Sunday, 27 August 2017

Vintage Lingerie: My Sewcialists' Tribute in a Book Review plus How to Scale Up the Patterns and a Me-Made 1930's Girdle

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)
Kxx


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?

19 comments:

  1. What a clever idea for a tribute when you had no time to sew!

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    1. Thanks Gillian. I am nothing if not resourceful. Feel like I am cheating but it is only cheating if someone complains. :) Xx

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  2. What glorious girdles! You have the most amazing sewing skills. They are simply beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Evie, I really enjoyed sewing them and even enlarging the pattern. Definitely am not going to take any credit for these ones though. The girdle pattern was so beautifully drafted by someone that really understood design lines and shaping. They are the most beautiful shape and were a joy to put together. I made them up out of remnants that were lying about too so were a very good stash buster! Xx

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  3. You are such a perfectionist, they are simply gorgeous. But when I think about being strapped into one.... I loved the long petticoat, and isn't that such a pretty, feminine word, much better than underslip/skirt. And do young women wear them these days? Being an old biddy, I was raised to wear one, and still do, and in fact clothes hang better with one and I feel odd without.
    Take care lovely..

    www.lifeatemsplace.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Edwina, I don't know about being a perfectionist. I can see so many things wrong with these girdles. Maybe you are right then. :) I adore that petticoat. It is a great word and a bit old-fashioned now. Makes me think of the 70's in a "Granny Takes A Trip" or Biba sort of way. Actually, it is a timeless design. Lots of boho clothing brands doing similar stuff at the moment. My Mum used to make me wear one but I don't think that people wear them much now. I think that clothes hang better with one too, especially if they are not lined. Take care too! :) Xx

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  4. ohhhhhhhhhhhh such prettiness! And a tribute! Squeeeee! I really really must get that book now, if anyone needs a girdle, it's me...

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    1. Well after your round-up post I saw the combinations, thought of you and an idea was formed. :) You do sew the absolute best underthings so my sewing hat is doffed in your honour. I thought that the petticoat looks right up your street too. I might give it a go in black It would be fab hacked into a dress. The book is well worth it as it is not expensive. Really well drafted out patterns too. Do you have the corset one? It is also worth a buy. There is a vintage swimwear one but I break out in a cold-sweat at the thought of exercise. Still the cover outfit looks really pretty. And no you don't need a girdle. :) Xx

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  5. Those are so beautiful. Corsetry looks so hard; your pieces are always really impressive.

    Demented Fairy looks like fun. (And she's at The Asylum. It feels as though everyone I know was at The Asylum.)

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    1. Thank you, Mim. Corsetry is completely deceptive. If you can sew a straight line you can sew a corset. It is just a bit time consuming and you need to be quite neat. Perfect thing to sew for me who has no time and is a bit messy, not! Ms Fairy's blog is very fun. Lots of nice sewing and good old fashioned innuendo. I am not at Asylum although I would love to go though. Maybe next year. Xx

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  6. These are incredible! They look so intricate and beautifully made.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. Great blog by the way. Your garments are beautifully sewn and very stylish. Xx

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  7. The diagrams for those corsets are so terrifying I'm getting palpitations just looking at them!
    Your corsets are truly stunning, absolute masterpieces, you've got such talent! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Vix. The pattern is the one to thank. So beautifully drafted and such a delight to sew up, They were made from remnants too so I felt pretty good about squeezing them out of stuff that was far too wee for anything else. Makes up for spending all that time grading them up. Actually it is not as bad as it looks, just really, REALLY time consuming. I would love to make one in my size. There are some gorgeous things in that book. Xx

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  8. I love the colours on these - don't know if I would like wearing them though! :)

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    1. Thank you! I love the colours, especially the golds & browns. It is so vibrant in real life as the gold is slightly shot with a deep red. I think that they would be quite uncomfortable to wear all day. I think that my versions are a bit thicker than their inspiration garment but they're quite long so would probably be quite restrictive. Still they are an amazing shape and would certainly give you the very lithe fluid lines needed under all those wonderful bias-cut dresses of the period. Xx

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  9. Kelly, the corsets are amazingly beautiful. The scaling thing would give me the heebie jeebies; so fair play to you for being able to a) understand it and b) do it!

    That does look like a fascinating book even to a non sewer like me. I remember both selling some of those girdles in my Saturday job when I was at school as well as my mum wearing them!

    Keep up the sewing - you are so talented at it.

    xxxxx

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    1. Hi Veronica, Hope that you have had a fantastic summer. Thank you! The scaling thing is quite time-consuming but not too bad once you get into it. I remember my Mum wearing girdles like these but more of the roll-on variety. She was bemoaning that people don't wear them now just the other day but I suppose that they are the same as shape wear, in principle at least. I have actually started sewing again. It is fun. Hope that we can catch up again soon. Xx

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