Archive for March, 2014

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.

1920s pattern sheet.

1920s pattern sheet.

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 ūüôā¬†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.

Bad picture of my 1920s style top.

Bad picture of my 1920s style top.

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.

The 1920s underwear pattern I bought.

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 ūüôā 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.

My cheat.

My cheat.

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.

The outline it gives is quite different than a modern one.

The outline it gives is quite different than a modern one.

By the way, this post is taking longer to write than it should because WordPress is mucking about ūüė¶ 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.

Year: 1920s

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.

March 13, 2014 at 10:15 PM 4 comments

A French Edwardian blouse pattern

I ought to have posted by now with my finished HSF challenge 4 but I have not yet finished it. It is nearly done, but now I’ve missed the deadline I don’t feel like busting a gut on it, so it is happily being knitted as a TV project rather than an every minute I can knit project.

I have been thinking about the next one though, which is a bodice of some kind. As it happens, my unfinished challenge 4 could count as it is a vest, but I have this original Edwardian pattern I bought on ebay.

1904 French blouse

1904 French blouse

It’s in French, which I am not very good at, but I’ve had a stab with the ‘help’ of Google translate. I say help because it has tried to tell me one of my patterns should be the size of a single room, rather than cut in one piece ūüėÄ but I have also had the offer of help from real French speakers who also do the HSF (merci boucoup!) so I am going to post the instructions here with google’s translation which I have cleaned up a little and commented on. I don’t know why the font changes size, except word press doesn’t always like formatting copied and pasted from word processors, but maybe it is only looking odd on my screen?

The instructions in their original print.

The instructions in their original print.

Ce bol√©ro ne sera pas doubl√© sauf l’empi√®cement,le col et les poignets qui seront doubl√©s d’une percale.

This bolero will not be doubled except the yoke, collar and cuffs to be lined with a percale (which is a tightly woven cotton, often used for bed sheets).

Couper une hauteur pour les devants et une hauteur pour le dos. Les devants seront coupés en plaçant le milieu du devant le long de la lisière du linon. Le lé du dos sera plié en deux dans le sens de la longeur et le milieu du dos placé le long de ce pli pour avoir le dos sans couture.

Cutting height for front and back height. The front will be cut by placing the center front along the edge of the lawn. The back is folded in half along the length and the middle back placed along the crease to get back seamlessly.

Les empiècements 3 et 4 seront coupés doubles, celui du dos sans couture derrière. Laisser un cm de tissu tout autour pour prendre les coutures. Chaque manche est coupée dans une largeur de linon; le pointillé du croquis sera droit til. Le poignet et le col seront coupés en linon et en percale comme doublure. Le col sera sans couture derrière.

Yokes 3 and 4 will double cut, the back seamless behind. Leave a cm of fabric around to make the seams. Each round is cut in a wide lawn, dotted sketch will til law (!!! I think it must mean something like that the yoke is edged, perhaps with lace, as shown on the drawing shaded with dots). Wrist and neck will be cut and percale linen as lining. The neck is seamless behind.

Appr√™ter l’empi√®cement, assembler les coutures d’√©paule indiqu√©es par un cran sur le croquis. Essayer et √©chancrer l’encolure sur la personne.

Prepare yoke, assemble the shoulder seams indicated by a notch on the sketch. Try échancrer and neck on the person.

La doublure sera l√©g√®rement soutenue sous l’empi√®cement. Faire 3 rangs de fronces au haut et 3 rangs au bas des devants. Ces fronces seront, la premi√®re, au bord de la couture, les autres espac√©es de 1cm. Ces fronces sont arr√™t√©es √† environ 5cm du milieu de chaque devant.

The lining is slightly supported under the yoke. Make 3 rows of ruffles at the top and bottom 3 rows of the front. These creases are, first, to the edge of the seam, the other spaced 1cm. These gathers are stopped at about 5cm middle of each front.

Le dos sera √©galement garni de 3 rangs de fronces en haut et en bas correspondant √† celles des devants. B√†tir les coutures de dessons de bras. B√Ętir le bol√©ro √† l’empi√®cement. Tirer les fronces du bas √† la largeur de la taille de la personne, et celles du haut √† la largeur de l’empi√®cement. Essayer, mettre autour du bol√®ro une bande linon droit fil sur laquelle sera appliqu√© l’entre-deux.

The back is also lined with three rows of ruffles at the top and bottom corresponding to those of the front. Make the underarm seams. Construct the bolero yoke. Make the bottom ruching to the width of the size of the person, and those of the top to the width of the insert. Try putting a band around the Bolero linen thread on which law will be applied between the two.

Poser l’entre-deux sur l’empi√®cement, les devants et le bas du bol√©ro. L’on remarquera qu’entre les deux rangs d’entre-deux du devant se trouve un espace formant gilet. Au milieu des devants seront des boutons et des boutonni√®res fermant le bol√©ro. La garniture est compl√©t√©e devant par une cravate en ruban fantaisie et deux losanges dentelle dans lesquels passera le ruban.

Put between the two (layers of the?) yoke, the front and the bottom of bolero(?). It is noted that between the two rows of two-front is a space forming a waistcoat. Amid will lead buttons and buttonholes closing the bolero (I assume they are saying the opening here should have a strip of reinforced fabric or something, as the picture seems to indicate more than just buttons applied to the single layer of lawn, which would not be strong enough?). The trim is complemented by a front tie fancy lace ribbon and two diamonds where will the ribbon (again, thank you google for making perfect sense :/ but it seems there is a wide ribbon tied round the neck with two lozenges of lace applied to it, from the picture. I would make a stab at the translation being ‘the trim is completed to the front with a tie of fancy ribbon with two lozenges of lace.

L’empi√®cement est garni de losanges comme le montre la figurine. Le col rabattu est uni. La manche est fronc√©e en haut en le bas. Les fronces du bas sont ramen√©es √† la largeur du poignet. Celui-ci est garni d’entre-deux et de losanges. La manche toute termin√©e sera mont√©e au bol√©ro. Ce bol√©ro peut √™tre fait en toile, dans ce cas les fronces seront remplac√©es par des petits plis dans le sens de la longueur. Rappelons qu’il est bon de d√©catir le tissu avant de l’employer pour √©viter qu’il r√©tr√©cisse au premier blanchissage.

The yoke is trimmed with lozenges, as shown in figure. The turndown collar is attached. The sleeve is gathered up in the bottom. The gathers at the bottom are reduced to the width of the wrist. This is garnished with lozenges. The sleeve will be installed to finish the bolero. This can be done Bolero fabric(??? are you suggesting an alternate fabric here?), in this case the pleats are replaced by small folds in the length direction. Remember, it is good to (pre-wash, I assume) fabric before using it to prevent it from shrinking in the first laundering.

March 4, 2014 at 9:50 PM 4 comments


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