Monday, January 31, 2011

Hand In Glove: Pattern Preservation and Re-use

Hello Readers!


As some of you may know, Philip and I are on a coast-to-coast adventure to appreciate and re-create gorgeous beautiful things from the past.
 
(And be sassy biz-natches the whole way!)

We have always shared a burning desire for custom-made gloves, ever since we saw Barbra slip them over her extra-long manicured nails in "Hello, Dolly".
Babs had gloves made with extra-long fingers to accommodate her beautiful hands in historical films like Hello, Dolly!, Funny Girl, and our personal favorite: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.
Glove patterns are pretty damn near impossible to find, but we got lucky when Philip found this little gem from 1940's wartime:

This old pattern journeyed from New York to California!
 I started the painstaking process of tracing and interpreting the tiny, fragile pieces.
Falling Apart:  Brittle directions page and glove pattern pieces for fingers and thumbs.
Close-up of the revision date in these hand-illustrated instructions.
Last revised: June 30, 1943!! 
My #1 goal throughout this process:  Preservation.  Do not cause any more damage to the pattern, instructions, or envelope.    Open and unfold all  paper as little as possible.    Minimize the folding/refolding and prolonged exposure to light or moisture.  
Don't forget to copy the front and back of the envelope!
When working with old patterns, often the instruction page(s) are in far-worse shape than the actual pieces. 

This is because pattern pieces are usually put away right after the fabric is cut, but the direction pages are often left out, and heavily handled throughout the entire sewing process.  
So, the first thing to do is copy the directions as quickly and carefully as possible.   As soon as you're done, fold the original back up and put away ASAP.

Sadly, the paper that these directions were printed on is so dry that it wanted to crumble and tear at the slightest touch! 
I opened the directions ONE TIME ONLY, and carefully copied all sides on the xerox machine to 11x17" paper.  

Before pulling out the pattern pieces, be sure to give those directions (the copy, of course) a good read-through.  Take note of any special markings or symbols.  Get to know the pieces through the pattern layout and instructions
I traced all pieces as they were, marking all punch holes and symbols: 

Patterns from this era were not printed on.  Labeling on pattern pieces was performed with a series of punch holes in different shapes and sizes. All the little circles, triangles, and squares represent grainlines, cut lines, slash marks, and pintucks, so it's very important to have those instructions as a key understanding all markings!


Some of the teenie-tiny pieces for the fingers were falling apart, so I had to machine copy, then re-draw.  (no pressure, RIGHT?!)
Once I double-check, then triple-check that all info has been properly captured,  I immediately put alllll the pieces back in the envelope. 
Now the old pattern can officially go back in its cool, dry, dark storage space :) 

This first tracing, as seen in images above, is the true original pattern.  I will keep it unchanged so I never have to pull out the old fragile pieces again.
Then, I trace a 2nd copy from the 1st unchanged tracing.

On this 2nd copy, I clean up the overall shape and "translate" the old pieces by changing the punch holes to clear printed labeling of the grainlines, seam allowance, details, and piece name.
This is where the pattern goes from copy to customize, and our own design adjustments are made!
Philip and I want to create a glove pattern with adjustable finger lengths.  So, I added a slash line through the fingertips of all pieces where length can be lengthend or shortene.  (BLUE LINE) 

Close-Up of revised pattern for the glove body.

Big Improvement:  All pieces for the finger insets and thumb, with grainlines, slash-marks, piece name, and seam allowance clearly labled. 
*All these pieces are so small they fit onto an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper.
 This fresh, new pattern, along with copies of the original instructions and envelope, are neatly packed in a clear plastic sleeve, and shipped post-haste back to Brooklyn for Philip to test out:
Philip will begin mocking up our new pattern, testing the fit and construction, and make notes of any changes or progress.
*VERY IMPORTANT:  In case of an emergency, I photo-copied our "New" pattern to keep record of changes, or go back to if needed.  When changing a pattern, it is very important to keep a "paper trail" of the progress, should you ever have to go back and start over.
Always plan for the "what if's"....

 
Yay! 



 And here's another pic of Babs and her gorgeous nails....just for fun:
um.....WOOOOOOORK!!!
-Kathleen, In Oakland

Back to WOOORK!! - 1/31/11

           I'm not gonna lie to you kids.  Daddy had a rough weekend.  I lost my camera!  That's gonna put a damper on my posting skills.  It's alright though I'll be getting a new camera.  So in order to prop me up-right on this most evil of weekdays I called in the only thing I knew that could help. 


           There they are, Miss Kay Kendall's epic eyebrows.  It's funny I have the same outfit in Black.... no I don't.  I said earlier I can lie to you guys.  You do have to admit Orry-Kelly knocked it out of the park on the "Les Girls" costumes.  Essence of WOOORK!!!

Philip - in Brooklyn

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paris Haute Couture - Ribbon Binding

           So I was browsing through the Paris Haute Couture shows for Spring 2011 and I came across Alexis Mabille's Collection.  Overall it was very beautiful and I recommend check check checking it out! 



           One thing that stood out, to me at least was his use of binding on a couple of his looks.  He may not have used Ribbon binding but you certainly could achieve the same look using that technique.  That's why I'm gratuitously reposting our instructional video on applying a ribbon binding. 

        
   Hope the rest of your French Fashion Week goes well!!!

Philip - In Brooklyn
          

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quit Frontin'! - Public Enemy

            Ladies and Gentlemen.  I would like to proudly introduce... THE FRONT!  (The crowd goes wild!)  So I whipped up the front of Public Enemy and it ended up being easier then the back for some reason; not sure why.  I blocked that fool and look at it, just look at it!  Marvel in its majesty.  I'll leave you with your thoughts.


More to come...

Philip - In Brooklyn

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to WOOORK!!! - 1/24/11

            So it's another Monday and that means... you guessed it WOOORK!!  Now check this mug out.  Imagine if this was where you worked.  Bitch please!  I would never leave!  I would probably set up a bed under my desk a la George Costanza.  Alphonse Mucha can crack the whip over me any day!  PS - How hot would that runner on the bottom be as an embroidered silk wrap!?.... ooooh WOOORK!!


Philip - In Brooklyn

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Backside - Public Enemy

            Hey there Patterned History folks!  I finished blocking the back of the sweater-vest I am lovingly calling Public Enemy.  It looks awesome and came out perfectly on spec!  I can't wait to knit the front and wear this little sucker out.  I think it'll look amazing with a light colored shirt under it and a nice black sport jacket... maybe I'll bust out a tie for the full affect!!


Philip - In Brooklyn

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to WOOORK!! 1-17-11

           As you can tell by this photo from 1874 these two gals, they would refer to them as "roommates" back then, are getting ready to head off to their high pressure jobs in finance.  You see Belinda, on the left, was just promoted to VP of Overseas Currency Exchanges; therefore she must look her best and exude an air of authority.  On the other hand her "Lady Friend", Marjorie has been the head of acquisitions for 2 years now and is very established as a leader in her field. Now that you've ogled these fine females and imagined them in compromising situation... GET BACK TO WOOORK!!


Philip - Brooklyn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Public Enemy - Cable Swatch

           So I sat my happy ass down last night and did some cable swatching.  So I ran 3 plys of Navy Merino Wool through the machine at tension dial #6.  Looks pretty rad!  The first couple cables look a bit bucked up but then I figured it out on the last 3 passes.  In addition to using tension #6, I also used the switch on the ribber that makes "softer" purl stitches.  The swatch is incredibly soft and lofty.  I CANNOT wait to knit this sweater-vest and rock it on the daily!  John Dillinger ain't got shit on me!


Philip - In Brooklyn

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiration is Everywhere!

Hello Everyone!

Here’s a little mid-week inspiration, courtesy of the San Francisco Ballet and the St. John’s store on Market Street. 
(I snapped these pics with my blackberry, so my apologies for the quality)
Like a moth to a flame,
Like a fly to honey,
I was drawn in by the tractor beam of THIS: 
Traditional tutu gown:  Princess-cut white crushed velvet, with silver snowflake appliqu├ęs and sequins.
I wonder if St. John's has hidden cameras in front of the window? 
Because the reaction of every woman walking by is priceless
Just watch our eyes light up with awe and wonderment! 
What's that sound??  Oh, that's my inner child squealing with delight, for a dress like this is what we all dream about, isn't it?

I was never a big fan of white crushed velvet, but suddenly I want yards and yards of it!!

Here's another bit of magical ballet goodness:
Just Amazing!!! 
Liquid-y silver asymmetrical toga-style gown, with stunning strategic silver beading,
sequins, and rhinestones. 
Moon wire headdress with pearls and silver beads.

Enjoy!

-Kathleen, In Oakland

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Always on My Mind - Public Enemy

          My Mind was wondering today so I started sketching a sweater I've been mulling over.  Ever since I knitted Ryan his V-neck Sweater Vest I've been pining for my own.  While watching "Public Enemies" I spied a Navy Blue sweater vest that looked like it had some fancy cabling going on.  It was that instant love at first sight you feel in a fleeting glance just before it disappears.  The man wearing it was a non speaking character so I can't find any pictures of it online.  So I'll just have to go off of initial gut inspiration.  The plan is to do a varigated cable on the front and back of a solild color Navy Sweater Vest.  I think it will be super sophisticated.  The rich Navy color will be very masculine and the cables will add a touch of soft texture.


           I have a few pounds of Navy Merino Wool that I plan on trying out on this classy little number.  It's fairly thin so I'm gonna try running it through the machine 4 plys; probably on tension setting 4 or 5 so it's not too stiff.  Just for shits and giggles I think I'll try 3 plys Navy Merino and 1 ply Black Wool Mohair I have, just to see how it looks.  Certainly more to come on him, Public Enemy.

Philip - In Brooklyn

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to WOOORK!! 1-10-11

           Welcome back to WOOORK!!  I know it's tough to get back into the swing of things.  I've actually found myself going through "Holiday Snack" Withdrawl.  I've been found walking aimlessly around the office searching for cakes, cookies, candy.... ANYTHING sweet that may be left over.  Like a crackhead I'd be muttering to myself out of sheer frustration.  They say the first couple weeks are the worst.  And if this doesn't work there is always the Methadone clinic so all is not lost.  But to help me out I found my dear old friend Claudette Colbert's shoulder to cry on.  Her only request, "Try your best not to get any tears on the Travis Banton gown."  Something about being back on the set of "Cleopatra" or some such nonsense.  Well I hope Ms. Colbert helps you through your work week as well.  

 

Philip - In Brooklyn

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

VIDEO - How to Sew a Silk Ribbon Binding

Hey there Patterned History Peeps!  So today is very special... VERY VERY SPECIAL.  For today is the launch of our first Video Blog Post! (Hold for applause).  Today's video is about the Haute Couture technique of applying a silk ribbon binding to your sewing projects.  This technique is AWESOME!  You can use this technique anywhere on soft drapey fabrics.  Works wonderful for sheers and solids.  Recently I used this to edge a bridal veil and it gave it such a beautiful and crisp finished edge.  The technique does take some time and might take a few rounds of practice but once you master it it will raise the level of your work to that of the French master.  The best part is that you use narrow ribbons, 3/8"-1/4", and since you fold the ribbons in half your finished edge can be as narrow as 1/8".  In my own sewing I will find any reason to use it. 
            Now please be kind this is my first try at shooting, editing and doing voice-overs.  But I hope you find this video informative and inspiring.  Let me know you’re thoughts.  We would love to know more about our readers needs and interests.
            Thanks for Watching!


Philip – In Brooklyn

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to WOOORK!! 1-3-11

           The first Monday of the new year!!!  But it's still time to get back to WOOORK!!  Don't you worry though.  The 2 time Oscar winner Miss Barbra Streisand is here to help!  Decked out in her Friday night finest.  Poor Carol she didn't see Barbra's chops gleaming in the night, salivating for her role... but on the bright side Irene Sharaff did I pretty awesome job once again.  We all love a jewess ina fully beaded gown and hand made gloves.  The very essence of WOOORK!!


Philip - In Brooklyn
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