Friday, June 15, 2018

A Tale of Two Shifts

The first tale is that of Past Patterns #002 Two Early Nineteenth Century Chemises. I made the open neck version with short sleeves. I made it with Kaufman Muslin and a combination of machine and hand sewing. I wore this for Costume College 2017 under my 1840's wrapper. I have two concerns with this shift, one is that the sleeves are a tiny bit constraining which isn't a huge deal when you're wearing a gown with dropped shoulders that are going to confine you anyway and the second is my fabric choice. While muslin (calico across the pond) is an era appropriate choice for the poor as the Workwoman's Guide says;

I just think that my muslin is too thick; which appears to be a common complaint about modern textiles versus historical textile. It appears to be better suited to petticoats (I've made one) and dress linings than a shift, however this article should stand up to many washings and  wearings. 

The second shift comes from 1830's Corset and Underwear Sewing Pattern from BlackSnailPatterns on Etsy. This is a different style entirely with a wide open neck and gathered sleeves. I made this one from 100% linen and it is completely hand stitched. This is the base for my 1840's ball gown for the Gala at Costume College 2018. My only complaint is that it doesn't have gores, though this doesn't impede my movement its just bothers me. It took me forever to hand stitch but I think it was good practice.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tappity Tap Pants

For the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge for March:  Buttons and Fastenings I made a pair of 1930's tap pants. I used Simplicity Pattern 8510 and a few things surprised me. A: the yoke isn't really a yoke, it's an additional piece that is top stitched down. B: I flat felled all the inside seams by hand because I used linen and I didn't want it to fray. C: with the yoked version putting the buttons holes in was difficult because there were six layers of fabric to go through at some spots. If you used a thinner silk or rayon I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem. I used a zig zag stitch to do the buttonholes instead of a buttonhole stitch because my buttonhole doesn't like me. Abby posted ( about using a zig zag stitch instead of a button foot as well. I'm not sure about posting me wearing them but my Valentine's Bear was happy to pose for me.  

Just the Facts:

What the item is: 1930’s tap pants
Material: linen
Pattern:Simplicity Pattern 8510 Misses' Vintage Brassiere and Panties view B with the yoke
Year: 1930’s
Notions: 4 metal buttons
How historically accurate is it? I’d say 95%. It’s a mix of machine and hand sewing with zig zag button holes. I’m not sure linen would have been used for tap pants but they are comfortable
Hours to complete: Four evenings of sewing
First worn: just to check the button positions
Total cost: linen remnant was 8, buttons 2 and thread was in my stash so 10.50 with some linen left over for a small project.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Petticoat to Keep Me Warm

At Costume College 2017 I wore my 1840's wrapper on Sunday (blog post in the works) and I froze in class. I thought with all the layers I was wearing I would be fine in the air conditioned class rooms but I was wrong. At the Bargain Basement that morning I picked up a table cloth that looked like it would pass for a shawl and a shawl it became. So in preparation for Costume College 2018 I made a flannel petticoat to go under my 1840's things. And it qualifies for the 2018 Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #2: Unders.  A Better picture will be up soon.

Just the Facts
What the item is: Flannel Petticoat to keep me warm.
Material: 3 Yards Red Cotton Flannel
Pattern: Flannel Petticoat from the Workwoman’s Guide
Year: 1830’s & 40’s
Notions: thread, twill tape for ties and hem. 
How historically accurate is it? Should be wool flannel instead of cotton and the threads used are polyester/cotton mix. Plus I added twill tape over the hem since the cotton is a little flimsy but it’s all hand sewn so 85% maybe. 
Hours to complete: a week total but not all at once. 
First worn: only to test hem length, but it is comfortable and WARM.
Cost: I'm thinking around $25, but I didn't actually keep track

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 Costume College Plan

So the boyfriend has decided that he wants to be more involved this year (he has even offered to learn how to sew!) and so I am not only planning for myself but for him as well. The line up of events are

Thursday Pool Party: The Realm of the Goblin King

Friday Night Social: A Princess in Paris

Saturday Night Gala: The Royal Coronation Ball

Sunday Breakfast: A Royal Breakfast (Morning after the Royal Wedding)

Sunday Tea: Victoria's Fancy Dress Tea (Circa. 1897)

My Plans?

1840's German Dress from Truly Victorian
I am at a loss for the pool party. I think maybe something from Lord of the Rings but the jury is still out. Barn Owl dress for the Pool Party, comment if you get the reference. For Friday during classes I am thinking something 1910's because I still plan on making my 1913 dance dress for the Friday Night Social. Saturday during classes will be my Jane Eyre Dress and a late 1830's early 1840's ball gown for the Coronation Ball. Queen Victoria's Coronation was in 1838 so I'm ok with an early 1840's dress. If the boyfriend and I stay in the hotel where CoCo is going to be then I might pull out my wrapper again for Sunday morning but if not I don't have to worry about the breakfast. I had plans to make my 1890's mountain dress for Sunday (a combination of the Ageless Patterns pattern and then the Truly Victorian Split Skirt) but with a Fancy Dress theme for the Tea (which I will not actually attend) I am tempted to make something else and maybe use the mountain dress on Friday instead of making a 1910's outfit. Obviously this is all open to change but this is a good place to keep track of my ideas.
Mountain Dress from

And now for boyfriend..... Still at a loss for the pool party, if he even wants to attend that with me, he may just feed me to the fishes. For the Friday night social I am going to make him a vest to match my dress and he can wear a modern suit or look for something else. Bummed that he actually cannot attend the event but I might still make him the vest and then we can go out to dinner somewhere looking fancy. For Saturday he has hinted at an 18th Century outfit so that would be breeches, shirt, waistcoat, and frock coat. Now he just needs to narrow it down to early, mid or late. He has narrowed it down to British Royal Navy 1740's and he wants to be a Captain. For the Breakfast it would be nice to make a Banyan if he wants to stick to 18th Century or a nice smoking jacket / dressing gown for a 19th Century look but again this is only if we stay at the Marriott.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Costume College 2017 Expectation vs. Reality

So Costume College 2017 has come and gone. Between graduate school and work I did not get anywhere near what I wanted done done or done the way I wanted. So lets go with expectations first

Thursday's Pool Party - 1880's Bathing suit
Friday - Jane Eyre Dress
Saturday - 1890's Mountain Dress during the day and 1913 Ballgown for Gala
Sunday- 1840's wrapper

The reality?
Thursday's Pool Party - 1880's Bathing suit with shoes but missing bathing cap
Friday - My 1560's Ravenclaw outfit but made an apron to add to the outfit
Saturday - My 1950's Brown sundress and a modern dress for the Gala
Sunday- 1840's wrapper hastily put together, the interior looks horrible and I didn't put any buttons on just used one snap and a belt to close it. This also doesn't include the 1/2 finished corded petticoat that still needs 6" of cording but was wearable for the event.

So what I have learned? Do not try to create 5 outfits all at once when only two share the same underwear. Corsets are hard and there is a reason why people buy them instead of make them. My hair for next year needs work as well as hats/caps. However I did have a wonderful time and learned lots of wonderful things from the amazing teachers. In the reality category I made and finished a 1840's shift, under petticoat and over petticoat, 1880's drawers and camisole, 1880's bathing suit with shoes, 1560's apron. I somewhat completed my 1840's corded petticoat and wrapper. I started 1840's stays and 1913 corset as well as a 1912's chemise. 

So what am I thinking for next year? Build off what I have including plans, fabric, and outfits.
Thursday Pool Party- I think I'm going to wait to see what the theme is for it
Friday Night Social- 1913 ballgown since I have the fabric and am determined to figure out the corset
Saturday-  Jane will happen and will be the outfit for Saturday during the day.The theme is Royalty so I'm going to channel Queen Victoria for the Gala with a 1840's Ball Gown, 
Sunday- The 1890's Mountain Dress is still on the table as well because I love the idea and plan on using Truly Victorian split skit pattern instead of the skirt that came with the pattern. 

These plans are apt to change except for the Gala gown and I still need something for Friday during the day. I am looking for inspiration and materials some of which I got at the marketplace and bargin basement this year.
My boots from American Duchess and a petticoat from an embroidered bed sheet!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Jane Eyre Dress

So here is my secret announcement..... I'm going to Costume College 2017! I'm super excited and have everything planned out in a little journal that is pasted with fabric and trim options, original inspirations, and pattern choices. I'll keep everyone updated as I go, but for now I'm working on my Jane Eyre costume. "I'll be married in this lilac gingham: you may make a dressing-gown for yourself out of the pearl-grey silk, and an infinite series of waistcoats out of the black satin." That is the only line in the book referencing her lilac gingham dress. Since there isn't anything else to go on I am starting with Truly Victorian's 1845 German Day Dress pattern. I might change it to look more like this dress from the Amsterdam Museum but I haven't decided yet. My fabric is 100% cotton Wide Width 1/16 in.Gingham Check Purple from 

Obviously underclothing is in order as I've never sewn anything from this period before. I am taking my shift, drawers petticoats, bum pad and pocket from the Workwoman's Guide. My stays are coming from Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques by Jill Salen. I am using the Rural Corded Corset Pattern ( I was going to use the Corded Taffeta Corset Pattern but that one has bust and hip gores and as this is my first pair of stays ever! I am going to go with the simpler design.) Also can I just protest Salen's use of Corset for her stays dating from the 18th Century to the mid 19th Century? Anyway, moving on..... I bought a Brushed Twill in Tan for the outside of the stays, it is a little darker that I would have liked but I was thinking of these stays from the MET. (Not that I'm going to do the embroidery because those are skills I don't have, though a little something might be nice but I'm not planning on it.)

Back of  Woman's Corset (Stays) 
England, 1830-1840 LACMA

And the inner layer will be of left over Rockland 45" Cotton Duck Natural that I used to interline my Ravenclaw Renaissance bodice. I know linen in more period to line stays but it is also more expensive and using part of the Stash is a good thing. The one this I know I want to add is fan lacing. Fan lacing makes lacing ones stays or corset easier if you are alone. (If only I had some servants to dress me, but this would actually drive me insane so it's best that I don't have someone to do that.) The rest of the undergarments are going to be made out of  Muslin. Happily my insanity coincides with the Historical Sew Monthly's October Challenge: Heros. Since Jane Eyre is one of my literary heros I can hopefully use this outfit for the Challenge, Halloween and Costume College. Oh and before I forget to mention it, my shoes will be American' Duchess' Gettysburg Victorian Side-Lace Boots.
"Gettysburg" Victorian Side-Lace Boots (1830-1860s)I have the Gettysburgs and two other pairs of shoes for Costume College on layaway (Thank You Bastille Day Sale) so I might not have them for Halloween but that's not going to worry me at all. In addition I will need stockings, a day cap and a bonnet. I can pattern the day cap and bonnet from the Workwoman's Guide but I also have another bonnet diagram that I might use instead. I may also need cuffs and a collar or chemisette for the dress depending on which style I go with

Monday, August 29, 2016

Ravenclaw Renaissance Pt. 2

2016-08-28 14.21.36.jpg
The purse is attached to a belt under the doublet
Sewing takes so much more time when the sewing machine doesn't like you and you insist on hand finishing. Smock is machine sewn on the long seams and then hand finished, same with the bodice and skirt. The partlet is almost completely hand sewn except for the piecing and the collar because of the ruffle.I know everyone raves about Margo's patterns but really I'm feeling a little let down. The instructions are not all that clear in some areas and even reference the Lady's Wardrobe pattern at one point but oh well, you live and you learn. Like I said in my first post the bodice and skirt are linen the shift and partlet are a cotton/linen blend, I made sleeves for the outfit but it was just too hot to wear them. I would have pinned them on because I didn't have time to add points but I've seen pictures with women's sleeve just pinned on so I would have been ok.
2016-08-28 14.27.04.jpg
Me with one of the lovely workers at the Faire
2016-08-28 15.06.49.jpgI didn't put pocket slits in the skirt when I should have so I'll remember that for the next outfit I make. But I did make an awesome purse for myself with the Tudor Rose on it. The inspiration came at midnight before the event..... I didn't go to bed until 2:30 am the morning of; I had a great time but I crashed when we got home. I also purchased a Dragon from Imaginarium Galleries, I've waited over 6 years for this. He does not have a name yet, but I am sure that will change soon.
So what did I learn while wearing the outfit? I need to fix the shift, the opening is too big so I am going to put a strip of linen in to fix the problem of it being to open at the bosom. If I make another shift it will be a high necked one so I don't have to wrangle the partlet into submission over the course of the day as well. Also it will be out of finer material as well. The skirt was so much fun to wear and twirl in plus it was super comfy. I will however need an under petticoat (I know the horror that I didn't make one) because the skirt got caught around my ankles on occasion. This may be because of the stockings I was wearing.... Please excuse the funny face, my grandmother took the picture right as I was saying SOCKS with some enthusiasm. I know they aren't period but they were the only ones I had that would work. I am planning on getting more appropriate stockings in the near future. The picture also shows my wonderful shoes from American Duchess! So what about the boyfriend you might ask? Well he ended up not being able to come with me so his outfit is uncompleted and it waiting for us to decide on if we are going to the Faire in Santa Fe or not so I can get his outfit put together.