The One That Got Away and Circular Knicker Redux

Been cruising eBay a bit recently. Yeah, it’s under control, just. Got some chic vintage French fashion magazines, a wonderful German pattern magazine that is killing my eyesight with deciphering it’s spider-webs of pattern sheets, and a couple of Weldon’s Lady’s Mags from the 20’s and 30’s complete with tissue lingerie and dress patterns. This 1920’s Weldon’s Fancy Dress issue is the One That Got Away:20130817-195231.jpg

I really do wish I’d bid that little bit more on it. It reminds me of this wonderful early 1920’s photo of my Italian grandmother in a fancy dress costume. She was a dressmaker too.
Faye- in Halloween Costume - early 1920

Also during WWII she was the only woman out of 4000 employees in the U.S. tank parts factory where she worked who became a Journeyman Machinist. To be honest I don’t actually know what Journeyman Machining involved but I am quite sure it wasn’t a sewing machine. Probably explains why I’m the one in our household who actually can put Ikea stuff together -hah! Family lore says she used to swear a blue streak when sewing difficult things… guess that’s also in the blood. This recently finished bias satin dress brought out the worst language over the last weeks that my family says they heard since the last wedding dress I made. I hope to have photo’s of it in action late summer.

LLbias Wedding dress

Fortunately the dress left just as this little bundle of joy arrived. Buster puppy + silk gown = potential disaster, besides I’m getting nothing much done when he’s awake, squared.


And on a final note the re-vamped Circular Knicker Tutorial is FINALLY back up on the Free Stuff page! All that was wrong with it, and not even very wrong, was how I’d done the math to work out the waist line. A kind reader who obviously knows her number stuff pointed out the correct formula for a smooth fitting waist (the way I’d done it made for some waist ease that in less fine fabrics became gathers) so I thought between that and it being the first tutorial I’d posted here a re-vamp was in order. Until I looked up Pi. And simple as that equation is it literally made my head hurt to even think about it. Even as I type these words a thick fog hovers over my head threatening pain. Fortunately I very rarely find myself needing to draft circles to precise measurement. A small mercy. I’m going to go play with my new puppy now.

See you soon..



18 thoughts on “The One That Got Away and Circular Knicker Redux

  1. That dress is absolutely stunning!! You really are an incredible seamstress. Marvelous work as always!

  2. My sister and I are very impressed both with the dress and with your grandmother. We looked up “journeyman machinist” so you can know that your gran was even more impressive.

    From Wikipedia: A machinist is a person who uses machine tools to make or modify parts, primarily metal parts, a process known as machining. This is accomplished by using machine tools to cut away excess material much as a woodcarver cuts away excess wood to produce his work. In addition to metal, the parts may be made of many other kinds of materials, such as plastic or wood products. The goal of these cutting operations is to produce a part that conforms to a set of specifications, or tolerances, usually in the form of engineering drawings commonly known as blueprints.

    A journeyman is one who is fully certified and trained. So, your grandmother was the only woman out of 4000 other people who was a fully certified and trained person who made parts for aircraft, ships, guns, tanks, etc. Pretty badass. 🙂

    1. Thank you Heidi and sister and for the info too. It was something I only found out about her this week and hadn’t had a chance to look it up yet. She’d would have loved to know she was considered ‘badass’ !

  3. I just had to add how divine that dress is, and I can only imagine how swearifying all those details, in all that silk, with all that bias-ness must have been. But you mastered it and it was clearly worth it.
    E-baying for vintage things is so addictive, and there’s the added issue of whatever it is being (generally) unique – so if you don’t bid you may never see another one…sometimes I just have to have black-out weeks, cause if I look I’ll surely find something I have to have.

  4. I love the doggy- but those beautiful bias cut dresses!!! You remind me of Edith Head- always inspiring to see what you are up to. Thanks for sharing!

  5. That wedding dress is absolutely stunning. After grappling with a bias cut dress at uni I can only look on in wonder…The lines on the torso are just amazing. Bravo!
    & Pi is the most useful thing I ever used in maths class! That and Pythagoras’ theory of right angled triangles….

    1. Pi & pythagoras? Now you’re just showing off 😉 And thank you for the compliment.
      Bias is certainly a challenge, but fun to work with. i’m thinking of doing a little tutorial on insetting bands in a bias body… I learned a lot making on this dress.

  6. Beautiful wedding dress! Those magazines look lovely and how special is it to have that family photo? I wish I had some that went that far back.

  7. VV you are a girl after my own heart, firstly those French illustrations and magazines are an absolute passion of mine, nothing comes close to their coquettish quirky style. Secondly we are due a new puppy this weekend – a girly springer spaniel!! Cannot wait. Thirdly I too had a radical albeit great-grandmother – she once rode bareback 50 miles to get a licence for her pub and that was in the late 1800’s Ireland – she could also run up a mean petticoat! Great pic of your gran btw.

    Finally that wedding dress is absolutely beautiful. I love everything about it, the back bow and folds to the floor, the sleeves, the detail across the front. Yes, the bride must be thrilled to bits.

    I am off now to make some circular knickers – with plenty of ease, given the pie I am only too familiar with!

    1. Wow, your great-gran was a woman with gumption, that reads like something from a film! And thank you on the dress compliment, the bride-to-be did look very pleased at the final fitting. She has the perfect figure for that dress. I can never quite relax on a wedding dress though until I hear it’s walked down the aisle successfully… this one doesn’t until mid August.
      Enjoy your springer pup, she’ll be gorgeous I’m sure 🙂 Ours is certainly keeping us on our toes.

  8. If I were ever to be so mentally unstable that I would ever contemplate marriage again then this is the dress I would do it in….although I would end up looking more like Margaret Dumont than a Thelma Todd.
    Buster Puppy looks too sweet to be trouble!
    Congratulations on surviving your ebay cruising by the way and for re-emerging with such lovely treasures.Just forget the one that got away….set your highest bid,walk away and leave it at that before it all just escalates out of control…!!

    1. That is excellent ebay advice! Bidding did almost get out of hand on that Fancy Dress magazine …but yes, I set my price and walked away. Having a hard time forgetting about it though. *sigh*

      Lol at your Margaret Dumont comment. I tried on a 60’s tweed suit the other day and thought I looked just like Margaret Rutherford! Didn’t buy the suit. My Thelma Todd days are over too but Margaret Dumont had a good look going I think. Both amazing actresses anyway.

  9. I agree with Lisa what a gorgeous dress. I t would look great in any colour

  10. Wow! Just, Wow! What a gorgeous wedding gown. I really would love to see photos of the bride wearing it! I’m sure she was thrilled!!! Oh, and that pup is simply adorable.

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