Thursday, February 13, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly - Challenge #3 Pink

The Challenge:  Pink
Fabric:  Lace, Satin
Pattern:  Past Patterns #3973 from The Home Pattern Company
Year:  1908
Notions:  Thread, satin ribbon for rosettes, hook and eye
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  The pattern and sewing are accurate as is the use of lace.  The lace itself is a polyester content which was not yet available.
Hours to complete?  12 hours because of the hand sewing
First worn:  Valentine's Day 2014
Total Cost:  $15 for the pattern, thread

I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing is the best
calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when
everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are
the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day,
I believe in miracles.
                 Audrey Hepburn
Wouldn't you think that a lady with pink all over her blog would adore pink?  And believe in pink like Audrey Hepburn?  And wear pink almost every day?  Wouldn't you?
I would!  But, alas, I don't own one pink item.  Which is now about to change with the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #3 Pink.  And remember, I'm really really trying to be good and use what I have on hand.  Thankfully, two friends de-stashed a while back and I had just enough of a beautiful pink lace to make the Ladies' Tunic Overblouse featured in The Ladies' Home Journal, September 1908 and offered by Past Patterns,
The Journal article was "For The Girl Who Makes Her Own Clothes" and the full article is included in the pattern.  The pattern was intended to take an out-of-date gown and add the tunic to make the gown presentable for dinner wear.  There are instructions on insertion lace construction, preparing your own fabric/lace combination to make the overdress, and alterations to the gown for updating.  It tells us that 4 yards of material, 3 yards of lace, and thread will cost us $1.27.  Heavens!
The pattern is multi-sized and simple to cut and sew.  There are layout instructions but the sewing instructions are minimal.  I review everything and estimate that my overdress will be finished in about 6 hours because of some edge trim that will have to be sewn by hand.
The lace has a nice finished edge and I lay out the pattern to make use of that edge and to align the 4 skirt gores and the bodice pieces so that the lace will align well when the pieces are sewn together.
I pin all the parts on the dressform and am happy with the result.  Just a few seams and some hand sewing of the edges, I'll be finished in a snap!  So I procrastinate and start planning future projects.
Bad idea!  I test sew a seam to adjust the tension and make sure a French seam will work nicely.  It does not!  The lace is so open that it cannot be machine stitched without a backing.  I search the internet for other methods of seaming lace.  Here were two helpful sites:

After an afternoon of trial and error I realize that the best way for me to get the seam I want is to hand sew.  And so I put The Proclaimers on Pandora radio, and begin to sew all seams by hand.

This is the back of the skirt with the seam down the center and the lace pattern creating a beautiful chevron.
There is enough edging left on the lace selvages to edge the open front edges of the skirt.  I cut the edge off the selvage and hand sew it to the skirt.
For the bodice I create edging by cutting pieces from the remaining lace and then hand sewing.
Of course I have to have ribbon roses!  I have a very pale pink satin ribbon and I dip the edges in Tulip Soft Petal Pink fabric paint, let dry...
...and gather the ribbon into rosettes.
You can see the instructions on my facebook album here:
The overdress can be made into a one-piece jumper or separate skirt and blouse.  I've made this one as a one-piece with the skirt and bodice sewn to a satin waistband, and the inside of the waistband lined with a duplicate waistband.  These were sewn by machine because of the satin except for the final enclosure.
Some more hand sewing and.....the overdress is finished!  Pretty and oh so very very pink!


The overdress could also be used to take a plain blouse and skirt...

 ...and turn it into something suitable to receive evening guests.

Or a quiet afternoon enjoying a nice cup of tea while watching the snow fall.

The matching satin headwrap with ribbon rose, and pink cameo necklace and earrings complete the gown.

My Pink Challenge is finished and now I can enjoy that cup of tea!

With love,