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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!

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

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And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

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

 

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

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

Today I have the second post about making my 1890’s dress to share. Part one can be read here and covers how I made the bodice. This post will be all about my nemesis: sleeves.

When I made my first 1890’s dress I drafted the sleeve pattern myself and came up with something usable, but it wasn’t accurate at all. I have a habit of making sleeve patterns symmetrical, which is bad since they don’t cup the arm as well.

So this time around I decided to copy a pattern from  59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns*, specifically the sleeve pattern associated with this dress.

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The pattern consists of a large “puff” portion which is attached overtop a fitted sleeve. It’s a really strange design, but I thought it would be fun to try. Unfortunately the first mock up didn’t go well. The fitted portions didn’t really fit and the puff portion was tiny, the sleeves had barely any volume. I’m also not completely sure how you are supposed to attach the puff portion to the fitted sleeve.

Soo I made some alterations. I made the puff portion a good six inches wider and longer. I cut the fitted sleeves off at the elbow and added seam allowance so they could be sewn together after attaching the puff. And I made them a bit smaller.

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I cut the lining for the sleeves out of muslin, then used the muslin as a guide for cutting out the taffeta. To avoid the lining bunching underneath the taffeta I cut the taffeta pieces to be slightly larger than the lining.

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I sewed these pieces together with half inch seam allowances but left the bottom few inches of one seam open since that’s where the closures will be.

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The edges of the portion left open were basted down and the bottom edge was hemmed by hand.

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I also ran basting stitches across the top edge to keep the lining in place.

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Then I sewed loops and buttons onto the sleeves. The the lining was whip stitched to the interior of the taffeta, so it covers the raw edges of the loops. The buttons are all sewn on with upholstery thread since I was kind of concerned about the strain they would go through when trying to button these up!

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I cut the puffed portions of the sleeves out, then gathered down the top and bottom edge. when they were gathered most of the way down I sewed them to the muslin lining, which is the top portion of the fitted sleeves.

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In between the muslin and taffeta I stuffed gathered strips of organza to help the sleeves hold their shape.

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Now the sleeves were a bit too poofy. They looked good when they were carefully arranged, but they didn’t stay looking that way for long. I ended up ripping out the gathering stitches at the shoulder, then cutting off more than three inches from the top of the sleeve.

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Then I sewed the top and bottom portions together. This seam was covered with bias tape. And now I had things that actually looked like sleeves!

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They are so poofy.

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I gathered the tops down to be even smaller.

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And then I sewed them onto the bodice by machine. Unfortunately after doing that I realized I couldn’t bind the arm opening without making the opening too small, so i’ve left the edges raw, which really isn’t ideal. But the sleeves were cut on the fabrics bias so they don’t fray that much. Hopefully it will be okay for the limited amount of wear this will get.

On the bright side, they fit! They have a habit of puckering around the wrist (I may have made them slightly too small) but I think they look pretty good!

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Please ignore the color this dress has in this lighting, it looks far less noxious in every other setting.

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I need to add a modesty panel, but i’m so happy with the back of this costume. All those cute buttons!

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To finish off the bodice I sewed together three bias cut strips, then turned the edges inward by hand.

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I sewed it onto the collar, leaving the ends long so they can be tied in a bow. The back of the collar closes with three hooks and eyes before the bow is tied. The final detail was that brooch I mentioned in my last post!

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The final post about this project should be up in a week or two! And it will go over making the skirt and the hat.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part Three

It’s time for another update on my plaid walking ensemble! The first post about making this can be read here, and part two is posted here – if you haven’t read them already I would suggest you do so, otherwise this post won’t make much sense!

I’m switching things up a bit and talking about the skirt today. Since the skirt came together pretty quickly i’ve also included the making of a simple silk undershirt, which I will wear with this ensemble.

When I last left off the skirt didn’t look like much. But before doing any assembly I wanted to add closures to the back of the skirt.

To do that I folded the top ten inches of the back seam inward. Then I fused thin strips of interfacing overtop of the raw edge, starting a quarter inch away from the folded edge of the material.

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The interfacing didn’t look very nice so I covered it with bias tape which was made from scraps of the plaid material.

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I sewed the bias tape in place by hand then stitched six size 1 hooks/eyes on top of the bias tape, near the folded edge. These are each spaced about one and a quarter inches apart.

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Once the hooks are done up the back looks relatively smooth.

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With the back panels finished I went ahead and did some skirt assembly. The front, side, and back panels were all sewn together with french seams. I ended up redoing part of the left front seam since it was puckering (visible in this photo) but everything else matched up well!

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Though I did have a slight problem when sewing the back panels on. For some reason the pattern didn’t match up, so I had to move the back panel down and trim almost two inches off the top edge of the side panel.

I also noticed an awkward “poof” at the side seam near the waist. I fixed this by sewing a dart into that seam, in this photo you can see the dart pinned.

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After making the alterations mentioned above I hemmed the front and back panels. I did this with loose whip stitches. I wasn’t concerned about them being very pretty or durable since they will be covered by a facing.

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The facing looked like this! This facing probably should have been between six or ten inches wide, I have no idea why I made it this huge, it was kind of unnecessary.

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The facing was sewn in with much smaller, prettier, whip stitches.

When that was done I got to try the skirt on!

This was really exciting at the time since I could start to see the silhouette coming together.

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I was pretty happy with it. I thought it was a little bit too long but I didn’t have any trouble walking in it when I was on hard wood floors/smooth surfaces so I decided it was fine.

Now that i’ve actually worn this finished skirt on a variety of terrains I can tell you that my first instinct was right, the hem should be taken up by an inch. The length doesn’t look bad, but it definitely drags more than it should.

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The next step was making the waistband. I based this design on “corselet waistbands” from the late 1890s/early 1900s. I like these because they bring attention to the waistline, and the pointed back means I can mount the skirt lower which helps make up for how much fabric I had to trim from the top of the side panel!

The waistband is made from the silk fabric used elsewhere on the project and reinforced with a medium weight fusible interfacing.

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I ironed all the edges inward by a half inch.

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Then pinned thin piping onto the top and bottom edges. I made this piping from knitting wool and bias cut strips of silk (which were offcuts from the pleated panels made for the skirt).

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The piping was whip stitched on, then ironed, which left me with a waistband that looks like this!

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I gathered the back of the skirt slightly, so the top edge of the skirt matches the size of the waistband.

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Then I pinned it onto the skirt. I decided to hide the raw edge of the skirt in the waistband. I usually wouldn’t do this since it adds bulk to the waistline, but since this skirt is quite slim cut there isn’t much bulk in that area.

I sewed the waistband on with two rows of whip stitches. The first goes through the interfaced portion of the waistband and the skirt, and the second attaches the piping to the skirt.

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Then I sewed cotton lining into the interior of the waistband to cover all the raw edges.

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And the final step was sewing in hooks! I used four size 2 hooks/eyes for this part.

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Finished skirt from the front…

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And from the back. There is a bit of overlap here, when the skirt is worn and there is tension on the waistband it looks much better!

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The skirt was technically done but after working on the jacket I decided to add buttons to each side of the front panel. I used smaller versions of these buttons on the jacket, so I think it ties them together quite well.

I should also mention that I redid the bottom few inches of these seams several times, yet they are still puckered and unfortunate looking. To fix it I would have to give up on matching the pattern at that point, and I don’t want that. So I think it’s something i’ll have to deal with, even though it bothers me!

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With the skirt done I could begin work on another piece to wear with this ensemble!

This piece is a bit confusing. It’s supposed to look like a shirtwaist from the front, but is constructed like a corset cover (which usually weren’t meant to be seen). I didn’t want to make a full shirtwaist since they require a lot of material and tend to have full sleeves which add bulk to the shoulder/arms of the garments worn overtop of them. So I made a sleeveless shirtwaist that is intended to be worn underneath something so the back/arms won’t be seen.

Make sense?

I originally made this garment out of a striped shirting (i’ll probably show it in a future Progress Report) but I didn’t like the end result, so I made a new pattern and searched my stash for new fabric. The fabric I settled on isn’t new, and it wasn’t from my stash. I harvested the fabric from this dress. It was a bit sad taking it apart but the dress was held together with E6000, safety pins, straight pins (which I didn’t even know were there), and hot glue, so it was definitely not going to be worn again.

The dress also featured embarrassing hand sewing details like this hem. Look at that top stitching. Wow.

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There was just enough ivory silk satin on it to cut out my pattern, plus a two inch wide bias cut strip that will be used as a sash for an 1890’s hat I plan on making soon.

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This material is really prone to slipping around. So I cut my pattern out from white muslin first, then used the muslin pieces as a guide for cutting out each piece of silk.

I sewed the pieces of silk to the muslin with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Once turned the right way out the edges are finished nicely and I don’t have to worry about them fraying in the future.

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I left the bottom edge open since it will be finished with bias tape, and the top edge open since it will be lined and covered with a gathered strip of satin.

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The front panel was gathered at the waist to add volume to the center front and across the chest.

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The edges that touch the neckline were gathered as well.

I did up the side and shoulder seams, then sewed the gathered edges at the neckline to the collar lining.

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A strip of bias cut satin was sewn overtop to cover the raw edges. I finished the edges of this strip by hand with a rolled quarter inch hem.

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I sewed  the fitted portion of the bodice on and finished the bottom edge with double fold bias tape. The bias tape extends beyond the back edge so it can be used as a waist tie to keep the bodice in place.

The entire back edge of this bodice and collar opens with hooks and bars. It takes some flexibility to do up, but I can get it on and off myself which i’m very happy about!

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At the center front I attached two shell buttons. These were purchased from the shop “VintageLinens1” on etsy – I got a big package of them for a very reasonable price.

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Here it is when worn! I should have made this a bit smaller at the waist (it fits well over this corset, it’s too big for my other one) and made the shoulders a little wider, but overall I really like it. The sheen of this fabric is gorgeous, it has just the right amount of volume in the front, doesn’t add bulk underneath dresses, and I can get it on and off by myself. I’m very pleased.

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The final post about making this ensemble will be up next week. Assuming I can get everything edited in time, there should also be photos of the finished ensemble and a costume spotlight video up shortly thereafter.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Pleated Navy Gown, Part One

Today (well, yesterday) I was supposed to post about finishing my Fluffy & Feathered dress. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking the photos required for that post, so that couldn’t happen. However, I have a new project to talk about, which is always exciting!

Right now i’m not in a very positive place project wise. I’ve hit a lot of roadblocks with my tudor costume and realized I have to accept that it won’t turn out the way I wanted. That is a very frustrating position to be in, even if it is part of learning.

After two days of moping around and doing a whole lot of nothing I decided it was time for a procrastination project! I was aiming for this to be a forty eight hour project, but due to some setbacks it ended up becoming a seventy eight hour project. Oops.

My main inspiration for this dress was this painting, and how Saints were depicted in [early] Renaissance times. I’ve wanted to make something soft and draped for a long time, so this seemed like a good opportunity! I decided to use navy satin faced chiffon for the dress and brocades for an undershirt.

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Since chiffon is sheer and far too flimsy to make a dress with this shape I’m lining it with navy gabardine – I’ve had this fabric for a good two years so I was happy to find a use for it!

I had five yards of gabardine and seven yards of chiffon for this dress and I used almost every scrap, so that worked out well!

This is the sloppy little sketch I did before starting.

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Step one was draping the bodice! I still really need to make a proper write up on how I do this…but I really don’t have a specific method, I just pull the fabric around until it fits the form tightly. Then I draw the seam lines and trim any extra material.

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After I was happy with it I removed the fabric from my dress form and ironed it. This is what it looked like when laid flat!

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 Which got turned into this.

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 Unfortunately since I was trying to make this quickly and because I worked on it at night, I wasn’t very good about photographing the process.

Luckily it is pretty easy to explain! I started by cutting the pattern from gabardine, which will be used as the bodice lining and as a base. This post is going to be almost entirely about working with the gabardine, since I had to completely assemble a skirt and bodice with it before even touching the chiffon. The chiffon gets draped overtop of the gabardine later on.

Once the  pattern was cut I turned the edges over by a half inch – I used my machine for this, which is kind of rare for me! Once the edges were finished I assembled the pieces. Below you can see the collar pinned in place, ready to be attached.

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 This is the bodice lining finished! I used an ivory jacquard for the center piece.

DSC_3167 And here is the first fitting. In my rush to make this I neglected to do a mock up, so I was thrilled to see it actually worked!

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Then it was time to start on the skirt. I chose to make the skirt a rectangle since those are fast, easy, and an effective use of material.

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I decided to hem the gabardine layer with horsehair braid to give it a bit more volume. This is cheap, kind of crappy horsehair so it didn’t add much “oomf” to the dress, but it certainly didn’t hurt!

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And here it is on a dress form! I’m intentionally leaving the hem very long, because it was quite common in paintings from the middle ages. And it helps differentiate it from my other dresses, which I like.

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The last step before beginning work with chiffon was adding the lace up front panel. Since I was working under time constraints I decided to just stitch it down instead of making functional laces.

The panel is cut from jacquard, then I used a piece of lace as an overlay to add texture.

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The lace was gathered overtop the front panel, then stitched down.

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I made marks every three quarter inches down each side, then cut pieces of leather covered cord. These will serve as the “laces”. I used a tiny stitch length and backstitched over the ends of the cord to make sure they were secured over the markings I made earlier on.

This was the end result!

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Ok so it looks like a big mess. But I promise it turns out okay!

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I will be better about posting next week!

 

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Making a Plaid Dress, 1860s, Part Two

This isn’t what I had planned on posting today, but it will have to do. This is part two in making my Civil War era plaid dress, part one talks about making the bodice and is posted here!

Unfortunately for me, I had to draft a sleeve pattern for this project. Which I do for most of my projects, but they usually aren’t this weird. It’s actually a fairly common historical sleeve design, just strange by modern standards. They are made from one piece of fabric that is slashed from the elbow to the wrist. They have seams at the back extending from the elbow down, and ones at the front.

I wasn’t quite sure how to draft this, I started out with a few measurements and it looked okay but I wasn’t very confident it would work. I didn’t want to waste fabric on a mock up when I was so unsure, so I ended up with my arm pinned into the pattern…

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Surprisingly, I was happy with that. It was actually pretty close to what I wanted, I just made a few alterations and then used it to cut a mock up. Once again I was pleased! They had roughly the shape I wanted and the fit was good. All I did was raise the sleeve cap at the back.

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My original pattern is laid on top of the pattern I altered after making the mock up, so you can get a good idea of the changes I made!

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And here the sleeves are, cut from the plaid fabric.

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I stitched up the back seam and pressed the seams open, then I marked out the hem at the cuff.

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Those got sewn up by hand with a running stitch.

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Then I added a little bit of lace, this is the same lace I used on the bust of the bodice. I had just enough to use it on the cuffs too!

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I did up the front seam and they were looking pretty good! I’m a little angry at myself because the plaid pattern doesn’t line up at these seams. I wasn’t expecting it to come even close, but after sewing them I realized if I had been more careful I could have cut them in a way that they would line up.

I don’t have enough fabric for a second attempt so i’ll have to live with it. Ugh!

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I made up a second set of sleeves, this time from the typical cheap polyester lining. These were attached by hand to the interior of the plaid sleeves.

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Then the sleeves got attached onto the bodice. The pictures below show them basted in place, but they got sewn on properly shortly after.

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When the sleeves were secured I started on the bodice lining. The bodice lining was cut from the same pattern as the plaid layer and stitched in place with a whip stitch.

The main difference is that the collar and body of the lining were sewn in separately instead of being stitched together. I also darted the lining instead of pleating it.

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I decided last minute to make this separate from the skirt, so it technically isn’t a dress, but i’m calling it that anyway. To finish off the bottom edge I cut a strip of plaid fabric and sewed it onto the edge.

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Bodice interior.

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Bodice exterior!

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I thought it was done, but then I remembered that it needed a collar! I had intended on making a collar from cotton or linen but I didn’t have any that matched the oatmeal color in the plaid. I searched my stash for a bit and came across lace collars I was given a while ago, I thought that might look prettier then a cotton collar so I sewed it on.

The color doesn’t match so I’m not sure how I feel about it. Usually the collars would be white or ivory, regardless of the dress color, so it isn’t completely wrong, but it bothers me. I’m going to leave it on for now and I can always switch it out with something else later on.

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That is it for today! This costume is actually completely finished now! But It will be a week before I post about the skirt and get photos of the finished ensemble.

Also: I had planned on posting something festive today but that didn’t really work out. However I DID make a video about a holiday themed pinecone crown, which is posted here. Not interesting enough to have its own post but I thought I would mention it here!

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Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a lovely break!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Plaid Dress, 1860s, Part One

This is going to be a simple project. I swore my next 19th century project would be something elaborate and unique…But then I bought this plaid fabric with a civil war era gown in mind. Chopping it up to make a huge gored skirt would result in none of the stripes lining up and i’m not sure if I could deal with that!

So my elaborate dress from the 1860s is going to be on hold for the new year, and i’m making a much easier dress instead, because it suits this fabric nicely.

The design I came up with was mostly inspired by this and this. But instead of adding darts to the bodice, I want to pleat it. My original design also features bishop sleeves with cuffs, but I ended up changing that later on.

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 I’m making the dress from eight yards of this plaid material I got from Joanns, plus a yard of matching green fabric. This fabric was part of their “Fashion for Fall” line or something like that. It feels like a really nice wool flannel, and I love the weight of it.

Unlike wool flannel, it frays a lot, which sort of sucks. But on the bright side, it was 50% off and I had a 25% off entire purchase coupon, so it ended up costing $35 for the whole bolt!

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 I started off by draping the pattern. This was a big struggle to get the way I wanted. Usually draping goes quite quickly but I must have fought with this for a good hour!

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 I marked out all the pleats, then removed it from the dress form. It looked a little sketchy, not very precise at all, but I fixed it!

DSC_0560 Once I was done I had a functional pattern! It’s on the left, I’m not sure why but the Christmas Angel bodice pattern is on the right.

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 I turned that into a mock up and tried it on. I wanted a little more wiggle room, so I decided to let it out a half inch at each side. I also added darts to my pattern to take care of the shoulder wings.

The biggest issue here is that the front didn’t line up! I’m not sure how I didn’t realize that this would happen. It seems really obvious looking back on it, but it didn’t occur to me at all until I tried it on.

Since this bodice will close at the front with buttons, one side overlaps the over by an inch and a bit. Which means the pieces won’t meet in the middle – duh!

Photo on 11-22-14 at 9.43 PM I fixed this by straightening the pieces so they are flat in the middle, which I think is what was done in the picture I used for inspiration (it has a similar seam line across the bust)

When that was resolved I cut the pieces out from my plaid material and marked out all the pleats and darts.

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 Then the front and back panels got pleated.

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When that was done I stitched up the side seams – unfortunately these seams don’t line up! Neither does the one at the back. But everything else is pretty damn perfect when it comes to matching the stripes.

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I marked the hem on the collar.

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Then stitched it in place.

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Before I could stitch that onto the bodice, I had to add lace! I was given two yards of this lace a few months ago, it’s really delicate and lovely. But it also happened to be white, and I wanted it to be darker.

 I darkened it by tea staining it. I put it in a plastic bag with three packets of black tea for ten minutes to darken it to a beige. I let it dry overnight and sewed it on in the morning.

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 The collar portion was sewn onto the body of the garment and ta-dah, I had a bodice!

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 I tried it on and was quite pleased with it! The fit was very nice, the only issue were the shoulder wings. But I had been expecting those to pop up, so I wasn’t surprised by them.

Photo on 12-5-14 at 12.07 PM I took it in at the shoulders and I was very pleased. Unfortunately the next step wasn’t a fun one, because it involved stitching button holes by hand.

If you are wondering why I don’t do them by machine, I have a few reasons! The first is because I don’t have a machine that does satin stitching, or button holes. I could borrow one but even then i’m not very fond of how machine stitched button holes look.

Even though you can adjust it, most machines don’t stitch very densely around the button hole. Which is okay with lightweight fabrics that aren’t prone to fraying, but really sucks if you are working with thicker fabrics, or fabrics that fray a lot. It’s the same thing for eyelets. You can do them on a sewing machine, but if done properly the hand stitched versions should be more durable, and hopefully, more visually pleasing.

But I totally suck at button holes, so that isn’t usually the case.

To prep for it I drew out some guidelines and stitched around them with my machine.

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Then I slashed each one and stitched around them with a quadruple layer of cotton thread.

This sewing session went better than I had expected, but I still ended up with a lot of size variation from hole to hole, which isn’t good. The only way to get better is with practice, maybe next time will go better!

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The buttons I chose were ones I picked up in NYC. Most of the buttons I came across were too shiny, plastic, or ugly. I don’t love these but they were the right size and had an okay finish so i’m happy I found them!

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I actually think they look really nice on the garment!

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The only photos I have of it worn also include my sleeve muslin. So that’s all for now. Next time i’ll talk about making the lining and sleeves.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Brown Beaded Doublet, Part Two

This is part two of making my renaissance/baroque hybrid doublet! Part one talks about drafting the pattern and making the body of the garment, it can be read here.

I decided to keep the sleeves relatively simple to try and tie it back into the renaissance theme, in the 1600s doublets had fantastic paned sleeves which I REALLY want to attempt, but they don’t really suit this project. So I settled on a easy design with fancy cuffs and strips attaching it to the shoulder.

The sleeves consist of three main sections. The first is made up of several strips of fabric that connect to the bodice. The second section is simple, made from brown stretch fabric and decorated with lace. The final section is the cuff, which will tie closed and also have lace details.

The strips on the first section are made up of rectangles. I’ll be using five on each sleeve, one that is five inches long, two that are four inches, and two that are three inches.

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The edges were all turned inward twice to create a finished edge that won’t fray.

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To give the pieces shape I cut strips of lace that were slightly shorter and sewed them to each edge. The lace will lay flat against the shoulder and the fabric strips will puff out. This isn’t the most practical thing to do, but it looks pretty!

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The pattern for the other two sleeve pieces looks like this, I drafted it off of my arm measurements.

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Then I cut it out – once from my brown fabrics and again from cotton, which will be used for lining.

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I left a one inch seam allowance on everything so I could “pillow case” the pieces to create finished edges.

When that was done I stitched around each side to make sure the edges won’t roll over.

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I was originally going to decorate the sleeves with ruffles but I decided to use two pieces of lace instead. I’m not sure they quite go together, but from a distance it looks alright!

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Once the lace was stitched on I added the strips I made earlier. They are placed one inch apart and the largest one is in the exact center.

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Then it was time to work on the cuffs! For these I turned each edge over a half inch and stitched them down.

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I sewed lace onto the bottom off the cuff, then stitched eyelets onto both sides.

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The cuffs got stitched onto the rest of the sleeve and sewn up the side. I seem to be missing photos of this, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to visualize!

Once the sleeves were complete I attached them to the bodice.

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Now that all the exterior work was done I could sew in the lining! I’m not sure why I don’t have photos of this, but I just pinned the lining in place and whip stitched around the edges.

Once the lining was in I stitched the eyelets and declared it complete….unfortunately there were a few complications when I actually tried it on.

– The fabric was buckling at the lacing point. I fixed this by sewing a boning channel into the interior of the garment and adding a long piece of hooping wire.

-The sleeves were too tight – I could fit into them but they reduced mobility by a lot. I ripped out the side seams and restitched them with a quarter inch seam, which left me with an extra half inch.

-I removed one of the five pieces that hold the sleeve to the bodice. The back most one was also restricting mobility.

The finished garment looks like this! I love how this looks, and it was really fun to make. I love structured things and pairing that with fiddly details was really enjoyable. I think i’ll end up making more things similar to this in the very near future.

I don’t have photos of it worn yet, i’ll get them after finishing the tunic and pants that go with it.

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Thanks for reading!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Historically Inspired, The Making Of

 

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18th Century Underskirt, Yellow Sateen

This is the second and final project in my 18th century October series. I’d hoped to make a menswear ensemble too but that didn’t end up happening, and this dress is to blame! It ended up being way more detailed and time costuming than I had expected.

Today i’ll be talking about the long process of making a pale yellow underskirt. This piece is really just an accessory, the real star is a striped Robe a l’anglaise which will be worn overtop.

For this project i’m using a lovely red and yellow striped upholstery fabric and a yellow twill sateen. I also ended up using ivory tulle as an overlay and several hundred pearls for decoration. Despite searching everywhere for a fabric that matches the yellow tone in my striped material I couldn’t find anything. Fabric is either too yellow, or not yellow enough, or too dark!

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I ended up using yellow twill (which doesn’t actually match) and adding a tulle overlay to create texture and hopefully desaturate the color enough to make them match. It didn’t work, but hey, I tried!

I started by cutting out the skirt. The skirt has two main pieces, an upper section, and a lower section. I lost my measurement sheet so I can’t tell you the dimensions of these, but they were both rectangles. One was three yards long and the other way six yards long. The six yard piece was much thinner since it creates the ruffle at the bottom of this  skirt.

This is the upper part of the skirt.

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I cut tulle that was the same size and basted it on with very large stitches. I didn’t have a large enough desk to lay this out all the way so the process was very slow.

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The six yard strip was made of three pieces which were sewn together with french seams.

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Then I repeated the process used on the upper section of the skirt and hand basted tulle overtop.

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Then it was time for hemming! I decided that I should hem everything by hand, because thats the sort of stupid decision that I make on a regular basis. I actually like hemming things by hand, but this ended up being super tedious since I did it all in one sitting.

The bottom edge of my six yard strip has a three quarter inch rolled hem that was whip stitched in place

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The top has a quarter inch rolled hem which was also whip stitched in place.

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Then I  hand the thing down until it was three yards long. I divided the fabric into four fifty four inch sections and made sure each section was gathered down to twenty seven inches. I probably should have used smaller sections to ensure the gathers are even, but this worked pretty well.

I made two rows of gathers to create a smoother surface to sew my pearls onto.

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My ruffle got set aside and it was time to focus on the upper section of the skirt. Before I could do much with it I needed to make the waistband. The waistband was also a rectangle of twill fabric, but I reinforced it with a lightweight interfacing.

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I folded the strip in half and sewed the edges together with the “right sides together” method, then top stitched around each edge.

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The last step was sewing a button hole and attaching a button! I originally made covered buttons with matching fabric, but they ended up being too big.

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I gathered the top of my skirt until it was the right length, then stitched it onto the waistband.

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I folded a strip of leftover fabric into something resembling bias tape and used that to seal off the edges. I also tacked this to the skirt so it would stay facing down.

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At this point my skirt looked like this, which was pretty disappointing considering how long I had spent on it.

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The next step was sewing on the ruffle, I used my machine for this because it would be hidden by pearls later on.

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After attaching the ruffle and building up my dress form with the proper petticoats this looked a LOT better!

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Then it was time for the detail work. I ordered a heap of glass pearls from etsy in colors that matched my striped fabric. Unfortunately they only had ten strands of red 6mm pearls in stock, and I needed twelve.

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I decided to leave a twenty four inch gap free of pearls in the back of the skirt. This part will be hidden by the overskirt and leave me with enough pearls to use them the way I had planned. But it did look sort of stupid having this empty space on the skirt, so I decided to make tulle flowers to cover the gap.

I made these from tulle strips. I folded the strips into loops and wrapped thread around the bottom of each loop. Once I had five or six loops I stitched them together in the center to create something that resembles a flower.

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To jazz them up a bit I added pearls to the centers.

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Then it was time to sew pearls onto the skirt! I did this one by one and it took a really long time since I had over 500 to attach. I haven’t really done something like this before and it was surprisingly soothing, like hemming but with a much prettier end result!

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Once I finished sewing on all the pearls it was time to add my flowers!

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When that was done I did up the back of the skirt with a french seam.

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I left a six inch gap at the top of the skirt and rolled the raw edge inward twice to create a finished edge. Usually I would use snaps or hooks to keep this shut but since this is an underskirt I decided to leave it open.

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There was an ugly flowerless gap where the seam was, but luckily I saved a few tulle flowers which I sewed on after the seam was done up. So everything looks flowery and lovely!

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And the skirt was complete! I made this over the course of a week but there was so much hand sewing involved that it felt much longer.

In the end I’m really pleased with how it turned out, the whole project went smoothly. Even though it’s a simple design that’s something to be grateful for, mistakes are all the more noticeable on simple projects!

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Thanks for reading!

 

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Diaphanous Flower Dress, Part Two

Diaphanous Flower Dress, Part Two

Here is the second part of making my flowery dress! The first part, which talks about the skirt, can be found here!

The bodice of this dress is a simple sweetheart that drafted a few months ago for a different project. I actually planned to do a pattern making tutorial on this project, so I have nearly twenty five photos of how it was made! But this post will be long enough without those, so i’ll only show you two.

Here is the draped bodice on my dress form.

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And here is what the finished pattern looks like!

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Step one was cutting out all the pieces. This was made more difficult (by that I mean really annoying) by the fact I chose to make this bodice from sheer and slippery materials.

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Each piece was cut from two layers of tulle, a layer of chiffon, and a layer of organza. After cutting them out I hand basted all the layers together. I also used tape to keep track of which pieces go were – they sort of all look the same!

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The two front pieces were done a little bit differently, the tulle layers were assembled separately from the rest, this way I can attach flowers to the chiffon/organza layer and use the tulle as an overlay.

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The pieces are sewn together with a three quarter inch seam allowance. All the seams are pressed open, then turned under to create a quarter inch wide pocket. This finishes off the seams really nicely and creates a channel you can slip boning into.

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Here they are finished – not the most even stitching in the world, but this was my first time trying the technique, so i’m sure i’ll get better!

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I repeated the process on my front panels, then inserted plastic boning into all the channels.

Once that was done I began the process of gluing flowers onto the bodice! I started with some petals.

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I wanted to keep the flowers even on both sides, but I wasn’t aiming for perfect symmetry. Please ignore all the icky glue tails, a sweep with a lint roller removes them all!

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At this point it was time to add the tulle overlay…which looked awful. The seams in the tulle looked terrible and I wasn’t happy with it all. I also really disliked how the center seam looks, so distracting!

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I decided to cut the tulle to be all one piece, tulle has enough stretch that it doesn’t have to have a bust curve…at least not on me and my tiny bust.

For the center seam I decided to stitch a scattering of pearls and sparkly bits to create a little more visual interest, and hopefully, distract from the ugly seam.

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Then I basted my tulle layer on top. I like how this looks so much more then my original plan, just shows that you shouldn’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working out, that’s part of being an artist!

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I attached the front panels to the rest and added boning into that seam.

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I took a minute to try it on and though I could fit into it, it was a little snug and I was worried about the tulle ripping. I added an extra (very small) panel on each side which gave an extra half inch of room. A half inch was all I needed, and it fit so much better!

Then I moved on to the waistband, which is the only opaque part of this costume. I made it from white cotton sateen with an overlay of chiffon and tulle.

The pieces were basted together.

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Then the edges were turned under with a basting stitch.

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I set this aside for a bit and used lace to finish the top and bottom edge of the bodice.

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The waistband was pinned on.

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Then the top of the waistband was sewn on with very tiny hand stitches.

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The pins for the other side were removed and the skirt was sewn on.

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Then the waistband was pinned down again.

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And sewed on. It actually looked like a dress, which is great.

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I trimmed a few threads and sewed in a zipper, and the whole thing was finished!

But it was missing something. That something was an obnoxious floral headpiece. I made a simple flower crown of sorts, I don’t have any photos of how I made it, but I do have a video tutorial! It can be watched here.

The finished thing looks like this!

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And when that’s worn with the dress, the finished product looks like this.

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So that’s that! This dress didn’t come out the way I had hoped, but i’m glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and made it, because it was fun!

I’m also really flattered and amazed by the positive feedback i’ve gotten on this project. It makes me really happy to know you guys like it!

Thanks for reading!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Fashion & Fantasy, The Making Of

 

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Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

Here is part two of making my beaded chemise, part one talks about the actual beading process and can be read here!

In addition to photos and a lot of rambling, I also have another video to share! I’m not too happy with how this turned out, it’s a bit choppy due to big variations in lighting, angle, and zoom. I’ll try to get that sorted out for future videos, but for now it’ll have to do!

This video shows pretty much every step of this project, from beading the collar to hemming the skirt and everything in betwee. If you are seeing this post in an email you can access the video here, otherwise you can view it below!

Unfortunately since a lot of these photos were pretty nondescript I think files ended up going in the wrong folder or being deleted, so i’m missing a few here and there.  Hopefully it won’t make things too confusing

Step one was drafting the sleeve pattern – it was absolutely massive!

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Once it was cut out it was even more ridiculous.

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I pinned my sleeves to have a quarter inch rolled hem, not an easy task!

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Then sewed it by hand, just because this part of the sleeve is most visible and I wanted it to look good. Ignore the other lines of pen – they are part of my original plan for the sleeves which didn’t end up working out.

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Then I gathered the cuffs down with two rows of super teeny tiny gathers. I don’t know if anyone else would use the word cute to describe gathers, but I think these are pretty cute.

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In my last post I talked about making these decorative beaded cuffs

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Those got sewn on overtop of my very pretty tiny gathers.

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Then I took a step back and began work on the skirt…or dress, the main part of this costume. It was three giant rectangles with seams at the sides. The rectangle in the back is longer, and the front one slants inward towards the center…but they are pretty close to being rectangles.

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I marked out a hem allowance.

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Then pinned it in place.

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I hemmed it by hand, yay! I really do like hemming things. I know people view it as a big chore, but it’s so easy and satisfying, it just takes a bit of time and patience.

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The next step was cutting out the sleeve holes, I had to make these deeper later on because I forgot there was a one inch seam allowance at the top, oops!

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I also cut out the “V” at the front, then rolled the edges over twice to avoid fraying.

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Once all that was done I gathered the top of the skirt/dress/top/thing, I was struggling a lot with making the gathers even so eventually I stopped and decided to do it by machine. I set the tension really low and used a 5.0 stitch length, then pulled on the threads until the turned to gathers.

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Here is where I lost the photos – The skirt/dress was sewn onto the collar, the collar creates the top part of the sleeve hole, so this had to be done first. Once that was done I measured the size of the sleeve hole and gathered my sleeves down to that size.

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 I stitched them into place by hand and bam I had a chemise! Don’t I look thrilled?

In all honesty chemises kill me because they are so time consuming and such an important part of historical costumery….but they look like a cross between maternity wear and canvas tents. Trying one on and thinking “I spent thirty hours on that” makes me reconsider my love for this hobby.

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I added hooks to the cuffs so they would fit my wrists tightly.

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The last thing to do was sewing in lining to the collar, which was pretty easy.

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So that’s that! I do have photos of the finished ensemble but I’m not going to post them until later in the week. Unless you are a sneak, then you can see them here.

Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. 

 

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