Friday, May 29, 2015

A Second Filet Bag

Once again I will ask you to remember this picture:
I have finally finished a second bag out of this piece. 

Before I go into whining about size differentials in blocks, lets first look at the inspiration for my bag:
 It is from a copy of "Le Petit Echo de la Broderie", Sunday 18 May 1913 I found in Paris last year.

Now for my version of this bag... 

First, I choose the next two blocks of Filet off of the piece in the first picture.

Much to my surprise, (and why would this be such a surprise?) I found that the squares were not all the same size. You sure could not tell just looking at the original piece, but once the filet squares were removed, the size differental quickly became a problem for this project. Getting them to match up in size turned out to be a monumental feat.
Here it is at its half way point you can see the one on top is smaller:
It took a lot of steam and scrunching to get the larger one to behave and become a reasonable variation in size to the smaller one. I put it away last year because it was frustrating me. I know, easier would been to have taken a third or even fourth block and find the two that were most similar in size. I did not want to do that as it would have left orphan blocks not attached to the original piece. I would hate for one of them to become lost or broken when it got separated from the rest. As a move was imminent I could have see it happening.

Alright, so what you see in the above picture is a medium weight linen with a cotton medium weight iron on stabilizer behind it. To that the filet blocks were machine and hand sewn. The edging from the original piece was used around the filet block on three sides.

Here is the finished product:

I bought some thread knots, for any better word to call them last year in New York and I just had to use them on this bag.

How about some close-ups?
I was at a flea market this last weekend and found the lace that is now sewn onto the handles. I had enough lace for the handles and some left over for my crazy patch quilt. I will talk more about my other finds later, I am in the process of washing and ironing. 

Oh, I added just a little bling while I was at it:
Inside the bag, the lining is a medium weight cotton/linen blend fabric with images of Paris. There is a place of a water bottle, lots of zippers and places to put things.
I like this one very much.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Buttons and More Buttons

For now I am stuck on buttons. Really, can you blame me?  Recently at a flea market, I ran across some linen buttons used mostly on bedding in Germany.
The firm Adler-Knopf is a mystery except that it was founded in 1878 and held 27 German and 12 foreign patents, presumably for its buttons. The only reference to the company is part of a PhD thesis that talks about companies in Germany. Therefore dating this is difficult, but from some research looking at similar products it appears to be from the 1920s to early 1930s.

Newer buttons like these came next:
Dating these is difficult but wrapped in plastic I would guess them to be 1980s or 1990s. I bought these at the same time.

Now days the buttons looked like this in the store:

Notice that they have now gone from linen to plastic even though they are still called linen buttons. So it goes with progress. I did not buy these. I took pictures of them in a department store.

Other button things that have changed over time: Here is an example of an apron I found. Notice the beautiful lace that was zigzagged to the top of the apron...I mean look at the buttons. They are utility glass buttons.
Before WWII Germany furnished a considerable quantity of buttons of many types which were made of wood, bone, and glass. After the war glass buttons went out of either fashion or were no longer made. I have been able to find little information about firms that made glass buttons and what happened to them. 

Not surprising, I have been collection glass buttons:
They are about as common to find as the mother of pearl ones. The fancy glass ones are about as plentiful (or not) as the vintage carved mother of pearl buttons.

Now back to Dorset buttons. In Germany they have something called Trachen. Think Munich beer halls and lederhosen. The typical dress woman wear involve some sort to tunic style dress or skirt with a blouse. The blouses are usually ornate and distinctive.
I found this blouse at a second hand store:
Do you see the Dorset buttons??? Here is a close-up:
The blouse is constructed out of heavy/medium weight linen. The lace is hand crochet, the type in France that one would find on table linens. The Dorset buttons are used purely as decoration. The buttons for closing the blouse are hidden behind the lace. Funny that I have seen much of this type of garment in my many visits to Germany. This is the first time I have seen Dorset buttons. The top is my size and fits me nicely. I can see me taking in the puffed sleeves some, taking off the lace on the neck to make it simpler and adding interfacing to the hidden button area. It needs it. No time soon though as I won't have time before I leave Berlin. Too many other things to do! I do like the fit of the shirt so something will become of it.

Lastly here is the latest on one of my next crazy patch blocks:
It is a work in progress and the poor tree needs some more leaves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

More on Find in Germany VS France

I am now used to the differences in finds between France and my part of Germany (Berlin and surrounding areas)

In France, lace bits abound. They were everywhere and it was great fun to buy them. That same lace bit in Berlin is costs 10 times more! Quite the culture shock.

So let's talk about the differences of what I find here in Germany vs France.

I have already mentioned lace bits. Gone are these days where I have mounds of it in the sewing room.
It just does not exist here in quantity and when found is way over the top expensive.

What is not in most picture from France are buttons. Buttons when I found them
were not something I would buy. I did buy a card of buttons here:
I have not used them yet. I need that just right project for them. 

The norm has been a lack of the type of buttons I would use for my projects. I would like Mother or Pearl and vintage glass buttons or for that matter any sort of interesting buttons. I quit looking in France since when I did find them it they were priced like the lace bits are here.

So what does one find here? Interestingly embroidered tablecloths are everywhere. So abundant are they that I can be picky about what I buy. Here is a nice selection of some of them now in my collection for a future project:
I have already mentioned buttons:
These mostly fall in the interesting category.  But there are some real jems hidden in that stack. A few of the buttons have been used already. 

Here are some Mother of Pearl buttons I was able to use on the crazy patch block I just finished:

Here from is another block:
The above block is a work in progress right now

Other types of finds are pillowcases and tablecloths. all of the embroidered ones in the earlier picture are either table clothes or pillow cases. One can also find white on white embroidery as well. Here is a set I found at a flea market:
Other finds were ready made somewhat vintage embroidery motifs. What a time saver. They will keep me from embroidering them myself or having to dye modern ones to match my latest project.
Oh and since I am talking about crazy patch blocks. I finished the first one to my project. Only 15 to go!
Here are a couple of closeups:

Lastly, thank you for your comments about my last blog on my remake of the By Popular Demand shirt. Now all I need is some warm weather to wear it!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

By Popular Demand, with a slight modification

 Remember this picture? It is from the blog entry titled "The Last Hurrah"
I found the medium weight linen in Berlin and the lace came from a find in Brittany. I have wanting to make something out of it and I had a Pinterest inspiration and here it is:
The top was made by an Etsy company called Linen Clothing by bonnie harris 
This one has long since sold, and for good reason.

Although pretty, I know how a tank top like that would look on me. I need a little wider on the shoulders. I am also limited for lace bits here as most of my collection is in storage until August. But I do have my Brittany find with me.

Enter in a Louise Cutting pattern called "By Popular Demand".
I really like how well they are drafted so I know I can play with them and still have something that will go together and fit well. In this pattern, I love the yellow top in the background. Someday I am going to make it as is, really...

Here is my rendition of the top.
A little bit different you say? You would be correct.  It is a size small. 

Changes made:
The pattern was lengthened by 6 inches
The bottom hem curve was eliminated
The center front neck edge was changed
Front opening was eliminated
From the center front line, 1-1/8 inches were added for the pleat. 

I was not sure I needed to do the pleat, but I did not want a form fit and I wanted movement and I needed some sort of interest for the front. 

The vintage lace is  11-1/4 inches wide. This is important: The lace has got to hit on the widest part of the hip, a little lower below the hip or right under the bust. Anywhere between those two places and you look like you are stuffed. It is not an attractive look. 

I experimented with the lace and where it should fall and was just amazed at how unattractive it could look if it was any higher than you see it in the picture. Note the Pinterest picture and were the lace begins and you will see that same hip placement.

The bottom of the lace is longer than the hem. This was so that the bottom of the garment has curves. Due to the weight of the lace, it wanted to sag. So that it does not sag, it is tacked into place where the larger filled in designs are and where ever there was a cross section on the lace. A bit of work, but worth it

I tried different things for the front of the top trying to get the look of the inspirational piece, but nothing worked for me except for the pleat and some wonderful vintage glass buttons. I found  5 of them at a flea market a couple weeks ago.
The buttons are heavy and without the pleat and the extra fabric to hold onto it may have caused the front center to sag.

Oh and one last change, since I changed the front opening I needed a way to get the top over my head. A placket was put in  on the back. I was also able to use that 5th button.
I still love that inspirational piece and I bet I make another rendition of it again once everything comes out of storage patterns included. I have some great lace pieces I could use, but in the mean time I have a new top which pictures are not doing justice and looks really good on me. Just in time for summer!