Sunday, September 07, 2014

My Line of Clothing

                                                  Above:  a few things from the garden.

Good Day.  My pictures are not the best, but I thought some of my friends would rather hear from me on this blog than not see any new posts, so I am going ahead and showing what I have pinned on the line. This is my own designer "line" of clothing, and there is more to come. I could not fit everything on the line, and I have some fresh-looking "by the sea" dresses to show which I am enthusiastic about and will add on another post.

I have already shown the pink rosebud print dresses and the burgundy roses prints, both Fabric Traditions brand fabrics.  I made up the pattern by using old pieces I have collected over the years. The sleeves, bodices and skirt pieces are all combined in different ways to make these garments.

There is a film about Laura Ashley and the purpose of her clothing:

She stated in an old clip on this YouTube piece that her designs were inspired by the countryside and nature, and that they were not created for a night on the town or sophisticated events, but for wearing at home.

  That is what my "line" of clothing is for: home living.  At home, they are worn with aprons that coordinate with the colors, and when making a trip to the market, can be removed (or not: sometimes I forget and go shopping with my apron).  These dresses are "mommy" dresses for mother and daughter and can be worn at home, shopping and even to church.

I Did not use any Laura Ashley patterns or her designs. The reason I mentioned Laur Ashley is because, in the video, she said these clothes were for the home. Mine are also for the home. A lady can move without restriction, without tugging the waistband, without pulling up the shoulders to cover things, and can go about an active life and all that the home entails.

Above: girl's dress, size 8, in April Cornell fabric I bought last year. This year it does not seem to be available.  For the girls dresses, I varied the sleeves and bodices, with different shapes. I sewed front buttons on the girls dress because it helps her dress herself. Sometimes a back zip or buttons gets caught in girls hair, so that is why I like the front closures on girls dresses.

I have posted this one before.  I cannot find any willing models to prove that these dresses, which look so droopy on the line, are altogether lovely on the owners.  They cannot look any worse than some of the clothing sold in stores today.  I have heard from a lot of women who express dismay about the choice of clothing in the market.

I featured this one in the previous post. 

I did not have enough of the April Cornell fabric for a complete dress so I made a skirt with coordinating band of green on the hem area, and am making a jacket to match it with more of the sage-green.

All garments are good-quality cotton.  I am using Gutterman cotton thread in the machine.

This is the declension, or breakdown of the wearing out of these dresses:

When the garments are brand new we wear them to church and special occasions.

After washing, we do not use the dryer and do not hang on the line in hot sun to dry.  They are hung in the house on a hanger where they dry.

If some of the church dresses get a bit more worn out we start wearing them in the house with an apron.

In really hot weather the dresses that are worn out and thin make good summer nightwear, ( if the garments are made a little bigger they are good for sleepwear) as the cotton fabrics are so comfortable to sleep in, especially after washing and hanging on the line, where the sun makes them so fresh and scented. 

Eventually the dress gets more tattered so it is worn for early morning chores, the garden, yard work, outdoor work.

As the clothing gets older, if it has a lot of wear and tear we can cut off the sleeves and the back and make aprons from it.  The Pleasant Times has an article about it here:

Please have a pleasant day and be sure and leave a comment or write to me personally on email.

The name of the video is "From Kitchen to Catwalk" 60 years of Laura Ashley.  Some people are saying my link does not work, so try typing in the title.  The title  means that the dresses that were designed for homemaking became so well-liked that they were worn everywhere as fashion.


magnoliasntea said...

I really enjoyed seeing your line of dresses today. The styles are not form fitting yet they are graceful and pretty. I don't like to complain, but I'm so sick to death of seeing people in clothes that sort of cover them but mostly don't. If only we could take the fashion blinders off and see what we really look like to others...
Thank you for a lovely post.

SharonR said...

I love my old Laura Ashley dress. I got it at 75% off - the only way I could have afforded it. I think it's still in a box somewhere, or thrown away. Here's also a good video about her:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful dresses!

ladypinktulip said...

I love your beautiful dresses. Over the years they have inspired me to learn to sew myself so I might have pretty dresses instead of ones they sell in the store that are dull and shapeless and often immodest.

Southern Girl said...

You are a very talented seamstress. When you mention you did not have a willing model for the dresses, does that mean the dresses were not made for a partical person? What do you do with the dresses after you make them?

Lydia said...

The recipients do not want me to post their pictures on the web.

Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the skirt.They are all beautiful.

Katrinka said...

I like the green buttons! I used to make most of my daughter's clothes when she was a child. Usually skirts and blouses or dresses. She had long braids and her braids would catch in the zippers/buttons on the back, so I usually put the buttons in front, too.

Once I made her a Laura Ashley dress with green fabric and dark pink roses, with ribbon trim of dark pink. She loved it so much she wore it out and I patched it with scraps and eventually cut the sleeves off to make it short sleeved because the elbows wore out. I even made two identical dresses for two of her neighbor friends so they could all dress alike. She was very attached to her clothing.

Such sweet memories! Thank you for bringing them to mind, Lydia.

Andrea R said...

Any young lady would be so fortunate to receive such a pretty dress made with such love and talent!

Love these! Just beautiful!

God Bless!

Gayle said...

Love the dresses, and would like to see the aprons that go with them, too. I loved Laura Ashley, and Jessica McClintock ,too. Thank you for the name of the video, I will definitely check it out.

Stephanie said...

Your line of clothing is so beautiful! I love the fabric you used and the style is so feminine and pretty :)

Have a lovely week! Hugs and blessings!

Housewife59 said...

I love your line of clothing : ) As I am generally a beginner in dressmaking, I have only a handful of patterns so far, but I am finding there is so much you can do with them. My vintage skirt pattern is lovely as is, and there are variations for different fabrics, with buttons, or zip too. I think it is quite the Laura Ashley style. I am experimenting with a simple blouse pattern, cutting slightly larger at the top of the sleeve, for more gather. The next thing I will try is making the short sleeve longer.I do love long sleeves on my clothes and find them more comfortable.
I am taken by the sage green band across the skirt on your picture. What a good idea, to link up with a jacket of the same colour as the band! My own vintage simple jacket pattern will be good to practice on - Sage green goes so well with pinks. Anyway, thank you for posting your 'line'. Maybe you should catch the bus to John Lewis department store and see their buyer, as Laura Ashley did all those years ago.

Lydia said...

They are looser at the waist, because I cut them a little bigger than the patterns. This is because I notice when you sit down, the waist area always gets more snug. A waistline on a dress tends to creep up around the tummy if it is too tight. I also find it helpful to lower the waistline when sewing. It makes the waist area more comfortable. The apron ties the looser dresses more closely.

I am not an admirer of the 1950s styles, even though I was born in that decade. Many of the dresses were uncomfortable, (except for the shirtwaist style) tight and gaping at the neckline. They looked good in print but not all of them were made for every figure type.

Oh yes, I should go see the Laura ashley buyer haha. I am sure they would listen to me ;-)

I am working on the nautical dresses today.

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon :-) Happy Monday...

anonymous said...

I really enjoyed seeing your new line of clothes. Very feminine and pretty. Love the prints and colors.
Thank you for the history and info on Laura Ashley. So interesting.

I recently made a shift dress. It didn't come with long enough sleeves to suit me so I borrowed a 3/4 length sleeve pattern from the same make pattern company and used it instead. After it was done, I found I could use all sorts of scarves, shawls and collars to embellish and change its style.
However the dress still needed something. I took a 5/8" grosgrain ribbon and tied it empire style and let the ends hang to about the hip length. Low and behold the style changed to a modified version of a Jane Austen dress. All I needed was a short empire length jacket to make it so. I also used a slinky rayon fabric which I had never sewn on before. It isn't that hard to sew on, but a little difficult to cut out since is slides and stretches six ways to Sunday.

Mrs. J.

anonymous said...

A friend wore a vintage Gunny Saxx dress by Laura Ashley to an antique faire just recently. Men and women recognized the dress and complimented her on it all day.

We also saw a couple of teen girls dressed up nicely in modest dresses and everyone was complimenting them also. It makes you feel good to see the young girls dressing nicely and caring about their appearance.

Mrs. J.

Homemaker's Heart said...

I really enjoyed seeing a glmpse of "your line of clothing". I especially like the one with the larger flower print. I am getting the nerve up to sew a simple skirt pattern with a draw string waist. I am usually better at crafts and simple wall/lap quilting, but your dresses inspire me to try to make something and even let my creativity go.

Thank you for your post.

Peace be with you,

Lydia said...

The darker floral one from Hobby Lobby gets a lot of compliments at the grocery store when my daughter and her daughter wear them. The other sets are appreciated but people seem to like the burgundy rose one the best. The fabric though is not good to wear in hit summer as it is too thick.

And I will hopefully finish the sailor outfits soon and post them.

JES said...

I love the fabrics you chose. April Cornell is a favorite designer! Once my daughter grew out of those girl sized dresses, I realized I had nowhere to run... What to have her wear to church as a pre-teen? The styles are atrocious! Though I am not a sewer, it quickly became a part of our homeschool curriculum and thankfully she can now sew her own skirts and dresses... So, even if you were never taught, sewing can be learned with all the wonderful Christian websites selling tutorial DVD's. Thanks for the lovely inspiration as always!

Susan said...

The you tube film is very interesting. I had no idea that Laura Ashley was that large a company.

I love all of these dresses and I think the skirt looks easy enough for me to try. I like the idea of a contrasting stripe on the bottom. I am shy about trying to sew something too difficult and I don't have a machine right now, so I make things I can hand sew quickly.

We had a similar system of clothing use when I was a child. The idea is that everything gets used up until it finally becomes a quilt or hand towel. We had so little that it was important to rotate and hand down and re-use everything. I am trying to get back to that in my daily life. If you make something and take care of it from its creation you appreciate it more. Things that are not worn should be given to others who might need them. I try to only wear and keep things that I truly love and are feminine and pretty colors.

We have Mennonite families here and they wear beautiful colors and floral fabrics and the little girls look so pretty. These clothes are worn for daily life including outdoor play and working in the farm fields. In speaking to one of the mothers one day I learned that part of the reason they all wear similar styles is out of respect for the other women in their groups. They feel that competing with each other for who looks the prettiest or skinniest, etc is not Biblical and so they chose to wear a style that looks good on any woman, no matter their age or size. There is still a lot of individuality though because they can choose their fabric, buttons, and trim.

I have been wearing exclusively skirts and dresses for many years now and I find them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer and just much more comfortable. Thank you for showing us your creations.

Lydia said...

Susan, the skirt was made with no pattern, just sewing two 45" lengths of fabric together and making a casing to insert elastic.

Cynthia Berenger said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I enjoyed your pun as well as the beautiful clothing. Thank you! Your post brightened my day.

Agape always,

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Lydia, Greetings from the south! I just think your sweet dresses are so very pretty! I still think that if the clothing industry, even had a clue in what was a practical yet soft and lady like and they would find a new line of clothing ;o)
I can just hope someday they will come back with real style and modesty.
Blessings, Roxy

Lydia said...

Thanks Roxy. If everyone would post pictures of the dresses the wish they had, some enterprising designer might see it and understand the need and the potential.