A little mending

I actually did do some mending for the Make Do & Mend HSF challenge: there has just been so much else to post that I haven’t gotten around to writing about it!

First, a little 10 minute mend.  One of the bones in my 1770s silver gilt stays was the tiniest bit too long, and had worn a hole in the kid leather binding:

1770s silver gilt stays thedreamstress.com

I unpicked that section of the binding, slipped it off the tab, pulled out the bone, cut it shorter, and smoothed it off:

1770s silver gilt stays thedreamstress.com

Then I pushed the bone back in, and used a tiny piece of leftover kid to patch the area with the hole:

1770s silver gilt stays thedreamstress.com

All that was left to do was to slip the original binding back on, and re-sew it down:

1770s silver gilt stays thedreamstress.com
The Challenge: #1: Make Do & Mend

Fabric: a tiny scrap of kid leather

Pattern: My own, based on one in Jill Salens ‘Corsets’ book.

Year: ca. 1770

Notions: Just thread for the mending.

How historically accurate is it? Period stays were certainly mended, but my binding technique is not the most accurate, so my mend couldn’t be accurate.

Hours to complete: 10 min

First worn: No wearing plans at the moment, but I’m sure it will get worn sooner rather than later.

The second mend was a little more complicated.  I cut the pattern wrong with my 1900s Time Lady blouse (my fault – not the patterns!) and the neck back gaped.  I solved the problem during the photoshoot by simply taking in a pleat and safety pinning it down (I know!), but I wanted a permanent solution to the problem.

1900s Time Lady blouse thedreamstress.com

So I looked at extent 1900s blouses and blouse advertisements, and found examples with pintucks running down the entire back

1900s Time Lady blouse thedreamstress.com

So I unpicked the neck finish and the back waist-tie holder, and sewed pintucks down the entire back, releasing them just above the hem, so I didn’t have to unpick that.

1900s Time Lady blouse thedreamstress.com

The neck now sits nicely and snuggly against my neck, with no gaping.  And the back as a whole is a little slimmer, which will improve the fit.

1900s Time Lady blouse thedreamstress.com

It took a good hour to do, but well worth it, and I’m so pleased it’s done!

1900s Time Lady blouse thedreamstress.com

The Challenge: #1: Make Do & Mend

Fabric: 1.5m of circle patterned cotton broderie anglaise (for the original shirt)

Pattern: Wearing History’s 1900-1910 Edwardian Blouse

Year: ca. 1905

Notions: Just thread for the mending.

How historically accurate is it? My original blouse has some inaccuracy issues (the fabric, and the sewing techniques I used to compensate for it) but my mend is based on period examples, so is quite accurate.

Hours to complete: 1

First worn: Not sure when I’ll wear it again, but I’m waiting for an excuse! 

Total cost: $18

Noir Goddess

Oh my, what a week it’s been!  Teaching and sewing, a few marathon blog posts…

Time for something fun and light.

There was a professional photographer at last years Windy Lindy Noir ball, and I posed for photos in my Hula Goddess dress.  I’ve just got the photos, and I can’t wait to show you how gorgeous my three favourites are:

Hula Goddess dress thedreamstress.com photographed by Artful Dodge photography There was a chaise lounge!

Hula Goddess dress thedreamstress.com photographed by Artful Dodge photography

And best of all, this one, which looks so sweet and innocent, until you notice the grotesque hand shadow: how very noir!

Hula Goddess dress thedreamstress.com photographed by Artful Dodge photography

All the images are by Clive of Artful Dodge photography (pop over to his website and have a drool – I’m particularly in love with his pet photograph: he does pigs!)

The ‘Smooth Sewing’ trousers and twilight glory

Monday night I taught a class that finished at 8.30.  As I drove home in the summer twilight, there was not a breath of wind.  The harbour was deep teal, glassy and still, and mirrored back the changing sky, shot with lavender and pink, glowing gold at the Western horizon, and tinting to indigo over the Eastern hills.

Wellington, New Zealand, thedreamstress.com

When I arrived home Mr D met me at the door.  ”Isn’t it amazing!”  It was, indeed, amazing.  ”It’s a pity it’s so late, or we could go for a walk.”

“Why not?”  I said.

So we hopped in the car and drove round the bays to Hataitai Beach, where we walked around the waterfront, marvelling at the sea and the sky.  Every view yielded a new delight; every moment a subtle change in the glory.  We walked to the end of the little pier, surrounded by sea and sky, the lights and boats shimmering against the water.

Wellington, New Zealand, thedreamstress.com

I captured image after image of the view, and then asked Mr D to try to get one of my newly finished Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers.

“It will be too dark” he said.

But it wasn’t.

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com
So I sat on the pier, in the deepening dusk, and he snapped image after image, and I became part of the scene.  I’d meant to do a photoshoot with the trousers on Tuesday, in the city, all ’30s businesswoman, but this impromptu shoot was far better.

I am, for the record, madly in love with the trousers, and I’ve already gotten tons of compliments on them.  They only have one problem: the rayon is a little too light coloured, and a little too fine, and I can’t tuck ANYTHING into them without things showing.  So I see some nude tap pants and a few more shirts that I can tie in front coming up…

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com1930s/40s 'Smooth Sailing' trousers thedreamstress.com

We took photos until the light faded from the sky, taking the final traces of cerise and lilac with it and the sea changed from teal to midnight.  When the last of the light was gone, and the moon rose, we headed home.

Wellington, New Zealand, thedreamstress.com

The Challenge: #2 – Innovation

Fabric:  2.5m of slubbed rayon in palest golden yellow, found at an op-shop for $4 – I still have enough to make shorts or a blouse left over.

Pattern: Wearing History’s ‘Smooth Sailing’ Trousers.  

Year: 1935-39

Notions: Vintage thread, fusible interfacing (I know, an out of period cheat), a vintage zip, hooks and loops to fasten.

How historically accurate is it? Reasonable.  The fusible interfacing in the waistband isn’t helping it, but other than that everything was period accurate.  90%.

Hours to complete: 5.  Super fast and easy!

First worn: Mon 13 January to teach a class.

Total cost: $3

So what is the innovation in these?  They are a double-whammy: rayon, and women in trousers.  To read about women in trousers, pop over to Glory Days issue 2, page 36-37 and read my article on the Bifurcated Woman.  As for rayon, I’ll be covering that in a terminology post tomorrow!

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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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