I have just recently discovered a French crafting magazine: “Modes & Travaux”! The magazine was first published way back in 1919, so I’m only 101 years behind the times, but hey ho! The reason I suddenly made this discovery is doll-related so more of that over on my other blog Claire’s Collections. But here, I will be mentioning M&T magazine from time to time, as dolls only play a very small part.
Anyway, this French magazine, which first began in 1919, was originally all about fashion and tips for the “modern housewife”. Putting things in their historical context: the First World War was only just over and women were mainly stay-at-home housewives/mothers, looking to stretch the monthly budget as far as possible, and embracing home-sewing or knitting to make clothes for the family.
In March 1951, the magazine brought out a new monthly page aimed at little girls, with a special M&T doll that could be bought naked, and patterns for dolls clothes being available each month for little girls to learn to sew & knit.
Again, putting things in their historical context: money was tight, the country was once again recovering from a World War and, while many women were now going out to work, many still were stay-at-home mums, and seeking to save money by making their own clothes. Domestic sewing machines were becoming more affordable, and home-sewing was all the rage.
The magazine has evolved with the changing times, of course, but today, content is still very much crafting/cooking/gardening/DIYing inspired. When I discovered the magazine is still going strong I decided to take out an annual subscription. For subscribers, the magazine comes with not one, not two, but THREE sewing patterns each month, plus an embroidery/xstitch pattern, knitting patterns, transformation ideas and much much more.
I thought I’d give one of the patterns a go
Not exactly a frequent dress-wearer, I cut out the skirt part slightly shorter as I’d much prefer a long tunic to a short dress. As always, when trying a new pattern, I was somewhat loathe to cut into some of my pretty fabrics in case it went completely wrong Pattern says to use viscose. I didn’t have any so just dived into the stash of very strange fabrics I inherited from my mother-in-law, in search of something that would drape.. So far, my sewing looks like this
No idea what this fabric is made of – it’s all slippy, silky and consequently very difficult to handle. The print also looks like something out of a completely different era and I’m slightly worried it’s going to make me look like a clown (all those spots make me think of party balloons) but I’m getting to grips with the pattern. For the moment my big problem is with the knotted shoulders. That is the main feature of this garment but somehow those knots just make it feel as if the garment isn’t finished properly. I’m therefore busy thinking of a way to attach shoulders differently, at this late stage.