Are you a Sewcialist? No matter what your answer is to that question it's been a whole lot of fun looking at the wonderful garments made by everyone taking part in August's Tribute Month. I really enjoyed the "Inspiration Post" series that ran in July and how those have panned out into some great garments. Lots of new-to-me sewing bloggers with such a wealth of talent.
I am absolutely snowed under with work, even on this Bank Holiday weekend (which is why I am procrastinating writing a blog post) and just don't know just how much sewing I will be getting done any time soon so I am going to dedicate this book review as my Sewcialists'' Tribute to Elaine over at The Demented Fairy who makes the most bonkers, wonderful Steampunk-inspired costumes and "muggle" clothes. Honestly, I would kill for half this woman's wardrobe.
It was her recent post on lingerie that got me thinking, so with my best multi-tasking hat on I will be reviewing Jill Salen's wonderful book, "Vintage Lingerie", sharing the resource that enabled me to scale-up the patterns to a wearable size and showing a couple of me-made girdles drafted from the pattern for a 1932 girdle in this book in a tribute to her "smalls"-making skills.
This book, Jill Salen's "Vintage Lingerie: Historical Patterns and Techniques", and her corset one, are my go-to books if I want to sew some lingerie.
The contents are in the format of an introduction followed by projects laid out as gorgeous colour photos of the garments which are culled from her own collection or from museums. The book ends with some very useful techniques.
There are 27 different projects in the book which makes this a very good buy even if you only make 2-3 of them as it is a wonderful resource.
Along with the photos are descriptions and a little history of the garments written in an informal, entertaining style.
Each garment comes with a double-page layout of the pattern drawn to a scale at either 1 square: 1 inch or 2:1 and require scaling up to the required size before use.
This is the tricky part and will take a bit of patience, a decent ruler, french curves and
a lot of swearing pattern paper. I drafted up the 1932 girdle pattern above to a modern size 8 using the measurements outlined in "Metric Pattern Cutting" by Winifred Aldrich as I was fitting models but you can use your own stats just as easily.
I used the method of enlarging based on percentages that is found over at the Foundation Revealed website. The link can be found here. Seriously, this is probably the most useful thing that you will ever learn if you need to scale up these kind of patterns. This technique could probably be used to size-up just about anything. I really must have a go with a "proper" sewing pattern.
Definitely, owe the author, Cathy Hay an eternal debt of gratitude for writing this guide.
The two things that are massively important: grain lines and balance points. Very handily marked on the patterns so remember to transfer them over. It will make a massive difference to the success of your garments.
Also, boring I know but you will need to make a toile, unless you are very brave and trust your drafting (or very lucky and fit into the original garment measurements).
So how did my attempts turn out? I think pretty well. I loved sewing these girdles. They are made of an outer fabric of silk duping flatlined to corset coutil and lined in my trademark quilting cotton colourful linings.
I still haven't finished these girdles as they need their suspenders on the bottom so could be considered UFO's. I also have no idea where to buy the little hooks and eyes that are stamped through the front of the girdles so the bottoms still need some sort of closure above where the suspenders are. I could have used eyelets but they might be a bit of a faff to get on and off then. A longer busk would have been very unfortunate when you sat down.... ooft!
I do love the lines. They look much better on. If they look a bit collapsed in the rear on my dress form this is because they need a rounded bum to fill them out. These girdles would give you an fantastic shape and would look ace lengthened into a corset dress. No idea how comfy they would be wearing them all day but shaped like that who would care?
So have you taken part in Tribute Month? Do you admire someone's sewing skills or (bonkers) pattern choices? Do you like historical sewing?
Hope that life isn't totally pants, lovelies! (groan)
N.B. Just for the sake of clarity I don't own the pics from the book. I bought it with my own money and would gladly recommend anyone with a passion for vintage lingerie to do the same. I also made my girdles a couple of years ago...... but hey who is counting?