Thursday, September 01, 2011

SSS Silhouettes

Image credit:  As seen on Guardian website, Banana Republic Mad Men Collection
I had no plans to jump on a bandwagon, but when I saw Colette's "mood board" for their forthcoming fall sewing patterns, I gasped and knew that I had to have a pair of narrow-legged trousers.  Very Audrey Hepburn!  Then I saw the same shape popping up in previews of the Banana Republic Mad Men collection (designed by the actual costume designer for the TV series... which I have never watched -tsk!).  Ooh!  Look at that cut-away shoulder lace shell top she is wearing with those "cigarette pants"!  And gloves! 

If Colette is about to publish a pattern in this style, I will be buying it and wearing it ASAP!  I trust them to reinterpret the vintage original to make it a wearable rather than like a "re-enactment" costume.
And it got me thinking about silhouettes.
I usually start a sewing plan with a colour in mind:  I need a brown skirt.  And sometimes I forget that it can't just be any shape of skirt, because  e.g. a puffy Sencha blouse looks awful blossoming out of a low-waisted or gathered skirt.  So when I showed you two 1970's skirt patterns and blithely announced that either would be fab in the brown wool I had just purchased, I was SO wrong!  I was about to sew a skirt which would not go with any of the tops I have already made, because although the colour would match, the shape would not.  DUH!

So, the truth is that what I really need is a high-waisted, fairly narrow brown skirt - oh look!  I spy another Ginger on the horizon!
But getting back to those trousers...  I want a black pair.  I already have some black cotton sateen in the stash.  And my initial reaction was:  "Hooray - they will go with everything because they are black!"  But actually... they would look bizarre with my 1940's blouses.  Top heavy.
But that's OK, because I already have two pairs of wide-legged 1940's trousers to wear with all my puffy back-buttoned blouses - phew!  A balanced silhouette!

Let's look again at that Banana Republic image:  narrow legs, nipped in waist, curving out at the bust and then narrow shoulders.  It is a very fitted shape, following the contours of the body.  Nothing like my usual style at all!  But I can see that it might suit me, as long as the garments fit properly.

I am in danger of going all Gok on you - I can feel myself launching into a discussion of "apples and pears"!  I don't think I am either.  I get all my shape from my clothes! ; )

So my self-stitched September begins with the identification of two key silhouettes:

South Riding Girl

This is the core of my everyday self-stitched work wardrobe, and is characterised by a (usually) back-buttoned blouse, often with neck pleats, always quite "blousy":  Senchas 1 and 2, my self-drafted tees (no buttons), South Riding (front buttons), and the two demure 1940's pattern blouses:  sandpiper and the vicar's wife.

These tops are worn with wide-legged high-waisted trousers. 

On cold days I add Audrey-in-Unst.

It's very much based on a 1940's vintage silhouette.
SSS plan:
To develop this look to include skirts.
A brown wool Ginger is first in the queue.
Dare I say:  to finish my Betty Jean cardigan...?  (Stop shouting at me - I know I said I was going to finish it months ago!)

And I must remember to add red lipstick.  It makes such a difference!

Sabrina Girl

This is my new aspirational look!  It makes me think of Una Stubbs in "Summer Holiday" or Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina".  It's that very late 50's / early 60's style of narrow trousers and boat necks, bust darts and cut-away shoulders, polo necks and three-quarter-length sleeves.  Ooh and a boxy coat with big buttons!

I am trying to hold out for Colette's fall range of patterns, but I might crack and hit Etsy for a vintage pattern or two if they don't hurry up!

ETA:  They are out!  Look here!  But... the trousers have a low waist.  Booo! 

SSS plan:
To experiment with sewing towards this silhouette:  cigarette pants, wider necks (perhaps a back v neck?), bracelet-length sleeves.  Black with strong-coloured tops:  saffron, teal, magenta?

I think my plan to make a wiggle-dress fits well with this silhouette too.

And eyeliner.   I must perfect my cat's eye! ; )

But what is absolutely key to this working is that I must distinguish between my "looks":  be completely clear that I am making an item which fits one silhouette OR the other.  This will also allow me to have two distinct colour palettes, which I think will do wonders to perk up my wardrobe.

Ooh!  Exciting!


Sølvi said...

Nice sewing plans. And I love your idea of silhouettes, I realized I had the same problem earlier this year, as I had focused only on the high-waisted 40´s look, and all of a sudden just wanted something nice and flowy with no waist definition at all! I made a pair of cropped pants during the summer months. They get a heavy rotation, and I suspect I need to make another pair for autumn.

Love your plans! :-)

Urban Rustic said...

I agree.I think your plans sound great and it will be interesting to see them in action.Enjoy SSS!!

kbenco said...

This analysis is very smart. I keep making the wrong shaped skirts to wear with particular blouses. I should be thinking in silhouettes too.

Lorna said...

I love the planned look and can't wait to see you in it.

Sigrid said...

Oh my, I think this thoughtful approach to sewing a wardrobe is going to raise the bar a bit.