Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to the 18th Century

I have been so caught up in learning about the 1860's I have been neglecting my beloved 1700's. Sigh.

In the past month or so, I have put so much enthusiasm into learning about a new era, I put my 18th century projects on the back burner, which has totally come back and bitten me in the bum roll.

I keep forgetting all the things I need to get organized for the workshop in November. And yes, November is a long way off, but now that September is almost here I get reminded how fast time goes, and it sent me into an oh-my-god-soon-it'll-be-October frenzy. Yikes!

So out of the half-done pile came my blue worsted stays. Some time today was well spent hand-sewing eyelets into those while watching John Adams - gotta get inspired :)

Those are a must to finish because I want them for the Burnley & Trowbridge workshop. The stays I have now fit great, but they're not appropriate fabric.

Next up will be a new wool petti and a bedgown. It was suggested you wear a bedgown for the workshop between fittings. You could also wear a t-shirt, but where's the fun in that?

I was browsing trough the stash - nothing sparked. I was looking online - too indecisive. I do have some blue print that's cute, but it doesn't say much. Eh. So I jumped on the bandwagon (thanks Lauren, American Duchess, and Jen, Festive Attyre) and went to Lowes for some Waverly chintz drapes. Can I say, I was a little skeptical before I felt the fabric ($20 for almost two yards - too good to be true, right?), but it's fantastic! Polished, 100% cotton, with a perfect print. I'm in love. 

Lowe's chintz, blue on blue floral print, red wool under it all.
Brown and dark blue silk.

I did find some brown silk in the stash that I was debating on for a more upscale bedgown, but the only silk bedgowns I have come across have been quilted, and I just don't have that kind of time right now. 

For the petticoat, I have some red wool, but I'm not really feeling red, so I'm browsing different color options. Maybe light blue, maybe pink or yellow. I'm looking into prints and paintings to get some ideas. Any thoughts? I suppose I'll want a new apron, too... Another can of worms to be opened :)

Lastly, that blue silk in the picture. 

I bought some blue silk to take with for the mantua making workshop. One in a billion chance (because that's how much stuff I order online), they sent the wrong color. I would send it back, but it's almost not worth the bother. India seems quite far. 

It's a beautiful dark blue, kind of a royal blue, but I'm thinking it might be a little TOO dark for your average 18th century American gown, which is what I'm sure we will be making. I have seen loads of light blue silk gowns in paintings, however, like the one below. I love the green trim!

Unless Felicity's dress counts as a first hand resource. Nope? Bummer.

Has anyone come across anything this shade of blue? Is it worth getting another color silk to have something that's well documented? I need some opinions, fellow seamstresses.

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Xx, C.


  1. I love this darker blue dress and keep hoping I'll come across the source for the original picture someday: http://mantuamaker.tumblr.com/post/218732592/open-robe-a-langlaise-1785-let-me-know-if-you#notes

    1. Ooo that's a lovely one! I love the little light trim, too. Thanks for the link!

  2. There's also Mrs. Winthrop:


    1. Thank you for the link! I like her striped ribbons. I'll have to shop for some of those :)

  3. I think the shade of blue is okay. I don't think blue was an issue at all. You can check my main blog,
    and scour the pictures to see what the interpreters are wearing for color inspiration. Virginians were not afraid of color! I have a deep blue petticoat to wear with my blue on white period accurate chintz. There are many shades of blue in that chintz.

    Oh, what am I thinking? The CW tailor, himself, has nudged me into dark blue.

    I think the key things the mantua maker will be looking for in our fabrics are appropriate fiber content...but this is my first class with her. I know anything from Burnley and Trowbridge should be safe so you an check their selections and past workshop photos on facebook for more ideas!

    Also check the Margaret Hunter Facebook page (they are the CW mantua makers).

    I finished my short gown last night!

    In your photo it looks like your gown fabric is ranges or reds with greens. Green would make a lovely petticoat. Hold the fabric to different solids to audition a petticoat color you like!


  4. And here's a range of blues that the CW weaver dyed recently.



    1. Thanks so much for the input! One always sees so many light, frothy pastels in 18th century paintings and prints. I get nervous deviating from that. Or nervous it will look too matronly for me, as I have seen a lot of darker gowns on more mature ladies in paintings.

      Also, for all the effort of attending the workshop, I don't want to hate the dress after. Yikes.

      As for the petticoat, green's a great idea. It's one of my favorite colors.

      I'm looking forward to working up my little wardrobe and I'm excited to see your new short gown. Did you use a pattern?


    2. I tend to look better in lighter colors so I am also trying stay away from the darker tones, even though they are historically accurate. The peacock blue petticoat you saw with my chintz was chosen by my husband for a saque back...but I wasn't sure about the intensity of color. But one nice thing about 18th century gowns is that the color isn't up to our neck,and we can always lighten it with a white neckerchief.

      No, I did not use a pattern for my short gown, but I eyed one from Costume Close Up, which is one for a little girl. I'm about to take pictures and do a blog post on it. Now that I think about it, the fabric for my short gown has a range of deep blues in it too! LOL I got that fabric from CW too! Lots of CW interpreters wear the fabric as do the little girls who either rent costumes or whose mother's or other loved one bought the fabric to make gowns for them.

      I should have my post up on the short gown tonight. I have another sewing class in Sept so needed it for that class too!


  5. Ooo can't wait for the post! And you are so lucky to get to go to so many workshops! I'm too far away :( Boo.

  6. YES! I was inclined to dismiss that shade of blue as inappropriate until this showed up on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/pin/78179743502436117/ Wonderful dress.

  7. Oo that is a beautiful dress! Thanks for sharing!