Here’s another item I made this year, but failed to blog about.

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Finished dress front

This dress started with the fabric. I bought a three yard remnant with vague ideas of making a dress from it. When it came down to actually making it I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough fabric. Color blocking seemed the obvious solution. I went with a lighter shade from the print to keep it lighter for the late summer wedding I’d wear it to.

I wanted a fuller skirt, but longer than any pattern I had. I settled on an original 40s dress bodice and a reproduction ’61 dress skirt, lengthened. The bodice had a back zip and the skirt a size zip, so I’d move the skirt’s to the side and still managed to put pockets in. Every skirt needs pockets. I did a mock up in a flimsy, ghastly, mustard cotton and it looked like things were going about to plan. Then things went wrong.

The 40s bodice had an obvious spot to color block, the yoke and collar were one piece, so I’d do that and the bottom 1/3 of the skirt in the solid light blue. What I didn’t realize, even after the mock up, was that the way the arm holes of the bodice were cut, which allows for quick construction and was fairly shape confirming in wimpy cotton, would be stiff and look at least one size too large when made in two layers sturdier fabric. It was almost done and I hated it. Hated it. It was frumpy on me and the extra fabric under the arms didn’t help.

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Original 40s dress bodice

What I should have done was cut the yoke in the print and done the fold over collar portion in the light blue. Then I would have merely been disappointed with the arm hole fit.

It was one day before the wedding and I couldn’t wear it the way it was. Thereafter ensured a flurry of seam ripping to get the maximum possible fabric (ripping all of the top stitching so I could iron out every millimeter of the main torso pieces) and fiddling, this way and that, with what I had left. The pockets has taken up too much fabric because I tried to hang them from the waist seam inside. Ultimately this wouldn’t work and I’d cut them way back, thereby waisting a bunch of the print fabric. Grrr. I had absolutely nothing extra and no pieces that would cover the length of my torso, front and back.

So it would be a yoke after all. But how would I make the color blocking tie in? I tried several patterns in my stash and nothing quite worked. The 40s pattern was too shapeless, meaning that no other arm hole would work with the way the fabric had been cut.

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The only solution was an entirely new bodice. I didn’t have a plain basic bodice pattern in my size. I had to make one, fitting it with my husband’s assistance (which mostly involved him taking pics so I could see what was going on). I turned the bottom half of the originally cut bodice sideways and with one decently sized scrap came up with a single piece full front piece.

While trying to get the mock-up on I simply cut a slit down the back, from the neck hole, thinking I’d decide on the neck shape once it was on me. That’s when the ah-ha moment happened. The slit could stay, faced with the light blue to match the skirt’s color blocking.

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From there it was just a matter of binding the arm holes, stitching down the lining inside the yoke, attaching the bodice and skirt, putting in the zip, trimming off three inches of the bottom of the skirt (because the length of the 40s skirt really looked so much better in sturdy cotton) and hemming. Oh, and make a narrow self-fabric belt.

Finished just in time, I wore it with a full tulle underskirt and self painted, fabulous, blue heels, but those are another post.

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Finished dress back

I’m not entirely sure what makes this design Japanese. Perhaps the clean lines and simplicity?

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This particular bag (version two) was made as a gift with fabric form the stash that was originally used to make a very cute mid-sized purse, also a gift. I don’t think the photo quite does the fabric justice. It’s a fall colored batik, with a little bit of maroon, or possibly burgundy. I’ve lined it with a simple, small, floral done in maybe four shades of cream.

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The bag is fairly small, but a great size for grabbing a few things to go, lunch, or a skein of yarn for a project. The longer strap can be hung on the wrist with the yarn end sticking out so the skein can be kept in check (and away from naughty felines) while you work.

Here are a few more I’ve made recently.
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They’re also reversible.
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Here’s version one, which I decided I dislike making. Putting on the round bottoms is too fiddly.
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No felt on the back of this one. Haven’t decided if I like it on the hat with the existing bow or not.

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Here’s a smaller one with loops that are one and a half times the ribbon width.

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I found the felt, so this one has a slightly smaller round of felt on the back that I can use to anchor the loops.

Here’s another cockade, this one is probably a more typical specimen.

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It’s made with 1″ grosgrain ribbon and loops that are 2″. I’ve used a little over 52″. It turned out about 4 1/2″.  The loops are stitched onto a round piece of cotton batting. It’s pretty ugly, so you don’t get too see that part. Ideally I would have attached it to a similar or complementary color piece of felt, but I couldn’t find any around.

As I do more research into various periods of historic costume I find myself having a more and more difficult time properly trimming various garments. Sure there are places that sell historic trims, but how often are those going to match what I’m making? Many historic trims were made from the same fabric (or contrast fabric) as the garment they went on.

My search into historic trims led me to fabric manipulation and to ribbon trims for hats. Many of the techniques are related.

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I just got a reprint of an old book on hat trims and this is my first attempt. It’s a ribbon cockade that goes on a hat or is for a dress decoration in the 30s/40s. I made it with a thinner that usual grosgrain ribbon I had on hand that is about 3/4″ wide. I’d say I used about a yard. The technique involved folding the ribbon into a continuous strip of triangles and tracking the selvedge, not unlike making ribbon roses as a kid. A final trim would have a button in the center and maybe another layer of trim under this one.