Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Orange silk taffeta robe a l'anglaise

I made this dress for the June 2015 18th Century Picnic with the Historic Recreation SocietyI used the J.P. Ryan Robe a l'Anglaise pattern. This and the two petticoats are entirely hand-sewn.

The front closes with pins. The back poofs are created by tying two twill tape ties together on each side, a method I saw on an extant dress in the book Costume Close-Up. One is at the side back waist and the mate is about 12" up and 24" in from the front opening. I tied them with about 6" distance. I liked this method because I didn't have to worry about having a pretty cord that matched, and also I can wear it in the future as a plain open gown if I like.

I am wearing it over a shift, my green cotton twill stays, my new divided bum pad, a linen petticoat, and a sheer cotton petticoat with a woven stripe. On my feet are a pair of Fugawee Annas and some white clocked stockings from Jas. Townsend. I also have two pockets tied on and a cotton lawn neckerchief. My hat is a plain straw that I re-trimmed with orange flowers, a white feather, and a strip of green silk faille pinked and used like a ribbon. I wore glass pearls in my ears.

Construction photos:

I did not use the directions in the J.P Ryan pattern. Instead the seams were lapped and sewn from the right side with a spaced backstitch, as described in Costume Close-Up.

For the trim, I cut 1.5" strips with my rotary pinking blade and used graph paper as a pleat guide. I made 1/2" box pleats spaced 1/4" apart.

The bum pad, the design of which I owe to A Fractured Fairytale. After I made it I ripped and re-sewed the pads to move them a little closer together.

A linen petticoat I handsewed with linen thread.

The striped cotton petticoat I handsewed with cotton thread.

A detail of the cotton petticoat's pocket slit. I hemmed the edges of the slit and added a thread bar to reinforce the bottom point. The point and the bar have buttonhole stitch worked over them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Green and teal ruffled bustle dress

My absolute favorite historic era for dresses is the Early Bustle Era, from about 1869-1876. I made this dress in the spring of 2015 for an event at the Leduc historic estate in Hastings, MN.

The dress is made of silk taffeta in three colors; green for the main color, teal blue for the ruffles, and a light silvery grey for a small amount of accent. The bodice and skirt are lined in brown polished cotton. I made it mainly with the sewing machine. The buttons are fabric-covered wooden molds and aren't functional; the bodice actually closes with hooks and eyes. The triple overskirt is actually just a single overskirt with three ruffles applied.

To make this dress, I copied a fashion plate from 1873. It's not an exact copy; my sleeve cuffs are different, my silhouette is a little fuller, and I didn't do the hat, but I tried to get it close.

Patterns: I used the Truly Victorian Early Bustle Bodice as a base, but altered it for the style I wanted. For the skirt I enlarged this diagram from Peterson's magazine 1870, and the overskirt I just made up.

The hat is a straw doll's hat from the craft store. I shaped and trimmed it years ago and re-trimmed it to go with this dress.

I dyed a pair of shoes to match. These are Tissot Victorian pumps from American Duchess. I used color A156. I had to guess at the color and I think it came pretty close!

I am wearing it over my Truly Victorian combination undergarment, my white twill corset, new green twill wire bustle, and several petticoats.

The only thing that ended up being wrong with this dress was I couldn't raise my arms much! My "tried-and-true" sleeve pattern turned out not to be so true after all. I probably don't have enough fabric to fix it so I will just live with it. It was fine, except I couldn't drive wearing it, and I had to put my hat on before my bodice.

There is a matching evening bodice in the plan for this, which I will make for the January 2016 ball.


Welcome to That's Sew Minnesota! Here's a bit about me.

Hi there!
I've been sewing historic reproduction clothing since my teens, with varying levels of success, and I've been blogging about it on livejournal since 2006. I started this blog as a more public place for sharing finished projects and all kinds of sewing stuff. I'll be adding past projects as I get to them and new stuff as I make it.

I try to make my projects as historically accurate as possible, by using materials, techniques, and silhouettes that would have been used in a given historic era. Accuracy is a journey, and I am always learning something more to make my reproductions more authentic.

I love to sew modern clothes too, and I dabble in quilting, knitting, and crafts. I also sew for my amazing husband and daughter.

I also teach sewing classes, work, and blog for Minnesota's most amazing fabric store and sewing spot, Treadle Yard Goods. Obvious disclaimer: What I write here at That's Sew MN is purely my own opinion, not that of Treadle.

About the name. Yup, that's really the cleverest I could come up with. I sew, and I'm from Minnesota. Oh, and I love puns!