Saturday, October 13, 2012

Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder

 Take a look at this marvel of engineering!  My poor dress form is not up to displaying a brassiere of this magnitude.  This is a size 44 Camp fan-laced brassiere.  Made of sturdy, flat-felled, pink polished cotton, you can see that you can adjust your lift with the underbust slings and buttons.

Hooks and loops on the left side got you into this marvel.  Then. . . .

You pulled on the elastic garters to cinch it up and flipped down the catches, like a girdle garter.

You know I'm going to look up the patent!

Adjustment Buckle Structure
Samuel H Camp, Jackson, Michigan, Assignor to S H Camp & Company, Jackson, Michigan, a corporation of Michigan

Patent number: 2053600
Filing date: May 25, 1934
Issue date: Sep 8, 1936

Here is a link to a wonderful collection of fan-laced corsetry.  Fan-Lacing Corsets  I can't do any better than referring you to their pages to "read all about it".  There is one brassiere shown, though not like mine.  Here are some more fan-laced corsets.

Samuel Higby Camp was born 29 September 1871 in Jackson, Jackson, Michigan, the son of Henry N Camp and Ella M Higby.  He was single when he patented his corset closing system in 1908 and was 46 when he married Mary Margaret Hammond, age 49, on 29 June 1918.  He died in 1944 and his Find-A-Grave entry is here.  
Even though a bachelor, he paid attention to his mother's and sister's clothing needs and invented a corset stay improvement in 1896, an adjustable waistband for skirts in 1903, an abdominal support device in 1916, as well as other orthopedic improvements.  I must admit, however, that I was not able to find the 1908 patent referred to, above, which I found quoted in several places.

This is a page from The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery by The American and British Orthopaedic Associations, in October of 1944.  (That back looks more like a front to me!)
Samuel and Mary Margaret did some world traveling after they were married and he put out another book about women's anatomy for physicians and surgeons.
The only other thing I could find about this inventor was that his company is still in business putting out support garments for injuries and back problems and there is a Samuel Higby Camp Foundation that makes grants, but I was not able to find a website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Pull A Pattern

Back in the dim, distant past I worked for Past Patterns when they were located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I started out sewing test garments, did pattern grading, made corsets, and eventually was the Office Manager.  I was able to indulge my love of vintage clothing, old patterns, bookkeeping, and flea marketing during this period.

Here is an article that appeared in a magazine called handmade #17, in Jan/Feb 1985.  Click on the image to make it larger.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Early Silver Screen

Some little aspiring actress cut these pictures out of a Photoplay Magazine and pasted them onto notebook paper long, long ago.  Photoplay Magazine was founded in 1911 in Chicago.  It started out featuring short fiction piece about the plots of current motion pictures and the featured characters, but by 1918 had evolved into a fan magazine that followed current stars and is credited with inventing celebrity media.
These photographs are from the early 1920's.

I couldn't find anything about Margarite Darke so I looked closer.  It's Clarke, and Google tells me it's Marguerite Clarke.  A very nice biography here.  She was born in 1883 and died in 1940.  She was the nation's top movie actress of 1920 and the model Disney used for Snow White.  Only 4'10", her brown hair and eyes were preferred by some over blonde Mary Pickford.

Alice Brady was born in 1892 and died in 1939. She was one of the few actresses who successfully transitioned from silent films to talkies.  She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress twice.

Check out that wild hair!  Blanche Sweet was born in 1896 to a family of show people and began her career at 18 months.  She worked with D W Griffith and, though she was two years younger than Mary Pickford, she quickly began being cast in more mature leading roles.  She worked for many studios, but only made three talkies before retiring from the screen in 1930 to return to the stage.  She died in 1986.

What an interesting dress!  Mollie King was born in 1895 and died in 1981.  She had a short career from 1916 to 1921, so that can help date these photos.

Norma Talmadge was the only name that was familiar to me of all these actresses.  She was born in 1894 and died in 1957.  She started acting in movies to support her family in 1910, moving to Hollywood in 1915.  She was a promising young actress, but one flop can kill a career, as she found out.  A sister who was contracted with D W Griffith got her work which lasted for a few years, but she soon moved back to New York, where she married a producer and then her career took off.  They formed their own production company and she was riding high from 1917 to 1928, when her career began to fade.  Her voice was not ideal for talkies and she made her last film in 1930.  She divorced the producer and married radio personality George Jessel and worked with him on his show.  The show failed and in 1939 they divorced.  In 1946 she married a doctor.  She had been in over 250 films during her career.

I published these pictures for the look at what was considered fashionable attire in the early 1920's.  The dresses have wonderful details and the hair shows just how hard it was to pull off a bob after wearing long hair all your life.  I vote Marguerite Clarke for the best dress and hair, and Blanche Sweet and Alice Brady tie for worst hair!

Here's my grandmother, Evelyn Lucille Bethea Bedgood in her graduation photo from 1927 trying to look like a moody film star.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Magic Reversible Kimono

Here's the last of the "magic" patterns I have from a 1930's edition of Fashion Service Magazine from The Women's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences.  Looks like I need to get into that closet and start photographing again!

Once again, if you make this, send me a picture.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Magic Nightgown

I can't promise that this nightgown will make your nights magical, but it is attractive and relatively easy to make.  Look for a delicate, tightly-woven 100% cotton.  The back side of the lapels will show, so keep that in mind, or applique lace on them.
Originally published in a 1930's edition of Fashion Service Magazine, published by the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Magic Bed Jacket

I wouldn't call this especially magical when you have a lot of curve hemming to do, but it is relatively easy to make.  Originally published in a 1930's edition of Fashion Service magazine (I don't remember which one), published by the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences.

If you make one, let me see!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1930's See-Through Dress

I believe this is of rayon.  In beautiful condition, and handmade.  There would have been a matching belt, covered with the same fabric, or a solid burgundy to match the slip that would have been worn with this.

If you enlarge the photo you can see the crinkly fabric.  Aren't those tulips wild?  (That is not a worm, but a piece of yarn I didn't see.)

This shows the front drapery, which is attached at the neck and waist. 

The 3/4 sleeves are bias-bound.

The back has a yoke.
You can find patterns for dresses like these in my Etsy store and in the stores of many others on Etsy.

Although it looks shapeless here, it would look marvelous with a slippery rayon slip and a belt to gather it up.  If anyone is interested in purchasing this dress, let me know.  I also have a wonderful wool felt '40's hat that matches it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Tale of Synthetic Silk

I found a sweet, simple 1920's dress I wanted to reproduce, but it was filthy.  I soaked it in gentle cleaner, like I do all my cottons and linens and silk georgette and chiffon clothing that has been worn and washed before.  What a surprise when I squeezed and gently unrolled the dress.  It was falling apart before my eyes!  What had looked like sturdy silk was some imitation silk.  I don't know what it's made of, but I've never seen this happen before.
Anyway, I had already done my measuring of the garment and figured out how it was constructed.  I never did reproduce it, but looked for georgette of that color for years

It is a very basic dress--no darts or tucks.  This one fits a 34 bust with 36 hips.  The top is a tube with the rayon lace pieces forming the straps.  The skirt portion is a 36" square with curved pieces of lace on each edge, forming a circle.  A 36" circle was cut out of the middle and sewn to the bodice.  A length of georgette was hand pleated and tacked together and tacked to the hipline.  The edges were bound with bias georgette and there were little sprays of ribbon flowers attached around the hip and on the front of the bodice.  That's it!  A matching basic slip would have been worn with this--probably pink.

Showing the skirt inset.

Detail of the belt.

If anyone is interested in purchasing this garment for study or reconstruction, let me know.  I will even dig out the ribbon flowers for you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Drawers, Pantaloons, Combinations, Tap Pants, Bloomers, et al.

This is one of my absolute favorite pieces of vintage clothing in my collection.  Closed drawers that fit close through the hips and flare out at the knee.

Just look at that beautiful handmade lace!  The medallions are machine made, however.

In the 1920's, the combination was usually what was worn under the corset.  This one is a simple model of cotton with a drawstring, silk ribbon straps, and a button crotch.

A very simple rectangular shape and simple to reproduce.

Here is her fancier sister. 

Heavy silk satin, drawn work, applique, a closed crotch, and handmade in Belgium.

Eventually underwear evolved into the more modern shapes we are familiar with.  These are tap pants made of silk satin and have embroidery on the legs.

Finished very nicely for minimum bulge.  Here is the trademark information for Trillium Silk Underthings.  It looks like it was first used in 1920 and expired after 1983.  Here is an ad from 10 November 1922.  And another nice one from 1923.

Here is another peach pair (peach became very popular for all underwear during the 1920's and 1930's) with scallops, applique, and embroidery.

And they're hand made.  You can see the hand stitching on the waistband.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meant To Be Seen

I'm sure this sweet brassiere was meant to be seen through one of the filmy georgette blouses of the 1920's.  Just look at that lace!  I just wonder how often those silk ribbon straps snapped, though, as the ones I've seen are usually just hand-stitched on.

 Here is the back.

As you can see, this is new old stock.  Never worn.  No maker, either.

This one is likely from the 1930's.
It's apparent that support is becoming more important.  Look at the reinforcement on the cups.

Here is the inside.
An early attempt at lifting and separating.

The back, with some nice, heavy elastic.

I wish I could read the label, but someone washed this never-worn bra.
If anyone has seen a tag that looks vaguely like this one, please let me know what it says!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cotton Netting and Silk Bibbed Early 1910' s Dress

 Here is another fashion orphan I rescued.  I believe it is nearer 1910-1911 than later owing to the length and breadth of the skirt, the natural waistline, and the set-in sleeves.  What is missing here is an under-bodice.  I believe the bib front and back were attached to a sash, and possibly a short peplum, as the dress is see-through.  The material is cotton netting and the cream-colored silk is beautiful.  It would also have been worn with a matching slip.

I have updated and added links to my Helpful Links page, above left.  Be sure and check them out for fashion history, construction, and fabric and notions articles.

Here is a detail of the waist fastening.  In this model the skirt fastens in center back, so the bodice has to snap around to center back from the left side front.  The lone snap you see is for the sash.  Once again, the dress is built on a well-fitting boned belt.  The underbodice was probably boned, also.  There may also have been a silk underskirt.

Beautiful detailing on the front bodice.

Here is the back bodice. 

Sleeve detail.

The belt closing.  Here I show it on the side, but it goes in the back.

You can see by the side seam that the opening goes in the back, not on the side.  The silk trim is still in beautiful condition, so not weighted silk.

If anyone is interested in purchasing this garment for study or reconstruction, please contact me.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A 1913 Lace Party Dress

I've run out of brassieres to feature, so am now moving on to clothing.  I buy bits and pieces of vintage clothing when I can find it to study and to keep it from being thrown away.  This dress was in the process of being renovated when the owner tired of it and put it away.  

Fashion in 1913 was changing rapidly and one just couldn't appear at two events in the same season wearing the same dress.

Look at the original fashion illustrations on this page to see the inspiration for this dress.  Waistlines had risen and hips were being given more emphasis with flounces and draping.  Long skirts were tapering at the ankle--the infamous hobble skirt.  All dresses of this time started out with a boned belt to which everything was attached.  This was snugly fitted and usually fastened on the left.  

Click on any picture to see the entire thing.

An underbodice, or guimpe, was attached first.  This one has the sleeves in one with the body, kinono-style, which was in fashion at the time.  Lace is attached where it will show, and the under fabric is pink silk georgette.  The bodice snaps down the left side front, hooks securely to the belt, then the snaps continue around to the side.  The rest of the bodice from the left front around the right and across the back to the left closure is attached to the belt.

Here is the back, showing the simple turned-under edge of the netting, which will not fray, and the georgette.  This is gathered to a cotton twill tape and stitched to the belt.

Over the bodice goes this beautiful silk lace cape, edged with rose weighted silk, which covers the unfinished edges of the netting and meets at the middle front at the beltline.  (I have it on inside out here, showing the seams.)  Note how the lace is gathered at the bottom to make a drape at the waist.  The other side has come unsewn.  Look at the dresses for October 1911 and July 1911 at the link I provided above to see similar construction. It has been cut away at the front, but I believe it had been attached to the belt at center front and center back.
The other piece of this beautiful dress that remains is the top overskirt.  The fronts are finished with the same rose weighted silk fabric.  The underskirt, which is missing, probably was made of the rose weighted silk, which you can see is splitting very badly.  This underskirt, like the bodice, would have been attached to the belt from the right side around the back to the side opening, and then finished with snaps to the front left.
To cover all the busyness at the waist, there would have been a boned sash, probably with long ends finished with lace or tassels.

Notice how the lace is gathered at center back for more draping.  This would have been a diaphanous floaty rustling party dress!  

The silk lace is still in excellent condition.  The only material that is crumbling is the weighted silk, which is to be expected.

If anyone is interested in purchasing this "dress" for study or reconstruction, please let me know.  I  would love to see it re-made using this beautiful lace.