Thursday, December 17, 2009

Skirt sewn from a bed sheet

I found a Ralph Lauren bed sheet for $2 at a tag sale with my daughter three months ago and sewed this 1950's skirt from it! Of course, I shortened it considerably...

Photos by Cynthia DeGrand

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hers was my favorite

I am in the throes of updating my portfolio for graduate submission. It has caused me to re-visit one of the last projects I did before retiring from custom dressmaking:

I created it for what was to be my favorite bridal client. She was an inch taller and a pound heavier than I. The style of the gown suited her particularly well and I realized when working on it that if I were ever to make a gown for myself for the purpose, it would be in a very similar vein. I love how the breeze looks so slight as it picks up the silk tulle veil.

I still have the pattern for it whereas I let all the other ones go into the recycling bin years ago...

The elongated flounces at the bottom were an adaptation from this 1933 nightgown pattern:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chanel-A Real Fashion Film!

I very much want to see Coco Before Chanel.

It looks wonderful and I wonder what its impact will be.
I have to say, as a girl who has always admired a 'man-look' in women's clothing, I am very interested to see how she came up with the androgyny for her pieces. Is it perhaps how the cabaret influenced her to defy convention? Her way of identifying with the wealthy men she admired for their independence? Or, a way of addressing the fact that her father left her in an orphanage? We'll see...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Marvelous McCall...

In 1935, The McCall Pattern Company leveled the gender playing field with this one.
I would LOVE looking smart as one of the fellows emerging from the bath in this robe.
Overall, it is masculine in style, yet femininely detailed with shaped pockets and shaped revers!
My favorite attributes are the square armholes, French cuffs and the 'necktie' belt!
I will love to make a coat out of this pattern some day with contrasting sleeves!

(Now available in size 38" bust)

Another example of the McCall 'gender-bending' in this vest pattern:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Patterns Focus for 2010

I have some very special vintage designs from which I will create a fantasy line of costume patterns in 2010.
These will be perfect for a formal occasion where something a little more unusual is appropriate.
I am naming the line 'The Silk Bat' (Die Seidene Fledermaus) for the 1887 Bat costume with which I am beginning this line (but will be ready in summer of 2010). All of the patterns are historically accurate and very do-able (if you will), and definitely have an intense edge.
Of course, I will continue with very practical, yet beautiful patterns for everyday wear as well.
Here is a nice preview of the first pattern I expect to have finished in time for Easter:

As printed on the original art:
'Evening gown of tulle. Leaf-like design for back and large bow. Chic New York, Hollywood.'
I estimate this design to be 1930, but I need to research that more...

When I do things, I do them BIG (can you tell?)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Die seidene Fledermaus

(The silk bat)
This is what I want to sew for the Kelton House masquerade evening next May-it is an 1887 bat costume:

I found it in the French pattern publication 'La Mode Illustree', yet there is no pattern for it, so I will draft one making use of an 1886 corset pattern I already have.

I will start building the corset this week, but may not have the silk gazar for the crinoline in time for Halloween this year, but there is always next year, yes?

Once I have developed the pattern and built the final silk version, I will make the pattern available from my site. I will love to hear your feedback about that prospect-cheers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flatback Fun...

Had a great weekend finishing this 1953 halter style gown and put the last of many Swarovski crystals on tiffany mounts. They are fire opal on a sunny orange silk taffeta!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

'Slick' Simplicity Details...

Just had to write about this right now as I review instructions for one of my 1930's Simplicity patterns!
Simplicity has had so many of my favorite 1930's patterns for their ingeniously engineered details!
Case in point, this mid-30's ensemble pattern:

I LOVE how the cape 'slips on' via buttonholes through which it buttons on under the revers of the jacket. The suit has lines which make me think of the design Stella McCartney put on Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'-do you remember it?  I picture this suit in chocolate cotton moleskin.

The cape attachment is not unlike this highly deco Simplicity design, about 1934:

The difference here of course, is the crossing scarf. It is sewn into the back neck of the blouse under which the cape is buttonholed-just HOT!
This is one of the earliest patterns I ever picked up when I started with vintage patterns and I often envision the sleeves contrasting to the rest of the blouse.

This has been a customer favorite among 30's blouse patterns:

The large button at the front fastens over the stiff jabot, is not just for decoration. Being the purist I am, I take real working closures very seriously and do not appreciate a number of buttons or other closing devices simply tacked on which do not mechanically function in the garment. Although I admit, I was guilty of embellishing with covered buttons that did not function at the beginning of my vintage sewing career a couple of times-won't happen again, ha!

This 'domestic' Simplicity has received very little attention, but I find it important to give it some limelight here:

Even at home, the details are marvelous in this 'pyjama' pattern, aren't they? Notice the many versions of the ensemble and over any one of them, the apron is 'slipped on' at the center front by means of a buttonhole and ties at the back of the waist in the traditional apron manner!

The earliest example I have in patterns of the 'slipped on' buttonhole apron is the clothespin design from Harper's, circa 1885:


I will love to hear from you about your favorite vintage Simplicity pattern details. I will cover other pattern companies later this fall...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Time at the Kelton House Roaring 20's Evening!

Was soooo happy to be at the Kelton House Saturday the 16th for their Roaring 20's evening!

I understand that the event raised at least $15,000 and I am happy I was a part of it! On the downside, I didn't get any shots worth sharing as my new camera's disk was full and I have yet to learn how to use it anyway, ha!

My friend who is the special events coordinator took shots with his friend Dee's camera, so I have a few to share here. Dee dressed up and played a 'Madame' role, so here I am with my 'Madame'!

I wore the 1920 evening frock from the French pattern I drafted and translated in 2007. It is two tones of 80%metal/20%silk blend with 1920's vintage metal lace on the entire bodice. I wore it because it was considered a 'scandlous' style that opened the door to shorter, handkerchief hems and open backs on frocks in the latter part of the 20's and early 30's. The fan is vintage osterich feather from Stockholm.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Error in the 1934 Men's Trousers

It came to my attention that there is a crucial flaw in the 1934 men's trouser pattern I issued in multi-size late last summer.

I have corrected the error and mocked the trousers up again to confirm that there is no longer a problem.

A customer e-mailed to let me know about the discrepancy in the length of the trouser front rise (crotch) versus that of the trouser back.  I realized I had used a file drafted from the original pattern which had this error in it instead of the corrected version of the original pattern-a grievous error on my part, indeed!

To correct your pattern, the hook of the back crotch needs to be dropped 1-1/2" from its current position while maintaining the location of the inner leg seam:

To make amends to those who are not confident in making this change to the pattern themselves, I am happy to send the corrected trouser back and the trouser front pieces to those who request them of me via e-mail.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On the Boards - Spring 2009

Any interest in 1930's men's underwear pattern?

In the meantime, here are more patterns I am preparing this spring:

Mid-1930's Swimsuits

1927 Skirt

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Have the Most Interesting Customers in the World

Last night, I was thinking about an order I filled for a French-Canadian Soprano Opera singer who just completed a European tour. You can see Karina here.   I cannot wait to see what her seamstress makes of the patterns!

Therefore, I wish to start a new small segment on my web site to spotlight customers and the projects they have created from my patterns. I invite everyone who wishes to be written up to submit photos of their favorite projects from EvaDress patterns along with a small blurb and personal information regarding the sewing approach, if desired.

The first project I intend to post for the month of April is this ribbed silk version of the Katharine Hepburn jacket pattern (size group C) made by a customer in Nevada:

I love how the ribbed silk drapes so well for this style and the strong directionality the rib communicates the cut of each piece. Makes a most stunning 2-1/2D style, indeed!