Thursday, February 27, 2014

1940s slip pattern, Mrs. Depew Vintage #325

The other day, I downloaded an interesting slip pattern from Mrs. Depew on Etsy. It is pattern #325, a 1940s slip with contrast panels and a scalloped center front embellishment.

This pattern is from a French system of patterns, designed for home sewists. If you've heard of the Lutterloh system, it is kind of like that. You'd receive a miniature pattern and a set of special rulers. You would use the pattern and the rulers to scale the pattern up to the desired size. The Etsy vendor sells a PDF which has helpful instructions (translated to English), pages of rulers to tape together (in centimeters) and of course the tiny pattern.

I drafted the pattern up for a theoretical 48" bust, grabbed some unbleached muslin, and went to town with the sewing machine. I didn't even iron the muslin until I had sewn the pieces together. That's how excited I was to dig in.

The muslin was pretty close, but rather baggy in the torso and short: and came to just above my knees (I'm tall). So I pinned out the excess, transfered the changes to my paper draft, and then set about copying the draft over 4" longer, with legible notes and my best guess at construction order.
 After carefully adding 3/8" seam allowances that were actually measured, rather than eyeballed on wrinkly muslin, I discovered that this pattern probably had seams allowed already. Oh well, too late.
And further pondering produced the insight that I should have used my high bust measurement (41" now) from the beginning, which probably would have still been all right.

I decided to make it again in the muslin (after washing and ironing the rest of it 0_0 ) and use the results as a nightgown. While the fabric was in the wash, I did my best to devise a pattern layout for economical fabric use.
I came up with a lazy 2 yards and 10 inches. I think if I did a layout on unfolded fabric, I might do better. But that takes more space to cut out and involves flipping and flopping pattern pieces around. Fugeddaboudit.

I spend most of my sewing time making doll clothes for my Etsy store, so I try to run my own clothes together as quickly as possible. Especially trial versions that will be too big eventually (see the post).
I stitched the seams with a double needle in red thread, from the right side (lots of lapped seams on this). The side seam was the only one not lapped
I also decided to cut the center front embellishment of red also, and bind the top edge in red. Those two were stitched with a single needle. I did not do the front inserts in contrast, although the red stitching on the top picture shows where they are.
I made wide straps since this would be a nightgown.

My order of construction was to first do any stay stitching I felt necessary, then making the front assembly (center front, contrast insert, and side front - pcs 3, 4, & 5 on the original pattern) with the contrast insert lapped over the other two.
Then I lapped the bodice front (#2) over the front assembly. That took care of all the double needle stitched lapped seams, and I switched to a single needle and sewed the side seams, switched to red thread and stitched the front embellishment in place.
I did a quick-n-dirty overcast hem in red.

It looks good! I'm excited to try making a slip in an inexpensive synthetic. The slip will have simple ribbon straps and probably simple seams. I'll save a lux hand-stitched silk version for My Skinny Future Self (see this page for an explanation).

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