Thursday, July 17, 2008
Selecting Fabric for Vintage Patterns
It can be a real chore to make the leap from a vintage pattern to fabric selection. This is especially difficult when your fabric resources are limited. Each era has several silhouettes and fabric type that dominate its range of style. If you can identify what type of fabric will be best for your vintage style, that can help you get started.
This 1940's ensemble consists of a little jacket, skirt and faux blouse (it's a dickey). This could mean as little as one fabric, or as many as three are possible when using this pattern. If a print is considered, then the remaining textiles will probably be solids.
Determining the hand or drape of fabric is the next step in finding the best textile for a vintage pattern. It is apparent that the outfits shown here have a soft drape that flows over the figure. Even though the skirt has pleats, the final result is soft and fluid. If a genuine period garment can be found, the fabric used for it may give a clue as to what will work best. In this case, rayon and acetate crepes, broadcloths, and other smooth fabrics can be seen in dresses from this era. Aviod crisp cottons and other textiles that resist draping. There is nothing quite like using actual fabrics from the original time period. For this project, a drapey rayon or acetate would be desired. Also note the type of print common during that time: quaint and detailed, or bold and dashing (this is the era when Hawaiian florals began).
Finding the right fabric to create your pattern will move the project along. The two examples shown here are original and will drape on the fashion garment. Both date from the period, so the finished outfit will appear to be genuine vintage. Either print would be paired with a solid. A contemporary textile might be found in a rayon blend. If 1940's fabrics are not available, look to the next era with rayon (the 1980's) when many prints copied earlier designs from the 1930's and 40's.
(Vintage pattern and textiles are available at our BabylonMall shop)