Vintage wrap-around

I was browsing through 1950s vintage pattern images recently, and I found quite a number of patterns of ‘wrap-around’ dresses. These are basically dresses without a side seam, they only attach front & back at the shoulders and the skirt ties around the body to form a dress. The fun thing is that these also have a schematic image of what the pattern would look like laying flat. I’m not sure exactly how all of them would work, but some seem relatively simple and reproducible. In any case there seems to have been a bit of a trend for these, maybe even a specific line as they’re all Butterick patterns. I thought I’d share some pictures!

Butterick 6472:

Butterick 6472

 

Butterick 6119 - love that alluring sweetheart neckline. #vintage #1950s #sewing #patterns:

1950s Butterick Pattern 6150 WALK AWAY Wrap Dress Button Back Really Cute Style:

Butterick 6150

Vintage 50s Butterick 6836 Wrap Around Dress The Walk-Away Dress Flared or Slim Skirt Bust 32 or 34 Vintage Sewing Pattern UNCUT FF:

Butterick  6836

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MOMSPatterns Vintage Sewing Patterns - Butterick 7349 Vintage 50's Sewing Pattern AMAZING Rockabilly Halter Top Wrap Around Sheath or Overskirt Party Dress LIKE The Walk-Away Dress Butterick 6015!:

Butterick 8151 wrap-around dress similar to walkaway dress:

And, there are two reproduction vintage patterns from Butterick which fit the format. Although I haven’t tried these, I have read somewhere that they’re re-drafted or re-sized for ‘modern figures’ (whatever that means). So these might not have exactly the same pattern pieces as the original vintage patterns. They’ll be a lot easier to find though!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor BUTTERICK - B6211

It has a new number, but exactly the same pattern envelope!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor BUTTERICK - B4790

Again, they have taken the original images as pattern envelope.

Bustle over-skirts

For my ballgown I’ll be making an under-skirt, front-apron, back-bustle, back-train and a bodice. The front-apron and back bustle will be attached to one waistband forming one over-skirt. The train I’ll be making separately so it can be removed. I’m using a commercial pattern for the under-skirt only, the TV201 1870s underskirt, which I already had in my stash.

So for the rest, I’m drafting/draping my own pattern. The bodice will be similar to my 1860’s ballgown bodice. The train will be fairly straight-forward, just a large panel rounded off. The over-skirts I’m draping myself, and to help others these are the patterns I came up with!

The over-skirt I wanted to make is similar to these images from the Musee de Familles and the Journal des Demoiselles.

The striped one:

Journal des Demoiselles 1872:

And the yellow/red one:

Musée des Familles 1873:

I started with the back bustle. I was greatly helped by this tutorial from Historical sewing, where she shows how to bustle-up a back skirt.

I took an old sheet I had laying around for mock-ups, and started by pleating the top to fit the back width I wanted. I did this by eye, looking from where on the side I wanted the back bustle to start. After pleating, I pinned the top to the waistband of my bustle cage. For the mock-up, I used four large box pleats.

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Next I started to pleat up the sides. Again I didn’t really measure these out, just did it by eye and pleated the fabric up until I liked how long the pleated section was.

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I then looked at the center ‘swag’, and pinned around the bottom to where I’d like the bustle overlay to hang. I didn’t want to actually cut it, so I could re-use the sheet for latter mock-ups. This is what it looked like at this stage, if you look closely you can see the pins around the back marking the length.

 

I didn’t mark the position for the inside tapes which will hold the bustle in shape yet. The cotton held its shape quite well on its own, so I’ll make the tapes when I’ve cut and pleated the silk for the actual bustle.

Next up was the front swag! I used an old shawl-like square of fabric. This one wasn’t pleated around the front, but pinned on straight. Then I pleated up the sides to match the length of the back bustle. As turned out the fabric I had wasn’t quite wide enough at the bottom and too wide at the top, so it’s a bit tilted in the mock-up version. It did give me a good idea of the dimensions the finished apron will need though.

 

After I’d pinned everything, I took the mock-up pieces from my dummy and started measuring to draw up my pattern. This is the eventual pattern I’m using. I hope it’s readable, I overlayed the measurements in black just in case. As the pattern says, my waistband will be 68,5 cm, the front apron has a 37 cm waistmeasure and the back 31,5 cm adding up to the total. The length of the side pleats downwards is 30 cm. The pattern is drawn to scale here, every square is 5 cm. The tapes for the bustle were determined with the silk bustle, as it drapes very differently to the cotton. The little image on the right shows the width of the pleated top back panel with the length of the tapes underneath. The colored spots represent which position on the tape was matched with which position on the fabric of the bustle (red with red, etc.)

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Made in my eventual fabric, this is what the inside of the back bustle looked like before sewing it to the front. I ended up making 8 box pleats at the top and the pleats on the side are also a bit smaller than in the mock-up.

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And all put together, shown over my bustle cage! It’s not fully done yet, I want to add trim to the bottom and roses to the sides, but to get a picture of the eventual shape and proportions. The right side has a slit to put it on, and to reach the pocket in the underskirt which is on that side.

From the front (left) and back (right)

From the sides:

 

Simple Regency petticoat (+pattern)

My first project of the year is done, and it wasn’t even planned! I started work on the red/white regency dress (an update will follow soon), and while I was working I noticed the fabric was a bit sheer. No problem of course, that’s perfectly period, but it does require a petticoat beneath the dress.

Well, unless you’re portraying a very fancy French lady, in which case you might go for this look:

Louis Léopold Boilly, Incroyable et Merveilleuse in Paris, 1797

 

But that wasn’t exactly my plan, as I believe it was reserved for the very fashionable, and mainly worn in France. (Also, in the image above the man is trying to pay the lady as he supposes she’s a prostitute because of her clothes, she’s making the cross to ward him off).

I also had some fun looking at the caricatures of sheer dresses at the time. It definitely wasn’t for everyone.

 

Anyway, a petticoat it was! I’d originally bought cotton to line the dress, but afterwards found that generally, only the bodice of Regency dresses are lined and not the skirts. So there was plenty of fabric left to make a petticoat. Generally speaking, there’s two types of petticoats, namely those with bodice and those without. The petticoats without bodice usually do have straps, to keep the skirt up at the empire waistline.

A bodiced petticoat:

And one with straps:

I opted for the straps option, mostly because it was easiest. I made up the petticoat very quickly, and without any decoration, as it’s mostly so I can wear my dress when finished. It’s basically just a skirt pattern with some bias tape finishing the top, a slit in the side and 2 straps. I don’t know how accurate this construction is, but it works!

The front:

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Side:

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And back:

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The closure:

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As it’s so simple, I drew out the pattern I used for this. I made it to scale, if you click on it you should get the full scale version. 100 pixels is 10 cm. Some notes: My ’empire-waist circumference’ (under-bust measure) is about 75 cm, so the back panel ‘gathered to fit’ in this case means gathered to 75-55=20 cm. If you have a different circumference, you might want to scale up the width in both pattern pieces. The 110 cm in height is also for me, I’d strongly suggest measuring yourself for the height. Measure from your empire waist to where you want your petticoat to hang. I also put in 110 cm both for the front and back panel, but I suggest cutting the back slightly higher than the front, as you’ll be attatching the straight back side seam to a tilted front side seam which will be longer. I did this, and just cut off the exces after attaching the panels. For the straps, the length is also based on me, and I suspect will be different for everyone. Just put the petticoat on you, pin the straps to the back at the side of the panel and check the length in the front. The same goes for the position of the straps in the front. This depends on your empire waist circumference and cup-size probably. And, just in case, always fit over your stays! This way you can also check the placement of the straps to make sure they won’t show with a gown with a wide neckline. Finally, there’s no seam allowance in this pattern. I used the selvedge as hem and bias binding at the top, so I didn’t need an allowance at either. If you’re hemming the top and/or bottom, don’t forget to add this. Same goes for the side-seams. I measured the pattern after sewing, so no allowance included. Good luck!

Petticoat pattern

Modern Underbust corset – with a traditional touch

Corset making is addictive. It can be frustrating, fiddly and there’s little room for error, but as soon as I finish one I’m thinking ‘I want to make more!’. Because despite being all of the above, they’re also incredibly rewarding. I guess this comes from it being so fiddly and precise work, if you do succeed it’s something to be proud of. And there’s so much which can go wrong, it’s difficult to get it to be perfect.

After finishing my Edwardian corset, I started to plan the next one. A modern corset this time, and an underbust. Both firsts for me. Of course, this didn’t stop me from trying to completely draft the pattern from scratch, which I’ve never done before either.

I drafted the pattern using a couple of tutorials and making them my own. I didn’t follow these exactly, but the over-all method I used is described really well here: https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/underbust-pattern-tutorial/ and here: http://ultharkitty.livejournal.com/641477.html . I decided on a 6-panel (per side) pattern.

I made the mock-up of a shiny, sturdy black polyester I had left-over from another project, and it actually worked really well right away. I hadn’t planned on doing anything with the mock-up, but then I followed a workshop on fabric decoration with paint, and the black mock-up fabric was perfect for it. As the pattern seemed to work pretty well, I took a leap and decided to finish it properly.

The fabric decoration technique I used is called ‘dotwork’, and is traditional to the Dutch town of Staphorst. They use it in their traditional clothing as a form of decoration. It came into existence to replace embroidery, which was more expensive because it took more time. Essentially, it’s a technique where you paint dots on fabric using the heads of nails to form patterns. If you get really good at it, this looks something like this:

The traditional colors are red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white. The background is traditionally dark blue or black. The patterns can be made quicker by using stamps, where multiple nails have been hammered into a piece of wood. A special paint is used, which has a plastic base. It applies well to fabric, and doesn’t wash out.

As a friend of mine followed a course in this technique, I was able to use some of her stamps and paint to decorate this corset. Making the stamps is one of the most difficult things of the whole process, so it made things a lot easier and quicker for me. Even so, it took me 2 afternoons to place all the dots. Once the paint touches the fabric, there’s no going back, so it’s a job which requires a lot of patience and concentration. It’s wonderfully relaxing to do though.

I ended up using only red and white, as I believed it looked best with the corset. In Staphorst they like very busy patterns, so this is a slightly more modern variation. The corset was constructed of 3 layers, the black as outside, a strong canvas-like cotton for the strength layer and a floating black cotton lining. It has a waist-tape and external red boning channels out of bias tape. The bones in the center-back are flat steel, all the others spiral.

I’m really happy with how it came out, and I love the shape it gives me. I’m planning to make another corset with this pattern, so I want to wear this one a bit to check if the fit stays right over time. There’s probably some small things I’ll change, such as adding a little extra room in the hip at the back, and raising the top, but overall it looks pretty good.

 

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And lying flat, outside and in.

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A little detail of the dots, binding and lining

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