Saturday, September 8, 2012

Progress on a Shortgown, Petticoats, Stays and a Queen Stitch Pinball

Happy Saturday all! This was a pretty productive week. I've made progress on a number of projects. I often start a bunch at once so I can rotate between them as I get tired and/or bored :)

I finished up a bedgown, or shortgown, got two petticoats ready to be pleated and finished up, got a good start on a queen stitch pinball and I started binding my stays.

A little about the petticoats first. One is white linen, to be worn as an underpetticoat, so it will be a little on the short side. The blue one is wool from William Booth Draper. Both are hand stitched with linen thread. 

The construction, so far, has gone very well. Very simple. I measured from my waist down to get a length for the coats (front and back - they are often different), then added inches for seam allowances. The fabric was fiddly to tear, so I pulled a thread out and cut along the open space to get the rectangles. The selvedges became the side seams, which were done up in running stitches with an occasional backstitch thrown in for good measure. Space was left open at the top for pocket slits. Then I hemmed the bottom with a 1/2" hem, also stitched the same way. Next both coats will have the top (waist edge) folded down and pleated to a band of tape. Wool for the wool and linen for the linen. Easy peasy.

As an experiment, I decided to do these in assembly line fashion, instead of one at a time. It seems to be faster, since each step I am doing twice in a row, instead of completely one petticoat and starting all over again.

The leather is still unfinished at the tabs.

The stays, above, are completely hand sewn, as well, and done up as true to the 18th century way as I have learned. In the last week, I made the eyelets up the back (linen 16/2 from William Booth), tacked leather strips down the seams and started binding the bottom with leather as well. I got the leather from Burnley and Trowbridge.

So tough! The leather is killing me. I - of course - use a thimble, but it is still no easy task. It's taken hours and I have gone through a few needles already, but I'm a little bit thrilled to be nearing the end and being one step closer to having my own hand sewn stays. Yay :)

So on to the pinball...

Queen stitch looks like little diamonds to me.

I started stitching this up thinking it would go oh-so-quickly. Queen stitch turns out to be very tedious, especially when it's almost white on white! But I think it's looking cute so far :) I loosely based the design on an extant pinball from the Winterthur Collection. I smooshed it up in my hoop for the photo. 

I have used DMC cotton floss, separated into single strands, on a backing of white linen.

 And lastly, the bedgown, or shortgown. The only thing I truly finished this week.

Sorry, I need a pressing.

I used the Waverly curtains for this one. It's such a pretty chintz! I am not 100% sure of the weave for this kind of project, but I liked the fabric too much to be a nazi :)

I scaled up a pattern from Costume Close Up, and then added inches here and there so it would fit me. Looking back, I would have added a smidge extra to the sleeves. The length is just past the hip, so it could have used a bit more there as well, to look like the shortgowns I have seen in paintings and prints, however I need it for a mantua making workshop, where I'm sure I will be taking it on and off frequently for fitting, and I didn't want yards of loose of fabric tangling around me.

The short gown is lined and sewn with white linen. The seams/hems follow the instructions in the book, as best I could understand. They are a mix of combination stitch (running with occasional back), whip stitch, slip stitch and point a rabbatre sou la mains. The assembly entails stitching the fashion fabric layers and one lining together, then folding the second lining over it and stitching that down to enclose the seam. There is a nice illustration of this in Costume Close Up.

Piecing! I love piecing :)

Inside, just for a peak at the different finished seams.
Hem: le point a rabbatre sou la mains (the
 exterior looks almost like a running stitch)
Left verticle: combo stitch on the inside
Right verticle: whip stitch
Below pic: the seam along the underside of the cuff 
  shows a slip stitch, which doesn't really show at all.

*Update! Katie Jacobs has pictures of the original pinball on her blog. Click here for a really good close up and here for lots of pictures via flickr. I so wish I had seen the flickr pics before started! Such good close ups!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! And good call on the chintz! I am in love with it!

  2. Hello! I was recently linked to your blog by a friend of mine who noticed--as I couldn't help doing--that the pinball you are recreating happens to be one that I photographed while at Winterthur in 2011. I was wondering if you had been to see their collections as well? If not, is there a chance that you are using the photographs I took as inspiration? If that is the case, I would greatly appreciate a link back to my blog or to the photoset of Winterthur pictures on Flickr, located here. As those photos are taken from a private collection and are intended for personal use only, there could be legal ramifications if proper credits are not in place.

    Thank you for your time and understanding,

    Katie Jacobs

    1. Hi Katie,

      If the picture I used for reference was yours, I would be happy to post a link. I had a photo saved on my computer of the pinball for ages. I had a note on it that it was Winterthur but I hadn't saved any other info about it. That's why I didn't add the original picture to the post above.

      Share the link with me and I will of course post it. I would love to include a link to the original for comparison.


    2. The full photoset can be found linked in my original comment, and the pinball I believe is in question here can be seen here, here, and here. I also included photos in a post on my blog, which can be found here.

    3. Wow you have so many great photos of the pinball! The one I had saved was kind of dark. Thanks for the links.

    4. Was it by any chance this picture? If so, you are using one of my photos as source material. If not, you may want to use a reverse image search such as Tin Eye to locate the source of your inspiration image and give proper credits.

    5. No it wasn't that one. It was another one of your other pics - come by on a google images browse, I'm sure. Thanks for your concern about the credit. I am always happy to give credit to those that share these bits of history.

    6. I appreciate your understanding...and I am a little paranoid about the Winterthur photos since they were taken under such special circumstances! I'm looking forward to seeing your completed pinball.

  3. I love your bedgown so much! It's wonderful to see this fabric being used in different ways. And I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who squees over piecing! LOL!

    Will we get to see you modeling it eventually too?

    1. Aw thanks! And yes, piecing is like to die for! So silly, I know, but there's something so "authentic" about it haha!

    2. Oh and yes! Hopefully a photo shoot soon :)

  4. Wow, you've been busy! Great work! I took on pinballs a class at the CW Costume Design Center. I came home with patterns of all different types of what they have in their collection(including Queen's Stitch, pieced, etc), plus a complete set for one of my choice. I chose embroidery. One of these days I hope to complete all of them.

    1. Oo lucky. Did you make any of them so far?

      And yes, lots done this week. I wake up quite early, so I have a few hours every morning of uninterrupted sewing time all to myself. I get tons done with that :)

  5. Pretty stuff! Are you using a leather needle, and are the eyes breaking off? That's what kept happening to mine. So weird!

    1. You know, my first thought was to use a leather needle but it kept snagging on the wool. I ended up just using regular needles, but after a while they would bend. I think the eye broke off one of them though...

  6. I have this same shortgown pattern, which I have been assured even I (a relative non-sewer) can make! (Hope so!).
    It's been sitting upstairs, waiting for the right fabric...I have my mind set on a lovely 'rosehips'pattern chinz I saw at Wm. booth Draper, and they were out of it, so I may just wait until it's back in stock.
    Yours is lovely, Madam.

    1. Why thank you!

      It was a very straight forward item to make. Just to note, I did have to add some inches since the pattern in costume Close Up is quite small, in both width and length. Also, depending on the width of your fabric, you might leave out the peicing on the bottom sides, to make it easier and faster to put together. The peicing is there since the original was on narrow fabric. I put them in just for fun.

      Good luck on your short gown! I think I know the fabric you mentioned. William Booth's chintz fabrics are allways lovely!