Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dress Cutting by Margaret C. Ralston

Revisited! And a stash-busting update.

And what it is to be “wrong" in one’s fashion sense.

A while ago, I reviewed Dress Cutting by Margaret C. Ralston in three posts . All my reviews are done from the perspective of someone with something like intermediate sewing skills who loves to try projects and techniques from vintage sewing books. I used this book for my very first effort at drafting a pattern. I still wear the sleeveless tunics I made based on Ralston’s “coat dress” pattern. That was my second ever effort at drafting a pattern. I cut them down to tops rather than tunics this summer so I could wear them with skirts. This summer in Queensland was just too stinking hot to wear trousers.

Every time I wear the tops, I am still amazed that I managed to draft a pattern that produced such a neat fit around the armhole. Thank you, Miss Ralston.This neatness of fit is not particularly evident on  dress model Brian who has the skinniest little stumps, rather like ancient Greek statues.

Well, now you can check out a review of Ralston’s book from someone with actual qualifications in fashion and textile design. Offspring even owns an original edition which will fit in her pocket. You would need awfully roomy pockets to fit the Lacis edition of this work (1990).

And while I’m talking about Offspring, she also has the ideal project for tiny snippets of left-over fabric from The Economy Quilt (from Needlework Economies edited by Flora Klickmann). I’ve been inspired to start throwing my snippets into bags, instead of leaving them circulating on the sewing rooms floor, and at the bottom of the stash cupboard. I’ve started collecting those bits and pieces.

I listened to an interview recently with the former editor of Australian Vogue, Kirstie Clements. It was worth listening to, but I had to laugh when she talked about how you cannot wear fashions from previous decades. There will, apparently, always be something “wrong”: the fabric, detailing, accessories. At the time I was working on a dress made using a commercial pattern from the 1940s, and thrifted fabric that may have been a curtain in a previous life. Could I be more “wrong”? I didn’t use an invisible zipper either!

I have more new reviews coming soon. I have used up some of my stash to make a summer dress, nearly completed, though I cheated and used a commercial pattern from the 1940s.

Looking forward to posting some more photos of my fashion crimes and drafting misadventures. 

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