Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #7 - Sleeves

There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there.  Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.
The Dreamstress

There is no way for me to sew any historical fashion with falling down the rabbit hole of research.  The time period, the people of that time, their lifestyles, the joys and sorrows are all eventually woven into the final fabric that hangs on my simple dressform.  I've heard the names of those famous 19th century and early 20th century fashion designers - Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jacque Doucet, Lucy Lady Duff-Gordon, Jean Patou, Louis Vuitton, Charles Frederick Worth, Salvatore Ferragamo.  For this Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge one name came immediately to mind:  Paul Poiret.

Paul Poiret (pronounced pwah-rey) was a leading French fashion designer who lived from 1879 to 1944.  Recognized as the first "modern" master couturier he had a profound influence on 20th century fashion.  Early in his career he worked for Doucet and the House of Worth where he was considered too non-conservative.  In 1903 he established his own design house.

His major contribution to fashion was the development of the dressmaking technique known as draping.  He is remembered for freeing women from 19th century corsets and modernizing the Victorian silhouette.  Construction techniques were along straight lines and made of rectangles.

One of his iconic designs has been brought into a current pattern by Folkwear as their Poiret Cocoon Coat.

The pattern sketch shows the beautiful draped design with a sleeve that is basically an extension of the front and back of the coat looking like a bat wing.  Although the pattern is simple, just a single piece that is cut twice and a collar, I am truly confused as to exactly how this is all going to work!

There is a dart and a curved portion at the outward edge of the pattern.  After the fabric is cut and the dart is sewn the sleeve seam is created from the bustline outward by folding the fabric onto itself.  It is a brilliant design!  And look at that beautifully created sleeve!  Perfection!

See the seamline running along the front center of the sleeve where I have the fabric pinned?
 The four pieces are cut and sewn for both the outside embellished velvet fabric and the interior taffeta fabric.  All that is left is a collar piece which is interfaced and piped with velvet.  Velvet piping also made a nice finish to the sleeve edge.

Since I have just barely enough fabric to create this coat and the one-way design leaves some open spaces, I cut appliques from the remaining scrap fabric and work to position them.

The final coat design.

The interior taffeta.
With a lot of saving and selling I was fortunate to be able to attend Costume College 2018 in Woodland Hills, California this past weekend.  There were 650 people in attendance for a theme of Dressing the  Royals.  I attended classes and lectures, laughed with friends new and old, and costumed day and night.  This Poiret-inspired coat with a beaded gown I had made for a spring event were my Red Carpet and Gala gown for Saturday night.  The coat swished and sparkled and I added some attitude with my rose design Meerschaum pipe.

Those sleeves!!!

Does this coat strike you as a bit Art Deco?  Perhaps you know a Russian-born French artist and designer named Romain de Tirtoff.  His first employer was Paul Poiret.  He was best known by the pseudonym from the French pronunciation of his initials - Erté.  Oops, down another research rabbit hole!

Bonne couture,

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  #7 - Sleeves
Material:  Velvet blend, taffeta blend
Pattern:  Folkwear 503
Year:  1911 - 1919
Notions:  Frog closure, cord for piping
How historically accurate is it?  The technique of draping and this style is accurate.
Hours to complete:  27 hours
First worn:  Costume College 2018
Total cost:  $80