Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For the Home

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.  


Shani said...

I just love these posts, Lady Lydia, thank you! This post was a lovely read to accompany my lunch and first break of the day. I have hung out three loads of laundry on my clothesline this morning, and the clothes are dancing merrily in the breeze.

I have material for a new dress, but have been unable to get to it. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little intimidated at the thought of making a dress. You see, I've only sewn myself skirts before. These posts are encouraging me to give it a try, though, so thank you.

Have a lovely week!

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I flunked sewing in Home Ec, had absolutely no talent for it. I could mend socks on the old wooden form and they lasted a long time. But dresses, skirts, blouses, etc, nope no clue. I did however score A+ in the kitchen portion. As the Word says, everyone has a different gift. Mine was cooking.

Hope you're not too warm and no fires nearby.

A. Law said...

I enjoyed your post so much. I always look forward to them.
I enjoy sewing but I am mostly a quilter these days.
Loved seeing your sewing area and your photo in your new dress.
You are an encouragement to me.
Have a wonderful day,
Aline L.

anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post today. Love your pretty new dress too. The cute little gather at the side is really feminine and attractive.

I wanted to share that small gathered dickies can be made and attached to the inside of ready made low front dresses and tops. Sometimes I will gather a large handkerchief and attach that instead of a regular dickie. A dickie can be made of many things and used as an accessory also.
To attach the dickies I often sew velcro fasteners to the sides of the dress or top front. The soft side goes on the dress and the rough side goes on the dickie that way if you decide not to use it the rough edge won't chafe.

The first time I made one was on a sailor top with a V front. It was too low and the dickie looked really great with it. Since then I've made dickies for all sorts of low tops.

While on the subject of sailor tops, I have decided to make a sailor style collar to wear over any T-shirt, plain top sweater or dress instead of making an entire sailor top. That way I can use it in multiple applications. It would be more practical for me to launder just a collar then a whole dress or top and would require far less fabric.

anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouraging post about clothing made for the home. Most of my clothing is for home or church wear and I'll be searching Laura Ashley's website to get more ideas.

I love what you have done with the pattern you've used for the pink dress. You look so pretty and feminine in your dress too. Thank you for sharing.


susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I don't sew, but I enjoyed this post very much. The fabric on this dress is so pretty, and I like seeing the sketches that you do. The raised neckline works very well. It is fun to see the beautiful dresses that you create.

quakerhillfarm said...

What a sweet post! I have loved Laura Ashley designs for a very long time! This post gives me new inspiration! Thank you so much!

Atelier Avigail said...

Thank you for this post and for the pics! I love the long pink skirt with matching jacket - you gave me an idea! Thank you again!

Susan said...

So pretty. Thank you for sharing the pictures. I like the cuttings you took from magazines. I do the same thing to get ideas for home decorating. I wonder if it is possible to explain the little tucks you took at the back of the dress. I have a plain dress I would like to try that with. Is it kind of like a reverse dart? Did you stitch it by hand or machine? It looks so pretty and I think it might be easier than putting in elastic for a waist. I was able to find that pattern in a bin at the thrift store and since I do not have a sewing machine I am going to try hand stitching it. I love to sit late at night with a needle and thread and create something and it looks easy enough to do that with. I also like the idea of creating something unique for myself that no one else will be wearing.