Thank you everyone for taking time in your busy home to see me today. I try to post encouraging and informative articles that will benefit home life.
As I remembered a video clip of the Welsh designer Laura Ashley (go to approximately 1:55 on the video to listen to her explain this) many years ago saying that the clothes she designed were mainly for the home, I have been trying to sew up some garments using a very easy pattern from New Look, which is a Simplicity Pattern product. I am trying this season to use this pattern in many different ways, to wear daily at home.
I remember the fashion reporters at the time were saying her designs were of no interest to the fashion world. Laura always said they were not designed to wear in posh places but were for the home and for country people. So please do not think my designs have anything to do with trying to make a fashion statement...they aren't even related to what is going on in fashion today. I use things gleaned from all eras of clothing as far as they will fit into homemaking and home life. I have to have garments I can move and walk in, clean and cook in, as well as show hospitality in, and I also want them to be suitable for grocery shopping and other outings. That is why I liked the Laura Ashely designs so much.
I alter this pattern by adding borders or pleats at the hemline, elastic gathers on the skirt and sleeves, and of course sleeves from other patterns. Also I put a coordinating color piping on the neckline because the dress does not get as worn and thin with that added part. I am planning to add ruching and trims on the bodice, as well.
On my sewing sidebar I show you how I raised the neckline on this dress. Since this pattern has no zipper or buttons, it is supposed to be loose enough to get over the head, so it cannot have a Victorian-high neckline, but it can be made a little higher. I find with any clothing, whether sewn or bought, the necklines look okay when standing fully upright, but when you bend or lean forward they gape. That is why I created this tutorial on how to raise a neckline. I also wanted to raise the neckline without taking away from the beauty and the drape of the garment.
Since I didn't really like the photograph of me in the dress, I posed it here for a picture. It actually looks better on the hanger anyway. I made a cumber band tie for it, but for a normal day around here I wear a very roomy waistline, not tied.
As I am more interested in the pattern and fabric color than in the background setting, I painted the figure and then moved on to sewing the next dress, but I hope to add color to the background because the sky is so pretty today.
Since I made this dress a bit larger than my size, I took two tucks in the back to make it more fitted, which I have tried to show in the picture below.
New Look (Simplicity) 6352
With the cumberband tie, this dress is a better length for working at home! I have since shortened it a bit more. Notice the elastic gather on the side seam, which pulls up the ruffle to form different style. I changed the entire scene for sketching, because I knew I could not manage that hammock in the background of the photo.
I will be trying to sew an entire "trousseau" with this pattern just to see what all can be done with it. I wish Simplicity would add a variety of sleeves and hems, necklines, ties and collars to the pattern and make it easy. I am even going to do a sailor collar version of this, and, to be overly, outrageously ambitious (at my age) attempt a cotton wedding dress, something I have always wanted to do. Don't worry, I will try and find a younger model for that one!
I also wanted to let you have a peek into my sewing area, and show my collection of pages from catalogs which I use for sewing ideas; not that I will sew them all.
When I went to Allposters and typed in "laundry" and "hanging out the wash" a host of 19th century paintings of ladies and children with clotheslines and baskets of laundry came up, including this one by English painter Helen Allingham. The painters thought the subject of hanging the wash was a perfect outdoor subject to paint.
I know not all ladies can sew, and I only wanted to share with you how sweet and romantic it can be to have something pretty to wear at home and how ordinary scenes at home can create beautiful memories. Even if you don't like to wear dresses at home, you can find a pretty top these days that is very feminine, to wear at home. As our families are so special, it is a treat for them to see the wife and mother in something fresh and cheerful, and we shouldn't put off being lovely for them, both in attitude and appearance.