1910s

Yay, dress muslin #2 from this project is finished!

Here is a photo of the original, which shows how important fabric choice is: (source here)

Dress #2 is a wrap dress with the front bodice on the bias, skirt is made of three layers. Layer 1 is a very wide heavily gathered rectangle, Layer 2 is another gathered but narrower and longer rectangle is on top, and Layer 3 are two bubble poofs, each made of 3 gathered pieces of fabric. The top of the bodice back, front, and neck strap have fabric roses attached to them.

This dress didn’t fit me initially (tears!) but I added 3 inches to the CB as well as 5 inches to the bodice front – WHEW! Then it fit, but barely as you can see. Not a bra friendly dress.

It has great swish factor because of the 2 back poofs, but the dress really becomes something else once you discover that you can put your arms through the poofs and turn them into sleeves. Magic! Probably unintentional, but a fun discovery nonetheless.

The roses were created by a Vionnet Rose Pattern from the Center for Pattern Design:

If you’re interested, I’ve more photos and construction information on my sewing blog here: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/06/17/vionnet-dress-pattern-2-1917-wrapped-with-roses/ I also made an animated gif of how to wear it, which I tried to post here but didn’t work.

{ 3 comments }

Shawls

by Harriet Bazley on November 2, 2013 · 4 comments

in 1910s,1940s,Accessories

It’s getting cold – time to bring the retro-knitted shawls out!

Patons Woolcraft 9th editionI seem to have completed quite a few this year. Here’s an electric blue number knitted in decided non-period wool from my 1915 copy of Patons’ famous Woolcraft booklet, in amongst all the other highly exotic undergarments of the era:

I used a cone of machine-knit acrylic in place of the super-fine Shetland wool recommended in the pattern. The pattern is actually extremely simple, consisting of sets of intersecting ‘fans’ repeated again and again (and again and again and again…): the only difference between rows is that there are three different corner groups, which have to be repeated in a set order, and if you get it wrong you don’t notice until you try to work the next row into it and find that it doesn’t fit. It’s very dispiriting to discover this when each row takes forty-five minutes to complete!
corner of shawl

This is a square shawl measuring thirty-six inches along each side (plus star-border). It was so large that I had to pin it out and steam it on my bed: I don’t have a ‘blocking board’ big enough. But the whole thing weighs only 160 grams (five and a half ounces).
Holding up shawl

It took me a while to work out how to wear a square shawl by looking at the photo in the booklet, but in fact if you fold it right you get a genuine ‘shawl collar’ forming all by itself…

Wearing shawl under cherry tree

click for larger images


Standing under the rose arch

click for larger images

My second shawl was also worked in crochet, but was a far faster project! So fast in fact that I did two, with slightly different colour schemes to use up the spare wool: spot the difference.

green shawl in garden

click for larger images


red shawl indoors

click for larger images

This was a 1940s pattern for a round shawl entitled “Cozy comfort on cool nights”, and it is designed to sit with a yoke section on the shoulders and a looser section in ‘Solomon’s knot’ stitch. It only takes a few days to make out of double-knitting wool, and is a good way to use up scraps.

front view, sky-gazing in garden

click for larger images

My third shawl is a triangle shawl of unknown date, since the website I got the pattern from gives only a diagram from an old magazine:
http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/crochet-shawl.html

I’ve called it an ‘Art Deco’ shawl, but in fact I’ve been told it may well be older.
Shawl displayed in garden

I deliberately chose a much larger hook size than would normally be used for working double-knitting wool (itself thicker wool than would have been intended for a pattern of this type) so that, instead of getting multiple squares to be assembled together with their edges matching in a further lace pattern, I got a single large square that would more or less fit across my back.

back view of shawl being worn

click for larger images

This was just as well, since the instructions don’t give any directions as to how you are supposed to make the partial squares to fit along the edges, and I had to guess… and clearly got it wrong, as they ended up distinctly shorter than the full-size motif! Luckily with only two dangling down the front, it doesn’t show.

front/side view of shawl being worn

click for larger images

By using the very large hook size to produce this extra ‘lacy’ effect, I managed to get an entire shawl out of one spare ball of double-knitting wool: very economical.

{ 4 comments }

In Australia October is known in many vintage circles as Frocktober. It’s a chance to wear a Frock every day of the month & raise money & awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. It was started by two fabulous Swing dancers.
This year my aim was to go Vintage every time I left the house & raise $1000.
I’m just shy of my target, but I promise to wear my 1950′s style wedding dress tomorrow if I get there.
Here’s a taste of what I’ve worn


Luckily I am a costume designer & was able to borrow back a whole stack of dresses I’ve made from about 10 years of school productions, plus a few from my own personal collection.
I think after this I might be doing a regular vintage outfit every week. it’s been a blast.

https://frocktober.everydayhero.com/au/Mizjayne

{ 5 comments }

I just adore Downton Abbey and I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to sew from some reprinted Edwardian patterns this year! :D

This dress is 1914-1915 which would be at the end of season 1 of Downton Abbey. I was able to find a reprint of this dress pattern from Past Patterns. This one is #8480.

Originally, I was going to go the whole nine yards with the bows and neck ruffle and sash but once I got sewing, I felt like it would be way too much!

For the main fabric, I choose an embroidered cotton with tiny green polka dots! From far away, it reads as white but up close you can see all the green. A more period option for the ruffles would have been green, but I like the contrast of the yellow better.

This dress was a lot of work to make since I was working with the original instructions which expect you to know a lot about how these types of dresses are supposed to go together! I also bit the bullet and worked with the original 3/8 inch seam allowance instead of adding extra.

More photos and construction details over on my blog.

{ 7 comments }