Thursday, 28 March 2013

Vintage fabric - fashion with a history

I've written in the past about some of the things I've inherited from the women in my family. This fabric was one of those things. I've spoken with my mother about where it first came from, and neither of us can quite place it. It originally belonged either to my paternal grandmother or to her daughter, my aunt. I have vague recollections of having seen it made into something - some dress in a style typical of the early sixties (when the fabric undoubtedly dates from). I've seen it somewhere. I don't have the original dress, although I do have a variety of dresses made by this very talented grandmother (another "inheritance" for which I am extremely grateful). But I know I've seen it. No doubt it will take a trawl through the family photographs to find out if the wearer was my grandmother or my aunt.

A few years ago my Mum gave me a bag full of "Nana's stuff", largely comprising of half-finished projects, scraps of lace and off-cuts of fabric. I'd packed it away in a medium sized suitcase, mostly to conceal it from my husband who gets exasperated at my hoarding textiles. During my extended time off, I decided to sort through it and see if there was anything I'd forgotten about. I found this fabric! Although it was the left-overs from an outfit that my grandmother had made, there was quite a bit left.

I had a pattern for a skirt from a Burda magazine that I had liked the look of. I'd prepared it all months before, only to discover I didn't have enough fabric to make it. Suddenly, with this rediscovery, my problem was solved!

It wasn't until I washed and ironed the fabric that I discovered why my grandmother hadn't used more of it. There was a fault in the design. Somehow the fabric appeared to have been creased during the printing process, and there were white and faded areas in the design. My first thought was "Arrggh! (followed by various expletives!) I'm still not going to have enough fabric." But actually everything worked out well - as you can see from the photo.

The pattern is a paneled skirt with added godets. This meant that the individual pieces were either long and thin, or short and triangular. With a bit of creative positioning of pattern pieces, I was able to get them all on without picking up the faults.

The final result is this calf-length paneled skirt, with a high waist, fitted over the hips, and with lovely lower movement from the added godets. This picture doesn't do it justice as you can't see the shape or the way it moves, but I'm pleased with garment.
And I'm very pleased with the fact that it's made from vintage fabric and that I know it's history. It gives the piece an added meaning to me - sentimental old thing that I am!

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