Thursday, 30 January 2014

Historical Sewing Fortnight challenge 2 innovations and the wonders of Schiaparelli

Morning World

ok I was a little worried about this post or rather this challenge: 'Innovations'. Yes there are a number of ideas available on the facebook page, ie zips, rayon, girls in trousers. But I wanted something to do with millinery as I intend to make as much of this challenge hat based as possible. If my aim is to be a fully viable milliner by the end of the year I think it's a must. So on to google I went and I typed in 1930s, Millinery, Innovations and designer.  The 30s bit because the I didn't want to be too early in the history stakes, I wanted something that would be a possible wearable if not saleable item. I'm not saying the anything earlier is unsaleable just that I'm more looking at vintage reproduction which tends to be 30s, 40s and 50s.

Well first place in the list was and under 1930s on that page was the following;
Two of the most prominent and influential fashion designers of the 1930s were Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet. Elsa Schiaparelli showed her first collection in 1929 and was immediately hailed by the press as 'one of the rare innovators' of the day. With her exciting and inventive designs, Schiaparelli did not so much revolutionize fashion as shatter its foundations.

Ok I though Elsa Schiaparelli it is and I then went on to google about her hats, images of some are at the bottom of the post. Schiaparelli was a friend of Salvador Dalí, and they worked together on many items, one ot the most famous being the shoe shaped hat.

File:Elsa schiaparelli 1937.jpg
Ok nice but not what I can see anyone wearing today. One of the other things she did was known as a madcap. Basically a rectangle of material folded in half and sewn together on 2 sides to form a square, and then manipulate until she was happy and there was a hat. This idea proved really popular and a bit too easy to do at home, as before long ladies everywhere were at it and there is a story that on seeing one on a baby, Schiaparelli went back to her store and threw away her remaining stock. Below is a picture of her wearing one of her hats.

So I took a piece of green wool material and played:

and then sewed some of the folds into pleats to help them stay in place once wearing the hat.
And hand sewed some bit that were rolled down and not accessible with the sewing machine. And this is what I got: 


Not intentionally but I think I ended up with a 40s vibe, so that's the way I wore it.

And for the Challenge:

The Challenge:   2
Fabric: green 100% wool fabric, quite a heavy weight, the original were done with knitted fabric so may have been easier for manipulatable,  I may try again soon with a lighter fabric 
Pattern: none just a rectangle 22 inch by 10 inch
Year: 1930
Notions: thread and cotton bias tape for head band
How historically accurate is it? pretty good this one, I think, looking at hats of that era, may be not of Schiaparelli original but certainly of the many replicas done by housewives everywhere. I'd give myself 7/10

Hours to complete2 hours
First worn: 25th January 2014, to a 40s swing dance and with a hat pin and 1 grip it stayed on my head all night even with plenty of dancing, so I'd say that was a result.
Total cost: all bits I had in the sewing room anyway.

And just to finish I don't normally just copy text from elsewhere on the net but I just loved this from  wikipedia, especially number 10.

Shocking Life: The 12 Commandments for Women

In 1954 Elsa Schiaparelli published her autobiography "Shocking Life", which contains a list of 12 commandments (or guidelines) for women.

  1. Since most women do not know themselves, they should try to do so.
  2. A woman who buys an expensive dress and changes it, often with disastrous result, is extravagant and foolish.
  3. Most women (and men) are colour-blind. They should ask for suggestions.
  4. Remember, 20 percent of women have inferiority complexes, 70 percent have illusions.
  5. Ninety percent are afraid of being conspicuous, and of what people will say. So they buy a gray suit. They should dare to be different.
  6. Women should listen and ask for competent criticism and advice.
  7. They should choose their clothes alone or in the company of a man.
  8. They should never shop with another woman, who sometimes consciously, and often unconsciously, is apt to be jealous.
  9. She should buy little and only of the best or the cheapest.
  10. Never fit a dress to the body, but train the body to fit the dress.
  11. A woman should buy mostly in one place where she is known and respected, and not rush around trying every new fad.
  12. And she should pay her bills.
Schiaparelli evening hat, 1940


until next week.
love and hugs

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