Friday, October 30, 2009

Vogue P921 - 1920's Style Cloche

I picked up this pattern years ago. It's a set of modern hats designed by Patricia Underwood. A few of the hats have a very retro feel to them, including a turban, a fedora, and a cloche. So far, I've made the turban for a fortunetelling costume and the cloche. My only issue with them is that the pattern seems to run a little small. I made the hats according to my head measurement, which is well within the medium size range, but think I would have been happier if I had made the large size instead.

It's been a few years since I made the turban, so I don't remember the details about making it. It is made of stretch material, so the fit is very forgiving. My only issue is that the shell tends to ride up on my head the longer I wear it, exposing the lining.

The style of the cloche is perfect for an art deco feel, with a nice slice of contrasting color around the crown. I made mine of bright red fine wale corduroy trimmed with mixed wale black corduroy. I was a little surprised that the instructions did not call for the cloche to be interfaced. I was concerned that the crown would not have enough body, so I interfaced it, anyway. That is probably part of the problem as to why it fits a little tight. However, I think I made the right choice in that respect. The only other thing that bothered me is that the silhouette of the hat is more like a 1960's bucket hat, with the back being shorter than the front. The cloches I've seen from around 1927 were more uniform in length. If I use this pattern again, I will modify the brim so that it is the same width front and back. It isn't quite as noticeable when the hat is on my head, but I'm fussy about the details. However, the end result looked stunning, so I can't complain.

Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1652 - 1920's Ladies' Coat

I needed a costume to portray a woman from the 1920's for some history tours to benefit the restoration of Green Lawn Abbey, which was built in 1927. The style of this pattern is consistent with coats I've seen in catalogs from 1923-24, so I made some modifications both to make it more appropriate for the later time period and to make it more functional just to wear everyday.

VPLL 1652 - 1920's Ladies Coat

Right off the bat, it became apparent that there were a few odd things about the pattern itself. First of all, the length is much longer than it seems in the illustration. It is ankle length - very 1923! - so I took 10 inches off the bottom. There are also tabs extending from the top of the coat fronts that did not have any corresponding tabs on the facing. I cut those off. Finally, the pattern layout illustration only shows that the cuff piece is cut twice. You actually need it cut 4 times. I should also mention that the pattern only give the pattern layout and yardages for doing the coat in one solid color with no contrast. I used 3/4 of a yard to make the contrast for mine, minus ties. You would probably need an extra yard for the ties. If I hadn't made some modifications, this would have been a super easy coat to make.

The pattern shapes are simple, with only one set of darts to be made in the coat fronts. It is designed to not even be lined, although the instructions do mention how to line it if desired. The cut is loose, so no fussy fitting is required. There are no pockets to deal with, and the pieces fit together well. I am also very pleased with how VPLL made the pattern. If you've ever worked with original patterns from that era, you know that construction marks, such as where to put the darts, were simply small holes in the pattern where the seamstress was supposed to make tailor tacks with thread. VPLL not only had the markings drawn on, they are printed in a second color to make them more distinguishable from the cutting lines.

My 1920's outfit

The modifications I made were to shorten the length, and added pockets, triangular trim at the waistline, loops for the buttons, and both a lining and a heavier interlining. I am very pleased with the end result. The only things I am not keen on are the result of my own modifications: I should have made the pockets in the same color as the shell, it would have been better if I had made the length a wee bit longer than I had, and the weight of the interlining pulls the front of the coat a little funny when the collar is buttoned up. Still, I got a ton of compliments on it. I can't wait to try my next pattern from VPLL!