June 15, 2010

On vintage finds and useful sewing

If you are new to this blog, lured in by my beloved new dress in its picture on Burdastyle or just wondering who this old nemesis of the Selfish Seamstress might be: welcome! Glad to have you around.

This is a bit of a random post. I actually have some creations to show you, but it's too late for proper light at my usual spot. That will have to wait till tomorrow. It wasn't yet too dark upstairs in my sewing room, so I could photograph some stationary objects.

First up: easily the oddest bit of vintage I have ever bought.

I found this roll-on girdle at my usual vintage stall at the market. It was labeled by them as 'XS' and the inside label didn't state any kind of size. Although there are obvious signs of strain at the center front seam, I don't think it was ever really worn. None of all the different white materials show any of the tell-tale yellow discolouration which is caused by sweat and there was still a small piece of string attached to the pristine looking label.
I bought it, even if it would be just to study its contruction. Of course I tried it on at home, and it fits (although I'll spare you the image) but is quite a challenge to get in and out of.

Secondly, despite being on a massive dress-making spree, which is hartily enabled by my lovely boyfriend E, I have also been thinking about purely practical sewing projects. Which brings me to this.

I bought this fabric in, about, September of 2008, thinking it would be good for some spring/summer trousers the next year. Spring/summer 2009 came and went and this fabric stayed in my stash. The thing is: I'm not crazy about it. It's fairly thin cotton with a bit of stretch. Black, with a cream coloured pinstripe. Nothing wrong with, you'd say. However, it's a very smooth fabric, almost shiny, with a very sharply defined pinstripe and that's the problem. I'm afraid my usual go-to trouser pattern would look cheap and just wrong in it. The belt-pleated trousers? Wrong. Pencil skirt? Very wrong. I guess I just keep getting the worst kind of associations: dress-up maffia-boss costume, cheap and nasty take on 'secretary chic' etc.
All I can think of is to make fairly loose fitted straight leg trousers from it, with casual styling details. I can't feel enthousiastic about it though, and keep thinking up other stuff to make first. Even though with the weather we're having right now, a pair of trousers in this fabric would certainly come in handy. Suggestions anyone?


  1. I love how you've articulated my aversion to pin-stripes with the mafia boss image. That sums up my long-standing prejudice against pin-stripes. Your dress in the last post is just gorgeous - you're so clever with the drafting!

  2. I would only ever suggest this to you because I don't know anyone else who could draft it, and very few people other than you who could wear it properly. How about knocking off the pinstripe Vivienne Westwood suit that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in an episode of Sex and the City?


    Here's a full-length photo of what I believe to be the same suit minus the pinstripes:


    I think it would be a knockout on you!