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This project began with a partial bolt of beautiful navy wool I bought at Hillsville, Virginia’s grand flea. My idea was to make a tailored jacket, so I began a misses’ victorian jacket (butterick 5232) for my wardrobe, but I ended up making the whole ensemble for halloween.
I tried to identify the era the jacket references, and I came up with the photos above for shape and historical reference. Activists liked this look. Pictured are members of the the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), taken at Atlanta University (1900) by Thomas Askew of Atlanta.
This is a link to Thomas Askew’s photography collected by W.E.B Du Bois and presented at the Paris Exposition of 1900 as a part of a negro exhibit: http://humus.livejournal.com/3386026.html
My design for the blouse combined a bodice I patterned from my measurements and the sleeves of Simplicity 6034 (1983). Rene Bergh’s “Make Your Own Patterns” (2006) was a great guide for patterning the bodice. The collar is just a rectangle with pleats.
I know it’s novice, but pondering the design of that skirt left me bewildered. I spent an entire sunday drafting a dress pattern in an attempt to make the bell shaped silhouette and failed— it came out Cruella de Vil. The wise Senora Saveedra led me to the much simpler and more accurate circle skirt with a three dimensional model: a square paper napkin folded once corner to corner, then again corner to corner. Then, holding the small triangle by the double folded corner, she snipped it, creating the waist. Then she unfolded the bottom— a bell. Up until that moment I had not fully acknowledged the three dimensionality of pattern pieces.
Thanks to Fickle Sense for her simple and neat tutorial on partial circle skirts (http://www.ficklesense.com/2011/09/how-to-make-circle-skirt-full-34-12-14.html).
Thanks also to my neighbor, Kimberly, who gave me the piggy duck tape to shape the hat.
And thanks to my friend Alex Torres who took all the photos in Old Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
And thanks to Bernie Sanders for being a socialist and running for office. We’ve waited a century.