Saturday, February 20, 2016

McCall's 6053 (1914)

McCall's 6053 is a reproduction pattern offered by Past Patterns. When I bought it a couple years ago, Sandra told me that it was a problem pattern and that if I had issues with the construction to give her call.  I began making this dress about six months ago and became so frustrated with the directions that I had to put the project to the side. The problem? Aside from the enumerable dots and dashes spattered all over the pattern pieces to denote this pleat here, there, and everywhere, I discovered too late into the project that pattern piece "U" (the side pieces of the over-tunic) needed to be widened by several inches in width to meet the 32-34" waist measurement. If I were to create the pleats following the dots and dashes on the over-tunic pattern pieces and cut the skirt sections using the pattern/fabric layout, the waist of the over-tunic would be about 3" too small. Never mind the bodice, under-tunic, and over-tunic attachment and pleating alignment issues with the short-sleeve version of this dress. Why not just eighty-six the directions? Because when writing a review on this historical dress pattern, I wanted to give an honest assessment on its quality and level of skill. However, in the end - after fussing and fighting way too long with this insufferable pattern - I threw out the directions and let my dressmaking sensibilities and skills take over. 

I have finished the short-sleeved version of this dress (pictured below) and I'm currently working the long-sleeved version. When using this pattern, I strongly recommend that a toile is made first in order to work your way through the bugs of its construction, especially when making the short-sleeved version of the dress (note the differences in the bodice construction and pleat placement between the two versions). 

For construction photos of this dress, please visit my Flicker page. Blessings and happy sewing! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

High Style at CAM

What a wonderful way to conclude 2015 by sharing photographs from my visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum's High Style exhibit, on loan from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection until January 24, 2016 - the exhibit is FREE. The focus of the collection follows the timeline of high design from the late-1890s to the late-1980s, and features key American, French, and Italian designers and couture houses. 

One of the aspects of this exhibit that I greatly appreciate is the inclusion of many women designers, who, before the late 1950s, dominated the fashion industry, especially in the United States, and whose designs were pivotal to the evolution of fashion. We all know Chanel (unless you live on Mars, but even then...), but do you know designers Elsa Schiaparelli, Vera Maxwell, Madeleine Vionnet, Sally Victor, Claire McCardell, or Alix Grès? If not, you'd certainly recognize their sensational fashions! However, media recognition of these fabulous women designers throughout the history of modern fashion has been wanting, and in favor of men designers, like Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Charles Worth, and Charles James, etc., etc. For the ardent student and historian of fashion alike, it is necessary to know these women designers and their revolutionary contributions to the fashion industry. 

Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian designer, 1890-1973):

~Ivory crepe-back silk satin printed gown and parasol (1937)~

~Blue cotton dress with seed packet appliqués (1939)~

~Gilt metal necklace with green and red plastic enameled leaves (1938)~
~Clear rhodoid necklace with metallic painted pressed mental ornaments (1938)~

~Green and black silk faille gown with gold metallic weave (1937)~

Alix Grès (French designer, 1903-1993):

~White silk jersey evening gown (1937)~

~Taupe silk paper taffeta evening gown (1969)~

Charles James (American designer, 1906-1978):

~Clover gown - pink and ivory faille, cooper shantung, and black lace (1953)~

~Ribbon gown - rayon wool satin, and pastel silk faille, taffeta, and satin (1946)~

~Ribbon gown muslin toile~

Couture Houses:

~Black silk charmeuse evening gown by House of Drecoll (French 1912)~

~Day dress and evening dress by House of  Doucet (French c. 1903-1910)~

~Glazed printed cotton evening gown by House of Worth (American 1938)~

~Pink silk satin ensemble by House of Fontana (Italian 1954)~

Shoe Designers:

~Metallic kidskin pumps by Steven Arpad (French 1939)~

~Steven Arpad shoe and boot prototypes (French 1938-1939)~

~Steven Arpad shoe and boot prototypes (French 1938-1939)~

~Steven Arpad shoe prototypes (French 1938-1939)~

~Trunk and shoes by Pierre Yantorny (French 1914-1919)~

Get a load of that steamer truck of shoes - Wowwie! For more photographs of the High Style exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum, please visit my Pinterest page. Wishing you a safe, peaceful, and happy New Year!

Blessings and happy sewing!