Monday, 13 February 2017

Book: "Vintage Details" by Jeffrey Mayer and Basia Szkutnicka

My photo isn't terribly great, but this is what it looks like

I have bought and am giving myself a fantastic book as a present. Yay me!

"Vintage Details - A Fashion Sourcebook"  is just wonderful. It is also pretty heavy, a real coffee table book and I would buy it as a paperback again for easier storage. But this book deserves to be so heavy: there is just such a lot in it. And what gorgeousness!

It is chockful of photographs, initially as smaller index card style photos ('Visual Index') so you can quickly leaf through this section to visually identify what you are looking for.  This index tells you what page the larger photographs are on. So useful!

Often one of the pictures later on in the book will show a close-up of a detail, a cuff turned inside out, sleeves laid so you can see the most interesting part, a pocket flap turned back, the inside of a garment, etc.

Just look at this beautiful gusset, courtesy of the sleeve being folded out of the way:

The folded back tab shows an otherwise hidden seam and where the button is relative to the pocket flap:

The book is divided into several chapters: necklines; collars; sleeves; cuffs; pockets; fastenings & buttonholes; hems, darts, stitching & fitting devices; pleats, frills & flounces; embellishment; surface; and construction.

Going through the book feels like you've been to a fabulous vintage clothing exhibition but you didn't have to take your own photos hoping they'll come out well and show the details that caught your eye - instead it is all in here, in a very well presented way.

I love the shaped seam under the inverted pleat
This is in the Construction chapter, showing the inside of the dress

I know I will go through this book again and again: to look for inspiration, to remind myself of something I half remember and just for the sheer pleasure of indulging in this visual delight of what makes vintage clothing so fascinating and absorbing.

I give this book five out of five stars. I can only recommend it warmly: go find it, buy it.

"Vintage Details - A Fashion Sourcebook" by Jeffrey Mayer and Basia Szkutnicka. Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2016

Thursday, 2 February 2017

A pretty crochet border

...or how good it feels to complete a long-time UFO.  Damn good!

I started this project, a nice, cool summer top, so many years ago that I don't remember when. Judging from intervening house moves it was at least three years ago, but could be longer.

It is finished!!!  Ta-da!

I am so pleased. The feeling of satisfaction at completing something that was cluttering up my space: it is a priceless, unbeatable feeling. To no longer come across it and having to think: "Oh yeah, I need to finish that at some point, soon, whenver...".  Such a relief!

I do have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too many unfinished projects hanging around like a bad smell. Triggering uncomfortable, opppressive vibes.

I want to no longer contribute to even more of them. It has to stop: either complete it, throw it out or do something (whatever it is) with it. Give to friends, to a charity shop, rip it back down if it's knitted, throw it in a clothes collection bin for making blankets out of or whatever they do...

I don't intend on exposing myself to the disheartening pressure of wanting to go through everything I have lying around and get this fixed right this minute, if not yesterday - I will take my time over it.  I am able to do this on a gradual basis, I don't have to stress myself out.  I will look at a few projects at a time, both knitting and sewing or quilting projects, and decide on which one 'grabs' me the most.  I like using spontaneous urges that have me pick up one specific thing - it usually means that I successfully deal with it.

As I mentioned, my sewing group is having a two-part sewalong on looking over UFOs, one was in January, the next one Part 2 is in March.  This proved extremely beneficial: I got the urge to look at just this or that UFO, and had started to do a little sewing here and there too.

Then I came across some of my knit UFO projects that are too numerous to mention - this is just the first one I was able to do something with.  I had absolutely no idea how I was going to deal with a gaping big neckline, the thought of knit ribbing was a bit offputting.

Seeing how pretty this crochet border looks, I am extremely glad that I looked for something else.  I do save a lot of photos I find inspiring. One of them was of a page in a Japanese book, an edging there inspired the top half of my border. I improvised the other part at the bottom:

I put down a foundation row of double crochet stitches.

I was able to go 'around' the corners by not crocheting into every stitch. The top part of the pattern then also missed out a stitch here and there to make it lie flat.

Same at the back.  You can also see that my "seam line" between sleeve and body looks a little odd. I used the seamless method* by decreasing at this point in every second row. The kink in the line comes from switching from decreasing in the body area to decreasing at the sleevehead.

This method is probably a bit better for fibres that are smoother and will pull into place a bit better than this cotton yarn.

I made the ribbing in a K2 P1 pattern.

This photo shows the problem of the neckline very well: not only is it too big, the fabric also rolls in as well as out in several places. This would have never looked good or felt comfortable if left like this - I was really unsure what to do with it for a long time.

I can also see now that I could have decreased between sleeve and body a little more further down. You live and you learn!

Overall I am content but not ecstatic with how the top looks on me.  I am utterly delighted in an over-the-moon way that I finished it!

Yay me.

Now where is that other WIP where I need to do my magic with the squashed sleeveheads? Lemme at it!

PS: The seamless sweater method* has been explained by Elizabeth Zimmermann in at least one of her books, and also by Tuulia who developed a pattern that you can buy.