Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Of Edwardian Bras

The fact that there are no pictures of me in the 1940's playsuit should be testament to the fact that It Did Not Get Done In Time.  In fact, I finished all but the button and buttonhole on the shorts... on the five hour plane flight *home*.  Whoops.  Since the weather has been unabashedly nasty over here, I think I'll wait to take pictures.  But it is pretty cute, truth.

Instead, I moved on to attempting to make a Titanic dress.  Siiiigh.

The 1910s corset is done (as previously mentioned), but I've been waffling badly over the top garment. I simply cannot go without one at my bust measurement, both for decency and comfort's sake.  So I started in on making a bandeau from an extrapolation of a pattern taken from something in my collection.  Holy cow, NO.  It didn't look right *at all*. At my cup size, pleated bandeaus make me look deformed and lumpy, so not only are they uncomfortable and unattractive, but it gives the totally wrong line.  I think I may have actually thrown the thing across the room when I realized this.

I then spent a very long time looking at research, and extant garments, and and and.  And finally I realized - for my size, in this era, I basically need to make a fitted corset cover.

So I took my sloper block, and I traced around it, pivoting out the darts in the front strap and armsceye.  And tonight I put them together, braved the buttonholer on June (first time using it!) and then cut and fiddled the resulting vest-looking item into the correct neckline.  Right now it's done but for the (damn-near impossible to neatly roll) arm hole edges.  I ran a piece of eyelet beading all the way around it under the bust, and I cut the back a bit extra short to give a bit of lift.  I also made the straps *really* narrow (but still twice as wide as a normal bra strap) and placed them almost on the shoulder so I could, if I wanted to, do one of the wide boat-neck style necklines.  (I'm still deciding what the dress is going to be like, gah.)

I have a little over a week to drape a dress.  I get this feeling it's not going to actually get done.  ::facepalm::

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tropical Dreams

I have never been to Hawaii before.

And I'm leaving on a plane on Sunday, so today, after putting it off for... well, *forever* it seems, I got out the old vintage wrap top and shorts pattern that I have been meaning to make. I got this thing in college, probably in 2003. I haven't ever taken it out of it's little manilla envelope, so I wasn't even sure if all the parts were there.  The instructions are nearly crumbling along the seams with age and deterioration, like most of the mail-order pattern instructions do. (Something about the insanely cheap, breathtakingly acidic newsprint.)

This one is from some time in the 1940s, so it's cut economically. Also, it's a size 14, which means that it's a 34" bust - not something I'd be able to squeeze without surgical removal of body parts. However, since it's all based on a reasonably standard body form, I was able to make it work in short order.

I took my measurements, then found the difference between them and those of the pattern. Surprisingly, it was about 10" all the way round, so that made it easy. To be frank, I do expect to do some extracurricular fitting when I've exhausted the instructions - that's fine, normal, expected. I've also got a 10" difference between my bust and my ribcage. Not exactly typical or average for anything!  I figured out how much I'd need to enlarge each pattern piece, traced one side of the pattern onto roll paper, moved the whole thing over that much, and then traced the other side.  I then played connect the edges.

The result?  A pattern enlarged to size 20. I cut it out of black rayon crepe that I've been meaning to use for this.  It has a pattern of white and salmon-pink ginger flowers picked out with green accents, with stylized line drawings of hula girls, and some cursive thematic words like "lei" and "ginger" and "hawaiin".

If I finish it for the trip, I promise pictures!