Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's 100 years since..

... the Titanic's maiden voyage and sinking, all over in a matter of days.  Why does it capture the imagination so much?  In the 100 years since the tragic loss of more than 1,500 lives there have been worse disasters.  In 1987 a ferry travelling between two islands in the Philippines sank with the loss of more than 4,000 lives, in wartime 2,500 soldiers and sailors were lost as HMS Lancastria sank off the coast of St Nazaire in France. But still the Titanic is emblematic of tragic loss at sea

Perhaps because the ship, built to rival the Cunard liners, with its hull of 16 separate watertight compartments was said to be unsinkable.  Perhaps because at the time it was built it was the largest boat ever afloat and fitted out in unrivalled luxury.  Perhaps because it was not equipped for evacuation, with too few life boats, no evacuation drill and passengers who did not believe such a thing could happen.  Or even that poems were written about it. Well this blog is not about maritime history and the National Maritime Museum tells it much better, but there is a connection.

Pootling around the internet, as you do, the other day I came across the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 project.  The aim is to make up all the patterns featured in the 1912 editions of a magazine called La Mode Illustrée and blog about them.  These patterns are of clothes that typically could have been worn by the passengers on the fated liner.  There are over 400 people involved in the project and this week my first pattern arrived, it's for a petticoat.  Before doing anything else I rushed out and bought the fabric and trimmings

Although the e mail arrived earlier I did not think to carry my USB stick up to the print shop till Saturday morning - bad decision, all print shops in my town open Monday to Friday only.  So at first I just printed everything off on A4 to have a good read.

And found plenty to do working on the 4m by 23cm (4.5yards by 9 inches) flounce.
Measuring, cutting, hemming, fixing the lace insertion and pleating.

I am using 100% cotton lawn which I can get at my local fabric shop for £2.50 a metre which is similar to the sort of fabric that may have been used for underwear in 1912 but I have compromised on the lace.  I'm sure they would have used machine made lace, it was available at the time, but it would not have been in the synthetic fibre I can buy locally.  But I need such a lot it is far more economical for me to do so.

I found a brilliant website with sewing instructions from Butterick 1911 to help me get the sewing techniques right.

Hemming the raw edges of the insertion took 4 hours!

This morning I went to the print shop first thing and I'm ready to go!

The finished petticoat will be up soon



In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.


Moo and Mouse said...

What you have made so far is beautiful, I can't wait to see it finished.
Emma x

Anonymous said...

What an amazing project and historical exercise in that it makes you think about all kinds of tiny detail of lives lived 100 years ago. What will they do with all the finished items?
Yours is a beautiful start....

Tracy said...

How absolutely fascinating and fun. I am looking forward to seeing your finished garment and to spending some time looking around the site you have linked to.

Rebecca said...

Beautiful job on all that hand work! Very vintage.