Each year, starting on my birthday, I give myself a new garment related challenge. Last year I tried to make one garment a week and though I didn’t quite make 52 (made 45 garments for myself) I am quite proud of what I achieved. With my birthday approaching (July 31st for those keeping track), I need to come up with a new challenge. What o’ what could that challenge be?
I’ve been bouncing ideas around and decided to take a look at my wardrobe to see what I needed to fill in gaps. When I did this I noticed that I don’t have trousers, fitted skirts and very few blouses. I am also lacking coats and cardigans (and the ones I have are looking shabby). After this realization, I also concluded that I don’t have many structured/fitted garments and I believe a large part of that is because I am a curvy girl and it is hard to find sizes that fit right. I found myself saying out loud, ‘But isn’t that why you make your own clothing?’ Yes. Yes it is.
Hold on… did you say you don’t have any trousers. That is correct. I haven’t owned trousers of any kind in at least ten years. Why? I hate the way they fit. As I mentioned earlier, I am a curvy girl. I’ve always had an hourglass figure, (large boobs, smaller waist, wide hips) even when I was slender. I hated shopping for pants of any kind. If I was able to get them to fit in the hips, the waist was too big. I also have really long legs and a high waist, so I could never get the rise to fit right either. So…. I stopped wearing them. That is about to change.
Toile! Toile! Toile!
Anyone who sews knows you need to make a toile to get your fit down and when making pants I see a lot of them in my future! I want to make 3 basic types. 1930/1940 high waist style, 1950s Rockabilly style and elastic waist Beach Pyjama Style. These will cover most of my vintage inspired wardrobe needs.
Another large project I want to undertake is replacing all of my cardigans. Many are in shabby shape and I will likely repurpose them into mittens or other things. That said… knitting will need to wait for a while. I’ve done something to my thumb and need to wait a few more days before I can have it looked at. In the meantime… there is sewing!
However, me being me, I am adding and addition challenge starting January 1, 2020. I am going to start reproducing Miss Lemon’s wardrobe (from the TV show Poirot). Because in my world, one challenge is not enough!
Let’s get sewing!
Please add my Instagram account @killerkitsch13 to see regular progress updates.
Did she do it? Did she succeed in her 52 garment in 52 weeks challenge? Well…. almost.
How many garments have I made so far? Since July 1st, 2018, I have made 45 garments for myself. On top of that, I’ve made 3 sweaters for my husband and several hats/scarves and a purse for myself (approx. 49 pieces including those). (I have also made many hats and scarves as gifts to others as well) OH and I should mention I made all these from either vintage patterns, self-drafted the patterns myself (I learned how to draft patterns in High School. Thank you Mrs. Hewitt) or made them from vintage reproduction patterns. My memade wardrobe is all vintage reproduction.
I’m proud of this. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I love it because it is another way to stretch my creativity! My goal is that most of my wardrobe is memade, with a small percentage of it from thrifting or clothing swaps. I’m getting there! The extra bonus of making my own clothing, they fit properly!!!
To help keep me motivated, I created groups and we have knit-a-longs, sew-a-longs, crochet-a-longs, and refashion-a-longs. These groups are my happy place!
Where does my original inspiration come from? My Mother is my sewing inspiration. She taught me how to sew when…. I think it was ten-years-old — she says I was younger than that. I learned how to sew on a Treadle sewing machine (My Great Grandma Brown’s (made in 1898)) that I now own. My Mom also made her own and all of our clothing (when we were kids), without patterns. That’s right folks, wanting to self-draft my own patterns vs using premade patterns is in the blood!
I’m incredibly happy with my achievement this year. Even after sewing for decades I am still learning new skills. That brings me to my new goal. Starting August 1st I am going to begin using Draft-at-home systems. I have quite a few that include Haslam, Mrs. Depew and many others. I’ve done a blog post on it, it you want to give it a gander! https://killerkitschdesigns.com/2019/03/13/draft-at-home-systems/
Let’s summer like it’s 1927! Oh yes, in our Beach Pajamas! I don’t know about anyone else, but I have always loved and been a wee bit obsessed with Beach Pajamas. The beauty of these wonderful garments is they can be one piece or two pieces. I’ve always been a fan of the combination of halter top and wide leg pants.
To make this sew-a-long accessible, it will be another bring your own pattern. It can be self-drafted, from an original vintage pattern or a reproduction pattern. It can be separates or the one-piece version. Use what works for you. (I will also provide links below to suggestions)
But that isn’t all for this a-long! To complete your summery outfit, you will also need a bag. Again, this is a bring your own pattern. The bag can be knit, crocheted or sewn (or any other technique that works for you).
Please feel free to do both the Beach Pajamas and bag or do just Beach Pajamas or just the bag. It’s all up to you!
The SAL will run from July 1 to 31. As always, if you post on Instagram please tag @killerkitsch13 and use hashtags #killerkitschsewalong #beachpajamaalong.
The July to September (July 1 to September 30) knit-a-long in our Vintage Knitting group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/killerkitschvintageknitalong/) will be another bring your own pattern; it just needs to be vintage (1950s and earlier) and be a summer jumper. But here is the twist, it can be knit, crochet or a combination of both! Not to worry, if you don’t have a pattern in your stash we will be providing some pattern information that will be found over in our Facebook group.
If you post your KAL photos on Instagram please tag me at @killerkitsch13 and use tags #killerkitschknitalong and #summeralong.
June’s a-long is a bit of a free for all! We will be doing a summer outfit a-long. It can be a dress or separates. It can include knitted and crochet garments as well. It can be self-drafted, from a pattern or a refashion. The only guideline is the outfit must reproduce patterns from the 1950s or earlier! Show us your memade vintage inspired outfits! I may actually do another tiki set. Or… a patio dress. There are just so many options!
The summer-a-long will run from June 1 to 30! As always, if you post on Instagram please tag @killerkitsch13 and use hashtags #killerkitschsummeralong.
I’ve been slightly obsessed with the Draft at Home Systems that were popular between the 1920s to the late 1950s. As someone who self-drafts or has to resize vintage patterns, I fully appreciate the adventure of using these systems. I mentioned in a recent post that it is time for me to level up my sewing skills and I personally think that this is the way to to do it, not to mention, I can continue to customize patterns and garments to fit my body.
What are Draft at Home Systems you ask? These were generally patterns or pattern books sent via mail order or found in magazines. Many of the books would include a variety of patterns including women, men, children and occasionally household patterns. The systems would also assume that an experienced home seamstresses would be using the patterns. In most cases patterns would not include facings, pockets or even instructions. It was up to you to figure that all out. The patterns themselves would be considered easy enough for the sewist to draft themselves, as sewing was a skill that would be taught from generation to generation. In my opinion, it should still be a learned skill that everyone should know — but, I digress, that is for another post.
There are several different types of Draft at Home Systems, I am listing several below and if you are interested in trying them out yourself, I will include links for as many as I can. The first ones listed are the ones I will be trying soon. I will be posting about my adventures in using these systems and I hope you come along for the journey! As I find more drafting systems I will be sure to blog about them.
Haslam System Of Dress Cutting The Haslam System was very popular from the 1930s all the way to the 1950s, which is quite a feat as many other drafting systems would generally be popular for a particular period and fall out of popularity when a newer, better system was created. I plan on making the green dress that is in the illustration below. I’ve wanted to make more 1930s fashions, but the sizing generally doesn’t fit me. With the actual Draft at Home System I can customize the pattern and garment to fit my measurements!
Mrs. Depew Many of Mrs. Depew’s patterns are from a French pattern drafting system fairly similar to the Lutterloh golden rule patterns. Thought the site doesn’t say which I am taking a wild guess that it is Eclair Coupe Paris. Though Mrs. Depew isn’t an actual drafting system, I am including it here as there are a lot of Draft at Home System patterns on her website. I feel like her website is also a great resource.
Enid Gilchrist Enid Gilchrist was an Australian fashion designer, who became well known for her numerous self-drafting sewing pattern books which were very popular in the 1950s to 1970s. The pattern book I have has a great selection of dresses and I can’t wait to make one of the day dresses! If you want to purchase a book Subversive Femme over on Etsy has two.
In addition to these three systems I have a few more I want to try out. I have listed those below with other drafting systems that are out there! These are just a few, there are so many more systems. The ones I am interested in are from 1900 to the early 1960s. I am always on the hunt and my goal is to try to make at least one garment from as many of the systems as I can.
Italian Drafting System Elegantissma was an Italian drafting system that was popular in the mid to late 1950s. If you want to buy one of the magazines, you can find them here.
“Making fashionable, professional looking clothing, requires complete control over fabric, style and fit.
Choosing and making your own patterns, is the ideal way to create your individual style and achieve consistently proper fitting garments. The Lutterloh pattern making system is the perfect solution for today’s busy sewer.
Fashion conscious sewers from around the world have been using the Lutterloh method for decades, beginners and professionals alike. This system is quick and easy to learn.
Astonishingly simple, you need only two measurements to make an excellent fitting pattern every time.“ www.lutterloh-system.com
Eclair Coupe Paris This system was developed in the late 20s. I’ve compared it to the other pattern systems I have and I am finding this one quite easy to follow. I like that you get handy paper rulers that go up to very large sizes. I have also found instructions on how to make my own rulers if need be.
Magazines A large variety of women’s magazines would contain either knitting, crochet or sewing patterns. I’ve listed a few below.
Australian Home Journal Good Needlework Home Chat Ladies Companion Ladies Home Journal My Home Stitchcraft Weldon’s Ladies Journal (Here is a link to a pdf of a magazine ) Women at Home Women’s Life Women’s Weekly Women’s World
Let’s help encourage warm spring weather with a bird themed knit-a-long! Everyone loves birds!
For this knit-a-long, you can use your own pattern, it just needs to be vintage (1920s (or earlier) to 1950s) and have birds on it. Not worry, if you don’t have a pattern in your stash we will be providing some patterns or information on where to search! To be part of the KAL please join our Facebook group. The next KAL runs from April 1st to June 30th. No fool’n!
Our winter has been one of the most confusing, depressing and what feels like neverending in what feels like forever. Actually, I don’t recall a winter being this icy and grey as long as I can remember. Usually, November is bleak and grey, but from that point on the days are generally sunny and cold. We have went through three-plus months of minimal sun and it has not only been affecting my mood, but my motivation to sew. This week we had lots of sun and my sewing mojo is back! Ok… enough of the whining!
What I’ve been doing to combat the blues and to get inspired again, is I am researching and dreaming of my spring and summer wardrobe! I have also decided that 2019 will be the year that I up my sewing skills. It’s time to level up!
Over the last few years, I’ve been intrigued with the draft-at-home-systems such as Haslam, Mrs. Depew, Enid Gilchrist, Eiffel Pattern Drafting System, Lutterloh and other French and Italian systems. I currently have Haslam, Mrs. Depew and Enid Gilchrist and am researching others. I want to try them all! As I make a garment from each of the drafting systems I will be blogging about it and posting on my social media (Instagram & Facebook).
The beauty of these systems is they will also help me build my 2019 spring and summer wardrobe! I really want to start adding colour to my wardrobe and I’ve been obsessing a bit on 1940s summer styles such as embroidered Mexican Peasant blouses & dresses, espadrilles, big floppy hats and beach pajamas. If we get another sweltering hot summer like last year, these will be perfect. Oh, and I can’t forget a 1950s style tiki wardrobe! We will be doing a collaboration for a tiki set in our March sew-a-long! See my last post!
I also have some spring/summer knits in mind as well. I am almost done my last winter knit and am excited to get some lighter knits on my needles. I am looking to knit a few summer blouses in cotton yarn as well! You can check out my knitting queue over on Ravelry!
Are you tired of winter yet? Have you tried draft-at-home systems and if you have which ones have you used? What are your vintage summer wardrobe dreams and future makes?
This time of year, people start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions and the majority of these, last for maybe the first week of January. Many years ago I stopped making resolutions. Instead, I have been making pledges and for things that will make me happy. This year I’m extra excited about my pledge for 2019!
Back in June I talked about my Me Made promises to myself and my wardrobe goals and though I wasn’t able to make everything in the potential queue, I’ve made quite a lot. I just did the math and since that post, I have sewn eighteen garments and in 2018 knit nine garments. I was basically sewing a garment a week for a while, though the last few months I haven’t quite sewn as much due to it being a busy time. I have to say, I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished so far. In 2019 I plan to have even greater success.
Now onto my sewing and needlework plans for 2019! I’ve decided that I don’t want to just sew individual random pieces. This worked perfectly in 2018 because I needed to fill holes in my wardrobe, however, in 2019 I want to go bigger! With the exception of the sew-a-longs over in our Facebook group, I want to focus on very specific themes. The ones I want to do at the beginning of 2019 are Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors (the original) and Miss Lemon from Poirot. These two I am firm on and am thinking about other themes for the rest of the year. I’m also considering re-producing some of Clara Bow’s outfits more towards the end of the year I have them to chime in 2020! The twenties are back baby!
My scariest feat for 2019 will be…. I’m making pants. Being a skirt and dress girl, I don’t remember the last time I actually wore pants. It’s been years. I generally don’t like pants because they have never fit me properly. To get them to fit my hips the waist is always way too big or too low. Solution — make my own! The plan is to make 1930s/1940s wide-legged trousers. They tend to be the most flattering to curvy figures. For my first pair, I may go with an indie pattern or use the one in the Gertie book. I do plan to self-draft trousers, but for the first one, I make go that way.
When it come to knitting, I’m not too concerned because I mostly knit from the patterns from the 1930s to the 1950s. That said, I really want to focus in on themes and I already have a solid plan! AND, I have a few patterns I am creating myself and hope to have them ready in the first half of the year.
A pledge I have made for the blog is to write-up more blog posts about my own makes and with many more photos of those garments. There is something empowering about making your own garments and I want to share it with you all!
As I said earlier, I am really excited about my pledge this year!