Monday, November 20, 2017

Inside the Navy Wool Habit

As I mentioned in my last post, the habit jacket and waistcoat are patterned from J.P. Ryan's riding habit pattern. Fitting this habit was one of the classes I took at Costume College this year. The jacket is barely changed, with only some modification to the lapels. The waistcoats use the pattern as a base, and are modified from there, for style.

A Navy Wool Riding Habit

Being that I ride horses almost every day of the week, it's amazing to me that it has taken this long for me to actually make a riding habit! 

This habit started out as one of my classes at Costume College this year. I took a riding habit fitting workshop with J.P Ryan and Feather Tippets, which was great, because I came home and had a pattern to get started with right away. The jacket is mostly unaltered from the J.P. Ryan pattern. If I remember correctly, I think I changed the lapels a little. Also, I opted not to add hooks/eyes all the way down the front. The two waistcoats are modified from the waistcoat that came in the pattern.

For years, on my to do list, was the idea of a riding habit done in the style of George Washington's uniform at the Smithsonian. Navy with buff lapels and cuffs, and buff waistcoat patterned after a man's. I started this out with that plan in mind. As I moved further along with the project, I changed my mind and decided to keep the jacket one fabric. That way, in the future, I could make and wear any waistcoat I wanted, and the outfit would be more versatile. I tried to keep the habit in the style of the 1770's.

The whole outfit went together much faster than I would have thought. I actually finished it back in September, I believe. I finally got around to finishing the hat last week, and it was finally cool enough to go out back and take some photos! 

I had made the habit shirt years ago, so that was already done. I just added some ruffles to it, this time around. I followed the instructions in Costume Close Up for the jacket and waistcoat construction, filling in any blanks with period dressmaking methods, and also tips from other costumers who have made and shared their habits. Samantha, The Couture Courtesan, made a note of tacking down the buckram, which I found no where else. When I got to that step it was very helpful, as otherwise, the buckram would have been floating about. So, thanks, Samantha! 

The lacing at the back of the waistcoat was inspired by a couple original women's riding waistcoats, like this one at the V&A, which I think is genius, because you can grow and shrink a bit and it will still fit! 

The hat was a little adventure in itself. I'll share more on that in another post. 

Haha, and you'll have to excuse the path lights! If I had been paying better attention, I would have pulled them out for the photos. Doesn't that drive you nuts when you take some good pictures, and then there's like a car in the background?! It's like the penny in Somewhere in Time!

The buttons were by far the most time consuming part of making this outfit, but they do look pretty cool. Oh my gosh I went through so much thread!

Next up, the insides and construction!

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Little 1880's Bonnet

Oh, bonnets. So frilly, so silly. I love looking at them. I don't really love wearing them. They're just so frivolous. They don't keep your head warm, they don't shade you from the sun... But I kind of fell in love with the idea of a flowery bonnet for this outfit. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fun with Carmen Miranda!

I, yi, yi, yi, yi, I like this verrrry much! Haha ok so this was really fun to wear. Sooo completely different than what I usually do!

I actually prepared most of it for a party last year, that we didn't end up going to. So this October, I pulled it out, added a couple more details and I was good to go! I wore it to a party we go to at the lake's marina. A lot of people really go all out for it, so it's been a fun event. 

Here's Carmen in all her feathery, decked out glory! I love her!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Black Sateen 1880's Corset

What does every good outfit need? Good undies! And while I didn't have time to make 1880's white frillies, I did prioritize time to make a more era appropriate corset. For a long time, all I had for anything Victorian was my not-quite-1860's corset. And oh boy, looking back, the off silhouette really does show. My goal for this corset was a better shape. A rounder, lower bust. Also, better fabric.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The 1885 V&A Dress: Construction

This was a very fun, relatively quick dress to put together. I challenged myself to complete it as quickly as possible, without sacrificing trying to be as period correct as possible, to my current knowledge of the period. This meant not overthinking, over-measuring, over-pinning, over-seam-finishing... And guess what? It looked just fine!

It was actually quite difficult trying to remember how 1880's gown construction went, since I've spent the last couple years in the early 1900's. Inadvertently, I think the inside might be kind of a Victorian/Edwardian mashup, so if something looks weird in there, sorry! I wasn't double checking every technique.

The skirt started as Truly Victorian's Four Gore underskirt, and the bodice as Truly Victorian's Cuirass Bodice. I draped and altered from there to match the original as close as I could, with the amount of yardage I had. I didn't have quite enough fabric, so I had to get crafty. One great way to conserve fabric was using plain muslin for parts of the underskirt that wouldn't show. Another way was to make very shallow pleats in the ruffles.

An 1880's Dress for a Halloween Outing

Last month, my husband and I were driving home from California and stopped for lunch at Calico Ghost Town. Turns out it was Calico Days. We were so bummed we missed out on the opportunity to dress for it.

Well, we heard they were having a Halloween event so we decided to go up for it. We wanted to go 1880's, which is when the original town was from. Never mind that it was just a Halloween thing. Any excuse to play dress up! So I was like, oh this will be easy, I already have a couple 1880's dresses. Cool. 

Not cool. 

Nothing fit. Like, at all. Like how was I ever that small?! 

But it was ok, because it gave me the perfect opportunity to create something that's been on my to-do list for a while: this 1885 printed cotton dress that's been on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum for years. I took the below pics on one of my last trips, but click here for the Museum's link to the dress's page.