Yet Another Midriff Variation

Thanks go to Nora, who sent this my way. Isn't it cute? (And it's also B34, and a BuyItNow at $6.50, or it was when I posted this.)

I love that the waist looks more than a bit like an old stand-up collar. And the welty pockets on the orange version (oh, how I love orange) are divine.

Whenever I think I've seen every possible vintage pattern, along comes another one to surprise and delight. Often in orange, with pockets.

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0 thoughts on “Yet Another Midriff Variation

  1. The brown/cream version reminds me of that trend a few years ago of wearing a large skirt over a short, straight one. Remember that? Except I actually like (and probably could wear) the version in the pattern.

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  2. I would love to hear a philosophical discussion exploring the reasons for the brilliant use of detailing in vintage dress patterns vs. the dullness (frankly) of many modern patterns. Ladies? Gentlemen?Oh, and I can’t believe I’ve been keeping orange out of my life for lo these many years. No longer!

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  3. I love the bi-color version of this pattern, and I am not usually a bi-color kind of girl, at least where dresses are concerned. Which goes to show that all things are possible with vintage patterns.Rebecca – Perhaps a couple of the reasons why patterns now are so dull is that they are often drafted with a less-experienced seamstress in mind, and also for a seamstress with less time.Amy

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  4. To add to the commentary about the current lack of detailing, every extra seam, trim and pattern piece adds to the cost of producing the garment. manufacturers will scrape away at their designers’ designs until there is nothing “unnecessary” left to take away from their profit margins…Sad, no? We can’t be trusted to pay a little more for quality and ingenuity.

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  5. How cute! I especially like that take on a bi-color. Very flattering with the darker color below, and full of interest.My main area of sewing is actually historical, early 1860s. At that time, fabric was the pricey element. The time to put it together and sew fascinating details was relatively very cheap. Even in WW II, lots of detail was worked in since fabric was rationed. It was the only way to make things stand out. Now it’s the other way around. How big a stash do I have, and how little time to do anything with it!I think Amy nailed it: People don’t have time or patience for painstaking construction, careful tailoring, or decorative details. To an extent perhaps interesting cut makes up the lack; but there’s only so far cut can go. I do like details!

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  6. i can see the B version as two pieces-the basic dress would get you thru the day and then you pull the 2nd part out of your bag and tie around your waist and off to a cocktail party you go-

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  7. What a great concept, John. A lovely way to formalize a dress for a rushed schedule. I wonder how difficult that would be to accomplish with this pattern or whether or not it’s just already that way for view B.I wish there were more vintage patterns around for bustier women. The older dresses really are so much more interesting than their contemporaries.

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  8. John, that’s exactly what I thought when I saw it! It’s funny, I don’t REALLY want to have a cocktail-party, right-after-work-at-the-office kind of life, but I DO want those kind of dresses…Anyway, thanks to whoever bought this pattern! I almost did, but forced myself to sleep on it. I’ve (mostly!) only been allowing myself to bid on vintage fabric, so that I can make up the patterns I already have!Rebeccakes and Ginger – I remember there being some musing on the Sartorialilst about the profusion of detail on some new things, in spite of the cost (I think it was an H&M pintucked shirt that sparked it). I don’t remember what the consensus was. I wonder about the “cheapness” of labor in the 1860s, etc., because of course it was just invisible/unpaid labor, to the extent that it was women’s work (whereas you have to pay mill workers and cotton farmers – setting aside the issue of slave labor). I was thinking about the value of my own labor as I finished a relatively simple shirt this weekend, that took me about 11 hours to make; it feels worth it to me for various reasons, but it’s funny to think about; I knit socks, too, and the yarn is more expensive than new sox, not to mention the time they take. I think the cheapness of storebought clothes now is partly a function of the “invisibleness” of the labor that goes into the materials and sewing…but that’s a big topic for another post.But, for anyone who is interested in the politics of clothing, mill workers, mothers and daughters, the New Look, class, and identity, should read the excellent “Landscape for a Good Woman.” It’s a hard-to-categorize book of nonfiction and well worth it.

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  9. I agree about newer designs being boring. I despair of finding anything interesting to sew in the current catalogs. It goes with the disintegration of fabric stores into craft stores. No good fabric, no good patterns–unless you shop online!

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  10. I can see this in an “orange” silk dupioni, say some of the beautiful fabric from Silk Baron’s website. I have a couple of lovely pieces from them.

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  11. Rebeccakes, I read that it costs approximately $40,000 to produce a pattern. Yes, that’s $40,000 each for each new design. And don’t think old designs don’t get presented as “new” ones! I’ve seen patterns from my collection of 50’s sewing magazines, and patterns from my stash of 70’s patterns, turn up as “new” designs. They’re not listed as “vintage” anything; they’re presented on figures with the current hair, makeup, accessories – but they’re definitely patterns that are being recycled. I do understand that, at $40,000 a pop, the manufacturers are hesitant to risk putting in details that might make the pattern less saleable. A lot of people don’t have the time, or can’t find the time, these days, to make a pattern that’s complex. Vogue Sewing Pattern Magazine actually does offer views of their patterns with more detail added to their standard pattern offerings, in an effort to help inspire readers to go to (or who already want to go to) more effort, in order to make something more special. Remember, too, there is nothing to prevent you from adding your own designer details to an existing pattern – in fact, it’s easier to add details to a pattern you own and have already worked out the size/fitting/assembly kinks! There’s nothing to prevent you from pintucking a piece of wool crepe (or whatever you’re using to make your garment), and then cutting a yoke out of it to put on an existing dress or blouse pattern; it’s a matter of making an overlay (what we call “tracing paper”) on top of the existing pattern, drawing in the shape of the yoke you want, and adding seam allowances as needed. Yes, it’s more work, but that can’t be much of an objection to folks who are looking for patterns with added detail, surely? You can always go ahead and add ribbon or lace detailing to a skirt, even if the pattern doesn’t call for them. Something as simple as metallic piping in the seams of a jacket, with buttons in the same metal, can really make a difference. And if you’re a beginner to sewing, you can practice your skills by adding detailing to a garment you already own, but which has maybe gotten a little tired-looking. Go ahead and add a gold lace flounce to the bottom of that black peasant skirt, and put a narrow bit of gold braid over the seams where the tiers join – it’ll be something a little unexpected, and different from everybody else’s. You can add a bit of narrow lace to the collar and cuffs of a shirt you already own, if you like the current look, but don’t have a lot of money to spare. It’s a way to get your skills up, as well as your confidence in your skills, before tackling a major project.John, there were quite a few patterns put out in the 40’s and the 50’s that suggested that very thing! One popular suggestion was a tie-on black lace overskirt, which was supposed to go over your basic black day dress (it actually looked quite pretty in the pictures).Robinson, unfortunately, after about 1917, at the latest, there wasn’t that much that was sized for bustier women. Oh, there was the usual advice about V-necks, picking an uncluttered pattern, making sure there were tucks or darts, etc., but that’s suitability, not sizing; it was understood that the wearer would have to alter the patterns from the standard sizes. Once the strongly-curved hourglass fell out of fashion, the standard bust-waist difference was 6″, even through much of the 50’s; it’s only in the late 50’s patterns that I’ve found a 10″ bust-waist difference. And that was still sized for a B cup. It’s not until the 80’s or so that you find the occasional pattern offered with the front in several cup sizes, A/B/C/D/DD. But 90% of the time, if you’re over a B cup, you’ll have to make a Full Bust alteration.Nora, unfortunately, those H&M pintucked shirts are produced so cheaply because the workers are generally not being paid a living wage. Any one of us who has made a garment knows that. Unfortunately, people who don’t sew, don’t realize that those prices are ridiculous, which is why they are often incredulous when they ask someone who sews to make them something for which they are “willing to pay;” they’re just not willing to pay what the work is actually worth, as it turns out, when the garment is priced.

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  12. Gosh. I’d love to know how to make a full bust alteration. Perhaps it’s one of those things I’ll just have to figure out as I go. I’m working on making a simple skirt bigger right now. I’ll just have to climb the alteration ladder as I go.

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  13. FBA (full bust adjustment) tips – this one is geared towards petites, but the basic instructions are great: used the above technique to add darts to patterns with none (sized for a B cup) for my bigger-than-a-B bust. Here’s a ruler that claims to help with dart adjustments: here’s a tip for adding darts to a knit top: see books “Fit for Real People”, Sandra Betzina’s “Fast Fit” or Nancy Zieman’s “Fitting Finesse”. The rusults are all about the same, but you may find you prefer one method over another.CMC

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  14. Robinson, you really don’t have to re-invent the wheel, I promise. READING is one of the things that will help you most with your sewing. I strongly urge you to start your own library; it’s worth your while to read the sewing magazines that are on the newsstands and in bookstores, but if you buy only one book on alterations, I urge you to buy Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. There are also plenty of blogs devoted to sewing; and often, if you have a sewing question, you can find an answer just by googling on the question (as CMC and a number of anonymous other folk have suggested). Unless you really enjoy the challenge (UGH!!), you really don’t have to go it alone. There’s lots of information, both in print and on the Net, and a lot of folks willing to share. And if you’re really economically-minded, lay in a stock of 3-hole paper, and start printing out the information that interests you, and keep it in a 3-hole binder with the rest of your sewing gear.Oracle, it’s … embryonic. I have a couple of jobs that are really demanding, but I admit that it’s a project that’s near and dear to my heart.

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  15. I have a vintage black taffeta cocktail dress that has this type of skirt…a full split skirt over a narrow one the same length. I feel like a grown-up when I wear it!

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  16. I do like your website here. but, sometimes I have to chuckle at your reaction to the fashions from my era. That was a time when people wore real clothes. And we never wore our underwear in public like the young people do now.Unfortunately I was always camera shy, so, I haven’t any photos of me that I could send you.

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