Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Antique bodice - early 1900s

This weekend I went to the City Wide Garage Sale and was thrilled to find a couple of very antique bodices, as well as some Edwardian unmentionables and an interesting old nightgown. I'm going to post pictures of all of these things but one at a time, since the posts are going to be picture heavy.

My favorite vendor had this bodice. I about died when I saw it. I know it's been hacked up but I just loved it. The fabric is a thick, deep black silk with a lovely sheen, and it's in incredibly good condition. Just a couple of tears on the front of the bodice. It's lined with black polished cotton (I think), and the boning is secured with black petersham ribbon. Fastens with hooks on the back. Without further ado...

Bodice front back. The creases from the pleats are still crisp, even though the trim was cut away. Hopefully long ago.

Bodice spread out, looking at it from the back front. The fabric from the back of the bodice has been hacked away but the lining is intact and in amazing condition. Look at those sleeves!

Bodice back front.

Bodice interior.
There is a lot of hand sewing in this bodice, but there also appears to be machine stitching too. For instance, the sleeves were pieced. When I looked inside the sleeves, they appeared to have originally been machine stitched, and then the fullness was taken in at some point, and that was done by hand.

Exterior of pieced sleeves. God, fluorescent lighting is awful. The color of the fabric is nothing like this.

Inside of the pieced sleeves. Do you see the stitching at the bottom, which is machine stitching, and the stitching at the top where the sleeve was taken in is obviously hand stitching.
Machine and hand stitching.


This is the inside of the undersleeve. This is machine stitching, right?

Construction of the bodice wasn't as meticulous as I'd thought it would be! But that makes me happy, because then I don't have to be so critical of my own craftsmanship. Although that doesn't mean I don't continuously try to improve.

But look at the way this lace was attached at the back shoulder--it was too long, so the maker folded the excess underneath and basted it down.

Look how this excess trim was dealt with. I wonder if this trim came from another gown, and that's why it was too long for this?
Oops, the neckline was too wide. I love that little tuck to take it in. I have to do stuff like that a lot.

I really wish the neckline trim was still there. What are the hooks on the back of the bodice neckline for? What are the hooks on the inside back of the bodice for?

Is my guess correct, that this is an 1860s bodice? It doesn't appear to have dropped shoulders though. But pagoda sleeves were popular in the 1850s-1860s, and I think the pleated front was too. Isabel, if you're reading this, would you weigh in?

ETA: No, my guess was not correct! It was off by several decades! Isabella from All the Pretty Dresses kindly educated me and provided lots of links in her comment that helped me see what she was seeing.

And then I saw this picture from the Barrington House web page and it makes me think my bodice must have looked very much like this one:

I can just picture my bodice with fitted lower sleeves like this and flounces down the front.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Simplicity 7454 vintage maxi dress

I finally made up my vintage Simplicity 7454 maxi dress pattern that I mentioned way back in November. I was inspired by Oonaballoona's post from June 2013. As soon as I saw her beautifully bold, summery, amazing dress, I knew I had to have one of my own. I finally found the perfect fabric for my dress from... where did I order it from? Denver Fabrics, I think.

Loud, splashy tropical print + vintage maxi dress pattern = BRING IT.

I loooove the colors of this fabric. Also, this style makes me look tall and slim. No complaints here.

One of the straps ended up closer to the center back than I'd intended. I have the worst problems with placing shoulder straps. I'm happy to see that the flaw isn't really noticeable. Also, the back has a string tie. I was going to use a zipper instead because I thought the string ties were stupid. Then I decided to just go with the string ties. They really are stupid. Next time, I'm using a zipper.

I love how this fabric drapes.

Can't go wrong with an A-line dress. They're always flattering, even when they're in the form of vintage maxi muumuu dresses.

I was surprised at how much fabric this pattern does NOT require. I bought five yards of this fabric (it was only like $2.00 a yard) thinking it had a directional print, but when it arrived I realized it doesn't. Since it's 60 inches wide, I made this dress out of barely over 2 yards of fabric. I still have 3 yards left to make something else fabulous with.

A few brief notes about making up the dress:

  • I had to shorten the pattern by about four inches, and I still feel like it's a bit too long. Perfect for lounging out on the balcony on a sweltering early summer evening with a cocktail though. 
  • The pattern comes with a knee-length version as well, which I'm definitely going to make up. 
  • This pattern was so easy. 
  • The straps and the front band didn't even require interfacing, which made me happy. 
  • No darts, no gathers, no tucks, no princess seams. Just straight lines. 
  • I forgot to add the patch pockets. 
  • It was a size medium, 12-14, but there was only one cutting line on the pattern (i.e., there wasn't a line for size 12 and another line for size 14). That corresponded to a 34"-36" bust. 
  • My bust is 37" and I always pick the size that goes with a 36" bust and never have problems, but I had to grade the upper bodice of the dress down by about an inch total on each side, and I think it still gapes a bit but it's not really noticeable at all.

This pattern has such a wonderful drape, I really did feel regal as I swished around the apartment in my new dress.

You can kind of see how the fabric moves in this picture, where I turned around too quickly trying to get a shot of the back of the dress.

In conclusion, I love this pattern. The other bloggers who made up this pattern were not just whistling Dixie when they praised it.

Finally, a couple pictures of my amiga Lulu, who loves to photobomb my crappy photoshoots.

She's such a beautiful dog. I got really lucky with her.

That face!