Sunday, 7 May 2017

HSM #4: A Directoire Gown (or, The most non-committal gown of all time)

 This year I helped out at the local Jane Austen festival, and I decided for the ball that it would be nice to have some kind of ballgown. I went to my stash and found a pretty turquoise gauze that I had gotten a couple of years ago from one of my neighbours in a yardsale. As I was thinking over what design to use, it occurred to me that I'm generally extremely uncomfortable with wearing clothing with the Empire silhouette, even though I've been attending events with the local Regency group for years (I always end up skirting around the period*puns*-, which is why I've made a bunch of 1780's/90's garments and an 1820's/30's style gown but nothing in between). I decided then, with this dress, to commit to as little cutting as possible- I loved the fabric and didn't want to see it go to waste if I ended up disliking it (although as it turned out, this was not a concern at all!).

This got me thinking of what specific part of the 1800-1820 time period would be easiest to create with minimal cutting. I decided on a neoclassical/very early 19th century- inspired design. I figured a neoclassical look would be the best to minimize cutting given that the focus was more on drapery than a tailored look. In fact, the ancient garments from which the early 19th century drew inspiration were often made up of more or less complete lengths of fabric woven to size, and, when cut, were made with little to no waste fabric.*

*I think there may be an interesting discussion of this in Dorothy Burnham's Cut my Cote, which explores the history of clothing cut to loom widths in various cultures (and has DIAGRAMS!). I can't remember if there was any mention of Classical Antiquity in it, but a very good book either way.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

HSM #3: A riding habit petticoat

Now that I am posting late HSM's, here is another one I finally got photos for just this week.

What the item is: 18th century riding habit petticoat

The Challenge, and how this item fulfills it: riding habits (as I'm going to call them, because I don't know a better name) were often worn in this period for outdoor leisure pursuits.

Fabric/Materials: 2 metres of unbleached cotton fabric fabric- that amazingly cheap IKEA drapery backing that they sell by the metre, 2 metres of twill tape

Pattern: my own

Year: 1785-1795

Notions: white cotton thread & wax

How historically accurate is it? The construction itself is decent, but I've had a difficult time figuring out whether or not the material I used is more like a (valuable) nankeen or a (cheap) onasbruck- I've never gotten a chance to see either of these types of fabric in real life, so that remains a mystery to me.

Hours to complete: not many

First worn: for pictures (with last year's HSM 11 waistcoat).

Total cost: $6 cad.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Spring is here... and a pineapple to celebrate!

It finally looks like spring is here to stay (here's hoping... you never know). Assuming spring has come for good, here's a fun warm weather-y project I've been working on lately:

The pattern for this tiny little purse is a combination of the instructions from Franklin Habit's and Isabel Gancedo's patterns,* both of which are based off an 1840's pattern from Gaugain's The Lady's Assistant (1840). It was surprisingly simple to make, and I just love the strange texture of the whole purse.

ALL the pineapple spikes!!

The thread was a size 16 crochet cotton with 1.5mm (I think) needles- I should maybe have made the gauge a little tighter in the body though. I added glass seed beads in coordinating colours where the pattern called for beading. I'm not sure whether or not I'll line it, but I'm making up the drawstring now, and I think I'll leave any considerations of lining until after that's finished.

And look at the inside as well! I find this pattern so neat!

*If you are a fan of Ravelry, both patterns can be found there as well.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

HSM #2: a modified Regency brisé fan

I actually hope to put up documentation and a tutorial for this soon enough (and I know the post is pretty late already). Anyway, here it is.

Challenge/What the item is: A Regency/ Empire brisé fan. It was a simple sandalwood fan that I re-shaped (filed down/sanded and sawed- hence the scalloped edges) and re-strung (replaced the plastic thread with silk) to give it a more early 19th century look.

Material: sandalwood, metal rivet pin (already part of fan), silk thread (my addition)

Year: 1800- 1815

Notions: Silk thread, wax for thread, Sandpaper (both coarse and fine)

How historically accurate is it? I tried to give the edges a scalloped shape similar to photos I've seen of extant fans, and cut off part of the bottom to make the bottom of the fan end closer to the pin. Most of the examples I saw while researching this made of ivory or horn, rather than wood, and had ribbon to hold them together rather then thread (the slats are so thin though that I didn't want to risk ruining them by carving larger holes in them. Although the angle of opening of the fan is ok for this time (as far as I know...) if I were handier with rivets I'd also take out some slats and make the fan opening angle more acute.

Hours to complete: Estimating 5, including time for figuring out how to do it.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost: Fan= $1.25 CAD + a small amount of silk thread already in stash.

Friday, 16 December 2016

HSM #11: 1790s habit waistcoat

I was originally going to post this project for the Historical Sew Monthly "Pattern" challenge. It's been long enough though now that I figure I might as well post this under the Red challenge (it has some red in it). When I found the fabric I made this up with, it made me think of some of the roller-printed cottons from the turn of the 19th century. There is actually a small leaf scrolling pattern in between the stripes, which may or may not be very evident in the photos here.

Challenge: Red. I was originally going for the Pattern challenge, but that was a fairly long time ago now.

Material: 1/2 metre striped quilting cotton, about 1/2 metre beige drapery cotton, and some canvas for the fronts, lapels and collar.

Pattern: Adapted from plate XIX of The Cut of Men's Clothes, by Norah Waugh (and altered to fit over stays- I cut down the back, took in the waist, shortened the body a lot, and made the lapels slightly smaller). I used the descriptions of contemporary waistcoat construction in Costume Close Up (by Linda Baumgarten).

Period: 1790s.

Notions: Cotton thread, metal washers (bases for the buttons), wax, thin cotton tape.
I'm so happy with this stripe match!

How historically accurate is it?: Maybe 80%. I sewed it entirely by hand. It's completely made of cotton (although cotton thread still wasn't really a thing in this period, so points down for that). To be honest, I don't know that much about how accurate the weight of the striped fabric was for this (it's really thin).

I cut it down from a men's pattern, and the fit works for now, but next time I think I would cut a deeper curve on the front (Lesson learned: don't sew with striped fabric when trying a pattern for the first time!), I would also cut back the armscye some more (I had already cut it fairly substantially back from the original pattern.


I took inspiration for the cut of my waistcoat from these gorgeous examples at the V&A museum:
I love the collar and lapels on the red waistcoat (besides its striking colour), and I thought the embroidery pattern on the striped one was very pretty.

  Left: Wool, 1790-95; Right: Linen with silver-gilt embroidery, 1790s

I didn't end up making it double breasted though, because I was so fed-up with buttonholes after sewing the first line of them!
I also changed the back from a lacing back, like these two examples have, to a back closed with ties (see above). Ties appear to also have been a period way of closing the back, though I don't know how common they were on women's waistcoats (as opposed to men's).

Hours to complete:
It took far longer than I had intended. I fully started this in the middle of the summer. It was all good though, because I learned lots of important things while making this piece.

First worn: For pictures.

Total cost: 0.5 metres striped fabric- $3
0.5 metres beige cotton- $1.50
0.25 yard canvas- $1.5
4 washers-15¢
some silk thread which I used on the buttonholes before realising that not all silk thread is appropriate as buttonhole twist- $4
= $10.15
All my other notions I already had.

A sample of materials and tools I used to make this. Ok, I didn't end up using the hammer- that was just there by coincidence- but all the rest I used! My table was unusually organised when I took this photo. Sadly enough, the table has since descended into pandemonium...

Friday, 26 August 2016

A new summer dress

Well, summer is starting to wrap up, but I figured I might as well post a summer dress I finished earlier in the season.

A couple of years ago, I started working on the Butterick reprint pattern 6055. After making it up though, I abandoned it because the fit was pretty weird (I think it didn't help that I accidentally cut it a size too big). After some intensive re-cutting, I ended up removing more than an inch of material from the shoulder seam on either side, and it looks a lot better now. The fit still isn't perfect. Lopping all that off the top of the dress made most of the bodice fit better, but has caused some strange little wrinkles along the collar line... Thankfully the fabric print seems loud enough to distract from it!

Another thing with this dress which I didn't know at first is that it looks best with a belt (especially if the fabric is really busy like mine). There is a belt pattern included in the envelope, but I drafted this one on my own and it's a bit different from the pattern that came with it. It's made from some leftover black fabric from my other reprint dress, and a black plastic buckle from the local fabric store. The belt's base is made from several strips of canvas and burlap base that I used instead of belting.

Some black accents at the neck are a cute addition!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Red chemise gown updates

I wrote earlier this year about my plans to make a red chemise gown- here is some of my progress on it!

The front is made up of two really long panels of fabric- I then put drawstrings on them at the neck and waist, and sewed them together from hem to waist. The cut of the back and shoulder straps (still yet to be covered) are from a basic late 18th century style bodice sloper that I drafted off my stays a while back. For the bodice construction on the back portions of the gown, I followed Serena Dyer's tutorial on 18th century gown construction, and stitched the fashion fabric onto my already-constructed bodice lining (not only is it historically accurate, but it's actually really nice and easy too).

Inside view of the front panel.
The lining of the gown (along with under-bodice front).

To give it some more structure (and a bit more modesty, given that the front only closes with two ties!) I added an under-bodice in the same material as the lining (a medium-ish weight linen-cotton blend).
I'll try to get some more photos up soon-ish of how it fits!