Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sew for Victory

Hello Everyone,   once again it is a cold and damp day here.   We have had 3 storms this month so far, and another 3 due over the next week. The one that set down last night has been named "Q".   (Where the temperature here is slightly above freezing, we most likely will have rain/freezing rain instead of snow, -everything is already muddy and slushy, so what's a little more?)
I have decided that the person to come up with this storm name must either be scraping at the bottom of the barrel, or   a big Star Trek fan.( i'm hoping it's the second one)
'Q' from Star Trek
Now Q was never my favorite character,  it kind of bugged me that the Q Continuum, albeit an intelligent race, could consistently screw with the humans' minds and timelines to such an extent they they thought they were having  breakdowns.  Although it  turned out that Q himself was a bit of a renegade and the rest of his race didn't approve of his theatrics,     It didn't really seem like they were interested in conquering humans, more like they were playing 'cat and mouse' games for their own amusement.  but I digress...

(a quick side note here before totally leaving the Star Trek subject - there was a way cool episode last year for American Pickers where one of their clients was none other than William Shatner, who, along with his wife, had bought a farm house in Kentucky. They wanted Mike & Frank (the pickers) to get them some specific antique items (totally cool pie safe anyone?)  with which to redecorate a home office. Love this show,  (and having the classic Star Trek connection was just like sprinkles on ice cream for me.)

So back to the main theme of this post.    Over the past week, I have come to learn that two awesome vintage blogs I read are holding sew-alongs. (one I will discuss here, and the other which is for the 60's in a separate post)

If you don't know what a sew-along is, you can think of it something like a book club, but instead of reading a book, people are sewing a garment - usually within a theme and time frame put forth by the Blogger hosting it, and its over the internet not in real time.  (yes I know the similarities to 'book club' are melting down).
 So Rochelle from Lucky Lucille started a "Sew for Victory" sew along.  This is a 40's inspired one, where you pick a garment or item from that time period to sew.  
It goes until the end of March, and she has a flickr group set up for people to join who are interested in participating.

For this project, one should take into account the thrifty mindset of a 40's gal (or guy) when preparing for this project. There was rationing going on, people were recycling for the war effort,  trying not purchasing new items, but finding new ways to re-use their old ones. "Make do and make mend."  So maybe instead of buying new fabric for your project, use some up from your stash?  Re-purpose some notions and trim  from some worn out clothes you have?

Rochelle also has several posts with ideas for 40's garments, patterns and other great 40's inspired things to get you in the right frame of mind.     I spent the past couple of days going through my pattern collection to see if I had any 40's patterns or a more modern pattern that could be modified to make a 40's look. I have a ton of patterns from 1950's-present, but luckily I found that I actually had 2 patterns, from 1947.  (which in my case would make this less of a "Sew for Victory" and more of a "Sew because We-Won-and-You-Didn't!"  (insert picture of kid sticking her tongue out here)

My two vintage 40's patterns are these:
Vogue 6511

Vogue 6231
Vogue 6511 is described as a "Two piece lounging Pyjama set" and
Vogue 6231 is a Skirt (sorry, no fancy description there)

I am tending to lean towards the first pattern as it is a beautiful look, but I really do like skirts, so maybe will do the blouse from the first and the skirt from the second.

Some issues with using vintage patterns in this project:   modern day fabric is mostly available in 54"  & 60" widths.  The yardage on the back of these is 39" and 35".  Thank goodness for the internet and quick google searches!   I found this yardage conversion chart, so that problem can easily be solved - The 4 1/2 yards of 35" fabric needed for the skirt works out to be 3 1/8 in 54".

Another issue is the waist sizes.... I've found on these as well as many of the 50's patterns that they are made for women with teeny tiny waists.   Now I don't consider myself a large person.  My waist is 29",  the largest waist size I find listed is 28", which by their imaginary person proportions has a 37" bust, and I know THAT ain't so with me!  The "ideal" for the woman back then was a small waist,  but given that patterns were supposed to be developed for real people, not ideals, were the women actually that small?    Kind of makes me feel like an amazon giantess. I will have to put my alteration skills to good use for this to 'make it work.'

A third interesting thing, and really more of an observation, was given that this time period was supposed to be one of frugality,  I find these looks seem to require large volumes of fabric.   Now one could make a hypothesis that since the patterns I'm using are post war (1947) that the country was aiming to get back to normal and going to the other extreme to convince people of that ["Go forth and buy large amounts of fabric because everything is going to be alright. No, really..."]
Or perhaps it was a subtle way of boosting the economy by getting people to spend more? Another possibility is perhaps Vogue being higher end, might be putting forth the idea that luxury = massive amounts of fabric.     I will have to research some earlier patterns from the 40's to see if it is the same with them.

Which leads me to another issue to consider.  In being thrifty minded for this project, I would like to use fabric that I already have - both of these looks call for 3- 4 yards of fabric for the lower portion (either the trousers or the skirt)     Usually when I buy fabric, if not with a specific pattern in mind, I rarely buy more than a yard or two, so the chances of my having 4 yards of anything laying around are probably not very good.....   Will have to do some creative thinking about this.

I am very much looking forward to this Sewing for Victory challenge, I will let you know how my looks are progressing. I hope that some of you will join too!

Have you done a sew-along in the past?  What for and what were the results?  Please share if you can!
Thanks for reading!


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