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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Repro Vintage Clothing- Musings From The Other Side

I have a confession.  I used to be a vintage snob.  Not only that, but I thought my fashion school training was grounds for me to be a know-it-all.  What a sad, sad, combination that was.

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This was me, nearly 10 years ago

Now, don’t get me wrong- I didn’t care too much what individuals wore.  I also kind of had the “they do their thing, I do my thing” attitude, but for some reason, when it came to ready made clothing, I was extremely critical.  It was stupid.  It was a double standard,  plain and simple.

And you know, it’s funny, looking back, at how little I really knew.  I knew a decent amount about vintage.  But my real world experience was sorely lacking!  Who was I to critique this sort of thing?  Really.

Just because I could sew myself a dress and went to fashion school, didn’t mean I had the know-how to create a clothing line from scratch, let alone survive in the marketplace.  I dabbled at selling vintage on ebay.  I wanted to be a designer, but I didn’t have the business experience that is so crucial to really make a proper go of it.

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Another oldie-  probably 8 or so years ago.

Thankfully, since then, I’ve been self employed for quite a while and my criticism has turned into the utmost respect for any company that can successfully start up a vintage reproduction or vintage inspired clothing brand.  And those brands that have been around for years and years gain even more respect.  Because, besides knowing what people want and need, you’ve got to do a lot of behind the scenes work to keep things moving.

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Me on the Queen Mary, 2006

So here, I’m laying my cards on the table, and telling you why I’ve changed my tune over the years, and why I respect those other reproduction companies so much.

1-  Just because you don’t aesthetically prefer something, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

There’s a reason that clothing makes it to the marketplace, and survives, in the vintage niche, season after season.  If you don’t aesthetically like it, at least respect the fact that someone behind it is working their butt off to make it available.  And you know what, you may change your tune later on, like I did.  I actually like a lot of the repro stuff now that I wouldn’t have cared for at all ten years ago.  There’s a reason it’s still around- because it’s a good product.

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A peek at my brand new studio space.

2-  Starting Up A Clothing  Line Is HARD

Especially in California.  It’s a known fact that it’s harder to start up a legitimate garment company in California than the other states in the USA.  From fictitious business name, to sellers permit, to business liscence, to California Garment Registration, to having an office outside a home (a requirement to be a garment manufacturer in California)- getting all those ducks in a row before you can even think about buying fabric, sourcing contractors, and all those other parts that go into actual sewn garment is tough.  It’s a whole different ball game than when you’re doing it as a hobby and just sewing for yourself.  There’s big time and money commitments up front- you’ll probably see yourself out several grand before you can even start patterning your designs.  And unless you’ve run all those numbers and revised them, and run them over… and over… and over… you really have no clue what you’re getting into.  And then, after you’ve committed to all the legal requirements up front, you’ve got to create a garment that you know you can order enough of to meet the minimums of the contractor you’re working with.  Not only that, but you’ve got to research who you’re working with, and make sure they’re legit with California, too.  Lots and lots and lots of leg work on the front end, and since most vintage repro companies in the USA are based out of California, I know now what a huge undertaking it was for them to just start.

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A few of my fabrics I’ve sourced for my collection.

3-  It’s MUCH easier to find fabric for yourself than to find fabric for a clothing line.

I’ve heard a lot of critiques of fabrics that vintage repro manufacturers use.  I used to be that way, too- UNTIL I suddenly had to source several hundred yards of something for just one style.  Wow.  If you find an amazing fabric from a  jobber in LA, chances are that’s the only bolt- and while the fabric is super cute and may be perfect for your ensemble, and the price point may be right- you’ve got to meet your manufacturer’s minimums of garments to be made, so you’ve got to pass.  It’s so much easier to find a cute fabric you like, buy 4 yards, and make yourself a dress out of it.  And every dollar per yard adds up fast when you’ve got to order 100 yards or more.  And when you’re on a very, very limited budget to source before you can really buy (because your Kickstarter has to be successfully funded before you can get your fabric), it can be a challenge to make sure the fabric you DO find will still be made in a few months from now and isn’t just a seasonal thing.

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Fourteen tries, then I finally got a sleeve I was happy with.  It takes time to perfect designs.

4-  Repro Vintage Isn’t Overpriced.  It’s Actually Priced Just Right.

Yeah, it may seem higher priced than we’re used to, but here’s why… as consumers, we’re used to price points of clothing made overseas.  Now, do we know the working conditions of the people making our clothing overseas when we buy a cute sundress at the mall for $40?  Probably not.  Not only that, but they’re probably producing thousands and thousands of that same dress, which means they can cut down on their fabric and production costs, and don’t have a minimum wage that we do domestically.  Don’t forget, when looking at clothing in your closet, that someone actually had to sit and sew every stitch you see.  There’s no magic machine that you can put in fabric and out pops a garment.  Someone, somewhere, personally sewed your garment.  In fact, multiple people probably sewed each individual garment in your closet.  I want to make sure the hands that touch my garment are compensated, and the contractor’s shop I use is legit, in the USA, and can meet the small minimums that are required for me, as a start up clothing line.  The less you buy, the more expensive, because the more you buy, the more production gets streamlined.  Makes sense, if you’ve ever had to do the same thing over and over… you get faster the more accustomed to it you get.  Same goes with clothing.

And don’t forget, it’s not just the garment itself that goes into the price.  You’ve also got to cover all your legal fees, etc, mentioned above, your rent, your packing and shipping supplies, your utilities like internet, your web site and hosting, your credit card processing fees, your garment labels, you’ve got to make sure you have enough coming in to be able to reorder the fabric you’ll need to buy before the next garments to sell can be made, and hopefully, when all that’s done, you might be able to pay yourself.  So, yeah… after spreadsheets done over, and over, and over… I totally get why vintage reproduction clothing is priced the way it is.  But, in the end, you know you’re supporting small businesses, you’re helping make local jobs, and you know your garment won’t fall apart after a wear or two like real vintage sometimes does.  So there’s a good trade off there, I think.

Untitled-1Nearly 10 years ago, 30′s knit suits like this were getting hard to find. Now, they’re really scarce.qm

5-  It’s getting harder and harder to find real vintage.

When I started collecting, back in the mid 90′s or so, it wasn’t that hard to find vintage.  Granted, I was very slim back then, but clothing was relatively cheap and pretty plentiful.  With the growing popularity of vintage, combined with the ravages of time, finding good, wearable vintage clothing for a reasonable price point is getting pretty darn hard.  Not only that, but as I’m getting a little older I’m finally understanding how much harder it is to find something in a 28″ or larger waist size.  And, usually, when I DO find something I love, it’s either not the size I need, or I’d have to save up for it, and by the time I could justify the cost, it will usually be gone.

Also, as I get older, I realize how much I need more practicality in my clothes.  I need something that will hold up to wear.  And there’s something to be said for being able to buy something in your size, when you need it.  All of those factors give vintage repro a big leg up over original vintage.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my vintage stuff and I don’t expect everyone to jump ship on vintage or handmade and come over to me when I get my clothing line up and running.  I truly believe that original vintage and newly made vintage clothing can happily co-exist hand in hand.

I do hope you will really love what I do and I can keep on going after my first collection.  The first collection on Kickstarter is really just the momentum I need to put my first collection out there- and all future designs (of which I have many!) will de dependent on how much you love it :)

So I guess that’s about it.  I guess sort of a confessional/up to date post on my happenings.  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Love,

Lauren

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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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Part 7: Suit A Long: How To Attach The Inner Skirt Waistband

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This is the single most part of the skirt construction which seems to be confusing to most.  Simply put, we no longer construct skirts like this, which is why it seems such an oddity.  But skirt construction like this continued up until the 1930s, so it was widely used for a period of at least thirty years, if not longer.

The idea is to have an internal waistband, the top of which is where the skirt is most fitted to the body.  The waistband then skims the natural waist, instead of fitting closely to it.  These waists were extremely popular during the 1910s, which could give some account of the transition of the figure from the more exaggerated hourglass of previous decades, to the straight waist of the 1920s.  The 1910′s emphasis was not on actual waistline, rather the RAISED waist and the FLARED silhouette.

For a visual example of period construction, please make sure to check out the previous post I did, showing the construction of a real skirt from this time period.

Disclaimer:  There were countless ways used to construct this sort of waistband.  Every example I have seen has a bit of a different way to go about it, but the result was the same.  That is why, in this post, I do what is intuitively easiest for me.  Like most periods of fashion history, there were various ways to construct a garment to have the same visual effect, so don’t worry too much about rules here.  Do what works for you.  At the beginning of this article I talked about the ideal silhouette, so keep that in mind and just go for it.

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First, finish the top and bottom edges of your interior waistband.  I used a belting I found at an estate sale.  Originals I have use wide grosgrain ribbon.  If you are using grosgrain, you will not have to finish the edges, of course.  You may chose to turn up an edge if your ribbon is too wide for the waistband if you want to keep the original proportions.

Next, mark your darts.  I just did mine in pencil, since I wasn’t worried about the marks showing on my finished garment.

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Sew the darts, then press your darts toward the center.  You can see, our inner waistband is now curved.

In your mock up phase, it’s important to check the fit of this internal waistband.  If it droops from the top edge, and wants to roll down, your darts are too deep, so you’ll want to take out some of the dart size, then cut some length off of the belt piece.  Letting out the darts makes the waist bigger.  As mentioned above, it’s most crucial that the top of the waistband fits, and the bottom of the waistband fits your corseted waist very snuggly.  If the top of the waistband is too big, the skirt weight will pull it down.  So get that interior fit right!  You can always take in the side seams or gather more at the back skirt to make it fit the new waistband size,.

Let’s just pretend you’ve checked the fit and everything’s good, so we can move on.

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I have decided I’m going to sandwich this between the front placket, so I want the edge to hit flush in with the fold.   The dot marks center front.  There fold line on the skirt is 1″ from the center front.  I have 1/2″ longer than that (which would allow turn under if you want to attach the waistband another way.) That means I’m cutting off 1/2″ at the edge, so the cut edge hits flush with the folded edge of the skirt placket.

This may have been a bad idea, as it may be puckering.  It probably would have been better to do it like the original skirt I took pictures of, but I decided to wing it.  So you get to see photos of what I did, since I’m not re-doing it now ;)

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Now, press under 1/2″ at the top edge of the skirt , all the way around.

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Run gathering stitches along the top of the skirt.  I did one 1/8″ from the edge (this one is important), and another one 1/4″ from that.  Don’t forget to mark center back, if you haven’t already.

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Now it’s time to attach the waistband.  I put the cut edge of my interior waistband right up flush of the fold of the underlap, making sure my center front lines matched.  There’s a dot on your waistband that marks center front, and this should line up right with the center front line on the skirt.

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Next, I pin the waistband on.  I pin from the center front all the way to the notches where the gathering starts on both sides first.

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Then I match center back.  After that, I pull in the gathers to fit, and pin those to place.

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Now I stitch from the outside, 1/8″ from the fold.  This attaches the waistband to the skirt.  Make sure your waistband doesn’t peek out from behind.  It’s ok to allow a little “roll” of the skirt so the waistband edge doesn’t show, just make sure you can catch it with this 1/8″ stitch!

Go all the way around, sewing through all the gathers, too, so that the entire waistband is secured to the skirt.

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Then I stitched up the front placket, 1″ from the edge (right on the center front line), and secured down the waistband.

Like I said, this probably wasn’t the most ideal thing.  After I put it on I noticed this caused puckering at the bottom of the waistband.  So try it like me, or don’t, but fair warning that the puckering is what happened to me.

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When I was done, this is how the inside of the skirt looked.

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And this is how the outside of the skirt looks.

Now you add hooks and eyes at the waist and snaps and your skirt is almost done!

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Suit-A-Long: How to Sew the Skirt Placket

I’m finally able to take a few minutes and work on sewing the skirt of the suit!

The placket may sound hard by reading the original instructions, but it’s really quite simple.  When I sewed mine last night, I took photos of the process so you can follow along.

I sew the placket of the skirt before assembling the side seams.  I just find this simpler, but you can do this after the side seams if that is easier for you.

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The first thing to do is finish the straight edge of the center front skirts.  I used rayon seam binding (Hug Snug), pressed in half, then sandwiched the raw edge in the fold and topstitched it on.

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Measure in from the edge to where the fold line is.  It’s about 1 3/8″

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Mimic this marking on the front.  When I cut my fabric I lined my stripe up with this edge, so I don’t have to mark it.  But if you do, use a long stitch line on your machine, a water soluble pen, chalk, or thread marking.  ALWAYS test on a scrap first to make sure it comes out of your fabric.

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Press under the edge on the fold line.

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The center front is 1″ from the folded edge.  Mark this in a similar method as above.  Here I’m using a basting stitch on my machine.  Mark on both pieces.

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Lap the pieces over each other, as shown.  The line you just marked is the center front line, so line both pieces up on that line.

Since my fabric has a pattern to match, I matched the pattern on the lines.

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Now, figure out the opening you need.  Don’t forget, the skirt has a raised waistline.  I did mine at 9″ down from the top, but you could probably go as long as 11″.  I put a double set of pins at where my stitching should start, but add pins above it as well, to help control the fabric above where my stitch line will start to make sure it lays correctly where I start.

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Now, stitch right on top of the center front line. If you did a basting line, like me, you might want to go just to either side of it.  If you stitch right on top it will be really hard to remove the basting later.

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If you want to, you can do a stitch line through the skirt at the top, to make the stitching seem continuous down the front.  Obviously, don’t’ stitch both together or you can’t get in your skirt.

And that’s it!  After you put the waistband on, you can add hooks and eyes at the top, then snaps down the front, and your placket is complete.

Next post will be about attaching the interior waistband.

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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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Part 5: Suit A Long. How Should the Skirt Be Constructed?

Hello!  Sorry for my lack of posting.

I spent 5 very busy days driving up from San Diego area to San Fransisco to attend seminars and a trade expo for my upcoming clothing line launch (more on the trip in a future post), so I wasn’t able to give much thought to blogging!  We got back on Wednesday, and after playing catch up I feel like I can finally take some pictures and share another step in the Suit A Long.

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So, we’ve covered fabrics, sizing, and how to grade the skirt if you need a different size.  Aren’t you itching to get sewing yet?

I thought long and hard about how the best way to illustrate this would be, and I’ve settled on it.  We’re using a period pattern to make this suit, so I think a period example that’s close in silhouette would be the PERFECT way to show how it would have been assembled.

Luckily, I have had this 1910s skirt for quite a while, so she’s happy to illustrate for us how she would have gone together.

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IMG_2339 Just like our skirt pattern, there are four main pieces to this skirt.  There’s a front skirt piece, a back skirt piece, an external belt, and an internal belt.  Basically if you ignore the pockets, it’s nearly our exact same skirt!  But hey, you could always add pockets to yours, too…

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You can see that the skirt hits higher than the natural waist.  Please ignore the padding and the marks, that’s for me to pad out my form to what I need to be doing and is NOT part of this skirt.  But if you look in this picture, you can see that it hits about two inches above the natural waist.  You can also see that the belt that we see is EXTERNAL, and NOT ATTACHED all the way around.

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In fact, this particular belt is just attached with a swing tack (or French tack) at center back of the skirt.  If you don’t know how to make a swing tack, check out this video on YouTube.

 In this close up you can also see the stitch lines for gathering the back skirt to the internal waistband.  Ours will have more gathers at the back.

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What does the internal waistband look like?  Here it is, inside the skirt.  You can see that it’s basically just a long, wide piece of grosgrain ribbon.  This was most common in the period.  In fact, skirts with this type of construction continued in until the mid 1930s, if not later.  The grograin ribbon snugs your waist, but it is hearty enough to hold up the skirt and not collapse on itself.

This waistband does not have darts on the inside.  In fact, the couple of skirts I have do not have the darts.  Our pattern, however, does have darts.

Personally, I’m thinking of leaving the darts out  of the interior waistband because I don’t think I have enough of a difference in my corseted waist size to need that extra shaping there.  If you have a pretty strong curve in your corseted shape, you may find you need to keep the darts in.  The waist size on the pattern is given for the darted waistband, so if you leave them off you may need some adjustments (because without darts the waist size would be bigger).  When you make your mock up, test it out and see which one works better for you.  Either way, the top of the skirt’s raised waist should fit you snuggly, and not gape.  But MAKE SURE TO LEAVE ROOM for your blouse to tuck in and allow room for your petticoat waistbands it you’re making this before you’ve made your underthings.

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This illustrates how the waistband was attached.  Like out pattern, the front skirt is attached smoothly, with no gathers.  The back skirt has some gathers that are pulled in to fit the interior waistband circumference.

To do this, stay stitch the waistline on the skirt.  Next, press the seam allowance toward the inside (wrong side) of the skirt, so you have a nice fold.  After this, run your gathering stitches along the top of the back skirt.  Now, pin everything together, matching the top of the skirt to the top of the waistband and pulling in your gathering stitches to fit.  Topstitch through all layers, about 1/8″ in from the edge.  In the photo above you can see the outside of the skirt, then the inside of the skirt.  You can see the stitch line is visible from both the inside and outside, because this stitch was done in one step like topstitching.

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What about the center front fasteners?  1/2″ or so is just turned under at front and back.  This example has the waistband free below the top, though I have seen some examples where they fasten at the lower part of the waistband as well, to help if hug the figure.  When I used to be able to wear this one, I would have trouble with the snap coming unfastened.  I’d suggest you supplement a skirt hook and eye for the snap if you’re worried about that happening to you.

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Here you can see how the button lap and the snap work together at the front, just like they will on our skirt.  Easier than you thought, right?

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What about that front button lap?  Well, you can see it’s simplified.  In this original garment the front lap was not interfaced in any way.  If you had a lighter weight fabric you might consider interfacing it for added stability to the buttonholes and buttons.  But, you see the buttonhole side?  It’s simply the selvage edge of the fabric there, not turned under.  On the side where the buttons attach, you can see they did turn under the seam allowance and there’s also topstitching near the edge on that side for added stability.

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The seam finishes were quite simple.  At center back they simply used the selvage to finish the edge.  We don’t have a center back, so we can’t do this (the selvage needs to fall on the straight of grain, and our side seams are shaped), but we can do this for the front underlap, like shown above.  The shaped seams are finished with a simple stitch (in this case, it’s a chain stitch, but since most of us don’t have chain stitch machines, that doesn’t matter so much).  But these side seams were finished as quickly and simply as possible, which makes me think that this skirt might have been readymade instead of home made.  It’s sewn, then just finished with a double fold bias binding.  If you don’t know how to do this, check out my past post here.

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And for the hem?  They didn’t face it, like our pattern calls for.  Instead, the just turned the hem up on itself like you usually do and stitched it down by machine.

I hope this post really helps you visualize how the skirt goes together!  I think once you get to see the “guts” of these period pieces, it makes construction kind of click.

So go ahead and get started on your skirt mock up!  And once that’s done, go for the finished article!

If you need any help, or need clarification, please leave me a comment letting me know.  And don’t forget, you can ask questions and participate on our Facebook group!

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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