Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year's Soft Crown Bonnet

Since I don't have access to most of my sewing supplies for now, I decided to work on something quick and fun for the holidays.  That quick, fun thing ended up being a soft-crown spoon bonnet that popped up on ebay a couple days ago, right after I picked up a remnant that was the exact same color.
From tbtfan on ebay
It seemed to be a later-war, or immediately post-war bonnet, since it lacked a bavolet.  I've seen soft crown bonnets in the 1850s all the way through the late 60's when full bonnets went out of fashion altogether.  I tried to adhere to the original when making mine (although the seller didn't help me out much by mounting the bonnet correctly on the mannequin head), but I changed a few features to make it more adaptable; I replaced the gathered decoration at the neck with a bavolet and made the brim larger and more noticeably spoon-shaped.  I've found that a higher bonnet flatters my face more.
This is the closest to the actual color of the silk

It's not identical, but I like how mine turned out - I've never been sold on the soft crown style but I love the gentle curve of the shirred crown.  It looks very neoclassical.  I also love the five puffs up the side, it's a simple but striking trim!
I added a bonnet veil for an extra spooky-scary affect
For the brim I used Past Reflections's spoon bonnet pattern, which I swear by.  I then cut 5 pieces of millinery wire, using my gray bonnet as a template for how long they needed to be to comfortably reach from the base of the brim to the nape of the neck.  I cut out a piece of fabric, hand-sewed five small channels in it, inserted the wire, basted the piece on to the frame, gathered a strip of fabric and mounted it over the crown, added a bavolet (which should have been lined with net, but all I had on me was silk organza), lined it and trimmed it.  Honestly the most time-consuming part was hemming the ribbon, and it was on a selvage anyways.

All it needs is flowers, a profusion under the brim and a big cluster of velvet ones on the top (the ones I had on there are actually a hairpiece/pin that I pinned on temporarily.)  Since I'm leaving for vacation soon I didn't have the time or energy to order some, and I won't have any events to wear it to in the near future anyways.

Every hat that I make I get more confidence in my millenarial abilities, so I look forward to making a lot of them in the future!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A ruffly jacket!

I've always really liked the Colonial Williamsburg prints, so this year I sprung for a bit of their trailing vines (?) print, enough to make a jacket for myself that I could mix and match with my petticoats.
I wanted to make a slightly later style (early 1780s) than what I usually do; I think that the narrow seamed back is a very flattering style, and I like the longer sleeves.  The skirt is just as full as it would be if this were a gown, which meant that I had to apply (a lot) more trim than I expected.  Some day I'll add narrow trim up the center and around the neck, but I'm really loving how it is now.  At least, how it will be once I get that tuck in the elbow.
 It's hard to see in this picture, but the back is quartered.
And a big ol' breast knot slapped on it, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Or, the 1-hour reticule, made during the busiest week of the semester.
I attended a truly lovely Jane Austen Society of North America event last week, and decided that I needed something new and spiffy for it, since I was wearing my old yellow and green gown.  My original idea was to make a ruffled chemisette, but I couldn't fine any documentation for using whiteworked broderie and I didn't have time to hem several yards of muslin.  So instead I whipped up a little reticule out of silk taffeta and silk satin ribbon, using silk buttonhole twist for the embroidery (it was all that I had on hand at the time.)
There are innumerable surviving reticules of this approximate form and function in museum collections, spanning essentially the first half of the nineteenth century.

Here's the specific extant example I took the pattern from, using the very advanced technique of 'sizing up the image, putting my fabric on my laptop monitor and sketching it on.'

It isn't as ornate as the original, and I wish I could have had the time to add the sequin wreath and the tassels.  But It was a fine holder for my ID, phone and other necessaries, and it was a brilliant little party overall.
As an ex posto facto apology for not having a lot of pictures, here's me, indulging my urge to put my newly made breast knot on my head.