Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All wrapped up! HSF #14: Paisley and Plaid

Cheesy, yes, but I couldn't resist :)

So, the busy summer is winding down and now I'm back on the Fortnightly bandwagon. Yay!

The Challenge: #14, Paisley and Plaid

Fabric: Reproduction print cotton, cotton for lining and apron sides, and embroidered cotton for apron.

Pattern: Laughing Moon Mercantile, for the wrapper.

Year: Mid 19th century

Notions: Cotton tape for inner waistband, buttons, string for piping.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good. I don't think I did anything glaringly modern. The apron probably would have been hand embroidered and not purchased embroidered. And I think the buttons are plastic.

Hours to complete: I didn't keep track. Started it last year and put it aside until last week.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: I bought everything last year so I'm going to claim stash. But in all honesty, I think the embroidered fabric was a pretty penny...


I really liked the top half of this pattern. The shoulders and neckline and everything were great. I wasn't so thrilled with the skirt. I felt like it didn't have enough fabric to lay gracefully over the hoop. Unfortunately, I didn't check this before hand, and found out after I had already gauged the skirt to the back and assembled the front to it. I just didn't have it in me to take it apart to add more fabric. Plus, I don't think I even had enough fabric.

When not belted in, it really shows how the pattern could have used more fabric. I suppose I can wear it with a smaller hoop, or no hoop at all.

I do love wrappers worn open. At first it's kind of hideous and tent-y, but I think it grows on you. It's such a distinctive look.

My favorite part of this project was having fun with the pattern. I chose a special part of the fabric for the piping, and then used the big brown motif for most of the accents, like the hem border and belt. 

I changed the inside of the wrapper from the pattern, which called for a fitted under bodice, which laced up. I couldn't see a good reason to go to the trouble, so I just lined the top half of the wrapper and added a inner belt instead, to hold the back of the wrapper close to the wearer's back. I attached the ends of the belt to the side seams.

The wrapper has massive pockets on both sides. All the better to hold your iPhone with... And snacks.

My finishing touch for the wrapper ensemble is this petticoat/apron piece. I constructed it like an apron instead of a full petticoat. I attached a triangle of embroidered fabric to plain cotton, to save the precious fabric. Someday I would like to actually embroider one. My "someday" sewing list is getting longer and longer!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Evading fitting anything...

Before I left town last week, I was putting off getting into my stays to fit my chintz quarterback. I was just being lazy.

Well, after spending the week eating my own weight in all things tasty and bad for you, there's no way I'm squeezing myself into anything. So, solution, finish the wrapper!

Last fall, I started an 1860's wrapper. I got caught up in other things, so it got put aside. Now, I thought I'd finish it.

I really like the fabric. It's been really fun to play around with the stripes. The pattern is Laughing Moon Mercantile, but I changed it and decided to only line the bodice. It's so hot here, as little lining as possible is a good thing. I really like this pattern's shoulder, by the way. It drops pretty far down the arm.

Eventually it will have buttons and a belt. I did up coat sleeves, but decided they were too stiff, so I switched to bishop and left them unlined. I'm still sewing the piping on the collar. I also added some horizontal trim at the hem. Pics to come!

So, tonight I'm finishing up the collar and watching some Pride and Prejudice. Yum.

And ugh, my darling puppy has discovered thread. Thank god he didn't swallow it...

He is a nightmare.

But gosh he is cute!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Fabric Haul

There's something about period prints that I love. Any period. Solids are always appropriate, but somehow the hunt for the right kind of print is so much more fun. Probably because it is such a hunt.

One reason it's such a hunt is that cotton prints are so darn expensive. Sure, eight, ten, twelve dollars a yard isn't so bad when your getting a fat quarter for quilting, but multiply by ten for an 1860's dress and it's a bit of an investment.

So, yesterday morning I was thinking how I couldn't find anything good, and on sale. My husband and I were heading to Boulder City to get lunch and walk the antique shops, and I thought I'd stop in to one of my favorite fabric stores there and see what they had. They always carry a good selection of repro quilting designs.

Well, boo! We get there and there's a big sign in the window that said, "Shop Closing Sale." About 7/8ths of me was really quite sad, because there are barely any good fabric shops around here, but I must say, the last little bit of me was thrilled because everything was 45% off. Smile.

So I picked a bunch of bolts thats had pretty fabric. I even got about 6 yards of this 1830's repro fabric I have had my eye on for a while, but had no use for. Maybe I will have to make something out of it soon!

From the Mill Book 1835 Collection by Marcus.

I got some good civil war era prints and even some regency era, but only about enough to make maybe a short-gown, like this. The short gown fabric is on the right. The left is just a pretty sprigged. And the middle is just pretty!


One fabric, which I really liked, barely had enough on the bolt for a dress, so I picked up a second length of it, which was slightly a different dye lot. If I have to use it, I'll just have to hide it under the arms or something... Reminds me of this dress.

And lastly, a turn of the 20th century print, which will probably become a little Edwardian dress.

I am really very sad they are closing, though. I went to another shop next to my house last week, and they had cut the shop space in half. I feel bad not supporting local shops for fabric more, at least for cottons, which is usually all one can find, but it is hard, when they don't have the correct thing and there is rarely ever enough on the bolt. The internets just so much easier!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Where I was last weekend. No costumes, but lots of history.

Unfortunately, Costume College overlapped my husband's birthday, so we did a trip for him instead. 

Where I'm all over the map with my love of all things historical, my husband has a major affinity for Nevada's southern mining boom years. Especially the town of Goldfield, NV. We went with friends up to the town for "Goldfield Days," the town's festival, complete with parade and land auction.

Goldfield, today.

It really is an interesting era in history. And it's especially relevant since we have both been raised in Nevada.

In 1902, gold was discovered in Goldfield, which was barren desert, and by 1907, twenty thousand people populated the city. It was supposed to be the next San Francisco or Chicago. But all was not to last. The boom ended, with the panic of 1907, and the town emptied out, though it was not as drastic a story as nearby Rhyolite, which went from a population of about 10,000 at the height of the boom, to barely 600 by 1909. By 1915 Rhyolite had only 12 people and by 1924 the last resident passed away.

Goldfield's big blow came in 1923, with a great fire that leveled the town. The town is still peppered with historic buildings, some in very bad shape, some have been restored, and some have remained in use over the years.

Ooo this one hasn't fared so well over the years... Though it does still stand!

The famous Goldfield hotel is still in quite good shape,
though it hasn't been a working hotel since the 1940's.

The courthouse has been in continuous use since 1907.

We hope to purchase one of these wonderful buildings soon (one able to be saved, of course), and do our part in helping to keep the history of the town alive, but for now, we decided to have some fun at the land auction and see what we could pick up.

It was actually like a really fun scavenger hunt. We looked at the land lots and then went to the courthouse and looked up the titles. The recorder's office was amazing. The computer looked positively out of place, sitting atop the huge cabinets full of hundred-year-old deed books. Not to mention, the door to the office is basically a vault!

So, happy birthday! We ended up with a couple of lots, just down the road from the old High School, which is one of the original buildings that is currently being restored. There's nothing on the land now, but who knows what was there in the past! We plan on finding out.

The high school, built 1907.

I can't wait to see everyone's pictures from Costume College! Maybe next year I'll be able to make it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quarter back progress, new stays and a new horsey!

Lately, instead of new, shiny, exciting projects, I've been trying to be good and get some things done that I've been meaning to do for a while. 

First, I've been reworking my old chintz gown. I've been reusing the patterned fabric pieces, re-lining with linen (had been cotton), re-shaping for fit and style, and sewing them together in a more period appropriate way.

It still has a long way to go, but I've been avoiding actually putting on stays to try it on and finish it up. I have literally done everything else I could do except try on the darn thing to finish it. Maybe today... I've been lazy.

Speaking of stays, I've started on a new, better-fitting pair. The last pair I made, I love, but they're just too short on me. I did love the yellow linen, though. These will be light blue wool. I traced the pattern from my old stays, adjusting as I went, for a better fit across the bust. Hopefully they will be better. 

So far, over the years, I have made five pairs and bought one, too. Never been completely happy with any of them. Maybe this time!!

And my biggest, most fun news this month... I got a new horse! I just had to share, I'm so excited.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A black silk bonnet, a cotton polonaise and redoing my chintz gown.

I've been spending the last week getting old, half-finished projects out of the bags and boxes they invariably end up in, and finaly finishing them up. Yay me!

Last night was a good one.

I had purchased Hallie Larkin's 18th century bonnet kit a while back, started it, and somewhere along the line, got frustrated attaching the brim to the caul, so I chucked it aside. Last night I pulled it out and had it finished in about an hour and a half. I really don't remember what had been frustrating me so much...

I think I put it together correctly. I'm not really the poster child for following pattern directions, but it looks pretty good. I think I might add a nice big bow to the front. I just have to round up some more black taffeta for that.

Another project that is almost finished is a summery, cotton polonaise I started last year. The jacket and petticoat are basically finished now. All I have left is to add trim. But at least now it's pretty much wearable, if a little boring.

It looks very sad and limp on the dress form :( I'll have to take better pictures of it when it's all trimmed up.

And lastly for today, I made a cotton chintz gown a few years ago. I love the fabric, but my knowledge of historical sewing has advanced since then, and I could never see myself wearing it again and being happy in it. So... I took it apart!

The pattern was J.P. Ryan's anglaise. The pieces still work (and the fabric was too valuable to toss), so I will be resewing them and refitting where necessary, to make it both a better fitting garment and a more historically accurate one. Yay! 

Reusing fabric and updating style... Quite in the 18th century spirit, I'd say :)

Has anyone else ever redone a garment like this?