Monday, September 1, 2014

Inside the Robe de Madras

While I finish up some accessories to complete the look, I thought I'd share some of the inside of this dress. After all, the guts are my favorite part. I always look forward to seeing the insides of garments. Reproductions and originals.


The dress is mostly hand sewn. I only cheated on the long skirt seams. I have this weird, skewed view of hand sewing vs. machine, depending on the era. For 18th century, I enjoy hand sewing every centimeter. I revel in it. For mid 19th and forward, I mostly do machine, though I have been doing more and more by hand for convenience (yes, I just said that - I love hand sewing, both for the results and the process of it). 

For early 19th, it kind of falls in the middle. I don't reenact the era, so authenticity is for my enjoyment/education alone. I really enjoy sewing the fun bodice/hem seams, but get a little bored on the long skirt seams. I don't know, when 90% of the dress is done by hand, maybe I should just suck it up and get my running stitch on for those skirt panels... 

I will say, for 18th and early 19th, there are seams that are simply impossible to do by machine. 


Ah, here was a new one. On my other dresses of this era, I have just pinned the closures. On this dress I tried something different and did hooks on one side and eyelets on the other. I have not seen this in an extant dress, but it worked out great. The hooks go into the eyelets and the front is then very smooth under the bib. Also, having eyelets instead of metal loops doesn't cause the same pulling that can happen where the loops are stitched on. I like it. I'll have to look into seeing if hooks were even used for this at all. And hey, if not, I can always remove the hooks and just finish up that side with eyelets.

On a side note, that one layer of linen, at the front, is surprisingly strong! I tried on the dress without stays, after I had finished it, and the bodice really holds you up! It gives me ideas for a new, lighter, bust support, instead of my short stays, depending on the dress, of course.


The dress was based on the fashion plate of the same name. The pattern was draped over my Museo del Traje dress I wore to last years Jane Austen Evening. I love the fit of that dress. I only had to change the back closure to a bib front for this dress.

And my favorite part of any patterned fabric: the matching. 


I'm not kidding. I totally love doing this. It's like a puzzle! I love me some symmetry :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

And so it begins.


Here's to knitting my little fingers off. Cheers! Oh, but those sleeves are just so fabulous and worth it.

And, in other news... The Robe de Madras. One of my favorite fashion plates. Such a crazy, loud, bonkers fabric. I totally love it. A totally different direction than the LWD. Toquet a Pointes in the near future. And snazzy little polkadot bag, too, I'm sure.


Details (and better pics) to come. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

HSF #15: The Great Outdoors

For this challenge I knocked an 18th century habit shirt off my to-do list. Yay!


The Challenge: #15, The Great Outdoors

Fabric: Handkerchief weight linen

Pattern: Kannik's Korner men's shirt 1750-1800, modified for a ladies' shirt, using information from Cunnington's "History of Underclothes."

Year: Later 18th century

Notions: 60/2 linen thread, 16/2 linen thread for buttons, cotton tape for waistband.

How historically accurate is it? As close as possible.

Hours to complete: Took about four days, sewing in the afternoons and evenings.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: The linen cost $22/yd, but I'm not sure how much I ended up using. Maybe a yard or so.
...


The shirt was very simple, if time consuming, to make. Tiny stitches! The instructions on the Kannick's Korner pattern were very helpful. I also referenced the man's shirt in "Costume Close Up." I will probably add ruffles to the shirt when I decide on what particular habit to make. 

Shirt construction is so interesting! With all the little reinforcements and gussets. Very fun to put together.



I chose thread buttons for the collar so they would be soft under the cravat. Next up, a cravat, I guess.



I thread a tape through a channel on the back hem, putting eyelets in the ends of the channel.


I love a good button hole :)


I'm really jazzed about my sleeve links! I copied Georgian examples with bits from the jewelry section and some "paste" buttons. There's currently some on eBay that inspired me. I don't know, for sure, if ladies wore sleeve links with habit shirts, but I know they wore them on shift's sleeves and I know habit shirts were basically like men's shirts, so I figured why not!



The sleeve links were so easy to make. I'll be keeping an eye out for good buttons from now on. Oh the possibilities! 

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!


Ooo...

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!