Monday, July 21, 2014

Quarter back progress, new stays and a new horsey!

Lately, instead of new, shiny, exciting projects, I've been trying to be good and get some things done that I've been meaning to do for a while. 

First, I've been reworking my old chintz gown. I've been reusing the patterned fabric pieces, re-lining with linen (had been cotton), re-shaping for fit and style, and sewing them together in a more period appropriate way.

It still has a long way to go, but I've been avoiding actually putting on stays to try it on and finish it up. I have literally done everything else I could do except try on the darn thing to finish it. Maybe today... I've been lazy.

Speaking of stays, I've started on a new, better-fitting pair. The last pair I made, I love, but they're just too short on me. I did love the yellow linen, though. These will be light blue wool. I traced the pattern from my old stays, adjusting as I went, for a better fit across the bust. Hopefully they will be better. 

So far, over the years, I have made five pairs and bought one, too. Never been completely happy with any of them. Maybe this time!!

And my biggest, most fun news this month... I got a new horse! I just had to share, I'm so excited.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A black silk bonnet, a cotton polonaise and redoing my chintz gown.

I've been spending the last week getting old, half-finished projects out of the bags and boxes they invariably end up in, and finaly finishing them up. Yay me!

Last night was a good one.

I had purchased Hallie Larkin's 18th century bonnet kit a while back, started it, and somewhere along the line, got frustrated attaching the brim to the caul, so I chucked it aside. Last night I pulled it out and had it finished in about an hour and a half. I really don't remember what had been frustrating me so much...

I think I put it together correctly. I'm not really the poster child for following pattern directions, but it looks pretty good. I think I might add a nice big bow to the front. I just have to round up some more black taffeta for that.

Another project that is almost finished is a summery, cotton polonaise I started last year. The jacket and petticoat are basically finished now. All I have left is to add trim. But at least now it's pretty much wearable, if a little boring.

It looks very sad and limp on the dress form :( I'll have to take better pictures of it when it's all trimmed up.

And lastly for today, I made a cotton chintz gown a few years ago. I love the fabric, but my knowledge of historical sewing has advanced since then, and I could never see myself wearing it again and being happy in it. So... I took it apart!

The pattern was J.P. Ryan's anglaise. The pieces still work (and the fabric was too valuable to toss), so I will be resewing them and refitting where necessary, to make it both a better fitting garment and a more historically accurate one. Yay! 

Reusing fabric and updating style... Quite in the 18th century spirit, I'd say :)

Has anyone else ever redone a garment like this?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Little Black Spencer

The last project I finished, in 2013, was this little black spencer. I have finally had a chance to wear it and take pictures. I originally made it for a tea, back in January, which I didn't end up going to.

Yesterday, I walked in a Parade, with our local history group, for Independence day. The outfit had absolutely nothing to do with the fourth of July, but then again, we had Romans walking with us too, so who cares!? Just an excuse to wear something new!

I paired the jacket with my gown I made for the Halloween ball last year, a fichu to keep the sun off, kid gloves, American Duchess boots, and a black velour hat and scalloped, pink silk purse, which I had also made for the tea. I was pretty much going for this fashion plate

The parade stepped off at 8:30 and it was already sweltering! Though, I must admit, a velvet bonnet and a black wool jacket were probably not the most ideal choices... Ah well, the rest of me was cool. So, for the weather, I also carried a parasol and fan, which helped. Majorly. And since we were walking down the street, I pinned up my very white dress, so it wouldn't get a very black hem. 

One of these days, I'll have to get around to making a shorter dress from this era. But, I must say, the long, frivolous ones are just so much fun.

I hope everyone else had a lovely holiday. Cheers to a fun rest of the weekend, all!