Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sewing: my South Riding blouse

My next sewing project is this 1940's Simplicity pattern, 3638.

I bought my copy from Susannah at Cargo Cult Craft. I did so despite reading on her blog that this was the Pattern of Doom, the one that had her sell all of her vintage Simplicity patterns on Etsy because she could not take any more.... oops!

Here is what Susannah said:

"The pattern seemed to be a good size and a half smaller than marked. The neckline needed cutting down by 2 inches in order not to strangle me. The bodice pulled every which way. The collar drafting was just wacky. Finally my patience ran out. I stuffed the blouse into the box with the rest of the Pile of Shame, tearfully apologized to James for the needless slaughter of an innocent shirt and fixed myself a large G&T. Why do I do these things to myself? Why?? "
I have been warned!

The only positive recommendation I can find for this pattern on the web is from a lady at the Fedora Lounge site, who suggests it as the ideal simple and versatile 1940's blouse - which is exactly why I chose it! But I can't find a sewing blog in her name so the trail has gone cold.

Maybe I just need to, um, make it!

I bought 2 metres of printed cotton poplin from Ray Stitch, in a sweet ditsy print. I accidentally ordered the wrong colour. It was supposed to be purple and orange but when it arrived it was marked: "primrose yellow and orange". This is actually a good thing because I have some yellow 1940's buttons in the stash.

I am making View 2, the top right picture. If you look closely you can see the front bands and collar have multiple rows of topstitching, a detail I saw used many times in the costumes of the BBC's recent adaptation of South Riding. Did you watch it? LoobyLou sent me this link to a piece about the costumes: costumes. Sadly, I can't watch it as my home broadband is too slow to support i-player and my work broadband says "no". Do have a rummage around and read about the locations and the characters.

I was a hopelessly romantic child (surprise!) and the 1974 version of South Riding made an indelible mark on my 10-year-old soul. I read the book from cover to cover several times in rapid succession. When I went to Hull for University, I dreamed of living out on the Holderness coast and riding the rickety bus into town every day. But I never did. The East Yorkshire coastline has a special magic - as if time has stood still - and yet it is an area in constant threat of being reclaimed by the sea. If you look at the BBC "locations" page you might catch a wisp of the atmosphere. I feel quite... homesick. Which is odd, because I am from here not there.

So this will be my South Riding blouse. I had better get on with it!


Kestrel said...

Good luck with your blouse - at least you're prepared for potential issues, though I hope you won't have any. I've been admiring the South Riding costumes too - she wore a jumper in the 2nd episode which I loved, and photographed from the TV!

Lucette said...

Looks to me that somebody enjoys a challenge. will be looking forward to the blouse. I am off to check out South Riding costumes-hope it is not just in the UK.

Lizzi said...

I LOVED South Riding - and mostly because of the set and costumes - BBC at it's best.

The 30's style is still relevant today - a look that I love. It is flattering, feminine and was made to last, which is something we need to return to - and you are doing your bit!

Steph said...

I wondered at the time, and wonder now, if Susannah's problems were caused chiefly by vintage ease. Or rather, the lack thereof. Most women wore foundation garments, even the slim ones. Foundation garments eliminate the need for wearing ease. When I work with 30's and 40's patterns, I always need to add ease. A good check is to measure the waist. If it measures exactly the waist measurement for the size, then you know it has no built in ease.

faeriecollege said...

"Not available in your area" graaaa i-Player, why do you do this?!

I'm sure the blouse will be fine. If only because you're a super seamstress and will be able to overcome whatever it throws in your path.

daisydonut said...

I've really enjoyed watching South Riding the costumes have been wonderful.

I'm sure you will do a wonderful job of the blouse and am looking forward to seeing it finished.