Monday, November 30, 2009

The At-Last Waistcoat and Trousers and 1830's Dress

Last year Jo Anns had a great sale on their woolen goods. We were blessed to randomly drop in at the store while the sale was in progress and lo, there was a bolt of black wool. Black wool sells very fast in our local stores so finding ample yardage was a pleasant suprise. David picked up about four yards of it and I promised him I'd make him a civilian style waistcoat and a pair of civilian trousers.
I made most of the trousers early this spring. But uniform making duties forced me to postpone finishing them. They hung in the closet for months. I finally pulled them out and finished them a few weeks ago. I made the waistcoat last week, after the green corderoy disaster. This time I made sure to cut an ample seam allowance and the finished vest fits David quite nicely. It has 3 welt pockets, a notch collar and buttons up the front with seven covered buttons. David wore the set for the first time to church yesterday for our beginning of Advent service. He requested a red necktie to go with his outfit and looked, I thought, very festive. I was able to get my dress finished up on Saturday. I do like it very much although I am not completely happy with how the sleeves came out. I wish I had gathered the pouf to a point lower on the arm to get less of a mushroom effect. However, as Mr. Darcy said in his letter to Elizabeth, "It is done, however, and it was done for the best." Also to keep in the mood of Austen, here is a picture of the dress in front of a "prettyish kind of a little wilderness", where we plan on tilling up ground for our garden when spring comes. I don't usually wear a cap. I only wear one when the mood strikes. Here is a capless photo, though a tad risque - dear me, you can see my bare leg! - complete with this beautiful set of ultra-modern Fuzzy Snowflake Socks with White PomPoms. Don't they look wonderful with my repro mid-19th century boots? I didn't mean for this photo to be so alarming, I promise. It was the fault of the stiff breeze. Now you can see all my farby sinfulness!
Here is a back view. I was appalled when I saw this photo - "David, is my rear end really that big?!" Thankfully big bums were "in" for most of the 19th century. In those times, looking like a woman with natural womanly features was desired and encouraged. Alas. How times have changed. But David was kind enough to tell me that it was my fluffy skirts and petticoats that gave the illusion of a bigger behind. I need to add a few more hooks along the wrist placket since the placket kept folding open yesterday, but other than that I think this will be a very serviceable house dress. Oh and yes - David has decided to grow side whiskers! I have become reconciled to the thought of a beardless husband. His look has grown upon me and I do like this new style very much. He looks rather like I imagine Col. Brandon when I think of him in my mind. David is becoming ever more interested in pre-CW times and, I think, it shall not be long ere he joins me in the 1820's and 1830's. He is currently afflicted with great passion for the 1840's and his next set of civilian attire is to hail from then. Love,


Friday, November 27, 2009

New Day Dress Bodice

Greetings to all you dear folks. I do hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving yesterday and may I likewise extend my wishes that you all have many leftovers to make tonights dinner prep a breeze.
We had a nice Thanksgiving although we all are sick. The bronchitis has left us but now a stuffy sinusy and runny nose type sickness has taken its place. We were not able to have our friends over as planned so we had a quiet family meal together and later in the evening David set up the Christmas tree and we watched The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I was too sick to feel like decorating last night so we plan to do that this evening instead. I have rearranged the living room and put the lights on the tree. The older two boys keep trying to blow them out. I suppose they think they are like the candles they recently had on their birthday cupcakes. Alas. Electric lights aren't as fun as real ones. The durn things won't blow out and the poor boys are blowing themselves ragged.
I got quite sick late Wednesday. I've been working on a sewing job for a customer but since I was so sick I decided to put her things up for a little while so I wouldn't spread germs to her gowns. Instead I started a new day dress for myself. After all, it is getting colder and colder and so far I have only made one new dress for winter time. This one I wanted more of an early 1830's style. I used the same basic bodice pattern as for my pink gown but am making the sleeves a tad bigger. Instead of gathering the fashion fabric at the waist, I darted the lining as usual but tucked the fashion fabric and tacked the pleats down by hand. The sleeves have a slender undersleeve with a full puff sleeve mounted on top of that. Bethany has recently posted a great instructional article on how to make these style sleeves. The neckline I cut in a V shape. I want to make a chemisette to wear with this dress but haven't decided if I want a standing frill style or a collared style. I love how the frilled styles look but I have no idea how I'd keep the fabric starched well enough to hold the shape. I'm hoping to finish it up today. All it really needs is the skirt attached and the hooks sewn on. Then hopefully I'll feel well enough to get back to my work sewing once more.

Have a wonderful weekend,



Friday, November 20, 2009

David's Overalls

Due to David coming down with a sore throat, which, the doctor said, is probably strep, he has been home for the past two days to rest and recuperate. I seized the opportunity to take some pictures of him in his new overalls. By the time he gets home from work on weekdays it is far too dark to take any pictures outside and on Sundays we are usually occupied with something else. So, today, at last, I have some pictures to share!

Beware. These pictures may Shock and Awe you. For - yes - David has shaved his beard.
It was, he said, my fault. I cut his hair for him last Saturday and he asked me to trim his beard. Once I was done he said that his beard appeared to be shorter on one side than the other. I looked. It was indeed a little shorter. About 1/16" shorter. So, he surmised, the only possible thing for him to do was to shave it all off and start over with it. I begged. I pleaded. I got on my knees. I really did. It was of no use. The bathroom door was firmly shut and a few moments later I heard the sounds of scissors; the sound of David's beard being butchered. A half hour later he reappeared and the bathroom floor was littered with hair. I wouldn't kiss him for a long time. I had to get used to it. I felt that I had a different man in place of my husband. I am now finally starting to get used to it but his beard is already starting to come back in a stubbly, prickly shadow. Little David now checks his chin every day to see if he is getting a beard, himself.

And now that I have firmly got off topic on a nicely developed rabbit trail, I will return to the main topic of this post, which is Overalls. With them David has finally found a use for the scarf I made him a few years ago. Although he thinks the color scheme is a tad Christmasy. With his trouser legs tucked into his tall black boots I think he just looks nice and old fashioned. Although he will be improved in looks once his beard is back in.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

1790's Transitional Stays Finished Photos

I am finally getting some pictures of my 1790's Transitional Stays. I have had these done for about a week but failed to wear them thus far because I was too lazy to put in a lace.
I love these. Out of the corsets/stays I have, I think these are my favorite by far. They are insanely comfortable. The back is quite heavily boned and the front boned only at the center front which seemed a bit backwards to me at first, but I really love the great back support and the gathered cups give enough support to the front without additional boning. These are meant to be a little short waisted, but they really do end at just about my waist level. They do not reduce my waist at all which really adds to the comfort level. Nothing is tight, actually. . .just supported.

I used cross lacing instead of spiral lacing just because I find it easier to do when I have to lace something up myself.
I really didn't think gathered cups would offer much support. And, compared to more heavily boned and structured corsets, they do seem flimsy. But I was pleasantly suprised with how well they have worked. I have been wearing them today for the past 8 hours or so and they still seem to be fine.

What is great about these stays is that while they work well for my drawstring gowns, they also work perfectly with my 1820's dress from last year, which I am wearing today. Past Patterns has a similar pattern which is dated 1790-1820. PP usually has fantastic documentation with their patterns so I'm sure their dates are right, which means I can wear these with my early 20's dresses and not feel farbatrocious.
I hated binding the tabs at the bottom but it was worth it, I think!



Monday, November 2, 2009

1820's Gown Finished Photos

I was able to wear my new dress for the first time to church yesterday. After we got home, David obligingly took some pictures. The day was lovely and warm. Despite the nearly naked trees and the lonesome stretches of bare fields, it seemed summer returned for one last afternoon.



P.S. I do not smoke a cob pipe, but since David had one lit, I couldn't resist using it as a prop. After all, my extreme interest is in the clothing of the Early Settlers and according to Christian Reeser, patriarch of David's family, who settled in this same area in the mid 1800's, tobacco was one of the things that kept him healthy and young (he lived to a very great age, I believe 102 but do not have the family history book on hand to check for sure). The last picture is of my handsome hubby with his Redbone Coonhound, Jeb Stuart.