Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pardon the dust....

The setup I've been using finally bugged the crap out of me enough to get me to change it, but changing, alas, resulted in the biggest mess in the kitchen ever, so I apologize.

Layout and so forth should be settled by the weekend, fingers crossed. In the meantime, please pardon the pandemonium.

P.S.: What kind of resolution do people usually set their browsers to anyway??

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holy Side Quest, Batman! (Revenge of the Petticoat)

Towards the end of spring as I was beginning to finally smell the wafting freedom associated with graduation, I purchased a skirt on ebay. This skirt, or really a petticoat, was beautiful- elaborate embroidery, net lace, just amazing. That, coupled with the price ($10) seemed to have thoroughly distracted me from the piece's waistband. Upon finally getting in my hands months later (it arrived after I left for Japan), my newly sharpened vintage senses were completely dashed to a million pieces when I spotted the following.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Supply run....

Over the weekend I visited my regular sewing supply shop. This place is good for basics, but the materials that they have available aren't very high quality and they're missing some pretty crucial stuff considering what their apparent foci are. About half the shop is devoted to making clothing and household textiles, and the other half is devoted to hobbies. It's not a huge shop, but it's a good size for Japan, I think.

I went in looking for two things: something resembling a yardstick, and a tailor's ruler. Bonus points if it also had inches.

I was able to find a good middling size ruler that could still fit in a bag, and a book of stick pins for when it comes time to fit the pattern to the fabric. No curved tailor's rulers, though. None at all. In fact, it was so conspicuously absent from a shop that was half set up for people to make clothing that I was almost tempted to ask where in the world they must've bought theirs from.

Probably from somewhere that requires a car to access.

I also took a look at their sewing machines for kicks. I can't really afford one right now, and I don't feel nearly cool enough (or ready for that matter) to attain the achievement of owning one yet, but it was interesting none the less. The store mostly sells Brother sewing machines, which the internet says generally gives you the most bang for your buck. Doesn't sound too bad.

I also looked over additional copy paper, seeing if they had any carbon paper but I was out of luck on that count. A rotary cutter was also tempting, but then you have to buy the cutting board, and the extra wheels, and it seemed like way too much of a hassle right now. For someone who said they'd do this the old fashioned way and all by hand, I've found myself looking at way too many potential shortcuts recently, haha.

All in all, it wasn't the most fruitful trip, but you take what you can get. This weekend will be part two of drafting- the back half of the shirtwaist. Should be way easier with a real straight edge, now!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


After taking my own measurements (which wasn't always easy) using the ten directions from my last post, the next step was to draft one half of the front of the shirtwaist in your own size. Although the directions specifically were to take ten measurements total and make ten different drafts according to those different measurements, I've decided to only do just my own, mostly because I don't think the locals would take kindly to an obviously mad person chasing after them with a tape measure and probably accidentally touching their boobs in the process.

Moving on from that delightful image....

The drafting began by making two lines two inches into the paper for the draft to hang off of. Since all my tools, and all my paper for that matter, is in metric, this made it rather difficult. Since, though, consistency matter more than actual size for these particular lines, they ended up a little wider than two inches. The draft started from the top and worked its way down. Using a combination of logically labeled lines and dots (which became less logically labeled as the draft progressed), it was a relatively easy process aside from the dressmaking trigonometry involved. My personal favorite was an instruction that asked you to subtract one measurement from another and then divide the result by four. How did people come up with this stuff? Anyway, it probably would have been even easier if I'd had inch-using tools to work with.
Because nothing says fashion like a
tight-laced corset that warps your

The most difficult part was probably the image above- drafting the darts. This was mostly due to the fact that I do not have a dressmaking curve ruler thing, so I free-handed it using the image in the book as a reference. When it came time to make the mirrored darts at the bottom, I freaked out a little about symmetry and tried folding the paper along the waist line there thinking if I ground in the lead hard enough into the paper that I might be able to see it through the other side and trace a copy, but it was no good. After going through the trouble of folding the paper, though, I realized that trying to trace it like a mirror was probably useless anyway because of the slope the darts were sitting on.

Probably worth noting, too, is how different my waist line is compared to the book's waist line. The book said that the line changes depending on the measurements of the person and can tend to slope the other way (such as mine is) when the front of the person is 'shorter' than the back of them. I shrugged this off as an entertaining anomaly at first, but the more I thought about it as I worked and the more I looked at the model, the more I realized that my front measurements are short compared to the example because the example was measured most likely in the shape of a pigeon-breasted waist, which was all the rage in 1909. So really, my measurements were normal- it's the examples that are freakishly disproportioned.  (PS: sorry for the bad position of the vintage picture- blogger isn't cooperating with me at all this evening.)

It was just after I finally finished getting both sets of darts right that I read this:
"The darts below the waist line are made here to give the idea of how they should appear in the tight- fitting dresses, such as the Princess, and sometimes wrappers.    They are not used in waists."

Oh well. You live and learn. My goal is to eventually make a coat anyway......