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.



  1. Nice! The sleeve trim on the wrapper is lovely in it's simplicity.

    I'm planning an 1840's maternity dress - not that I'm expecting again, it just seems like the best option right now when I'm at that awkward stage of loosing baby weight :P They seem to have been acceptable to wear for less formal occasions when breastfeeding, so I don't feel too bad about it. I even have a 1:10 pattern from an 1850's original to work from: I just have to change the sleeves to be more 1840's. It has many characteristics of the wrappers, but with the skirt part stitched shut in front.

  2. I'm really unhappy with how blogger has been deleting my comments these days in order to sign into google. Not cool, google.

    Anyway -- A) those two dresses are beautiful! I can see why that fabric was your favorite!
    B) where do you find the time and energy to sew? I don't even have the excuse of a newborn in the house, and I can barely manage to machine sew the outfit my partner needs for this weekend! (We're attending a wedding and he never knows how to buy clothes that fit him. So making them is really the only way to ensure that he'll be a credit to our household :-P )

    Where do you wear your wrappers? Do you just wear them at reenactments or do you also wear them around the house like a housecoat/robe?

  3. That's so pretty! I hesitate to strike the crass commercial note, but do you take commissions, as in, could you make another one of these wrappers to order? ;) --Emma


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!