Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 1912 Project

La mode illustrée
Jannuary 1915

We had a nice, restful and serene Holiday season. I wish you that much, and a healthy, happy new year.

We put away champagne flutes, the Christmas tree and all its trimmings. We removed the extensions from our dining room table and replaced the "best" linen table cloth with a sturdier, practical and well padded everyday oilcloth. It is now ready to accomodate my sewing activities. I begin this year very practically, adding to a growing stash of cloth diapers for a couple of new and proud mothers in my family. After completion of a dozen of them, I felt I needed a break so not to burn-out on the highly useful but still tedious and repetitive job. So I put aside the diapers until next week-end, at which time I'll resume growing this most important stock.

While I make sure to do all I can helping the new mothers in my family to liberate themselves from the disposable diapers unsustainable wreck, I apply the same principle to my own wardrobe. Granted, women's apparel can't really be considered as "disposable", although sometimes the quality of what is offered in malls makes you wonder. I'm lucky enough to be able to sew my clothes and take full advantage of that skill to further remove myself from the extractive economy. Two years ago I decided to try and make everything I wear myself, including underwear. I'm glad to say I'm almost there, having only to shop for bras once a year.  I don't need an extensive wardrobe nor do I need it replenished often, and that certainly helps achieve my "no-clothes-shopping" rule.

This afternoon I starded working on the wrap top 121 from October 2011 issue of Burda Style Magazine. I needed something relatively easy, quick to sew (cloth diaper project oblige) to wear at a birthday party this coming Saturday. This shirt seems to fit the bill. It's stylish yet simple, perfect for the occasion. I made Style Arc's Linda Stretch Pant last month in a dark chocolate colored gabardine. It'll go very well with the midnight blue georgette I intend to use for the wrap shirt.

Wrap Shirt 121
Burda Style Tendance Mode - Octobre 2011

An other project I have for the coming weeks is a corset I would like to wear with an A-line silk skirt and a cotton organdi shirt at a wedding next summer. To avoid a "costume" effect I'll be carefull with the styling, choice of silhouette and colors. Few weeks ago I borrowed Jill Salen's  "Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques" and read it cover to cover in one sitting.

I didn't feel competent enough to reproduce, grade and fit a pattern from the book just yet. I decided to order commercial patterns this past week-end (more on that in the coming weeks). So when I opened Threads magazine's newsletter and found it linked to The 1912 Project, I thought it was a pleasant coincidance. Here's a quote from the vpll blog:


The 1912 Project needs your help!
Through out the next few months, leading up to the Titanic Anniversary I will be transcribing patterns, graphics and information from the 1912 editions of La Mode Illustree – a beautiful French fashion journal of the period – with the goal of making all of the patterns from the entire year available.

I've always been interested in the history of fashion but never actually sew anything vintage. The corset would have been my very first attempt. I happen to have grown in France and of course, I'm very partial to La mode illustrée "The Families' Journal".  Eric has been fascinated by the Titanic history for years. He never misses an event, a book, a documentary about it. The 1912 Project seems to make our respective interests converge. I thought about it for the entire evening and I can't see how I can resist participating. I lack experience in vintage sewing, to say the least, and that made me ponder participating. But then, what better incentive to take on the challenge than helping bring such a valuable historical collection to life through accessibility of the patterns?

I'm emailing vpll, hoping my offer interesting enough despite my lack of vintage-sewing experience.

I'll leave you with these images of 1912 pieces from the Kyoto Costume Institute collection, pictured from a wonderful gift I recieved last year, the gorgeous 2 volumes (more than 700 pages, most of them with full page photographs) Taschen's special 25th anniversary edition of Fashion (XVIII through XX century).

Jeanne Paquin  Evening Coat
Label: Paquin-Paris-London Summer 1912
Blue silk charmeuse and black silk chiffon: Flowers and ondulation embroideries
 Japanese Style design, reminiscent of Nukiemon kimonos

Lafferière Evening Dress and Coat
Les Modes, 1912 

Martial & Armand Evening Coat
Les Modes, 1912