Pan Am Games 2015 – Vintage Pattern Edition

July 20, 2015 § 6 Comments

This week the Pan Am Games continue in Toronto. In honour of the Games, here’s a look at vintage patterns and illustrations showing women’s sports.

First up: Pan Am sports that have already concluded for 2015.

Archery. From a 1933 issue of McCall’s magazine, this archery scene was illustrated by Jean des Vignes:

Jean des Vignes archery illustration in a 1930s McCall's magazine

“Taking Aim,” McCall’s magazine, March 1933. Illustration: Jean des Vignes.

Golf. Ben-Hur Baz (later known for his pin-ups) illustrated this golf scene for McCall’s magazine, circa 1930:

Ben Hur Baz ladies' golf illustration in McCall's magazine, spring 1930

McCall 6078 and 6074 in McCall’s magazine, April 1930. Illustration: Ben Hur Baz.

Donna Karan designed these mid-1970s golf separates, hat included, when she was at Anne Klein. You can buy it for your own golfing needs from the PatternVault shop.

1970s Donna Karan for Anne Klein for Penfold golf pattern - Vogue 1415

Vogue 1415 by Donna Karan for Anne Klein x Penfold (ca. 1976) Image via PatternVault on Etsy.

Roller skating. Simplicity 3890, a World War 2-era skating pattern, includes this roller skating illustration:

1940s roller skating pattern - Simplicity 3890

Simplicity 3890 (ca. 1941) Image via Etsy.

Sailing. This 1930s sailor dress has a contrast collar and big buttons at the side-front closure:

1930s sailor dress pattern - New York 217

New York 217 (ca. 1930s)

Swimming. This chic, cuffed swimsuit (previously featured in my Heat Wave! beachwear post) dates to the late 1940s:

1940s bathing suit pattern - Vogue 6709

Vogue 6709 (1949) Image via Oodles and oodles.

The swimsuit was photographed by Richard Rutledge for Vogue Pattern Book:

1940s Richard Rutledge photograph - Vogue pattern no. 6709

Vogue 6709 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

Tennis. The cover of the McCall Quarterly for Spring 1932 has this tennis-themed illustration featuring two dresses by Bruyère:

McCallQSpring1932

Bruyère patterns McCall 6804 and 6819 on the cover of McCall Quarterly, Spring 1932. Illustration: Blanche Rothschild.

(For more tennis patterns see my Tennis, Anyone? post.)

Stay tuned for more vintage sports wear… I’ll be looking at a different Pan Am sport and related vintage pattern every day this week.

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy

January 19, 2014 § 11 Comments

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I made the first of my patterns by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: the cowl-neck sheath dress, Vogue 2248. (See my earlier post here.)

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999) Dress with contrast cowl neck.

Vogue 2248 by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy (1999)

I had planned to make the dress in my default black, and had even bought some mesh for the contrast cowl neck. But when I started looking back over runway photos from Givenchy’s neo-noir Fall 1998 ready-to-wear collection, I was struck by the palette of neutrals, electric blue, and especially the combination of oxblood with red.

Givenchy FW1998 Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl

Models: Frankie Rayder and Sunniva Stordahl. Images via firstVIEW via the Fashion Spot.

Givenchy FW1998 by Alexander McQueen - runway photos by Thierry Orban

Photos: Thierry Orban. Images via Corbis.

(There’s a blue version of the original sleeveless dress on eBay. The dress fabric is a nylon/acetate/elastane blend, with acetate lining, and the back zipper reaches all the way up through the cowl.)

I made View B, the sleeveless, mid-calf version, in oxblood with a red cowl neck. I hit Designer Fabrics and found some oxblood wool, red mesh for the contrast cowl, and Bemberg for the lining. The pattern recommends chiffon for the contrast, but I wanted to stick with the mesh used for the runway version. I was a little stumped as to interfacing for the contrast, and even bought some tomato red tricot to use before learning that the best interfacing for mesh is more mesh.

I wanted a close fit, so I ignored the sizing and went by the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern, including 1″ ease at bust and waist and a little more in the hips. I also lengthened the skirt by 1.5″ to achieve the correct length.

Technical drawing for Vogue 2248

Technical drawing for Vogue 2248

This was my first dart-fitted dress, and I had fun sewing my very first contour darts—eventually realizing the virtues of even a makeshift tailor’s ham. The cowl neck is cut on the bias, but this didn’t pose any problems, since the mesh handles much better than chiffon.

With the full lining and absolutely no stretch, the dress feels very old-fashioned to wear. One thing I misjudged was the bodice/cowl part of the bodice—I cut the right size in the bust, but didn’t distribute the extra waist length I was adding between the above-waist and shoulder areas, so it’s a bit on the high side and the cowl neck has a closer fit than in the runway photo. It would have been simpler to cut a size up and take the bodice in at the sides. The “interfaced” mesh is also a little bulky; the extra layer was probably unnecessary.

Since the Fall 1998 collection was inspired by Blade Runner, it seemed appropriate to take photos of the dress at the David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Interzone area, devoted to Naked Lunch (1991), visitors could have their photo taken with a Mugwump:

Evolution

Naomi took some photos of me upstairs at an extension of the Cronenberg show called Body/Mind/Change (BMC). Visitors to the biotech facility BMC Labs can observe the production of personalized POD (Personal On-Demand) implants, which are held awaiting pickup by their hosts. The BMC Labs facility is still open if you’d like to create your own POD implant:

Pod Wants to Know You

Image via BMC Labs.

Here I am in the POD holding area:

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A closer view of the mesh cowl neck:

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The cowl fastens in the back with hooks and thread eyes:

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The lab staff let me hold a brand-new red POD (rara avis—most are colourless):

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We were delighted to find BMC Labs at the end of our visit: it was the perfect backdrop for the dress given McQueen’s futuristic, sci-fi inspiration for his collection for Givenchy. I’m crossing my fingers for a red POD of my own…

Toronto Sewing Blog Meetup

February 28, 2013 § 5 Comments

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in a Toronto sewing blog meetup, co-organized by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and Adrienne of All Style and All Substance. All together we were eighteen sewing enthusiasts—some with blogs, some without, and one who’d taken the train in from Montreal:

Who knew there were so many sewing bloggers in the GTA? We split into two groups to avoid swarming the shops:

Andi, Kristiann, Dana, Adrienne, me, and Anastasia outside Leather & Sewing Supply Depot on Vanauley St.

Vicki, Sandra, Jagoda, Chloe, Reethi, Tracy, and Debbie outside Leather & Sewing Supply Depot.

Catja brought everyone decadent cake pops that were the perfect shopping break calorie bomb (get her recipe here):

Adrienne and I enjoy our cake pops; Catja with her handiwork; Tracy and Catja. Images via All Style and All Substance.

After gathering at Le Gourmand near Queen and Spadina, we started at King Textiles, where the young SA observed, “You’re all wearing name tags.” From there we hit Leathertown (officially Leather & Sewing Supply Depot), Downtown Fabrics, and the Wool House before heading over to Tequila Bookworm for refreshments and a swap.

I wasn’t doing any shopping, but a highlight was when the owner at Downtown Fabrics produced a matchbook and lit some fabric on fire. (He was demonstrating that a fine Japanese lining was cotton with a burn test.) There’s nothing like that old-fashioned salesmanship. Kristiann, who’s the owner of local indie pattern company Victory Patterns, also shared some tips on where to find the right trim for a vintage sewing project I have in the works, which should be very helpful next time I’m in the fashion district.

Here we all are at Tequila Bookworm:

Upstairs at Tequila Bookworm.

Our amazing organizers both wore clothes they had made themselves. Adrienne wore her self-drafted Granny-smith blouse and skirt, and Gillian wore one of her versions of the Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns:

Adrienne and Gillian, organizers of the meetup

Adrienne and Gillian.

Unfortunately I hadn’t had a chance to cull anything for the swap, so I was surprised to be able to score one of Vicki’s vintage patterns in the swap’s second round-cum-free-for-all. Thanks, Vicki!

The event was such a success that there is talk of a second meetup this summer; details will be posted on Gillian’s blog. In the meantime, Reethi has put together a handy GTA blogroll, and Vicki’s sewing blogger mapping project, Map the Sewintists, helps bloggers worldwide in planning non-virtual events. Check it out, and til the next meetup!

New Page + Meetup!

November 27, 2012 § 4 Comments

This blog now has a ‘designers’ page:

The page is a handy index to all my posts focusing on patterns by a single designer. I have posts on Kenzo and Marc Jacobs in the works, as well as a couturier or two of the Twenties and Thirties. I would love to hear your suggestions for other designers you would like to see covered. (Lisa, I haven’t forgotten your Issey Miyake suggestion!)

I recently had my very first blogger meetup, with the fabulous Heather of Closet Case Files. Heather brings a designer’s eye and downtown art chick’s voice to her sewing blog. She’s proof that sewing can be cool—check out her finished projects, especially her border print chiffon caftan photographed in Cuba. Naomi and I had a blast meeting Heather and joining her for an afternoon of fabric shopping in Toronto’s fashion district. Her quest for the perfect red double knit took us into every shop I’d ever wondered about. We even found a couple things for ourselves—a pixel print satin and an apple green double knit—and, in the process, discovered the joys of deadline-free, in-person fabric browsing. Thanks to Heather for suggesting the meetup!

Local Event: Textile Museum Sale

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hand-embroidered animals on a Bengali kantha at the Textile Museum of Canada

Detail of a hand-embroidered Bengali kantha at the Textile Museum of Canada.

For those of you in the GTA, next weekend is the More Than Just a Yardage Sale, the Textile Museum of Canada’s annual fundraising sale in downtown Toronto. The Museum’s volunteers will be selling lots of sewing and crafting supplies including fabric and yarn, buttons and beads. Here’s the official poster:

More Than Just a Yardage Sale poster

This is a free event. Look for the tent in the parking lot next to the museum, which is at 55 Centre Ave., near Dundas and University.

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