Sunday, January 22, 2012

Second Pair

With another workshop held at my house this weekend, I've gotten a good start on my second pair of shoes.  I already had the outer soles ready and one of the uppers finished.

I covered the last and outer sole with paper, then lasted and tacked on the upper. We added in re-inforcement pieces to the toe area, unlike last time.  You can see the small marks of the stitches.  It's inserted between the leather and fabric, but only stitched to the leather.  All of that took most of day one.

A combination of a better sole leather, larger awl blade, smaller awl haft, and using 7-strand thread instead of 9 made this seaming go much faster and look much better than my first pair.  I still need to work on strengthening my grip in my left hand.  I think this inseaming took about 2 hours (someday, maybe it'll be 30 minutes; that would be glorious).

I also started carving down the heel to be the proper shape.  It's lost some length since this point.

With the stitching done, we removed the last from the uppers and started carving out the insole.  I still need to put a hold-fast in the heel area.

The upper was turned (not easy!), then I skived down the remaining flap of the outer sole so it would curve into the heel nicely.  I still need to finish binding the second upper before I can start on that shoe (it's such a pretty blue wool).  I have today off to recover then it's back to work on it tomorrow.  I'm hoping to have this pair done by mid-February.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Twelve Months

The 1912 gown is on hold until the chiffon swatches arrive (the first set didn't work) and the La Mode Illustrée pattern comes from France.  I've picked up an 1810s day dress in the mean time which will start to look like more than just pieces by tomorrow.  I took a break to wander through the British Museums prints and found a lovely set called The Twelve Months, dated to 1781.  Now, if I could just find 11 other people and an event this would make a great group costume idea!  The artist seems to have been a little color-happy, splitting garments into two or more tones when it doesn't make sense (has one ever seen a parti-color mantelet?).  Still, I'd wear every one of them.  Particularly August, who has given me inspiration for some pumpkin silk I have!

January looks quite toasty nestled in her pile of silks.

February is trying to stay warm and keep entertained.

March must be sewing together one of the next ensembles.

April showers bring out umbrellas and a plethora of colors!

May has hung up her mantelet and is ready for warmer weather.

June has taken a brisk ride through the country and still looks perfect.

July shows us how to protect our fair skin while still looking fashionable.

August doesn't give up being fashionable just because she's carrying a bucket of worms.

September is the time for harvesting grapes and vibrant colors.

October knows that fall is the perfect time for a fashionable riding habit.

November is taking a final stroll through the country before the weather turns cold.

December doesn't want to admit that the days are so short, staying up long after dark.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vintage Dresses

I finally got around to taking pictures of a great many of my vintage dresses that I've made recently (ok, so some are two years old).  Posting just after all the pictures of my relatives in vintage dress made sense!   I'm planning on an entire 1930s wardrobe for a long Hawaiian cruise I'm taking this Spring, so be prepared for a lot more of this sort of thing.

Late '30s or early '40s in wool plaid. Simplicity 3162.

'30s in a poly suiting material.  I based it on Hollywood 832, though I couldn't afford the pattern!

 '30s in a sheer wool (the buckle is 19th century).  Butterick 7879.

'30s in very light printed cotton.  I don't know what pattern this is based on, but I found an image of a torn-up fashion book online that I liked!

Late '30s in some sort of Rayon or Poly.  A mail order pattern.

'30s in cotton seersucker.  Another mail-order pattern.

'40s in sheer rayon/poly.  A well-worn DuBarry pattern.

 My reception gown for my wedding.  Silver silk lamé with glass beads.  Inspired by Ginger Rogers gown in Roberta.  And yes, we did do a Astaire/Rogers style first dance.

 My wedding gown.  Stretch silk charmeuse with a silk velvet Spencer.  The buttons are death heads of course!  Based on a 1950s gown, but I think it evokes an earlier time as well.

Our "rehearsal" dinner was at a Hawaiian restaurant, so I made up the classic '40s/'50s sarong dress from a cotton batik print.  Unfortunately it was below 50* out that night (record cold in Florida that winter).  I froze, but I still wore it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Historic Body Shapes

Taking off of American Duchess's post about vintage body shapes, I was curious to see how my families general body shape has changed over the last 140 or so years.  I'm fortunate that my mothers side of the family were enthusiastic about having pictures taken, and saving them.  We always said that the female genetics on her side of the family were extremely strong (I look a great deal like my mother, who greatly resembles her mother, etc and my cousins all attest to the "Rothenberger booty" as we called it in highschool).  Genetically, my ancestors all seem to carry their weight in their hips.  I never thought much of it until I started gaining gradual weight since college; all in my hips.  But, it would be even more so the case if I wore a girdle or corset.  Honestly, a lot of the women in the pictures I have seem to have very similar body shapes and if it weren't for the corset/girdle/fashion style would probably be considered "fat" by modern standards.  I prefer the term "fleshy" myself (I always picture Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot with that term).
Addendum: I changed the two questionable photographs.  I talked with my mother about them and she recognized a few things that meant it was actually my Grandmother's family (which we all thought we had no photographs of!). I still desperately wish I had a picture of my Great-great-grandmother from that side.  Turns out she was a gold-digger who married 5 times, divorced three of them!

Jennie (Carter) Heavilon [b. 1856].  My Great-great-grandmothers youngest sister.

Hannah (Carter) Zaring [b. 1837] and her two daughters Lucy [b. 1857] and Daisy [b. 1872]. My Great-great-grandmothers oldest sister and nieces.

Linnie Inez (Carter) Rothenberger [b. 1854].  My Great-great-grandmother.  11 children definitely means wide hips!

Sarah (Beisel) Ruch [b. 1858].  My Great-great-grandmother.

Edith Pearl (Rothenberger) Burkhalter [b. 1883] and Eva Henrietta (Ruch) Rothenberger [b. 1884]. My Great-grandfathers sister and my Great-grandmother.  Eva married into the family in 1903, so I'm guessing the picture is just after that.

Edith Pearl (Rothenberger) Burkhalter [b.1883].  Same person as above, just a few years and fashion change later.

Katie (Spencer) Keller [b. 1894]. My great-Grandmother holding my Grandmother.

Katie (Spencer) Keller again with my Grandmother and her sister Edith [b. 1902].

Katie (Spencer) Keller [b. 1894]. My Great-grandmother.

Maxine (Keller) Rothenberger.  My Grandmother [b.1918].

Irene (Rothenberger) Frazier [b. 1909] on left. My Great-aunt.

Ruch/Roscoe family event.  My Grandmother (Maxine) on right.

While some of these ladies could be considered "skinny" by modern standards without their foundations, all of those pictures place them at pre-child ages.  After that they all have more significant curves.  Oh, and note the feet of the lady on the left in the picture just above.  Those don't look tiny to me.  My mother said the Rothenberger/Ruch side always had big feet (I get my narrow feet from the Kellers and Shalkowskis).  My Grandmother has small feet, but she's always worn too small of shoes.  They were poor when she was little and she had to wear her buttoned up boots far longer than she should have.  Now, she's just accustomed to having tight shoes.

This just emphasizes why having the proper undergarments for the time AND for your body shape is so important.  You may not easily be able to train your waist and posture in to that lovely 1900s S-shape above, but that dress would look awfully baggy and wrinkly without a smooth corset.  As for body shape I have a 27" waist and a girdle from What Katie Did that I love to death.  It smoothes out that little bulge we all suck in in front with no effort and almost no discomfort.  I can't imagine a 1930s bias cut gown without it!