Monday, February 25, 2013

HSF #4: Embellish - Tucks


The Challenge: #4: Embellish
Fabric: 15+ yards of striped, white on white, sheer cotton for the fashion fabric. The lining used under a yard of pima cotton broadcloth and the hem used a yard or two of plain ol white calico.
Pattern: Truly Victorian TV447. The 1863 Sheer dress (modified).
Year: The pattern says 1863, so I'm thinking give or take a few years.
Notions: I used thin, cotton cord for piping, cotton twill for the hem, cotton thread for everything, little buttons on the inner bodice and reed for boning the darts.
How historically accurate is it? To the best of my knowledge, pretty darn. It is machine sewn, and I shortened the thread length to better represent the small stitches present on extant examples. The dress is based on examples from the era, most notably this dress, which obviously inspired the tucks on the skirt. Check out more examples here. The dress is hand finished. The main, glaring inaccuracy is I used plastic buttons on the inside, since that's what I had (I also used my sewing machine for the button holes and I am so bummed I did that. It was fast, but it doesn't come with the same satisfaction and beauty as hand sewn. Boo pout). Also, the twill used on the hem is probably not the exact same as what was used, but the use and application of it is consistent with originals.
Hours to complete: On and off sewing since January.
First worn: Not yet. Just for fitting. Hopefully soon... like when it warms up...
Total cost: Stash project! So I consider it a freebie. Yay! But the fabric cost like $15 a yard a year or two ago when I originally purchased it.

So, on to the notes and pictures...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Tea Cup Started It All


The other day, one of my oldest and closest friends, Jose, text me and suggested Downton and tea.

Um, of course. 

Naturally the Titanic tea cups had to come out. I should mention that Jose and I used to sit in fourth grade together and squeal about the movie. I squealed about the dresses and he squealed about more manly things, like turbines and smoke stacks lol. But anyway, Titanic related squealing goes way back for us. When I bought the teacups, he was the first person I texted. 

So, if you give a mouse a cookie, or rather, if you give a costumer a tea cup, she's going to get inspired... The tea cup lead to a whole afternoon of finding Edwardian bits in my closet and roping in Jose for an impromptu photo shoot. Jose just got back from dressing back stage at fashion week, so I felt very privileged. Squeal, again. 

I love using Pinterest to get my thoughts together, so check out my board of Edwardian eye candy that inspired us for the shoot. Lots of Lilly Elsie...


The dress is an eBay find and it has been patiently waiting it's turn to be reintroduced to the world. It's a beautiful dress of ivory silk and lace. It looks early teens to me, for sure. Amazingly, it fits me, and luckily, it is in strong enough condition to try on. Unfortunately, though, it's too fragile to actually wear anywhere.

It's has surprisingly simple construction for an Edwardian gown, with no boning or inner bodice, so I would love to recreate it one day. Scroll on down for a bunch of pictures of the inside.

I wore it with vintage kidskin gloves, my Astoria shoes, some pearls my Grandmother gave me and a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous fan I picked up on my last trip to England. Underneath, I have some Edwardian era slips and a corset I got a while back from Period Corsets. And I must say, long line Edwardian corsets are not so comfortable. Something about how they constrict the hips. It took some getting used to.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Historical Sew Fortnightly #3 - Under It All


Ah, I finally got something done for the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge. Yay! And I finally got something out of the UFO pile. Three somethings, actually.

For this challenge, I finished up my 18th century half boned stays and two petticoats, one linen and the other wool. I originally started making them for a Burnley and Trowbrige workshop I was going to back in November, but Hurricane Sandy foiled my plans.

So, to begin, the stays.

The Challenge: #3, Under It All
Fabric: Worsted wool, different kinds of linen, leather for the binding.
Pattern: J.P. Ryan's half boned stays, as well as the stays in Costume Close Up.
Year: Later 18th century
Notions: Linen thread in various weights, linen tape for lacing, silk ribbon for trim, reed boning. 
How historically accurate is it? As best as I could get. I can't speak for the pattern, but I think it's pretty good. The stitching and materials used were as close to accurate as I could possibly get. I used the same fabrics and thread (materials and weight) as was listed in Costume Close Up. Same stitches, too. It's completely hand done. For sure what's not accurate is that it was not draped for me. Also, the silk ribbon lace across the front was just for fun. No exact examples to support it historically, though I have seen similar designs on the front, like this one. Also, there is a very similar pair of shoes... 
Hours to complete: I really don't know. I started them some time last year and picked them up here and there.
First worn: Not yet.
Total cost: I bought a yard or so of the wool from Burnley and Trowbridge for like $15 or $20. Everything else I had on hand.
On to some notes... All in all, I like how the pattern came together. It was interesting to put together the stays in a very historically accurate way. I must say the leather binding was a nightmare, though. Ugh. The stays fit very well on my body, but on headless they look a little sad, since she has no squish. Next time I decide to make stays, I think I will try a fully boned style. The half boned is nice for later 18th century, but it doesn't have the rigidity for earlier in the century.








Next, the petticoats... Pretty straightforward in their construction. Pretty period correct. I made the linen coat shorter to wear as an under petticoat. The wool can be either under or to wear on the outside.


Fabric: One in white linen and one in blue plain weave wool.
Pattern: None really. Draped by me.
Year: 18th century
Notions: Linen thread and tape for the linen coat. Wool thread and tape for the wool coat.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn. I used, to the best of my knowledge, period correct fabrics and stitches. I think the only questionable bit is the width of the selvages. 
Hours to complete: Not too bad. Maybe a few hours or more per coat.
First worn: Not yet.
Total cost: I had the linen on hand. The wool I bought from William Booth for about $20 per yard.