HSF 5 Bodice
So these are going to go up out of order, because I’m already late on 4 and I don’t want to be late on 5. I was not sure what to do for this one at first. The Edwardian blouse is way too complicated for my current skill set, sorry to those who helped me with the translation and to anyone who was looking forward to seeing it. It would have looked horrible so just be glad I spared you that. I may make it some other time when my skill set has improved – it has been improving even just this week, so we live in hope.
What I have made has taken me somewhat by surprise. I always assumed that the 1920s were off limits to someone like me, who has curves rather than the straight up and down androgynous look stereotypical of the era. But I developed the urge to make a Victorian swimsuit.
Yeah, surely you can see the link between those two sentences? Isn’t it blindingly obvious? No, fair enough. Well, basically, as I was searching the web for a Victorian swimsuit pattern, I found a 20s one, which I bought off ebay for a very reasonable sum. It’s a photocopy of one of those mad sheets they used to have in magazines where all the pattern pieces for several garments are drawn on top of each other.
You can see the swimsuit at the bottom left. I made a toile of the top and pantaloons part of the swimsuit and it fits nicely and I really like it! So I thought, maybe those other patterns on the sheet might not go to waste. When I decided the Edwardian blouse was going to be a bad idea, I decided to try making a 20s top instead. Nice and simple, just 2 pieces, a front and a back.
I traced the pattern, cut it out, sewed it together and Bob’s your uncle. Well, he’s my uncle anyway. Seriously, I do actually have an uncle called Bob; that expression puzzled me as a child, how people knew that about me :) The dress drawn at the top gave me the pattern I used, they only give the outline for the top part anyway, the skirts are just two rectangles sewn on. I think I will make that whole dress another time as I rather like it now.
So now I plan to make lots of 20s stuff as it’s really comfortable and not unflattering like I expected. Of course it’s modern fabric, so not really great for the challenge. And I haven’t finished the neck or sleeves off properly because it’s a non-fray fabric and I can’t find the right colour lace to edge it with. It would be a sort of OK, but only just.
Except it does have a period correct support garment under it. Which incidentally makes it look slightly too large now as the purpose of the period correct undergarment is to reduce, which it has by nearly 2 inches!
I was browsing ebay and came across a pattern for some 20s underwear in my size. Not cheap, but I really wanted to give it a go, and it has instructions in English! Quite comprehensive too.
As soon as it came through my letterbox I read it in detail and that very morning cut out the brassiere pattern from some calico (apparently they didn’t call it a bra yet). I pinned the darts as I drank my midday coffee and then I sewed them and tried it on and kept at it until it was nearly finished the same day!
The instructions were very clear and the only tweaking I had to do was because their sizing does not take cup size into account, so the band needed to be tighter. Why are patterns sized off a squashable thing like a bust rather than a stable and more useful measurement like the shoulder for example? My 50s sewing book says the shoulder measurement is more important. But anyway, I’d have had to either reduce the band or increase the bust, and it worked out fine.
I didn’t get much done the next day as I went to the fabric store :) but I finished it today! I have to admit I did cheat a little bit. The pattern calls for hooks and eyes to close it and I did indeed use hooks and eyes, but… I just chopped them off an old sports bra.
This one, being my first, is kind of like a functioning toile, so the finishing is strong but not as neat as it should be and the materials are cheap. I’m counting it because it is functional and wearable and my plan is to make one which is actually less authentic because although it’s not as uncomfortable as it might be, I still prefer a stretchy bra.
I was glad of the cheat because when I first put it on, having just fixed it with a safety pin before, it was way too tight! So I removed the hooks and resewed them further out and also slanted so the band was tighter than the rest of the bra. You can see where I first sewed it as well as the unconventional way I did it – so glad it wasn’t a lot of hand sewn hooks I had to move! The bottom moved out 1cm, the top about 3cm.
By the way, this post is taking longer to write than it should because WordPress is mucking about :( I have noticed it being a bit problematic of late, especially in chrome. Nearly done now, just the money shot, which I am a bit loathe to post because although I am very pleased with the result, it is basically not something I usually share in so public a forum, I don’t even wear a bikini! As you can see, the intention is quite the opposite of lift and separate!
The Challenge: Bodice
Fabric: Calico, with some kind of chenille ribbon I got cheap in a bundle.
Pattern: Pink Domino, off ebay UK, it’s basically a copy of an original.
Notions: hooks and eyes off an old sports bra.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is original, calico is acceptable, the chenille ribbon is modern and the fastening a total cheat, so maybe 75%.
Hours to complete: A bit over a day, but not a whole one.
First worn: For photos today.
Total cost: All from stash, £14 for the pattern so under £15, but I will use the pattern again and make the bloomers, so less really.