Saturday, October 16, 2010

Draping Vintage Part Deux

At long last here is the second set of photos from draping the vintage bra patterns. Again, this was done using a pattern for a "soutien gorge" from the 1930's. I purchased the original pattern on Etsy (I love that place!). The first style featured both vertical and horizontal seams in the cup. As in the photo here.

This second version uses only a vertical seam in the cup with a dart at the side to provide shaping. A separate support band is also part of the design, although you could leave it as a simple placket at the center front...a fore-runner of the "lift and separate" philosophy, perhaps? In any case, given that I had to translate the instructions from french and drape and draft from that translation, I am keeping it simple and sticking to the plan that was originally given. So here is my gal (mannequin) Marie with the first seam pinned into place.

It is easy to see how you could extend the center front placket into a full band. Given my, ahem, balance of assets, I will certainly be considering that alteration. Pay attention to keeping the muslin smoothed to avoid offsetting your seam lines.

In the case of a garment that will need fitting to your figure, I always work from the premise that I am draping to create the basic shapes that will then develop into a full, working pattern.

Fewer seams in the cup means not as many places to potentially adjust for eccentricities of figure; my girls are definitely eccentric...and they have a great personality! Sounds like the lead in to a blind date, eh?

The lower edge and the center front neckline should be pinned down in their general shape and position to allow for the center seam to follow the line of the strap from the shoulder down and over the tip of the breast or the nipple point. This creates a graceful line to both the undergarment and that carries over into how your clothing will drape. We all know how the wrong bra can ruin an outfit, don't we?

This photo shows the cut after the tentative slope of the neckline (is this where that word "decolletage" would be appropo?) and the outside upper edge of the cup with the extra fabric trimmed away all around. It took several re-pinnings and a glass of wine to get the center seam to flow nicely and not waver at the point where the lower curve begins. Kept offsetting to the left a bit. Maddening!

The dart in the outside panel is also well positioned. When I take these pieces and make the paper pattern, I will probably draft it a bit shallower, following on my philosophy of "you can always make it smaller". Since the finished garment will be built with 3 layers of fabric, including interlining, I don't want to end up with a volume problem. My cups running over is one of the main reasons I ever decided to give making undies a try!

Here is a close-up of the dart. As you can see, increasing or decreasing along that line will make the fitting very simple. A deeper or shallower dart as you please and comfort can be at hand. I do think that I am going to end up adding an under-bust band to give a more controlled fit. It's a difficult task to find vintage patterns in my size - and they are pricey when you do!

Isn't it incredible how underwear simplified from the beginning of the 20th century to 1930's? That's a repeat of an oft noted fact, but really! I have made corsets for Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian dress as well as stays for the Regency era and always wonder why in the world women kept opting to go back to wearing garments that were so restrictive. Hereditary streak of masochism?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Draping for vintage lingerie

Hi there - it's taken a lot longer than I would have hoped to get this up. I picked up a sinus infection and my whole family has been enjoying it as well. I'm still not quite the thing but I am bored and itching to get something up. So here goes...

In this first picture, I've started pinning the muslin to my dummy (Beatrice). I'm working with a vintage newspaper pattern for a "soutien gorge" and it included two different cup styles - a four panel cup and a two panel, vertical seam cup. I am not really sure which I am likely to be happier with so I figured I would drape both and see what I get.

This photo shows the seams that define the center front panels of the bra cup. Given that I am a "bit" (ahem) more busty than the average gal of the 1930's, I can't just work from the dimensions given for the panels in the article. A center bust seam of 3 inches would be laughable. I'm pretty sure that falling out over and under the garment would ruin the effect!

Moving on, my first pass with the pins is meant to get the general form in place, followed by tweaking to ensure that the fabric is smooth and not stretched out of shape or too far on the bias. You don't want to have to do this twice - it's a great technique, but it is fiddly and repetition leads to frustration.

Once you have the seams and the edges defined neatly, trim some of the excess away, but not too closely. I also number and mark the panels so that I don't loose track of where they are supposed to fit. Some patterns are easier to eyeball than others. Given that there are both vertical and horizontal seams that will be meeting up in the center of the cup, I snipped the muslin to be better able to create a neat seam. There will be plenty of time to compensate for flaws, but this makes things go smoother from the beginning.

Another thing to bear in mind about any item you might drape a pattern for is that it is always easier to make a neckline lower than to bring one up...this holds true for anything except armscyes.

After all the panels have been pinned and marked, the excess material gets trimmed away as neatly as you can get it without making yourself nuts. Remember, you will be able to smooth out the lines once you pull the muslin off the dummy. Plus, this is the perfect time to eyeball the developing pattern to see if you have overlooked something. After I took this shot, I noted that I needed to neaten up the alignment of the vertical seam! I can't tell ya how many times it is the camera that lets me see where I have goofed!

I also like to put in grading marks at this point since I won't have a better opportunity to align the pieces prior sewing up the first mock-up.

Here are the pieces following unpinning and trimming up the edges. You can see the grading marks better here. This is prior to adding any seam allowance or doing anything to refine the curves and angles of the pieces.

Neatening up and adding allowance will be done as part of transferring these pieces into a paper pattern. You could use them as is and lay them out on the fabric you intend to use for your mock-up and add seam allowances at that point, but I find I screw up less by taking the extra step of putting it all on paper. I'm sure you can imagine what a mess leaving out SA's can make of a garment!

Okay, as I said, I am still not in the best of health, so I am going to close here and will post the draping for the other cup style as soon as I can.

Nyquil, take me away!

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Post

Not exactly an inspired title, but inspiration has been running a losing race with frustration and over-scheduling has severely hampered my ability to do more than wave at my sewing area of late. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but it seems like the moment I have an idea for something - whether it is a sewing project or a blog entry or whatever - my life suddenly erupts with high-priority, do it right now, non-delegate-able musts!

So, in defiance, here I am with the intention of at least being able to say I made an entry - and perhaps something interesting, should I get so lucky.

I'm a short, curvy gal with a penchant for vintage and historical clothing. I never got over playing dress-up in my Grandmother's fabulous closet. I was lucky enough to have inherited a good deal of the lovely things that colored so many of my fantasies of what it was like to be a "grown up girl". If I get to be half as elegant as she was, it would be truly something.

Collecting and making vintage lingerie is my current obsession, so here is a teaser to kick things off.
This is my current inspiration - intended for use both for underwear (daily and/or for costume occasion) but also for comfy jammies. I love the simplicity of the lines, as well as the absence of under-wires in the bralet. My plan is to start the muslin this weekend so look for pics and notes to come!