I’m writing posts in the wrong order, because I’ve already blogged my tutorial for a 1930s handkerchief halter, and really, the handkerchief halter came second, and this top was conceived, cut, and finished first – and helped inspire the later handkerchief halter.
The idea was to make 1930s beach pyjamas, with non-matching trousers (which done, and are my new favourite garment) and a halter top:
For fabric I had this amazing cotton muslin I bought at Global-That-Was (when it actually was Global Fabrics) thinking I would make something for Art Deco Weekend 2013. It didn’t happen then, or for 2014, so it was well overdue by this year:
Isn’t it fabulous? I particularly love the eye-bending ‘dazzle’ design (read my article in Issue 7 of Glory Days for more info on Dazzle))
For the pattern I used Wearing History’s Chic Ahoy halter as a base, altering it to remove the collar, and to add long wrap ties to fasten around the waist:
I have two regrets about the top. There is a seam running down the centre front, and when laying out the fabric for the top I purposely decided NOT to match the pattern across the seam, because I thought it would look weird if I did, and I had this idea that not matching the pattern would play up the broken ‘dazzle’ effect of the fabric.
In retrospect, I was wrong. Unmatched it just looks sloppy. Sigh.
The other regret? That one was a staying-up-too-late-sewing mistake. Because I’d gotten rid of the collar, I’d altered the halter top neck bit to sit snug around the back of my neck. Then, at the last minute, I taped the altered pieces at the top of the neck on the wrong way round when cutting, so the bits around the back of the neck curve slightly away from the body.
If I didn’t have scoliosis and sloping shoulders, I don’t think it would be a problem, but sometimes the neck gapes away from my body when I stand with the wrong posture.
I’m trying to figure out a way to fix it. This may simply involve unpicking the entire blouse, and re-cutting one front half to match the pattern if I have enough fabric, and doing some dazzling piecing around the top neck…
OK, those are my regrets. With them aside, I’m pretty thrilled with the top. It’s fun to wear!
For Art Deco Weekend I tied it with a rope cord, but somehow that’s gone missing, so I’ve tied the back with a ribbon for now.
And for those of you who are wondering about the practical mechanics of a practically backless halter top….
Yes, I am wearing a bra. Going bra-less would be period for a beach halter in the 1930s (there is lots photographic evidence of this), but I prefer a little more layerage (as opposed to coverage or support).
So I made a 1930s style dipped back bra by cutting apart a bra with reasonable ’30s cup shapes, and adding a new halter strap and very low, angled back straps, inspired by images of backless Kestos bras.
Here I am explaining to Kirsten how it works.
As you do.
The Challenge: #3 Stashbusting
Fabric: 1.2m of red, white & blue ‘Dazzle’ cotton muslin gauze, $15pm.
Stashed for: 2 years. Bought for Art Deco ’13, finally used for Art Deco ’15. (and the pattern was in stash for a year before I used it!)
Pattern: Adapted from on Wearing History’s Chic Ahoy halter pattern
Year: ca. 1933
How historically accurate is it?: Period fabrics and techniques, but I haven’t found a period halter that quite matches the look of this one. It would probably pass the not-weird-in-period test. So, 60%?
Hours to complete: 2.5, even including the toile. So satisfying!
First worn: Sat 21 Feb, at Napier’s Art Deco Weekend
Total cost: $22