Monday, December 29, 2014

HSF '14: Shiny 1910's Blouse

I did it!  I completed every Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge this year.  Out of over 1,000 members who started in January, I'm one of about 10 who made it the whole way through, and I couldn't be prouder.

I'd love to say that my last project of the year was something fantastic, with which I'm completely in love, but sadly, that's not the case.

For the last challenge of the year, which was called "All that Glitters", I made a 1910's blouse that I rushed on, as I needed to finish it before we went back to the states for the holidays.  And as with rush jobs, it has some flaws.  As in, the neck is too small, the sleeves are too short, the arm-holes are too tight in the front, and the front just looks huge and baggy (which may be attributed to my modern undergarments).  But it's shiny, so it fits the theme, and I don't hate it (I actually wore it Christmas Eve), it just doesn't feel right.

Ah well, lessons learned for the next time I try the pattern.


You can see that the cuffs are about twice as long as the pattern calls for.  This was my fix for the sleeves being too short.  I added a half inch to the body of the sleeves, and on paper that seemed like enough, but I really need another 1.5 inches in there.  I didn't add buttons to the cuffs (though I may in the future); the lengthened cuffs already look really modern, and I liked the look without buttons (the cuffs are stiff enough that they don't flop around).

The neckline isn't supposed to be as open as it is, there should be another inch in there somewhere. You can't actually tell, but the pattern envelope shows that you're supposed to be able to close it and add a tie of sorts, which I really can't do.  Also, another inch in the neck would mean the collar wouldn't stick straight out, but angle down a bit.  You can just see the collar sticking out along my left shoulder.

From the pattern image, you can see the closed neck up top, and how the collar is supposed to look, angling a bit towards the front instead of straight off the shoulder.  Oh well.

The Challenge: All that Glitters

Fabric: Beautiful ecru-colored cotton sateen, that has a really nice shine to it.

Pattern: Wearing History's 1910's Blouse

Year: early to mid 1910's

Notions: thread and some plastic buttons

How historically accurate is it? I'm pleased with the fabric, but no self respecting seamstress in the 1910's would have made herself a blouse that fit this badly.  So not great.

Hours to complete: Almost 20.

First worn: Christmas Eve service.

Total cost: Fabric was $25 (though I have a lot left over), and buttons were $5.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

HSF '14: Most of a 1930's Blouse

I've been wanting to try a Mrs. Depew pattern for a while now.  Sold on Etsy, the shop has some really cute patterns.  With the current challenge being called Modern History, and my making so many 30's pieces to wear in my modern life, I decided it was time to take the plunge.


And I had some success.  Mrs. Depew patterns use a method of drafting that was unfamiliar to me, and my pattern, once mocked up, seemed a bit off.  (I don't think this can be attributed to my skills, or lack thereof. As I was mocking it up, the line "They're really more like guidelines anyway" kept going through my head.  I think it applies here.)  Lines that really should be at cross angles to one another were not, and the back side seam was quite a bit longer than the front, as was the shoulder seam.  And I really wasn't sure about the pleats in the shoulder and neck.  So I made a mock-up of the bodice (minus the triangular front and after I made some logical adjustments), before I even drafted the sleeves and collar.  I used a fabric that I couldn't picture ever using for real, and was completely thrown when I liked the result.  Really liked it!


You can see the self bias facing, and what the inside of the
pleats look like.

As I was running out of time, and it's a busy time of year anyway, I decided to finish the neck and sleeve holes with bias binding, and call it done.  It is really short, the back always comes un-tucked, even from my high-waisted 30's trousers, so it really needs a sweater over it.  Which is fine by me!


The Challenge: Modern History

Fabric: A blend fabric, meant to be men's dress shirt fabric

Pattern: started with a Mrs. Depew's 1930's Blouse

Year: early to mid 1930's

Notions: just thread

How historically accurate is it? Not really; fabric is of unknown content, I'm pretty sure the stripes aren't period, and it should probably have sleeves!

Hours to complete: I didn't track this one much, but maybe 6-8

First worn: Several times since I finished about two weeks ago.  I'm absolutely in love with it!

Total cost: Definitely free.  It was given to me by a friend, who got it from her daughter, who got it as a leftover sample from her work.  So I have no idea what it would have originally cost.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

HSF '14: My First Vest

I've been wanting a sewn vest for AGES.  I don't know why I didn't ever buy one; I have three sweater vests, two of which belonged to my dad in the 1970's, and ever since I started sewing vests for Dan, I've wanted one for myself.  Because I love vests.  On men, on women, on anybody a well fitted vest is really classy and nerdy and adorable.

Tonight, after our little photo shoot, I started skipping down the hallway sing-songing "I'm gonna make so many vests, I'm gonna make so many vests".  Because now that I've finally made one, I might just have to make them all.

The theme this fortnight was Menswear, and I thought about making something for Dan, but I settled on something for me instead.  And vests are definitely menswear inspired.  I decided on 1930's as I seem to be all about the 30's this year, and I remembered seeing some that I liked.  Turned out, when I went back to find those examples, they weren't actually there.  1930's fashion was much more feminine than the 1920's, and in the end, I only found one example.  A vest included in a 1933 pattern for a 4-piece Tuxedo Ensemble.  Definitely menswear inspired.


But it pairs perfectly with my wide-legged trousers, especially as I constructed it with material I had leftover from the pants.

I did make a quick mock-up, as I wasn't using a pattern, or at least not one meant for a women's body. I've drafted several garments for Dan from Men's Garments 1830-1900, and they've all been really great, so I figured I'd just start with one of their vest patterns and see what happened.

I did have to make some modifications in the end, but as it's just a vest, using a men's pattern turned out to be a perfectly fine starting place.  And the mock-up fabric for the front panels were scraps of old jeans of Dan's, so there's just menswear all over the place.



And here's the final product:


Pretending to be Lois Lane (an excellent suggestion by Dan):

And showing off my tiny faux-pocket.

The Challenge: Menswear

Fabric: Green wool left over from my recent 1930's trousers, and brushed black cotton left over from this summer's 1930's shorts

Pattern: started with a draft from Men's Garments 1830-1900

Year: early to mid 1930's

Notions: Just 4 (unfortunately) plastic buttons

How historically accurate is it? Fine, except for the buttons.  Maybe someday I'll find some nice glass ones.

Hours to complete: 7.5 including drafting and mock-up

First worn: Tonight for photos.  But I already have several occasions I plan on wearing it.

Total cost: The green was counted in an earlier challenge, same for the black, and the buttons were $4.  So $4 (kinda).