Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shop my pattern box

I'm continuing my "autumn cleaning" with a clearout of my pattern box - it was getting so stuffed full that I couldn't fit all my patterns in it, so I've weeded out those patterns which I'm realistically never going to make. Don't forget that it's fairly straightforward to resize a pattern larger - Casey posted an excellent guide to grading patterns up (or down, but that's generally less of a problem). All checked for completeness (any missing pieces noted).

Hollywood 978, day dress with draped/pleated detailing at hips, 1942
Size 18 - 36" bust, 30" waist, 39" hips

Mail order pattern, early-mid 40s princess dress (note: original sleeve piece is missing, replaced with a short sleeve piece cut from newspaper, so there's no long-sleeve option)
Size 16 - bust 34", waist 28", hips 37"

Butterick 2267, dress with shaped midriff, shoulder yokes and pockets, 1942
Size 18 - bust 36", waist 30", hips 39"
£12 SOLD

Bestway E3667, pencil skirt and A-line skirt, 1958 (unused)
Size 29" waist, 40" hips

Butterick 4501, shirtwaist with scalloped detailing, 1948
(incomplete - sleeve and midriff pieces missing)
Size 18 (36" Bust)

Simplicity 1721, pinafore (jumper) dress or skirt, 1956
Size 14 - 34" bust, 26" waist, 36" hips

Butterick 8740, dress with slim or full skirt and interesting pleated detailing at waistline, 1958 (unused, factory folded)
Size 12 - 32" bust, 25" waist, 34" hips

Mail order pattern WS75, early 40s princess-seamed pinafore/jumper dress and jacket
Size 12 - bust 30", hips 33"

Simplicity 1345, pencil skirt in three variations, 1955
Waist 30", hips 39"

Style 2329, 1970s-80s raglan sleeved tent dress with tie neck or mandarin collar
Size 14 & 16 - bust 36/38", waist 28/30", hips 38/40"

Simplicity 3744, pencil skirt with three variations, 1961
Waist 30", hips 40"

Simplicity 4840, shirtwaist dress, 1943
Size 14 (32" bust)

Style 2269, 1970s zip front shirtwaist style dress (1940s style), uncut and factory folded
Size 14 - bust 36", waist 28", hips 38"

Style 4338, 1980s wrap dress (reminiscent of "Swirl" styles)
Sizes 12, 14, 16 (Bust 34", 36", 38")

Vogue Special Design S-4022, superb tailored suit, 1950
(envelope and pattern pieces are a bit battered, but it's all there!)
Size 14 - 32" bust, 35" hips

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Cityscape Circle Skirt

Oh yeah. I made a skirt. Back last year when I made my London Calling circle skirt, I had so many other embellishment ideas that I filed them away for future projects. One of these was to applique a cityscape around the hem in various checked fabrics, loosely inspired by the art of Matte Stephens.

I did the appliques one half-circle at a time, before assembling the skirt (except the buildings at the side seams, which I added after stitching the sides) - I just decided it would be easier that way, there was so much fabric to manipulate through the sewing machine. I designed the scene 'in situ' as it were, cutting and pressing various building shapes and arranging them on the skirt until the layout that pleased me. Then I pinned them in place and machine stitched them (folding back the front buildings to sew the ones behind them first).

I actually finished it like a week ago, but the weather's been so unendingly murky lately that it's been hanging up in the living room waiting to be photographed ever since! A brisk northwesterly has finally swept away the gloom, so I was able to take some photos and share with you.

(I hemmed it with navy blue seam binding, not for contrast, but just because that was what I had in my stash - figured I would wear a dark petticoat with it anyway...)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dealing with Moths

Well I had hoped to show you my latest sewing project this week, but the weather has been so blinking dreich for the full week since I finished it that I haven't been able to photograph it. So I thought instead that I'd post this article from Everywoman magazine, October 1943 on dealing with moths. Moths aren't considered a modern problem in a world of polyester clothing, but are a real concern for anyone who, like me, favours wool for winter wear.

Once moths have gained a hold, it is a very difficult job to get rid of them. Dirt, darkness and warmth are all allies of the moth.

Directly a flying moth appears,it means that it is looking for some suitable place in a dark, warm corner in which to lay its eggs. Every one that is seen should be killed at once - not because it eats holes in the clothes itself, but because it lays the eggs. It is the larvae which cause all the damage, and it is amazing the amount of descruction these minute worms can do.

To prevent the moth from laying its eggs in the first place, keep a constant watch on cupboards and drawers, especially on articles in them which are not in continual use. Silk and wool, felt and fur, are all fabrics dear to the moth - cotton, linen and rayon do not attract them to anything like the same extent. Line drawers and shelves with paper, and lay small net or muslin bags containing a moth preventative between the layers of clothes.

Summer-weight woolies, silk blouses and frocks which are going to be put away for the winter should all be washed before being stored. Stained or grubby articles will be the first to attract moth. Wrap in soft paper, laying net bags of moth preventative between the folds. Then wrap in brown paper or newspaper and seal the parcel with strips of gummed paper - this is the surest way of preventing moth from getting into the parcel.

(NB: modern vacuum bags are a good alternative)

It is a good plan to take furs into the garden occasionally and give them a good shake, hanging them up in the sunlight, for a few hours, if possible.

If, in spite of all precautions, the moths succeed in obtaining a footing, preventative measures are no good. The only thing to do then is to attack! Several chemicals can be purchased at all chemists and big stores which will kill moth whether in egg, larva, pupa or flying stages. Carbontetrachloride, which is a liquid, or naphthalene and paradichlorbenzine which are in crystalline form, are excellent for the purpose.

Take the articles out into the air, shake and brush them, and leave them in the sun for a few hours. Then spray them with the liquid.

A very excellent method is to sterilize the articles with one of the chemicals. A large suitcase or old trunk is suitable for the purpose. Lay all the articles which have been attacked by the moth loosely into the case. Place some of the liquid or crystalline chemical into a shallow bowl and stand it on the articles. Shut the container firmly and seal it all round the opening with strips of gummed paper, making sure that it is done very securely to keep out all the air.

Leave the articles in this "sterilizing chamber" for twenty-four hours if you have a liquid chemical or three or four days if crystals, so as to be quite sure that the destruction is complete.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shop My Jewellery Box!

You've shopped my closet, now here's your opportunity to shop my jewellery box of some super early plastic and kitsch brooches. As ever, I'm happy to ship internationally at cost.

Ruby red moulded plastic lovebirds brooch £14 SOLD
Would look great with little rhinestone eyes. 2" high

Scottie dog racers! £5 SOLD
Just under 1 1/4" long.

Hard plastic Tyrolean hat & shoes dangle pin £12 SOLD
Alpine souvenir c1940s. Diameter of hat 1 1/8"

Apple of my eye sweetheart pin £10 SOLD
c1940s-50s. 1 3/4" high

Early plastic leaping stag brooch £14 SOLD
So very Deco, and perfect for Christmas! Minor wear to the metallic paint, as seen in picture. Ring is approx. 2" diameter

WW2 woven plastic and button brooch £8 SOLD
Very collectable! 1 3/4" overall width

Huge bright red plastic lobster brooch £10 SOLD
Very Dali-Schiaparelli! 2 5/8" long

Brass umbrella pin £2 SOLD
2 3/8" long

Early plastic translucent red and royal blue flower brooch £6
3" across

More Scottie dog racers! £5 SOLD
Just under 1 1/4" long

And again in green... £5 SOLD
Just under 1 1/4" long

Applejuice Bakelite (?) lizard brooch with crosshatch carving £25 SOLD
2 3/4" nose to tail
When I bought this on ebay the seller said it tested positive for Bakelite with Simichrome polish, but I don't have any to verify this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Dennison's Bogie Book

Hey hey, Halloween is coming! If you've come across those black-and-orange illustrations of 1920s Halloween costumes, chances are you were looking at pages from the Dennison's Bogie Book.

Dennison's Bogie Book, 1912 edition

Halloween parties grew in popularity during late Victorian era, and by 1910 several American and German manufacturers had started making products for Halloween celebrations, such as papier mache jack-o-lanterns and figurines, and paper decorations. The Dennison Paper Company's existing line of greeting cards, tags, boxes, crepe paper and tissue paper naturally adapted to a range of Halloween decorations. In 1909, to help promote sales by showing customers how to create displays with their products, Dennison published its first "Bogie Book" (named after mischievous Halloween spirits).

Dennison's decorated crepe papers (source)

Crepe paper pumpkin garland in the 1923 book

An excerpt from the 1909 Bogie Book reads, "Any hostess can easily select from this little book the scheme of decoration, the games and favors that will best entertain the guests she wishes to please. All the articles described are easily made. With Dennison's Crepe Paper and a little effort, any one can accomplish the results desired. If any difficulty arises, the paper experts at the various Dennison stores will be glad, by correspondence or personally, to explain and demonstrate."

They followed up in 1912 with a second book and - but for a brief interruption during World War I - new catalogues were published annually thereafter until 1934.

Hanging decorations in the 1923 catalogue (source)

Dennison's books came to include costume ideas as well as decorations. Although fancy-dress balls had long been popular, the tradition of dressing up in specifically Halloween costume originated at around the same time as the early Bogie Books (among the earliest references to wearing costumes at Halloween is in 1895, where "guisers" are recorded in Scotland, but it was not a common practice in the rest of Britain or the States until at least the late Edwardian era).

Halloween costumes, 1922 (source)

Early costumes tended towards an at least vaguely spooky, Halloween-related theme, unlike the modern American custom of general fancy dress. Many of these early costumes were more like fashion dresses adapted for Halloween: rather than dressing up 'as' something, your dress itself was themed. Bats replaced traditional floral designs to adorn necklines; jack o' Lanterns or arching black cats circled hems; skirts were decorated with a web pattern and ornamented with spiders. There were some 'character' costumes too - the witch was, naturally, a perennial favorite, along with pirates, and (for some reason) Pierrots.

Costumes in the 12th Bogie Book, 1924 (source)

Costumes in the 13th Bogie Book, 1925 (source)

Dennison's costumes consisted of crepe paper, cardboard and wire, and were intended to be disposable.

Details of crepe paper costumes, 1920s (I don't know if these are actually
Dennison's, but they're good examples of the type)

1929 costumes (source)

Original Dennison's Bogie Books are highly collectable and can go for hundreds of dollars, but several were republished within the last few years, and can be found quite cheaply on ebay and Amazon.

You can also read the 1920 Bogie Book online (thanks to commenter vintage visions for the link).

Information from Vintage Griffin, Bookthink and Worthpoint.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to resize a skirt waist

Something that's been on my sewing to-do list for a long time (for some reason I seem to have a requirement that something is on my to-sew list for at least a year before I actually sew it!) is adjusting the waist size on this adorable 1950s nylon petticoat with embroidered cherry trim. I couldn't resist buying it on ebay despite the fact that it's an impossibly tiny 24" waist and with the best will in the world, that's never going to be me. I wasn't particularly planning a whole post on it, but it occurred to me you might like to see how I went about it - the principles can be applied to resizing other skirts.

This petticoat is a simple half-circle shape with no tucks or gathers to let out, so the only way to make it bigger is cutting the waist lower. This of course means losing length, but conveniently enough it's longer than ideal to start with, so that works out just fine.

First, unpick the existing waistband and zip with a seam ripper.

Then measure out the new waistline (half the full waist measurement, as it's across only one side), giving it a curve to match the original, and mark with chalk. Pin along the line through both layers (front and back).

For the cutting line, add a seam allowance 1/2" above the waistline (this is important, otherwise the waist will end up too big!), then cut.

There are two ways to do the next bit - either you can attach the waistband first then set in the zip (this is how it was originally, with the zip running to the top of the waistband), but as that leaves the zipper tape ends exposed and looks a bit untidy, I opted to do it the other way round. Doing the waistband first means the tape ends can be neatly enclosed. I set the zip back into the side seam (there wasn't enough seam allowance for a lapped zipper, so I did it the regular way).

Now, obviously the original tiny waistband would be no use, and there was no way I was going to find matching fabric, but petersham ribbon (similar to grosgrain but slightly different) is a great material for the waistband.

Cut two lengths of the ribbon in the new waist measurement plus 2.5" (half an inch each end for the seam allowance, plus a 1.5" overlap). Stitch the two lengths together at the ends, turn the seam out and press.

Pin the outside of the waistband over the seam allowance (wrong side of waistband to right side of petticoat) and baste in place. Then, sandwiching the petticoat between the two layers, pin the inner waistband in place, lining up the top edge.

Finally, edgestitch all the way around the new waistband, and add a skirt hook and bar closure to finish.

And now I can finally wear my lovely petticoat without having to don a corset!

Adapting the technique to different types of skirt:

  • To resize a gathered skirt larger, unpick the waistband, adjust the gathers, then make a petersham ribbon waistband as above.
  • To resize a circular-cut skirt smaller, you can refashion the existing waistband smaller instead of having to use the petersham. Depending on the size difference, you'll have to ease or gather the skirt a little to fit the waistband. If you don't want gathers, you might be able to get away with taking a little off the side seams (not ideal, but for a small size difference this shouldn't be noticeable once it's hanging), or alternatively make little pintuck pleats either side of the centre.
  • Likewise, if you want to shorten a circular skirt but don't want to make the waist bigger or lose any hemline detailing or trim, you can do the same: Unpick the waistband, trim length from the top, then re-attach the original waistband, gathering/easing/pleating the fabric to fit as above.
  • If you want to resize a circle skirt larger without losing length... well basically you can't. But you can add length back in by sewing a band of contrasting fabric or co-ordinating trim at the hem.


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