Tree Gown in Action

Back in the Spring I shared my reproduction of Charles James’ Tree Gown made for the 2014 Toronto Garrison Ball. The ball was at the end of March, but I’ve only just now got photos of the gown – and one I also made for a friend! – in action up on my blog. Just a little bit of a delay there ;oP

I thought I’d share for those who may be interested in seeing what the dress looks like on an actual person rather than my dressform, and get a sense of how it moves – though I do wish I’d gotten a bit of video of its swish.

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Hop on over to my blog to see (lots) more photos, from lots more angles, and my friend’s dress too!

Drafting Cigarette Pants

I’m not brand-new to pants (the first pair of jeans I made), but I’ve never drafted slim-fit trousers before and to be honest they’re a bit intimidating. So math!  Much fitting!  Wow!  But I have some great herringbone woolen in my stash (somewhere between a flannel and a boiled wool, very nice quality, from Gorgeous Fabrics a couple of years back), a job I can’t wear jeans to, and a sudden interest in late-1950s silhouettes, so I thought it was time to take on the challenge.

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Drafting discussion and fitting photos are here at my blog.  I made a couple of breakthroughs and (hopefully) did away with a major fit issue in every pair of pants I’ve ever sewn.  I would love some input from those of you who are experienced at fitting pants–there are some horizontal wrinkles in the back thigh that are still stumping me:

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Needs length in the back fork, maybe?

Vintage Inspired Sewing

I’ve been trying to break out of my comfort zone this year while still keeping to a vintage style, and I have two new pieces to share with you guys!
IMG_3410The first is a maxi skirt. I very loosely based it off of a 1970s Simplicity apron pattern, and I was terribly afraid it would end up looking like a skirt from the 1800s. But I think it looks quite nice with the gray top (inspired from a 1950s Simplicity pattern). I actually look forward to pairing it with a button down top for a more old-fashioned look.

IMG_3385The second is a look I’ve been working on and off (mostly off) over the past year and a half. I really wanted to make a 1930s ballgown, but couldn’t make peace with the price tags I saw on etsy so I designed and drafted my own. I wanted to give it more of a mermaid tail, but I’m terrible at measuring myself before cutting. (And anyway, I don’t think you’d be able to notice because of the wind.)IMG_3391

I have my notes and a tutorial up for the maxi skirt. I just have my notes up for the maxi dress, but if there’s interest, let me know and I’ll post a tutorial for it as well! Hope you enjoy! :-D

1919-20 Madeleine Vionnet Handkerchief Dress (Japanese Bunka Book pattern #3)

vionnet3-19I’m back with another Vionnet dress! This time it is pattern #3 from the Japanese Bunka Book, but actually has quite the presence already online as I found an existing tutorial here. The dress is from around 1919-1920 and is made of four squarish pieces of fabric which give you four “flaps” (or jabots I think is the official term) on each side of your body, a deep V neck on the front and back, twisted shoulder straps, and a sash to tie it all together.

vionnet3-30These post it notes should give you a clearer idea about this dress’ construction as it is a bit difficult to explain. The creases represent the side seams and the mini diamond in the front represents the “ripple” that forms from each flap on each side.

vionnet3-11A photo of the real dress opened up – does the paper model make more sense now?

vionnet3-15The beautiful thing about this dess is that although it is 1 pattern, 1 dress, it has a ton of different ways of wearing it. You can do a drop waist, an empire waist, a full front, a full back, a voluminous version, a halter neck version, etc…  In this particular version I made all the flaps point toward the back to create a ton of ripples and more volume in the back. It’s a really simple dress to sew as there are 6 seams total (4 sides, 2 shoulder) BUT it is not so fun to hem as you have 4 giant squares. This was a muslin so I did a shoddy job of hemming, but for a real version I would need to be a master of the narrow hem since both the wrong sides and right sides of the fabric are featured in this dress.

vionnet3-23 I’ve written more about the different variations and construction technique for the dress on my blog here, as well as more photographs if you interested: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/09/18/vionnet-dress-pattern-3-1919-1920-handkerchief-dress/

 

Drafting for Fall&Winter!

 

It seems, when you design and construct your own entire wardrobes four times a year, that the seasons just creep too fast upon you. So many ideas, so many things to make and do and never enough time is the old way of saying things. Am I in this sphere of plight all on my own? Surely not. I hear it enough.

Anyhow, enough with my prattle….

This season is sleeves for me and I’ve drafted two thus far. I saw a beautiful wedding sleeve (photographed in green) in Bellas catalogue from late 1920s the other day and I just had to have it.  I couldn’t afford the catalogue at that moment so I had to keep it in my minds eye painfully until I got home from the antique shop to sketch it out (that will be the last time I forget my sketch pad believe you me). Luckily it wasn’t the only time I’ve seen the sleeve and there’s a similar one being used in wedding fashions of today. It’s basically just a long sleeve unraveled like apple peels and slashed and spread for gathers. The pattern looks like a snake children make in kindergarten.

Drafted fairly quickly I was really pleased with myself that I used too many notches because they were well needed to sew the sleeve precisely.  Here is the muslin for it…

photo 3 (1) Plenty of threads and wrinkles!

I didn’t get enough of sleeve drafting so I did another in a popular fashion of 1932. Since sleeves are big this season I got creative  about where the “bigness” was going to be. On the first one it was fuller all around, on the blue muslin the amplitude was on the lower half towards the wrist. Almost as if the wrists had wings. This sleeve is fully lined but not necessary with the facing I also drafted along with it.  Here it is…

photo 2 (2)    This sleeve was too much fun as well!

Here are both of the sleeves on the mid cowl I drafted to test them out.

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There are a few things I would fix on the green muslin but I am really rather pleased with them both.  And as I am 6 months along there are plenty of things I can make for the sleeves to go on so I may wear them in the winter when the baby is here and I’ve gone back to normal.

Well, that’s all from me for now, do take care!

To boot, you can find more on my site!     www.1930slife.blogspot.com

 

Mad About Plaid! (Vogue 8811, c. 1940)

Hands up who loves a good plaid?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I came across this plaid fabric in my local Spotlight, I knew immediately that it was perfect for Vintage Vogue 8811.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the dress has my favourite design detail – a pocket!

The Good:
- Everything? I love the drape of the skirt, the fit of the bodice, the fabric. Also, one of my best side zipper insertions.

The Bad:
- nothing

The Meh:
- I think I need to make a further short waist tuck, as it’s probably still a fraction long in the torso. I can live with it though.

Mods:
- Not using shoulder pads
- Made sure the plaid didn’t make a ‘+’ shape at my bust apex (boobs) as that would look awkward…. Hello girls!

This pattern is super easy, I’d definitely recommend it as a different way to use tartan/plaid fabric.  It’s also a great everyday vintage style, perfect for work.

As always, more about it on my blog…

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