Monday, January 27, 2014

Frilly lace fichu

I have done something very, very selfish.

I have not worked on my Revwar kit.

I have not made something suitable for a lower-class impression.

I have, however, made a move towards de-stashing my truly awe inspiring lace bin!  And I've watched Firefly, Serenity, caught up with Supernatural, and started Battlestar Galactica!

And look at this cool fichu that I made!  (thank goodness for snow days.)

 This fichu was based on this original from approximately 1860 (from the latter half, I presume:)

My version has several more layers of insertion lace and, due to my lack of thin black lace, there is tasseled silk trim instead.
The underside - a back seam and two tucks
The back

And the whole, badly centered package.
Just the facts:

Pattern: self drafted.

Materials:  Insertion lace, lace, silk trim, think silk ribbon, velvet ribbon.

Time: A very long time.  At least 2 days straight of work.

What I would do differently:  Uh... not do it, aheh?  It took a really, really long time.  But I did learn how to sew together insertion lace, as well as the value of patience.  And hopefully this is going to look really nice for ECD, or wherever I get to wear it...

And now I'm going to do a lot of sewing grunt work, at least until Military History fest next weekend.  Got to kit up for W&M!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1770s basics

Alright... This is not going to be a 'sexy' post in terms of fun or fancy clothing.  I just wanted to show off my fun new undergarment, that's all! I apologize for the lack of posts of late; I feel like I'm working on 10 projects, all at once.  As well as this, I've been fixing and altering a lot of my older stuff.
I've finally gotten around to making a decent Revwar chemise, though!
Sorry, no risque on-the-model pictures
 Just the facts:

Materials: Linen, cotton thread.

Pattern:, drafted to my measurements

Time: about a week and a half, which is a really long time for me, but all of those hand sewn flat felled seams eat up time like nobody's business.

Period: 1740-1780, probably.

What I'll do differently next time:  Use a lighter weight linen and linen thread, and make the armholes a loooooot bigger, erp.

 I'm inordinately proud of my stitching, though.  This is a running stitch on the hem.
 The neckline, with the binding.

 The triangular sleeve gusset

And the big frickin' side gusset.  Sigh.

While waiting for the linen to come, I ended up re-doing my paletot yet again so that it looks a little more presentable.
argh.... I look like crap... I apologize.
 I changed the collar to a standing collar and neatened out the shoulders (though it still puffs out a bit on one side thanks to my not basting it before I sewed it,) re-set the trim on the ends so that it didn't bubble out and FINALLY put on some fur cuffs!
 Nee hee hee, I love them so much!
And the full thing.

Right now, I'm working on re-doing my black silk 1860s dress as well as making a reallllllly fancy 860s lace fichu to clean out some of my lace stash, and then on to a black silk Revwar bonnet, then my chintz cotton print dress.... The list never ends....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We inerrupt your usual programming for a historical geek-out

So, we all know that Senator Stephen A. Douglas (currently residing on the right side of this blog, warding away untoward advances) called my fair Chicago his home during his later years.  It stands to reason, then, that many of his personal papers and affects remained here.  And I just now got around to finding out where: the University of Chicago, which he was an integral part of founding!
Red lipstick+shades=ready to research and smash the patriarchy
Of course, this necessitated a field trip to rummage through the collection boxes in the lovely U of C Special Collections Library.  I even got my own little glass cubicle so that people wouldn't be annoyed by my little freak-outs ('oOOH MY GODDDD THIS IS FROM JAMES MADISON CUTTS!!!1! oh this is a bill for CARRIAGE REPAIRS! OOOOH!)

 They had a piece of his cravat!  That he actually wore!  And touched!  Oh goodness!
 ... This was only about a third of the alcohol list at a party thrown in his honor.  And we still wonder why he was an alcoholic?
 A super rad lithograph of him from a hence lost daguerreotype
 Misc. cards and objects
Everybody talks about Mary Todd Lincoln's spending habits, but WOW, here's the bill for Adele Douglas' notions. And yes, these are all for sewing or wearing, and this is only about half the list!  (I do suppose that Douglas was a good deal better off than Lincoln, but STILL!)
*breathes heavily*

There are many more pictures, but I'm sure that most people don't share my deep, abiding love for my homeboy from my hometown.  But I just get so excited over research projects...

Friday, January 10, 2014

...Bosoms and bayonets?

Well, I had a bit of fun with this dress.  It has gone about as well as my first attempt at making a period correct Civil War dress.
I got the fabric from the Oak Forest 1812 event the first year it happened; I think I got a whole bolt for $10 or so, and it's come back as several incarnations from aprons to linings.
 So.. My first RevWar dress.  I can't say that I'm very fond of it.  It does certainly need some alterations, especially to get rid of those unsightly wrinkles but on the whole I'm pretty satisfied.  Also... I will definitely be wearing a kerchief.  Got to keep the girls under wraps, you know.
The dress is entirely hand-sewn, with most of the work being done over winter break.  The back is pleated en fourreau and my unintentional slightly angled cutting gives it a really rad chevron affect.

Just the facts:
Fabric:  Cotton? Linen? Natural fiber of unknown and unknowable origin.  Lined with linen, sewn with linen and cotton thread.
Period:  Roughly 1770.
Pattern: JP Ryan, I believe.
Time it took:  I started cutting the day break started, with a few days off in the middle, so about a week and a half over all.
What I learned:  Always check to make sure that your fashion fabric and lining line up.  The sleeves need to be re-done, and the front taken in significantly (as you can see, the closure is off a bit.)  Also, I don't know what the drafters were thinking with the sleeves - the pleat was evidently supposed to fit around the elbow snugly, but it hardly comes down past my elbow at all and instead makes that unsightly bump.  I think that I'll just cut the pattern off above the elbow for greater practicality and movement anyways.

Over all, though, I'm pretty happy with my first dress for W&M!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas presents!

Ooooh, it's cold out.  That's what we get for living in Chicago, I suppose!
I've spent the last week inside re-sewing my paletot and starting my Revwar kit and also, until our Christmas party, sewing Christmas presents for the gang.  So in lieu of clothing (I am almost! finished! with my revwar dress!) here are the sewing implements I made for the friendsters.
A housewife for the man-friend, made entirely from repro fabric from a pattern that I made up the minute before I cut it out.  A nifty little project!
A little needle case from Anna Worden Bauersmith's pattern, made up in silk.  I'm pretty jazzed with how this turned out, though it took as long as the other two put together.
Another needle case, made from silk brocade and taffeta with metallic trim.  I ended up just gluing the fabric to the board out of frustration... But I like it an awful lot nonetheless.
I also made a little reticule for C, but I didn't photograph it because I didn't want her to see it before she received it, erp...
Happy belated holidays, friends, and stay warm!