Sunday, 4 November 2012


I actually got out of the house without Grace this week and went to a plabric workshop run by Transition Cambridge. Plabric is fabric made out of plastic. It gave me some ideas and if I get round to making something I'll write a post about it.

One of the participants had a bag full of old dress patterns that she was giving away. They are mostly Vogue and Simplicity from the 60's and 70's. The prices on them are 3 or 4 shillings, vintage Vogue patterns will set you back about £12 these days so I am very grateful to the lady who gave them to me.

I had a read through some of them, my how things have changed. Some have pattern pieces that are not printed, you have to interpret a type of braille with different size holes meaning darts or tailor tacks. And the meaning of a quick and simple pattern has definitely changed.

I knew sizes would have changed but I didn't realise by how much. A 60's size 14 was 34" 24" 36". Today it's 37" 31" 40" not only bigger overall but a lot less curvy. I know people have become a lot more sedentary which might explain the bigger bum size but reason for the tiny waste became apparent when I found these fitting instructions. Seriously - a girdle!

One particularly lovely Jackie O style black dress has a detachable dickie, collar and cuffs. A bit if research was needed to find out that a dickie is basically a false shirt front. They came into being because it was difficult to properly starch a dress shirt, it's the comedy bit that flaps up and catches an unsuspecting cartoon character in the chin! I was intrigued as to how you made the collar and cuffs detachable. Answer, hand baste them on, presumably you cut them off when didn't want them and basted them back when you did. I can't imagine todays Primark shoppers sitting down to do that every time they fancied a change of style.

I am really looking forward to having a go at making some of these. Some things have become easier, like iron interfacing but resizing will definitely need the help of the Oracle. Maybe one day in the far far distant future when I have time....

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