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:



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Victorian Wheel Cap Tutorial

As promised, here is the tutorial for the wheel caps I posted a few months ago. This style is easily adaptable to any size. The dimensions given here make a cap with a 23" band, which fits an average adult (22") head. For a child's size, take 1" off the band.

For fabrics I use wool for the outer layer and cotton or linen for the lining. You could also use silk for the lining. You do not need much fabric - I use scraps - but 1/2 yard of fabric should be plenty, with scraps leftover.

To begin, wash and dry (if necessary),and press your fabrics. You will cut the following pieces:

From fashion fabric:

- 2 circles 13" in diameter
- 2 brim pieces, cut from 2 rectangles 3" x 8" with rounded corners
- 1 band, 24" x 3"

Cut an identical set from your lining fabric, minus the brim.

Take one circle of fashion fabric and one of lining. These will become your lower crown. You will cut a circle from the center of each to create two donut-shaped pieces. To do this, I fold each circle in half and mark in 1.75" from the edge all around the curved edge: (if you are making a smaller sized band than the 23" finished band in this tutorial, you will want to measure in 2" or so in from the curved edge. Basically; make a smaller hole!)

Cut along the line you just marked.

Do the same for the other circle. Your pieces should now look like this:

You will now sew the brim. Put the two brim pieces right sides together, and using a 1/2" seam allowance sew around the curved edge. Trim seam.

Turn brim right sides out.

Press well, and set aside.

Fold the band and band lining in half, right sides together, and stitch the short ends using a 1/2" seam.

Press seams open.

Find the center of each band by turning bands right side out and positioning the seam at one short end. Press well, marking the center front of each band by an ironed crease.

Markers the center of the brim with a pin and match brim center to band center front.

Right sides together, pin brim to band.

Right sides together, pin lining band to band, sandwiching the brim between the lining and fashion fabric band.

Sew around the edge with a 1/2" seam.

Fold out the lining.

Press the seam between the lining band and fashion fabric band open.

Fold up the lining to the inside and press.

The finished band!

Place the lower crowns on top of the remaining circles, right sides together, and sew along the outer edge with a 1/2" seam.

Turn the fashion fabric crown right sides out, but leave the lining wrong side out.

Insert the lining into the crown.

Pin crown to band, leaving band lining free and easing curves.

Sew crown to band with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Press seam towards lower crown. Press up 1/2" on raw edge of band lining.

Fold up lining to cover seam allowance. Pin and slip stitch into place.

Press all seams well. To finish the cap, if desired, top stitch along seamlines for added stability.

The finished cap!