East meets west as they Wrap into one.

Here is another example of the interesting historical patterns which can be found at the VPLL website, offered as part of the VPLL’s 1912 Sewing Project. This is a 1912 fringed lady’s wrap with deep scallops, almost like bat wings! As soon as I came across it, I knew what fabric I wanted to use! I had a remnant from a sari I bought last fall. I made a circle skirt with the body of the sari and kept the pallu: that’s the especially ornate, decorative and patterned end of the sari which is usually thrown over the left shoulder.

I love saris. I was first introduced to them at about 8 years old, when my father befriended someone who worked with him at the CBC who was married to a lovely little Indian lady named Shakuntala. We often shared meals and eventually she gave my sister and me an old pure silk sari in shades of violet and black. It was printed with the perennial paisley design so dear to India. I still have it in my closet!

Anyway… my love affair with saris and most things Indian most assuredly started then.

As I digress nostalgically about saris, I mustn’t forget my present project.

The sari I bought last fall had bright colours: red, yellow and blue-green melding into each other and a Jacquard pattern woven into it which reminded my husband of fish scales. He thought it would be a good base for a Hallowe’en costume, as we had been invited to a party and I was still looking for a good costume to make. The blue-jade ran down the centre of the sari and as soon as he said that, I saw a siren’s tail… That will be the subject of another blog one day… So the sari was bought and quickly transformed into a skirt (see the second picture: that’s the circle skirt hanging to stretch before hemming it) which would become part of *Sedna*.

 

And there I go again! I was saying that I knew immediately upon seeing the pattern that I would use this remnant. The pallu is mostly red and yellow with dashes of blue-green and I was a little worried it wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate the wrap… but I was wrong. There was plenty! There was even enough to cut the tie linings but not enough to line the main body of the wrap.

 

I STILL have smaller bits which are folded away now that will undoubtedly be used as accents somewhere. They are packed away with several other saris awaiting their turn for use! And there I go again… It must be because I am in a very quiet house tonight: everyone is away at work or chumming with old friends. I can actually think, compose and write as well as savour my wine at the computer without guilt and without interruption!

The wrap pattern consists of only 3 pieces: two different length ties and the wrap itself. While I was placing the pattern on the fabric I was wondering what I would use as a fringe. I have several lengths of satin fringe, but most of them are black… I didn’t want that kind of contrast. The instructions also called for a lining. I did cut one out of bright red lining although I wasn’t certain I would want it. I thought it would be a convenient cover to hide the fringe band if I used a fringe.

I stay-stitched all around the wrap as it has scalloped edges and they tend to stretch even with *ordinary* fabric. But sari fabric is often rather loosely woven. This one is especially. So, to prevent too much distortion and stretching I stay-stitched.

My search amongst my treasures turned nothing up at first… So I went ahead and started sewing the ties to their linings. As I strolled over to my ironing board to press them I caught sight of a piece of beaded fringe a special friend gave me. I used to make belly dance and tribal costumes (for others as well as myself) and this is left over from those days! The fringe is gold, red and green. The gold was a perfect match for some of the yellow shading in the sari and the red and the green just worked too! There is a pattern within the fringe: red roses with a green leaf on either side. A 4” glass beaded fringe is a little heavy, but it doesn’t matter much to me. I figured it would help keep the wrap nicely pulled down to show the beautiful woven as well and dyed patterns in the fabric. Best of all: the fringe is beaded onto a yellow ribbon. I measured it and it was as if it had been cut especially for this project! Perfect fit!

So I carefully sewed the fringe on to the edge of the wrap with a zipper foot, still thinking I would line it. I actually did sew most of the lining to it as well, afterwards. But it felt wrong. I stopped sewing and took the lining off. I decided to use the yellow ribbon as the cache for the cut edge. I turned in the seam allowance under the ribbon and sewed the ribbon down over it. A very clean finish! After some consideration, I decided to sew a  narrow red satin ribbon on the right side of the wrap. It seemed to need it.

The ties could have a pleat or not. I chose to simply sew them flat to the wrap ends, as I intend to use them to tie around the waist at times… Easily done! I carefully top-stitched the ties on and there you are! The wrap was done swiftly. If it hadn’t been for the search for the fringe, it would have been done in an afternoon. This is an easy project for beginners and pros alike!

The best part of this is: I can use the wrap as a shawl, as it is intended to be, or as a hip scarf over the matching skirt! I don’t *dance* much anymore but I love my bright colours in summer and this certainly fits THAT bill! I will wear the skirt and wrap with a solid coloured t-shirt and it will look just dandy!

     

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Passion for the Fashion, part II: The Accessories.

 

My first post about the 1912 Afternoon Wrap from the VPLL website Titanic Sewing Project talked about how I came about making the wrap. This post is about how I dressed it up a little to be able to wear it at the Titanic Dinner we are going to at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier here in Ottawa. The Chateau is commemorating the Titanic disaster because the man responsible for its existence, Mr. Charles M. Hays, was supposed to be at the opening ceremonies but he died on the Titanic on his way back from London, England. They had to postpone the special ceremonies for over a month.

My husband surprised me on Thursday morning with reservations for the Titanic Dinner! The dinner is on Sunday evening! What to wear? what to wear? Not in a panic but simply which hat shall I wear? I recently made quite a few 1912 or thereabouts hats. What outfit? I wanted to wear my newly made Easter hat and a matching gown I would make that day but after consulting with the Ladies from the 1912 Titanic Sewing Project on Facebook, I realized that hat is simply not right for a dinner. It is an afternoon hat or a luncheon hat… NOT a dinner hat. A hair ornament with feathers and or ribbon and or tulle and any mix of the previously mentioned would be better.

So I set out in search, again, for suitable materials to make the hair ornament. I picked out some antique metallic lace, a couple of brooches, feathers and of course a comb, as this ornament should sit in some kind of *updo*. There were many types of feathers and I decided on peacock after observing that certain feathers have more blue which perfectly matched the blue of the Afternoon Wrap and its skirt. The skirt I already made about 4 years ago and is a very long and full flowing skirt.

 

 

In order to hide some of the discoloration of the metallic thread and also because I wanted to narrow down the piece of lace to fit my wide comb comfortably, I folded over the two ends and sewed them tightly into a strong support for the feathers and brooch I intended to add to it. It looked lovely but didn’t show up very well. 😦 So I added a piece of the blue satin behind the lace and sewed them together at the edges and a little throughout the lace to make it sit flat. After that I sewed on the brooch which I assembled from 3 brooches: I found two very small pins with blue rhinestones that were the right match for the blue and the gold was a good match for the gold on the pendant pin. The bigger brooch has a large drop pearl dangling from it. It appealed to me!

Once the brooch was solidly attached to the lace/fabric background it was time to add the feathers. Many ideas were considered…. and after a long while I chose 5 peacock feather *eyes* and use the stem of a very long plume without its ornate end to have some cascading long *stalks* floating behind the smaller and lower row of *eyes*. Steaming the feathers after arranging them makes them stick together properly again. My comb was finished by the end of Thursday and met with many of the Ladies’ approval.

All evening though, I kept on thinking that although the outfit looks very nice, it isn’t really appropriately *evening* in spite of it being satin. The main problem with it is that the skirt is so much fuller than what would have been worn in 1912. I didn’t have enough matching fabric to make a new narrow skirt nor was there anything in my stash that looked right with it. Besides, I like the butterfly border on the skirt: it obviously works well with the same border used as a belt and the back design for the Wrap!

I also had a handbag on my mind… I didn’t have anything in the right colours to use for a period dinner… I went to bed deciding that I would embroider a butterfly on a remnant of the blue satin and make a small clutch with it.

The plan was in my head, I was able to get to sleep! hahaha!!

My morning on Friday was busy with serious appointments and visits… I had to wait for the afternoon to get back to my outfitting!!!  I set upon the embroidery work and by the end of the day I had two panels of embroidered fabric ready to make into a bag. Even though this is machine embroidery, it takes several hours to get two embroideries of this size done. I embroidered a butterfly design which is almost the same butterfly as on the fabric’s border on one panel, using the wrong gold side of the fabric as its background, and a moth with a sunset scene in its wings for the other panel. The embroideries were done with a layer of quilt batting under the fabric: it gave the small bag extra texture.

Satisfied with that work, I found a zipper (Horrors!! They had no zippers in 1912!! But as I had no fancy bronze clasp and neither did I want to make a flap which would have covered the embroidered insects I went for the next easiest thing to do: a zipper.) and left that day’s work at that.

I went to bed still looking for a way to make my inappropriately wide and full skirt into a straight, evening look skirt. Cutting it down to narrow it was out of the question. The other secret about this skirt is that it is actually a pair of very wide pants. My mother had something like this in the seventies. They called them :*Palazzo* pants. Do you remember that?

First thing I did Saturday morning was finish assembling the clutch. I sewed some of the beaded trim in the bottom curve of the bag and this made it shine!

 

But what about the skirt? I knew that I should have some kind of sheer and straight front panel. At least that is what I preferred in the look of the many dinner and evening dresses I have looked at from that era! Having a panel like this would partially hide the full skirt. It could hang either horizontally across or diagonally. Either way it would have to be placed so that the butterfly border could be seen. Last night I went in search of fabrics in my treasury… there was nothing that caught my eye. I went to bed feeling a little disappointed.

After breakfast this morning, back down to the studio I went because overnight I remembered that I have a box of organzas and other sheer bits that I forgot to check yesterday!

No royal blue. 😦 No gold. 😦 Right at the bottom there was an oddly shaped piece of navy blue organza!! Rather scrunched. But upon opening it up, and checking it against myself, I established that not only was there enough but that the diagonal piece it was cut into would be the perfect shape for my *tabbard* of sorts!! I immediately decided that I would add the last of the blue beaded trim I made for the Wrap if there was enough of it… what else can I do? What else? What else would be the last touch??????

There was enough beaded trim. YES! 🙂 And after checking to see if there was enough of that: I cut the last bits of the butterfly border off the remnants and although not quite enough to extend the full length of the hem, I sewed it on to the organza. I will drape and pin to properly settle everything when I get dressed tonight.

        

Since the seam between the organza and the satin would show anyway, I sewed over it with gold metallic embroidery thread that matched the gold of the fabric. (I have 10 different shades of metallic gold in my threads!!!) This gave it extra dash. Then I sewed the beaded trim to the very edge of the butterfly border. The weight of the beads pulls the overskirt down and prevents it from flying up due to static or other sources. This piece of fabric will wrap over the skirt, creating a flat narrow look and matching the outfit for a proper ensemble look!!! And I still have my wide skirt for summer time!!!

I will post pictures of me wearing this outfit later on tonight or tomorrow!!

1912 Spring Mantle

Last week I requested the Spring Mantle from the VPLL website. I had finished all my *real* work and was ready for more 1912 sewing. I thought making this little mantle would be fun… I still have so much fabric in my stash that needs a life!! :-).

After downloading it and printing it, I read the instructions and somewhat regretted my impulse a little. It requires 10 yards of bias cut fabric to be gathered into gathered trim for the sleeve edges and the front! I hate making gathered stuff! But I bravely took the pattern to my sewing studio and searched for a large enough piece of fabric in my stash. I decided to make it reversible when I couldn’t decide which to use: the royal blue or the coral. I have had that piece of 100% silk coral brocade for many years. I always knew I would use it for a jacket of some kind as it is fairly thick. The blue satin brocade with dragonflies was a remnant. Lucky there was enough for this!!

 

I established that the pattern was a perfect size for me, so no changes to it were needed. BUT, I had to be creative to fit the pieces for the mantle in the slightly narrow fabric remnant. The blue was just wide enough to hold the pattern pieces

but the coral was too narrow. I had to piece two corners of each side: at the sleeve and on the side back. They don’t really show as there is a wide trim covering most of those seams.

Starting with the blue fabric, I proceeded a little differently from the instructions. After cutting the required two sides and  4 gussets, I immediately sewed the gussets in, two to each half jacket.

I was able to find a small piece of steel-blue Shantung (textured with flubs) silk which perfectly matched the blue in the dragonflies’ wings.

After cutting it into approx. 10 yards of 2 1/2in wide tape, I gathered it all into a 3 yard length. I got that number by measuring the width of the cuffs (following the pretty curve it has) and the length of the band (which is indicated on the pattern) along the front. This band doesn’t go around the back of the mantle. I got 108 inches, or 3 yards. After gathering it, I pressed it a little to help stop it from twisting about while it got pinned to the front and the sleeves. I marked the sewing line for the wide trim by sewing a long-stitched line at 2 1/2 in from the outer edge. After placing the right side of the trim on this line I could then sew it fairly easily. After sewing it down, I flipped it back and pinned the edge of the trim to the edge of the blue fabric and basted them together. Here again, I changed the design by NOT adding another layer of fabric or batting under the trim. The gathers were puffy enough for me! The two blues I chose for this side were right for each other but the colourway lacked *Oomph!*.

I dug out various braids and ribbons and at first chose a lovely violet 1″ braid to sew alongside the trim… but because it was braided and the trim was already rather textured by its gathers, my daughter pointed out that it seemed too busy… :-(. She was right. So I went in search again and pulled out a satin cord in a light red (as opposed to brownish) burgundy that helped pull out the pink and added a dash of life to the mix. I then proceeded to sew the cord right up against the gathered trim with a narrow and long zig-zag stitch.

   

This is when I made each piece into 1/2 a jacket shape by starting sewing at the sleeve edge, along the sleeve, diagonally across the gusset and down to the bottom edge.  But I did not sew them along the middle back together yet.

I chose to trim the coral side of the mantle with a Shantung silk in medium creamy orange.

 

This was another remnant. It blended well with the smooth charmeuse finish of the background coral and two other brighter orange colours of the bamboo Jacquard silk. I didn’t want to gather this trim as the other side was already puffy enough. Again, I found that although these colours were made for each other, and maybe because of that, there wasn’t enough contrast.

     

I went back to my braided trims and found a piece of very pale coral narrow braid, only 1/2 ” wide. My first idea was to sew it right on the edge of the Shantung, the same way I had done for the burgundy cord on the blue side. I changed my mind later on and elected to sew it 1/2″ lower than the edge of the darker orange Shantung.

In order to have exactly the right size pattern, I simply traced the band shape from the front and the sleeve cuffs onto another piece of paper and added about 3/4′ to its width. (Pictures above show this step). Then I cut the orange Shantung trim. I ironed down 1/4″ the inside edge of this trim and carefully pinned it in place. This band was top-stitched to the coral half-mantles before I applied the 1/2″ braid half an inch below its sewn edge. I felt it made it more dynamic that way. The unfinished edges of both the trim and the coral Jacquard were basted together. Then I sewed the seam making the sleeve down to the bottom edge of the mantle, the same way I did for the blue side.

I now had 4 half-mantle pieces. In order to sew as much as possible by machine… and have stronger seams closing the several layers of the cuffs and front edges, I had to sew the sleeve edges first, right sides together, by placing one jacket piece inside the other inside out. After sewing this, I pulled the blue jacket out through the orange jacket’s sleeve and found myself with half a reversible mantle! I did the same with the other side.

   

After pressing all the edges to have them lie a little flatter and look cleaner, I proceeded to sewing the two blue centre backs together, changed the thread and sewed most of the two coral backs together. I remembered to leave a small opening to turn the jacket right side out and sewed up the remaining 4 inches by hand. Another little steam press for the middle seams and my jacket was ready!

   

   

The Mad Hatter is IN!

A new challenge was sent out mid-February for the March Challenge from the VPLL’s sewing project. Our leader Kim sent this to us:

“This is a CHALLENGE! Not a pattern challenge, but a challenge to those of you who want to play 1912. Because in 1912 all of the La Mode would be getting ready to buy and all of the others would be starting to plan…. their Easter bonnets. Yep, everyone needs a new hat for Easter whether you celebrate it or not. So on Easter, let’s have a parade! Pix of all the new duds, along with your new Easter Bonnet! It can be as elaborate as a silk and buckram model or grabbing a straw hat and decorating it with ribbons and flowers.”

Not one to ignore direct challenges and dares, I took it up. How could I resist? Since I discovered the ad for this 1912 Project my every spare moment has been consumed by looking for pictures myself or looking at the pictures the other ladies find and post. Then making some of these items… As I mentioned before, I realized that I could not possibly ever see all there is to see nor save it to my computer. But I have kept most pictures for one *subject* every time I see one: HATS!! Oh my God the hats I have seen!! Feathery, floral, feathery and floral together, ribbon decorations, bows, more flowers, more feathers, fruit and small birds and the list goes on. HUGE hats, teeny tiny ones. Lace concoctions simply plopped on the wearer’s head. Enormous hats balanced on bunned up hair and wind-defying in their stature… In the pictures below are actual photographs of ladies wearing these hats, some to outside events.

  

  

     It is amusing to note that the flowers in her decolletage are exactly the same as the two bunches on her hat!

When I shot down to my studio to get the materials together for my new Easter Hat I pulled out fabric and lining and a number of flowers and ribbons, lace and other trims. There was no plan yet.

 

I just knew I wanted the hat to be pale pink, white and grey. I had some white ostrich feathers left over from the Plumed Hat: they would provide the white froth. I spent one day going through my antique and vintage lace box and pulled out many matching bits. Had to iron them all. It took a couple of days to find the right base for the hat. The local Salvation Army had the perfect hat on a mannequin but wouldn’t sell it to me until the end of the month. I had to wait about two weeks. And the trepidation which kept me awake: will I get there before anyone else takes it? was making me crazy!! (yes… I suffer from a certain amount of obsessive worrying at times!!) So I took all the trims and things and started the sorting: colour matching the various pink items and eliminating the wrong pinks. Upon seeing the varying widths of the ribbon, one was chosen to be the spiraling for around the outer edge of the brim.

  

I wanted grey as well and all I had was a tiny bit of ribbon. That’s when I decided to order natural grey ostrich feathers.

Blanket ribbon in the bottom left corner. Ostrich feathers in 3 shades.

They arrived within the two weeks of waiting for the hat! I was delighted with the colour of the grey to brown feathers when they arrived. Two or three were exactly right for this project!

One day, as I was driving home from visiting my Mum, I realized I was going by the Sally Ann and had missed the end-of-month date to go get the hat! Argh!! That Voice of Doom in my head was saying things like: *It’s gone, since it went for sale four days ago… EVERYBODY is looking for an Easter hat don’t you know and isn’t that one just perfect?? It won’t be there… Should I stop or should I go on? Oh well, I am here anyway!! * This store has been reconfigured in the past year and I couldn’t see the hat anywhere… Voice in my head: *Oh, well, I shall browse, maybe there is something else equally suitable.* I turned at the end of the fourth aisle I had gone down and THERE on the wall facing me was MY hat!!  Immediate dance of joy and quick shuffle to the wall, grabbed the hat (It was brand new!!!) and sang all the way home. I think Metallica was singing Neverland and I cranked it!

And so it began in earnest… I got a lot done that very day. I cut out a light weight lace from its large flat piece of fabric (picture below left) into the correct scalloped shape I wanted and then sewed it to the underside of the brim, as was pictured in one Hatlady’s website (picture below right).

                    

Then I put the blanket ribbon around the crown. It was the perfect pink and too short to ever apply to a blanket anyway. I had plans for using some white gathered satin ribbon but in the end found it too busy. When that was finally done I pinned more lace on the top side of the brim in place, you know, pinning it here, adding more, repinning the first bit, taking it all apart and starting over again… Went back and forth like that for another day. Once I was satisfied with the brim I started working the feathers.

And the very next day I got an immense job request from the Museum. Noooooo!! But of course, I can’t turn down a job that helps pay for my hat bits and home insurance… Maybe that order is somewhat skewed but that’s how I feel about priorities at times! 🙂

All I could think about was getting back to the hat! Last week I had to finish the museum’s oder and I was sewing a beautiful gold satin and grey lace (with extremely tiny sequins) two-piece outfit. I also had to finish embroidering the Ultrasuede for my Steampunk bustier for the event I was planning to attend on Saturday night as well as complete the gear and cog earrings to go with the outfit. So the hat was finished in the late afternoons of Thursday and Friday.

 Back view, before the pink ribbon spiralled edging was sewn on.

Sunlight through the brim shows both lace types sewn to the top and the underside.

Sunday I read everyone’s news on Facebook and generally did nothing except go for groceries… and be very pleased with my effort at the Easter Hat. My very good (hat adoring and shoe fetishist) friend came by and was suitably admiring and we decided that now we need to order black ostrich feathers for our next hats. They were bid on and won by Sunday night. All we have to do now is sit… and wait…

I haven’t been here in almost two weeks! I caught a bad cold, got better then caught a wicked flu that really floored me.  Actually, it bedded me, but that doesn’t really mean the same thing, does it? Fever, complete exhaustion and disinterest in anything have finally given way to getting bored with doing nothing . If I’m feeling bored, that means I’m better so I set to work!

Late last Monday night, Janyce (from the VPLL 1912 Titanic Sewing Project) asked the Ladies: *Who would like to try the Challenge project?*. It was a Princess Slip. As soon as that email got in my box, I wrote back to her volunteering for it. I actually received the pattern, via e-mail in a .PDF format, the next morning and was very excited and pleased so decided to print it out right away. That exhausted me so I went back to bed… after a half hour I decided to re-assemble the 30 pages of print-out into the large sheet containing the 4 pattern pieces: a middle front to be cut on the fold; a side front panel, a middle back and a side back all to be cut twice. It was easy: I figured out that the print-out was 5 across and 6 rows down. The pattern appeared as promised and I set to cutting it out. Then I went back to bed for several days. There is no pattern piece for the pleated flounce at the bottom of the slip as that is just one long, narrow piece of fabric. It requires a lace insert as well, to be done before the pleating.

Over the next few days, I read the excitement on our Facebook group page as the other ladies who volunteered for this *Challenge* project slowly received their own copies and got to work on their slips. I was discouraged as the weekend rolled around and I still hadn’t done anything. Simply too tired to think… but Saturday, I got up and went to search for the fabric and lace I wanted to use for the slip. An hour later I emerged from my workroom, sweating from fever but excited at what I had chosen. My first choice was to take out some white lining and ivory lace. Since I wasn’t ready to sew yet, I left it on the table to mull it over some more.

This past Monday I had to finish another project I wanted out of the way and looked at the fabric for the slip again. I was not happy with that choice anymore. So I went back to my stash of favourite fabrics and pulled it down since it needed straightening out again anyway and chose new fabric. I kept the lace I had first seen.

 Here is the vintage lace showing it’s 3 patterns.

The fabric I used is a crinkled, black flocked black chiffon. The lace is ivory. The narrow ribbon around the neckline is scarlet.

I mentioned that I read most of the posts the other ladies were writing. Many seemed to be having problems with this pattern. Sizing was a universal concern. So I measured the pattern, measured myself and was quite happy to find out that it wouldn’t need any altering, as the measurements of the paper pattern seemed to fit mine exactly! I made two small changes. I narrowed the back between the shoulder blades by about 2 inches and lengthened the straps by about one inch, while cutting the fabric. In the end, I would say that this is an easy to intermediate skill level pattern.

The lace I chose is vintage and 1 3/4″ wide. It is woven in 3 patterns across its width. The pattern required some lace 1″ to be used on the body of the slip and some lace 2″ wide for the neckline and the sleeve openings. I ended up sewing my lace into two 3″ wide segments, to use down the middle front and middle back of the slip. I cut one section off more lace to use down the side seams of both the front and back parts of the pattern. I further cut down the lace to use as a narrow band on the front bodice, to balance out the wider length which I used as the bottom lace insert.

Because this slip will actually be a nightgown for me, I didn’t cut out the fabric from behind the middle lace segments: it was very see-through and very wide… and as one of the Ladies wrote earlier, *I was giving away the ranch*. (What a picturesque expression!!! I like it!!!) I only removed the fabric from the side seam inserts on back and front, and behind the lace that crosses the bodice top.

            

Inserting the lace is a long job but not too difficult. It consists of sewing the lace along the marked spots, turning the piece over, cutting down the middle of the fabric which is now behind the lace, ironing the two flaps to either side of the lace, then sewing down these rolled edges to finish the seam nicely. This process emphasizes the lace if it is the same or a close colour to the fabric it is sewn on. In my case, the lace shows up very well either with or without its fabric backing.

Assembling the front to the back was easy once the lace was inserted. The pattern also called for several buttons to be put down the centre back. Since this is a nighty, I only put one button at the top as I don’t want to be lying on buttons half the night.

The next step is to cut the fabric in one long (about 4 metres) rectangle for the flounce. That was done by ripping it to my chosen width of about 12 inches. I thought to make my flounce out of a black chiffon embroidered in black. I felt it would be softer than the main fabric and would flow better at the bottom. I proceeded with inserting a plainer lace and then to pleat it. The pleats are accordion pleats, with one inch overlapping a two-inch section. This would make the pleats sit without heavy overlapping. It was suggested we read a chapter of this book: “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” by Colette Wolff to learn how to make these pleats. I adapted what I read there to my own needs.

You can see the two lines I marked on the envelope.   Here you can see the two lines I marked for the pleats.
Pressing the fabric over the edge of the envelope at one inch mark.

I took a thick envelope and marked a line one inch from the edge, then made a second mark two inches from the edge. That way the fabric could be folded over the edge of the envelope at the one inch mark and pressed. Then I would align the 2″ line to the (just made) pleat’s edge, weigh it down and bring the fabric over the envelope again and fold it back at the one inch mark. This way the pleats were being kept nice and flat under the paper and not getting ruined or in the way of  making the new pleat. Every 10 or 11 pleats I would press the fabric directly and pin one edge of the fabric to hold the pleats down until all of it had been pleated. Then I basted across the top of the flounce in order to make the pinning of the flounce to the hem of the dress easier.

  This picture shows the pinning of the pleats on one edge.

After the flounce was basted on, I overlayed another piece of the lace and sewed it in three places. This allowed to keep the pleats well flattened and when I wash the garment they will fall back into place much better.

The last thing to add was the red ribbon, woven into the lace at the neckline. I chose the scarlet because it just felt right to me.

 The neckline is emphasized by the scarlet ribbon.

 Front of the finished Princess Slip.

  Back of the finished Slip.

 

A Princess Slip from 1912.

Moving on while waiting…

Hello! 🙂  I was doing some *research* last night… browsing and surfing, clicking and saving. Floating from link to link that has been posted by The Titanic Ladies. They actually are made of two separate groups: The Unsinkables and The Titanic 1912 Sewing Project ladies. These are groups of ladies involved in the VPLL’s 192 pattern testing project. I discovered Pinterest in the past two weeks… which has led me to open an account for myself and all of you. You can re-pin my discoveries, the way I repinned many pictures in the past two weeks. I will try to post as many of my collection over the next few days as I can. It’s a long process because you can only pin one picture from your own folder at a time. No downloading the entire folder at once… very time-consuming. BUT, I think that for us it is a very good idea: that way we can share our discoveries. If you remember, if you read my first post, I am a very visual learner. I have been combing the Internet for pictures. They are educating me. I am learning about the 1910s fashions in a very in-depth way.  This Pinterest board of mine has changed names all week. I need to learn a little more about how to pin to the different boards… In the meantime, everything I am finding is going to the same board with its new name since yesterday: *Everything for now…*. I will try to sort things out later… Over the next week I will be fairly busy with a large bin of repairs to costumes and clothing from the Museum of Civilization.

One lady refers to our occupation as *sewist*. I like that! Its better than *sewer* (I explained my dislike for that word in my first chapter). Another uses: *fashionista sewista*. Fancy… but because I have been using the old word for so long, I may have difficulty using the new ones…

I finished the transformation of a Bomber Jacket to a Long Tibetan Coat this week. A good friend had purchased a thickly quilted, bat-wing sleeved bomber jacket in the early 80s and wasn’t wearing it anymore. But she really loved the jewel tones in it and was wondering how to go about making a more modern and practical garment out of it. So I took it on and together we made a neat long jacket by adding some fabrics she had in her collection.

   

I also progressed quite a bit on my Steampunk Outfit. I added some elements but the main push was to sew everything that had been pinned on, so I won’t get jabbed as much as I keep on working on it and to prevent thread pulls too, when I move the jacket from the dress, or try the bustle on for size. Another very important step I took this week, before the hours of hand-sewing I knew were to follow: I tried the dress and jacket on to make sure they still fit since I had made so many changes to the basic dress… It did. I heaved a deep sigh of relief!! Now everything is back on Dolly and her nameless friend and the details are being thought of and added or removed again… The sleeves are being decorated and sewn before assembling them to the coat, that way there is much less fabric to push around while sewing the lace or cording. Once the sleeves are complete, and the coat is finished itself, they will be joined at the armhole of course and it will be done.

I made a separate bustle from a raspberry pink thick velvet. In order to keep it stiff yet look soft and drapy, I ironed some very stiff interfacing to the taffeta lining and then sewed some old horsehair to the outside seams as I joined the velvet and the lining. The velvet looks soft, yet it won’t make unwanted pleats and the ones that are there will stay that way. The edges are being finished with a 4″ wide black lace for the bottom part of the bustle and the top one will have a matching but only 1″ wide lace.

  This is a close up of the thick scalloped lace being used all around the jacket panels and forming a bodice medallion of sorts. I thought to let the various pieces of the jacket hang loose from the hip down into panels that will ride over the bustle. That idea came from a picture of an 1871 Jacket.

(I want to add here that I realize now that I should have been more careful about recording the source of many of my pictures. I will endeavour to identify my sources better from now on… Unfortunately, there are already so many in my collection that it would be a complicated job to go back to find all the sources.)

As it is Saturday, I am thinking of taking a small break from my *research* for the 1912 project, my Steampunk Outfit and  the Museum work and go start playing with one of my Christmas presents. I received a starter kit of a product that allows me to sculpt with fabric, after a fashion… This product hardens and weatherproofs any fabric used for the sculpting. It can be used transparent, so the print shows, or dyed. One can make all sorts of figurines: human or animal and *things* to decorate the garden or deck or pond or the inside of your house. First a wire frame, slightly built out must be prepared and then the fabric is soaked in the product and then stretched onto the frame. I have an idea and it is time to try it out!

I bid you a farewell and wish you a good weekend! According to a post from our coordinator yesterday, my first package with patterns in it may arrive next week. … All I have to do… is sit… and wait… 😉

All I have to do now… is sit… and wait…

That by the way, is a quote from David Attenborough, the naturalist who produces those wonderful documentaries about Nature… Too many to list and I keep on discovering more…

I am awaiting my package of patterns from the VPLL project organizers… but I am not just sitting doing nothing in the meantime. God forbid!!! I design and sew for a living so there is nearly always work to do. I sew for private individuals as well as for the Museum of Civilization across the river in Gatineau (formerly known as Hull) on a regular basis: repairing costumes or making new ones, or making new “things” they need: dolls, cushions, spice bags etc.

And of course there are the things I want to explore on my own. I got some fantastic bits and pieces for Christmas like gears, magazines and materials that will allow me to explore fabric sculpting and more jewellery making and those will be springboards for more projects that will fill my studio storage space…

It occurred to me that I could go have a look at what information I could find about 1912. I like history and reading about it and lately I have jumped back into my reading with avidity!!  So I thought to give you a little more historical details about that year. I have compounded a list of the important events of 1912, in Politics, Art, Medicine, Social and Natural History. The list is not exhaustive, of course there is a lot more but these were some of the facts that seemed worth looking into. It is in random order and I have added the link to where that quoted information can be found if you care to read more about each of them.

*1–Roosevelt declined to run for re-election in 1908. After leaving office, he embarked on a safari to Africa and a tour of Europe. On his return to the U.S., a bitter rift developed between Roosevelt and his anointed successor as president, William Howard Taft. In 1912, Roosevelt attempted to wrest the Republican nomination from Taft, and when he failed, he launched the Bull Moose Party. In the ensuing election, Roosevelt became the only third-party candidate to come in second place, beating Taft but losing to Woodrow Wilson.     en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

*2– In the early 20th century the “Young Turk Movement”, as a liberal movement in opposition to the Sultan, became an important factor within the Ottoman Empire.  A constitution was established and electoral laws promulgated.  Unfortunately for the hopeful Albanians in Kosovo the electoral law of 1908 stipulated that voters must have a knowledge of the Turkish language in order to vote leaving the great majority of Kosovars, whether Albanian or Serbian, disenfranchised.  The Young Turks were strongly opposed to nationalist tendencies within the Empire and worked toward centralization of power and authority and Turkification of all subjects in the Ottoman domain. As is the case in present day Serbia, the Ottomans strongly opposed the autonomy desired by Kosovars in general and Albanians in particular.  This was one of many Albanian Kosovar disappointments though the years.

In the first Balkan War of 1912 Albania was attacked by Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece.  The Albanians were allied with the Ottomans.  Serbs joined the army in large numbers to avenge the Serbian defeat by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo Polje.  At this time Kosovo was  mostly Albanian.  Serbs entered Pristina as Albanians retreated to the mountains.  The Serbian army destroyed Turkish and Albanian houses and there was much plundering and killing.  Serb peasants followed the army into Kosovo re-occupying the land.  The Albanians fought fiercely but lost the war and Kosovo came under Serbian authority.  At the Conference of Ambassadors in London in 1912 presided over by Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, Serbia was given sovereignty over Kosovo which it has retained to the present day.  Albania, for the first time was internationally recognized and by the Treaty of London in1913 became a fully independent and sovereign state. Within Kosovo not surprisingly there was much anti-Serbian sentiment since the population was still mostly Albanian.  In 1913, in the second Balkan War, Bulgaria attacked the Serbian and Greek armies in Macedonia.  They miscalculated and were quickly and decisively defeated.  Among the outcomes Serbia nearly doubled in size obtaining most of Slavic Macedonia. http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/kosovohistory.html

*3–By 1912 the possibilities of analytical cubism seemed to be exhausted. Picasso and Braque began new experiments. Within a year they were composing still lifes of cut-and-pasted scraps of material, with only a few lines added to complete the design, such as Still-Life with Chair Caning. These collages led to synthetic cubism — paintings with large, schematic patterning, such as The Guitar.  http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/cubism/Pablo-Picasso.html

*4–Emperor Meiji died in 1912 and was buried in the Graveyard (Fushimi Momoyama Ryo) in Kyoto. After his death the Meiji era ending leaving the people of Japan nervous and unsure of what the future might bring.

Though he did not play a big part politically, verbally, or physically his presence is still regarded as a very important and crucial part of the Meiji revolution. He symbolized the unity of the people under one government rising up to strike down the Tokugawa shogunate in order to establish a safer and more peaceful future. His era, though it shamefully resulted in Japan joining the Axis powers, is still regarded with pride, for it was this era that revealed Japan to be a great nation. http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b3meiji.htm

*5–In October, 1912, George Lansbury decided to draw attention to the plight of WSPU prisoners by resigning his seat in the House of Commons and fighting a by-election in favour of votes for women. Lansbury discovered that a large number of males were still opposed to equal rights for women and he was defeated by 731 votes. The following year he was imprisoned for making speeches in favour of suffragettes who were involved in illegal activities. While in Pentonville he went on hunger strike and was eventually released under the Cat and Mouse Act.

In 1912 the WSPU began a campaign to destroy the contents of pillar-boxes. By December, the government claimed that over 5,000 letters had been damaged by the WSPU. The main figure in this campaign was May Billinghurst. A fellow suffragette, Lilian Lenton, argued: “She (May Billinghurst) would set out in her chair with many little packages from which, when they were turned upside down, there flowed a dark brown sticky fluid, concealed under the rug which covered her legs. She went undeviatingly from one pillar box to another, sometimes alone, sometimes with another suffragette to do the actual job, dropping a package into each one.” http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wwspu.htm

*6–Mussolini had become a member of the Socialist Party in 1900 and had begun to attract wide admiration. In speeches and articles he was extreme and violent, urging revolution at any cost, but he was also well spoken. Mussolini held several posts as editor and labor leader until he emerged in the 1912 Socialist Party Congress. He became editor of the party’s daily paper, Avanti, at the age of twenty-nine. His powerful writing injected excitement into the Socialist ranks. In a party that had accomplished little in recent years, his youth and his intense nature was an advantage. He called for revolution at a time when revolutionary feelings were sweeping the country.

Read more: Benito Mussolini Biography – life, family, story, death, school, mother, old, information, born, time, year http://www.notablebiographies.com/Mo-Ni/Mussolini-Benito.html#ixzz1im80BJcm

*7–We think that a powerful and vigorous movement is impossible without differences — “true conformity” is possible only in the cemetery. Stalin‘s article “Our purposes” Pravda #1, (22 January 1912)

*8–On 10 October 1911, a military rebellion at Wunchang ended over thousand years of monarchy in China. Sun Yat returned to china and was elected as the provisional President of the Republic of China in a meeting of representatives from provinces on 29 December 1911. January 1, 1912 became the first day of the first Year of the Republic; thus making a calendar system that is still used in many parts of China. Sun’s revolution had seen a series of defeats before the establishment of the Republic of China and with the new found success of the revolution, Sun became known as the National Father of Modern China. His Method and Strategies of Establishing the Country came in 1919, suggesting his idea to promote peace, freedom and equality in China. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/sun-yat-sen-71.php

*9–Belgian chocolate itself has been popular since the 18th century, but a new process created by Jean Neuhaus in 1912 increased its popularity ten-fold. Neuhaus used a special version of chocolate called “couverteur” as a cold shell for what he called ‘pralines’. These pralines are not the same as the sugary treats offered in American candy shops. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-unique-about-belgian-chocolate.htm

*10–The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/titanic.htm

*11–The 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.   The 1912 Olympics at Stockholm were known as the “Swedish Masterpiece” because they were so well organized. Avery Brundage, IOC president from 1952 to 1972, described these Games: “The efficiency and almost mathematical precision with which the events were handled and the formal correctness of the arrangements made a great impression on me.”*   The Games also benefited from the use of electric timing devices and a public address system which were first used at these Olympic Games.  http://history1900s.about.com/od/fadsfashion/a/olympics1912.htm

*12–Gene Kelly, 1912-1996: His Movies Made Dance Popular in America. http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/a-23-2007-05-05-voa1-83133837.html

*13–Novarupta.  The Most Powerful Volcanic Eruption of the 20th Century. June 6th, 1912 http://geology.com/novarupta/

*14–Joseph Lister was born at Upton, Essex, England, in 1827, and received his general education at the University of London. After graduation he studied medicine in London and Edinburgh, and became lecturer in surgery at the University in the latter city. Later he was professor of surgery at Glasgow, at Edinburgh, and at King’s College Hospital, London, and surgeon to Queen Victoria. He was made a baronet in 1883; retired from teaching in 1893; and was raised to the peerage in 1897, with the title of Baron Lister. He died in 1912.

Even before the work of Pasteur on fermentation and putrefaction, Lister had been convinced of the importance of scrupulous cleanliness and the usefulness of deodorants in the operating room; and when, through Pasteur’s researches, he realized that the formation of pus was due to bacteria, he proceeded to develop his antiseptic surgical methods. The immediate success of the new treatment led to its general adoption, with results of such beneficence as to make it rank as one of the great discoveries of the age. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1867lister.asp

On a more personal note, I think that both sets of my grandparents on either side of the Atlantic had met.