Should you find yourself looking for 1930s sewing patterns, I highly suggest checking out the excellent New Vintage Lady. She specializes in patterns for the Stout (plus sized) lady for primarily 1930s and 1940s. You can find her patterns for download on Etsy. Here is her blog, which includes info about her patterns, vintage advertisements and catalog pages, historic photos and her adventures in sewing. A lady after my own heart. I’m still making my way through her blog, but she has lots of great info, including vintage dos and don’ts for the plus sized figure and a primer on how to read vintage patterns.

il_570xN.836183478_56ihDid I mention that she illustrates all her own patterns and has an indy comic, Vintageville? I love her illustrations!

You can also follow her on Pinterest and all over the internets. Enjoy!

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These patterns are the 1911 corset from Bridges on the Body and the Laughing Moon #113 from 1900-09.

First, the caveats: 1. this is an unfair comparison – sort of. The two patterns are clearly very different garments, but both are under bust corsets of sorts, 2. The two patterns aren’t quite the same size. The bottom (1911) is larger by almost two inches at the waist and hips, and 3. The bottom pattern does not currently include a seam allowance at the front or back. 4. I have the back piece of the LM to far too the left. The grommet holes are in the solid fabric of the 1911.

I’ve made the LM several times and like it overall. Being a waist cincher and having only one set of curves, I consider it a good basis on which to judge other similar garments as I did with an Elizabethan corset here.

Focusing on the back pattern, the 1911 which is new to me, what am I noticing in the two patterns?
1. The 1911 is quite short in front top and rather tall in back. Since I personally find the LM to be short, this is going to be a problem.
2. The 1911 is really long at the bottom. Something like 19″ overall length at this size (a 42 waist / 44 hips, which translates to about 30″ waist / 40″ hips). You aren’t seeing the suggested boning placement. I’d say they are similar in length to a typical Victorian corset. This leaves quite a bit of material as a form-fitting skirting piece, which should make for smooth lines. I’d say this will go all the way past my bum. The unboned skirt will be about half the total length.
3. I don’t know where they are measuring the hips exactly. Logically it should be where the pattern looks largest, but logic doesn’t always prevail. The fact that I had to make my usual one size jog between waist and good tells me it’s probably going to work for me.
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4. The individual piece shapes look logical to me and match those of the LM reasonably well. There are two pieces in the back, a sort of side-front and two fronts. The skinny piece next to the front on the LM (which you can see lapped by the third in the image above) never made much sense to me, but might if it were a full corset.
5. There is a busk in the front, but it looks like the back could either go solid and non-opening (which i don’t think they did) or have traditional lacing.

Of course I have and to complicate things and I won’t be content to make the garment as is. My plan is to use this as the basis for a 1930s corset. I will be making it up in coutil with power mesh inserts.

Next step – a mock up.


Bodice in linen, flatlined and pinned together. What you see most of, the cream, is the interlining.

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Corsets from different periods mold the body into very different shapes, which is why it’s important to wear the correct corset for the correct time period. My grandmother used to refer to undergarments as “foundations” and indeed, real corsets – the ones meant to change your shape – are exactly that. You can’t create the correct period effect with your costume without first having the right foundation.

More after the jump. (more…)

Couture Rani image

As I was talking about the bridal corset I’d recently made a friend who normally wouldn’t be terribly interested in fashion or historical clothing piped up to inquire about my sewing. It seems that when an Indian woman, his wife in this case, buys a sari she is only purchasing the beautiful sari skirt (I’m sure there must be another name for it, but I don’t know it yet). The matching or contrasting, midriff baring blouse does not come ready-made, but as a piece of fabric to go with the sari. Now clearly if I don’t even know what the different pieces are called, I’ve never made a sari blouse (Wikipedia’s sari page informs me that the blouse is called a choli or ravika). I’m sure someone provides ready-made choli, but this is not the standard practice.

I would love to get some beautiful sari fabrics and I’m always interested to learn about new aspects of clothing, whether that is historical, cultural or technical. Not only do choli not come ready-made, but neither do the patterns. Each woman has her own pattern(s) made custom. I’m intrigued. Further reading shows that there are many, many ways to drape a sari (great image here), depending on region and personal preference, and in a way, dressing in a sari has quite a bit in common with the wearing of a great kilt (today is National Tartan Day in the U.S., by the way). Obviously they are of very different origins and function, but I’ll leave that to you for pondering…

What I wanted to share was a site that has some stunning couture sari. The site is called Couture Rani. Check out  their blog page and particularly the images from India Fashion week 2013 for a different take on high fashion. The fabrics! The shape and movement of the clothing! The embroidery! Want! Hmmm… I think I need to start by mocking up a choli pattern…

Varun Bahl red gorgette sari Payal Singhal 2013 fashion

All images are from the Couture Rani website.

Urban Threads creates and offers embroidery patterns that are modern, funky and well designed. They also show off all sorts of interesting ways to apply them on their site and blog, Stitchpunk. I heard about them quite a while back and can’t believe I haven’t shared this very cool site. They make me wish I had an embroidery machine, though I’m not sure I need another facet to my hobby list. Check out their look book here!

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After my Christmas gift learning experience (yes, there really will be a post on that), I’ve decided I like stenciling and fabric design, but I need some interesting designs/stencils of my own. With that in mind, and wanting to set myself a challenge that is both a learning experiencing, challenging, and could lead to possible useful designs, I’ve started a 365 day challenge. My goal is to come up with a handful of designs that can be used as stencils or developed into printed fabric. That’s a design a day, every day, and a post for each design (though not necessarily a post a day – I might not have internet access some days). So if anyone is interested here’s my new blog, The Daily Pattern, and the website that inspired me, MakeSomething365.