Friday, April 22, 2016

Lovely 1920's Couture and a New Pattern Release!

Well, hello my dears!
I have been hard at work doing two things very diligently. The first has been working on a pattern project a very long time in the making. The second is learning how to stop and take care of myself. It has taken me a few years but I have finally learned the lesson that chronic pain teaches everyone familiar with it: You have to learn when to stop. It's not easy, especially when you're an obsessive workaholic who loves what you do for a living!
This lesson has called for less blogging and more gardening, less pattern drafting and more quiet moments with a good book, less 14 hour days and more tea, yoga, dog walking, and wine in the garden breaks.
Self-neglect is a hard habit to break, but at least I've been enjoying the learning process :)

When I haven't been seeking those quiet, peaceful, relaxing activities, I've been quite happily working on a reproduction for what I consider one of the crown jewels of my vintage pattern collection. But it had to be done right, and that called for some painstaking research and a lot of work.

The pattern in question: A 1929 Maggy Rouff Couture design that looks more like it's from the early 1930's. Maggy Rouff was rather fashion forward in general but in 1929 it seems like she started setting the stage for the hemline making its descent from the flapper just-below-the-knee, to the calf-length we associate with the early 1930's.

This wonderful design features three versions that can be sewn long sleeved or sleeveless. The front has a wrap effect with yokes trimmed in bows and a flounce for a faux-bolero effect. However, the most interesting feature by far, is the straight skirt which is trimmed with asymmetric flounces for the suggestion of an uneven hemline -  in a manner that was very fashion-forward for 1929. 

My favorite part about adding the original pattern to my collection was how it felt a little bit like an Easter egg. I knew it was familiar-looking when I bought it, but couldn't quite place it. Then I opened it up and there was a photograph printed on one of the pattern pieces. The photo of the original Maggy Rouff design that the pattern had been designed from. I ran back to my collection of vintage magazines, and sure enough, in a fall 1929 magazine, there it was. The dress! The original pattern envelope made no mention of any designers on the front as they usually do.

The dress in question at far right.
The flounce creates the illusion of a longer, asymmetrical hemline and calls to mind en evening look if one were to leave off the sleeves.
Also from Maggie Rouff and her fellow designers that year, came the beautiful, flounce bedecked evening gowns that merely flirted briefly with the floor:

Maggy Rouff on the left, Patou on the right.
All of this of course, eventually led to a reproduction. But I had several mangled and badly torn pattern pieces to re-draft along the way (poor little pattern, I'll save you!). And this pattern, with 13 pieces and a half dozen flounces takes up more paper/ fabric than any pattern I've yet to work with. But she's finally here!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Depew #3061.

Depew #3061 Ladies' Dress Sewing Pattern.
I've been playing about with some sketches and draping and there's even a way to sew this dress up for an evening look! Simply leave the sleeves off, extend the front and back hems about 4", cut a few more flounces like the ones at front and back, sew them a few inches below the first set and voila, evening dress!
A quickie in Photoshop - not my best work but you get the idea.

You can really play around with this dress by leaving the flounces off at the bodice, or cutting them from contrasting lace, or leaving all flounces off for a smoother day-time silhouette.
The sky is the limit!

Happy sewing,