fashion event.”  I even paid for the privilege.

I exit the elevator, head down to the galleries, and find I am one of the only people wearing head to toe vintage fashion.  I’m mixed in among the “cool”, sporting fancy jeans mixed with bohemian vintage.  Students who attended for some reason.  Designers and big wigs who know their stuff in the industry.  I generally feel really confident in myself and believe in my vision, but those old feelings crept back and I felt like no one really “got me.”

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UNTIL I heard Alicia Estrada talk.   What an inspiring story!  One of eleven children, she got into fashion via the punk scene, and decided to do vintage inspired clothing, because she “hated fashion.”  Thank the LORD, I felt so much more at ease.  I was always the weird one- more tomboy than girly as a teen, the one who hung out in the art room and mixed authentic vintage with modern clothes just because I liked them.  In fashion school, I hung out with the outsiders- the punks, the artists, the alternative fashion scene.  In fact, I wrote some pretty horrid poetry about how much I disliked fashion and fashion school in general.

But vintage fashion- that’s another thing.  I can talk all day, study all day, and drool over the tiniest detail.  It really is “timeless”.

Whatever your take on her clothing line, Alicia Estrada’s story is fantastic.  She takes vintage elements and makes them apply to our modern culture and body types.  She really bridges the gap between authentic vintage and modern fashion, and she does it well.  At first, she was shunned by the authentic vintage clothing shops.  Modern fashion thought she designed costumes.  But now, she’s featured in mainstream magazines and has celebrities wearing her dresses.  I only dream of meeting that success.

Not only that, but I’ve found out she’s a woman of faith (like I am), and into family.  She was encouraging, she took time to talk to people after the panel, and she said many times that “there’s room for more designers in the vintage market.”  It’s SO refreshing to not hear someone get all up in arms when a noob comes along with a dream in their niche.  I always said “there’s always room for more vintage patterns.”  Now I’m glad that there’s others saying “there’s always room for more vintage fashion.”  Because, you know what?  The market just keeps growing and growing.  So I was incredibly blessed to go and hear her answers and speak with her very briefly.

The other panelists were mostly those who dealt with high end authentic vintage fashion, and sell primarily to designers, celebrities, and those with money for those higher price point vintage items.  I admit, I didn’t recognize half of the names that were dropped during this panel discussion (I don’t keep up too much with celebrities and designers), but it was interesting to hear just how many designers now come to authentic vintage clothing dealers searching for inspiration.  I remember I even had Betsy Johnson say “Nice dress.” to me at a LA Vintage Fashion Expo once.  That was pretty cool.

But, also hearing the perspective of the curator of the FIDM museum was interesting.  Some vintage is so rare, it really should be preserved for future generations.  So, although it may make me squirm to hear of someone wearing authentic Victorian garments in everyday life, others have no problem with it.  And still others want a recreation of it.  So there’s room out there for the authentic vintage clohing, the reproductions, and the archivists- but all are under the banner name of “vintage”.

An interesting point that was brought up was the question of “knocking off” vintage fashions. I’ve seen this question asked in the blogoshere in relation to wearable fashion and vintage sewing patterns.  In general, all panelists were agreed- unless it’s a modern designer knocking off another modern designer (say, for example, the 90′s is back- doing a knock of of another designer’s piece from then is in pretty poor taste), most agreed that they have no problem with someone making copies of vintage originals as long as it’s not iconic to a specific designer.  And with the wide world of the internet, someone out there will know where it originally was from.  Most modern designers, however, will just take elements of vintage for either structural design elements or textile inspiration.  There’s a few out there who do head to toe (Ralph Lauren springs to mind), and there’s niche brands who will do this, like vintage reproduction companies, but most take something and put their own spin on it.  And, if you know real vintage, you know sizing and textiles now are VERY different than they were back then, so getting an exact replica is really pretty rare and not always in your best interest.

So, in the end, I still don’t really like “fashion.”  I don’t like hobnobbing and “networking”.  It feels fake and forced.  But I do enjoy the insight from people who have been on the road and survived in what I want to do.

And hey, one of the vintage expert panelists actually asked if the dress I made was vintage.  So I must be doing something right.

Got any thoughts? Please let me know below!

 

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Important Poll- Tell Me Your Trouser Preferences

Howdy, Everyone!

I’m back from a 10 day trip visiting family on both my side and my husband’s side in Missouri.  Now I’m back at it and I have two very important questions for you!

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My first collection will include the Smooth Sailing trousers in a dark denim.  Very similar to the photo above, but no belt.

I need to know the following, so please help me out by submitting your answer!  The one with the most replies will be what is made.

Because vintage style trousers have a longer rise (crotch length) than modern trousers, I also need to know the length you need from waist to hem. NOT the inseam length. I need to know the full length from your natural waist to hem.

Please add your selection and share with anyone you know who would be interested in buying ready made vintage style trousers!

Thank you!

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Wearing History Clothing- Updates!

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a little while since my last proper update about my steady work making Wearing History Clothing a reality!

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First of all, I picked up the keys to my new space in San Marcos!  Super exciting!  In California, you have to have  a place outside the home to base an apparel manufacturing company (I’m technically not making the clothing myself, but CA still says I’m a manufacturer), so that’s a HUGE thing off of the checklist!

Once that was achieved, I could officially file my garment manufacturer registration with the state!  That’s all sent in, so just waiting on getting back the info for when I can go take the test.  After I do that, we can rock and roll on getting clothing made! YEAH!

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In the meantime, I’ve been hard at work making my patterns for the ready to wear clothing. I’ve been making all the patterns myself, which takes quite a while since I’m so darn picky.  The photo above is four of thirteen tries until I got just the right sleeve for my 1940′s blouse that will premiere with the first collection.  I wanted to make sure it looked cute style-wise, but would provide enough movement for dancing, or doing civilian re-enacting, or just about anything.

To me, it’s not just about looking cute- we’ve got to have practical clothing, too!  Speaking from experience, here… I’ve ripped sleeves out of original dresses while dancing before.  That’s no fun!  That’s part of why I’m so excited about bringing newly made vintage styles to the marketplace- we need vintage styles that can stand up to wear!

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Something else really exciting- the two fabrics above were just picked up yesterday!  These are fantastic cottons with a good drape- two of the three fabrics that will be in the final collection.  So you get a little sneak peek here!

You get two hints on what the first collection will bring in this post… one was already mentioned (a 1940′s blouse), AND if you’ve loved my Smooth Sailing trousers for a while, there WILL be a ready made version of those in the first collection!  I have had such good reviews of that pattern that I drafted, that I’m excited to be able to offer them in ready-to-wear.

The collection will have four pieces, so there’s still two more to go.  I’ve got one more fabric coming that I’m having custom printed.  SO EXCITING!  Beth of V is for Vintage and I went yesterday to meet with the textile printers, and I’m so, so excited that this is becoming a reality!

I’m getting the fabric screen printed, which is really pretty incredible to me.  I find that I prefer the results over digital printing.  Of course, with this process, we’ve got to meet a pretty high fabric yardage minimum, but I believe you all will love this collection so much that I’ll never regret starting the way I mean to continue- and part of that is getting fun vintage inspired fabrics that will be unique to my brand- of which, this will be the first one. If you’ve never seen a rotary screen printed fabric, check out this pretty amazing video showing an example of the process.

 Make sure you stay tuned for future updates!

If you’d like to keep in the loop, make sure to sign up for my newsletter!

xo

Lauren

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Part 8: Suit A Long- How to Hem the Skirt- Guest Post by Ally

Well Hello Everyone I’m Ally from Honey Pot Creations, primarily a milliner, but a dabbler in anything and everything sewing based.  I’m so pleased to be able to write this guest post. When Lauren put out the call for help with the sew-along I was a little nervous and at first didn’t put myself forward but then I thought well why not, what’s the worst that could happen, and to be honest it will really spur me on to complete the sew-along if I’m involved in both sides if you see what I mean. Do bear in mind though that this is my first guest blog and be a little forgiving on me if I make any blunders.   Well I thought I would help Lauren out by taking 3 small sections of the construction.  I picked

  • Hemming the skirt
  • Pockets on the jacket
  • Collar options

to write the blog posts for and very kindly Lauren agreed. So today is all about hemming and we will get to the jacket all in good time.   The original instructions that came with the pattern tell us to “underface skirt 3 inches” and Lauren goes on to explain this as; ‘No hem is allowed for skirt. The longer length will work for earlier periods, since it is quite long. You can either turn up the hem, if you desire shorter than the pattern is given for, or face the hem.’ She goes on to say that she likes to face in a stiffer fabric to give extra body to the hem and I have to agree with this and will be using this method on my skirt, but for the sake of completeness we will cover both methods. As the skirt we are dealing with is not straight, we will have to look at fullness with whatever hem style we choose, so let’s look at that first. Some fabrics can be shrunk in a little and some will just need to be pressed as flat as possible, either way starts by marking your hem line. The easiest method I find is just to run a very large running stitch around the hem line in contrasting cotton. picture 1 picture 2 This thread will be removed later.  Also run a gathering stitch close to the end of the fabric (the white one in the pictures) Turn up the hem and baste (or pin if you are lazy like me) close to the turn. picture 3   Next pull up the gathering thread to fit the curve, on a skirt as big as this, you will find it easier to do this in sections possibly each quarter. picture 4 Once all the gathers are evenly distributed you can iron. Don’t slide the iron along the hem line, as this can stretch it, instead lower the iron onto one area, steam and then lift the iron and move along to the next area. This advice is good whichever style of hemming you choose. picture 5 To finish, overcast the raw edges and blind stitch the hem up.   With this skirt though, I chose to underface the hem by this method.

  • Cut the underfacing to size. By using the bottom of the pattern piece you draw round the outline on your facing material, I chose calico for a medium stiffness.
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  • Draw the bottom line and 4 inches up the sides.
  • Move the pattern piece and then measuring up 4 inches from the bottom line draw another line parallel to it making a curving rectangle shape.
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  • Cut around the shape to give you your facing.
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  • (Rather late in the day I got round to ironing the calico, I did say I was lazy) Turn over a short hem on the top edge of the facing.
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  • Now I chose not to join these strips together instead preferring to attach them to the skirt in separate pieces that overlap and then if there is any problem with the sizing I can increase or decrease the size of the overlap to compensate, so iron  down the short edges on two of the pieces.
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  • If you would rather join the facing together and then sew it on to the skirt just sew up the short sides and continue as before.
  • Pin the facing to the skirt right sides together, placing one of the folded over edges down first.
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  • Place the next facing over lapping this piece and pin in place, when they are turned back over the neat side will be showing.
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  • Sew the facing on to the fabric picture 15and iron, I always iron the seam as is first and then open, can’t remember who told me but I know it’s important. picture 16
  • Turn the facing to the inside and press again. I like to roll it in a little further so you can see a little of the skirt fabric on the inside.  picture 17 picture 18
  • Blind stitch in place.

Ok this is where I need to make a confession, you may be thinking that I was using a cream facing on a dark fabric to make it easy to see in the photos and I probably would have dyed the facing if I thought it might be seen, but you see I decided that the skirt was a little too long for me and for some reason I decided 6 inches had to come off, well I did a bad thing and just folded up the pattern pieces to get the reduction. The real problem came when I folded up 6 and down 6 too (not up 3 and down 3), so I end up cutting the pieces 12 inches shorter than the originals, oops. I realised as soon as I held up the cut out fabric. picture 19 Although the skirt is too short you can see the calico gives a nice fullness. Well there had been a thread in the facebook event page discussing this very problem, and some very clever person suggested putting a ruffle on the bottom, so that is exactly what I decided to do. I cut out 3 straight lengths of the fabric, joined them into a tube, hemmed top and bottom and then attached to the bottom of my skirt with small pleats. picture 20 picture 21From this you can also see the other option for hemming which is to turn the raw edge over twice and sew down.  picture 22

I hope that you may have found something in all that useful, I have to say I enjoyed doing it and it’s interesting thinking about each step, rather than just doing them, so I’m looking forward to the jacket now. Oh and once again thanks Lauren for letting me join in. Hugs and kisses Ally

Thank you so much, Ally, for guest posting  and sharing your wonderful sewing skills and technique!  Please don’t forget to follow Ally on Facebook as Honey Pot Creations, and follow her blog.  You can also shop Honey Pot Creations on Etsy.

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Update II: Wearing History Clothing

Hi all!

It’s been a while since my last update.  Just wanted to let you know I’m still here, plugging along at my dream!

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There’s been a few lessons I’ve learned in the last few weeks in a big way.

1-  Things take a lot longer than you think.

If you’re just relying on yourself, it’s not so bad.  But when you’re at the whim and grace of other elements outside yourself, it throws you obvious curve balls!  It’s taken about three times as long as I thought to finally officially switch cities of operations.

But the good news is that I’m officially located as Wearing History in San Marcos, CA, in a small industrial space there, where I am subletting a spot so I can grow my dream.  Woohoo!  I’m very fortunate that the property I’m operating out of was where my dad started his very first business.  In fact, in the same spot I’m subletting, I was a baby in a playpen while my mom did office work and shipping and my dad was doing machining in a small shop.  What goes around comes around.  It took some back and forth with the city about the zoning (apparently that area had a zoning change, so it was kind of headache to figure out if I could actually do what I want to do there), then I had to refigure all of my existing things like seller’s permits and fictitious business names to the new city, and all that entailed, and finally, FINALLY, on Monday I got to get my official business license for this new city.  Whew!

It’s not over yet, though.  I still have to get my California Garment Registration Certificate, which is super pricey.  All this stuff up front is pretty pricey.  I’m just counting on that when I put up my stuff for sale you guys are all going to love it so much that it will be a fabulous success, and all this won’t be done for nothing ;)  Starting an apparel business in California is pretty challenging (if you want to read more about what it entails, click here)

So this bible verse has been really ringing true for me, in light of my battles on what I thought my time frame would be for me to start up this enterprise from the purely legal and logistical point of view.

‘”Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”’-  James 4:13-15

Because you don’t only count on yourself, but the city, state, family, other prople, and then are at the mercy of unforeseen natural disasters.

2-  Fires Are Scary.

If you haven’t heard, our area has had major fires.  In fact, San Marcos was all over the news as one of the big ones here in San Diego.  It was known as the “Cocos Fire” in the news, and one of the guys in the building where I’m moving said he could actually see the flames from where we are located.  The hills are all black and charred where the fire was.  More than three dozen structures were destroyed.  It was really scary times.  In fact, it wasn’t only close to this structure, but the other fires in the county were about two miles away from family in Carlsbad and in Fallbrook.  We were all holding our breath for a while, praying that it wouldn’t come any closer.  Thankfully, none of my family had to evacuate.

Here’s a picture my husband took from the supermarket down the street from our house, and we were several miles from the fire.  It wasn’t in the city where we live,  but you can see how crazy it was.  There was ash on our cars in the morning, and even Los Angeles was affected by the smoke in the air.

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We have a long, hot, summer before us.  They’re saying this will be the worst fire storm season in a long time.  So I know this is just a sampling of what we’re going to get this year, and that’s pretty scary.  While everyone on the east coast was dealing with ice storms and such, we had a really, really mild winter.  It may be great in terms of winter, but when you’re a California native you know that it means a really hot, really dry, and potentially dangerous summer to come.

I’m so thankful my family and I are safe, but I feel so, so bad for those who lost their homes in these fires.

3- I’m In a Good Place To Succeed

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Total nerd alert ^.  But you can see how excited I was.

My husband and I went to San Fransisco to attend the DG Expo at the beginning of this month.  Wow, was it helpful.  We drove all the way from north county San Diego to San Fransisco and attended three days of seminars on starting a fashion business and a textile show with vendors who do low minimums for wholesale.

I was professionally trained in Fashion Design, but my school (FIDM in Los Angeles) did not train us on anything to do with running your own business.  Most of what I’ve learned was through a single community college class, having great mentors in my family, and purely trial and error.  So I was really excited when I found out about this expo, and that it was aimed at startup companies, and had info on USA production and sourcing.

A lot of what I learned I had already known through running Wearing History, but there was some information that I didn’t know that was extremely helpful.  What I came away with, is that I’m in a very good place to succeed.  Instead of starting from scratch, without anyone knowing what I do,  I’m blessed to have my blog and social media followers who “get me”, and know what my aesthetic is.  I’m also SUPER blessed that we don’t have to “keep up with fashion”, because, really, we who like vintage are so behind the times on fashion anyways- like, decades behind the times ;)  so I don’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel with current fashion.  SO THANKFUL.  I really believe timeless looks are timeless for a reason.  And, I’m super thankful that I have my formal fashion training, as a lot of folks there never went to school for it and are having to source all sorts of help on the front end to make their dream happen.  I’m lucky I always kind of knew what I wanted to do, and have all those years of training and experience behind me.  I’m very blessed!  And I have no doubt we’ll make this happen!

I guess that’s about it!  I’m finally to a point where I can put most of my energy into actually making the awesome designs now.  I’ve had to cut back to four pieces to start with, since I learned more about the financial side of things.  But I know there’ll be room to grow and add lots of pretty new things in the future once this takes off and grows. :)

Hope you’re all doing fabulously!

Love,

Lauren

 

Oops? 1910s Suit Pattern Correction

It came to my attention that the e-pattern for the skirt was missing the outer belt (thank you, Annabel).

I don’t know where my brain was.
For those who already ordered the e-pattern, here is a PDF of the outer belt piece. Print it the same way you did the rest of the pattern (100% scale)

http://wearing-history.com/pattern/R109patternBELT.pdf

I’ve added it to the e-pattern on my website for future orders.
I’m so sorry about that.

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Update: Wearing History Clothing

Hello! I thought I’d share a quick update on where I am with the process of starting and launching the exciting new Wearing History Clothing line!

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THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to take my surveys!  Your responses to my surveys helped me to narrow down my decisions for the first collection.

Like usual, responses and preferences varied, but I’ve got a general idea of what everyone’s looking for and wanting, so now I’ve started the creative process of designing some new pieces, as well as adapting a few of the current sewing patterns to the new specs and sizing.

Through my years of doing Wearing History Patterns and reading your blog posts, convos, Facebook posts, etc, I have found that the cuts of authentic vintage sometimes need to be adapted to our current bodies and proportions. All Wearing History Clothing will be based new “blocks”, drafted by me to meet modern proportions and the new sizing specs.  My clothing isn’t going to be “vintage reproductions” straight from vintage patterns and the reasoning is very simple.   I’ll still have the same awesome vintage style, and I don’t want the fit to be too modern, but I also want to make sure the clothing is practical and comfortable, but still vintage looking.  I’m drafting all of these myself, based on these new blocks, but keeping the wonderful styles that we all appreciate with original vintage clothing.  Drafting all my clothing from the same blocks has an extra little perk- all clothing should have a similar sizing across the board.  That way, there’s less guesswork in what sizing you are-  if you’re a “small” in one dress, you’ll be a “small” in another one, for example.  It drives me nuts when sizing in an individual brand varies from piece to piece, and I’m going to try to cut down on that where I can.

I’ve got some extra exciting updates:

Firstly, Wearing History’s getting a new headquarters.  I’m going to be moving operations to the next town over, where I’ve got a little spot I can use to run this new venture for Wearing History.  It’s a big step, but a super exciting one.  It’s all part of the red tape to get through in California to start an apparel company, but once I’m there and I’ve got all my registration through the state, I can actually start getting the ball rolling with production.  Woohoo!

Secondly, I’m SUPER excited to say that there’s an extra reason my clothing line will be extra special.  My clothing will not only have awesome style (well, at least I think it’s awesome, and I think you will, too!), BUT I’m in the process of getting that little extra incentive for you guys to jump on board with me on this project.

What’s the number one thing in your mind that makes original vintage so desirable?  For me, it’s the amazing fabric prints.  So, that’s right, I’m custom designing a one of a kind print that will grace the first collection.  It’s based off of a CRAZY AWESOME original vintage print I’ve been hoarding for years with just this idea in mind.  In fact, I went full on battle mode on eBay just so I could hoard it for this very purpose.  I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

But, you can’t see any of the designs, or the print, until my kickstarter gets launched.  Neener neener.

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I’ve got a snazzy new web page.  I even added an “About Us” page, if you want to read more about my vision.

So, what’s next?

I’d say we’re a good month and a half at least until I can get the Kickstarter going.  I’ve got to get all my ducks in a row with the state first to become a legit garment industry business (since I do hobby sewing patterns and vintage collectibles now, the standards are very different).  Plus, I’ve got all sorts of leg work to do here in the background before we can start production.  Phew!  It’s a lot of work!  But it’s SO AMAZING that I’m finally getting to go for my dream!

YOU ALL ARE AMAZING.  Thank you so much for being so supportive!

xo

Lauren

Part 4: Suit-a-Long. How do I enlarge the skirt?

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As mentioned in the last post, the proportions of standard body measurements were vastly different nearly 100 years ago than they are today.  Why?  Well, diet, exercise, but especially the use of foundation garments.  Wearing foundation garments or corsets since an early age does affect the way the body is proportioned.  We may be “curvier” because of diet today, but we don’t, in general, have the body shape of our grandmothers or great grandmothers because we simply haven’t been as restricted, and our bodies grow now as they would naturally, with no restraint.

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So, when choosing a size for the suit pattern, I realize that some of the larger sizes, while they’ll work for many ladies as far as bust, won’t work at all in the waist.  I promised in our Facebook group to do a tutorial of how to enlarge the skirt pattern, so here it is, as promised!

First thing is first.  Gather all your skirt pieces.  There should be 4.

Enlarging this is going to be pretty easy, because the skirt is basically two BIG pieces.

- – - Here’s the Basic Idea – - -

The body grows proportionally.  Because of this, we can’t “radial enlarge” everything evenly, like with a photocopier or overhead projector.  It just won’t work!  Sure, you may get lucky, but in general, it’s got to be enlarged in sections.  Resizing patterns according to the proportional growth of a body is called “grading”.  Jackets and things to fit the upper body are a royal pain to grade.  Skirts, however, are easy.  So fear not, this is really not as hard as you might think.

Think in terms of quarters (or a number divided by 4).

You mirror or cut on a fold the front and back.  Now, if you think of each section of your body all the way around as a quarter (one center front, one side seam, one center back, one side seam) it helps make this easier.

To enlarge, it’s the most accurate to add at the center of the piece, right down the middle. If you’re doing something with a dart it’s different, but we’ve got no darts, so it’s no problem.

Here we do a little math.

Figure out how much bigger you need in the waist than what the largest pattern is.  Let’s say, you need 6″ bigger.  Take 6 and divide by 4.  You will enlarge 1 1/2″ at each red line of the front and back skirt.  1 1/2″ x 4= 6″.  Get it?

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So, draw yourself a straight line, right on top of your pattern piece all the way down.  Make it nice and visible.  Now, cut right down the middle of that line.  Sometimes I’ll give myself a cross mark before cutting, so I can keep the pieces better aligned.

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Tape a piece of paper behind the cut.  Attach one side FIRST.  Then draw 1/4 the total amount in a line parallel to the cut. (In the example, we’re doing 1.5″, so you’d draw a line 1.5″ from the cut).  Then tape the other part of the pattern piece on that line.  Do the same for the other side.

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Now you’re going to “true up” your waistline.  That means, just make the curve niece and pretty, so it’s a gradual line instead of bumpy.

Ta Da!  That’s it for the skirt pieces.  Easy, right?

Now, let’s do the belts.

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Because you cut each of these on the fold and they wrap all around the body (no side seams), you’ll draw two lines on each of these pieces.

Remember, we’re thinking of the body’s circumference in terms of quarters.  You don’t need four pieces to go around, just two (as in, double the piece given, since you’ve been given half of the total body circumference).

If you imagine an invisible side seam on these pieces, it may make it easier to understand. On the straight belt, the side seam would fall between the middle of those darts.

In any case, you just do the same as before.

Remember, with the curved piece, you need to draw two lines at different angles- one parallel to the shaped front, one parallel to the center back.  Otherwise your curve will be all wonky, and that’s no fun.

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True up these pieces after enlarging, just like you did with the waist of the skirt pieces.

That’s it!

Now you’re skirt’s all enlarged.  Go you!

For future reference, if you need to make a skirt smaller, you’ll do the reverse… instead of adding at the slashes, you’ll overlap the pieces in 1/4 the total amount you need to subtract.

Hope that helps!

Part 3: Suit-A-Long. What Size Do I Choose?

suitalong250pxHowdy!

We’ve covered what pattern to order and what fabrics are suitable.  In this post, let’s talk about what size to cut so we can get started making mock ups!

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Just as a reminder, here’s the silhouette of the suit.  In this pattern, I give all the original sizes in one size pack.  Remember, proportions back then were different than today, since women often wore corsetry since an early age.  But in this post I’ll tell you what size to pick, taking into account the cut of the suit.

Here’s the size chart.

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We’re going to pick the best size for each piece.  This may mean you’ll cut a different size of the jacket than you will for the skirt.

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The jacket is cut really full, in an “A” type shape.  There are no darts or shaping at the waist at all.  The jacket is pulled in to fit the waist with a belt.

For the jacket, CUT ACCORDING TO BUST SIZE.  If your waist is smaller or greater than the one given for that size, disregard it for the main jacket pieces.

FOR THE JACKET BELT- cut according to your waist size.  This means your belt may be a different size than you cut for the jacket.  This may feel really strange or not right, but it’s all going to be ok, I promise.  The design of this coat makes it really forgiving, and this is the best solution to the problem if you don’t fall in line with the original size chart.

“What if I’m in between sizes, like a 37″ bust?”  You’ll cut the size larger, at 38″.  Don’t cut smaller.  Old patterns didn’t have the ease that modern patterns do.  Do the same if you’re between sizes for the belt.

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The skirt is A line, and falls from the top of an interior waistband, that fits 2″ above the natural waist.

For the skirt, cut according to WAIST SIZE.  There’s some wiggle room in the hip because of the way it’s cut, so most hip sizes will be fine.

If your hips are more than a couple of sizes larger than the the size you need according the chart, you may need some adjustment in the mock up stage.

If your hips are much narrower than the size in the chart (I fall in this category), I suggest adding an extra petticoat or two to help with the period silhouette.

If you need a skirt size that is larger than the pattern, since the period size specifications were so vastly different than today, I’ll show you how to make the skirt larger in the next post.

If you’re in the size range offered in the pattern…

- – - Feel free to start cutting your pattern now, and start cutting your mock up! – - -

Product Review: Dress by Eshakti

A while back I was contacted by Eshatki to do a product review of one of their dresses.  How exciting!  It was fun to pick out a cute dress from all of their online offerings.  It was a hard choice, but I settled on the Contrast bow-tie A-line dress.  It has a definite vintage vibe, but I felt like I could wear it easily in normal day to day life.

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I wore it for the first time yesterday, to Easter service at my church.

On holidays, and in general everyday life, I tend to mix and match vintage aesthetic in with other elements.  My outfit yesterday was composed of “modern” hair (I hate curling it!), a 50s brooch, 50′s eyeglasses, and vintage 40′s hat and shoes.  I felt cute but not out of place at my church service :)

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It has lots of “swirl”.  You could easily wear a crinoline under it if you wanted to!

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The cute white trim is applied strips of fabric. Love that detail!

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Full skirt!

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And a picture with my kitty and the flowers they gave away after my church service :)

Here is the description from the E-Shatki Website:

Color: Navy blue/cream

A banded high waist heightens the figure-flattering silhouette of our cotton poplin dress with a contrast wide Peter Pan collar and feminine bow-tie, and a flared skirt with contrast piped stripes.

  • Slips on over head; partial side zip closure.
  • Dolman cap sleeves, partial elastic cuffs.
  • Bodice darts to shape.
  • Side seam pockets.
  • Below knee length.
  • Cotton, woven poplin, pre-shrunk and bio-finished, light crisp feel, no stretch, midweight.
  • Machine wash.

I am above average in height with a pretty short torso and longer legs, and this dress fit pretty well on me!  In fact, it was one of the only dresses in a while that has fit right out of the package.

Overall the quality is really, really good, especially considering the price point of dresses on their site.  The fabric is cotton poplin, which feels casual enough to not be super dressy, but is dressy enough to not feel too casual.  It’s a good choice for something easy to care for, but still polished looking.

I ordered the size 6, which, in their sizing, is Bust 35″, Waist 28″, Hip 38″.

Just out of curiosity, I measured the bust flat, and it is just about spot on at 35″, without much wiggle room there.  It looked fabulous, and I love the fitted look, but the armscyes did rub on me by the time the church service was over, because they were cut pretty high and the bust was so closely fitted.  The elastic on the sleeves did restrict movement as well.  And just a matter of preference, but since this dress is so stark in contrast of the off white and navy, I wish the bias facing on the inside of the dress where the collar attaches was the same color as the collar, because the navy could be seen a bit at the neckline.

Eshakti is a company based out of India who offers cute dresses and separates, some with a vintage vibe.  You can buy the dresses as they are, or you can get customization, including changing skirt lengths, adding sleeves, and changing necklines.  It’s actually a great option if  you’re in need of bridesmaid dresses for gals of different sizes and style preferences!  They have both misses sizes and plus sizes.  The dress I reviewed did not have any customization done, and is exactly as the dress appears on their website.

They have lots of really cute dresses up on their site right now!

Here’s my little disclosure:  This review is my honest opinion and was in no way influenced by the free product given to me to review by Eshakti.  I give my honest, personal opinion in this post.