Monday, December 27, 2010

Definition of a Skirt

 What is a Skirt?

According to Webster’s Dictionary:

Definition of SKIRT

a (1) : a free-hanging part of an outer garment or undergarment extending from the waist down (2) : a separate free-hanging outer garment or undergarment usually worn by women and girls covering some or all of the body from the waist down b : either of two usually leather flaps on a saddle covering the bars on which the stirrups are hung c : a cloth facing that hangs from the bottom edge or across the front of a piece of furniture d : the lower branches of a tree when near the ground

There are three major silhouettes where skirts are concerned.  But those silhouettes can be achieved through various design and construction methods.

Flared:  Narrower at the hip than at the hemline.
A-Line; Fitted at the hip and gradually widens towards the hem, giving the impression of the shape of a capital letter A.
Godets; Flared triangular sections inserted into garments.
Gored; Vertical strips of fabric that are narrow at the top and wide at the bottom.
Paneled; Strips of fabric the same size at top and bottom.
Tiered; Horizontal strips of fabric gathered and sewn together to form a skirt wider at the hem.
Yoked:  A form fitting yoke across the hip with a fuller skirt attached.  Can be pleated, gathered, paneled or gored.

Full:  Flares from the waist to the hem. 
Circle; Forms a complete circle when laid out on a flat surface.
Dirndl; A full gathered skirt.  It has a narrower line and smaller sweep than the Bouffant.
Bouffant; Tightly gathered at the waist and flares fully at the waist and is very full at the hemline.  This term was only used for a couple of years and refers to the extreme sweeps on some hemlines.
Bubble; Gathered at the waist and hemline to create a Bubble
Bell; Forms a Bell shape at the Hip and is usually a bit narrower at the hemline
Harem; A Bubble skirt that is attached to a narrow band of fabric at the hemline

Straight:  Forms a straight line from the hip to the Hem.
Pencil; Very Narrow Straight Skirt
Wiggle; Narrower at the knee than at the Hip.  The Wiggle skirt is like the Unicorn.  It exists only in people’s imagination.  Some illustrations appear to be a wiggle skirt but if it has a kick pleat or the hem circumference is as wide or wider than the hip line it is not what is considered a Wiggle Skirt. 
Flounced; Straight skirt with wide ruffle, pleats or other treatment at the hem.

Pleats; Fabric is folded and stitched in place.  Pleats can be stitched only at the top or part way down the entire skirt. There are several types of pleats.

Box: Two folds turned away from each other with underfolds meeting in the middle.
Inverted:  Box pleats in reverse with the folds turned toward each other and meeting at the top.
Knife:  Folded over one time so that all folds face in the same direction.
Accordion or Crystal:  Pressed along the entire length with folds resembling the bellows of an accordion.  These pleats are usually done by a commercial pleater. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Icon of the 1960's Dog Ear Collar

One of the icon's of the late 60's and early 70's was the exaggerated Dog Ear Collar.   This sweet dress pattern has everything a girl could want from the era.  It's a mini dress, it has a low scoop neckline, long bell sleeves, princess seams, flirty flare skirt and a choice of 2 collars.  The long pointed collar attached to a neck band give the dress a peek-a-boo effect. Of course the huge dog ears are my personal favorite, but if I were making this adorable dress to wear, I would choose the view not shown.  I would give it the scoop neck and have the dog ears attached to the neck band for a peek-a-boo dog ear look.  But any way you make it, this pattern is a definite WINNER!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Vintage versus Vintage Style

I received the following email this morning: 

Below is a copy of my receipt and the recipent just advised me that the wrong size was shipped. Please advise the best way to exchange the pattern for a size 4 and not the size 12 that was shipped."

When I informed her that a size 4 did not exist in 1962 for sewing patterns and that the bust, waist and hip measurements given on the envelope was what you needed to utilize when buying vintage sewing patterns, she responded:

"Thank you, the recipient & I were not aware of that."

This communication, triggered me to re-post this very valuable bit of information.

Most people who sew know that a manufactured dress size and a dress pattern size have nothing in common.  This guide is purely for fun and to show the changes in standard sizing for dress patterns through the years.  It has nothing to do with the little tag on a dress in the department store. Sizes weren't routinely listed on all patterns until around 1940.  Prior to WWII the sizing was strictly related to the bust measurement. Here is a brief look at the changes in a  Size 12  from 1930-2000

  1930- Bust 30  Waist 25   Hip

1940- Bust 30  Waist 25   Hip 33     

1955- Bust 30 Waist 24 Hip 33 

1960-Bust 32 Waist 25 Hip 34 

1970-Bust 34  Waist 25.5  Hip 36 

1975-2000 Bust 34 Waist 26.5  Hip 36

So, as you can see there is quite a difference in the fit, silhouette, and sizing of vintage patterns throughout the past 60 years.
Most Pattern sellers will list the Bust Size in the title of the listing so you can browse at your leisure instead of plowing through multiple listing only to find the pattern won't fit.  An experienced and talented person who sews can always moderate and alter a pattern up or down, but it's nice to know what you are getting from the beginning.

And to add a new addendum for those just entering the world of true Vintage and not Vintage Style.  True vintage sewing patterns are not easily found and can't be produced with the click of a finger.  They are no longer manufactured, and those offered for sale are found in various places in various conditions and they are old.  They weren't printed last week or even last year. Your seller has found them in an Estate Sale or some other type of situation and they have taken the time to check the pieces and make sure the pattern is complete and if it has been used lovingly or abused terribly.  So please read the descriptions and make your purchasing decisions based on your own personal needs and the information (or in some case, lack of information) given.  And never hesitate to ask questions if you are in doubt.

My sincerest wish is for each and everyone of you to have a Joyous Holiday for whatever occasion you celebrate this season.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ever Wish you had known the original owner?

I do.  Often I fantasize about the life they lived in the wonderful clothes they left behind.  This was one fiesty lady in the 50's.  She loved her circle skirts and kept them all.  And I'm so glad she did.  Now I can pass them on to another generation who will love them too.

 This is possibly my favorite.  It is hand painted by Carmona and shows the premier Bullfighter of the 1940's and 1950's,   Miguel Baez Litri

This one is unsigned, but is exquisitely done and shows the Sunset Skyline of Mexico City.

Beautiful Black on Ecru Aztec print is embellished with silver clad sequins.  Scrumptious.

A Mariachi Band borders the hemline of this tie waist circle skirt.  Then it is banded with colorful musical instruments, exotic flowers and Fiesta Jugs.

This one is not Mexican but is homemade with the sweetest and most fantastical mythical beasties prancing all over it.

All are or will be listed soon on cemetarian on eBay.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skants Revisited!!! or Everything Old is New Again.

Remember back in January of 09.........this post....about this pattern for wrap around pant skirt called "Skants"?

well guess what?  Skants are back in a newer and I think more user friendly version.  These are sized more appropriately and come with the pattern for 2 stretch knit tops, shoes, hat and bag.  If you are planning a winter cruise..........this is the complete wardrobe for your trip.

This and many more casual and beach wear patterns in both vintage and more contemporary styles can all be found at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mad Men Fashion Predictions for Next Season

 It might be difficult to predict what the characters will do in Mad Men Season 5 (1965), but it's not difficult to predict what the characters will wear. 

These smashing fashions are all created from crochet and knitting patterns in the Spring of 1965. 

All patterns are available at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The time has come, the Walrus said, To talk of many things:

 Of Tweed .... and Mink ....  and Jackie O
of Mad Men .... Dior and Things

Of Lacy Baby Christening Gowns .....

And remember Cowboy Kings?

All are coming soon to cemetarian on eBay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Knitting and Crochet PDF Patterns Now ONLY on the website.

From the 20's to the 80's...........fabulous knitting and crochet patterns in PDF format......if you are still looking on Etsy for them, stop right there.  I have moved them all to my website.

Browse the Knitting Categories for Knitting patterns in both hard cover and PDF format and the Crochet Categories for Crochet patterns.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Every Man Needs a Sock Wardrobe and Maybe a Matching Tie 1950s Style

If your man dresses vintage and you want him to be authentic, then these fabulous 1950s Knitting patterns are the thing for you.  I am in the process of putting together several 1950s knitting patterns for men, women and children's socks and booties.  With a few ties and scarves thrown in.  So be watching the website for these in PDF format..........

How Silhouettes Change in 15 years 1950 to 1964

It doesn't matter if it's patterns, advertisements or actual clothing, when you are working with a large lot of fashion over a period of years, you learn to date certain silhouettes at a glance.

In listing these 4 patterns today, I realized that the finer points of the changes aren't just in the price, logo placement and art work, but in the width and length of the skirt and undergarments, placement of the waist and emphasis or lack of such, on the bust line.

This lovely 1950 party dress is strapless and fitted, but has emphasis on the hips with the peplum. The skirt is full but lays gracefully instead of being puffed up with petticoats. Skirt length is mid calf.

By 1955 the emphasis is on an Hour glass figure with a dropped waist (this style is often called a Long Torso), and very full skirt held out by layers and layers of petticoats. The skirt length drops to 3/4 of the way below the knee almost to the ankle.

In 1961 choose slim or full skirt under a fitted midriff with major emphasis on the bustline. Puffy skirt stars at the waist and is once again held out by layers of petticoats but the puff starts at the waistline, not below. Skirts are shorter but still well below the knee.

1964 brigs us slim but not the form fitting sheath of the 50's. This styling is softer and less structured and emphasizes the bust without being obvious. The waspish waist is gone and slim hips prevail. The skirt is still below the knee but higher than the past 15 years.

All of these and many many more can be found at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkins Weren't Always Just for Halloween

Before Cell Phones (or even telephones), Postcard/Greeting Cards were once the main way of letting distant friends and relatives know you were thinking about them. And some icons, we accept as tradition today, weren't always what we think they were.

For instance; ever hear of the Halloween Cabbages? Well in 1910, this card was sent to a friend or maybe a sweetheart. Kinda has a Valentine ring to it, doesn't it?

And we traditionally think of Jack-O-Lanterns as lighting the porch on Halloween for Trick or Treater's, but in 1908..........these children were hiding behind the pumpkin to watch the Turkey.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Does This Make my Backside Look Big?

Body image and perception is and has been major factor in fashion for centuries. Emphasis on particular body parts change as often as the weather.

Today we'll take a brief walk through a 30 year span where body styles made some drastic changes.

In the 1930's the emphasis was on softness..........soft bodies, and soft fabrics. Non structure is seen in not only the fashions but in the beautiful models who showed the fashions. The Bust to Waist ratio was minimal and the overall look was feminine and rounded.

The 1940s was more structured and tailored. Still very little emphasis on Bust to Waist. The lines were crisper and not as soft. As women entered the workplace in the absence of men during the war, heavier materials and a more masculine flair was introduced with broader shoulders and narrower hips.

The 1950s brought a new femininity back to fashion. As women went back into the home and women's interests, the whole silhouette changed again. Now the fashion directive was on tiny waists with form fitting sweaters and huge circle skirts that emphasized the Hour Glass Figure.

The 60s started with the same Hour Glass body image, but soon morphed into a more casual feel as women worked both in the home and outside the home. We demanded comfort as well as fashion. Pants were more accepted in casual settings than they had been previously. But close fitting pants demanded longer tops to cover them (for modesty's sake).

This brings me to today's title.............I love this sweater and would wear it in a New York Minute (as a matter of fact I did wear one comparable in 1963)...........but I can't help wondering what the photographer and the company was thinking when they did this shoot.

All I can think of is today's classic question.

Does this make my butt look big?

These fabulous crochet and knitting patterns can be found at both cemetarian on Etsy and

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Julia Sugarbaker Rides Again!

It can happen to the best of us. That embarrassing moment (with the emphasis on bare and ass).

It happened to Julia in this Episode "Julia's Fashion Model Debut"

And then it happened with my Manikin (whom I think I'll rename Julia). I didn't notice it until I was processing the photos to upload. I think I'll leave it this way, cause it brings a bit of reality to an otherwise Fantasy occupation.

Watch cemetarian at eBay for this beauty. It'll be listed in a few days.