RSS

Category Archives: 18th century

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 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!

 

1790’s Round Robe, Photos

It’s been a long time since i’ve had a post devoted to finished photos of a costume! But this weekend I got two costumes photographed, and last month I got two other projects photographed. So I should have lots of photos to share soon – I just have to get them edited first!

These photos are of my 1790’s Round Robe based on one of Norah Waugh’s patterns. The pattern gave me quite a bit of trouble and I ended up being unhappy with the shape of the bodice. But I kept going and now that it’s finished I quite like the ensemble.

It’s made from several yards of striped pale yellow cotton, with a front panel made from a sheer curtain. The bodice (and back of the skirt) is lined with muslin. The skirt closes at the front front with a drawstring and the bodice closes with hooks and snaps.

I paired the dress with some fake pearls and a straw hat that I altered, lined, and trimmed to make it more period appropriate.

I have to posts about making this dress, which can be read here, and here if you’re interested.

Now onto the photos!

Yellow Dress Resize 1

Yellow Dress Resize 9

Yellow Dress Resize 8

Yellow Dress Resize 10

Yellow Dress Resize 11

Yellow Dress Resize 2

Yellow Dress Resize 3

Yellow Dress Resize 5

Yellow Dress Resize 4

Yellow Dress Resize 6

And that’s it!

 

Tags: ,

Making a Yellow Striped 1790’s Round Robe, Part Two

Making a Yellow Striped 1790’s Round Robe, Part Two

This is the second (and final) post about making my 1790s Round Robe, based on a pattern from Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930*. I posted about my struggles with making the bodice here, and today i’m writing about making the sleeves, skirt, and matching hat. Luckily those parts gave me way less trouble than the bodice!

The sleeves were kind of confusing. As mentioned in my previous post the pattern for these was weird. The lining pattern was a completely different shape and size, with much smaller cuffs than the sleeve pattern. Yet there was no gathering marked on the sleeve pattern that indicated they could be sewn together.

So I decided to ditch the lining pattern.  I cut the sleeve pattern from the striped yellow fabric and sewed them together with half inch seams. I “finished” the interior edges with fray check since I forgot to add enough room to do french seams (oops). Then I finished the cuffs off with bias tape.

1790s Yellow-7419

The top edges were also finished with bias tape, though I was a bit sloppier and attached this by machine since it won’t show.

1790s Yellow-7436

I pinned the sleeves to the underarm of the bodice first.

1790s Yellow-7461

Then I gathered the tops until the fit nicely in the sleeve cap.

1790s Yellow-7462

The sleeves were sewn on with slip stitches, and later reinforced with running stitches that were sewn a quarter inch away from the edge.

1790s Yellow-7465

Now it was time for the skirt! It was kind of unclear on the pattern whether the total width of the skirt was eighty inches, or if the back panels were eighty inches and the front panel/visible petticoat was an unmentioned width. I like full skirts so I chose to go with the latter…plus an extra twelve inches to make it more proportional to my height.

(and because I like full skirts)

I cut two forty six inch wide panels, then sewed them together with a single french seam. I cut the hem on an angle so it’s a few inches longer at the back than at the front. And I also rounded off the corners.

The hem was turned inward by a half inch with basting stitches.

1790s Yellow-7475

Then inward once again to hide the raw edges. This time I sewed it in place with whip stitches.

1790s Yellow-7476

The back is pleated with double box pleats. I really like double box pleats, they nicely distribute fabric and aren’t as bulky as gathers or as finicky as normal pleats. Here was the “pleat sheet” that I followed.

1790s Yellow-7484And marked onto the top edge of my fabric.

1790s Yellow-7477

Here it is pleated down.

1790s Yellow-7478

And laid out flat.

1790s Yellow-7479

I sewed across the top, then pinned it to the waistline of the bodice. I left all the pins in the pleats until after the skirt was sewn on.

1790s Yellow-7480

It was sewn on with whip stitches and now I had something that looks like this!

1790s Yellow-7536

I’m pretty sure a dress like this would have been worn over a petticoat that was visible from the front of the gown. But I didn’t have a petticoat that was pretty enough (or high waisted enough) for that to work. So I chose to add a front panel.

1790s Yellow-7540

The front panel is made from a rectangle of a sheer curtain from ikea (which is roughly fifty inches wide) and a rectangle of muslin (forty-ish inches wide) that are sewn together with french seams. The back portion will be gathered and sewn in place but the centermost thirty inches of the curtain fabric gather down with a draw string.

On the top edge I marked the center point. Then I put two pins fifteen inches away from the center point in either direction.

1790s Yellow-7482

Ribbon is sewn over the 15″ marks, then tucked into a channel (which was actually the hem of the curtains). The ribbons poke out at the center point and can be pulled and tied to gather the material down.

1790s Yellow-7483

After doing this I hemmed the skirt – I ended up hemming this again because it was an inch two long.

1790s Yellow-7537

The portions of the top edge that don’t have a drawstring were gathered down by machine.

1790s Yellow-7539

Then it was sewn into the waist of the skirt. As you can see the muslin panel is at the back of the skirt – it adds width to the hem of the front panel which makes it hang nicely, but isn’t visible when the dress is worn.

I’d planned on posting photos of the process of getting into this dress since it looks a big confusing, but it’s actually really easy! The dress can be stepped into, then arms go into the sleeves and the drawstring on the skirt is pulled until it’s tight it sits above the waistline. The “lining” of the bodice hooks together overtop of the skirt and keeps in place. Then the snaps/hooks on the bodice are done up and that’s it!

1790s Yellow-7541

The headpiece for this costume was really easy. I’m not a huge fan of the popular turban headdresses from the 1790s (though I plan on making one for a different project) so I decided to make a hat instead. My usual methods of interfacing and wire seemed to heavy for such a summery dress, so I bought a cheap straw hat from Michaels.

1790s Yellow-7564

I made a TON of alterations to it (I filmed a tutorial of the process, which can be watched here if you’re interested) like lowering the sides, narrowing the brim, and reshaping the crown to make it more appropriate for an 18th century costume.

I also lined the hat with a scrap of the ikea curtains and trimmed it with a ribbon and bow made from leftovers of the yellow fabric. The final touch was a feather and some flowers. It isn’t perfectly accurate, but for less than ten bucks of materials and an hour of time i’m pretty pleased with it!

yello3-7573

Here is the finished ensemble. Though I don’t love how this dress looks from the front (my frustrations with the volume placement mentioned in the post about making the bodice still stand) I like the silhouette from the side a lot. And the color scheme makes me happy – I don’t usually make light or summery dresses, so it’s a nice change.

It’s paired with a cheap blonde wig and a long strand of pearls from Kohl’s. Last minute I decided to stick a petticoat underneath it the dress – just a small quilted petticoat that has an eighty inch circumference and pleated waist, which added a lot to the shape of the dress.

And that’s it! More photos of it finished will follow this post later today.

Yellow Dress Resize 2

Yellow Dress Resize 4

Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , ,

Making a “Simple” Yellow Striped 1790’s Round Robe

I’m not sure how interesting this post will be – I took a lot of photos of the process, and have a lot to say about making this, but the garment itself is kind of boring. But it’s my most recent project, and i’m in the mood to write about it, so here we go!

Last week I decided to start on something new. I had just finished a few projects and wanted to make something simple before starting on the complicated projects I have planned (like the 18th century gown mentioned in this post, and an 1880s bustle dress).

During a clearance sale I picked up eight yards of striped yellow fabric (reduced down to less than two dollars a yard!) which seemed perfect for this season and a simple project. I browsed a few blogs for inspiration and eventually came across a scanned pattern from Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930* which depicts a “Round Robe” from the 1790s.

I don’t own the book this pattern comes from, but i’ve heard nothing but good things about it and frequently reference another pattern book by Norah Waugh, which is called Corsets and Crinolines*. So I had high hopes that this pattern would be easy enough to follow, and within a few days I would have a lovely summer dress.

Spoiler alert, that didn’t happen!

I resized the pattern in photoshop, then traced it onto newsprint. The pattern and reference photo i’m using can be seen here, on this blog. I added seam allowances to the pieces and made the bodice panels slightly wider. I also lengthened all the bodice panels by an inch and a quarter so it wouldn’t be as high waisted.

DSC_7380

This is when I encountered pattern problem number one. The sleeve lining pattern was significantly shorter than the sleeve pattern, and a completely different shape. This is sometimes done with puffed sleeves to help hold their shape, but these are straight sleeves that wouldn’t require that. And since the lining was so much shorter, I couldn’t see how the sleeves would be sewn together…which makes me wonder why you would have a different pattern for lining at all.

Not to mention that the sleeves were weirdly long compared to the sketch shown on the pattern. I took more than an inch off of each pattern just to make them look right. I also made the cuffs wider and let them out at the shoulder.

At this point I probably should have realized the pattern might have some issues and made a mock up…but I didn’t do that.

DSC_7381

I cut out the back panel, sewed the darts, and marked all the pleats with stitching.

DSC_7384

The pleats were ironed, the pinned in place and sewn down by hand.

DSC_7390

The pleated panel is supposed to sit overtop a layer of lining, which looks like this…

DSC_7386

But the lining was too big to match up with the pleated panel, so I took it in by a half inch.

DSC_7391

Then a bunch of things happened. I sewed on the straps, and stitched the pleated panel onto the back. I tried to finish the arm holes with lace tape, then turn them inward, but that was a disaster. The fabric had too much tension on it and puckered horribly. I ended up cutting the lace off and attempting to use bias tape as a facing.

DSC_7393

That didn’t look great either, but it was better, so I moved forward and used more bias tape to turn the top edge inward. Then I did a fitting and it was bad. I mean considering I didn’t make a mock up it was okay, but it was pretty uncomfortable at the shoulder, and the arm openings were too tight so they dug into my skin.

Plus the thing looked messy as hell. I wasn’t very excited to wear this or proud of how it was coming along.

DSC_7395

DSC_7396

So I started over! Step one was making some pattern alterations. I cut down the arm opening and decided to sew the straps on with smaller seams (giving me an extra inch of room). I also let the sides out slightly and cut my seam allowances down to a half inch instead of three quarters of an inch. This makes changing the fit more difficult, but it should make the fabric less prone to puckering around curved edges.

DSC_7397

This time I constructed things a bit differently. The straps were sewn onto the lining layer right away.

DSC_7398

And I cut a layer of lining for the…uh, lining layer. Which totally makes sense.

DSC_7399

These were sewn together with the right sides facing each other. Then I clipped the curved edges and turned it the right way out. I sewed around each edge with running stitches to prevent the lining from showing (the stitching around the neckline was done by machine, the rest by hand).

The end result was so much better. It looks clean and none of the edges were fraying or puckering like they were on my first attempt!

DSC_7400

I remade the pleated panels using the same method as the first time.

DSC_7401

But I finished the edges of this separately from the edges of the lining. The top and side edges were ironed inward by a half inch, and the curved edges were finished with facings.

DSC_7402

I sewed across the edges by hand and gave the piece a good iron.

DSC_7403

I sewed the front edge of this panel onto the guideline marked on Norah Waugh’s pattern – this was done with slip stitches. But I left the curved and back edges pinned, they won’t be sewn on until after the strap is secured (which I did much earlier on my first attempt but regretted since it made the bodice much harder to work on).

DSC_7404

The bottom edge was finished with bias tape to prevent fraying. Here you can see the front.

DSC_7405

And the back. My pleated panels were a different size from the lining on this attempt as well, so I had to add darts to the lining once again, which you can see on the interior.

DSC_7406

The lining was almost done at this point so I moved onto the overlay for the front panels. These were hemmed by hand with the help of lace tape, and are pleated at the shoulder.

DSC_7407

Once I pinned them in place for a test fitting I ran into a little problem…they were way too short. Since I’d made the strap longer without altering these (they were cut out before I decided to start over) I knew they might be off by a little bit, but one side was off by an inch and the other was off by almost two inches!

DSC_7409

Attempt number two! I made these longer at the hem and let them out at the shoulder. I also decided to make them a bit wider since i’d let out the bodice pattern slightly. Then hemmed them, folded the side edges inward, and pleated the shoulder. This time they were the right length once pinned in place.

DSC_7414

I sewed hooks and bars into the lining before attaching the front panels. The bodice was a bit large in the bust so I sewed the bars in on an angle – the end result doesn’t look very nice, but it works just fine.

DSC_7410

I gathered the bottom edge of the front panels slightly (as shown on the pattern) then pinned them to the lining for a fitting. I’d planned on gathering the panels along the entire length of the hem, but after my fitting I realized that wouldn’t be possible since it caused the top edge to ripple horribly.

DSC_7416

Since I couldn’t gather them down the way I wanted, I had to cut off TONS of fabric from both panels (you can see the pencil marks in this photo).

DSC_7417

I gathered the panels a little bit more, then cut the bottom edges and finished them with bias tape. When I look at the pattern now I think the front panels should have been sewn to the skirt before being sewn to the lining (and then they gather down together with a drawstring…or something?) but it isn’t entirely clear, so maybe I did it right.

DSC_7422

Here is the interior of these panels.

DSC_7423

The panels are pinned so they look like this…

DSC_7426

I sewed the bottom portion down with slip stitches which are pretty much invisible.

DSC_7428

And the top portion is sewn down with large whip stitches.

DSC_7427

Now the bodice looked like this!

DSC_7430

The left side of the bodice secures to the lining with two snaps.

DSC_7425

And the other side hooks in place.

DSC_7433

Now I finally did up the shoulder seam – this was done with the wrong sides facing each other, then I covered the raw edge with the back panel. Sewing down the back panel was the final step. This method for construction went so much better than my first attempt, i’m really glad I started over.

DSC_7432

However I don’t love the end result. I’m happy with the construction, but I think it’s weird that all the bulk is at the side of the bodice. I think it makes me look wider. I much prefer the way it looks on Waugh’s sketch, with gathering all the way across the front…but I don’t see how that’s achieved without disrupting the neckline. I’m actually pretty disappointed by the lack of  gathering at the front – that’s what really attracted me to this pattern in the first place!

I guess this could have been avoided by making a fully functional mock up, but since i’ve had so much luck with corset patterns from this author in the past I assumed the dress patterns would be similarly successful.

I’m proud I managed to overcome pattern related issues, but i’m not sure it was worth the effort. Hopefully i’ll like it when it’s done – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the sleeves and skirt will be easier.

Photo on 6-21-16 at 12.00 PM

Two notes: I ended up stitching down the pleats at the shoulder because they shifted out of place in the photo above. I also decided after a few fittings to wear this without stays, since it’s pretty comfy without one and fits fine. But I WILL be wearing it a chemise, I just have to make one that’s appropriate for this period!

And that’s it! My boring yet overly complicated, supposedly simple dress. Thanks for reading!

 
 

Tags: , ,

18th Century Riding Ensemble – Photos

I’m excited to post these – it’s been a while since I’ve had photos of a finished costume to share!

I’m really pleased with these pictures. There were a few issues with the hat and wig, but overall I’m thrilled with how it came together, especially since this was my first time having the entire costume on.

These photos were taken during a pretty intense blizzard (I posted a short video on Instagram that shows how hard it was snowing) and though I love the contrast of the jacket against the snow, I think it hid a lot of this costumes details. I still really like these pictures, i’m just not sure all my hard work shows in them. Because of that I plan on getting more photos of this ensemble in the future – including some that show the dress that goes underneath this project!

Speaking of that, I realize that I still haven’t blogged about the dress worn with this project. The dress is technically finished, but i’m not completely happy with it, so I think i’ll hold off on writing about it until it’s been fixed up. However I have blogged about making the jacket and hat which are the real stars of this ensemble!

Here are the photos!

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 1

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 2

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 4

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 5

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 6

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 3

Thanks for reading! Another update on my Plaid Walking Ensemble should be up tomorrow!

 

Tags: , ,

Making a Tricorne Hat / 18th Century Riding Ensemble

Making a Tricorne Hat / 18th Century Riding Ensemble

This post will make more sense if you’ve seen my post about making an 18th Century Riding Jacket, since this hat was made to go with that piece.

This hat was an adventure. It had a lot of ups and downs, but I think the most difficult part was figuring out how big it should be. The ensemble this project is based off of is worn with a very small decorative hat, which I like. But I didn’t think it would flatter my wider frame/face and the proportions of the rest of the costume.

Making a full sized one didn’t hold a lot of appeal either, that seemed too practical to go with the heavily beaded jacket. So I split the difference and made a medium sized one. I don’t love everything about this hat but I am happy with the sizing of it, so i’m glad I took so much time to think about that before getting started.

This is the pattern I came up with for the cap of the hat. I started by drawing out the top then fiddled around with strips of paper until I got a shape I was happy with.

DSC_3234

I cut out both pieces from buckram and marked the seam allowance onto the piece that makes up the “taper” (sides) of the hat.

DSC_3236

I clipped the seam allowance at the top edge of the taper, then pinned it to the crown of the hat.

DSC_3237

And sewed it down with a ton of upholstery thread.

DSC_3238

Then I covered it with two layers of quilt batting to round out the shape.

DSC_3239

Now it was time to cover the cap with wool. This step made me think back to some wet moulding tutorials I saw a while back, which gave me the brilliant idea to wet the wool and mould it over the cap. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about seams or gathers at the base of the hat.

If I had taken a few minutes to actually google those tutorials, or to think about this idea for more than thirty seconds I might have realized how stupid this plan was. Because the wool i’m using isn’t felt, so it doesn’t stretch, even when it’s wet. But you know what does stretch when it gets wet? Buckram.

The wool quickly dampened the buckram and the tension on the pins securing the wool to the buckram caused the buckram to bunch up at the sides and even disintegrate at points. I tried to salvage it by pinning it to a wig head, but the wig head was too small. It was a complete mess.

I ended up with this lumpy, uneven thing. But I didn’t want to redo it because I had limited quantities of wool and buckram. So I moved forward and hoped it wouldn’t be obvious in the end.

The best part of this whole thing is that a week later I came across a pre formed buckram hat base which was the exact size and shape I was going for. If I had remembered it’s existence a week earlier I would have saved myself some frustration and have a significantly less lumpy hat!

DSC_3245

I set the cap aside for a bit and drafted the brim. This part was pretty tricky, I made three or four attempts before coming up with this which still isn’t perfect but worked well enough.

DSC_3243

I cut it out from felt weight interfacing, then sewed wire into the edges so I would be able to shape the brim.

DSC_3242

I covered the top side with wool then basted it down a quarter inch away from the outside edge. The outside edge will be finished with bias tape later on so it doesn’t matter, but I folded the inner edge so it’s on the underside of the brim.

DSC_3246

Then I sewed it down.

DSC_3247

And I sewed the cap to the brim. This was a pain since the buckram had warped to a point where it really did not want to fit in the opening.

DSC_3248

The end result was pretty bad but at this point I had invested so much time into it that I felt I had to finish it.

DSC_3257

So I moved forward! I pinned wool to the underside of the brim and sewed it down with a mixture of whip stitches and basting stitches.

DSC_3258

Then I sewed up the back seam and sewed bias tape around the outside edge of the brim. This bias tape was made from a mottled gold brocade which matched the beading on the jacket nicely.

By some miracle the hat looked pretty decent once it was folded into the tricorne shape. I think the front is a little bit long, and the sides could be shaped a little bit differently, but this was a way better result than I was expecting.

DSC_3261

To jazz it up a bit I sewed sequins onto the bottom half of the bias tape, then I sewed on a thin gold ribbon a quarter inch below that.

DSC_3298

I had four inches of lace left after finishing the jacket, which was just enough to add this decoration to the right side of the hat. I trimmed the lace with sequins and beaded it using the exact same method ghat was used on the jacket. Then I added a beaded tassel and a button.

DSC_3299

I still wasn’t super happy with how the sides of the cap looked. So I used my usual method to fix this sort of thing which involves adding stuff until I like the way it looks. On the left side I added two home made chiffon flowers that have fake pearl centers and two bleached peacock feathers.

DSC_4092

The other side has three ostrich plumes – two in a peachy color, and one that’s white. The base of the feathers are hidden by another chiffon flower, which has a gold floral cameo center.

DSC_4093

And another photo of the lace detail on the side because that’s my favorite part!

DSC_4090

I also covered the seam at the back of the hat with gold braid and added sequins to the top side of the centerfront.

And that’s it! The hat is finished.

DSC_4087

The underside isn’t too pretty since my attempts at lining it ended badly. Eventually I decided that it didn’t matter since the wool doesn’t fray.

The saftey pin is there so I can hang the hat on my wall – it doesn’t have any structural purpose, I just forgot to take it out!

The plastic comb was a late but very necessary addition to the hat. When we were taking photos of the finished ensemble the hat was a bit of a fail, it had no way of staying on my head and I didn’t have enough range of motion in my arms to pin it to my wig after I got the dress on.

The hat refused to stay where I wanted it and fell off so many times that the brim got really bent out of shape. Which was easy to fix, but not something I noticed when we were taking the photos. So the hat isn’t sitting properly/shaped properly on my head in most of the photos which is dissapointing.

But thanks to the comb that will not a problem when I wear it again!

DSC_4088

Here is a photo of how it’s supposed to look when its worn. Obviously the hair and styling isn’t right, but you can get an idea of the shape! I think it turned out really nicely in the end, which i’m pretty amazed to be saying since the construction process didn’t go very smoothly.

Photo on 2-5-16 at 2.29 PM #3

And here it is worn with the finished ensemble! I don’t think the snow did a lot of good for the hat – the feathers kind of deflated, and the decorations are hidden by snow. But it adds a lot to the outfit and i’m excited to get more photos of it in the future!

Angela Clayton Riding Coat 1

And the last thing I wanted to mention is that I bought an accessory to wear with this costume – it won’t be visible when the whole thing is worn, but the color was so perfect that I couldn’t resist. These are clocked stockings from the American Duchess store. They are so pretty, and red, and pair with this so nicely!

IMG_20160208_111743

And that’s it! The full photoset of this project should be up next week!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Making an 18th Century Riding Habit / Riding Jacket

Making an 18th Century Riding Habit / Riding Jacket

I’ve been in a pretty serious relationship with this garment for the past three months so i’m really excited to FINALLY be sharing the process and finished piece with you guys.

This is going to be a really long post so i’ll start with an image of the finished product, hopefully that will give you the motivation needed to make it to the end!

Isn’t it beautiful?

DSC_4155

Let’s go back to the beginning. At the start of 2015 I came across this painting of Sophie Marie Grafin Voss by Antoine Pesne and I fell in love. I’ve always been a fan of the structure and details on 18th century riding habits, but i’ve never seen an image of one that really inspired me until I came across this.

Although the beading and details are beautiful, they are also ridiculously impractical, as are the short sleeves and deep neckline. But that’s what I like about it. It’s very different from most of the riding habits* you see and it perfectly combines the traditional frills and details you’d find in an 18th century women’s wardrobe with the very structured menswear inspired design that riding habits are famous for.

So I decided to make it something similar to it.

 *This isn’t really a riding habit. I’ve titled this post that way because it’s the most common term for riding jackets which is what this garment actually is. Riding habits were a combination of matching garments worn for riding. This is just a riding jacket paired with a more traditional 18th century dress.

In December I finally began work on the piece.

The first step was drafting the pattern. This was surprisingly easy since I used the pattern I made for the bodice that goes underneath this jacket as a guide. I changed up the seaming a little bit, lowered the neckline, added larger seam allowances, lengthened each piece by a lot, and made the pieces wider to the bottom so the skirt of the jacket would have a lot of volume.

I also changed the pattern to have a front closure instead of back laces, since those obviously wouldn’t be appropriate for a jacket!

This is the altered front panel.

DSC_0198

Side panel.

DSC_0197

And back.

DSC_0196

I did not make a mock up for this jacket. Mostly because I didn’t have any fabric around that was thick enough to create an accurate mock up (muslin does not lay the same way as heavy wool). But also because I was feeling pretty confident about the pattern since the bodice I based it off of fit really nicely. And since the jacket was patterned with 3/4″ seams I could let it out pretty significantly if it was too small, and I could always add gores to make the skirt of the jacket bigger.

So I laid all the pieces out onto my wool melton fabric and cut them out. I packed the pieces as tightly as I could on the material since I was a little bit worried that I might have to recut some of them and wanted as much material as possible to be left over.

DSC_0200

Front panels…

DSC_0202

Side panels…
DSC_0201

And the back panels.

DSC_0204

I sewed together the back panels first, backstitching and cutting the thread just below the waistline so the bottom eighteen inches of the seam was left open. The seam was pressed and the unsewed edges were folded inward by three quarters of an inch. Then I sewed the edge down so there was a finished slit at the back of the jacket.

DSC_0205

Then the side back seams were done up. I was really pleased with the draping at the back, even though it looks a bit wonky on my dress form.

DSC_0206

I pinned the shoulder and side seams up and did a quick fitting of the jacket overtop of the panniers and stays. It fit well enough but there was a lot of bunching at the waist since I hadn’t accounted for the angle of the panniers. This was easy to fix, I just added a horizontal dart to the waistline.

DSC_0207

After another fitting I felt comfortable moving forward. The jacket seemed really large at the side seams but I didn’t want to take it in right away since I knew the embellishments on the front of the jacket would stiffen it significantly and change the ease and fit of the front panels.

I drew the trim pattern onto the front panels with chalk. Unfortunately I couldn’t get them spaced perfectly, or as far apart as they were in the reference photo.

After another fitting I realized the lace needed to extend farther down. If i’d noticed that initially I could have spaced them farther apart and made them look a lot better. But I didn’t. And by the time I noticed the problem my only option was to add a sixth strip of trim to each side.

DSC_0208

Speaking of the trim! The one i’m using is from the seller LaceTime on etsy. It was four bucks for two yards and I used four yards in total. Traditionally braided trims and cords would be used on riding jackets but since this one is so fancy I decided to go with lace instead.

I should also mention that I chose to make the detailing of this jacket gold instead of silver (which is the color it probably was) because I thought it looked more striking against the red.

DSC_3228

Here the lace is sewn on to one side, and pinned to the other. Since the spacing was off on my jacket this lace ended up being too wide. So I folded the edges inward to keep it inside the lines I marked.

I may have accidentally sewn some of this lace on upside down and not noticed until the jacket was almost finished. Oops.

DSC_0210

Since the edges of the lace were folded over they looked really bulky. The lace also wasn’t super even since it was difficult to precisely fold the edges over. The end result looked pretty sloppy, and I wasn’t happy with it at all.

So I decided to add an extra step to the embellishment process. I densely stitched sequins around each edge of the lace and overtop of any gaps in the lace where the base was visible. I did this with red thread so it would blend in with the material and better integrate the lace with the  fabric.

DSC_0252

This took forever. So many sequins went into this. Each piece of lace took around two hours to embellish, that’s more than twelve hours of sequining just on the front panels! But it looked beautiful and added a lot of depth to the lace.

DSC_0253

Then the beading began. For this I used two different sizes of gold seed beads and beige colored thread. I followed the pattern of the lace, stitching between the covered cord that makes up the design.

DSC_0292

This is when the lace really started to transform. Above you can see the difference between the side that has beads sewn on and the side without. These really changed the color of the lace, and added a lot more depth and texture to the piece.

DSC_0295

Once I was done beading the lace I tried the jacket on. Here it looks really bulky since I had tons of excess fabric pinned into the side seams but you can get a rough idea of how it was looking.

I also did a test for pocket cover placement, which is what that funny thing on the right side is supposed to be!

DSC_0297

This fitting made me realize that I had to take the waist in by more than two inches and fold the front edge over by two inches instead of the planned one inch. Guess my worries about the jacket being too big were for nothing!

DSC_3241

With the body of the jacket coming along well I drafted a sleeve pattern.

DSC_0301

Then those were cut out and I used chalk to mark the trim placement on them.

DSC_0302

The lace was pinned, then sewn on.

DSC_0303

And sequined, then beaded with the same technique use on the front of the jacket.

DSC_0790

Here you can see the beading part way done.  Really shows how much the beading transforms this lace!

DSC_0791

With the lace completely beaded I moved onto the tassels. On the left you can see the four different types of beads I used for each tassel.  All these beads are slightly different in color and finish which makes the tassels look a bit more interesting.

On the right you can se the two different types of beads that were used on the lace.

DSC_0789

Each tassel is made up of eight strands, which are a little over an inch long.

DSC_0877

Finished tassels on sleeves.

DSC_0875

And finished tassels on the jacket.

DSC_0888

To hide the tops of the tassels I added buttons. I realize embroidered buttons are a lot more historically accurate, but I didn’t have enough coverable buttons left and I wanted to finish this project. I’ll probably end up replacing these in the future with something more accurate.

Then again glass seed beads aren’t very 18th century appropriate either but I used plenty of them, so perhaps it doesn’t matter too much!

DSC_0891

Finished sleeves!

DSC_0905

Here are all the buttons sewn onto the jacket.

DSC_0893

Now it was time to make the pocket covers. Which are, like everything on this project, just decorative. I used all but three inches of the gold lace on the jacket so I had to raid my stash for something that would work for the pocket covers. Luckily I came across a different gold lace, which was just the right shape. I used that as a guide for patterning the pocket covers, then cut the covers out from interfaced wool.

DSC_0304

Then the lace trim was pinned and sewed on.

DSC_0305

And the sequining process resumed. These took even longer to do than the trim on the jacket but it sure looks pretty!

DSC_0577

I didn’t like the visible organza in the lace so I covered that with gold seed beads. Then I stitched clear montees into the circular loops of the lace.

DSC_0792

DSC_0794

I sewed the pocket covers onto the front panels and finished them off with a button.

DSC_0895

Here is one of the finished front panels!

DSC_0894

So pretty!

DSC_0899

And all the beaded panels together. I think I spent more than eighty hours hand stitching beads and sequins onto this project. I was sick of it at times but for the most part I really enjoyed the process. I find beading really calming, and I would love to do more of it on future projects.

It also ended up being pretty convenient since I could do it in front of the TV. I worked on this through the first four seasons of Downton Abbey and a bunch of Top Gear episodes.

DSC_0902

I did one last fitting before sewing everything together. I ended up taking it in at the waist a bit more, raising the sleeves at the shoulder, and taking it in at the shoulder. Then I sewed the side seams and attached the sleeves.

DSC_3319

During this fitting I realized the jacket was wayy too long at the back, so I removed more than four inches of fabric from the hem. Then I turned the hem inward by an inch and sewed it in place.

DSC_3321

The cuffs also got hemmed.

DSC_3324

And so did the neckline. Shortly after taking this picture I lined the sleeves and secured the lining to the interior of the cuffs.

DSC_3325

Now it looked like a proper coat!

DSC_3326

I turned the front edge inward by two inches until I reached the waist, the rest of the front panel was only turned inward by an inch.

Then I sewed in the hooks and eyes. THERE WERE SO MANY. I used all the size two hooks and eyes I had, which was 19 in total. They aren’t spaced evenly, so they don’t look too pretty, but they line up perfectly so i’m happy.

DSC_4145

DSC_4146

At this point the coat was wearable, but it still wasn’t finished. I roughly pinned the lining in.

DSC_4147

After making sure the lining wasn’t restricting the drape of the jacket I pinned it in properly.

DSC_4148

And sewed it in place. This lining fabric isn’t historically accurate at all but it makes the jacket much easier to get on and off, and that’s what matters to me!

DSC_4154

And the jacket is finished! I chose not to further embellish the neckline or hem, since I didn’t feel the jacket needed it, and i’m happy with that decision. I really love the way it turned out. I had so much fun beading this, and the fact that the fit turned out so well delights me to no end. I definitely think this is my most successful 18th century inspired garment that i’ve made so far, and it’s certainty my favorite from a visual aspect.

I’m really proud of it. And that’s a nice feeling!

DSC_4156

DSC_4157

DSC_4158

Of course there are a couple things I would change. Mostly the spacing of the lace. It would have looked so much better and been way more flattering if I had spaced them properly and only used five pieces on each side. Then I could have used the full width of the lace and the wider lace would have made my torso look longer and more narrow.

But other than that I think it’s pretty great! Not exactly like my reference photo, but pretty great all the same.

DSC_4155

Divots in the wool once again gahh. Luckily they aren’t all that noticeable when it’s worn.

DSC_4160

Here is a teaser photo from the photoshoot I had with this project. This was my first time wearing the ensemble, and I was rushing because of the snow so I don’t think it shows the jacket in its best light. The bodice was slipping at the shoulders, which caused the jacket to sit lower on the shoulder than it should, and the sleeves ended up bunching. I think i’ve fixed the bodice to rest higher on the shoulders so it should wear much better next time!

I’m also going to (eventually) add buttons to the centerfront of the jacket. That was always part of the plan but I forgot to set aside buttons for it and used them on a different project by mistake!

DSC_348231

So that’s it. It’s always weird finishing a project i’ve invested so much time in (ninety hours!) but i’m looking forward to starting new things. And this beauty has a proud resting place on a hook in my sewing room so I can look at it whenever I like!

I’ll be posting about the dress and the hat soon. Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,