Monday, December 30, 2013

A black wool spencer for HSF #26. Celebrate!

I'm celebrating because I actually finished this before the year ended! Yay!

My last project of 2013 was a black wool spencer, circa 1800. There are a lot of era fashion plates showing these cute little black spencer jackets, with open, pointy fronts, high waists and collars. See some on the pinterest board here. I kind of meshed together the general look and draped a pattern on my mannequin (fun fact: her name is Headless.)

I constructed the jacket by laying out the pieces, folding under the seam allowances, basting fabric and lining and then stitching the pieces together.

I was really pleased how easy the collar was to lay out and attach. Collars kind of intimidate me. Maybe because they are so obvious if they're wrong. It's lined in buckram.

The jacket is lined in scrap gingham cotton I had left over. I chose to line the front pieces in the same fabric as the jacket, as they will hang open and show.

I wasn't crazy about how the dress's waist showed, so after some debate, I added a little peplum to the back and might add covered buttons where the back seams meet the waist.

The front pieces are far more flattering on a human :)

And the inside.

Next up, accessories and a new ball gown! Same era. Fun stuff ahead.

Happy new year everyone!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 In Review

Merry Christmas everyone!

I was looking back on the year and all the things I made and didn't get around to and, of course, those pesky UFO's. It's been a busy year, but I still found time to sew. Not as much as I had planned, but hey...

Actually my costuming energy was more devoted to buying fabric and antiques, this year, but that was quite fun, and I have accumulated some gorgeous fabrics. I will hate to cut into them! I'll be sharing them as projects come up. Hopefully they will inspire me to sew more.

And I must apologize, where I found time to sew, the blogging suffered. Next year I really plan to take more time photographing and sharing about techniques etc I have learned, because this year I really tried to learn more about context and construction of garments through history.

So on to 2013, in review.

I started the year finishing up a pair of blue worsted, half-boned stays. Hand sewn. I absolutely hate them. But on the bright side, I got to learn how stays were really constructed. They were a rough draft, I suppose.

I made a blue stuff petticoat and a white linen petticoat, and some white linen mitts, trimmed with leftover chintz.

I brought out the sewing machine for a sheer, white cotton, 1860's dress. This was probably my favorite thing I made this year. It fits beautifully and was perfect for the hot, Vegas summer. I wore it three times this year, and I have nothing to complain about it. I even washed it in the washer very easily.

Another favorite was a pair of turn of the century riding/cycling pants of brown wool. This was one of the most fun outfits to wear. I have some fabric left over. I must make a matching bodice one day.


Ah this poor thing... Still not actually finished, but I've worn it twice already, anyway. I like it. It fits well, and when worn indoors, it has an awesome train to swish around. For this natural form gown, I also made a ruffly petticoat and a balayeuse. 

In August, I made a little 18th century jacket and cap. The cap was started on my one day of Costume College. It was fun. I really want to attend more of the weekend next year.

September was the busiest month for me. I made a pair on linen stays, shoes, a 1790's gown, a cape, fan, lacy kerchief, wig and rump. I wore them all to a ball in Virginia. The stays started out as a fun, hand sewing project, but I ended up stitching the channels with the machine, to get them ready in time. 

The shoes were once American Duchess Pemberlies that were too large. The rump was once a fancy pillowcase.

October was spent making cold weather garments for the 1860's. My husband sprained his ankle quite badly, so we didn't end up going to the event. Bright side, though, now I have a wool pelerine and matching hood (shown below when it was not finished), a tasseled velvet, wrapped hood (not shown), a navy wool, knit sontag (not shown - but I love it!!) and a faux ermine muff, complete with chain. The muff was made of rabbit fur and silk, dotted with fuzzy alpaca yarn.

October also gave way to learning about turn of the 19th century fashion. I attended a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ball, which I made a pair of stays, a shawl, a knit reticule, earrings, a petticoat and a gown for. 

Last month saw the start of a 1905ish petticoat. It's practically done. Just missing the waistband. I had a horse show, so this got put on the back burner. 

Now I'm sitting in my sewing room, for the first time after a busy, festive December, and I am working on a black wool spencer and making plans for a Regency era ball outfit for January. I think the spencer will be done before New Year's so I'm going to include it. Here's a quick glimpse of the the draped muslin for it. I'm kind of in love with it. I hope it turns out well!

Cheers to a wonderful 2014, all! And many, many more outfits!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Veteran's Day Parade

Ah, sunnier, warmer times... 

Last month (and forgive me for the major delay in posting) it was surprisingly warm for the Veterans' Day Parade. The Southern Nevada Living History Association walked in the parade. The men were soldiers from different eras and the ladies spanned a good 80 years.

I was the earliest, in my natural form dress (that still isn't finished). I've worn it twice now and it still has basting stitches. Haha oh well.

For the parade, I left my snazzy trained skirt at home, and instead wore an old black costumey skirt I bought ages ago. But only about a foot showed, so it worked out great. And I didn't bring a ton of asphalt and grease home with me :)

So why wear an unfinished dress with the wrong skirt, you ask? Well, an excuse to wear the bonnet of course!

I got a new bonnet recently, from Mrs. Parker's Mercantile, and I was super stoked to have an excuse to wear it :) Yay!

In other news, I did a lot of sewing in October and November. Unfortunately I didn't get great photos of any of it, so I haven't posted about it. I made up an 1860's paletot and hood, an "ermine" muff and a early 1900's petticoat. Oh! And I knit a sontag, which I love. So, hopefully soon I will have an excuse to wear them and I can get some good photos to share.

Next up... more regency bits for the Jane Austen Evening in Pasadena next month. Anyone else going?