Friday, August 28, 2020

Making a 1950s Pin-Up Top | Simplicity 1426

 The perfect ingredients for a quick, satisfying sewing project:

  • 1 scrap of fabric
  • 2 matching vintage buttons
  • Remnant of thread long enough to sew on those buttons
  • a Big 4 pattern without ridiculous amounts of ease (Simplicity 1426!)
I'm currently working on an 1850's corset, but I needed a quick, palette cleanser project to keep my sewing motivation high. I found Simplicity 1426 in my stash, a reproduction 1950s pattern for 5 different bra tops that I've been wanting to try for years. I had a remnant of vintage printed cotton (given to me by my grandma, who likely bought in between the 1960s-80s) that was just enough to cut out View B, with some piecing on the back.

Changes I made to the pattern:
  • I changed the arrangement of the buttons so that the two buttons were placed horizontally rather than vertically; this was more aesthetically pleasing and allowed me to tighten up the band of the "bra" for more support
  • I added bias strips of white cotton sateen to the straps for some subtle contrast (you can watch my video below to learn how I did that!)

Overall, I really enjoyed working with this pattern. I cut a Size 8, which had barely any ease and fit almost perfectly, with the exception of the straps that are a bit too long -- but I'm petite anyway, and should've checked the strap length before sewing. Not only is the pattern true to size, it's a quick, easy make that can be achieved in a few hours. You can adapt most of the views of the pattern into tops by extending the bottom bands to cover the midriff. 

I also had just enough fabric left over to make a matching face mask! Safe and stylish 😍

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Examining an Original 1860s Chemise & Nightgown


I recently had the extraordinary luck of finding an antique chemise and nightgown set on Facebook Marketplace for $10! I believe the set dates to the 1860s. Both garments are decorated with tatted lace and drawn thread work, and the nightgown is additionally ornamented with pintucks.

Remarkably, both the chemise and nightgown appear to be made of linen, and the side seams - like in 18th century shifts - take advantage of the linen selvedges by having the selvedges whip stitched together.

If you're interested in seeing more of the technical and decorative details of these garments, please watch my video, below!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Examining 1840s Bodice Styles

The 1840s is my favorite decade of Victorian fashion. Coming right after the absurdly voluminous silhouette of the 1830s, women’s fashion of the 1840s was characterized by details that emphasized a slim silhouette: straight, fitted sleeves; long, full skirts, and perhaps the most emblematic of the era: the “fan front,” so called because of the gathering at the center front of the bodice fans over the bust. But there is a stunning variety of bodice styles from the 1840s in addition to the "fan front"! 

Please watch my video below (part of this weekend's Cocovid programming) to see how I examined daguerreotypes, portraits, and extant garments from the 1840s to identify common and unusual design elements of that period to better understand the beautiful variety of bodice styles that existed.

Sources (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art):

Thumbnail/Header image: The Clark Sisters, 1840s colorized by Klimbim