|Cotton lace, MOP buttons and feather stitch|
embroidery on the bands.
Let's start from the inside out. First things first: some mid Victorian undies.
I found these pretties for sale on Etsy. I find so much on there! The chemise is in amazing condition! All I had to do was give it a little rinse. It had a couple brown spots on one shoulder but they faded a lot with just a gentle wash in a little free detergent and oxy clean. There are no holes and the fabric is very strong.
It's cotton with self fabric ruched trim and fine cotton lace. The buttons down the front are mother of pearl. It hangs just on the edge of the shoulders.
The drawers were a little worse for wear. They came with a nasty rip right up the center of the crotch. Surprisingly, they were not split crotch to begin with. The had slits on the sides with mother of pearl buttons at the hips.
But they're split crotch now. Instead of getting into fancy patching and mending, I neatened up the rip and made a narrow hem on both sides. I also put a little patch over a hole and strengthened one of the button holes that was fraying. I don't know if I will actually be wearing these or not, since the fabric feels a little weak. They also have some period mending at the waistband, which is actually pretty neat to investigate.
Aside from the mending and crotch business, they are gorgeous! The tucks, ruching and whitework trim on the legs are beautiful! I tell you, nothing gets you in the spirit like 150 year old undies. Usually, when sewing whole outfits, the undies end up being pretty plain, since the embellishments are usually saved for the outerwear that everyone sees. These are so frilly and fabulous they give getting dressed a whole different feel. It's a different experience, especially knowing that these pieces were around last time a crinoline was in fashion. Very cool.
|Little reinforcement patches on the original slits.|
|Period mending to the waistband.|
Next, on to the corset. (Keep going, there's lots after the jump!)
Since the last time I made a mid Victorian corset, I shrank a couple inches, making the first one now too big. Actually it was the first piece of historical costume I ever made. I was in high school. Looking back it was actually really well done, except the fabric, which was a brocade more suited to the 18th century.
I needed a corset fast so I could start on the dresses, so I used the same pattern as the high school corset, since I knew it fit: Simplicity 9769. I still had the pieces cut out (back when I was naughty and cut out the pieces tisk tisk). The only altering I did was take in waist.
I used cotton coutil left over from the Edwardian corset I made a few months ago. It was after I was putting the grommets in that I learned mid Victorian corsets used fabric similar to denim than modern herringbone coutil. Oh well, next time.
So on to dress number one. This dress started out as a mock up - I'm trying to be really good and make mock ups instead of diving into the real fabric. Lucky I did because I had to make a couple before I sorted out my size. I used the Truly Victorian Darted Bodice pattern as a base. From there I referenced CDV's, books and my own original bodice to tweak it. One important change from the pattern: the sleeve openings at the wrist were huge, so I traced the original bodice's sleeve, which gave a more delicate wrist with a wider elbow.
So I say "it started out as a mock up." This means that it started out as a mock up and then I got carried away. It's become a full blown dress. I had this cotton print fabric on hand and I wanted to test different sewing techniques and styles of bodice. Then I wanted to check the skirt. Half way through I decided to just go on and make it a real dress.
|Pretty antique jasper brooch.|
|Sorry, we're a little wrinkly.|
The dropped shoulder seam really gives the
illusion of a sloped shoulder.
The lining in the front is darted, but I decided to gather the front like the original blouse below. I was reading how cotton dresses were often gathered instead of darted and I wanted to see the effect. I pulled the gathers more toward the center to heighten the small-waist-wide-shoulders illusion. As I understand it, most likely if a dress was gathered in the front, presumably it would be gathered in the back as well. Mine isn't, since I was testing out the piping on the back, like the pattern said to do.
|Testing out a belt with original buckle.|
I ended up going with a gathered front,
like the original blouse below. The lining is
darted on the inside.
|Green Sprig Blouse. 1860's.|
via All The Pretty Dresses
|The sleeve is taken in to fit the hole with an|
inverted box pleat, like on my original bodice, below.
|Under the arm of an extant silk bodice.|
|I shortcut and used hook and eye tape. Sooo much|
easier than sewing on all those hooks and eyes!
Especially to test fit.
|I faced the hem with fabric I had on hand,|
much like this extant dress in the photo below.
|Hem facing on an 1860's American |
gown of bizarre print cotton
via All The Pretty Dresses
|Adding on the hem braid. I didn't have wool braid so|
I used wide cotton tape.
|I gauged, or cartridge pleated, the skirt panels to the waistband. I used|
five 50" panels for the skirt, with a dogleg closure at the left hand CF.
|"Lovely fabric. Is this for me?"|
|The skirt is basted to the bodice with a|
piped, self fabric belt and belt buckle pin.
|Some idea of the fit. Sorry for the background :(|
It's worn over a 108" hoop and two petticoats
I was lamenting the fabric for a while, thinking it wasn't appropriate enough, until I came across a swatch in my fabric dating book. It looked similar enough for some peace of mind. I also found lots of yellows.
Now on to the real dress! I love the trim design, which I saw on an original carriage dress in one of my books. The dress is green silk with a polished cotton lining. I couldn't find brown polished cotton that didn't lose it's finish after washing, so I went with a white polished cotton that keeps the polished finish.
The trim will be black velveteen and the buttons are antique ball buttons. The collar and cuffs will be basted in to whatever I will wear.
|I love the military vibe of the trim!|
Since you can see the cage in this one, it's purchased
from Kay Gnagey, Originals by Kay.
|The whitework collar and cuffs are based on a pair of undersleeves from|
the Met Museum, pictured below.
|Cotton Undersleeves. Mid 19th Century|
American or European
|The glass buttons have a geometric, |
floral design pressed into them.
The dress from which the trimming in based.
"1864 Carriage Dress of Tartan Glace"
from the above book.
Whew, that was a long one. I guess I'm catching up for a week with no posts. Ok, back to sewing. Bye!