“Fan tucks (darts). Use as a decorative feature on the outside or inside of the garment. Mark where tucks are to be and run them by hand or machine.” The Simplicity Sewing Book for Beginners and Experts, 1945; page 33. (from my personal library)
Witness to Fashion blog ~This post (see last 4 pics) really inspired me to give neckline darts (al.k.a. fan tucks, above) a try soon, maybe with embroidery thread. . .
Getting serious about this Vogue 8813 pattern ~
How the heck is it gonna fit?
Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about.
Hope you’ll grab a cuppa and come along!
considering – fit
I keep remembering Gale Grigg Hazen’s book, Fantastic Fit for Every Body. Don’t know about you, but I’m not flat as a pancake. This book shows how to make & use a 3-dimensional croquis. And might be something I need to think about a bit more with this Lagenlook pattern.
Moving on . . .
considering – proportion
Trolled back in me memory banks and ” bulging columns” came to mind, and something about that being a better proportion to the eye. That roused my curiosity (I’ve got bulges), and I went further. After all, a body is like a column and we want the best-looking one we can get – right?!
According to Wikipedia, ancient Greek architectural principles “gave … a sense of proportion, culminating in understanding the proportions of the greatest work of art: the human body…”
And . . .
Columns, again from Wiki: “The design of most classical columns incorporates entasis (the inclusion of a slight outward curve in the sides) plus a reduction in diameter along the height of the column, so that the top is as little as 83% of the bottom diameter. This reduction mimics the parallax effects which the eye expects to see, and tends to make columns look taller and straighter than they are while entasis adds to that effect.”
“Outward curve in the sides” could be applied to a body
Having a slightly smaller top than bottom could be accomplished, with hair-do, or a tunic
Might beef up a base with boots or leggings
There are three basic kinds of columns, and Corinthian might be most applicable to clothing: “the most ornate of the orders, characterized by fluted columns… ”
A-ha! Use gathers or pleats from top to bottom to elongate the body line.
And that reminded me of Fortuny’s Delphos dresses, so . . . .
Below are three examples.
Click any to go to its source
And ask yourself ~
Does the wearer look good?
What’s the wearer’s actual body type?
What makes the dress look good?
Breaking all those rules? Hmmm – maybe that extra fabric at the base gives it more weight.
Do I like that cinched waist? Not for me! But somehow everything does work . . . do like that shoulder effect . . .
If this “has no tunic” then what’s that darker fabric on either side of the torso?
Whatever it is, I think it helps the overall effect. . .
Real rounded tummy certainly there . . . smaller top . . .
Don’t notice body shape, pleats, much detail except the dramatic deep red against the black.
Overall line, from shoulder to bottom tip of dress does move outward , , ,
Architectural shapes in middle are interesting – could be a good camouflage?
Have been working on this post for several days, lacking a title. It’s a close-up look at the various threads (pun intended) of the extra-curricula workings of a creative person.
Lest anyone think applying line, pattern, texture, function & design to clothing a foolish pastime, consider some of the technical (engineering) challenges involved in putting them all together successfully in a 3-dimensional garment that’s made from the inside out, must withstand movement and frequent cleaning, and reflect the personality of the owner/wearer.
Imagine, if you will, the motions of turning flax into linen fabric, weaving the fabric, the motions of designing and printing a pattern on that linen fabric, designing a garment and making it with that linen.
Now imagine that being done in ancient Egypt for a tunic to be placed in a pyramid, or painted on a pyramid wall. That’s where these items were found.
Look at the design of the dress fabric, and the colours. They could be in worn today. Look at the neatness and detail of that small cording around the neck of an ‘everyday’ tunic, the care taken for the ‘fancy dress’ tunic.
These people, and we’re talking about the scribes & tomb-builders, not pharaohs, appreciated care and detail in every aspect of their lives, and spent the time and made all the motions necessary to create it.
Their skill and love of beauty has lasted for thousands of years, giving us vital clues about their lives.
What arts will our civilization leave behind for far distant peoples to discover and appreciate?
What will it tell them about our skills? Our concepts of art and beauty?
Adventure is what sewing is each time we begin a new-to-us pattern, or work with a new-to-us fabric. You plan and train for an expedition to the Antarctic, and this isn’t much different. An example . . .
finally able to hang it on a hanger
close-up of the 2 darts & 6 pleats across neckline
neckline finish… use white piping? . . .
or maybe finish that neckline with contrasting stretch jersey? naah . . .
completed, using white rayon seam binding on insides of dress, still using black thread – great contrast & easy to spot mistakes… and it’s cool for summer
Ad*ven”ture, n. [OE. aventure… fr. L. advenire, adventum, to arrive, which in the Romance languages took the sense of to happen, befall…”] 3. … bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events…
The above dress came into being mentally when I found a pattern and remembered a fabric in my collection. I’d mentally tagged this fabric for an office/church outfit, maybe with a loose jacket.
The fabric itself is buttery soft, doesn’t wrinkle, has stretch across the grain (the way stretch jeans have stretch), and a forgotten designer’s name. Not a bad pedigree, and I wanted to be true to that heritage. Plus the overall colour is black, with vertical lines = slimming. Can’t get much better!
OK. Pattern found. But there can be many a slip between a dream and reality, so I decided last summer to begin a test… And sewed up a different fabric. Much wearing during the remaining hot weather showed me the overall design worked, with a few tweaks.
Success. So I made another dress out of another fabric from my fabric stash. That dress also required a few tweaks, and is much-worn this summer.
Enter the Monthly Stitch’s July challenge to sew something monochromatic. Bingo. Time to complete this adventure and get going on the black designer fabric. So I did.
Cut it out and began sewing. All systems working. Then an urgent mend came along. Then another… then something else… And the dress sat. July went, and most of August.
Last week I decided I really needed to finish it, and asked myself why wasn’t I? The pattern wasn’t difficult… the fabric was behaving itself, and so was the machine… It’s the right pattern, ’cause I tried out others whilst deciding (here and here).
Trying to see black stitches on black cloth, it dawned on me: Black thread on black fabric is hard to see. And that was the hang-up.
The dress got under way again, until time to bind the neck and arms – the finish. How to handle the problem in the trickiest spot?
I held up various ways to finish, including white piping, and contrasting binding. And wasn’t happy. No detail besides all those white lines!
I finally decided to stick with the black & white fabric colours, and use white rayon seam binding with black thread. I know the pattern calls for a large front and back facing to be used, but 2 layers of any fabric is too hot in extreme heat & humidity.
Call it a short-cut, or total disregard for the designer nature of the fabric (and pattern, a DKNY!), but I remain adamant: I must be comfortable or it won’t get worn.
And that’s the purpose of the adventure, isn’t it?
Ever had a week when you just didn’t want to face WordPress writing? I did, but curiously it didn’t stop me from putting this together.
Recently purchased a Kindle app version of Elizabeth Hawes’ Fashion is Spinach, and it’s keeping me eyeballs glued to the screen. That means a lot of interest, as I don’t like to read books on screens.
But that was the most economical way to ease the niggling thoughts created whilst reading snippets from Lizzie’s The Vintage Traveler blog that made the book sound sooo interesting. (Thank you, Lizzie!) See here, here, and here!
Hawes’ writing is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s internet posts. However, she misses the point about home sewers. At that time many/most women sewed, or knew someone that did! (Remember my fav Mary Brooks Picken?)
Currently almost half way through “Spinach,” getting to the part where Hawes is about to leave Paris and go back to New York City. If you’re at all interested in fashion versus style, or Paris fashion houses in the 20’s, this is a great book to start with. Hawes was an excellent writer!
“Fashion is a parasite on style”
“Style in 1937 may give you a functional house and comfortable clothes… Style doesn’t give a whoop whether your comfortable clothes are red or yellow or blue… Style gives you shorts for tennis because they are practical…”
That’s what I’ve been realizing this summer, whilst contemplating my nearly-empty closet, my fabric stash, and pattern collection. Have said it before: heat & humidity are my least favourite things, and it’s always been tough for me to decide what to wear. Wouldn’t matter if I didn’t sew (gasp!) and just bought – horrors of a different sort!
The other book I’m also reading on-screen is a free download of a dissertation on American sports clothing’s evolution, When the Girls Came Out to Play, by Patricia Campbell Warner. Boring? NEH-vah!!! Here’s another excellent writer who’s dug up plenty of tidbits from history and managed to weave everything together in a quite readable style. Again, I thank Lizzie for the information on her post here.
Feminists shouldn’t be put off by either book, as they are compatible. When the Girls is both the history of the women’s movement in the United States and the ramifications on their attire whilst becoming more athletic (equated with a more healthy lifestyle). Typical for a thesis, Warner includes lots of footnotes for further research.
In Spinach, published in 1937, Hawes was writing about what she did in the fashion industry in Paris and New York, as an emancipated woman in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Then I bought the icing on the cake, so to speak: Art Deco Fashion, by Suzanne Lussier. A beautifully illustrated and way-too-small sampling of fashions in the late 20’s – early 30‘s, my favourite era. Again, after much soul-searching and scouring local libraries I decided to purchase a good used copy. (I think Lizzie had also written about it, but a search with “Lussier” didn’t yield a match, so you’ll have to take my word for it!)
The photo I’ve made and included here illustrates to me that Orientalism was influencing fashion much earlier than I’d originally thought. No wonder there were so many kimonos being worn in that British mini-series, The House of Eliott. I think Lizzie had written about it, but a search with “Lussier” didn’t come up with anything. So you’ll have to take my word for it!
All-in-all, July’s final week wasn’t quite empty of fashion, despite my not posting loads of finished garments.
Am now thinking about it as the calm before the storm. More on that anon. 🙂