Sunday, 16 February 2014

Move along now please, nothing to see here

For the first time, I find myself blogging about the fact that I've got nothing to blog about!

The current Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is Pink. This is the third challenge of the year, but the first one that I've attempted ('attempted' being the key word here). I've been very lax about posting links to the previous challenges: you can see the entries for Challenge 1, Make Do & Mend, here and here; while the entries for Challenge 2, Innovation, are here and here.

So, back to Pink. This is a challenge in itself, as pink is not a colour I wear very often. But after the fitting saga that was Vogue 8686 I wanted to make up another Vintage Vogue pattern, and try out The Dreamstress' suggestion of making it in a smaller size than normal. So, making the blouse from Vogue 2859 seemed like a quick project (ha!), and an easy (double ha!) way of easing myself back into HSF sewing.

Vogue 2859 blouse detail, front and back

I bought a fine washed satin in a pretty coral colour (it's nothing like the vibrant pink in the photograph below, blame the flash on my camera for that), shortened the pattern, and set to work. The first sign that all was not well came before I had even laid on a pattern piece. The fabric length was cut on the straight grain at one end, but cut very squint indeed on the other, so I tore it to get the straight grain at both ends. The piece I tore off is at folded at the bottom left of the picture below, so you can see just how squint it was.

When I folded the fabric in half, I discovered that one side was longer than other! The selvedges were a bit puckered, so I snipped into them to loosen any tightness in the weaving, but to no avail. Then I cut off selvedges altogether and removed any odd odd warp threads, so the piece was exactly straight on all four sides. Despite this, it was still 1.3m long on one side and 1.34m long on the other. Very odd.

Instead of taking this as an Awful Warning, I carried on. The pattern only has four pieces; front, back, two long rectangles for the tie belt and a small buttonhole facing. There are no other facings. As with Vogue 8686 however, there are some very strange shapes.

Blouse front (top), back (bottom right), and torn-off fabric

Well, I don't know if I'm having a particularly dense weekend, but this pattern seems to be entirely beyond me. The instructions don't make sense, and the pattern illustrations bear no resemblance to the part-made garment in front of me. So I'm putting down my scissors and stepping away from the worktable for a bit.

However, as one picture of garish pink fabric does not a decent blog post make, here are some pictures of various dresses (well, mostly dresses) in various shades of pink that I have seen in my travels.

1830s cotton dress, Snibston Discovery Museum

Unfinished 1860s day dress, Fashion Museum, Bath

!908 silk day dress, Macclesfield Silk Museum

1920s dress, Alexandre Vassiliev Collection

1920s dress (detail), Alexandre Vassiliev Collection

1920s dress, Fashion Museum, Bath

1937 Schiaparelli evening coat (detail), Victoria and Albert Museum

1942 dress, Snibston Discovery Museum

1950s evening dress, Fashion Museum, Bath

Mid 1950s Horrockses cotton dress

Horrockses housecoats

Late 1940s Horrockses cotton sunsuit

Late 1940s Horrockses cotton sunsuit

1960s Fortnum and Mason evening dress, Fashion Museum, Bath

1960s Hardy Amies evening dress, Fashion Museum, Bath

Shoes, Fashion Museum, Bath


  1. They are truly strange shapes! Can't wait to see the result though. Sometimes I cut an approximation of the same shapes out of a smaller piece of notepaper - it seems to be easier to fiddle with a stiffer small scale piece than the real thing, to get the hang of which edge ends up where. I love the pink dresses you found. Have you seen Leimomi's one yet?
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Lyndle, I think I'm going to need it! Leimomi's dress is lovely, such a cute fabric!