Readers, having recently put the finishing touches on my 1944 misses' jumper -- which evidently stirs up unpleasant young Jane Eyre at Lowood charity school-type memories for a number of you -- I am now ready to get started on the most challenging and exciting of my three 1944 garments, the vintage Butterick topper.
As you may or may not know already, a topper is a woman's short, lightweight coat. This is a tailored garment, and there will be a good deal of hand sewing involved, horsehair interfacing, twill tape, etc. The coat has welt pockets, but because they are located on a seam, there's none of that complicated pulling one layer through another.
There are also -- saints be praised -- no buttons, which means no bound buttonholes. So I'm approaching this as sort of a practice tailoring exercise: just enough to be challenging, but not so much as to be discouraging.
You may recall that this is a refashioning project. My fabric is a vintage wool blanket purchased at the Chelsea flea market. I wouldn't be surprised if the blanket dated back to the 1940's itself.
While the seller claims to have had the blanket dry cleaned, it retains a -- how shall I put this? -- distinct aroma of basement, with some damp attic top notes; halfway between a moldy Featherweight carrying case and a washing machine full of old cardigans. I think the damp weather may be contributing as well. It wasn't apparent when I purchased it, but steaming seems to have restored its original smell. I am hoping this will dissipate over time.
Butterick 2969 is an unprinted pattern and, right out of the envelope, the pieces resembled those wadded-up Kleenex one occasionally finds at the bottom of pants pockets after doing the laundry. Thankfully, with a little careful dry ironing, I was able to bring the pattern back to life.
I needed to bring the blanket back to life as well. It measures 66" x 82" and is not without its cosmetic flaws, which I proceeded to outline in white chalk so I could cut around them. Nothing major -- just some small tears, areas of excessive wear, light stains and discoloration.
For topstitching, I'll be using beige cotton thread, which adds some much-needed freshness to the look of the fabric. The wool is relatively easy to work with so far, though quite thick.
Friends, I had planned today to post a few similar vintage Forties women's coat patterns available on Etsy, and there are quite a few, like this one:
But as I was looking through coat patterns, I noticed a very odd trend. I have decided to let you identify just what this trend is, in the form of a quiz.
1) What is
2) What do these patterns suggest about a) fashion trends, b) home sewing, c) pattern companies, d) anything else you can think of?
Readers, I must start my day. I hope you will take a moment to respond to today's quiz, as well as to share your best time-tested methods of removing dank smells from old wool. You've been so helpful in the past with my old luggage (now sold, thankfully) and Featherweight case!
Have a sweet-scented day, everybody!