Monday, November 14, 2011

Whatever happened to curved darts?

Looking through my 60's vintage patterns, I noticed that a lot of the dresses had those curved darts down the front.  I've also noticed that the waist measurement of all these patterns is a lot less than today's standard waist measurement for the same bust and hip measurements.  This got me wondering whether that was why we never see these darts on contemporary patterns; that maybe they just are not necessary anymore.  So I decided to make up one of these patterns to test this out and chose Simplicity 8882 for this purpose.  I added 6cm to the waist and 4cm to the hips to bring the measurements up to date for a pretty standard Australian size 12 (92cm bust)

Well, the darts are great.  The dress looks better on a real body than it does on my dummy. Sorry I dont have a photo to show you.  I can see how the darts contribute to making a lovely silhouette and I really cant understand why contemporary patterns have stopped using them.  I reckon this Asos shift dress would be much improved with them.  The fabric kind of just hangs like it is waiting to be stitched into a curved dart.

So, looks like curved darts are still good even on bodies that dont have the classic hour glass figure that women were supposed to have in the 60's (and before).  Having solved that puzzle I can merrily go on and make up more patterns from my vintage collection.
Here's what the back view of the made up Simplicity 8882 looks like

Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 8882 (c. 1969),  view 5
Fabric: 1.8m Annamoa  medium weight cotton fabric from IKEA plus 30cm pink and white spot lighter weight cotton for facings from my stash
Notions: 50cm invisible zip

Thursday, November 3, 2011

200 Years of Wedding Dresses at Bendigo

It's been on since early August but it was only last week that I managed to get to the White Wedding Dress exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.  Most of the gowns are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum but there was an Australian section as well.  I was surprised how busy it was (on a Thursday morning) and that made viewing the exhibition not such a relaxing experience but I'm glad I got to see it.  Not all the dresses were white, nor were they all traditional wedding gowns.  I enjoyed the diversity, a good balance between what you might expect and what was surprising.  My favourite gowns had a curtain connection.  The first was one made during the second world war out of curtain fabric, which, unlike other fabric was not rationed with coupons.  The dress was very elegant and sophisticated but had a 'joie de vivre' about it.  The background was  a pale gold satin which was embossed with white daisies with yellow centres.  It was full length, might have had a tiny train, cant remember but it was slinky.  The other gown was simple, light and airy but also had a freshness.  It was designed by Melbourne designers MaterialByProduct and was designed to be hung as a curtain when not being worn as a wedding dress. Funny though, I didnt like any of the dresses as much as my mum's which hangs on my workroom wall.  Being there  doesnt do justice to the understated elegance of it but given that it almost went to the Op shop, I am pleased to be able to enjoy it everyday. She was married in 1960 and the dress was probably very typical of the time.  Full skirt emphasising a small waist, tiny train, three quarter length sleeves and guipure lace

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

melbourne cup

I did stop sewing yesterday to watch the big horse race but I had no idea who was running in it, other than last year's  winner, who must have been a favourite.  The fashions dont interest me much either.  Usually fussy and totally impractical for the weather.  I do however love the story of the "dress that shocked a nation".  I've known for a long time that the dress Jean Shrimpton (a british model) wore to the start of the Melbourne Cup races has been remembered as the birth of the mini skirt.  Can you believe how shocked I was when I recently came across a photo of it!  It is 10cm above the knee.  I'd pictured it 10cm below the buttocks! he he he.  How the times changed!  Apparently it was a hot day and she wore no stockings or gloves. Sensible girl.  Looks lovely. She would have needed a cardy yesterday.