Saturday, May 20, 2017

Historical Sew Monthly

This is my very late Historical Sew Monthly entry! This skirt is made of 3 rectangular panels of silk, shaped a little at the top to accommodate the bum pad.


 The Challenge: April: Circles, Squares & Rectangles – Many historical garments, and the costumes of many people around the world, use basic geometric shapes as their basis. In this challenge make a garment made entirely of squares, rectangles and circles.

 Material: Silk taffeta

 Pattern: Patterns of Fashion/made up Year: 1776-80

 Notions: cotton thread, cotton twill tape

 How historically accurate is it? I give it a 95% as its entirely handsewn

 Hours to complete: Six maybe? I don't use a timer.

 First worn: not yet

 Total cost: About $30

I have not been keeping up on the Historical Sew Monthly. I am realizing how much I hate deadlines. Having a deadline before an event is one thing, but these arbitrary HSM deadlines are not my cup of tea. It's too bad because I enjoy the idea of the challenge themes! So we'll see how many more challenges I end up doing.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A New Project

I haven't had a new historic project since I finished my plain and simple dress without a lot of frippery in January. This project wasn't on my To Do list, but I've had the fabric for ages and it's been rattling around in my head for awhile.

First some inspiration. I am not trying to copy and specific dress. My fabric is my starting point.

This one from the Kyoto book is probably my main inspiration. I love the stripes and the trim, which looks like box pleats plus something extra. And I love the fact that it's all self-fabric. The only thing I don't like is that it's cut with no waist seam (polonaise) which is pretty but I have no idea how to make it fit. So I will actually be making an anglaise.

Yellow striped silk taffeta Robe à la polonaise, c.1780's Hooked closure at front; buttons to tack robe; matching petticoat. Following the trend toward simple clothing, women's costumes in the 1780s became more casual & fabrics used to make dresses had a light texture. ©The Kyoto Costume Institute, (KCI) photo by Takashi Hatakeyama:

A great skirt shape here.

c1776 French Fashion Plate - Back View:

This one has the en fourreau back I plan to do.

Wool Damask Robe a l’Anglaise, 1785 Diadema Morgan wore this gown at her wedding to Phineas Field of Northfield in 1785.:

I knew I wanted the skirt silhouette to be HUGE. I tried on all my false rumps and pads but nothing was big enough. So I made a new one! Here it is in progress. I promise I sewed the waistband down properly later.


Here's what I've actually sewn so far. It's slow going because I am doing it 100% by hand. The skirt is together but not hemmed. The fabric is striped silk taffeta.


It's huge on the sides!


It's huge in the back!


It's huge all around!


The trim will be pinked self-fabric. I have obtained a new rotary blade for this that cuts scallops, which is a slightly more interesting look than plain zigzag pinking. Plus, scallops are period!



Of course I had to do a comparison. From top to bottom, new scallop blade, old pinking blade, normal pinking shear.


When I started this dress a few weeks ago, I thought I would whip it out real quick and wear it to our 18th century picnic event this weekend. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I now plan to finish it for Costume College this summer. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Stashbusting Sewing

I've been having a hard time settling my focus on a sewing project lately, so I've been using my random energy to make simple, quick projects that move out the stash fabrics.

First I did some home sewing. We have been using the typewriter a lot so I have given it a place to sit semi-permanently.


I love the way it looks but it just gets so dusty, so it needs to be covered. The typewriter's original case is both ugly and decaying.


So I sewed a fabric one!


The outer layer has Decor-Bond interfacing fused to it for extra heavy boxy crispness. The lining is not interfaced.


The pattern took some trial and error. It ended up looking like this.


Then I made a tablecloth for my porch. I really can't say I made it when all I did was hem the edges of a big square, but here it is anyway because I like it!

Before: the table is naked and ugly! 


After: Pretty! Plus fruit!


Then I made some skirts. 3 of them simply are elastic- or drawstring-gathered rectangles. Easy, fast, wearable, and gets that stash fabric out of the clutter pile and into the clothes closet!


This one has tiny bicycles!



This last one is made with gores and an invisible zipper. It's more of a quilting-weight cotton, so unlike the lawn skirts above, it would be bulky with an elastic waist.


It feels good to get a few fabrics out of the stash, but I have a long way to to!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stashbusting Spring Jacket

I had so much fun making this bright spring jacket for my 7-year-old last weekend!


The fabrics are all from the stash. We tried several choices before finding a piece with enough yardage to squeeze the whole coat in! 


She absolutely wanted a hood. I liked this hood pattern because it has a center panel instead of just a center seam, you get a much better shape that way.


She chose the buttons from my stash. It was also her decision to have the pockets made of contrast fabric. She calls this combination "screaming nature." 


The pattern had facings and a deep hem but instead I just cut a full lining. Easier and cuter!


The pattern is Burda 9458, unfortunately out of print. I had it (you guessed it) in my pattern stash. I am glad I was able to use it before she outgrew it!


The fabrics: The main fabric is a heavier cotton sateen print by Valori Wells. The lining/contrast fabric is a classic Amy Butler cotton print. She really loved the Amy floral with the orange. I was doubtful at first, but I totally love the finished look.


I remember I originally bought the orange fabric to cover a bench. The Amy Butler print I bought just to stash. I felt very emotional about letting them go, especially the Amy Butler print! 

Stash fabric can carry such baggage. Using it up means letting go. Letting go of your ideas, your previous plans that didn't work out. Letting go of your pretty pretty precious. But I have to remind myself that THIS is the moment I was saving them for. This is the right project! It's time, now! And of course it feels so good to get a finished project out of the stash bin.

I am pretty pleased with myself for whipping this up in a weekend (specifically, a weekend when I had work shifts both Saturday and Sunday!) and for using up my precious stash. I am hoping to move some more stash out in the next few months, probably with more simple projects like this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Historical Sew Monthly February

Recently my coworker gave me a beautiful wool skirt she made years ago. I thought it would be a great candidate for re-making! I lost most of February to bronchitis, so I needed a pretty quick and easy project if I wanted to meet the deadline.

I plan to join in a suffragette group at this year's Costume College, and this skirt looked like it could translate well to 1916-ish.

Before: the waist is a little tight, but would work if I were lightly corseted. The skirt is a good 19th century length but a bit long for late 19-teens.


Before: a lovely hem and a very well-stitched zipper. Of course, to make this more period accurate, the zipper had to go. I hated to pick out such nice stitching!


I thought about shortening from the waist so I wouldn't lose the hem, but I loved the nifty pockets!


Finished. I just threw on a random (modern) white blouse from the closet for the photo.


The new hem is machine blind-stitched. 


I replaced the zipper with a placket, cut from waste fabric leftover from shortening. Hooks and eyes close the placket.


I might add buttons later to highlight the pockets.



The Challenge: February: Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion – Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning. Turn one thing into another. Re-fit or re-fashion an old gown into something you would wear again. Re-trim a hat for a new outfit, or re-shape a modern hat to be a historical hat. Re-purpose the fabric from an old garment (your own or a commercial one) into a new garment.

 Material: Wool

 Pattern: None

 Year: 1916-18

 Notions: Thread and Hooks & Eyes

 How historically accurate is it? I give it about 80%. The hem is machine stitched, and I am not sure about the inverted pleat detail, but otherwise the material and silhouette work.

 Hours to complete: 3

 First worn: Not yet.

 Total cost: Totally free.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Underwear Review: Combinations vs. Chemise & Drawers

A few months ago, I decided I needed to put a little time into making multiples of basic Victorian undies. A full weekend event would require at least three changes.

For years, I have been a die-hard Combination Underwear fan. Combos are so simple and so trim, without a lot of excess fabric everywhere. I wore chemises and drawers in my early costuming days, and I remember a lot of bunched up, wrinkled fabric under my corset, and the excess length of the chemise always wrapping itself around my legs. Ugh. The combinations were so much comfier.

TV105 - Combination Underwear

Instead of making more combos to fill out my underwear drawer, I wanted to try the chemise and drawers again, so I recently made a pair from Liz Clark's wonderful, draft-to-fit pattern. Read her post and get her free pattern here.


They are made of smooth Pima cotton broadcloth and simply trimmed with lace and a few tucks. The tucks are pretty but their real job is to give the hem weight and support so it hangs well and doesn't get all crumpled up.


Of course, with drawers, you need a chemise. I made this one a couple years ago and only wore it a couple times (because I didn't have drawers, and I didn't always want to go commando).


I made this pattern up. It is hanky-weight linen.


I finally wore these together during the long drive to Pepin a few weeks ago.

I was amazed at how much I loved this set! The drawers didn't bind or chafe, the chemise wasn't too full under the corset. The chemise's neckline yoke kept everything in place - a drawstring would have been more adjustable, but with drawstrings everything moves!

There is also the Bust Containment Effect you get with the bit of chemise above the corset's top edge. I thought my combos were containing everything just fine, and I hate having to eat my words, but the chemise did do a bit better job.

I did still have the feeling of too much chemise around my legs, but I can just make it slightly shorter in the future and I think that will solve it.

I won't be giving up my combos any time soon, but I do plan to make at least one more chemise and drawer set. Yay for lots of undie options!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Embroidered Chambray Skirt

I made this skirt for a display for work. It was a case of instantly falling in love with the fabric and needing to have it, NOW. It's cotton chambray with floral embroidery.


Making a garment as a display for work means I have to use a pattern, and a currently available pattern at that, so people can replicate the display if they want to. I chose McCall's 7439 (view D). It's a very basic gathered skirt pattern with a few options.

To avoid cutting up a lot of the embroidery, I eliminated the center back seam by cutting it on a fold instead, then moved the zipper to the left side seam. Instead of using the belt included in the pattern, I made a sash from coordinating shot cotton from the stash.


There were also huge patch pockets in the pattern. I cut them out, made them smaller, got them ready to sew. . . and then changed my mind. I might go back and add them later, I'm not sure.


I am still unsure about the length. It seems a little bit awkward to me; not quite long enough, not quite short enough. It's possible a petticoat underneath would improve the look.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Historical Sew Monthly 2017 Plans!

I am super excited to join in this year's Historical Sew Monthly! I have never participated before, and honestly I am very glad it's now Monthly instead of Fortnightly. Every two weeks is a bit daunting.

I have some ideas for the next few challenges. I am not necessarily taking "Sew" literally. For me, the challenges might include knitting, beadwork, fake hair creations, or anything else crafty that helps me in my historic dress up journey.

February: Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion – I would love to find a thrift store hat to reshape. Or possibly a thrifted garment to cut apart for salvage. I like being thrifty!

March: The Great Outdoors – My local group has been discussing a Victorian swim event for months. I'd like to finally make a swimming costume! And actually swim in it! (But not in March.)

April: Circles, Squares & Rectangles – I can definitely use another shift, but I will probably use this challenge for shifts and petticoats for my daughter.

After April, I really have no idea what I'll make! Of course I would love to dovetail every single challenge with dresses and events I already have going on. Each challenge is meant to be finished no more than 1 month before the challenge starts, so I have a little wiggle room if I want to complete a challenge for an event.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Historical Sew Monthly 2017 - A White Linen Collar

On a total whim a few days ago, I decided I wanted to participate in the 2017 Historical Sew Monthly.

Since it's already February, that means I am already behind in posting, but I am going to jump in with the January challenge anyway since I sewed it in January (that counts, right?)

January's challenge was Firsts & LastsCreate either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit.

I suppose technically I could use the whole new dress I made for this challenge, but I'd rather focus on just the collar.

Basted-in white collars are so, so common for 1870s and 80s, but up to now I have generally skipped them. When I was making the Plain and Sensible Dress I knew I need a few little details to keep it from being a complete snoozefest. And a collar certainly puts that finishing touch on a bodice for a very period look.

I used a collar from the Truly Victorian collars and cuffs pattern, but modified it slightly to make the points less deep, and to make it fit my dress's neckline more exactly. The fabric is hanky linen leftover from a shift.


Best part: rip it out and wash it!


I want collars for all my dresses now!


The Challenge: Firsts & Lasts – Create either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit.

Material: Handkerchief weight linen/cotton blend

Pattern: Truly Victorian 104

Year: 1870s

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? It has the correct look, patterning, and materials, but I haven't examined originals so I am unsure about the construction.

Hours to complete: About 30 minutes

First worn: Little House Party outing, January 20, 2017

Total cost: Literally pennies