I took another research trip, this time to the Fashion Museum in Bath, where I had arranged to examine some more 1930s dresses. Although I had already seen two at Blandford, I wanted to get a broader overview of what 1930s dressmaking might be like (having already studied the cut) in order to better inform my practice.
I was unfortunately not able to bring a camera, but I took detailed and extensive notes and measurements. Although the dresses that I was shown were not of the same style (evening, and quite sexy) as the one I am making, being mostly chiffon, I managed to examine carefully how seams were finished and note the quality of the fabric after 80 years! I also examined hems and closures. I even examined one of the dresses in Patterns of Fashion 2! (Arnold, 1966) and discovered howJanet Arnold had transferred what she saw in the dress, to her sketches in the book. This allowed me to better understand how I could approach interpreting patterns from this series of books.
There were a lot of variations in styles, but certain things remained the same, such as having open seam allowances inside the dress - not French seams- and often neatening them by catching the raw edges with a whipstitch, by hand. This would allow the fabric to stay as light as possible, and so that the seam allowances don't show in a ridge on the right side.
This was a really helpful trip as it strengthened my understanding of 1930s dressmaking techniques