Self-drafted Tie-Neck Blouse: First Draft

13 Nov

1st draft: wearable!

I’ve never really been very comfortable drafting projects for myself but when I came across this Lanvin blouse when collecting some inspiration ideas and pictures for my Colette Fall Palette Challenge board, it stuck in my head as a really perfect example of its type as far as my tastes are concerned, and one I wanted to try to emulate in the ochre wool jersey I’m currently so in love with (see the one-piece Burdastyle T made from same, below).

I’m not really experienced enough either with bias silk satin (or with lycra-containing jersey for that matter) to really know how the one translates to the other but I am a bit of an expert on construction techniques of tie-neck garments, having studied more than my fair share of such patterns. I also did kind of a shooting gallery on Pinterest of tie-neck blouses, to compare and hone in on what I liked or didn’t like about this versus others.

In the end obviously I overshot the ease particularly in the cap sleeves, which obviously will be coming out of the ochre one. (and, I do see will have to come out of this one; picture really is worth about a thousand mirrors isn’t it?) The truth is, the raspberry cotton jersey here was really just supposed to be a straight-up muslin to make sure things went together right- but I got a little excited and carried away and finished it before realizing how much it would stretch out upon wearing.

It’s the absolute magic of a tie-neck blouse to me, that fabric whose color previously turned me off suddenly seems delicious to me and wait, isn’t that a rosey mauve in the far right second tier of my palette stack? Yep I think so.

Can’t wait to do the ochre one now that I know what I need to do!


Speaking of styling Licorice for winter

13 Nov

Licorice in layers

Colette Licorice in linen with Grandma's Vogue 4180

I saw this post at the Coletterie on styling Licorice for winter and realized I had something to say on the subject too; the picture is not the best, but it is my linen Licorice layered with vintage Japanese wool wrap belt (just rectangle belt with skirt hooks and side ruching), and Vogue 4180 made by my grandmother for my mother circa 1960. ❤

Must take good pictures now of Licorice and Taffy to share!

Cavanagh suit in progress!

6 Nov
Vogue Couturier Design 1277

Vogue Couturier Design 1277

I was hoping to have me-in-it picture to post this weekend but preview of coming attraction photo will have to suffice- the progress news is today sees first actual stitching since Sept!


More about rust Ginger

28 Oct


Supposed to be snapping more current image of the skirt but attention keeps lingering on the newly-arrived but long-cherished Victrola record cabinet (record player and baffling bulb and tube circuitry intact and and working-ish… ironically the place I lived for the last 11 years in MPLS was  3 blocks from a place that specialized in rehabbing the works of these things) this month inherited. I used to love playing 45s on it in the corner of my grandma’s rec room when I was a kid, she had these great old sets of Peter and the Wolf, with all the instruments doing the different animals, and Sparky’s Magic Piano, great fun.

So about the skirt. Clever seamstress eyes will of course detect the stress lines around the hips/waist area. I’m kind of too blinded by love of the skirt to be too bothered by it, and being a fall skirt it’s usually too covered by layers to be visible, but I’m also not entirely sure what happened. I used the exact modifications I used on my mustard Ginger, but this one has always fit just a little strangely through the hip, so I clearly did *something* differently.

I’m guessing it’s that it’s a melange of mystery synthetic fibers; I think I must have really shrunk the hip area while trying to ease in the waist or something. Either that or a strange cutting error. In any case, I’m not really sure what to take from this. Truth be told, I really hate working with synthetics generally just because they scare me to death for mostly this reason- so much mystery in what to expect, how to [pre]treat them, will I be able to get a halfway decent press (which is such an oddly satisfying part of the whole deal to me and so sadly lacking with these)? Give me wool any day. If I had to choose just one fiber to work with and wear for the rest of my life: wool, hands down! It’s true- I’d much rather invest my time and labor thoroughly preshrinking to know where I stand later. Too much I don’t understand about behavior of synthetics.

Both from my fall palette for the challenge @Coletterie


Evadress Coquette Blouse Ca 1928

28 Oct

Me-Made March 15

An older picture* of the same Evadress B20-53 Ladies’ Coquette Blouse, circa 1928; I love the really crisp criss-cross of the ties, at least when they are laying right.

I did have to improvise on this one though, I must admit, and I am not at all certain I got it right. Now I love Evadress patterns, company, Alexandra, her blog, everything, and don’t want to sound like a big cranky pants about any of the above- but I struggled with the instructions on the neck tie portion on this one to the degree that the blouse sat around unfinished and stared at for months. Then I moved from Minneapolis to Fargo and the actual instructions got lost in the move, so I just had to make it up anyway.

Evadress Coquette 1928 Blouse

I noticed on Pattern Review that I wasn’t the only one doing a little improvisation though- I think most people interpreted instructions that the tie would be cut singly and folded- which matches fashion illustration better- but I did mine cut double and sewn together- which matched the cutting layout and pattern shape (diagonal ends). Ditto for the neck-attaching instructions, which had been so generously translated from original French by Alexandra. For whatever reason I just wasn’t tracking them. I didn’t understand how much of the tie portion should attach to the neck portion, if that makes sense. So I probably left them too swingy and wobbly.

Hillary working the Coquetry with eponymous Evadress blouse: lapped seaming detail visible here

But really in the end, I love the blouse- I finally finished it in I think December or something, when I finally got up and sewing again after my move last year. I remember I wore it layered with all sorts of crazy things all winter because I thought it was the bee’s knees and couldn’t wait til Spring to wear it! I am hoping to make a variation of it very soon out of wool jersey, a quickie version that foregoes the cute but time-consuming lapped inset details on front and back.

*Shown with trousers from Evadress SE30-1210 4-Piece Tuxedo Ensemble, circa 1933, which is one of my very favorite Evadress patterns ever, and about which I have only the very nicest things to say. I made some little modernizations of fit and wear like invisible side zip and raised the crotch seam, but otherwise it’s just perfect!


Colette Ginger and Evadress 20s tie-neck blouse

28 Oct

9-26-27-11 01

Outtake on the rust tweed Colette Ginger, because notorious Fargo wind patterns causing interesting updraft (I’m standing on a kind of ledge or pylon with gap behind) and oddly triangular skirt shape. It does however show another perspective on how the outfit was supposed to look, with the wind catching the skirt instead of the blouse.

If I were to write the Great Fargo Novel, various winds would be main characters. I grew up in Bismarck which is another 200 miles further west and certainly even drier there and quite windy, but nothing like the blow-your-brain-out-your-ears windy it is here. I think because there are actually mature trees and variable surface topography there, so you don’t feel it the way you do here, where most of the trees are just along the river and it’s crazy-prehistoric-lakebed-flat-flat-flat, nothing at all to stop that wind. Anyone who does the Minneapolis to Seattle drive complains about the North Dakota leg because it’s so hard to stay awake, it’s just a straight shot across perfectly flat prairie or farmland terrain, the highway is for the most part like it was laid out with a straight edge directly across 3/4 of the state, and with about 70% less traffic than most of the rest of the country. All that flatness, the wind just comes roaring over it.


Fall is blowing away here already

28 Oct


The Cape crush: Mode Pratique 6 October 1928

28 Oct


Currently turning this one over in my brain, love the look, but a cape with a 6-inch gap in the front totally not even worth the time to make in my climate, even though I had myself talked into doing that for a day or two anyway, and had sketches of haircloth shoulder structure and neck straps to keep the thing afloat.  But once those Fargo nothing-to-stop-em-since-the-Rockies-700miles-away winds start kicking in, the reality of Open-Fronted Outerwear really sinks in as very funny hahahaha.  Especially something with built-in Toss Back And Look Saucy scarf, which would look silly layered with five other fluffy knits under.

So, now what to do to best preserve the look?  Toggles too prep school?  Hidden zip too playground?  Maybe some subtle vintage leather buckles?   I have some large coat buttons that coordinate well enough with my fabric, but together they bring  the whole thing into the 60s to me and I can no longer really visualize and enjoy the full Fall 1928 glamour of the original, so I kind of lose interest in the entire project.   Does anyone else have funny association-quirks like that to share that factor in their sewing?  Or other brilliant ideas for the scarf-cape?

BTW this one is featured in Mode Pratique of 6 Oct 1928 of which I have a copy, but it’s just the above illustration and a little article about capes in their big winter outerwear spread.  The pattern itself is in Mode Illustree in traceable form 11 Nov 1928 as far as I can make out, although I haven’t made much effort to get my hands on that one since it seems a pretty straightforward draft even for draft-dodging me.

Hello and welcome to my sewing blog!

28 Oct

Vogue 5456 ca. 1940s

Hi I’m Hillary and I love to sew, especially from vintage patterns, although I have a particular affection for Colette Patterns too. Previously most of my sewing has been posted to my Flickr page. Sewing is by far my favorite hobby, and there never seems enough time to do it in, which is why I have been so blog-resistant for so long. However, I have learned through wonderful Zoe’s Me-Made and Self-Stitched events how inspiring and rewarding it is to be more active and engaged with the extremely talented online sewing community, so I’m finally taking the plunge.

As I’m sure you’ll agree if you’re reading this, stitching is tops! A friend of mine calls it my sewing meditation because of its unique and profound de-stressing properties for me. Sewing just has so many more different facets for me than other pursuits- relaxation/antianxiety, intellectual/historical/continuing ed, creative/artistic and artisenal/crafting, and the sheer enjoyment of beautiful color and texture.

I plan to use the blog to document my sewing progress, but also to gush about my current pattern crushes, and muse about project challenges. In short, standard-issue sewing blog! Only sub-set really is my patterns overall tend to skew earlier in the 20th century.

My neighborhood, Fargo, 1912

Also, since I just moved to this oddball place last year, which is an interesting mix of intrigue, amusement, affection, and exasperation for me, I do find myself wanting to make Fargo a definite star of the blog. If I find I do in fact have readers and they actually turn out to be turned off by that aspect, I can of course tone down the Farblogsky. But Fargo is a major character in my life right now. Although I spent my whole adult life up til now in Minneapolis, I did grow up in Bismarck, way in the center of North Dakota where it starts to feel like “The West”, and thought I had a pretty good handle on what “North Dakota-ness” was to me, but this place is surprising in how completely different it is from my expectations.

Format around here is on the drawing board; I’ll be interested to hear what anyone thinks about the current theme/color scheme however (“Vertigo”). Since I work mostly in pretty saturated colors, I’m quite liking the black background and angley little grey frames quite a lot so far.