Last week I discovered, and then became slightly obsessed with the blog Fashion on a Ration. Britain during World War Two is a sort of an interest of mine, particularly what the women of Britain were up to during those years. If you looked at the basket of books beside my bed, you might think I read only WAAF diaries and stories about the blitz. My grandmother, who was an endlessly fascinating woman and who passed away when I was a baby, was both a WAAF and a Londoner during the blitz and that's a big part of where the interest stems from, but in general, I'm absolutely fascinated by the era, the bravery and the way life carried on. So Fashion on a Ration, which tracked a year in the life of a London girl who decided to follow the clothing rationing system from the war, sewing and mending her way through the year, is right up my ally. It's got sewing, it's got history, it's got heaps of random bits of information that I fine interesting. (For example, did you know that the government had laws about how many buttons different kinds of garments could have? Can you imagine that now?)
With no pockets and just a simple placket where the waistband buttoned, all I needed to do was take out some of the fullness so that the waist was bigger. It sounds more complicated than it was, I promise.
The secret here was the pleats. There were LOTS of pleats in the original skirt. The fabric was stitched down the length of the skirt to form small folds, then pleated forwards and backwards. I took out the forwards and backwards pleats but left the stitched down the length ones and the size 0 skirt ended up being more than 100 inches around. That's a lot of skirt. To bring it back down to my size I pinned larger, single pleats all around. This took me two tries, the first time it was still way too big, the second it was still slightly big, but adjusting the waistband made it work.
Yesterday we bummed around the park most of the day and it was the perfect light weight, easy to wear skirt. Just what I needed. And now it's got me all excited to make over some more things. There was an interesting pair of seersucker mens pants on the rack that would make some cute pedal pushers. Wonder if they are still there...
What do you think? What's the best kind of thing to alter? Anyone ever make a woman's suit out of a man's? Tips?