Finished Objects: Explorations in Scallops and Stripes

Yep, hubris got in the way.  The top of the skirt doesn’t sit at my waist (where I usually wear them), but down around my hipbones.  Since this is a summery casual skirt, I don’t really care.  Not enough to screw around with the pockets at the side seams, not even enough to take out the zipper.

Once a student said to me something like “well, back in the old days people didn’t wear a whole lot of color, all greys and blacks mostly.”  I don’t think that’s true, but I think it’s easy to forget that brilliant colors existed before Technocolor.  Casually thumbing any old women’s magazine demonstrates that.  They often use adjectives such as “eye-blinding” or “violent” to describe color (May 1945).  I often wonder how much black and white photography colors ahem our ideas of how people dressed “back in the old days,” even in subtle ways.

I call the shirt Elsa, after the inspiration from Casablanca.  In the summer, I often reach for my husband’s shirts for comfort.  We’re much the same size, with different contours.   My clothes are often more fitted, while his are looser.  While pondering how best to approach this boldly-striped cotton doubleknit, I realized I could use his t-shirt pattern for myself.  Easy.  I nipped in the waist a little, and shaped the hem for kicks.

These aren’t work clothes exactly, neither are they grungy house-clothes.   I’d call this my meeting-up-with-a-girlfriend-and-Lila-in-Chinatown-for-lunch-at-King’s-Diner outfit.  The length and waistline feel a little funny, but I’ll get used to it. (That reminds me, I should write a review of King’s Diner.  Yum.)

I did wear the top to work today, though I don’t think it will go into the regular work rotation.

Thanks for all your kind words when I was sick, I’m feeling better now.

Next in the pipeline- A micro-houndstooth shirt any 50’s housewife would envy…


  1. You look cute and summery! And I love the shaping you gave the T-shirt at sides and hem. Glad you're feeling better, and enjoy your spring! :)

  2. Very nice! I think you're right about the monochrome photo's thing, people are so used to seeing these images, that's what they think everyone looked like before "colours" were invented!!! X

  3. That sort of misconception must be similar to how people assume that for a true retro look you can only have red lips and nails, where magazine ads of the time show the colour range was so much wider!BTW I really admire your sewing skills, the scalloped hem skirt is so fabulous!

  4. Yes- like blue fingernails in some 30's ads I've seen. There's definitely certain "modern vintage" looks… Rockabilly, "mid-century modern," etc. I see all kinds of stuff branded "vintage" when really it's just done in faded colors… Like Shabby Chic re-branded. But at the end of the day, it's all good. :)

  5. Aw, I love the black and white version of your picture. :) The skirt turned out really cute, although it's sort of a strange length, eh? Or maybe it's the camera angle. I love the summery blue colour. It seems so strange that you're just entering summer, when we're getting cold. The internet is such a cool place, when you can easily communicate with people all over the world. Winters has announced that it's coming today, and I think we're supposed to get frost this week. It was >30C here last week. Oh Manitoba, I love you and your wacky weather.

  6. Hilariously, when I showed up to work wearing the above black and white ensemble, I was dressed almost identically to my boss. We were both wearing "new" outfits, there's no accounting for the universe sometimes. Several people commented on our twin looks, though there were slight stylistic and generational differences.

  7. Considering that aniline dyes came out in the mid 1800's, and some of them could be in quite eye-shocking colors, black and white and dark colors were not all our ancestors dressed in! Queen Victoria has a great deal to answer for in her influence on the style of color we see most reresented in photos. But if you look at at the old Greek and Roman stuff it was in some pretty bright colors at times, and they even painted their "classic" statuary in colors that would seem garish to modern eyes.

  8. Pingback: White and Cream Must Never Be Seen? « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  9. Pingback: Design Inspiration: Vintage Casual Wear « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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