Thursday, 5 July 2012

A fabulous idea - or?

A fabric shop next door equals risks for spontanous "oh, I adore this fabric, what can I make from it? Oh, I know, I know! Wouldn't it be lovely for an ensamble for the wedding I'm attending in 1,5 months? I think it would...
I know it would!
I'd love to make it.
Of course I have time to make it.
I will make it or die trying!

Now, how did that happen, didn't I have anyting at all to wear already? Of course not, nothing really suitable!"

And that's the story of how I talked myself into sewing a dress+jacket ensamble... This is the fabric that started this whole process:

For this outfit I had a quite simple dress pattern in mind: combine my holksleeve blouse pattern (modified a bit, of course) with my A-skirt pattern and voilà, a dress! The jacket took some thinking though. The problem is that my absolute favorite era is the 30s, I adore the soft, feminine and elegant fashion of pre-WWII. My bodyshape is however more attuned to the New look of the late 40s/early 50s. And the set of  hips needed to wear up a New look-outfit is not at all flattering in a 30s dress...

So I made some necessary accomodations and came up with this:

I figured I want the polkadots in the bodice and the solid for the skirt. To it I want a 3/4 sleeve jacket with a shawl-collar. A bit like this one from Sears catalogs -36:

Now you're probebly wondering what on earth this sketch has to do with the 30s, but maybe it's a matter of small details to get the look I want? Check out these two patterns:


Looking through Sears catalogues, patterns, photo's etc, to me it seems that most details can be seen in different decades (at least if I stick to my favorite period: 30s, 40s, 50s). Wide collars, small collars, shawl collars, v-neck, round neck. Princesslines, pleats, gathers, darts. Etc, etc... My point is that if it's not in the construction details, then where's the difference? 'Cause the difference is huge!

Maybe it's in the fabric and subtle changes in the cutting? For me the 30s appear more flowy and drape-y, while the 50s was more structured. Both feminine and lovely, but if you place a haute cotour gown from the early 50s on the floor, it stands on it own. A 30s gown would melt into a graceful puddle. Likewise, an A-line skirt in silk taffetea will instantly give a new look-feel, while a bias cut charmeuse A-line will bring the glamorous Hollywood starlet of the 30s to mind. What do you guys say; am I on to something?

So the question is: can I re-create the feeling of the drape and slim elegance of the 30s, while still make a garment that flatters my hourglass shape? I'm not after historic accuracy, only the feel of the 30s. Here's my plan to "thirtyfy" my patterns:
- Cut skirt on bias.
- Omit shoulder pads on jacket.
- Use a thin viscouse with lot's of drape.
- Don't tailor the jacket, only reinforce with knit fusible, maybe add a sew-in stabilizer for the collar.
- Gather the top of the jacketsleeves .

Can it be that simple? I have until August 4 to find out =)

Love, Erika


joellestlaurent said...

oh! i cannot wait to see how it turns out! I hope you share the process with us

Eurielle said...

You have really thought this through !
I'm sure you'll do something fitting and lovely as usual.

It is difficult to point out specific construction details for one decade. Not to mention that the style might vary within a 10 years period as well. But your description did ring a bell. I've also read that the yokes in a 30's dress were generally constructed on a more triangular and diamond shape basis than in the 40's. For what it's worth.

Please,tell and show us how it goes.

Happy sewing.

Susan said...

Hey, fingers crossed, that´s a big project!
by the way, your blog won a blog award:-)

Erika said...

Thank you, all of you, for your encouring words! It was a bit much, esp as I was away for three weeks. I almost got it ready in time for the wedding (no lining, but hey, who's to know as long as I don't flip the jacket open to show them, right?) and I'm very happy with the ensamble!
Pictures from the big day and a construction post is coming soon... =)