In Progress: A Poiret Inspired “One Thousand and Second Night” Dress

The next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Fairytale.”  I was originally thinking that I would finish my Edwardian tea gown and do “Sleeping Beauty”, but then I got totally uninspired and realized I made some mistakes in construction when I started it last year.  That, and I had about a million pieces of insertion lace to cut the back out of and finish, and I don’t like the fabric.

So my second thought was “The Midas Touch”, and making a gold 1920′s evening dress and cape.  But the event I was going to make it for was last night, and we didn’t go, and I obviously didn’t make the dress in time.

So then, I looked on this lovely Indian imported dupatta shawl (bought at Queens Club on Etsy).  I had bought it to make a 19-teens evening dress for, but when it arrived I wasn’t enthralled with the poly content and little painted gold dots on it.  But the trim on the edges is GORGEOUS, and, the next idea that popped into my head was more costumey, which would allow a little more wiggle room for authenticity than my original plan I had purchased it for, so it was sort of serendipity.

One of my fashion design icons of all time is Paul Poiret, and he had lavish parties themed “One Thousand and Second Night”.  PERFECT theme for the HSF challenge!

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Denise Poiret, 1911, at one of the “One Thousand and Second Night” parties (found via Pinterest).

Did I mention I love roses, so I bought it for the rose pattern and then realized not only did Poiret LOVE textiles of this sort, but his signature rose was similar in design to the one on my dupatta.  Serendipity!  Meant to be!  And it’s coming together SO quickly.  Love when that happens.

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Poiret Dress from FIT (found via Pinterest)

One of my main inspirations are the “lampshade” dresses that Paul Poiret was incredibly well known for.  This one is a classic.  Katherine of The Fashionable Past actually made a great 19-teens evening gown inspired by the existing black and white version of this dress.

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I started with an original vintage pattern, circa 1912, but changed it quite a bit in the muslin mock up stage to accommodate a bodice that would cross in front and in back and have a slightly different sleeve than the original, which was tighter fitting and had gussets.

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I pinned the bodice and skirt to the dress form to get an idea of the length of the lampshade skirt.  I did end up shortening it, and decided I wanted it to have a slightly longer length in back than in front.

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The dress it’s over is the dress I made for the Cordelia skirt pattern sample of the evening train.  I have never worn it, so chopped off the sleeves, removed the trim, and am making it work as an underdress for this outfit.  I also will have to let out some of the seams, since I’m not the same size I was a few years ago.  But still, better than starting from scratch!

I have decided to make the underdress and overdress separate, so that I have the option to make harem trousers for this at a later time.

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After I cut the right length, I assembled the underarm seams, the back seam, and decided on a center back closure.  The original was most likely a front closure, as is normal with period gowns, but I decided the back closure would be easier to construct (though it means I’ll need help getting into it).  After a little thinking, and remembering how period dresses are made that I have, I decided on the inner waistband, with the skirt and bodice gathered to it.  All seams are now encased between the inner waistband and the rayon seam tape.  It will lap over at center back and fasten with hooks and bars and snaps.

IMG_4059 And on the form, ready for the next step!  I will have a waist sash cover the waist where the tape is visible, and I have to sew the inside casing for the hoop wire next.  It’s coming together quite quickly, considering I only started it yesterday afternoon!

I have a board on Pinterest I started as inspiration for this project, with Poiret images, examples from the Ballet Russes, and other period inspirations.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend!

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Sew For Victory! 1940′s Sew-a-Long

I’ve got some super exciting news!

Not only is Rochelle (Aka Lucky Lucille) hosting Sew for Victory 2.0, but I’m thrilled to be able to offer a discount via participants!

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For more info on the Sew-A-Long, make sure you check out Rochelle’s blog post with all the fun info.  If you’re new to vintage sewing, it’s a great way to jump right in and try it out.  If you’re an old vintage sewing veteran, it’s a great excuse to add some more basics to your wardrobe, or try out a new project or technique.

I’m super excited to offer 20% off to all fellow Sew For Victory participants on my Wearing History Patterns shop.  For the coupon code and more info, make sure you visit this post on Lucky Lucille to get the scoop and the coupon code.

I’ve got lots of styles from the late 1930s and 1940s that would work well for the challenge!

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I’ve already got quite an obnoxious 1940′s peasant blouse I’m nearly finished with, and I want to make something to go with it… possible a jumper, possibly trousers.  Not sure yet! I just love the excuse to make something fun!

McCall’s 4425, Original Vintage (Not a Copy), Up for Grabs

Howdy folks.

You know how I once said I’d never list on Ebay again?  I lied.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we’ve had some big expenses come up (broken washer, water everywhere… new washer bought)… and my little pattern company hasn’t been doing so hot the last few months.  So…cover

My original copy (Original vintage) of McCall’s 4425 is now up for grabs on eBay.  Add it to your watch list… and if you one of your friends has been on the hunt for an original vintage copy, now’s your chance.

NOT A COPY!  This is the real deal from 1957.

The cool thing is that it includes the original letter inside.  Seems a bunch of gals were making this exact dress for a Hawaiian themed party.

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One the back of one of the instruction sheets is a pretty cool graphic design for McCall’s Pattern Magazine.

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This was one of the first real vintage patterns I bought on eBay, over 10 years ago.  So the cycle goes!

I’ll be getting more vintage patterns up on the ‘bay this week, too.  Keep your eye on my listings!

Thanks, all!

Sunday Inspiration: 1905 Corset, Suspenders, and Stockings.

I had scanned in several more pages from the 1905 Delineator when I was making up my S-Curve corset, so I figured, rather than getting lost in my abyss of a computer, that I might as well share them now!

Here’s a few little fun ads from 1905 that show some garments that go under what you usually see.  Make sure to read the ads, not just look at the pretty pictures, to get a good idea of what’s going on and what was offered in the period.

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“…like all American Lady Corsets, it has the essentials for stylish form building, but the special purpose of this garment is to give a sweeping curve effect to the entire figure.  The lateral sections accomplish this by training the flesh from the front to the sides and back…”

It’s interesting to note these earlier S-Curve ads almost need to talk the reader into buying the “new” silhouette.  I’ve seen several of these in this era, and they’re always amusing.  Note that most often ads of the early 1900s and before emphasized shaping the figure by FOUNDATION GARMENTS rather than by DIET.  Once the 1920′s hit, diet was often advertised as well as foundations, and this continued throughout time… only now do we usually tend to rely on diet alone to achieve the essential shape.  Well, diet and, often, surgery.  Sure, spanx and the like are now used, but they don’t have nearly the effect of the foundations of our mothers and grandmother’s day.  In terms of a fashion history perspective, I find the modern ideals of figure most depressing and, usually, unobtainable for most people.  Combination undergarment + diet for certain looks seems much more achievable, in my opinion.

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Although we don’t actually see the “Hose Supporters” here, it’s worth noting that the advertisement shows an active lady.  Sport for ladies was growing from the 1880s on, but it especially was present in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Golf and bicycling, most noticeably.

And it’s also worth noting that not all Edwardian corsets included garters (suspenders or supporters).  There were often separate articles that were purchased and used for this purpose.

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And for those fancy garter hooks, here’s hose that will not tear!  In earlier time periods there were elastic, knitted, or ribbon garters.  In the Edwardian era, garters like we see on later foundation garments were in use.  We needed fancy new garter tops to keep up with the wear and tear of the metal on fiber!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

Finished Project: 1919 Knitted Slipover “Bodice”

I have been working on this on and off for about a month or so, and just finished it up!  I’ve come down with a rotten cold, so the opportunity of finding couch worthy projects helped me finish this up.

I may be stretching a bit, but since I just finished this, and the next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Bodice”, I’m going to use this as a submission.  A little internet searching, and I found this “knitted bodice without sleeves” from 1870 on the Vintage Stitch-O-Rama Free Pattern Emporium.  The one I made is nearly 50 years later, but a similar idea.  Maybe stretching the “bodice” idea a bit (har had, it’s knitted, so it already stretches), but I’m going with it.

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Here is the pattern I made mine from.  It’s available in my Etsy shop.  I fell in love with it in the original periodical I have in my archives.

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I admit, I didn’t do this pattern exactly as it is.  Being a somewhat notice knitter, I was clueless as to how to pick up stitches and knit the border around the collar and down the front.  And it wanted me to make buttonholes.  So I cheated, and crocheted the edge instead.  There’s enough stretch in the sweater for me to not have to have functional buttonholes.

I also changed the way the cord was made.  I didn’t like how the one looked that the instructions called for, so I looked up “crocheted cord” on Youtube and ended up doing one that’s often used in crocheted lace, or macrame.  I like it!  It took a while to get used to doing, but after a while I got in the groove and the two yards I needed to make went pretty quickly.

I also realized, as I was working this up, that I colorized the photo wrong, and there were meant to be three colors.  Oops?  I actually prefer the two.  In the original instructions, the collar and front three cord and button fasteners are supposed to be a different color than the slipover and edging and cord.

The pattern is old, and so isn’t terribly instructive like modern patterns.  I had to fudge a little here and there, since I had never made crocheted buttons or crocheted top tassels before, but I just played with single crochet and it worked out just fine.  For the base of the buttons I just used some plastic buttons in my stash that I didn’t particularly like, but that were flat.  I know I had plastic rings around here somewhere, but these worked in a pinch.

I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing this!  I’m actually REALLY pleased with how it came out.  I’ve had so many knitting disasters in my eight-ish years I’ve knitted on and off, that it’s nice to have something look pretty close to the original image.

I’ve shown this over a 1910s blouse I made a few years ago and an original vintage skirt from the 1910s to very early 1920s.

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The Challenge: #5 Bodice

Fabric: (Yarn) Shine Worsted Yarn by KnitPicks.  I loooooove this yarn!  So soft!

Pattern: 1919 Knitted Slipover (PDF in my Etsy Store)

Year: 1919

Notions: Buttons to cover.  I used sewing thread to sew on the buttons and little cord things across the front.  Crochet hook and knitting needles.

How historically accurate is it?  Nearly 100%.  The buttons I used to cover are modern plastic, and they may not have had cotton/rayon yarn then, but again, they may have, as rayon was often called “artificial silk” in this time period.

Hours to complete:  A million.  I’m not the fastest knitter.

First worn:  Not yet, but I’m totally planning on wearing this with modern clothing as well as historical, so I’m sure it will get some use.

Total cost:  Maybe $30?  I think I used about 7 balls of yarn at $2.99 each plus shipping.

Edwardian Bust Improver “Perfect Form”

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In line with my last post, I wanted to share a funny little Edwardian innovation that appeared in many periodicals of the time.  This one happens to come from The Delineator, April, 1905.  The “Sahlin Perfect Form”.  I’ve seen these ads many times, but had never seen a real one, until I happened to see one on Ebay, just sold recently.

These images are from the eBay auction, by seller $4europe.  They took quite detailed shots, by which we can see the basics of constructions.  These images are the property of the seller, and are just posted here for educational use.

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Where the boning crosses, it creates an arc.  Similar boning was done to create the rounded styles of stays in the 18th century, but here it was often to stand away from the body, rather than hug to it.
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If you compare this to the original ad, the buckles were to make it adjustable to the figure, to wrap across the back, then fasten the ties through the buckles at the sides.

Fascinating piece of fashion history!   Wonder our Edwardian counterparts would think of the “chicken cutlets” of today?

Finished Projects: Edwardian S-Curve Corset + “Improvers”

If you’re following me on Instragram, you may have seen my progress posts on my Edwardian corset and bust improvers.  The corset project was a UFO from last year’s Historical Sew Fortnightly from the same challenge.  This year I was determined to finish it.  It’s just in at the deadline, barely, but I finished it!

I have a few entries for this challenge, since I decided to make Edwardian bust improvers to go with the corset.  Each project is listed separately, but I’ll include them both in this post.

It was much too small, so I had to add 2″ panels to each side.  Luckily, with the other seaming, it’s not terribly obvious.  I had accidentally cut this WAY too small, and had forgotten I had added extra seam allowance to my mock up but didn’t transfer it to my pattern.  Thank goodness I had *just* enough coutil and fashion fabric to cut panels!

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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton coutil, silk broade

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset

Year: 1903

Notions:  Metal boning, busk, eyelets, ribbon, vintage laces, corset lace, bone casing, twill tape for loops for detachable garters (garters were made for a previous corset, but work for this one as well).

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close, but I serged the inside seams instead of leaving them raw or flat felling them.  The garters are not really period correct, as they would have been constructed differently.

Hours to complete: Way too many

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Pretty expensive.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d guess in the $50-$60 range.  Most of the materials were bought either last year or several years before, so I didn’t need to buy any new products to complete this during this year.

paddingAlso made were the padding.  I made the “hip pad” from the Truly Victorian pattern that was included with the corset.  For the bust pads, however, I decided I wanted ones similar to those in the LACMA museum, that I had seen in the “Fashioning Fashion” exhibit.

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Woman’s Bust Improver (Falsies), England, circa 1900, image from LACMA
I drafted up a quick pattern based on these.  First I made ones that were 16″ across, but they were kind of big and more “Barbie”ish.  Today I whipped up another pair that are 14″ across, and they suit better.
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To compare, here’s the larger ones, and the smaller ones.  They’re both somewhat ridiculous, but so period correct!
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I actually ended up sticking this up on my site as an e-pattern.  Since I went to the trouble, I thought others might want to make some, too.
e102COVERwebFair warning/disclaimer.   These were based on those in the collection of LACMA, but the pattern I made is in no way affiliated with LACMA, or endorsed by them.  It was just a fun, quick project, using an existing period example as inspiration.
In any case…
For kicks, I took pictures of my corset with a dress I had made a few years ago with padding and without padding, to get an idea of how it changes the silhouette.
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How interesting!  It reminds me so much of this ad:
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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton muslin, cotton shirting

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset, + Wearing History E102- Edwardian Bust Improver

Year: 1900-1908

Notions:  For hip pad: Cotton wadding, twill tape.  For bust improvers: cotton wadding, double fold bias tape, flat lace that was gathered, lace beading, silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close.  I think the TV pattern is dead on for the period.  Bust improvers of the time varied greatly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some exactly like this existed.  The museum examples were constructed open at the back, so they could be stuffed and unstuffed.  For ease, and because I will very seldom actually wear these, I just stuffed them and seamed it in, so they have  closed back.

Hours to complete: These were quick. Probably under an hour for each item.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Everything was from the stash.  Actual cost of each was probably under $5.  The cotton batting was free, and everything else was constructed of scraps of inexpensive cotton.  The lace was probably the most expensive part, since it was all vintage.  The silk ribbon was maybe a few dollars a yard and under a yard was used on each bust improver.

Inspiration: 1905 Corsets

Today I have, what I think, are the most gorgeous pages of corsets I have ever seen in an Edwardian magazine.  These are both from a copy of The Delineator I have in my archives from September, 1905.

Not only are corsets beautiful, but the page layouts are gorgeous and they include great descriptions of the corsets, and what figure types they are suited for.

“No, 1 is a plain little corset designed especially to soften the angles of an extremely slight figure ;  No. 2, made of fancy sateen with ribbon decoration, shows the natural hip and high bust effect ;  No. 3,  illustrated in white coutil, is for larger hips and high bust ;  No. 4 of white satin, is designed to reduce the too pronounced curves below the waist.”

“No. 1 is a ribbon or tape girdle, especially favored for golf, tennis, and other outdoor sports ;  No. 2 is a novelty corset of brocaded satin, lacing at each side of the front ;  No. 3 combines a bust supporter of white satin ribbon and a hip reducing corset of sateen ;  No. 4 is a slightly boned silk jersey model for a medium figure, giving the high bust effect.”

I love that it includes an image of a ribbon corset! I’d love to make one of those some day.

I find it very interesting that one of the corsets includes a bust supporter.  This is the era when the top edge of the corsets started to move closer to the waist, so it is very nice to know there were options out there for ladies who required or desired bust support in a corset.  Many ladies would wear separate brassieres, which offered very little support compared to what we are accustomed to today.

I have picked up the Truly Victorian S-Curve corset again, which I set aside and has a remained a UFO (unfinished object) since last year.  These are very inspiring for me to finish it by the Historical Sew Fortnightly deadline!

I actually love these images so much that I have added one of them to my Cafepress store.  So you can get T shirts, journals, etc, with the image if you love it as much as I do!

1905_delineator_corsets_journalI do not mind if you share these original images, but please do remember to link back and give credit, as it always takes me a bit of time to clean up the originals and share.  Thanks :)

 

Great Los Angeles Air Raid, 2014

This weekend was the Great Los Angeles Air Raid in San Pedro, CA. This event happens every year to commemorate a strange event that happened in 1942. Was it weather balloons? Enemy aircraft? UFOs?
Whatever it was, there was a lot of gunfire happening from Fort MacArthur that night in the direction of the ocean.

My friend and I. We both made our skirts and blouses. The vest I wore was owned by a real life Rosie the Riveter who worked on Goodyear blimps during the war.


My new-to-me vintage bracelet. I love this thing so much!

And a few of my favorite shots from the event:










Unfortunately, I’m still getting used to my new camera, so a lot of my photos didn’t turn out. The focus sounds the same as the shutter! But now I know for next time :)

You can find the rest of my photos on Flickr

Corsets: 1916

In our 1910s Suit-A-Long group the question of corset height was brought up.  Here are two pages of corsets from the 1916 W & H Walker catalog.  This was the same year that the pattern was released, so is appropriate to the WWI era and the era of this suit.

1916corset2web 1916corset1webWe see the difference in height of the top of the corset in these images.  There is also a variety in length of the hip.

The size numbers would be for the corset size.  It does not state if these are the actual corset measurements or the measure of the finished waist size.  I am assuming they are the corset measure, as the “spring” allowed at back varied from person to person based on preference.  The corset “spring” refers to the inches allowed at back for comfort- corsets would not be laced edge to edge, but allow, usually from 2″-4″, or even 6″ at the back when laced.

Sizes 18 to 30 have the most options.  We see medium bust and hip (6M50), medium low bust and long hip (2M129),  low bust and long hips (8M49), medium high bust and long hips (3M99).

There is one corset that is for comfort, with tricot for ventilation and front and back lacings (8M98), in the same sizes as above.

There is one corset for “Misses”, which would be for young ladies, and is designed as a “first corset”.  5M89 in sizes 18 to 26 waist.

There is one corset for girls, aged 7 to 13 years, which includes shoulder straps.

There is one nursing corset (7M98), which has nursing flaps at the bust and is available in larger waist sizes than the standard Misses corsets.

There is one corset for larger women, called a “form reducing” corset, which has a reducing flap at the sides, to help pull in the hips, and a spoon bust which “insures absolutely flat abdomen”.

One brassiere is shown on the page (11M29), which was available in sizes 32″ to 46″ bust. The brassiere has the appearance of a corset cover, but was of more substantial construction.  These usually had flat felled seams, boning, or both, and fastened up the back.   They did not have cups or breast support as we’re accustomed to today.  In fact, most styles of dress did not require a separation of the bust, but rather, a smooth line.  It’s a continuation of the “pouter pigeon” look of the S-Curve corset era, but with a slightly higher bust point.  The bust may be restrained, but not as much as in the “flapper” era.  In fact, brassieres would change very little between now and the late 1920s.

There are also various women’s needs that are on the page- mostly of the past “sanitary” variety.  Included are women’s dress shields that are “waterproof”, and a  ”sanitary apron”, which would have the long skirt worn at the back so you wouldn’t have any accidents during that time of the month.

I, for one, am happy we’ve progressed… both in terms of undergarments and in terms of these icky “solutions”.  How far we’ve come with both brassieres and sanitary products in one hundred years!