Friday, January 31, 2014

Challenge two; Innovation

For challenge one I made a dress inspired by Madeleine Vionnet, I chose it as a bit of practice for challege #2. So, without further ado, here is my Innovation dress, made from the pattern of an actual Vionnet in the Met. Images of the original are side by side with my dress, for comparison.

I chose this dress as it joins bias and straight seams along several edges, an innovation often credited to Ms.Vionnet. All the pieces are cut on grain, but in sewing it up several of them meet on the bias.

I used the pattern in Betty Kirke's book Madeleine Vionnet which I enlarged and taped together as one does with electronic patterns. What can I say, I'm glad I practiced first! The fabric I used was a rayon crepe which was rather difficult to work with, it was also weightier than the fabric used in the original. The beefiness of it made things go together differently and thus required a fair bit of basting. This, combined with the fitting issues required by bias fitted garments means that it took a while to sew.

I buttonhole stitched the seams, instead of satin stitching them, after I basted the edges together.

I also tacked the wrist ties to the outside of the sleeves, the practice buttonholes I made looked vaguely vulgar to me (also this crepe is incredibly frayey!).

I hand stitched the sleeve bands on with a faggoting stitch as was done on the original. I used a gray-blue DMC embroidery floss which I had on hand and looked nice with the color of the crepe. Also, my navy thread blends in much better than it seems to in this picture!

The Challenge: Innovation

Fabric: Three yards of navy blue rayon crepe

Pattern: Number 27 from Betty Kirke's book

Year: 1920

Notions: Vintage thread in navy, DMC embroidery floss #317

How historically accurate is it? Fairly, the pattern is from an extant garment but it is mostly machine sewn, I did baste everything by hand though. Silk crepe was used in the original but I used rayon crepe.

Hours to complete: No idea! I worked on it whenever I got the chance and with all the pinning, basting and fitting, I'm guessing quite a few!

First worn: To my daughter's school's International Festival (Well, my father's side of the family is from France...).

Total cost: $9.40, my fabric was on sale and my thread was vintage.

Sadly this dress has confirmed that my bust is just too large for this style of dress, and that surplice bodices are simply not my friends. Oh well, I will still wear this dress and perhaps once my baby is weaned it will look better!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HSF 2014, Challenge one, Make do and Mend

After I stopped participating rather early in the HSF last year I am determined to complete all of the challenges this year. I will be doing rather short blog posts but there will be plenty of pictures on my Flikr page.

Make do and mend

For challenge one I had intended to made a 1940's suit from a suit, but after painstakingly ripping and pressing the suit in question I found that my pattern pieces did not fit well enough to use it. Ah well, now it shall become children's clothes and perhaps a few new potholders. Instead I have made a 1920's Madeline Vionnet inspired dress, I used these images from McCall's patterns circa 1928 and 1929 (found here) as well as Betty Kirke's book. After three children the waistless look of the 1920's works for me, but I hope to add more shapely garments as I get back into my normal shape (and I will!).

But how does it count as a 'make do' you might ask. I will tell you; I only had one yard of my fabric and one hank of embroidery floss to make it from and I re-used hooks end eyes from an older project.

The Challenge: Make do and mend

Fabric: One yard of sea green rayon crepe

Pattern: None, the dress is all rectangley-square shapes. I used directions from the 'Easy Ways to Pretty Frocks' book originally published in 1929 as my starting point, then I modified it to suit my needs. The bodice is simply a rectangle with the neck hole cut from the center. I cut the remainder of my fabric into squareish shapes then pinned them to the bodice handkerchief style. I hand sewed all the seams with my floss but I made a narrow hem along the bodice sides and hemline on my machine.

Year: 1928 or 1929

Notions: One hank of DMC embroidery floss in color 169 Light Pewter, three hooks and eyes, gray thread

How historically accurate is it? fairly, it's mostly hand sewn, rayon crepe was available and used for dresses like this in 1928-9 and the style is period.

Hours to complete: Maybe three hours all told, I snatched time when my children would let me and re-worked a hat at the same time. Had I done it in one shot I estimate it would take about two hours to complete the dress alone, mostly due to the fact that I hand sew quite slowly.

First worn: To take pictures this evening with my daughter (she got some good shots during our brief, cold session!).

Total cost: Free, everything was from stash or re-used.

I also used this challenge to practice sewing bias seams on crepe fabric, my Innovation project will be a true Vionnet from the Kirke book which I have wanted to make since I was in high school.