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Examiner in Dressmaking, Tailoring, French Pattern Modelling, Plain Needlework and Millinery, of the Teachers in Training at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff, the London Technical Examination Centre, etc. Author of' "Up-to-Date Dresscutting and Drafting," also "The Practical Work of Dressmaking and Tailoring."
The Remodelling of an Old-fashioned Silk Dress Into an "Up-to-Date" and Useful Garment
An old-fashioned, good silk dress, which may have been packed away for some considerable time as useless, may be turned to good account by being transformed into a Princess slip, and draped with voile, ninon, or some other light, transparent material for evening wear; or converted into a Princess petticoat. This style adapts itself well to the prevailing desire for a slim effect in dress, and is not one which will be easily dated, as it is almost always in fashion, and likely to remain a general favourite.
The diagrams and instructions given in this article should enable the home worker to turn an otherwise useless possession into a serviceable article of attire.
She should first draft and cut out a pattern in paper for the different pieces for the Princess slip, using her bodice pattern for drafting the upper part, and as a guide for the waist and hips measure.
The accompanying diagrams are drawn for a skirt 24 inches in length, to which a flounce 12 inches in depth is to be added; but the length of the skirt and the depth of the flounce can be regulated by the height of the wearer and the length she wishes to make the garment.
Diagram 1 shows half the front width, with the bodice pinned to the paper and drafted ready for cutting, either with a high or low neck.
The completed Princess slip ready for veiling with voile, ninon, or other light material
The side of the front piece must next be drafted and cut out, either high or low at the neck, as shown in Diagram 2.
The " side piece" (Diagram 3) would be cut the same, whether for a high or a low-neck, as the top of it reaches only to the armhole.
The ' side body-piece " (Diagram 4) is also shown drafted for either a high or low neck.
Diagram 5 gives the half-back, either high or low at the neck.
When the entire pattern has been cut out in paper, the silk or satin skirt unpicked, and the creases have been carefully pressed out, the widths of the silk must all be looked over, and the best and strongest pieces reserved for the bodice and skirt, the other pieces being put aside to be used for the flounce.
N.B. - If the silk is of a delicate shade, it is advisable to place a sheet of tissue paper between it and the iron; and it should, of course, be pressed on the wrong side, over a clean ironing blanket.
If the widths of silk are wide enough, they can be folded down the centre, the pieces of the pattern placed on the double silk, pinned, and cut out, allowing turnings of about half an inch all round on the back and " side body-pieces," and extra width on the front of the "side piece" and on the back of the " side of front," also at the shoulders, these being " fitting seams."
The "centre-front line " of the half-front pattern can be placed down the fold of the silk, to avoid a seam down the front; but if the silk is not wide enough to cut the front in one piece, a seam is unavoidable.
If the widths of silk are not wide enough to cut the pieces double, they must be cut singly. If the old dress is of satin, or if the silk has a right and wrong side to it, care must be taken to cut the pieces to " face," or they will be all for the same side.
The best way to avoid this mistake is to cut out one piece from each pattern, then to remove the pattern from each, and place each cut-out piece on the silk or satin - right sides facing - and cut the second piece.
When the seams of the garment have been tacked together, and it has been fitted and corrected, join them together by French seams. Place a false hem down each side of the back, to reach from 10 to 12 inches below the waistline - according to the figure
- for the placket hole, and sew on small hooks and loops to fasten it.
If buttons and buttonholes are preferred, a double hem must be placed down the right half of the back, and the buttonholes worked in that, so that they may not show.
Turn in the neck all round and "face" it with lute ribbon, or a strip of the silk or satin, cut on the cross and turned in on each side.
The former is perhaps the better way of the two, as it prevents all possibility of the neck stretching. After the armholes have been cut the correct size, turn them in all round and face them with a piece of the silk or satin, cut on the cross. It is better to use these crossway pieces than ribbon, as they
"give" when the arms are moved forward whereas the ribbon, being straight, does not do so, and if it is put on full, is apt to be clumsy.
Diagram 1. Half the front width with bodice pinned to the paper
Diagram 2. The side of front piece drafted and cut out
Diagram 3. The side piece, which reaches only to the armhole
Diagram 4. Side body piece as drafted from bodice pattern
Diagram 5. Half back drafted from bodice pattern
In diagrams 1, 2, 4, and 5, the high neck is indicated by crosses, the low neck by unbroken line
If the slip is made high at the neck, it is better to "face" it with a crossway strip.
The flounce can be made in various ways, either cut on the straight and kilted, or pleated on the cross and gathered, or cut on the round and put on plain. In the sketch the flounce is kilted; but, in reality, it must depend upon the amount of silk or satin left over for it.
For a kilted silk or satin flounce, three times the width of the bottom of the skirt will be required. For thin materials, five to seven times is necessary.
For a gathered flounce - cut on the cross - one and a half to twice the width of the skirt is required.
If the pieces of silk or satin left over are not sufficient to make a kilted flounce, and not large enough to cut crossway pieces (for a gathered flounce) the required depth (in this case 12 inches, plus hem and turnings), a narrower and less full flounce may be cut, and a small frill (also cut on the cross) put at the bottom to lengthen it.
If the pieces of the silk or satin will not cut any flounce, a piece can be joined on to each gore - before the seams are stitched together - to make the skirt the full length, and a flounce of lace put on. The joins can be made on the right side, and the lace can be sewn on to cover them.
If there is not sufficient depth in the added piece to turn up for a hem round the bottom, a "false hem" must be put on, either cut to shape or on the cross. The width of either hem must depend on the amount of material to spare A narrow "baby" ribbon can be run through the "facing" round the low neck of the slip to tie it in. To be continued.