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Jan 31, 2011

Yellow Tracing Paper, Bill Cunningham et al.


Friends, the excitement begins tomorrow, and if you're like me,  you're already quivering in anticipation of our Men's Shirt Sew-Along.  Might I suggest a long walk and/or a cold shower?

Today I'd like to share some additional flea market finds to keep your mind on other things.  First, do you know Bill Cunningham, the long-time NY Times photographer who rides through the city on a bicycle documenting fashion trends for his On the Street feature in the the Sunday Styles section?

Well yesterday I found a wonderful vintage copy of a book he published in the Seventies call Facades.  It's made up entirely of photographs documenting more than two hundred years of women's fashion modeled by celebrity photographer and (current) nonagenarian Editta Sherman, also known as the Duchess of Carnegie Hall.  For a period of many years, Bill collected antique and vintage clothing and accessories he found cheaply in second hand stores and the like (those were the days) and then Editta would model them for him in front of a building of similar vintage as the outfits.  It's a wonderful book, not least of of all because Editta is neither young, svelte, nor conventionally beautiful; just charismatic, playful, and gorgeous to look at.











 

Of course, I immediately thought of a more conventional beauty (Didn't you?) who can also be found strolling the streets in the fashions of yesteryear, albeit new interpretations of same.











Sub sole nihil novi est, right?  More pics from Facades here, and you know where to find Cathy (over in the MPB archives, on the right).

Readers, unable to resist the pull back to the Love American Style days, I also bought a few more of those $1 patterns:







A more serious purchase, in anticipation of tomorrow, was yellow tracing paper, a 50 yd. roll of which I picked up at the local art supply store for about $10.  I've used drafting paper to draft a few slopers, but I have never traced a pattern before -- do you believe it?



Well I've learned how.  While it takes a bit of time and focus, it is not hard.  Nearly all the vintage patterns I've used are one size only, so I might trace the pattern either to preserve it or to make adjustments to it.  But if you're starting with a multi-sized pattern (like nearly all contemporary patterns), tracing allows you to copy the pattern in one size while preserving all the others, should you ever want to make it in a different size.

This would have been very handy with my vintage Vogue toggle coat pattern, for example, which is quite rare.  It never occurred to me: I cut the Small and Small it shall ever remain.  I will be tracing my Negroni pattern.

So as you can see, I am already learning new things and the Sew-Along hasn't even started yet.

Which reminds me:  one minor caveat before we begin.

I was checking out our Flickr group yesterday and I detected the distinct aroma of locker room.  Friends, perhaps for the first time in Sew-Along history, a large number of our participants are men and the male-identified.  Therefore I must request that we all observe a few basic rules:

a) Ladies, please do not walk around in a state of undress; b) Gentleman, the same goes for you; c) No smoking and please refrain from wearing heavy perfume; bath splash is acceptable;  d) If you must exchange intimacies unrelated to men's shirts please take your comments to your own blogs and/or Flickr pages;  e) Always leave the toilet seat in the down position.   Signed, the Management.

Please get lots of fresh air and exercise today if possible and of course a good night's sleep is a must: We're going to need all our energy and mental focus in the days ahead.  You might even want to sleep alone for the next few weeks if you catch my drift.

See you all on the morrow, patterns and scissors in hand!

36 comments:

  1. I always trace my patterns. I don't buy fancy paper from the art store, I buy a big pack of tissue paper every year at christmas time. The kind meant for wrapping up shirts for presents.

    When I saw that you didn't trace your toggle coat pattern I about had a heart attack, I'm glad you are learning the error of you ways.

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  2. I'll parade around in my cotton guaze cleopatra costume anyway. Undress indeed.. Do you know how hot it is here? Ridiculous hot, that's what.

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  3. (Already testing my limits...)

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  4. What kind/where do you get your tracing paper.
    I asked the ladies at Hancocks and they had NO idea what I was talking about. Despite explaining that I had a Japanese book full of patterns and I just needed to TRACE THEM.

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  5. Art supply stores carry it, Loren. Try googling "yellow tracing paper."

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  6. Thanks so much for telling about the book with Editta Sherman! Believe it or not, I recognized her from when I was on a visit to NYC as a teenager. I remember seeing this middle-aged lady
    on the streets of Manhattan wearing this terrific vintage outfit, and never forgot her. Now I know who she is, that there's a book about her, and that she's still alive...that is great! Tracing patterns is a very handy idea; @Loren, when I have done so, it's been with butcher paper, and brown wrapping paper for parcels works, too.

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  7. Editta looks like she is having so much fun! Is Cathy going to be out of the pen by this summer? She might be needing a new dress. After all the men's shirts maybe you'll feel like sewing something completely different.

    I cut out my shirtdress yesterday. No, you can't complain --it's not a man's shirt. I haven't touched the man's shirt stuff sitting on my table. I was having trouble this morning with the collar layers slipping, so I tried the walking foot on it as you had mentioned using yours on a shirt in a previous post. Worked perfectly! I never think to use that thing on cotton clothes sewing but I will now.

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  8. I don't trace any current Big 3/4 patterns anymore. I used to trace religiously, but I decided I value my time more than the pattern. This will probably bite me in the butt today, as we're having a first fitting for the Ren Faire costume muslin and I cut the Simplicity pattern and crunched up the other size lines that I cut away and tossed them.

    For truly valuable vintage patterns, of which I have none, I would probably trace those.

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  9. Another great thing about tracing multi-sized pattern is that sometimes one may need a "size 14" shoulder, a "size 12" waist, and maybe a "size 16" length. :) I do this so often w/ my Jalie patterns (which are meant to be traced). My uppers sleeve needs to be a size larger than the rest b/c I'm a jock, I mean, athlete, and have big arms compared to the rest of my measurements. Oddly, my shoulders are still narrow, so I can't go up a size everywhere. I have to trace a larger size length in the bodice, and a larger size in the upper sleeve. On a pattern for woven I have to also trace a larger armscye. On knit fabric it's a non-issue.
    So, there's ONE MORE reason to trace, if you needed one.
    I always use Swedish Tracing Paper, but if I'm out I'll use the Pattern Ease/Easy Pattern from JoAnn. The clerks never know what this is, but it's a lot like traditional interfacing and is sold by the yard with the interfacing. Just read the end of the bolt. It's translucent so you can just place it OVER your pattern and trace w/ a sharpie, and it's baste-able.

    That book looks fascinating, Peter, I'm going to go check out more of the pics.

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  10. Jacki, do you make a muslin first and THEN transfer the changes back to the traced pattern, or do you know from the get-go that you're 12 waist, 16 length, etc.?

    I'm wondering how best to minimize steps when changes to the pattern must be made.

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  11. If you live in the sticks or on a tight budget instead of tracing paper use waxed paper - a suggestion from an elderly sewing friend.

    May I also suggest that for the safety of small pets & children the lid always be closed when not in use - prevent a drowning & a totally gender neutral arrangement.

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  12. I use kitchen greaseproof paper (= waxed paper in American?) and I ALWAYS trace my patterns, as I have to do alterations of the kind that involve putting quite a bit of stuff in (e.g. added length, bust room), not taking stuff out.

    There's also the chance that I'll want to use the pattern again in a different size, and I don't like the thought of having to buy things twice.

    But just as it's clearly never occured to you to trace, it's never occured to me *not* to trace!

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  13. Sub sole nihil novi est, indeed. Gotta love a blog that makes jokes in Latin. (Have you seen Coldplay's "christmas lights" video with the marquee that reads: "Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere"? hilarious.)

    Greaseproof paper = waxed paper. But I use the cheap pattern-ease from JoAnn's, and trace any pattern that I can't adjust on the fly by adding a bit to the center front, or side seams, or shortening sleeves and pants legs.

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  14. With Jalie patterns I *know* what I need to change, (from experience...lol) so I just skip the muslin. If I do one, I'll trace the size I think it needs to be,(according to pattern size charts) do a muslin, then make my alterations on the traced pattern. Because the Swedish tracing paper is so flexible and baste-able, I really can do a lot of fitting on it(with no ripping). Thank goodness for my dressform!

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  15. Human proportions on a sewing pattern can be very strange. Looking the the Simplicty 9727, I couldn't help think that any real human being with such long legs compared to her head and torso would be a freak of nature. I am also amused by pattern drawings in which the neck and waist sizes are the same.

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  16. I brought my yellow tracing paper in my suitcase along with a bolt of muslin (I was literally ounces away from the suitcase weight limit!). I am ready!!!! YAAAAYYYY!!!

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  17. waiting for the pattern, got the fabric, no idea about the muslim, using cooking paper to trace (yep, no yellow paper here in guyana), thank you for reminding everyone for the position of the toilet (fighting my sons about that !!!!) Otherwise : caaaaaaaaaannnnnn't wait to start !!!!!!

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  18. When is Cathy going to observe the no smoking rule? Is there not a pipe in your avatar photo?

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  19. My mother taught me to always trace patterns because "YOU NEVER KNOW, maybe you will want to make another version of it and by then you will be fatter and need another size". (thanks for the confidence, mum)
    I wish I could find a paper roll like (and cheap too) here in Italy...

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  20. I am so ready for the sew-along to begin!
    I like those $1 Simplicity patterns you got, and that book is awesome, too.

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  21. By tracing I'm guessing that you outline the pattern when it is underneath the paper?

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  22. Loved the video clip! Thanks for posting it. I've become a huge fan of the Swedish tracing paper. It's super durable and alterations are easily made by either folding it to make things smaller or slashing it and taping on some scraps to make it bigger. Oh, thanks for the "code of conduct". I promise to go easy on the Hai Karate if the ladies restrain themselves with the Jean Nate.

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  23. I'm with Steph, it's hot here and I sew in my underwear. Will cut my muslin tonight!!

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  24. Duane, just to be clear: Jean Nate bath splash IS permissible. Hai Karate, an aftershave, is not. It MIGHT be allowed in solid deodorant form, however, provided there are no complaints.

    Sofi, yes, I trace by placing the tracing paper on top of the pattern (and securing it with weights)and copying, with the help of a French curve, ruler, and magic marker, the pattern size I want.

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  25. Had to do a search on Swedish tracing paper... funny, that's what I'm using!

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  26. I'm a tracer (Burda paper - I'm happy for those suggestions for cheaper options), on the advice of the first sewing book i read. I don't enjoy it, but we don't have those 99cent pattern sales in Canada that I read about on the American blogs. I'm also losing weight, and tracing means I don't have to buy the pattern again when I go down a size.

    and I am *ready* and super excited for the sew-along. took muh sweetie to the fabric store yesterday and now got *three* shirt fabrics to work with!

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  27. I'm a sometimes tracer. I used to do it more often than I do now. On vintage multi-sized patterns, I trace. And I will be tracing on the Jalie patterns I'm getting in the next little while--none of the 32 sizes will go to waste; I fully intend to get my $15 worth out of those patterns. On modern big 4, not so much. Frankly, it costs more for me to buy tracing supplies than it costs to buy a new pattern... at least, the way I buy patterns. I have a running list of patterns big 4 I want, and when they go on sale for $1 each at Joanns, I'm there and I stock up. At a dollar a pattern, it would cost me more most of the time to buy the tracing paper and pencils and it's less effort. I'm a lazy sewist!

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  28. Oh yes! One more request--I, too, wish to have the lid as well as the seat down to prevent small children *looks pointedly at Evie* from deciding that toilet water is perfectly acceptable water for bath toys, like rubber duckie, to take swims in.

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  29. Ooh, ooh, two Latin scholars, Peter and Jan? This is totally off-shirt-topic but I am wanting an accurate translation of our family food motto, "fruit is always an option". Anyone, anyone? Pretty please?
    Meantime, I'm glad the USA is in a later time-zone, since it's already Feb 1st here, but I have a few details to finish on a dress I started in order to prevent myself from premature Negroni-ing. Have been getting in some good edge-stitching practice :-)

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  30. I bought the cheapest no adhesive interfacing I could find at 50 cents a yard. Should be sturdy enough for several uses and won't tear like tissue.
    Just started mandatory 56 hr weeks for a few so I will be one of the slow ones, but I will work along and I will finish!

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  31. I usually use greaseproof paper to trace patterns - not ideal, but it gets the job done! I only do this for scaled patterns, or patterns that I use constantly and begin to fall apart.

    For paper patterns, I cut the largest size out and then fold the paper over to my size. I'm far too lazy to trace everything :)

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  32. I still trace if its Jalie...just traced off 12 sizes for 55 dance costumes.

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  33. Jane, I'm no Latin scholar (studied it briefly on my own), and this may be a rough translation, but try: fructus est usquequaque an bene.

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  34. Thanks Jan! I think that's more-or-less what an online translator gadget said too, but I wanted an opinion from an actual human :-) Thought I might embroider it up and frame it or something. Altho' usquequaque would be a heck of a word to embroider.

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