Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At Target? Who knew...

From the Daily Mail

I've always seen Boots products on trips to London, but never these super cute glass bottles. Then recently, at Target of all places, I saw these and thought the packaging was so cute I had to buy some. And it reminded me of London - double plus! I got the Bath Foam (bergamot and sage), the Cleansing Milk (geranium) and the Skin Tonic (damask rose). When I got home and used them I absolutely loved them! Especially the facial stuff. And this is coming from someone who usually uses La Mer. Everything usually makes my skin explode, so I was taking a bit of a gamble, but the next day when I woke up my face looked great! And the bath foam - or bubble bath - smells awesome and lots of bubbles. 

Boots Original Beauty Formula

So a couple days later I went back to see what else they had and I ran into the Boots rep. I asked her about the products and it turns out they are all based on the original, archived, beauty formulas Boots used in the 19th century. I thought that was absolutely the neatest. Apparently, the formulas are very close to the originals. Of course, without the scary authentic Victorian additives, like lead and arsenic. We've come a long way.

I ended up buying the Lip Salve, the Skin Balm and the Vanishing Day Cream. All great. Highly recommended. Plus they're just really cool if you're into history. The packaging is gorgeous, too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Candy Corn Anyone?

So as I'm bargello-ing away today, thinking how fast this is all coming and how great it's going to be, it hits me: all I can see is candy corn.

So I stopped off at Michael's and picked up more floss, in a whole rainbow of colors. Now I have a new plan... and no more candy corn. Let's save that for halloween.

From left to right: yellows in 742, 725 and 445. Pinks in
335, 776 and 818. Greens in 319, 367 and 368. Blues in 336, 798
and 932. Then the yellows repeat. The cream color in between each is 746. All DMC.

A Flame Stitch Pocketbook

MFA, American, New England 1750 - 1800

In the 18th century flame stitch pocketbooks were very popular. If you google "flame stitch wallet" or "flame stitch pocketbook" you get tons of pictures. I don't know if this style of pocketbook was exceedingly popular, or if so many have survived because of their durability, but either way, there are tons of first hand sources to reference.  This style of wallet seems to be predominantly found in America, and the extant examples I have seen, seem to be owned by both men and women.

LACMA, Abigale Alden, America, 1765

Timothy Mann,  Massachusetts, 1771

A little bit about the embroidery:

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday I had some time and I finished up the jacket. I hand finished the lining and tried tons of pleating, with different lengths of fabric, to come up with the correct peplum ruffle. I ended up doing double and triple box pleats on a half-moon shaped pice of fabric, about 3 ft long by 6 in at its widest point. I finished the edge with pinked scallops.  

I don't have an authentic 18th century pinking tool, because I haven't been lucky enough to come across one, but I did find a great alternative. Its a cast iron, rotary style that taxidermists use for felt. It clips, or rather screws, onto the edge of a table and you crank the handle as you pass the fabric through. It has scallops, which is perfect, but the drawback is the pinking is pointed, instead of rounded, which is more common in existing garments, though it did exist. See view A.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So recently I've been pretty busy, but I did have time to set in the sleeves of the little pierrot and start finishing up the front closure. I also made a false rump, which would have been worn with this style, instead of hoops, which were starting to go out of vogue by the 1790's.

The sleeves are set in.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The fabric came!

Bam! That was fast!

The fabric I ordered for the little brown pierrot came yesterday. And today, after some progress on the chintz anglaise, I thought I would just start cutting out the pieces. Well one thing lead to another and next thing I knew I had half a jacket on my dress form.

I used a mix of pattern pieces, mostly from J.P. Ryan's Robe a l'Anglaise pattern. In the past I lengthened each piece by about 1/2 inch, but other than that, it fits my torso perfectly. So unless I have to drape, I make it easy on myself and use this. I have yet to create a pattern for the peplum. I like to have a paper pattern available for future use if somethings turns out great. I have this great pattern paper I bought from Joanne's ages ago. It feels like fabric and doesn't crinkle, so you can pin the edges and try it on almost like a mock up. I used this for the sleeves. I made a basic long sleeve and then tweaked and tweaked until it resembled a proper, curved elbow, georgian sleeve. The trick here was to get it very slim, like the sleeve on the original jacket.

The Easy Peasy Quilted Petticoat

So for quite a while I've wanted a quilted petticoat. One, because not everyone has one, and two, because they look awesome.  I recently ordered a quilting frame and batting, but I just couldn't wait, so I bought a coverlet and thought I'd have a go.

I started off with this. A brick red coverlet from Bella Home Fashions.

For a king it was only $59. And it came with two shams as well. The quality was surprisingly nice, and the pattern looks surprisingly close to some real 18th century quilted petticoats I have seen. The first example is from the Dewitt Wallace Museum in Williamsburg. I'm unaware where the second example is housed.

Chintzie Has Sleeves and a Skirt Now


So she now has sleeves and the skirt has been attached, but not yet hemmed. The edges of the skirt were pressed over and sewn up with a running stitch. The pleats in the back and front are pleated toward the pocket, and the pocket slit is hidden between the pleats. This makes the gown much more attractive, with no chance of a gaping pocket. How embarrassing! Ooo!

The pocket slits are sewn up with a running stitch and are reinforced at the end with a buttonhole stitch and a thread bar. The stitching isn't super small, but the fabric is so crisp, it's not moving anywhere.

Next will be the front closure, the hem, securing the lining, and the petticoat. And when my organdy comes she will get some pretty ruffles.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1785 Robe a l'Anglaise of Chintz

Tonight's project. I've had the fabric and I just felt like starting something new...

This robe a l'anglaise of painted silk is from the Kyoto Costume Institute. The dress is from 1785, but the fabric is from the 1760's. Originally from England. It is boned at the center back and has a trim of pleated sheer fabric (maybe a organdy - and it looks like it's got a rolled edge), folded in half, and wine-colored ribbon. Ignore the neck ribbon, thats not actually part of the original dress. It is also shown with a fichu that blends a bit with the trim.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A look inside the lady's dressing room...

A kind of nasty poem, but it gives some good details as to what toiletries might be found in an 18th century lady's room. And the bit about Celia's magnifying glass... I was at the mall yesterday and saw one of those million times magnifying mirrors. Yikes! You walk up. You're a blur, you're a blur, you're a blur, them BAM! Your eye is the the size of a steering wheel.


The Lady's Dressing Room, by Jonathan Swift

Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in dressing;
The goddess from her chamber issues,
Arrayed in lace, brocades and tissues.
         Strephon, who found the room was void,
And Betty otherwise employed,
Stole in, and took a strict survey,
Of all the litter as it lay;
Whereof, to make the matter clear,
And inventory follows here.
         And first a dirty smock appeared,
Beneath the armpits well besmeared.
Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A nice touch...

I was watching The Duchess and noticed something kind of cute. They used the stripy white skirt and apron more than once. And the hat.

With all the million super beautiful costumes (thank you, Michael O'Connor), I thought it was kind of a cute, real life detail. I mean, I know the real Georgiana was quite the fashionista, but I'm sure she had favorites, just like we all do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inspiration of the Day

So I was browsing 18th century jackets online and I came across this one. 

Lady's caraco jacket of printed cotton, c. 1790

This jacket was auctioned at Christie's in 2009. Its from the 1790's, and its listed as a "Lady's Caraco Jacket of Printed Cotton... of white cotton printed with a brown leaf meander, with charming kick-pleated skirts and elegantly shaped sleeves.It went for 15,000 pounds (about $25,000 US). Wow. 

I found these printed cottons on Nauvoo Quilting and Textile Co. They aren't quite white and brown but they have the same feeling, I think. But I'll keep looking, I'm not totally convinced. The first one is pretty close, but the background is awfully dark...


For as long as I can remember I've been in love with historical costumes. I grew up watching movies with them and loving books about them and wishing I could wear them. Now I recreate them, and have for some time now.

One of the most convenient resources I have found has been other costumers' online blogs. I've gained so much from browsing these, I finally decided to start my own. And since we don't get too many costuming events in Vegas, I thought it would be fun to have somewhere to show my closet off :)

Hope I can contribute!

xx, Caroline