RSS

Category Archives: Historically Inspired

Making an 18th Century “Undress” Costume – The Skirt & Accessories

Today I have the second making of post for my 18th century undress costume to share! I’ll go through making the skirt and matching accessories. If you missed part one, it can be read here, and talks about making the jacket and stomacher.

I originally planned on making the skirt for this costume very simple – three panels of the brown material knife pleated down to fit the waistline. But the more I thought about it, the more concerned I was that it wouldn’t have enough volume. So I decided to make an open front skirt, with a petticoat made from the stomacher fabric underneath. Except I didn’t have enough of the stomacher fabric to make a petticoat. Which meant the dress needed to have a fake open front, which made it way more complicated.

Anyway, step one was measuring from my waist to the floor while wearing the proper foundation garments, which in this case were a *new* bum pad (new year, new bum pad, that’s what I always say) plus a cotton/tulle petticoat. Not accurate, but way lighter than quilted petticoats with less bulk at the waistline.

I wrote down the center front, side front, back front, and center back measurements, then used those to figure out the dimensions of each skirt panel. This was pretty easy to do since they are rectangular, with a sloped waistline.

18th-century-casual-1981

I didn’t take any pictures of the skirt panels in this stage because they were just giant rectangles. But here is how much fabric I had left after cutting them out – I quite literally cut it pretty close!

18th-century-casual-1982

Before doing much with those panels, I cut out and assembled the front panel. This was made from a forty inch wide piece of the woven polyester, with horsehair sewn into the hem to prevent it from rippling in the front.

18th-century-casual-1997

Then I cut out a thirteen inch long strip. The top edge was cut with pinking sheers and left raw, and the bottom edge was turned inward twice and sewn down by hand.

18th-century-casual-1992

I gathered the ruffle by machine, then pinned it to the other panel, an inch above the hem.

18th-century-casual-1998

The ruffle was sewn on by machine as well. Since the ruffle was so dense the stitching wasn’t very visible. The sides of this panel were fraying a lot, so I finished them with bias tape that was sewn on by machine.

18th-century-casual-1999

Now back to work on the brown panels! I cut them so two 40″ wide panels would make up the back. The remaining panel was cut in half, with one half on either side of the ivory panel.

I interfaced the front of these panels with 12″ wide strips of medium weight fusible interfacing, which helped a lot with the shape. However I should have also lined the panels, because the interfacing looks terrible when the front panels flip back (something I struggled with when photographing this costume on a windy day).

The front edge of these panels were folded inward, then I sewed the folded edge to the ivory front panel.

18th-century-casual-2000

I thought this looked okay at first, but it was one of those things that looked worse the longer I left it on my dress form. It was very obvious from certain angles that the skirt was all one piece, rather than an open front gown with an underskirt, which was the effect I wanted.

dsc_2004

See? It was worse on this side for some reason.

dsc_2012

So I ripped out the stitches that secured them together. Then I sewed 20″ wide panels of muslin onto either side of the ivory panel, and evenly gathered the top. This time my plan was securing these panels together at the side seam, which prevents tension from being put on the front edge of the brown panels. Luckily, this worked and I could move forward!

dsc_2015

I turned the top ten inches of the side edges inward by hand, twice, to neatly finish them. This will be the point where the skirt opens.

18th-century-casual-2001

Then I figured out a pleating pattern I liked, and sewed the pieces together with french seams.

dsc_2017

The top portion of the sides were left open, these allow me to get the skirt on and off. I much prefer this to back closures, but it requires costumes with skirted bodices or jackets…otherwise it can look a bit awkward.

dsc_2018

The brown portions of the skirt were hemmed by hand. I turned the hem inward by a half inch, then an inch and a half.

dsc_2019

The finishing touch was binding the top edge of the skirt. I didn’t have enough brown fabric left to make bias tape, so I used the ivory material instead. Not the nicest finished, but it won’t be seen when it’s worn.

dsc_2095

I sewed a single eyelet into each end of the binding (so four in total, two on the back, two on the front) ribbon can be threaded through these to tie the skirt in place.

And here you can also see the back pleating pattern. The pleats on this were very finicky – I spent a lot of time redoing them on the dress form until the looked right.

dsc_2097

That finished up the skirt and jacket! Here it is worn.

dsc_2194resize

But it isn’t done, don’t be silly. Have I made a costume in the last year that doesn’t have some sort of accessory? Why would this be an exception?

Though I couldn’t find a style of hat that would pair well with this, I did find some knitwear accessory inspiration through the designs Claire wears in Outlander (side note; the designer has a really great blog that I would highly recommend). And I just so happened to have an interesting purple knit fabric collecting dust in my stash!

I decided to make a pair of mitts, and a shawl. The mitts were made using a pattern I found online (located here – but it appears to have been taken down), which I would recommend. But if you’re using knit fabric, don’t add seam allowances! That was my one big mistake, parts of it ended up too big.

18th-century-casual-1993

I finished the edges by turning them inward by hand, and left the mitts unlined.

18th-century-casual-1986

18th-century-casual-1985

I wasn’t super happy with how the laid on my hand (probably because I added seam allowance and they looked silly!), so I folded the pointed edge back and sewed it down with a button as decoration. This was actually very common during the time, and a convenient fix for me.

dsc_2091

Next accessory: A shawl, which could also be tucked into the neckline and used as a fichu/neckerchief. This was super easy, I cut it out from a corner of the knit material, then turned the edges inward by a half inch and sewed them down by hand. I didn’t do a rolled hem because this knit was fine enough that it didn’t fray much or unravel (thank god).

In the photos below I used one of my great grandmothers brooches to secure it in place.

dsc_2090

And that’s it! Here is the finished ensemble. I’m very happy with it. I really love the color palette and textures in this project. The fit of the jacket, the drape of the skirt, the embroidery…it all turned out even better than I expected, which is a rare and wonderful thing!

dsc_2179resize

I’ve already photographed this project and have a costume spotlight video filmed that goes into more detail. But it will probably take me a week to get that edited and posted. In the mean time, here is a little teaser.

dsc_2793-copyreszie

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , ,

Making a Grand Pannier

Today I’m talking about 18th century skirt foundations – or more specifically, making a grand pannier.

This post was written as an accompaniment to my video on this project, where I switched between speeded up footage of the process and clips of me talking about how things were progressing as I worked on it. There are way more construction details (and frustrated rants) in that video than in this post, but I wanted to talk about it here too.

I took on this project because I decided mid last year to make an 18th Century court gown. I bought fabrics for it (for a total of $49 for 13 yards – still giddy about that deal) but at the time I had just finished an 1860’s ball gown, and took on an eleborate 1880’s evening gown a few weeks later. So there wasn’t a good time to start on it. Until now.

But before starting I needed to sort out the foundations. And it just so happened that Simplicity – who sell a grand pannier pattern which is a bit famous in the historical costuming community – emailed me and asked if I was interested in any of their patterns. So of course I said yes!

(For the record, I wasn’t encouraged to talk about this pattern and I bought all the other materials myself.)

You can purchase the pattern from their print on demand service here. Or try to find copies of the discontinued tissue paper version, the pattern number is EA363501.

Also for this project I used 5 yards of hot pink broadcloth, 10 yards of 1/4″ hooping steel, satin ribbon, and twill tape.

dsc_2022

I folded my fabric to be four layers thick, then cut out all the required pieces once. It was faster doing this way, but pretty hard on my scissors so I wouldn’t recommend it!

At this point I notched the pieces, but didn’t think to mark the circles or boning channels. I blame not having followed a commercial pattern in years for this oversight.

dsc_2028

I immediately – like, within five minutes got confused about one of the instructions and kind of did my own thing instead.

The pieces were all sewed together with flat felled seams – which was super frustrating. I found the notches extended past the half way point of the seam allowances, so raw edges stuck out and it was really hard to get them even. If I remade this I would definitely add a half inch to each seam, then sew down french seams or do wider flat felled seams. Something to make it a bit easier!

Aside from that, assembly was pretty easy. I found the instructions a bit confusing, but the construction was pretty intuitive when I ignored those.

After everything except for the side seams were sewn, I finally drew the boning channels and other markings onto the pieces. My fabric was thin enough that I could trace the design through the material which made it really easy to do, even this far into the project.

dsc_2041

Then the side seams were done up – as you might be able to tell, the top few inches of the centerfront were left open. This is how you get the pannier on and off.

dsc_2044

Instead of using the recommended bias tape, I made boning channels from twill tape and ribbon since they will be less prone to stretching. I also added a boning channel to the hemline, to give the skirt more support.

dsc_2070

The top edge was finished with bias tape, then I threaded ribbon through the bias tape to gather it down to my waist measurement. I’m not thrilled with this, I find it’s really prone to slipping down in the back, and it’s hard to gather evenly. I might swap it out for a straight waistband with an eyelet front closure in the future.

I also sewed all the ribbons in at this point. These ribbons are sewn just above the boning channels and tied to shape the skirt. The instructions said to do this after the boning was in, but that seemed frustrating so I did it beforehand.

dsc_2076

I boned this skirt with a mixture of things. I mostly used the new hooping steel, but the second boning channel has hooping wire in it, and the third tier has normal steel boning, which I will be swapping out very soon. I misread the material list and didn’t buy enough boning, so I had to compromise.

Also I ranted about this in the video, but feel the need to mention it again. What was commonly used for hoop skirts (hooping wire) was discontinued a year or two ago. It was made from two bands of steel covered with buckram or plastic. It was incredibly strong and supported skirts of any size beautifully. It was also around $1.50/yd.

The only “replacement” I could find was from CorsetMaking.com. They advertised this as a great alternative. No. It’s not. It pretty much sucks. The more I think about it, the more bitter I am. It behaves more like corset steel than hooping wire and is very flimsy. The bottom few bones in this skirt are collapsing a bit in the worn pictures – and that’s without a dress on top of it! I’m really worried that it won’t support the dress, which is frustrating.

It’s also much thinner than hooping wire (.25″ or .29″) and more expensive at $29/$36 for ten yards. I think using two bones per a channel would help, but that means buying more of this ridiculously expensive poorly performing steel.

It would probably be fine for smaller hoop skirts, pocket hoops, lobster tail supports, etc. but I was really disappointed in it’s performance in this skirt. I will try gluing buckram over corset steel, or doubling up the zip ties they use in shipping before buying more.

dsc_2080

Anyway, I carried on despite that annoyance and tied the ribbons to shape the skirt, which worked remarkably well.

dsc_2082

And that’s it! I was originally very happy with the shape of it, but after getting worn photos I’m not as thrilled.

I feel like the top portion should be wider – it’s probably fine for 95% of people, but I’m tall, have broad shoulders, and don’t find the proportions as exaggerated or flattering as I had hoped. I don’t think that’s really fixable at this point, unless the petticoat performs miracles on the amount of volume there!

dsc_2134

I also need to take the bone in the hem in a little, so the overall shape is smoother. But that’s an easy fix.

dsc_2128

Other than that, I really liked this pattern. It wasn’t too difficult to put together and the most challenging parts, like the boning channels and ribbon placement were well marked and easy to transfer onto the fabric. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to make a grand pannier, though I would suggest a few of the alterations mentioned in this post.  Like the additional bone in the hem, extra room in the seams, and twill tape for boning channels instead of bias tape.

dsc_2130

Thanks for reading! I should have another “Making of” post up soon, maybe even tomorrow if I can get it together on time!

 

Making an 18th Century “Undress” Costume – The Jacket

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted. I was busy enjoying a break from social media obligations, but I’m back now and happy to be writing again! I have a ton of projects to talk about – both ones in progress, and ones I completed last year and never wrote about.

But I’m going to start the year off by talking about the first project I’ve completed in 2017: An 18th Century “Undress” Ensemble. It sounds a bit scandalous, but in this case “Undress” is used to refer to informal garments from the 1700’s, rather than anything that goes underneath them.

I decided to start on this after flipping through reference books in search of inspiration. The patterns for “undress” appropriate jackets in Janet Arnold’s  Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses* caught my eye – and a quick search through my stash showed that I had almost everything I needed to make one…plus a matching skirt and some knitwear accessories inspired by Outlander.

dsc_2087

I’m really happy with material selection for this – I used 6 yards of a checked brown and black fabric from the Plaiditudes collection (my favorite), 2 yards of loosely woven polyester, and a yard of purple sweater knit. I don’t think any of these are historically accurate, but I love the textures they have.

I did have to buy two buttons, two yards of interfacing, a yard of muslin, and two packages of embroidery floss (which came to a grand total of $8) but everything else was from my stash.

18th-century-casual-1983

To get started I scanned, then resized the jacket pattern from Janet Arnold’s book and copied it to paper. When doing this I changed the scale from 1″ to 1 1/4″ – which meant my pattern ended up being considerably larger than the original one. This was intentional, since I knew it would be easier to size it down than size it up while trying to preserve the pleats in the skirt.

The end result was way too long waisted for me, but the width was almost perfect. I raised the waistline by an inch, changed the back curve, and added a dart to the bust, but otherwise it was good!

18th-century-casual-1995

Here is the mock up I made. This jacket is meant to be worn with a stomacher, but a pattern for that wasn’t included. So I pinned a piece of cotton to the front of my stays, then drew the shape I thought the stomacher should have onto the cotton.

18th-century-casual-1869

The stomacher was actually the first part of this costume I began work on, and one of the things that attracted me to this project. I was going through hand sewing withdrawal and wanted something I could work on in front of the TV – hand embroidery seemed perfect for that!

I browsed through a lot of stomacher patterns but most were more eleborate than I wanted (and could manage with my meager embroidery skills). So I freehanded my own design that was simpler.

I drew the design right onto my pattern, then scanned it and made a few changes in photoshop. The design was mirrored, then printed out and taped together.

18th-century-casual-1994

wanted to traced the design onto my fabric, which would have made embroidering it way easier. But the weave of the fabric I chose was too loose – pencils didn’t mark it, and ink would spread down the fibers and be visible in the end.

So I used the method I usually use for sequins: Trace the design onto interfacing, then ironing the interfacing onto the back of fabric. I used basting stitches to bring the design to the front, then got to work!

18th-century-casual-1870

I didn’t take any progress shots with my “blogging” camera, but I did post a couple on instagram. I used a split stitch to outline everything, then filled sections in using a satin stitch. I tried to pick colors for this design that had the same level of depth as the purple and brown fabrics I’m using for the rest of the costume.

Here it is finished, right out of the hoop.

18th-century-casual-1950

And after being ironed! I’ve attempted a few embroidery projects before but this is the first one I’ve finished. Considering that, I’m really happy with it. It isn’t as symmetrical as I would like, but the inconsistencies aren’t too major either.

18th-century-casual-1951

I cut the embroidered piece to the right size, then sewed it to canvas and cotton with the right sides facing each other. After turning it the right way out the edges were neatly finished. Plastic boning was inserted between the cotton and canvas to help it sit nicely, then I tacked the layers together by hand.

I added a ruffle to the top edge for a bit of interest, and tabs of ribbon so I can pin it to my stays. And that was it!

18th-century-casual-1974

The rest of the jacket pieces (except for the sleeves…more on those later) were cut from the brown checked fabric. The bodice of the jacket was assembled by machine with half inch seam allowances.

18th-century-casual-1884

The “skirt” of the jacket was hemmed by hand. Looking back I wish I had bag lined with instead – doing those points was fiddly, and this fabric frayed so much that I had to do a double hem. The end result is really bulky and the pleats didn’t set as much as I would have liked.

But in the past I’ve bag lined the bottom of jackets and the lining was visible and looks awful. I guess the answer would be facing the hem with fashion fabric, then sewing lining in…but I didn’t have enough fabric to do that. Sometimes it feels like you can’t win!

18th-century-casual-1883

I ironed the pleats in place and marked the pocket placement with basting stitches.

18th-century-casual-1885

The waist seam was sewn – this should have been easy, but getting the point at the center back symmetrical was a huge chore and still isn’t perfect. After redoing it four times I gave up.

With the skirt on, I turned the front edge and neckline inward and sewed it down by hand.

18th-century-casual-1949

Then the lining was sewn in. The lining is made using the same pattern and made from lightweight cotton. It has two bones at the side seams and center back, along with a bone from the dart at the front down to the waistline. These help support the points at the front and back of the jacket as well as the eyelets.

18th-century-casual-1948

Here it is after all those steps.

18th-century-casual-1947

Next up – the eyelets. Annoyingly I couldn’t find brown thread that matched, so I used black instead. These were sewn by hand.

18th-century-casual-1955

And on to pocket flaps! I traced the pattern onto cotton, then pinned the cotton to my fashion fabric and sewed around the line I traced.

I cut a generous slash in the back so I could turn them the right way out, then topstitched around the edges by hand.

18th-century-casual-1954

Messy on the inside, but the front is what matters, right?

18th-century-casual-1953

I sewed them on over the basting stitches with tiny whip stitches.

18th-century-casual-1956

I really splashed on the buttons for these. They were a whole 60c.

(I bought and sewed these on after finishing the rest of the jacket so you won’t see them in the next few photos)

18th-century-casual-1975

Now it was time for sleeves. I was not excited about these. My instant success with the fit of the jacket did not extend to these – I found the original pattern for them way too wide in the cap of the sleeve, too curved at the elbow, not curved enough at the armscye. They didn’t sit nicely or fit at all.

After a ton of alterations I got something I was happier with. And I freehanded a cuff pattern to go with it.

Originally I was going to make the cuff a different style, but I didn’t have enough fabric for my first choice. And by that point I was too lazy to size the pattern up again just to trace the cuff out so I made something up.

18th-century-casual-1996

Everything was cut out. Then I marked the pintucks onto the top of the sleeves.

18th-century-casual-1958

These were pretty fiddly to do…

18th-century-casual-1959

But offer a smoother alternative to pleats or gathers, which I like.

18th-century-casual-1960

Then the side seams were done up.

18th-century-casual-1963

And I repeated the process with a silky lining. Not accurate, but makes getting a costume on way easier.

18th-century-casual-1962

I sewed these together at the cuff, then turned them the right way out and basted along the top edge.

18th-century-casual-1964

The cuffs were backed with interfacing, then sewn together. I used stitching to make guidelines a half inch away from each edge, then turned these edges inward by hand.

18th-century-casual-1961

I lined the cuffs with a heavyweight twill to help support them.

18th-century-casual-1967

Then I made a ruffle from the same fabric I used for the stomacher. Originally the tops of these were supposed to be visible over the cuffs…but that looked bad.

18th-century-casual-1965

After some trial and error I decided they looked best pinned to the interior of the sleeves. I neglected to finish the top edge before sewing these in place. The end result is hilariously messy. I’m kind of ashamed.

BUT I was an hour away from finishing this costume and really impatient, so I pressed on. I do plan on fixing this later, but it would have been a lot faster to finish them in the moment. I don’t know how my brain gets so excited to spent 15 hours embroidering something but can’t take an extra 10 minutes to neatly finish a raw edge.

18th-century-casual-1968

Luckily it looks nice from the outside.

18th-century-casual-1969

I sewed the sleeves onto the bodice, and that was it!

18th-century-casual-1971

Aside from a few details in the finishing (the point at the back, the hem, the interior of the cuffs…) I’m really happy with this. The fit is pretty great, I can get into it on my own, I love the fabrics, and it’s a bit different from what I usually do.

18th-century-casual-1973

Here is a crappy picture of it worn.

dsc_2114

In case the dirty mirror makes that photo too horrifying to look at – here is a photo of it worn with the skirt!

dsc_2194resize

And that’s it for today! Part two should be up soon, but I have a fabric haul to share first.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your year is off to a good start!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Making a Green Edwardian Gown

This weeks project is one I’ve had roughly planned ever since I saw the first season of Downton Abbey and fell in love with this dress. I love the deep green color, and how elaborate it is while still being simple in design. Back in April I bought four yards of green satin faced chiffon with plans to make something similar.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find an eleborate lace in a matching color, so I decide to make my dress a bit simpler. After some more research I came across this dress, which I really like (especially the lace undershirt and use of black netting), along with these dresses.

The finished dress takes inspiration from all of them – plus some stuff I made up!

dsc_1133-2

I didn’t take any pictures of the drafting process, but the bodice is a simple three panel pattern with darts to shape the back and front. The skirt is also three pieces, with a straight front, flared sides and a bit of gathering at the back.

dsc_0860-2

I cut all the pieces out from a light green polyester charmeuse that I picked up for $4/yd during my shopping trip in Pennsylvania. It was a tight fit, but I managed to get all the pieces cut from the three yards I had.

The skirt panels were sewn together with one inch seam allowances. I left the edges raw, and facing outward since the satin faced chiffon will cover them.

dsc_0870-2

I leveled the hem since it was a bit wonky, then sewed horsehair braid into it to give the skirt a bit more body. I also sewed the darts into the bodice, and the waist seam.

dsc_0873-2

Then I repeated the process with the bodice – here you can see it on the dress form, along with some matching appliques I found on etsy. The darts on this didn’t turn out very well since satin faced chiffon is a pain to sew with, but luckily it wasn’t too noticeable in the end.

dsc_0875-2

I cut the skirt out of satin faced chiffon too, then sewed the pieces together. I trimmed the hem and turned it inward by a half inch, then inward by another half inch to create a rolled hem that was whip stitched in place by hand.

dsc_0897-2

I sewed the chiffon to the charmeuse around the neckline, with the right side of the satin facing the wrong side of the charmeuse. Then I basted the layers together around the arm openings and waistline.

I sewed some black lace around the neckline by hand, then placed the appliques. It took me longer than I would like to admit to get these symmetrical, but I’m happy with the end result.

dsc_0970-2

I should mention that the appliques match the fabric perfectly, but something about the sheen of the chiffon makes it look teal in photos rather than the emerald green it actually is.

(I made sure to confirm this with every member of my family so I know I’m not crazy)

I’ll edit the color balance in worn photos of it if it becomes necessary, but I couldn’t be bothered for the progress photos.

dsc_0971-2

I sewed the appliques on and now it was time for sequins. A couple years ago a follower of my blog (I’m not sure if she would want her name mentioned) was kind enough to send me some beautiful vintage sequins. I’ve used the clear ones on a few projects, but this was the first time I had a project suitable for the black ones.

I can’t even tell you how excited I was to finally work with these – look at all those colors! They are black but shine purple and green, almost like an oil slick effect.

dsc_0975-2

I started off with just a few around the neckline, and some on the sides of the waistband (which is just a gathered rectangle of mesh).

dsc_0976-2

But I quickly came to my senses and realized it needed way more sequins, which led to this!

dsc_1112-2

This shows the sheen of the fabric (and the sequins) a bit better. I think it’s a pretty dreamy combo!

dsc_1094-2

After a fitting I realized the lining was visible below the hem of the satin faced chiffon, so I raised the hem with a horizontal dart a few inches below the waistline. This way I didn’t have to mess with the horsehair braid in the hem.

dsc_0991-2

Speaking of the hem, I decorated it with some green lace that was stitched on by hand (which once again, matches the fabric but doesn’t look that way in photos) and more sequins. The trim had little swirls that were perfect for embellishments.

dsc_1102-2

I sewed the back seam of the charmeuse and satin faced chiffon separately, and left the top eight inches of the skirt open. Then I turned that edge, along with the back edge of the bodice inward by an inch. Then I turned it inward again and whip stitched it down.

The back closes with hooks and bars. I sewed the waistband down to either side of the closure point, and when it’s worn the waistband ties in a bow.

dsc_1100-2

It isn’t the prettiest bow, but it’s still a bow!

dsc_1113-2

Now it was time for sleeves! These are just simple straight sleeves I drafted, then cut from the satin faced chiffon and charmeuse. The hem is finished with black lace, and a doubled band of netting. I embellished the hem with some sequins and finished the top edge with lace binding.

dsc_1116-2

The arm openings of the dress were finished with lace binding too, then the sleeves were sewn on by machine.

dsc_1132-2

There are a few pulls in the sleeves that I’ll have to steam out, but other than that the dress is finished! I really love how it turned out. It’s the elegant, sparkly, simple, edwardian gown I’ve always wanted, and I can’t wait to get photos of it!

dsc_1118-2

The construction isn’t my best, but I don’t think you can tell from the finished dress. I think it’s pretty lovely for a week and a half of work and less than fifty dollars of material!

dsc_1131-2

I intend to wear that dress over a blouse, as inspired by this dress. I don’t think it’s necessary for modesty like it is with that gown, but high lace collars are a big part of the early 1900’s, so I wanted to have the option.

I made this from scraps of silk satin I had leftover from a chemise, and a piece of lace that was slightly larger than a fat quarter. Since I didn’t have enough lace for the whole blouse, I made half of it from muslin, and used lace trim down the center of the sleeves and back.

dsc_1127-2

I don’t think I took any progress photos of this, but it was pretty easy to make. There was just a lot of hand sewing since the lace was sewn to lace trim, then basted to satin.

I used another lace around the cuffs, and added a few sequins for a bit of interest.
dsc_1128-2

The back closes with snaps.

dsc_1130-2

I think they look very pretty together!

dsc_1133-2

To finish off the ensemble I made a headband. I started with a strip of black mesh, then chopped the lace trim I had leftover from the hem into tiny appliques. These were sewn on by hand, with gaps left in between.

dsc_1108-2

I covered the gaps and edges with sequins, then whip stitched the visible netting inward.

dsc_1135-2

And the final touch were some dyed feathers I got in the garment district last year. I glued most of these onto the underside of the headband with E6000.

dsc_1153-2

dsc_1155-2

And that’s it! I haven’t tried all the pieces on together, but I plan to this weekend so I can get photographs of it. It’s so different from the other projects I’ve been working on recently and I adore the end result. Though part of that probably has to do with the materials – emerald green satin faced chiffon and vintage sequins do a lot of the work for you!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Making an 18th Century Robe a la Turque (or something similar), Part One

Last month I finally felt brave enough to revisit a period I always seem to fail at: The 1700’s. The eighteenth century seems to be the favorite of historical costumers, but my attempts never seem to turn out well. In 2014 I devoted October to 18th century projects which ended with two finished dresses that both sucked. Last year I made a more elaborate ensemble, which I like…but the skirts hem is uneven, and I can barely lift my arms when it’s worn.

Earlier this year I had some success with a 1790’s dress, which gave me enough confidence to attempt 18th Century October again. The plan was to complete a Robe a la Turque, and a striped Robe a L’anglaise. I didn’t end up finishing these in October since the month was busier than planned, but I did complete both projects in November! And today I’m going to talk about one of them.

I came up with this design and purchased the fabrics for this back in April. It’s supposed to be a Robe a la Turque, but 18th century garment classification is hard and I haven’t researched it that thoroughly so I’m not sure if this qualifies as one or not. I think it is just a zone front gown, but I’m going to style it like a turque and it has features that were common on them.

DSC_5195

The fabrics I got are very warm in color – orange shantung, iridescent organza, and pink taffeta. I based the color scheme and design on this painting.

All the fabrics are polyester and not particularly accurate to this period

DSC_5229

The first step in making this was creating a pattern, which I draped on my dress form, then transferred to paper. I turned the pattern into a mock up which actually fit pretty well!

dsc_7466-2

I originally cut out and assembled the bodice with a straight waistline. Only after doing this did I realize the back should be pointed. So I did a bit of adjusting, then recut the bodice. This is actually still wrong, the back panels should have continued down to form the skirt, but I didn’t know that until recently.

dsc_7469-2

I cut out the lining from lightweight cotton.

dsc_7470-2

Then from shantung. Everything was assembled with half inch seam allowances, then sewn together with the right sides facing each other. I stitched around each edge by hand.

dsc_7471-2

The very front edges were turned inward by a half inch as well.

dsc_7472-2

And trimmed with piping. I used gold spandex for this piping which was really dumb. I forgot that I have gold brocade that would look better and be more accurate.

dsc_7473-2

I wanted to add interest to the front of the bodice, so I sewed on some glittery organza ribbon.

dsc_7474-2

Then I outlined the ribbon in sequins. And this is where I abandoned the project and chose to focus on my Civil War Era dress instead (this was months ago) since it seemed weird having two very detailed projects in progress at once.

dsc_9275-2

I resumed work on this at the end of September, where the first thing I did was cut out the overskirt. This was cut from the same shantung as the bodice.

dsc_9284-2

I turned the edges inward by machine.

dsc_9288-2

Then made a TON of piping and sewed that onto the edges.

dsc_9283-2

The reason I did all of that by machine is because the edges will be covered with puffed trim. I made the puffed trim from strips of organza that had the edges ironed inward. I left the wrong side facing up since I like the texture it has.

dsc_9280-2

The trim was created by gathering and sewing down the organza every inch. I’m going to make a tutorial on the process in the future, but “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” covers the process nicely (I reviewed that book here).

To make it a bit more interesting I sewed three sequins above each puff. This process went surprisingly quickly, I had it done in a few days (while also working on other things) and zoomed through it while watching TV.

dsc_0648-2

The top edge was gathered down and that finished the overskirt!

dsc_0650-2

As much as I like the detail work on this, I really regret not taking more time to shape it. I cut the train in a bit of a rush and didn’t realize how ridiculously long it was until after finishing all the detail work. And at this point it was too late to cut it. I’m really hoping it will look less silly when it’s worn.

dsc_0651-2

I worked on this project a bit backwards, and I’m blogging about it in the same order as I constructed it. Which means now it’s time to talk about the petticoat/underskirt which can be seen above.

This is a relatively simple garment, made from rectangles that are gathered and sewn together. But it took me a month of on and off work to finish between the other things I had going on. By the time I finally finished it I was so sick of looking at it that I stuffed it in my closet.

I made the lower portion first, which will eventually form a ruffle. This was made from strips of striped organza sewn together, which was then sewn to taffeta to give it the opacity needed.

dsc_9289-2

dsc_9292-2

Both edges were hemmed, then I gathered the ruffle down to half its length. I did this by machine at first but didn’t love how it looked, so I did it again by hand.

dsc_0581-2

The upper portion of the skirt is also made from rectangles. The front panel was cut entirely from taffeta and organza, but I didn’t have enough left for the back panels. So I cut them partially from cotton, which is hidden by the overskirt when the costume is worn.

dsc_0580-2

After sewing the side seams for the upper panels I topstitched the ruffle onto the bottom edge.  Now it was time for even more puffed trim. I made, and sewed the trim all the way across the point where the ruffle was gathered.

Then I roughly pinned the skirt to my dress form, which made me realize the front was too long.

dsc_0586-2

I ended up cutting the waistline on a slope, and raised the front by three inches.

dsc_0620-2

I left the front ten inches of the waistline smooth, which makes the front of the skirt flat, and gathered the rest down until the top edge measured twenty eight inches.

dsc_0623-2

I turned the top few inches of the back edge inward twice, by hand, to prevent it from fraying. I left this portion open so I could get the skirt on and sewed the rest of back edge into a french seam.

The waistband is another rectangle. The top edge of the skirt is tucked between its layers to hide any raw edges, and it closes with three hooks and bars.

dsc_0641-2

Was it worth a month of work? Probably not. But I do like how it turned out, the fabrics for this project make everything look so pretty!

dsc_0814-2

And that’s it for this post! The bodice beginnings, a skirt, and an overskirt, how exciting. The next post will show the completed bodice, the process of making sleeves, and making a matching headpiece.

Thanks for reading!

 

1830’s Plaid Pleated Dress, Photos

Today I have another set of photos to share. Much like the last photos I posted, these have an autumn theme and were taken in a pumpkin patch. I thought it would be make the perfect lighthearted backdrop for a wacky dress like this one, and it did not disappoint!

This was my first time having the whole ensemble on and I was pretty pleased with it – everything fit and was really comfortable. I was a bit concerned the petticoat would show, or that the bonnet would slip around, but neither of those were an issue.

I paired this with my regency stays that I made ages ago, and my “Victorian“* boots. Neither are particularly accurate to this period but helped achieve the silhouette I wanted. I talk more about the petticoats and the construction of this costume in these posts:

Post 1: The Bodice

Post 2: The Sleeves, Skirt, and Bonnet

Before getting into the photos I wanted to mention my last post, where I reviewed a bunch of costume reference books. If you’re interested in any of them this is the time to buy! Amazon has $10 off book purchases, and Barnes & Noble has 15% off your order, which makes the price of those pretty inspiration books a bit easier to manage!

Now onto the photos!

1830s_finished_resize-0126

1830s_finished_resize-0238

1830s_finished_resize-0216

1830s_finished_resize-0345

1830s_finished_resize-0264

1830s_finished_resize-0279

1830s_finished_resize-0522

1830s_finished_resize-0107

1830s_finished_resize-0550

And some muddy boots after a long morning! Luckily none got on the dress.

1830s_finished_resize-0541

And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2016 in 19th century, Completed Costumes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Plaid, Pleats, and Piping – Making an 1830’s Dress, Part Two

This post is about making the sleeves, skirt, and bonnet for an 1830’s ensemble. I posted about making the bodice for this project a few months ago but didn’t finish the ensemble until last week!

I looked at a lot of sleeve examples from the 1830’s but finally decided on something a little silly that would let the plaid really shine – shirring.

I sketched a few designs but ended up making the the sleeves with four portions – two shirred upper portions separated by piping, a loose puffed portion, and the cuff.

The first step was cutting out four sixty inch wide strips. Then I used the lines in the plaid as a guide for gathering the strips down.

plaid-8702

This was very time consuming to do. Each sleeve had seven rows of gathering – that’s 420″ of fabric that had to be gathered down, and that’s just for one sleeve!

plaid-8703

Then I sewed piping onto the bottom edge of each piece.

plaid-8910

The second shirred panel was sewn on, just below the piping.

plaid-8911

Then I trimmed the top of the sleeves so they would fit the armscye.

plaid-8912

The third portion of the sleeves we large rectangles. I turned the bottom few inches of the side edge inward to hide the raw edges, then gathered the top and bottom edges. The top edge was gathered to the width of the shirred panels, and the bottom edge to the width of the cuffs.

plaid-8925

They were sewn on to the shirred panels.

plaid-8926

Then the top portion of the sleeves were lined with cotton to hide the raw edges.

plaid-8928

The cuffs are interfaced rectangles of cotton with the edges ironed inward. Then I sewed piping onto each edge.

plaid-8929

I used whip stitches for this, so the stitching wouldn’t be visible.

plaid-8930

The cuffs were sewn onto the sleeves by hand, with more whip stitches.

plaid-8931

Then lined with cotton. The fabric is lightweight enough that even when gathered down this densely it doesn’t add much bulk to the seam.

plaid-8932

I did up the side seam, then covered the raw edges with plaid bias tape.

plaid-8933

The final step was sewing two hooks and bars into each cuff.

plaid-8934

I sewed the sleeves on by hand, with slip stitches, and then the bodice was complete! I’m pretty happy with this. At first I thought the plaid was too busy, and the shirring looked odd with the pleating, but I got over that and now I think it’s wonderful.

plaid-8939

plaid-8941

plaid-8942

I didn’t take very many photos of making the skirt since I made it in two hours the night before we photographed this project. But it’s pretty easy to explain since the skirt is just a large rectangle!

I turned the hem inward by a half inch, then inward again by two and a quarter inches. I used a cross/catch stitch for this, and I have a tutorial on the process that can be watched here!

dsc_0563

The top edge was pleated with knife pleats. I originally had the waistline being straight, but after a fitting I realized it was too long in the front. I cut the waistline on an angle so it was two inches shorter in the front than in the back, which leveled the hem.

Then I sewed on the waistband – this was done by machine to save time.

dsc_0561

The back edges were turned inward twice to form a finished edge. Then I sewed hooks and bars in. The back seam was done up with a french seam.

dsc_0562

And that was it for the skirt! I hemmed it to sit nicely over a single cotton and tulle petticoat, along with a weird bum pad I made for an 1880’s dress. This caused it to flare out a bit in the back which wasn’t uncommon in the 1830’s.

dsc_0827

The final piece for this project is a bonnet. I used this as my main reference image and pinned paper onto a wig head until It had the shape I wanted.

dsc_9048

I transferred that onto a new sheet of paper and cleaned up the edges. Then I cut the pattern out from heavyweight interfacing.

dsc_9049

I sewed wire into the edges of each piece, then covered them with velvet.

dsc_9064

The cap portions of the bonnet were lined with scraps of silk taffeta, then sewn together by hand.

dsc_9067

I lined the brim with bright orange silk shantung, which matches the piping on the dress.

dsc_9068

It was sewn in with whip stitches, then sewn onto the cap!

dsc_9097

I’m pretty happy with how the shape turned out, and I love these materials together.

dsc_9096

Since the dress is so wacky I decided to keep the bonnet somewhat simple. It’s decorated with strips of orange silk that form a criss cross pattern with a bow in the back and ends that fall at either side. These can be used as ties, but the bonnet stays in place thanks to a comb pinned into the back of the brim.

hats-and-headdresses-resized-2-of-26

I should have photos of the finished ensemble up soon – we took some in a pumpkin patch, which made a nice backdrop for this fun dress. I just have to finish editing them!

Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

1890’s Day Dress, the “Pumpkin” Gown, Photos

Today I have some photos of my completed Orange Taffeta Dress to share! We photographed it in it’s natural habitat – a pumpkin patch!

These aren’t my favorite costume photos (I probably prefer last years) but I’m just happy we got some that were usable. The day we photographed this it was insanely windy to the point where the dress wouldn’t lay out properly. And since it was so difficult to control the dress I wasn’t comfortable walking in the dusty or potentially muddy areas, which left us with limited background options.

Luckily we managed to get a few I really like – though I would like to get more photos of it in calmer weather in the future, it has a lovely silhouette when it isn’t being battered by wind!

Construction notes about this dress and hat can be found here, here, and here. It was worn over a steel boned 1880’s style corset which was made from a pattern from “Corsets & Crinolines” by Norah Waugh. The skirt is supported by two petticoats that were taken up by three inches the night before this shoot so they would sit properly underneath the skirt. I also wore it with these boots* – you can’t see them in the photos, but they made me feel more authentic which has to count for something.

Now onto the photos!

1890-orange-9734

1890-orange-9731

This one is my favorite. I love how the light catches the feather, and the waistline makes me feel better about how uncomfortable the stupid corset was!

1890-orange-9780

1890-orange-9754

The abundance of “looking off into the distance” shots has to do with it being really sunny and that being the only way I could fully open my eyes.

1890-orange-9767

1890-orange-9776

1890-orange-9536

And that’s it! Thanks for reading – a new “Making of” post should be up tomorrow!

 
14 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2016 in 19th century, Completed Costumes

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Making an 1890’s Day Dress, the “Pumpkin” Gown, Part Three

It has taken me longer than expected to write this, but I finally have the last “Making of” post about my orange 1890’s dress to share!

Part one can be seen here and shows the making of the bodice. Part two is posted here and focuses on the sleeves. This post will be about the skirt and some of the finishing details. I didn’t take a lot of photos of these steps but hopefully I took enough for it to make sense!

Since I was unhappy with my previous 1890’s skirt attempt I decided to use a pattern for this one. I once again referenced 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns *, using the pattern from one of the ladies street costumes. Of course I altered it to match my measurements, but the shaping of the pieces is the same.

Here is the finished pattern. The side and back pieces were both cut out twice and the front panel (the narrowest one) was cut on a folded edge of the material.

pumpkin-dress-8492

After cutting it out from the material I assembled the pieces with french seams and roughly pinned them onto my dress form.
I was originally a bit disappointed by the slim silhouette since SO much fabric went into this skirt, but I liked the shape enough to stick with it.
pumpkin-dress-8404

I turned the top few inches of the back edge inward twice, so the raw edge was hidden. Then I sewed the edge down. I left this portion of the skirt open and sewed the rest of the back seam normally.

pumpkin-dress-8402

Then I gathered the back of the skirt by hand.

pumpkin-dress-8405

The silhouette looked a bit fuller after this, which I was happy with. However I was not happy with the length of this skirt, it’s a whole inch shorter than I had envisioned. There was no room to do the pretty hem I wanted.

pumpkin-dress-8406

To make things even more annoying, the back was too long and had to be cut down.

pumpkin-dress-8407

I had to scrap my ideas for a one inch rolled hem and chose to face the hem with some suiting instead. I sewed this on with a quarter inch seam allowance to keep the hem as long as I could.

I don’t think this was a bad idea, but I should have used a lighter (or stiffer) fabric. This one didn’t iron smoothly and the hem ended up looking puckered even though I was very careful when sewing it. It bothers me to the point that I plan on redoing it soon, which is pretty drastic for me!

pumpkin-dress-8420

After hemming the skirt I sewed loops and buttons onto the top portion of the back seam to keep the opening I left closed. I’m not sure where my pictures of that went, but the process was identical to adding buttons and loops to the sleeves.

Then  I sewed the bodice onto the skirt with the wrong sides facing each other, so the raw edges are on the outside.

pumpkin-dress-8577

 I covered the raw edges with a waistband that has a pleat running horizontally across it to add interest. It was originally supposed to be gathered but that didn’t look very nice so I pleated it instead!

pumpkin-dress-8602

The final touch was adding a matching modesty panel to the back to hide the foundation garments that were peeking out from the loops the last time I tried it on.

This is just a rectangle with the edges whip stitched inward, then it was whip stitched to the lining.

pumpkin-dress-8598

And that was it! Here is the back all done up. Not historically accurate, but I love the buttons and how far down they extend.

pumpkin-dress-8604

Here is the front.

pumpkin-dress-8601

A close up of the brooch~

pumpkin-dress-8603

And pictures of it on the dress form – keep in mind that it doesn’t really fit my dress form, the silhouette is a lot more dramatic when I wear it over a corset.

There is also a bit of petticoat peeking out since the hem was shorter than I had planned. Even though I was annoyed by this, it was kind of a blessing in disguise since it forced me to shorten my petticoats which were all way too long.

Overall I really like this dress. I’m so happy with the fit, and how light it is. The fabric is beautiful and was wonderful to work with – even though the color isn’t my favorite, I like how striking it is. And the button details make me so happy.

The only thing I don’t like is the hem, but I’m confident that can be fixed.

pumpkin-dress-8722

pumpkin-dress-8716

pumpkin-dress-8723

With the dress discussion done, it’s time to talk about the hat! I’m not the biggest fan of hats from the 1890’s since I feel like they are out of proportion with the full sleeves. I looked through a lot of references and couldn’t find anything inspiring (except for the ones with birds on them…but one bird hat is enough for me, or at least for this year).

At least until I came across this fashion plate – I’m not sure where this is from or if it was even drawn in the 1890’s, but I love how different it is. It’s like a twentieth century bicorne.

I made the base from interfacing.

pumpkin-dress-8514

I bound the seams by hand, then sewed wire into the edges.

pumpkin-dress-8517

I made a cap from interfacing too. The cap was covered with brown silk and lined with cotton, then sewn to the brim.

pumpkin-dress-8591

The brim is covered with brown silk as well, and lined with some leftover orange material.

pumpkin-dress-8590

For decoration I used a peach ostrich feather across the top.

pumpkin-dress-8607

And the side is decorated with fake roses, leaves, and some small brown feathers.

pumpkin-dress-8605

It can be worn in a variety of ways – with the feather facing the front, or either side. I ended up wearing it like this and pinning a comb into the cap to keep it in place.

And speaking of hats, I wanted to take a minute to mention the video I made about all my hats. It shows them in detail, along with how they look worn and a bit about the construction process/period they come from. If you like hats, you might enjoy it! It can be watched here.

hats-and-headdresses-resized-5-of-26

And I think that’s it for this post! The dress is done, the hat is done, and so are all the things that go underneath them. I’ve already photographed this project (in its natural habitat, a pumpkin patch) and as soon as I get done editing  I will post them too!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Making a 1920’s Inspired Coat, Part One

It’s been a few weeks, but I think I’m back to my normal blogging schedule! I took on a commission that ate up two weeks of time, and have spent the last week trying to prepare videos for the next two months. Which hasn’t left me with a lot of time or enthusiasm for writing. But I do want to get back on track, and I’m starting by talking about my plan for a winter coat!

I really like making jackets and coats, so it seemed appropriate to make myself one that I could wear on a regular basis. But to make it more interesting I decided to base it off of designs from a period I haven’t explored much before – the 1920’s. A while back I came across this post, and fell in love with some of the designs in the Bellas Hess catalogue. I used those as inspiration and will be incorporating a lot of the detailing into my jacket, I just slimmed the silhouette by a lot to make it more flattering.

brown-jacket-9-of-30

For this project I’m using a faux wool flannel from Joanns, I like the texture and weight of this a lot.

brown-jacket-5-of-30

I also bought a fun flannel for the lining, and a polyester silky lining for the sleeves and front panels (to make the jacket easier to get on, and to avoid bulk).

brown-jacket-6-of-30

Then on etsy I found these beautiful vintage buttons – they are a bit smaller than I wanted, but I love the design too much to care. They are a rich orange color, with copper stars on the front. I paid seven dollars for sixteen. The seller doesn’t have any more listed, but they have some other neat ones and they are way cheaper than buying carded buttons in store!

brown-jacket-12-of-30

I draped the pattern the way I usually do. This was my first time (successfully) draping an asymmetrical pattern, so that was interesting! The only things I knew about drafting asymmetrical jackets were from this book*…but they involve a lot of darts, and are very fitted, so it didn’t prove to be very helpful. But I eventually figured it out!

brown-jacket-1-of-30

After draping I transferred the pieces to paper to create a pattern.

brown-jacket-4-of-30

I worked on the collar first since it’s the most striking part of this design. The collar is made from four pieces (two on each side) with an additional four pieces cut out for lining. Both the top layer of the collar, and the lining were cut from the faux wool.

brown-jacket-8-of-30

Then I backed the pieces with interfacing, which was cut to sit half an inch away from each edge.

brown-jacket-7-of-30

All the pieces were sewn together. In this state it has the shape of a giant dead moth. Glamorous. 

brown-jacket-16-of-30

Then I pinned the top layer and lining together, making sure all the points lined up.

brown-jacket-17-of-30

I sewed the pieces together with a quarter inch seam allowance, then turned it the right way out.

brown-jacket-22-of-30

It’s such a crazy shape, I love it. Here you can see the back of it on my dress form.

brown-jacket-21-of-30

Now onto the bodice portion! I started by cutting everything out, and adding interfacing to the panel that will overlap the other.

brown-jacket-10-of-30

Then I sewed all the pieces together.

brown-jacket-11-of-30

And the same process with the lining. As you can see the back portion of the lining is cut from printed flannel, and the front portions from silky lining to avoid excess bulk. I cut the very front of one side of the lining from the faux wool, just in case a bit of the lining is visible after it’s all put together.

brown-jacket-14-of-30

Then I pinned those layers together across the neckline, arm openings, and front edge. I sewed around those edges as well.

brown-jacket-15-of-30

I pinned around the arm openings.

brown-jacket-18-of-30

Then topstitched across those edges with brown thread.

brown-jacket-23-of-30

Around this point my buttons arrived, and I loved them soo much that I decided to topstitch the jacket with thread that matched them. This was a great idea in theory, but I have a machine made for lightweight fabric. And when I work with many layers of heavy fabric, it has the tendency of skipping stitches (even after changing the needle and making new bobbins).

By the time I remembered this I was already too invested in the process. But the skipped stitches look really bad. I’ll either have to fix them by hand or come to terms with how it looks 😦

brown-jacket-24-of-30

The topstitching runs across the front edges of the jacket and the edges of the collar.

brown-jacket-28-of-30

With that done I gathered the front panels of the jacket.

brown-jacket-25-of-30

Then sewed on the waistband. I topstitched it on with one row of stitching, but I think I’ll add another row later so it matches the topstitching on the rest of the jacket.

And I sewed the shoulder seam up with a french seam.

brown-jacket-26-of-30

Here it is pinned on my dress form with the buttons (roughly) in place. I want to move them closer together, but my inspiration coats don’t have many buttons. Then again, they have much larger buttons so the proportion is different. I’m going to wait until the rest of the coat is done before deciding for sure.

brown-jacket-27-of-30

Then the collar was sewn on by hand, with heavy duty thread and a whip stitch. It still needs closures and sleeves, but the top of this coat is done! I reached this stage a couple weeks ago but have been too busy to make more progress since then. I’m hoping I’ll have time to finish it this week since I want to start wearing it already!

brown-jacket-29-of-30

And the back. I love the collar soo much.

(aside from that damn topstitching)

brown-jacket-30-of-30

If you’re interested I also have a video showing this process, it can be watched here, or down below depending on your browser/email settings!

And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , , ,