Monday, July 6, 2009

Pattern frustration, Vintage inspiration

Laundry was calling me, the iron needed to be fixed, and there was much cleaning to do after RJ and I spent last weekend away. After these chores, I took advantage of the holiday weekend for relaxation purposes rather than sewing. I did start in on a Burda top this weekend, 118B from 2/2009, with some bamboo jersey in peach. After about the third step of the pattern I remembered why I shouldn't follow directions so blindly. While I love Burda's patterns, their directions often seem to include unnecessary steps. The use of the neckline binding, in this case, really stumped me, and left me too frustrated to go on. Why does this neck binding have to peek out 1/8" out from the neckline? Could they not have made this binding fold completely underneath? I don't know the answers to these questions. But I promised myself that the next time I start a pattern, I will examine all the pieces first, and decide how I want to put them together.

If I remember correctly, this type of creative frustration has always been with me. I began taking sewing lessons when I was ten, my mother driving me to the instructor's house each Saturday. Sessions were prepared for by carefully choosing a pattern of the appropriate skill-level, and subsequently hunting for the proper fabric and notions. The fact that it sometimes took 2-3 Saturdays to finish a single pattern was ok, because I was "still learning". This drawn-out time frame put such effort on the process that by the time I completed a project I was often too bored with the garment to wear it. To top it off, my mother insisted that each project was to be finished before we could purchase supplies for the next. Needless to say, this had the effect of turning project frustration into long sewing hiatuses. These days I try to manage project frustration by diverting my attention to another project. I'm not sure how effective a strategy this is, but I do know that I complete an awful lot more projects these days. And I spend a lot less time frustrated.

This weekend I allowed myself to relax, and shifted gears from worrying about the Burda pattern to craving a new 1930s inspired blouse. While browsing flickr for inspiration, I happened upon these lovely images from Allison Marchant's (Carbonated) photostream. It was really awesome to find these images, as patterns from this period seem difficult to come by (and pricey!) online. I'm hoping to sketch a couple of these up tonight, and then start drafting patterns tomorrow night. There are two pieces of silk I'm planning to use--one I've already posted here, and another is a brilliant yellow floral silk crepe that I purchased at the L.A. fashion district this Spring. I meant to make a top out of it sooner, but it is too lovely to cut into without first making a muslin. Enjoy the photos, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
View B has pretty nifty sleeves-two pieces (!) with pleated back seams
Image courtesy of carbonated

Another McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
Note the straight lines, and subtle shaping via side-seam darts
View C is best bet for a modern interpretation, too many ruffles are distracting
Image courtesy of carbonated

Elegant McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
I like that the wrapping bits tie in the back,
rather than leaving awkward dangles at the side
This somehow reminds me at once of a ballet sweater and a kimono
Image courtesy of carbonated

Dubarry 1930s tunic pattern
Loves: drapey raglan sleeves, center seam ruching, draped neckline, peplum
So many details! I will definitely be trying this one.
Image courtesy of carbonated

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