Sunday, February 24, 2008

1795-1800 Crossover Dress

It is good to finish a dress, well in advance of it being truly needed. Although I am sure I will wear this before the next dance I am glad I won’t have to be spending the evening prior to it hastily sewing up hems, attaching hooks and making trim!

I am pleased with the finished dress although it is not exactly the same as I originally intended. It was supposed to be a copy of the half-robe in Patterns of Fashion 1, but I ended up making a few changes along the way besides just lengthening it, as I described in my previous post.

The first change I made was the shape of the bodice pieces. I didn’t feel like scaling up the pattern and then adjusting it to fit me. Rather I used the ‘eyeball’ method and drew out the pattern shapes based on my measurements and the appearance of the shapes in the book.

Although this worked very well for me I noticed half-way through making it that the side back pieces are too narrow at the bottom and the back pieces are too wide. It’s not a huge deal to me, but it’s a difference from the original pattern.

Another change I made was making tucks in the bodice pieces to fit my “waist” (below the bust) since if I did not do this the waist would be very loose. I also made the front skirt pieces a little wider so I could ease them onto the bodice, giving me a little fullness in front in case I ever am pregnant again and wish to wear this during that time.

I also did not follow the pleating diagram on the original pattern but used the eyeball method again. It’s what I do for my Civil War style dresses and it usually works out well for me.

As far as the actual construction of the dress, you can see my comprehensive picture-illustrated journey HERE (see titles and descriptions) I wasn't sure how to put it together in a period-correct way but this was the only way I could figure out how to sew it. Since I wasn’t sure how to put it together correctly I felt it was no big deal if I machine sewed most of it. Finishing work was done by hand but 75% of the dress was sewn on the machine. I did, however, use cotton thread. No shiny synthetics!

I also deviated from the original in my choice of trim. I found instead a picture of an original crossover dress that had a self-fabric ruffle at the neckline for trim so I took my inspiration from that. The trained skirt on my dress came from the illustration of the gown worn under the half-robe in Patterns of Fashion 1.

In these pictures I am wearing the dress over my regency style chemise, which is based upon the chemise instructions at Across the Ages, and my short stays. I plan on making a petticoat soon for another dress in the works but in these pictures I am not wearing one. I don’t really see a need to, at least right now.

I also had to make a neckerchief since the neckline was a little too low to suit my tastes. It is a square of sheer silk, folded in half and tucked into the neckline.

My new regency reticule goes perfectly with this dress! Now I just need to make a spencer and a new bonnet and I’ll be set for springtime!

Here are a few picture of the dress that David helped me take earlier today. He was not very happy about taking them but did oblige me; so here they are.

Off to bed. I’m tired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Regency Reticule

Finished yesterday -

a regency reticule made from Acacia's lovely pattern, done up in white wool, tea-colored lace and white muslin lining. A few pink paper flowers finish it off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Regency Stays and Wintery Days

Remember the regency stays I made last summer? Well, I finally grew inspired to make my “real” stays from those which, having been made of uncomfortable as well as rather unsuitable materials, were never worn except for try-ons. Inspiration struck for no apparent reason on Saturday, and yesterday I finished up these new stays, which are very comfortable and I am sure will be worn often!

Perhaps my inspiration stemmed, unconsciously, from the series of Jane Austen movies that PBS has recently been playing on Sunday evenings. I have watched almost all of them and again fallen in love with the regency style. My only prick of doubt comes from my husbands opinion of the regency style which he says look like “glorified nightgowns”. I begged and implored him for reasons why he objected to me wearing such styles and at last he told me that it is because when I am “into” an era other than the Civil War, he is afraid I will want to stop reenacting with him! NOW, since we got THAT settled, he seems actually somewhat interested in mens regency fashion and wants me to make him an outfit!! Yay!!! I recently discovered an English Country Dancing group that meets in a nearby city so perhaps we will have occasion to wear these new clothes to an appropriate event, rather than eliciting stares and sometimes comments from people at Wal Mart, where we have been known to wear our Civil War garb when grocery shopping.

These stays were made from white cotton twill, interlined with cotton canvas and lined with the same cotton twill. I only lined and interlined the gussets. I couldn’t figure out how to sew the lining gussets into the lining so they would match up perfectly with the gussets on the outside, so I just left out the gussets in the lining and slip stitched the lining to the gussets at the seams. It works, for now anyway. If I make more I will try to make the lining with gussets. I just hate making gussets so much! LOL

The edges are bound with green/blue silk and the embroidery is done with blue cotton floss. I wanted to try tambour embroidery on these but having no knowledge of that, and no hook, I instead worked the design in chain stitch, which, I have read, looks similar to tambour. I drew the design freehand but now realize I should have used a transfer pattern for a more uniform look. Oh well. I am not the greatest at embroidery and have not done very much of it in the past. I will learn and hopefully get better as I practice more!

It is a frightfully cold morning here. A light sprinkling of snow fell during the night and the sky has that white-ish appearance it gets when it holds even more snow. A few days ago it was almost fifty degrees. This winter has been rather topsy-turvey to say the least! Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when it’s good it’s good, and when it’s bad it’s horrid! At least it is lovely even if it is very cold. The snow is a beautifying veil to the dead barrenness of winter time.

In conclusion, here are some new pictures of my babies! I was greatly saddened the other day because Judah is not wanting to nurse much anymore. He is five months old now and that is the age when I started his brother on formula. However, in that case, it was necessary since I was pregnant and my milk production was slowing down. That is not the case here, it just seems he has little interest in nursing anymore so he has started some formula. So far he gets a bottle between breast feedings but I have a feeling it won’t be long before he has totally weaned himself from me. The first step in letting go of your children. . .Oh it’s a wonderful, although sometimes painful, thing to be a mother! Children are the greatest blessing in the world! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Little David is my sweetheart. (in conjunction with his dear Papa, of course!) Each morning when I go into his room to get him from his crib he is standing there looking at me.



I get to fall in love each day. Am I not the luckiest girl in the world?