Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HSF #16: Separates (Ok, so it's two weeks late. Oopsie.)

I'm a little behind on posting. Do forgive me.

The Challenge: Number 16. Separates.
Fabric: Eighteenth century, reproduction printed cotton from the Mary Dickenson shop in Colonial Williamsburg.
Pattern:  A mix of J.P. Ryan's jacket pattern and the jacket on page 39 in Costume Close Up.
Year: About 1775 - 85
Notions: 1 1/8 yards printed cotton, 1 yd linen for lining, cotton thread for seams, 16/2 linen thread for eyelets, reed for boning the stomacher.
How historically accurate is it? I followed the construction techniques in Costume Close Up and tried to stay as close to 18th century sewing techniques as I could. The materials are appropriate to the best of my knowledge, as well.
Hours to complete: I tried something new this time. I actually kept track of what time I spent sewing. This jacket took me 14 hours. Wow, so slow compared to an actual 18th century seamstress. They would have kicked me out of the dress shop :( 
First worn: Not yet. Just for fitting.
Total cost: I think the fabric was around $8.00/yd when I bought it. I don't remember what the linen or thread cost. 
I think my favorite part of working on this jacket was trying to eek it out of a yard of fabric. I gave in and added an extra eighth of a yard to line up the print how I liked it. In order to facilitate this, I pieced a lot of the jacket. Almost every pattern piece, except one center front piece, have a pieced section. All this lining up and piecing, I think, contributed to the jacket taking so long. Also, general laziness and watching tv etc etc. 
I really like this jacket. I know I made it as a separate to add a new piece to the wardrobe, but I have a few yards of the cotton left, so maybe in the future I will add a matching petticoat to the ensemble.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I love sewing with wool. I think it is a great fibre to work with. It's warm in the winter, cool in the summer. It gets a little stinky when wet, but hey, don't get wet and you're fine. I'm a fan. I love to buy it, though, not everyday does one get to see where it comes from.

Today was not everyday.

Meet Ba Ba Black Sheep. Little did he know clippers were coming his way.

I went for a ride this morning and when I came back to the barn... Surprise! Let's shear a sheep!

It was definitely an interesting thing to watch. And it gives me a new perspective on why wool is so expensive. Granted, Ba Ba is just a lamb, but think of how many sheep are shorn to make enough yardage for a dress.

Apparently, they get shorn twice a year. Just a fun fact.

I really wanted to get my hands on some and make a little something, but the fleece was already spoken for. Someday I'd like to try my hand at a spinning wheel.

So next time you are sewing with wool, say thank you to the little Lambchops that it came from.

By the way, no lambies were harmed and all that. He just got a little hair cut. We didn't make dinner or anything...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The plan.

So, the plan for my court gown project.

I'm taking two gorgeous gowns and pulling inspiration from both.

Cotton court gown from Kensington palace.
More about it here.

Silk and Silver Court Gown
Colonial Williamsburg
Acc. No. 1953-849,1

Both gowns are late century court gowns from Britain. They are both similar color schemes. The main difference: one is silk and one is cotton!

What? A cotton court gown? Yep, at least one existed and I got to see it on my last visit to Kensington Palace. 

I have some beautiful cotton fabric, covered in spangles, from India (oo authentic!) that I would just love to use for this. 

...Ok, so I was just getting a major flash back as I was typing -- haha -- because I have totally written this before! I wrote a post when I bought this fabric about using it for a combination of these two gowns. Wow. How ever did I forget that!?

Anyway, that is the plan and I look forward to starting on it soon. 

I can't wait to see everyone else's plans and creations!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Accessories and court gowns. Join along!

After a too long summer with no time in my sewing room, a day at Costume College lit a fire under my bustle and now I'm all inspired to make pretty things. Yay!

I'm joining along with, and wanted to share, two great new things to participate in. First, the accessories challenge put on by Trystan's Costume Closet. An accessory a month, starting with headware. I always need more accessories, so this is perfect motivation.

Second, Demode Couture has proposed fabulous court gowns for the gala at Costume College next year. Awesome! Even if you can't make it to Costume College, everyone is still welcome to particpate online. What a great excuse to make and wear those fabulous gowns that we drool over! There are already quite a few talented ladies participating and I can't wait to see all the gorgeous things that will be created.

I'm really excited about having an reason to make this gown I have been oohing and ahhing over for years. It's not a fabulous french robe de cour. It's British, and late century, and so somewhat simple in comparison, but I just love love love it!

Court gown. Silk and silver.
Colonial Williamsburg
Acc. No. 1953-849,1

So head on over to their pages and find out more. Join along! It'll be fun :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturday at CoCo

Saturday I hopped on a plane and spent the day at Costume College. It was way too short, but lots of fun.

I wanted to do the whole weekend, but we had guests in town so I just went for a couple classes. Janea Whitacre's thimble class was definitely worth the early morning. My flight took off at six!

We each got a darling little silver thimble and I had, like, the biggest aha! moment. Apparently I have been holding my needle wrong all these years... Woopsie.



I took a filet crochet class, as well. The class was fine, but I am rubbish at it. Like, baaaad.

I got to shop a bit, and found some nice buttons and some little silver bits, including an adorable strawberry for my chatelaine. So cute!

I'm sorry, how freakin cute is this?!

Also, I got to see a room full of ladies in curtain along outfits. Everyone looked fab! I would have loved to meet everyone, but everyone was busy taking pictures and I was dying to find some lunch. So ladies, you looked great! Well done.

Next year I will be definitely be setting aside the weekend to attend... with lots of outfits :)