Detour to a Retro Draft Along

Furry cape has stalled. I’ve been too distracted by Petit Main Sauvage’s Retro-Dress Draft-Along to finish off the cape.

Indecisions Indecisions Indecisions!

So the usual then…I’ve always wanted to make some retro garbs. I’ve pined my way through Wade Laboissonniere’s Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s countless times. I even have a few issues of 1950’s Vogue and Bazaar. But when it comes to the crunch, I couldn’t decide.

As Petit Main Sauvage said, we don’t have 1950’s figures anymore. And I have one too many No-Breathing sewing projects as it is. So the classic fitted bodice and puffy skirt is out of the question.

Plum Skyes in Pink DressI was a bit tempted by this take modelled by Plum Skyes in an old issue of American Vogue.

The lowered waist works much better on modern figures I think. It’s easier to see the waist and it elongates the torso so that it’s not so squat & square.

But most puffy skirt dresses takes yards and yards of fabrics. And most in my stash are only 2-3 yards each.

So I needed a different strategy than the others, who started by analyzing their figures and what silhouettes suit them. I started with a fabric, one that I have yards and yards of.  I ended up with this:

Prime candidate draft along

I was going to make an A-line summer coat with CF bust darts like a coat I saw in a Notting Hill boutique ages ago. I’m still hoping there’ll be enough left over for this.

The other consideration was that I needed a simpler design. Simpler than ones I’d usually be attempting. Otherwise I’d fall behind the Draft-Along schedule. But a plain fabric with a plain design is just…Yawn. So an embellished fabric like this would be just the ticket. It’s too fussy for intricate details. It’s my way of tying my hands, or in this case my imagination, so I don’t go OTT.

OMG, a decision finally!

Christian Dior Winter 1955-56In the end, my inspiration was this Christian Dior dress from Winter 1955-56, published in L’Officiel No 81, 1000 Models: Dior 60 Years of Creation.

I like the slimline shape coupled with the extravagance of the back sashes, the slight off the shoulder v-neckline alluding to a womanly hour-glass shape. But it probably requires a fabric with a bit more drape than my embroidered silk. And the neckline is perhaps a bit too risqué for every day wear.

Retro Dress Draft-Along DesignSo here’s my adaptation:

Bodice with raised / below bust seam fitted through high hip. Cap sleeves of some sort. Pencil skirt in the front and pleated skirt in the center back to mimic a overskirt. (Nope, a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Commit to one style – are you kidding?)

I’m still not sure about the sleeves and top back. And the skirt design is a bit of a risk. But nothing ventured nothing gained, right? (She says nervously.) The drawing by the way, was done on a custom croquis.

Custom Croquis Instruction

Basically you take photos of yourself in close-fitting garment like swimwear, leotard, or underwear. Do front, side, & back. Use a tripod if necessary. Then print out & trace out the outlines to use as your croquis / design dummy. Or if you have Photoshop or Gimp, try this YouTube tutorial on turning photo into a drawing. Then you can play paper doll with yourself & your own designs! Simple.

I’ll leave you with this image of Big Bertha caught in the act:
Retro Fabrics 2
Big Bertha getting decadant & vain: Pilfering another piece of silk I was considering as an accent fabric, and my furry pillbox hat-to-be on her neck. It’s faux fur on one side and faux suede on the other. I’m too scared to sew into it as any mistake would be fatal – the faux suede once pierced is pierced forever. But winter is coming so one day soon I will take the  plunge. Especially as faux fur stole seems to be all the rage in the shops right now.

A Cozy Retro Detour

So of course as soon as I finished tracing out the pattern for Le Trench London weather turns too cold to wear trench. God has a very wicked sense of humor. I’m now considering putting Le Trench on the back burner and go for a full-on cozy cape or coat.

I got four less precious coat-weight fabrics and also two astronomically expensive cashmere. With my current state of slightly dodgy sewing skill and even worse fitting skill I think the cashmere will be safely tucked away for another year or two. So here are the candidates:

50ish Cape…

I quite like this 50ish cape from  Burda Style 2011-08. I got a rusty colored coating fabric I my Mom gave me which I think would work well. I can just picture this with one of my classic golden brooches. Mmmm…

Unfortunately there’s only 1-7/8 yards of this fabric, so even this short cape would be pushing my luck a bit. But as this fabric is stiff as cardboard, I’m hoping I can skip the facings in self-fabric and instead go for a thick lining fabric instead.

Who knows, I might even be able to squeeze a fabric tie out of it and wear it like in this jacket from vintage sewing pattern. (Picture from Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s.  I love that book for retro inspirations!)

Or 60ish Coat?

I also quite like the rather structural shape of Vogue 8548 coat. I like view A’s retro feel, but am not sure about 3/4 sleeves for a coat. I get too cold in the winter to wear shorter sleeves, and long sleeves poking out is going to  ruin the look. You need a pair of elegant, slim-fitting gloves to complete that look. So maybe view B would be better, if more boring.

Fabric-wise, well, there’s brown or brown or brown!

See what I mean about buying more of the same? 😉

OK, they’re slightly different weights. The left one is definitely coat weight. But I have just over 3 yards of this and it seems a waste to use it on this pattern that only needs 2-1/8 yards. The one in the middle I also have just over 3 yards. The one on the right is closest at 2-5/8 yard, but it’s a thinner fabric probably more suitable for a thick jacket. Urgh, decisions decisions decisions?

How would you decide?