Finished Object: Jean Ross Pants

K.Hep pants sit close to nudity in terms of comfort, at least in my book.  I made these from Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing pattern, but my heart was with Jean Ross of Weimar Berlin:

I’m one step closer.   I wish I could slip a note in her hand letting her know that in 80 years another unsmiling brunette would find her photo and take inspiration.  I can’t easily remove the demon eyes, and don’t have the time to invest figuring out how.  So I’m possessed…

Pockets courtesy of Oliver + S Ice Cream dress.

The pants came out too big because I over-compensated for my fat holiday ahem in the alterations.  I’m not bothered and suspect that only the most critical eye would trip over my wrinkles.

I used an over sized loop and a leather covered shank button at the side.  With limited free time, I could sew like a mad thing or take excessively detailed photos.  Sometimes the photos win, but not this week.

Unbleached organic cotton, one of my favorite fabrics to work with.  It becomes soft and buttery, almost velvety with repeated wash and wear.  If I had to choose just one bottom weight to wear the rest of my life, I’d choose this.

My alterations:

I shaved off a little wedge in the CB waistband seam, added a little to the high hip at the side (for my muffin tops) and scooped out the bottom of the crotch curve.   I knew I was trying a scatter gun approach; it worked well enough.  The pants are comfy with no visible camel toe.  In the future, I might straighten the side seams and re-draw the grainline.  I’m indebted to SewistaFashionista and Sherry for your advice– it worked, I have wearable pants!

I must press on with my work wardrobe project (girdle jeans tomorrow from Burda 08-2009-106), but I’m already planning the Jean Ross top and knitted beret.  I finished the Smooth Sailing Blouse today, in a double gauze.  She’ll appear directly.

(Photos of these pants taken on a chair, though not necessarily as elegantly as others…)

Gender-Bending in the Weimar

Many thanks to Denise of Blue Gardenia for featuring my sewing space in her continuing series.  Run over and check her out if you haven’t already.

I spent the weekend dreaming and sketching and searching for inspiration.  The Real Cabaret was low on my iView list, but eventually I clicked on it.  What a treat.   I knew Cabaret as some musical with Liza Minelli, but confess complete ignorance of the substance of the movie.

It’s based on Goodbye Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.  As a young homosexual Englishman in the 30’s, he moved to Berlin.  At the time, Berlin experienced an unprecedented level of sexual and political freedom.  One way Berliners expressed this freedom was through the cabaret- not a simple titillating floor show, but also a medium for playing with music and sound, as well as challenging the rising Nazi government and social conventions.  Women in particular experienced a level of freedom and equality not seen again until the Sexual Revolution.

Jean Ross, a writer of considerable wit and the basis for Sally Bowles, the main character in Cabaret.  I like her outfit here- plain and severe, yet flowing and undoubtedly comfortable.  I bet I could knock off a little shirt like that.  Patch pockets on the front of her trousers.  Ballet flats, sarcasm and smooth dark hair?  I got that.

The documentary inspired some digging on my part, which turned up two new-to-me artists, Christian Schad:

And Otto Dix:

This is the not-so-mainstream late 20’s and 30’s.  You won’t find any of these ladies on a Simplicity pattern envelope.   I especially like the girl in a man’s suit, and the sexually potent older woman portrayed as simply beautiful, rather than predatory.

At the same time, they are completely accessible and offer me a great deal of style inspiration- how to wear that fabric flower, makeup inspiration, etc.  I look forward to mining Weimar Germany and finding out how women dressed.

Ruth Jacobi.

Edited to add:

Anita Berber, thoroughly unconventional, pioneer of tuxedos for women, used her body and her sexuality as a form of protest.

What elements of Weimar-chic strike your fancy?

Thanks to everyone who expressed encouragement and concern after my quilting post.  I feel much, much more at peace now.