Friday, September 25, 2015

1916 Fall Fashion Advertisement: Cat's Paw Cushion Rubber Heels

Fall leaves blow in this advertisement for "Cat's Paw Cushion Rubber Heels" that dates from 1916.  Published in a women's sewing craft magazine, this eye catching striped skirt ensemble was very popular during that era, and hints of the historical styles from the late 1700's that were so popular then.

The contrast jacket with double breasted buttons and cutaway front is in the style of a redingote from the late 1700's.  It features a little standing collar and turn back cuffs in starched white linen.  Standing collars were often wired to keep their shape up.  The wide picture hat completes her silhouette was also a popular historical inspired accessory.

The skirt length was shorter than it had ever been, being during World War I when textiles were in short supply and women's walking and working demands made adopting this shorter and fuller style desirable.

Modesty required toned stockings or higher cut boot tops as you can see here with the color contrast high buttoned spats worn over her black shoes with French heels (or they might have been tall boots of contrasting leather).

Together, all of these elements create an eyecatching outfit from the mid-teen years.  Hard to believe that this was a century ago,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Copy: 1963 Party Dress & Draft an Over Skirt

This adorable vintage illustration from 1963 shows a navy or black brocade cocktail dress with a bustier type bodice and gathered skirt with a folded over-skirt or apron. It has a simple concept that appears more complicated than it is. By using current patterns, it's possible to copy this dress.

The bodice is a simple shape, with a horizontal neckline that has a small notch in the center. By using a similar fitted bodice, and adding that "V" notch in center, the same shape can be created. Black satin ribbons trim this bodice edge, create the straps, belt and edge the overskirt as accents.  A tiny bow is also seen at center front.

The skirt pattern you use can be gathered, semi-circle or "A" line. What gives the distinct look is an overskirt that has a center front opening with front edges folded back. This can be draped over the under skirt and sewn to it around the waist line seam. You can see with this design that the overskirt hem is trimmed up at the sides with black ribbon too. The center back edges of this drape are left open, without a back seam and bound in the black satin ribbon. Ribbon could be used for the hem edge as well.

Both of these dress patterns are a good place to start if you don't have your own bustier dress pattern.

Simplicity 1690 is remarkably similar to this vintage dress, and could be used to make the copy. The vintage overskirt is longer than this pattern, so it may need to be lengthened.

New Look 6457, view "A" has the basic pattern elements. It would need to have the overskirt draped. If you try that method, use muslin or scrap fabric so you can get the right look without using your fashion fabric. It can be a flat width of fabric the same length as the under-skirt.  Fold back the front edges and trim up that angle as shown in the illustration.  Leave the over-skirt open down the back like an apron, so it doesn't need to have a seam or zipper.

To create your own over skirt, using a gathered or "A" line skirt pattern, follow this tutorial. I used small scale patterns to create this, so it will look different than a true pattern you make using full sized patterns.

Because the over skirt folds back, it will need to be fully lined in the same fabric. This will mean that two complete over skirts will be cut from the fashion fabric. Be sure to try a sample layout to estimate your yardage for this so that you have enough fabric for the skirt.

Creating a skirt drape is a fun way to make an original and dramatic dress of you own design, and this style would be flattering to most figure types, creating a unique look with vintage style.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fashion Illustration: Three Books on Fashion Drawing

This week I am continuing with a few suggestions for building a fashion illustration library with three books: Colors for Modern Fashion by Riegelman, Fashion Illustration Techniques by Lafuente and Fashion Illustration Today by Drake. All three have merits and could be inspirational as well as instructional when it's time to illustrate a fashion, costume or work with advertising illustrations.

At 6.5 pounds, Colors for Modern Fashion by Nancy Riegelman is a hefty volume filled with information on how to draw fashion illustrations using colored markers. The illustrations show a wide range of examples, and could help those new to illustrations get a better idea of how to problem solve figures and fabric.

This is a soft bound publication with 560 pages, published by 9 Heads Media, 1st self published edition (April 29, 2006), ISBN-09702463-2-3, Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.5 x 13.1 inches, The following illustrations are typical for this book:

The second book is Fashion Illustration Techniques by Lafuente.

This book show how to illustrate Fashion using colored Media: watercolor, pastels, crayons, markers, pencils and collage. It takes a more 'fine art' position when producing illustrations and contains a wider variety of techniques and styles using European Fashion Illustration Techniques.

It is a moderate sized text at 191 pages, published by Evergreen, 2008 (ISBN-13: 978-3836504072, Size: 8 3/4" X 10", Weight: 2 pounds).

The third book is Fashion Illustration Today by Drake.

The third illustration book was published in 1994 and is filled with the images of popular techniques from that final era of fashion illustration. There is alot that an illustrator today can take away from this book which features dramatic, colorful illustrations from 27 well known illustrators of the 90's.  Pages include both mixed media color illustrations and drawings. This book has an art based point of view, showing artists with widely different styles.

It is available as a 176 page paperback, published by Thames & Hudson in 1994 (ISBN-10: 0500277737, 9 1/2" X 11 1/2", 1 1/2lbs).

The next time you find yourself cruising the shelves of a used book store, keep an eye out for these publications, you'll want to take a closer look.

(These titles may be available in my shop)

Friday, September 18, 2015

1960, Gloves by Crescendoe, Illustration by Grau

"(Have you seen Crescendoe "Leather gloves by Superb" fabulous)"

"Crescendoe's Caresse, Suddenly beautiful things happen to your hands"

"Miraculous, the flattery of leather tailored gloves in Caresse, Crescendoe's marvelous new matte-nylon! Won't shrink, pill, or loose its shape when washed.
Poco, $3.00, young button shortie
Fidelio, $3.50, Long and elegant"

Illustration by Grau


Don't these seem perfect for fall weather?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How to sew a Vintage 1950's Capri Set: Quadriga Cloth Advertisement

This capri set from 1956 was used to advertise a fabric called "Quadriga" cloth, available for home sewing in prints and solids. Quadriga is a cotton percale that is fine and smooth, manufactured by Eli and Walker Dry Good Company who were well known for producing reproduction calico prints as well in this fabric.  Originally made by the Quadriga Cloth Company, in 1911 that company was bought by Eli and Walker, and Quadriga continued to be made by them.

At the time of this advertisement, Eli and Walker had been acquired by Burlington Industries.  Quadriga continued to be produced by the Burlington company into the 1980's with their popular quilting prints being a popular item.  Interestingly, the original company was started in St. Louis in 1870 by a great-grandfather Walker of the presidential Bush family line.

The capri set with overskirt shown in this 1956 ad is made from both McCall's 9619 and 3069.   It's always interesting to see how vintage patterns were translated when made in actual fabric and shown on a live model.  This version of McCall's 9619 swapped the wide cummerbund of the capri set for the narrow waistband of the overskirt.  The gored semi-circle skirt from McCall's 3069 was made without front buttons and lined to match the blouse fabric.

Sewing patterns available now could be used to create this capri outfit with overskirt.  I found a few that might work for this projet:

Butterick 5526 could create a similar blouse if front ruffles were added.  Pant pattern from Butterick 5895 shown above could be used to sew a similar vintage look capri.  The skirt pattern McCall's 7129 is a wrap style.  Trimming away the front skirt overlap so that the edges meet at center front instead would produce the right look with a front opening. There are many vintage 1950's novelty prints available in cottons, so a cute coordinated print and solid fabric look is possible using current materials that would create a vintage looking outfit.

More on Quadra Cloth:
Hart Cottage Quilts, Ely and Walker: HERE HERE
Making History: Quilts and Fabric from 1890 to 1970 by Barbara Brackman: HERE


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