THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 24, 2009

Vintage Menswear Pattern = Modern Knitted Jacket

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,Fashion,Mary Beth,Pattern Reviews — Mary Beth @ 2:24 pm

I had two pieces of fabric I wanted to use this Fall. One was 3 yards of 36″ wide cloque from the now closed Textile Studio and the other was 3 yards of rayon ribbing, both in a mauve-y pink.  These are difficult fabrics to work with and dictated the style, the sewing and each detail of what ever I would end up making.

The cloque would add width and visual weight to the silhouette so it couldn’t be a dress for me without making me shorter and wider than I already am.

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

It took me a long while to puzzle through how the fabric should be used, years really but I was determined this time because I craved working in this color.

But how should I use it????

It is a fairly formal fabric but my lifestyle does not call for formal anything.  I needed a pattern with simple lines and I needed a pattern that would put all that visual weight on my upper half.

I looked for a simple jacket

This vintage Le Cadran de la Mode pattern is on loan to me from Georgene’s extensive pattern collection:

Size 44 Mens Jacket American Style Blouson

Size 44 Men's Jacket "American Style" Blouson

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

The envelope contained all pieces except the collar.  It was drafted for a woven jacketing and had 2 piece sleeves.

Back of The Envelope

Back of The Envelope

The boxy shape seemed to be what I needed for this fabric and the pattern’s gathered and tabbed sides gave me the idea to use the ribbing for the lower edge and sleeves.  I had to test each design detail and machine stitch as I worked through the design of the jacket.

The  collar pattern piece (#6) is missing but is not a problem because fabrics I used for this jacket are nylon and rayon knits.  A knit ribbing collar can easily create it’s own stand and can fall nicely with little shaping from the cutting.  I measured the length of the neckline, folded the intended collar in two and cut the needed length with  a little wider flare for the collar tips.

In making up the collar from the rayon ribbing I found the tips needed to be rounded so I carefully created  the rounded ends.  Otherwise the ribbing creates an unattractive “stump” at the pointed ends.

Jacket on Form

Jacket on Form

As you can see I didn’t use all the cool pointed tabs and double welted pockets for my design.  My fabrics were the color I wanted to work with but they were not easy to sew.

The fabric choice governed the design right down to whether to use snaps or make buttonholes.  The snaps won out.

I did spend some time basting everything before using a narrow .5 zigzag stitch set at 3 mm in length to join everything together.  I also had to decrease the pressure of the presser foot by half to keep from dragging the bubbled surface of the outer fabric into lumps and bumps.

The inside is lined with pink powerdry from Malden Mills (now Polartek, LLC).  I used the silky side toward the body for easy on and off of the jacket.

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

I created a back facing to join to the front facing the pattern provided.  Both facings are interfaced with fusible Pro-Sheer from Fashion Sewing Supply and I found that pressing the fabric definitely changed it.

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

The pattern pieces had notches and circle and no seam allowances built in and interestingly enough I found that on the long, obviously meant to be straight edges the pattern pieces curved inward. I am speculating when I say that the curve may have been caused by the drag on the pattern paper when the long straight cuts were made. The straight front edges had them too, so I corrected in the layout as I worked.

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The layout of the sleeves was done so that the straight of the grain ran parallel to the upper sleeve edges.  This is shown on the back of the envelope but the markings are not on the pattern pieces.

Layout of the Sleeves

Layout of the Sleeves

Even though I folded out 1.5″ I also cut off another 1.5″ for the cuffs.

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

The power dry is cut the exact same size as the knitted cloque but the weight of the cloque caused it to stretch more than the power dry, creating the blouson effect.

I did not alter the shoulders or armscye and used 1.25″ deep menswear shoulder pads to keep the “High School Sports Jacket” look to the piece

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

I also did not want the ribbing to ride up across the back so I did not stretch it across the bottom

I did pay homage to the original design by retaining the pointed tab at the front hem

Front Showing the Tab

Front Showing the Tab

The skirt shown here is black power dry with an elastic waist and the leggings are made using the method described here.  The leggings are made of  stretch Chantilly lace from turned inside out to tone down the silver threads in the fabric.

June 25, 2009

Vintage Vogue: Sheath Dress Pattern

pattern face

I feel certain that I acquired this sheath pattern on EBay, probably in a lot with a few other ‘larger’ size 18 [ note that the bust is 36” with a 39” hip] no doubt thinking that it would be easier to adapt to my larger measurements than most EBay vintage patterns. I know that it came in a batch with several patterns, the same size from the same era, probably from an estate sale where well-meaning relatives have no idea what treasure lies in these old patterns. This one is from 1956.

I love the darts, not just one huge side bust dart, but also the double French darts on the front and back. This gives ample opportunity for fitting. When I traced off the pattern, I added a bit at the side seams as well as the sleeve underarm. I curved out a bit more at the bust, but with all these darts, I can surely find a way to redistribute the necessary ease in a flattering way, all without princess seams.

The long sleeve has 3 darts at the elbow, and there is ease at the back shoulder, without resorting to a dart. The finesse in this simple dress pattern is heart-warming.
pattern obverse
View A is the epitome of the simple stylish sheath with the addition of a wrap. I would kill for the accessories – long gloves, a small pocketbook, and the kitten heels, too. Note the notch slit at the center-back neck for a little intrigue at the neckline.

View B is long sleeve with a button-out contrast dickey at the neckline, for a modest daytime look. The marvelous notch-collar stole has buttons that give it the effect of a jacket.

You can see the pattern pieces clearly on the ‘Identification chart’ included with the instructions.


I have cut my muslin and put together the dress. I am looking for a fitting buddy to help me pin in the sleeves. Looking at it with both sleeves on for fitting will be important for the over all fit. One sleeve will not give the true picture.

I’ll take pictures and report back soon [hopefully]. I have the soft micro polyester crepe that wears like iron and never wrinkles already lined up for the first piece [bought a 25 yard bolt from Kashi at Metro Fabrics in NYC about 3 years ago – this stuff never goes out of style, and is the best for travel.]

SB2I also want point out the length of this dress – pegged and below the knee. It reminds me of the Sandra Bullock posters from her latest movie “The Proposal”. Love that longer length! SB1

June 10, 2009

Fashion exhibitions summer 2009

 The Netherlands

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

on-line exhibition Accessorize, a selection from the accessories from 1550-1950

 Museum Bags and Purses  Amsterdam Beasty Bags – August 23

                                                                Made In Britain- September 7- February 21 2010

Arnhem Mode Biënnale  Arnhem – July 6

Zuiderzee museum Enkhuizen   Gone with the wind  -November 22

Kunsthal Rotterdam   Silk Stories Taisho Kimono  – June 21

Museum Boymans van Beuningen Rotterdam The Art of Fashion: Installing Allusions –September 19/ January 10 2010


Modemuseum Antwerp    Paperfashion  – August 16

Modemuseum Hasselt    In Her Shoes   -November 8


Museum Les Arts Décoratifs Paris  Madeleine Vionnet  June 24-January 31-2010

Museum Christian Dior Granville  Trois décennies de styles et de stars (1961-1989) -September 20

Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent – Paris    Russian Folk Costumes – August 30

Chateau de Versailles Trianon museum  Court Pomp and Royal Ceremonies -June 27


Wien Museum Karlspltz Grand entrance Fashion in the Ringstraßen era June 10- November 1


Textile Museum St Gallen   Swiss Embroidery

Sicherer, Schöner, Schneller( Textile in Sport)

Musée Suisse de la Mode  Yverdon-Les Bains

Prototype (la technique du moulage) – November 1

more information about this exhibition  and even a video  about moulage


National Museum of Costume Dumfriesshire  Jane Muir a Fashion Icon -October 31

 United Kingdom

Manchester Art Gallery On-line exhibition collection themes

 Fashion Museum Bath   Dress of the Year –  September 20

                       Bill Gibb: A Personal Journey –  November 15

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art London  Workshop Missoni: Daring to be Different  – July 1- September 20


Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària in Barcelona Dressing the Body 


Kulturforum Potsdammer Platz Belin Sequins – Poses – Powder Boxes.
Fashion Drawings and Objects from the Twenties
  – August 9

Information about  Fashion Collections, Fashion Museums and Fashion Libraries in Germany


Röhsska Museum Göteborg 

Fashion Designer Maud Fredin Fredholm – 16 August

Masters Degree Exhibition 2009  – 16 August

Finland’s queen of fashion – VUOKK 31 January 2010


Museum of Fashion History of Buenos Aires  

Spanish link  for the collections and thumbnail pictures


Powerhouse museum Sydney   Contemporary Japanese fashion: the Gene Sherman Collection  – August 30


Textile Museum of The Cutting Edge  ( focuses on the shape of a garment, and what it signifies) –  July 7




FIT New York  Seduction – June 16

                       Isabel Toledo Fashion from the inside out   June 17-September 26

                      video tour of Isabel Toledo

                     preview Isabel Toledo exhibition

Chicago History Museum   Chic Chicago – July 26

 The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York  The Model as Muse – August 9

 Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum – New York Fashioning Felt – September 7

Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Los Angeles

On-line exhibition: Images of Fashion from the Court of Louis XIV

                                   A Century of Fashion highlights

                                Luxury Textiles East & West

Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Penn.  Fashion in Film: Period Costumes for the Screen -August 9

 Kent  State University Museum Kent, Ohio   Michael Kors – November 2

The Ohio State University “The Sewer’s Art: Quality, Fashion and Economy” – June 27

Mint Museum of Art Charlotte, NC  The Art of Affluence: Haute Couture and Luxury Fashions 1947-2007 – June 30, 2010

wiki link

Philadelphia Museum of Art  Shopping in Paris: French Fashion 1850–1925  – October 25

Indianapolis museum of Art Fashion in Bloom-January 31, 2010

University Minnesota Goldstein museum of Design Gallery Intersections: Where Art and Fashion Meet – Juli 11-November 1

 Hong Kong

Heritage museum  The Golden Age of Couture  -September 28


Kobe Fashion Museum Japan

Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum Tokyo Japan


If you have other links for fashion exhibitions , please share so I can add them to the list.


June 7, 2009

Kimono Update – Obi, Date Jime and Nagajuban

Filed under: Dressmaking,Fashion,Mary Beth,sewing — Mary Beth @ 1:51 pm

I used a fine shirting to make the nagajuban, the under garment that helps to keep the kimono clean.


A band finishes off the bottom of the garment and carries on to become ties that wrap around and tie in the front under the breast, holding the collar in the proper position.

Unlike the kimono, the collar band is interfaced and darts inserted in the back.


The collar is 3″ wide, the two panels for each side are 14″ wide. The front and back are one piece with no shoulder seam. I could have made straight sleeves but I used the kimono sleeve style to leave an opening under the arm. It’s very comfortable.


The date jime and obi arrived on the Stitchery doorstep this past week. Here’s the date jime, by far my favorite to wear. It is 4″ wide and made of a wonderful silk faille.



The pre-tied bow is fun


The obi at 7″ is too wide for my height. It needs the wooden form that is the traditional method of supporting the obi to keep it from wrinkling.


I am not going to use the wooden form, although I should, it is the best method. I may use some timtex cut down to 6″ wide and wrap the solid color edge of the obi over it to reduce the obi’s width.

Conclusion = Fun to wear and HusPartner actually likes the look very much 🙂

~ I am HusPartner and I approve this message ~ O’Cheski’i san.

February 3, 2009

Your Closet at Your Fingertips

Filed under: Fashion,Technology — phyllisc @ 6:33 pm


Linda Grant at The Thoughtful Dresser  blogged about this today and I literally went to the iTunes store at 6:30 this morning to buy this app!  This is the best $2.99 I’ve ever spent.  Touch Closet is an iPhone/iTouch app that organizes your closet and lets you put together outfits for future reference.   And I think this will come in handy for fabric shopping too because I can look at my accessories while I’m shopping on-line; I can also use it to really plan my sewing projects because I can put together outfits of, say, a  fabric swatch, a photo or technical drawing from the pattern company web site, shoes, bags and jewelery.  It’s easy to sync photos of your sewing project photos to the device and I’ve also sync’d saved photos of  items I bought on-line.  This is so cool.

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