Friday, December 30, 2016

Sewing Project Review 2016

2016 was a really weird year for me. Not a bad year, just a weird one. All year long I struggled with sewing. I either didn't have time to work on things or I lacked motivation. In some ways I felt overwhelmed since outfitting all the kids seemed like an impossible thing to do. I was irritated with most of my projects. But I kept on, bit by bit. And really, I am kinda amazed at how much I did get done. Hey! Not so bad. 

There were a few projects that stand out so for the sake of wrapping up this year, I will highlight those few:

1. My Favorite Project

This would have to be the Jedi outfit I made for Judah to wear for Halloween this year. I loved making this costume from start to finish and it gives me a happy feeling to see Judah throw his Jedi robe on after school, hop on his bike and head down the street to visit one of his friends, robe flowing in the wind. He totally owns the look. It was fun to work on something non-historical! 

2. Least Favorite Project

Well, all the undergarments. I made a crap ton of undergarments this year for both the kids and myself. It gets so entirely boring. Really! I mean, how excited can you get about the umpteenth tuck you are sewing into a white petticoat? I wasn't excited. Still, undergarments are the most important part of a correct looking impression. I still hate them. I don't want to sew another undergarment for a long time. Unless it's a corset. 

Sad thing is, the next thing I make will almost certainly be an undergarment! Grrr...

3. Most Challenging Project

Benjamin's yellow plaid dress was completely frustrating because it looked terrible when I first sewed it. I had to take it apart and redo the bodice and I hated that. I wasn't that passionate about it in the first place and I still kinda don't like the dress, but he did look cute in it, even if he did only get to wear it two or three times before he outgrew it. 

2017 projections: 
  • Cage crinoline (plan to start this in a few days)
  • 1870's undergarments (start in January)
  • 1917 outfit (will need everything. Plan to make a simple skirt/blouse/jacket ensemble)
  • 1870's day dress
  • 18th c. undergarments
  • Colored/printed regency round gown
  • Updating the kids reenacting wardrobes as needed
  • SOMETHING for SCA use!
See you in 2017!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fashions of the Gilded Age

Look! I received this gorgeous book as a gift for Christmas and I am blown away by the sheer depth of information packed within its pages. I've never done anything remotely bustle-y and have always been rather intimidated by these styles. But now I have literally hundreds of patterns to work from.

2017 will be the Year of the Bustle. I've had this image saved for a while as I love how the striped fabric dresses up what is a very simple natural form style. Doesn't it look rather Mrs. Oleson-y?

I really like the printed one as well. The self fabric scalloped trim is delightful. The scallops are echoed on the hem of the bodice, which is just darling! I can picture Caroline Ingalls wearing such a dress. I can't wait to make one of my own!

I think my 1860's corset is close enough in shape to work for this era. But I will need new petticoats, possibly a small bustle, and a new chemise, preferably sleeveless or with tiny sleeves. Goal: Complete outfit by September 2017 to wear for the Old West festival. That is definitely doable.  

Merry Christmas! May your New Year be fabulous!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Clothespin Dolls

I acquired quite a few of the old fashioned peg kind of wooden clothespins this summer, put them up and promptly forgot about them. Recently I needed some kind of new activity to keep Anne occupied, though, so I remembered the forgotten clothespins and pulled them out and showed her how to make a very simple clothespin doll, the kind without arms. She loved the resulting dolls and quickly made several of her own. Her latest were these 3, which I thought were too cute to not share!

I helped her just a little with the sewing of the top of Mary's dress and wrapping baby Jesus in some string to keep his swaddling cloth on. She carries the finished 3 dolls around in a tiny basket and sets up mini nativity scenes all over the house. It's like the Elf on the Shelf, only it's Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus popping up in unexpected places!

I made 3 dolls altogether; the first one was an angel doll made of different types of lace as a prototype for teacher gifts. Cute but not really "me". These last two are angels, to go with Anne's nativity and double as this years Christmas ornaments for me and Rose. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mid 19th Century Quilted Petticoat

I am SO glad that this is done! After Thanksgiving we all came down with a terrible cold thing. Or maybe a flu thing. It was bad. The kids bounced back after a day or two but I'm still sniffling and shuffling my way through gloomy, coldish, grey days and battling a wearisome round of fever and chills.

So. My goal was to finish the petticoat by November 30th since my first goal of getting it done by Thanksgiving wasn't accomplished. I pushed myself and got most of it done but I still had a bit of finishing to do that wasn't able to be completed til December 1st. I wanted to wear it last night to a Christmas festivity but I didn't go since I was sick.

I love this petticoat. It's warm and cozy and light and fluffy. Like wearing a comforting blanket wrapped around you all the time. Which, at this point, I need. It's made of two widths of a striped fabric I've had since before Anne was born. I am not totally sure of the fiber content. I originally thought it was a nice cotton but after quilting it for so long I really believe there is some silk content as well. It handles like silk and has that distinctive whooshy sound when you quilt that you only get from silk.

It's lined with plain white and grey striped cotton (I think I have had a thing for stripes lately. . .) and interlined with cotton batting. I quilted it on many evenings in front of the tv watching Walker, Texas Ranger (which is Malachi's new favorite tv show that he simply must watch every night from 7 to 8).

I made a short yoke to gather the lower skirt at the hip. I didn't want a ton of bulk in the waistband so this seemed like a good idea. Then the top of the yoke was gathered into waistband. The yoke isn't lined, so the seam between the lower skirt and yoke is finished with a strip of scrap fabric. The outside of the seam has a decorative band of bias cut self fabric.

The total width is about 120" and I'm happy with that. I thought it might be a bit too wide but I think it's just about right at this length. If it were shorter, I may have made it a little narrower. The hem falls at lower calf which is probably on the long side for quilted petticoats but hey, my lower legs need to stay warm, too!

I'm fitting this into the HSF "Red" challenge because the stripes on the skirt are a darkish pinkish red color. And in case that wasn't enough to bump it into a red category I used a bright red cotton for the inside seam finish. So! There ya go.

HSF info:

What the Item Is:

Mid-19th century style quilted petticoat.

The Challenge:



Outer fabric, cotton batting, cotton lining.


My own, but all rectangles!


Meant for use for Civil War reenacting but could theoretically work for 1830-1865 as the skirt silhouette is similar.



How Historically Accurate Is It?

Fairly so. The only thing I'm not sure of is the yoke - it was a last minute idea to add it and I didn't look for an original example with a yoke. :(

Hours to Complete:

Tooooooo many. There are 18 rows of quilting and each row took about an hour to do. Then the finishing work was at least 4 hours. And cutting the darn thing out and sewing the layers together before quilting took about 2.

First Worn:

Not yet; just for pictures. Hopefully I'll get a chance to wear it in a historical setting very soon!

Total Cost:

All stash stuff. If I bought new of everything I guess it would be around $40 or so.