Archive for May, 2014

HSF 10: Art

This fortnight’s challenge is to make something inspired by a work of art. I have been wanting to get started on some of my swimsuits from the past, so I decided to find some art to fit what I wanted to make. I wanted to start with the easiest pattern as well, which is one I have from the 1920s. I found quite a few possible paintings, but not one to match any wool I had in my stash, what a shame, I had to go shopping 🙂

I found this fabulous fuchsia wool which was a close enough match to this Picasso painting, even though it is from 1919 and thus a few years before my pattern, I decided it was close enough, especially as the pattern was, if anything, more conservative than the art. The painting undoubtedly shows jersey rather than woven wool, but my pattern called for serge, which was a very traditional fabric for that use. I think my fuchsia might be a little on the thick side, though it is not too bad. I did alter the pattern as the art has no skirt and I had to shorten the legs quite a bit and change the neckline.

Picasso's Lighthouse

Me as a Picasso bather!

Me as a Picasso bather!

I want to try it out swimming! Once I have, I want to add the skirt and compare to see how much drag that adds. I also need to put bias binding around the neck and arm holes, but I thought I’d do the picture first because my bias trim is black and it will be more like the art without it.

I don’t look much like the painting, but then I’m not too worried that I don’t look a Picasso! 😉 (or should I type .)’ as a face?!)

It’s not a stretchy swimsuit so it is not best suited to this kind of position. I am not going to share more photos until the trim is finished, maybe not until I have swim-tested it. When I do I’ll give more about the pattern, but I’m a bit tired now so I just want to get my entry post finished.

The Challenge: #10 Art
Inspiration: Picasso, ‘The Bathers’ 1919
Fabric: pure wool £10/m
Pattern: a copy of an original pattern from the 1920s
Year: 1920s
Notions: thread and there will be bias binding
How historically accurate is it? accurate pattern, material plausible but possibly slightly thick, used a sewing machine but that’s fine for 20th century. 80%?
Hours to complete? I always forget to count, it wasn’t bad, but I did have to trace the pattern and make a toile, so several.
First worn: today for photo
Total cost: under £15 for the wool, another pound when I add the bias tape, will use the full £20 of wool when I add the skirt

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May 31, 2014 at 8:56 PM 3 comments

HSF 9: Black and White

Sorry I’ve been rubbish at updating again. No excuses and it’s not as if I haven’t had entries for the last 2 challenges, I just haven’t got round to blogging them 😦

Even this is just a short placeholder type entry as the deadline is today and I haven’t really finished, but I wanted to post my progress so far and try to get back onto some kind of track!

For the black and white challenge I found some lovely thick warm wool, fuzzy one side, which I thought would make a perfect bathing cloak to wrap round me after a dip in the sea in the historical swimming attire I plan to make and test soon. I used the method in the lovely and useful book I recently acquired, Frances Grimble’s Fashions of the Gilded Age Volume 2 which has lots of lovely patterns and info. Or at least I used a sort of mish mash of two patterns, one measured and one based on a sloper, except I haven’t done one yet so I just used a t-shirt which fits snugly and tried it out on an old fleece blanket. It worked very nicely so I went with it.

My cloak cutting plan (upside down I suppose)

My cloak cutting plan (upside down I suppose)

This pic shows the fabric laid out with my cutting plan laid out. I’m not being perfectionist in my method today…

Of course Pebble ‘helped’.

Pebble 'helping'.

Pebble ‘helping’.

Cats are so kind and generous in ‘helping’ with sewing projects. Here she is kindly sitting right where I need to cut out so I don’t try to do too much at once without taking a cat break. It is important to take frequent breaks to avoid getting tired and making silly mistakes.

Pebble likes to play with string.

Pebble likes to play with string.

Here she has allowed me to cut out the neck hole, but I clearly need to play with her before being allowed to sew up the shoulder seams. She wouldn’t want me to get them inside out. And that bit of frayed off weft is ideal as a cat toy.

Eventually I was allowed to get to the sewing, but I did have to resort to a shiny ball – as soon as I put the string down she leapt back onto the cloth! But shiny balls are her one weakness, which I was able to exploit to distract her, she just has to chase a shiny ball (scrunched up foil wrapping from a chocolate mint) by which method I proved to her that my mind was alert enough to be trusted with the sewing machine and I could proceed to the next level.

However, I am unable to complete the project today because I will need some black bias binding and I only have lilac, so I have to go to the sewing shop, what a hardship 🙂

The cloak laid out with buttons.

The cloak laid out with buttons.

I am rather pleased with it, it sits happily and is very voluminous and warm, and quite smart. I almost feel unsure about getting wet from swimming as I might want to just wear it as a winter coat! I will need to add hand slits though, as well as binding the edges and actually sewing those button on and doing the buttonholes. I shall make another post when it is all finished.

But my partial progress report is:

The Challenge: #9 – Black & White

Fabric: 2m of lovely thick wool.

Pattern: method from Frances Grimble’s Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol 2

Year: 1877-82 for the method I used, but bathing cloaks are in use before and after that.

Notions: a bit of thread, some buttons, and I will need bias binding.

How historically accurate is it?  Not sure, it is pure wool and late enough for a sewing machine to be OK, but the buttons I have are plastic (I may change them later) 80%?

Hours to complete: I always forget to measure this. I made the neck hole pattern and toile yesterday afternoon in an hour or so and spent longer dithering about whether to use all the fabric or make it shorter than actually cutting and sewing it today. I went with the whole lot, why skimp, even if it is a bit heavy? I can always cut it down if it bugs me. But it is not finished yet of course

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost: £20.00 for the fabric, buttons from stash, plus whatever the bias binding costs, not much.

May 15, 2014 at 11:16 PM 2 comments


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