Saturday, November 22, 2014

A New Style of Winter Bonnet

I made a new style of bonnet this week, copied from a mid 19th century bonnet made in what looks like plaid silk. For mine, I used some plaid wool.

The brim was cut as a rectangle with shaped ends. I piped round the edges and lined it with pale yellow cotton. It is interlined with cotton batting and hand quilted along lines of the plaid. Simple, but effective.

The crown was pleated to fit, and a rectangular curtain hand gathered and whip stitched to the piped neckline edge.

I didn't quilt the crown and the curtain is lined only with cotton. No batting, as I feared that would make it too bulky.

And an inside shot:

I also made another bonnet using the winter hood pattern I made and posted years ago. This version is made in black velveteen and blue silk with trimming of purple velvet ribbon.

It's lined with black sateen and interlined with cotton batting.

I wasn't sure if I'd like the purple with the black and blue, but now that its done I quite like it!

I finished the 1860's dress this past week also. It will soon be on its way to its new home.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finished Open Robe

I finished the robe but the petticoat took me a bit longer to make. Finally, earlier this week, I was able to complete it!

I am pleased with how it came out, although it is a bit large for me. Since I draped the pattern on the dress form and designed it to be able to fit several sizes, I would certainly tailor it more to my specific shape for next time.

The skirt panels are two 45" panels seamed down the center back, tightly pleated at the back with two pleats at side front skirts. This gives a pleasing flow to the skirts. The skirts move very gracefully, although I think for casual wear a round gown is much better.

The drawstrings do a good job of closing the front. On the form, they tie shut at a 40" bustline.

I am smaller, and uncorseted in these photos, but by drawing up the strings more the robe fit well enough. (Excuse the weird facial expression. Seems my young photographer enjoys taking candid shots, and soon lost interest in a serious endeavor).

I made the petticoat using the same bodice pattern, but with the opening moved to center back and the neckline and armscyes cut down a bit.

The back was pleated, with a few side front pleats.

I used a yellow cotton for the petticoat. For "work" wear a darker petticoat would be much better.

I need to work more on a better regency hairstyle. Due to an unfortunate string of events involving unintentional black chemical hair dye in the spring of 2013, subsequent black hair dye to keep roots from showing, eventual detestation of the dull synthetic black, experimentation with hair bleach to get out the black (yet not all the 3+ years worth of henna) I ended up with dark blonde/light brown hair whose color was actually similar to my natural color. However, it was so damaged and weakened I had to cut about 5" off and after a few egg and mayo protein treatments I dyed it with my beloved henna and an equal amount of indigo. It is already so much better feeling and thicker, but now quite short, alas.

OK, so the open robe is done. Now to start thinking about a Christmas dress for Anne Victoria and to see how I can turn this pattern into a short gown.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Open Robe Progress

My very first open robe is nearly done! Amidst the extreme chaos that a two year old girl brings to a household (the boys have nothing, NOTHING, on their sister - I'm so glad I have just one girl) I've been able to find odd minutes here and there to work on it. (Did I mention Anne is a holy terror? She has pure and innocent motives in all she does, but MY GOODNESS.)

I decided to use the bodice lining as the front bodice for this robe. The 1790-1800 open robe in Costume in Detail is cut similarly. The bodice is lined in white linen.

The Costume in Detail robe closes with drawstrings at the center front. Once my channels are sewn I'll run tape strings through.

All that's left at this point is handwork. Basically - a crap load of hemming. Then I'll need to make a petticoat.

I had just enough scrap left to piece a long strip for a possible neckline ruching. Not sure yet if I will add it or not. The neckline is quite low, so a ruffle may help raise it up a bit. A neckerchief could work just as well. We will see.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Versatile Bodice

I recently draped a new pattern for a "basic" late 18th/early 19th century bodice. I had a few ideas for gowns and needed a starting point. So, this pattern resulted. It is copied in style from several originals and depictions in Costume In Detail and Patterns of Fashion 1.

It has a fitted back with a drawstring front that has a low cut inner front bodice that pins shut under the bustline. I've found this feature to be pretty darn useful. It smooths the silhouette at the bustline, anchors the garment to the figure and, in some instances, works well as light support for "undress" when you don't feel like wiggling into stays. Currently nursing in a D cup these offer enough support to make me feel comfortable and supported, though its certain it is not a fashionably supported shape.

To test out my last version of the draped pattern, I made a little drawstring bodice or jacket. I had 1 yard of fabric and it was *just* enough for this, including fitted elbow length sleeves. Close cutting, but it worked!

To make sure the back covered the waistline of the dress its displayed over, I added a tiny pleated peplum.

A drawstring at neck and underbust closes the whole thing. Very simple really! I can't wait to adapt it to make other garments.

I must confess, the main reason I made this is because I have long planned to sew an open robe, and needed a bodice pattern like this to do so. That's up next.

Forgive my taped and crappily rigged up mannequin. She has seen better days and has spent most of her life being loaned out. She will be respectfully disposed of as soon as I can afford a replacement. Until then, I won't judge her.

Autumn always puts me in a regency-esque mood. Not sure why. But it does, and I feel the need to re read all Jane Austen's novels.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1800 Child's Dress for Anne

The inspiration for this little dress came from an image I saved long ago of a simple child's frock c. 1800. There was an accompanying pattern in PDF format. I think it was a Tidens Toj pattern, though as I cannot find it on their website any longer perhaps I am mistaken.

I made it up today for Anne, in a piece of tan printed cotton slightly less than one yard in quantity. It went together quickly and easily.

The dress features a flat front bodice with a flat front skirt, a drawstring gathered back bodice and skirt and plain short sleeves. The skirts are cut slightly A-line in shape, throwing a bit more fullness into the hem.

Anne was delighted to have a new dress and fell asleep tonight wearing it. I wondered how she would get along with an ankle length skirt but she seemed to do just fine.

Can't wait to see her in it this weekend at the rendezvous! I think the regency era suits her well.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sewing the Stripey Sheer Fabric

A few years ago I purchased some sheer striped cotton from a reenacting friend. It was so beautiful! Deep, vibrant hues of brilliant blues and greens. I loved that fabric. It became my favorite fabric and...sat on my fabric shelf for years. I have always been a believer in saving the best for last, but very often this is to my detriment, resulting in the best never being realized as I keep "saving it for later". Well, this past week I finally sewed up the fabric. First, I made another 1860's wrapper.

I think I'm getting the construction of this style of wrapper down pretty well. There were other styles of wrappers in the 1860's, but this one is my favorite. It sort of reminds me of the sacque-back dresses of the 18th century, only with the sacque in this case being the front.

The fullness for this one was taken up in pleats. I love pleating. It is faster than cartridge pleating and gives a neat, tailored appearance. I was especially happy to pleat this wrapper as prior to its construction my pins had mostly gone the way of bobby pins, pens and the infamous dryer socks - they had apparently disappeared into thin air. I found a brand new pack of pleating pins at the thrift store for 60 cents. Score! Pleating ensued.

For the sleeves I made loose open sleeves. I don't know if they would be considered pagoda sleeves exactly - they are basically rectangular with rounded corners at the hem - but its a nice sleeve style for hot weather and have a graceful appearance. I edged them with self fabric ruching for a bit of visual interest.

I had a little fabric left over and found there was just enough for a little toddler dress.

Though its a unisexual color and style I think it would be a very nice boy dress. My two oldest boys were dumbfounded and refused to believe they had worn dresses at reenactments when they were babies! Malachi still seemingly has fond memories of his petticoat days and thinks dresses on little children are perfectly normal, but, at 5, he is "too grown up to wear them now."

Nothing left of this fabric now but a few slender scraps.

I feel accomplished.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Civil War Sheer Summer Wrapper

While this summer has not been as sweat drenchingly hot as usual Illinois summers, it has been hot enough. While I have mostly managed to keep the air conditioner off this year, there have been a few days that I have succumbed to shutting the windows and turning it on for a day or two. I did so, in fact, tonight. Tomorrows heat index is to top one hundred. Thankfully the rest of the week is supposed to be nice and cool!

I have been sewing a lot and just finished this 1860's wrapper. I had so much fun making it. I love the unique detailing on these garments and the way they function. Its just cool.

This one is made in a very sheer cotton plaid in shades of purple and grey. The colors remind me of second mourning. Of course, they are good colors for everyday wear also.

I made it with a drawstring at the waist of the cotton lining. Many wrappers were made with fitted linings, but it is nice to have the extra adjustability with a drawstring lining. This enables you to wear the wrapper with or without a corset and for maternity when expandable clothes are a necessity!

The skirts are gauged and whipstitched to a partial waistband.

And the sleeves are puff sleeves mounted on a short lining with full gathered loose lower sleeves. I think the sleeves are my favorite part!

I made a turned hem on this one instead of using a hem facing.

Its sized to fit a 46"-48" bust and up to a 40" waist. I have listed it for sale on eBay for anyone needing a very lightweight and comfortable dress during these last months of summer: