Monday, December 29, 2014

A 1950s dress

The wool that I initially had gotten for the riding habit ended up being a lycra blend, so I didn't want to use it for 18th century.  Now I probably have enough wool blend for the rest of my life.
One of my favorite vintage dresses is a plaid 1950s dress that I got in mint condition with the tags still on it, and I feel irresponsible for wearing it instead of preserving it for posterity.  So - I made a similar dress so I could wear it without guilt.

These are not very good quality, sorry!
Just the Basics:

Year: 1950s, I presume

Pattern:  My bodice block

Notions:  Wool blend from, zipper from the costume shop

Time: About a week even.

Verdict?: I should have lined it because it's a little bit itchy, but I can always wear a camisole under it.  One of the arms is not placed well in the armscythe, so it pitches the back forward; the zipper is also, true to my form, not very well set in.  But it is very cute and does its job well!  I hope to one day put some more trim on it, I think it looks a little plain.  Maybe some thin black velvet to head the tucks and eyelets on the neck and sleeves, like the original.

I've recently gotten my hands on some of B&T's new printed fabric (they're absolutely lovely folks! wow!) as well as some silk organza, which is going to be a few new caps and ruffles.  So that ought to give you all a pretty good idea of what's coming down the pike!  I hope you all have a lovely new years.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A long overdue riding habit

This, unfortunately, is the one case where waiting too long to finish something only diminishes my pleasure in it being done.  But it is perfectly alright now, and I can move on to the projects I put on the back burner!

What is it:  A riding habit from approximately the late 1760s.
Materials:  Wool from Burnley and Trowbridge.  In retrospect a plain weave was a poor choice; I think a twill/gaberdine would have been stiffer.  But there was a whole fiasco involving, and I just wanted a dealer I could trust.  The lining is linen except for the silk taffeta skirts, the thread cotton, the brass buttons also from B&T.
How long it took to make:  A very long time, working in increments.  I could have been done in a week or two, but I dragged it out until the end of the semester.  I also wore the petticoat for the halloween tours, and it was quite warm indeed.
Construction:  Roughly based on the Janet Arnold pattern, as well as a large cross-section of later 18th century riding habits.  I debated making the front one-piece, but ultimately decided to keep it as a separate bodice and skirt; I took the round collar off last minute because it kept flipping up.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any construction pictures, but oh well.
Verdict?: I wish I had made this out of a twill so that the bodice wouldnt've been quite so disastrously wrinkled.  And the collar needs a little bit of work, and the hem could be taken up a few inches.  But overall it's surprisingly comfortable and cozy and I love the color and the buttons.
Secondary verdict:  It's sturdy enough to climb in!
With the boo....
I'm not quite sure what my next project will be, but I'm almost done with a 40's dress I made from my rejected wool and I have plenty of colonial/regency projects planned for local events and for when I get home for break.
I hope all my followers have a happy holiday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A simple riding habit shirt! With terrible photo quality.

Unfortunately, none of the detail shots turned out, and I still, through misunderstandings, do not have my own camera.  So here are two very grainy shots of my new riding habit shirt, made with the advice of The Diary of a Mantua Maker and Reconstructing History.

 The pattern is made up in the same manner as a man's shirt.  The fabric is super lightweight linen from (I ordered some '100%' wool there... it was not so.  That was a fiasco.)
The body piece was 27" wide and 32" long, the sleeve gussets 5x5" and the shoulder gussets 3x3" and the sleeves 25x13.  The cuffs and neck close with thread dorset buttons, and the entire shirt is hand stitched with linen thread.  The back is gathered into a waistband that wraps around to the front.
I'm very happy with how this turned out!  I only wish I'd made the neck a bit wider and the sleeves a touch fuller.  And I wish I'd brushed my hair for the pictures.

At some point I will add removable linen ruffles to the cuffs.  Also, I had way too much fun starching that collar.  I can't wait to try this on with a cravat under a jacket!

And my silly cap storage method:

Having fun on campus.

Hopefully I'll get my own camera soon.  Until then, that pleated cap is still for sale, and I have a few fun projects coming up! (as a riding shirt necessitates a riding habit.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Buy this cap?

Ha!  I am sewing.  A little bit. I wanted another silk cap because I had a lot of the fabric left, and since all of my other caps were ruffled I thought it might be nice to put the time and energy into a pleated one.
But now that it's made... eh.  I don't like it as much as the first one.  But you can buy it if you want!  $35 for a hand-sewn, period correct silk cap with a very wide ruffle.
 (Yes, the photo quality is bad....)
Some of my inspiration.

Anyway, I have a real, substantive project coming up.  Hopefully.   Hopefully by then I can use my own camera and not Professor W's.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August flapper

I didn't think I would be sewing anything big until I move, but when the urge to sew comes on, it comes on very strong.
 And this is probably the last photo shoot I'll ever have in my house.... sad sad sad.
An old family friend gifted me her lovely vintage silk sari as a graduation present, and I thought for several days about what kind of dress I would make out of it, and how.  I had settled, reluctantly, on a regency dress, despite disliking most regency/sari remakes, when I stumbled upon Festive Attyre's free 1920s dress pattern.  Bam!  Quick, easy, good opportunity to use the fabric's natural placement.

Era:  Mid to late 20s, judging by waistline.

Fabric: Lovely silk sari, washed silk taffeta lining, 1000000 different kinds of thread.

Time: Less than 10 hours.  Hollaaaaa!

Pattern: Festive Attyre

Verdict:  Very unflattering (the style, not the make) but comfortable and quick, and it gives a good shape for the period.  Next time I'll make the bodice a bit more fitting (I did this without any muslin because I like to live life on the edge.)  Still not a big fan of the color, but I wanted to use the fabric for its sentimental value.  Would make again!

I am a discredit to my community.
Actually, girls in my community in the 1920s were known for being such vamps that a law was passed that allowed the police to arrest their parents for their daughter's indescretions.

Anyway, I'm going to Highland this weekend as my last event and then I'm flying to VA next week.  I will probably be taking a sewing break for a month or so depending on my schedule.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A small bergere hat

I've always been vaguely dissatisfied with the wide straw hat that I bought at colonial Williamsburg, so I decided to take my critiques of it and make a hat of my own just how I liked it, with the straw braid I wanted to make into a leghorn hat for 1860s.
The brim is so small because I was lazy and didn't want to work on this hat anymore.  The decorations and ties are both vintage rayon ribbon that looks and feels like silk.  The hat is all hand sewn using cotton and silk thread, and it took about a week and a half working on and off.  I really enjoyed working with straw, even though it does take a long time.
Also, note that the ruffly cap is for sale.  Buy please? (a steal at $35)

And I have been redoing several old dresses and making new petticoats:
 Which hopefully explains my recent silence.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A new poofy cap

I'm hoping, at this point, that by rite of the sheer volume of my wardrobe I could get an internship at he Margaret Hunter shop in Williamsburg.  And what does every aspiring seamstress need?

A dormeuse cap!
Complete with terrible tee shirt, messy 30 second hair and feverishly red cheeks

The pained grin/grimace
I found a 1 yard x 54" remnant of silk organdy at Vogue and I snatched it up, then used my basic pattern, with a slightly larger caul and a wider back piece (about 2" wider, to get more puff.)  The ruffle is selvedge edge, and the quilling (bloop bloops is definitely the technical term) is half selvedge and half hemmed.  The whole thing is hand sewn, as usual.

Just the facts:

Era: probably later 1770s

Materials: Silk organdy, linen thread, cotton twill tape

Time: About three days = 6 or 7 hours

Pattern:  Kannik's Corner

Verdict:  I really love this cap, and I like seeing how my
work has improved.  The fabric is a lot stiffer and a lot less brilliant white than I thought it would be, but by hair is dark and the stiffness means it holds a fold well, which is nice for roll-hemming.  I also just like the idea of wearing a silk cap - it feels so luxurious.
Look how sheer the fabric is!
 My teeny rolled hem
 Constructed the period correct way - all one layer.

And speaking of luxury, my cheap bottom-of-the-barrel beige jubilee linen/cotton blend came in the mail, so at least I'll have one more underpetticoat/work skirt.  More stuff to work on while sick.