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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!

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.

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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.

Part 2: Suit-A-Long. What fabric do I buy?

Welcome to the second post in the Suit A Long!

Last time we covered what type of pattern to order.  Now, while you’re either waiting for your pattern to arrive or printing and assembling your e-pattern, let’s talk fabrics!

We’re currently in Spring here in the USA, so I’ll be focusing on fabrics that are appropriate for Spring and Summer.

I’m personally making an unlined summer suit.  Because of this, I’m not covering linings or wools or proper tailoring in this sew-a-long.  Instead I’m focusing on the basic suit construction for an untailored suit.  You can get as crazy with tailoring as you want, and I’ll cheer you from the sidelines, but I’m doing a simpler style for mine :)

- - What about seam finishes? – -

I’m going to be using seam binding for mine.  I use 100% rayon seam binding (if you google Hug Snug, you can buy yourself a bolt in the color you want for relatively cheaply).  Seam binding like this is entirely period correct.  This type of finish is what we not think of as “Hong Kong seams.”

But I digress.  Just making a mental note to buy seam binding.

- – What about fabric pattern? – -

Well, because of the cut of the coat, I’m NOT going to suggest you use a big pattern, or a stripe, unless you don’t care if the pattern sort of “droops” on the side.  For example, the coat is cut very full and flared at the side.  The pockets, then, would not be on the straight of grain when you attach them, if you want to match the pattern.  When the coat is then belted in to the body, the pockets will look a little crooked to the eye, even if they’re on there just right.  Because of this, I suggest you focus on something without an obvious fabric print direction or nap.

The skirt, however, is an A-line skirt, and it’s up to you- feel free to go crazy with pattern matching on the side seams if you want.  In fact, I’m on the look out for a wide stripe for mine.

- – What about fabric weights? – -

I’m going to suggest you use a mid-weight fabric.  The silhouette of the period has a somewhat “flared” appearance.  Because of this, light weight fabrics will tend to collapse on your figure.  Heavier weights, or stiffer fabrics, will stand out pretty far from the body.  It’s entirely up to you- if you like the exaggerated silhouette you can consider something stiffer or with more body.  Personally, I’m going to try something mid-weight.  What I am going to suggest, if you are considering a different weight, is to use an inexpensive fabric in the same drape or weave as your finished garment.  That way you can see if what you’re thinking of using will work before you actually spend good money on your actual fabric choice.  If you’re considering a pattern, you can do the same thing.  I’ve seen stripes drawn on muslin in order to test pattern, so when you try it on you can see how it looks.  Great idea, right?

- – What about fabric types and content? – -

Well, that’s why I’ve scanned in these original catalog images from you!  These are from 1916, the same year as the pattern was released.  These images are from the W. & H. Walker company out of Pittsburgh, PA.

Don’t forget to READ the descriptions in the pictures!  Don’t just look at the pretty pictures.  The descriptions of the suit and fabrics will help you select proper colors and fabric types.

suit01

On left is a corduroy suit with a linen collar, cuff, and pockets.  This suit came in white with Copenhagen blue trimming.

At right, a velvet finished corduroy suit (I think one with a very narrow wale would work for this).  All white with Copenhagen blue collar cuffs, and pockets OR white with rose colored collar, cuffs, and pockets.

At bottom right is cotton fabric for suiting, and if you read, there are many different types available (stripes, plaids, checks, etc)

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Most noticeably on this page is the “Shepherd check suiting”, which was in black and white.  It has “worsted appearance” but doesn’t say the actual fabric content.  This would be great for the skirt and for the jacket trim (collar, cuffs, etc).

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This one snuck  in because it was on the facing page, but instead of deleting it, I’m going to say you can keep it in mind for blouses ;)

fabric3.

On this page we have “Long Beach Suiting” with a “worsted” appearance.  This could well have been inspired by the “Palm Beach fabric” that’s so famous for suits for ladies and men.  Palm Beach was a linen, wool, silk blend (I think).  It was available in tan, gray, cream, or stripe.

At bottom there are two more check suiting fabrics, both black and white check.

fabric4 Here at top are some appropriate fabrics, including another black and white check, cotton suiting, and “Motor Linene”, which may not be appropriate, but I think is AWESOME (“Sheds dust and dirt”  LOVE early automobile fashions).

- – What about yardage? – -

The original yardages were sketchy, at best. To save time, I give general yardages for you, but they are based on the nestled pattern.  Here’s more info from my website, showing the image from the back cover for yardages.

r109yardagesWEB

  * * * * Don’t forget to order any interfacings or hair canvas, seam binding, buttons (optional) and all other accouterments you’ll need! * * * * 

And most importantly, don’t forget your mock up fabric!  But it in the same amounts listed above, and you may have a little left over.

- – I’m giving you a disclaimer here:  Neglect to make a mock up at your own peril.  - -

Seriously, though, sometimes these old patterns need adjustments.  Don’t just go for it and hope it works out.  Mock ups are important, especially when so much fabric needs to be bought for this project.  Not making a mock up will be a waste of money if your finished suit doesn’t fit how you want!

Do you have any favorite places to shop for fabric online?  Leave me a comment so everyone else can know your favorite sources!

Let’s Talk Styles!

Thanks so much to everyone who’s taken the first survey so far.    If you didn’t don’t worry, you still can!  I’m leaving it up so I can get as many responses as possible :)  You can find it on a previous blog post.

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Time for survey #2!

I’m currently doing the researching and collecting info for getting my correct certification in my state so I can get all that settled, but I’m already gathering inspiration and ideas.

After my clothing collection is up and has reached it’s funding goal, the most likely release will be Autumn of this year.  After we meet the goal is when everything gets the green light and we get to go forward with making actual clothing!  How exciting!  Keep the Autumn season in mind when you take the survey.

The biggest factor, of course, to the success of this is to make something you aesthetically want and need!  Your input is very valuable!

Click here to take “Let’s Talk Styles” survey.

Have I mentioned yet how completely awesome you are?  Yes, you!  The one reading this post!  You are made of win.