Tag Archives: fitting

nostalgia, gbsb, and dream wardrobes

I’ve been immersing myself in old GBSB episodes this past week, partly to avoid having to get on with waiting projects, and partly just because.

We’re now in the last week of February.  Why that’s a reason for anything is beyond me at the mo.  It just seems too quick.  🙀

As part of my planning process for wardrobe changes, I’ve been spending too much time discovering the fitting tips & tricks of Peggy Sager, of Silhouette Patterns. Her Fit2Stitch channel is here.  Is anyone familiar with her or Silhouette Patterns? What did you think?

I’m reviewing my old posts on fitting and design rules here, here, here, and here, and thinking about writing another one on proportion. Things like the length of a skirt should never be shorter than its’ width.

The winter wardrobe is going to have severe gaps by next year, so I’m planning out for those whilst trying not to buy more fabric. We all know how that goes . . .  🤣

Sunday I was watching the latest Stitch Sisters video about Pantone’s Spring colours. There are four great colours for my wardrobe: a red, a green, a blue and ochre.

Thanks to witness2fashion I’m trying not to become too engrossed in Great Pottery Throw Down. Like GBSB, it’s British and follows the same general format, but with pottery rather than dressmaking.

Reading continues on a pace, with the next Louise Penny borrowed from the library, and the last of five mysteries from Dean Street Press.

I blame Scott of Furrowed Middlebrow for those, as his latest  post was my referral to Dean Street Press, and an introduction to a woman author from the Golden Age of detective fiction, Moray Dalton (as used by Katherine Mary Deville Dalton Renoir, 1881-1963).

I found this post rating Dalton with PD James:

“Yet she did it with little of the fanfare received by Sayers and her sister Crime Queens Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, or even ECR Lorac and Anthony Gilbert.”

I would agree, having read the first of the five books Dean Street has published, and finding it  very rocky. I then skipped the second, but have enjoyed the last three. According to amazon, more are soon to be published.

So things are tickety-booing along here, within the limits of what seems to be an annual cycle of 2 days of winter quickly warming to 2 days of spring, then abrubtly reverting back to winter.

Hope you are all surviving in whatever part of the world you inhabit, and are having as much fun as possible.

🥰     😂     🥰


monday . . ⛈ ⛈ ⛈

Three pieces of tissue viscose/rayon, purchased in 2016, have slowly been rising to the top of the ToDo list.

Thinking to finally get them made up, I decided to drag out a piece of heavier cotton knit to toile a couple of patterns I’ve had since forever.

Yes, I know there’s definite differences between the weights of the two fabrics, but somehow that didn’t seem important.

First up was the cammie version from Lois Hinse’s Tank Dress Group, No. 5305. Just found it on Vogue’s site and still available.

I also cut some shorts from a TNT pattern, Butterick’s B5432. I did a mid-knee version to see if I liked it. The jury’s still out. 🤔

Incidentally, witness2fashion on WordPress did an excellent review of the many trouser names and lengths from the ’70’s. Guess mine are the Bermuda length.

For some reason I put off wear-testing the new duo, but when I did I was surprised by how the top fit.

Look at the neckline in this photo. I hadn’t given it much thought because I’d cut out the tank top pattern, narrowing the shoulder straps.

When I tried it on I realized it wasn’t anything like the photo, even with the narrowed straps. Hm.

See how narrow this neckline is? Compare it to the camisole picture. See a difference?

My opinion is what’s labeled as the camisole pattern has is the same neck and straps as the dress version, but I keep forgetting to get the pattern back out and check.

What do you Lovelies think? Are they different necklines. Suggestions welcomed!

Did I get the wrong pattern pieces? No. There are only four, and the other two are definitely the dress pattern because they’re miles long.

Sure, I could fix it by redrafting the pattern, but I don’t want to. Instead, I’m considering this toile for lounging at home only. And I’m giving more thought to hacking my Hemlock tee from last winter.

But on the other hand, do I want to go to the trouble of hacking the Hemlock?As you can see, heat-induced summer ennui has set in. 🙄

Adding complexity was a recent Love to Sew episode on how to rub off (copy without cutting up) an RTW. If I had a good RTW cammie I might give that a try . . .

Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh! 🤪

Time to switch gears and crochet!

My latest autumnal crochet project’s yarn (Brett’s Marble Chunky – MC07) is still a delight to work with—all that luscious coloured softness running through my fingers is sooo satisfying!

The ski cap is completed, and whilst browsing through early posts of Lucy’s Attic24 I spied an idea for how to use up the large remainder.

Watch this space. 😉

Meanwhile, hope you have lovely things planned for your June. If I can dash out between the raindrops and get to the library, there are several goodies waiting.

Enjoy, Lovelies!

mirror, mirror on the wall…

another fav: silk:rayon trouser & cotton top

… how I cheated and fooled you all.

No, this isn’t Snow White and I’m not the Wicked Queen.
It was dumb luck that this photo had some points in it’s favor.

I’ve been reflecting on what styles would be most flattering and comfortable for Autumn/Winter cooler weather and my current working-from-home life style, so I  decided to do an analysis. The before is the colour photo on the left.

The analyzed after (right) includes a bit of dodgy playing with trouser width.

analysis & "corrected" trouser width
analysis & wider trouser, with heads marked off on the sides
  • Pinned naturally poofy hair up, and put curls on top of poof
  • Wore darker shade on bottom without a stark contrast
  • Had a 2/3 ratio between light top and darker bottom
  • Longer, fuller trouser has vertical (natural) fold lines to visually lengthen legs
  • Wore high heels with slight platform
  • Pooled pants legs over instep
  • Twisted upper body to show thinner side view
  • Twist adds pleasing vertical folds that help balance the bolder contrasts of the top’s colours
  • Arranged arms outward to add width to upper torso, and bring into better balance with lower torso
  • Further emphasized face area by having camera & both hands at face level

Can you tell how much better I would have looked with a solid, fuller pair of trousers? Lots more of those vertical slimming lines, and they would have been longer.

If it had been a skin-tight pair of leggings I’d have looked like a popsicle. Definitely not the look I’m going for.

Now if I can just stop being tempted by all the wrong silhouettes . . .


Other posts about fitting:

Submitted for the WordPress Photo Challenge.

principles of clothing selection

67-Diff Shoulders-contd
click to enlarge

Well, I’ve done it again, and finally posted. . .

Got stuck into another old book about fitting, and came up with a long post you might not want to read. But just in case you do . . .

The book is from Cornell’s HEARTH project:  Principles of clothing selection, Helen Goodrich Buttrick, New York: Macmillan, 1923

Much as I hate typing, I typed out the sections I needed. My apologies, but you Lovely Readers must go on-line to find your own sections.

You’ll want Chapter Five: The Human Figure and Clothing Design, pp. 64-71.

You might also want to review the bit about how to measure a standard figure, from my post over here.

And now, here are my details, quoting from the book  . . . Remember, it’s nearly 100 years old, so terminology is not what we’re used to. Unless you’re into reading vintage patterns and books, like me.

Thanks in advance for your patience, and here’s a taste of what high school women were learning in the 1920’s ~

Designs for the short, stout figure. The short, heavy woman has the hardest task of all in planning her wardrobe. There are two general suggestions which should be of value to her. She should always emphasize vertical lines and she should concentrate attention on the head and face, so as to keep the body inconspicuous.

  • Vertical lines can be emphasized best by the construction lines of the clothes.
  • Properly fitted gowns, having long, vertical, structural parts, panels or drapery, give the best proportion …
  • Trimming outlining vertical panels and stressing their direction is of further help.
  • The skirts … should be long and not flared at the bottom. Skirts for indoor use may be made with trains if she leads a sufficiently formal life to make this type of garment appropriate. [I’d love occasions to wear a train!]
  • Waists [bodice] for the short, heavy, figure must be very carefully cut and fitted, and be loose enough not to bind the individual wearer.
  • Because of the great difference in the distribution of her weight standing and sitting, the waists [bodices] of her gowns must be fitted while she sits as well as while she stands.
  • The sleeves in … a bodice should be set fairly high in the armhole so as to prevent giving an appearance of undue width across the shoulders, and so that the shoulder seam may not be too long or hang off the shoulder tip.
  • Long, straight, simply cut sleeves that make the arms as inconspicuous as possible do not call attention to the boundaries of the silhouette. They make the arm seen longer than fancy sleeves.
  • Vests and collars designed to produce a flat narrow line will add to the apparent length of the waist.
  • The neck opening should be as long and narrow as it can be without calling attention to the bust.
  • A vertical line of trimming carried down the front of the waist [bodice] from the neck opening will make the waist [bodice] seem longer.
  • Trimming should be flat and smooth, no fluffy ruffles, no puffs nor ruches.

In order to concentrate attention upon her head and face, the heavy woman may resort to a number of devices.

  • Her head and face should be made as charming as possible by a becoming and well-groomed coiffure.
  • Hats should be designed with great care, and should add height by their construction and trimming.
  • Trimming should have an upward movement.
  • In general, all decorative features of the costume should be concentrated around the neck and down the front of the garments, to keep the face and head the center of interest for the whole body.

Designs for short- …waisted figures. One of the commonest minor variations with which we have to deal is the type called “short-waisted.” For this type of figure two methods of treatment may be used:

  • the waistline may be ignored, or
  • disguised by the use of the loose garment hiding the natural waistline, or,
  • if the high waistline is fashionable, it may be emphasized.
  • Any type of waist with tails, peplum, or panels that bring the waist down on the skirt will serve to make the waist seem longer.

Designs for sloping … shoulders.  . . . . .

  • Collars, capes, and yokes of opposite cut correct the appearance of sloping shoulders.
  • Since this type of shoulder is usually seen with the long, thin neck, one of the easiest solutions to the problem is to wear fluffy boas and shoulder capes out of doors, and frilled fichus and collars indoors.
  • When sanctioned by fashion, puffed sleeves are excellent for this type of person if set sufficiently high on the shoulder to break the sloping line.

Designs for the full bust …

  • For the woman with the large bust, great care should be taken in the fitting and construction of the waist [bodice].
  • It may be broken vertically by a panel, or vest which gives an especially good effect if made of more interesting material than the rest of the garment.
  • The neck line of the dress must be cut and fitted with great care lest it bulge, or tend to spread at the shoulder.
  • Waists [bodices] having the fronts cut in several pieces often solve the problem for this woman. . . . .

Phew! Still with me? Thank you!

Thought you might get a chuckle from the Preface, which sounds as if it were written today instead of 1923.

old & new dress forms


Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva's dress form behind her
Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva’s dress form behind her.

I came across this scene of Miss Mapp sitting in front of Diva’s sewing room, dress form behind her.

It reminded me that there have been 2 distinctly different dress forms, the older one, below, is probably based on a Gold dress form, and looks more like real people’s bodies.

from my library Mary Brooks Picken's Singer Sewing Book
from my library
Mary Brooks Picken’s Singer Sewing Book

The current forms, one of which is the Wolf brand, is based on a figure about 10 heads high, and not proportioned for many of us.

I’ve been searching the web for a Gold dress form, but so far, no luck.

Getting back to Mapp and Lucia briefly, I learned Friday that BBC started a new version in 2014.

Checked amazon, and they’re not out yet in the DVD format we use here in North America.  Am grateful I was able to plug into YouTube and watch all 3 episodes during the door-painting.

Great way to sit through paint drying!

As you see on the upper left, my door was painted a lovely shade of blue.

dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

Ever thought about clothing as a way to overcome figure irregularities? I sure have!

I’m learning there are basic art principles I can use when choosing patterns, fabrics, colours, and accessories to disguise the bits I wish weren’t there.

Here’s an entire book about applying these principles to dress:

Dress and Look Slender, by Jane Warren Wells (also listed under Mary Brooks Picken), 1924; Personal Arts Company; available on Cornell University’s HEARTH collection.

You might look at the Table of Contents first, to see which chapter(s) you’d like to see. (The examples below are from “Lines that Slenderize and Lines That Don’t,” in the first chapter.)

Hint!  I always re-read the Help section because I forget how to navigate their system. 😉

I wish there were a more up-to-date book to recommend, but they’d be under copyright, and the principles would be the same. Hope you don’t mind the vintage-ness.

click any picture to go directly to the source

page 18

Dress & Look Slender p 18

page 19

Dress & Look Slender p19

page 22

Dress & Look Slender p22

page 23

Dress & Look Slender p23

what are “perfect” proportions? (Lagenlook extra)

Sorry, can’t resist sharing this ~ I’ve been having too much fun using my little seam gauge to compare this chart with photos & patterns.

No, that 1918 publication date below is not a typo, and the reason for the older writing stye. Goes to show this issue’s been around a lo-o-ng time… but so have the Greek methods for fixing it. 😉

“Although the correct height of an evenly proportioned woman is eight heads, as is mentioned in the list, artists in making drawings of figures, as well as in rendering pictorial designs of styles, generally choose a height of ten heads. This is done so as to bring out perfection in appearance, for it is true that actual photographs of perfect figures, even if the models are very slender, always appear short and thick.

“This information will help you to follow intelligently the designs in fashion magazines that attempt to overcome, by use of artistic drawings, the squatty appearance a photograph gives the really perfect figure.”

The Secrets of Distinctive Dress —  Harmonious, Becoming, and Beautiful Dress — its value and how to achieve it;

Mary Brooks Picken; 1918; p. 159. On-line from Harvard University here.

 this pdf file is available for downloading

CHART for Lagenlook extra

CHART for Lagenlook extra

july/august ~ calm before storm

my latest bookshelf bookfrabjus eye candy!!!
my latest bookshelf book
frabjus eye candy!!!

I’ve been having great fun reading.

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.

paul poiret, mantle. yellow wool with black chiffon lining. french, c. 1913. might be my fav from Lussier’s book
paul poiret, mantle. yellow wool with black chiffon lining. french, c. 1913.
might be my fav from Lussier’s book

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.  🙂



home sewing in the 1920s, or getting ready for november’s monthly stitch

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions
Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions

Trolling through our local library’s listings for things vintage, I spied Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman, and requested it.  In due course it arrived, and I was surprised because it has nothing to do with haberdashery.

It’s a monthly diary and homage to Mary Brooks Picken (1886 – 1981), an American who created a national mail order Course in Dressmaking and Design, was one of the founding directors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, was the first woman to be named a trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York), and wrote nearly 100 books/pamphlets, some still in print.

The book also has several sewing “patterns” (more like diagrams) from Picken’s publications, and they particularly piqued my interest.  You know me ~ I was soon looking around cyberspace to see what else might be available.

excuse my hand!
excuse my thumb!

That’s when I discovered there are reprints and some originals of Mrs. Picken’s books and pamphlets available today.  I ordered and promptly received one of the 3 in her 1920s One-Hour Dress series.

The dresses and variations in this 1925 booklet use the same folding process as my pinny.  Perhaps this method or process was in general use in the 1920s.  Paper patterns were quite possibly not in general use.

I freely admit to being thoroughly & happily spoilt by today’s printed patterns.  Game for giving the 1925 booklet a go, I carefully read directions & diagram a couple of times.  (Warning: Don’t think you’re gonna do this in 1 hour straight off, unless you’ve done this before!)  I think I’m ready for November’s Monthly Stitch challenge!

Pssst!  Cornell University has an online copy of  The Mary Brooks Picken method of modern dressmaking, 1925, here!

a wee bit more sewing bee!

from the BBC-2 web site
from the BBC-2 web site

Note-This shoulda been a monday or tuesday post, but was too busy to put it up – apologies for not feeling like writing this week, & saving them all up for today – my bad On a brighter note, you’ve the whole weekend to catch up.   he-he!

There’s just something about the camaraderie all 8 contestants displayed that’s knocked a big hole in many people’s hearts around the globe.  If you’re one of those with withdrawal pangs, here’s a wee bit more detail. And lots more piccies!

❤❤  Faithful Readers know I’m a fan of Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place.  Her partner, David, has written a beautiful guest post of his observations of the show, having accompanied Debi to Lauren’s Grand Opening last weekend, when many of the contestants also came to help out. As a man who doesn’t sew, he had time to observe and reflect on what was happening. It’s inspiring reading!  ❤❤

the sewers, in alpha order

  • Ann is on Ravelry, and has ventured into quilting
  • Jane’s gorgeous handbags are available online
  • Lauren’s shop sells online & has just opened in Birmingham, U.K.
  • Mark & his wife spend their evenings making historic costumes for themselves
  • Michelle is a young mum & makes unique fashions for herself & her baby
  • Sandra continues to sew for herself & her 3 daughters… and has started her own label
  • Stuart writes a quilting column for a monthly magazine, and holds quilting workshops around the U.K., including at Lauren’s store
  • Tilly is publishing her own patterns, has a very popular blog, and also does workshops at Lauren’s store

judges & presenter

  • May Martin has taught at Denman College (Women’s Institute Academy) since 1995
  • Savile Row’s Patrick Grant is a director of a bespoke menswear firm and has absorbed their high level of workmanship
  • Claudia Winkleman is well-known for hosting BBC programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing & The Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman

BBC-2 aired the programmes, and this is their site. Note that I’ve tried several times to view clips on their site and have only gotten to see 1 or 2.  Not certain if it’s because I’m not in England, or if the site was overloaded with requests to view.

threads’ book on fitting

courtesy of Threads magazine site, as referenced below
courtesy of Threads magazine site, as referenced below

Found several new books on sewing last week and started looking through them last night.

The first one is Threads Fitting for Every Figure.  So many books go over the same batch of information, and as I’ve several already, this won’t be added.  But here’s something interesting ~

Looking up the Amazon.com link, I read some of the reviews. They reminded me of something I read recently about Internet produce reviews in general.

The article said that companies are paying people to write positive comments about their product. Companies are also paying for people to write negative things about competitors’ products.

One way to tell the difference is to see if there’s a direct reference to the product or service.  Is it enough to indicate the person actually came in contact with the product?!  Then it’s probably a legitimate review.  If it’s a general, this-is-a-wonderful-thingey, I’d disregard it!

Getting back to the book ~

One of the reviewers said the book’s simply a collection of appropriate articles from Threads magazine, and gave some examples from her own experience as a magazine reader & saver of fitting articles relevant to her body type.

I can’t comment on her accuracy, but it sounds quite logical, and something I’ve seen Threads do before.  One or two of the illustrations helped me understand some of the fitting definitions, as they seemed clearer to me.  But that’s very personal!

An opinion?  If you run across this book, do look through it.  See if their examples are helpful to you.  If no light bulbs go on, put it back where you found it!