Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Awesome Sewing Resource

I'm guessing that most sewists already know about this awesome sewing resource: the 1942 Modern Pattern Design, by Harriet Pepin. It's an extremely detailed, well-illustrated book about pattern drafting, complete with individual chapters on collars, skirts, sleeves, etc. I first discovered this book online at a couple years ago, when I was still doodling around on my mom's machine during the holidays. I mentally bookmarked it (and we know how well those work!) for when I had my own machine and actually cared about dressmaking. When I went to look for it recently (and that was a fun search, trying to Google "that book I vaguely remember seeing about fashion design and making your own patterns for lots of kinds of sleeves"), I discovered that the site was down...oh noes! Even though I didn't remember much from glancing through two years ago, I remembered that it was awesome. Enter the Wayback Machine: huzzah, it's in the archives!

I've been reading through it slowly, and good golly, it's every bit as intensely detailed as I remembered it to be. I ended up using one of the diagrams in the construction of my pin-up style dress. I'm using McCall's 5781, which I got in Tucson.

The directions for the back of the skirt were a little confusing, and at least based on my interpretation, I didn't particularly like the vent at the back. So, I used this diagram from Harriet Pepin's book instead:
Even though she uses this as a pleat in the center front, I though it would make a cute kick pleat in the back.
Here's how it looks with real fabric.
Inside of the pleat. I flattened and ironed as indicated in the above photo, then stitched each side. (This is not the real color of my fabric at all. I had to play around with the photo colors to get the detail to show up.)

The flaps (?) of the pleat flip up, thanks to the notch. I sewed as close to the center as I could get.

A look at both pleats from the top.

From the outside, it looks totally normal.

But ta-da! There's a hidden pleat!

I have the bodice and skirt done, albeit still separate from each other. I still need to attach them and insert the zipper, plus hem and and possibly trim. This dress will mark my first time ever using a side zipper; all my previous dresses have zipped up the back. I'm a little wary, as my (relatively) broad shoulders make this type of dress a pain to get in and out of...but I figure I should at least try one so that I can say I've done it. I know it's more true to vintage fashion to use them, so here's to hoping it works out so that I don't have to change up all my other vintage patterns (I just checked, and four out of five of my vintage pattern line-up utilize these left side underarm horrors).

If you don't already know about this amazing book, I recommend perusing it either via the Wayback Machine archives, or downloading it (for free! in its entirety!) here. You'll need to change the file name to open it (delete the ".part" so that it just ends in ".pdf"). Even though I know it's terrible for the environment, I'm seriously tempted to print it out, all 191 pages.


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