Monday, June 30, 2008

Back Embellishment

I feel like I'm alternating between older items I've come across, and more recent items. This probably won't continue for much longer, and if I don't go on an internet hiatus I'll have to work on seeking out more items of interest. In any case, I mentioned a couple posts back that I've been working on clothing with embellishment on the back recently. Bonzie of Designs by Bonzie, an Independent Fashion Label posted a plum jacket she created a while back. I was really taken with the fleur de lis design on the back. I generally avoid symmetry, simply because I don't want to worry about having the two halves match; I'm just lazy that way. Bonzie also has an etsy shop with another jacket featuring embellishment on the back.

Also posted a while back, apparently a long while back, by La Carmina was a feature on Lacrima and its Wa Lolita apparel. Wa Lolita is hybrid style of traditional Japanese and Lolita. I think the combination of the two styles is amazing, but La Carmina's post notes that the style isn't as popular as the more traditional Lolita styles. (The dress displayed in La Carmina's original post.) Lacrima's site might be a little challenging to navigate, but the images are worth it.

Ending on a random anecdote, I was viewing housing the other day and the saleslady commented on my skirt, and how rare it is these days to see someone in a long skirt. I was somewhat amused. I've got a couple short (knee length) skirts that I rarely wear, because my legs are scary white and I can't tan (I just burn). So, I wear long skirts, pretty much every day unless I'm using my bike to travel (in which case I have a dedicated grease stained pair of pants). My cousin-in-law was actually surprised to see me in a pair of pants when I had lunch with them. Oddly enough, I only have about six of these long skirts, and somehow I manage to run out of coordinating tops fairly regularly. I guess most of my skirts have similar color tones. I do have plans, and fabric, to make another three or so long skirts. Two of the fabrics at least, should add a much needed change of hue. I may need to make tops that match however.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A suit, of sorts.

I came across this dress at Antique Dress back in March, which only goes to show how long it took me to get around to creating a blog. The dress is listed as circa 1904, in wool, angora, and velvet.

In any case, I love it and at some point (after the to-be green dress), I'm going to recreate it. The only thing I may change is the floral design, or rather the method of floral design. Maybe. I have this current fascination with ribbon embroidery; at some point I'll actually try it, and probably ditch the obsession. Also, I have this desire to use up existing cloth in my stash, so I may have to change the color. I currently have a pale green wool, that's supposed to be for a suit anyways, and a purple wool, that was supposed to be for a cloak. On the other hand, they're both fairly thin wools, and this outfit may need a fabric with more structure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Edwardian

I've been busy and out of town, hence the long break in posting. One project involved a last minute (2-day) dress being sewn, because I didn't think anything in my closet was suitable. It's off topic, since I designed it before my current Victorian and Edwardian obsession, and it needs revisions. Going from a pattern made from a woven mockup to a stretch fabric is challenging. Far better than my last attempt, but I think what I want to do with the bust part of the dress may not be entirely feasible. I'm still running revision options through my head.

I've also learned that stitching a design on the back takes me about 10 hours; this is the second back design I've completed. At some point an embroidery machine will be an excellent investment (I think), but in the meantime I'm getting decent at maneuvering a hooped piece of fabric around curves (with the feed dogs on).

Now, back to the regular content. Indiamos has added some updates to A Daily Hint From Paris flickr set.

I'm rather taken with the trailing flower vine going up the underskirt on the left dress, and the flowery vest of the second outfit.

The problem with stitching a design on the back of my clothing is that I can't enjoy looking at it, and neither can anyone talking to or facing me. It's only visible if I walk by and someone happens to be looking at my back. My next shirt is already supposed to have design elements on the front rather than the back; it's just so tempting to fill in the large blank space of the back.

I think the amount of detail on the vest could drive me nuts if I took my usual approach, but it might be an excellent application of the Spoonflower custom fabric printing. I think I can get around a flat quarter of full design in an uncompressed tiff file, but I haven't tried uploading a compressed file. My test project when I'm ready to splurge the money is to see how large of a design I can get in a single file. I'm thinking there are some really cool possibilities with seam matching and such if entire pattern pieces can be printed out (kind of like ClothKits, but with customized clothing and designs).

Of the other newer images, the triangles on the bottom of the skirt in this Mauve Satin dress I find amusing. I also find this Velvet and Ermine Mantle entertaining, but in this case I like the interesting design.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Burda Fashion History

Burda has a series of images of past Burda styles, titled Fashion History. There's around 60 images over the two sets they currently have available. I went through and selected out my favorites, listed below.

From the 1966 group:
I wasn't much of a fan of this group of images; I can't see these styles of dresses fitting on me well. In this sleek black dress, I like the lace sleeves with the lace ruffles on the wrists and the lace ruffle along the collar. In this empire line dress, I thought the bust gathers (pleats?) were interesting, especially how they come out of the lower seam.

From the 1956/1957 group:
These three jackets are bit different from modern day jackets, and they have a fitted waist: a set of double pockets, a corded collar and double-breasted front, and a lace overlay. The last had a caption describing a cream colored lace over taffeta, which could come off too frilly but could also be really elegant.

I also found several interesting skirts. This red dress has some odd pleating on the skirt; a little bizarre, but still interesting. This green dress has all the pleating bunched together at the side front seams. I really like it and I'm debating duplicating just the skirt portion; I am in need of new skirts anyway. I'm not a fan of the mustard color, but the waist detail on this dress I found intriguing, and I thought the dress as a whole kind of nice.

These three coats are all somewhat similar: a "classic, double-breasted redingote", a green wool coat with fur collar, and a "princess coat" with a large flat collar. I have a coat planned already, and only the back is the part of the design I want to keep, so I could certainly flare the skirt out more, and add some of the front details like the large collars and the pockets.

I think I'm just a sucker for a nicely fitted waist.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I'm shamelessly stealing Erin's Friday title from A Dress A Day. I've browsed my way through the top 60 blogs listed in Suzi's blog list, that I mentioned in my last post. So I've come across some number of items, or parts of items, none of which really warrant their own post. So I'm lumping them all together.

First, Erin linked to an older guest post that discusses body shape and what to wear (along with how to imitate a different body shape). The interesting tidbit was that commercial RTW assumes an 8in difference between waist and hips. The hourglass figure has at least a 10in difference, and shoulders as wide as hips (based on looking in a mirror). So I am reminded that I am an hourglass (my hip waist difference varies between 10 and 12in). That would also explain why every time I tried to buy pants they were always 2in too large in the waist if the hips fit.

Adriana, of The Princess Seam, discusses waistcoats. A recent Burda WOF (2/2008) has a waistcoat pattern: 116A and 116B. Cidell of Miss Celie's Pants has created this waistcoat in black. Oddly enough I was more interested in the pattern when all I saw was a scaled down image. The dithering of the red and white stripes somehow makes it look kind of lacy, almost like it was partially knitted with cabling or some lacy pattern. This is the kind of pattern where it'd be interesting to see how everyone makes it unique. I'd make the shoulder ruffles out of organza, make the bottom edge larger and move it up on the side seam so it joins at (or near) my true waist, possibly insert a peeking lace trim along that lower seam (and if not, do something interesting with the pockets), and maybe make the collar a little wider and out of some organza and lace combination. Color wise, I'd probably go with a pale gray or greenish-gray matte fabric.

Phyllis, of The Sewing Divas, shows a side-by-side example of a stylized pattern illustration and the resulting dress. It's a good example because I found the illustration intriguing, but the actual dress not so interesting.

Next, the parts of items I found interesting. Debbie, of Stiches and Seams, mentions a pair of capri pants she's working on, and I have to agree that this pocket looks like fun. Or rather, I like the fan pintuck design.

Bonzie, of Independent Fashion Label, shows off a summer dress. I like the flowers going up along one side of neck (see here), but personally I don't care much for the large lump of flowers not quite center front. I'm still hoping that at some point I can experiment with silk ribbon embroidery and ribbon flowers to add a dainty bit of uniqueness to a few of the garments I make.

Cidell shows some of her favorites from Mrs. Stylebook. I like the asymmetry of the front design on this blouse, and I also like the sleeves. I'd probably have the front design come down from the shoulder design rather than up from the armpit, however.

I like the sleeve detail on this shirt. (Found by way of this post.)

This post by La Carmina has some interesting underwear; unfortunately they're supposedly for men (I find this odd, but to each their own desires). The idea of pintucking and lace with a few bows, however, seems like some nice decoration for underwear.