Monday, April 14, 2014

Out and About Dresses

I've recently been sewing up SewCaroline's Out and About Dress and I have to say, I really love this dress! It's super simple and super comfy! It also has a lot of room for creativity! I normally don't like phone mirror photos, but I've already moved on with sewing projects and don't feel like going back to take photos of these three dresses, next time!! 

This might be my favorite knit ever just because it was so soft and comfy! I added a little elastic to the side of the sleeves to get a little bit of ruching, though you can't see it in this photo. Honestly it's kind of hard to see in person too, I made the elastic a bit too long.  

Of course I had to try the maxi length out. It went from the first sleeves, to the second, and then I liked it best with no sleeves at all. 

which finally led to this...

and I loved the maxi length/no sleeve so much I made it again in blue..

The End. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Wiksten Tank again!

I posted about this pattern both here and here before. My friend loved the simple basic tanks that I had made from it and wanted to make some of her own! 

Before thinking, we picked up lots of rayon and knit fabrics to make them up in and only afterwards did I think about the fact that those aren't the best fabrics to start a beginner out on! Even if it's a simple tank! 

So I ended up spending the weekend sewing up 11 of these for her and now I'm excited to make some more of my own for the warmer weather! 

It's just not the same without the sunlight coming in!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Costume Closeup Jacket #2

Costume Closeup Jacket #2

First time wearing my American Duchess shoes!

Pattern: Costume Closeup Jacket with modifications mostly to the front to make it rounded and meet and close with pins, instead of using a stomacher.

Year: 1780s

Fabric: Blue cotton print with a cotton lining, both from fabric stash

Accuracy: Entirely hand sewn with period stitches but would probably need a linen lining to be really accurate

I took more pictures than this, but somehow no one caught that my skirt in the back was caught up and the under petticoat is showing, so I've only got front pictures to show right now :(

I started this and mostly finished it back in December but as usual got stuck on the sleeves. I wanted the style sleeve with the little elbow area that is in the original costume closeup pattern but no matter how I tried I couldn't enlarge it correctly to fit me. Finally, this tutorial at At the Sign of the Golden Scissors saved me!!  I think I could perfect the sleeve fit on me a little more, but at least it actually fits me well this time around!

I don't like that the front is not very flat and wrinkles in places, I wonder if it would be accurate to place boning in a jacket front? I know there's example in dresses.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

18th Century Weddings and Quilting

I recently read A Midwife's Tale for a class in school and found some passages I thought I would share! The book discusses the diary of Martha Ballard, an 18th century midwife. The author, Laura Ulrich, has done considerable research using all sorts of primary documents and has some great insight on the diary entries. It is a long book but if your interested in diaries and everyday life I would recommend it! It's not the first place I would go to look for information on sewing but I did find some interesting information connected to sewing (or rather quilting) and weddings! Martha lived in Maine, so keep that in mind, I haven't done any extra research on how far and wide these customs would apply.


Concerning Weddings:
  • "Martha's diary supports the notion that children chose their own spouses; there is no evidence of parental negotiation, and little hint of parental supervision in any of the courtships she describes." 
  • Weddings were "distinctly unglamorous affairs, almost nonevents." For women the time was spent "gathering resources that defined their meaning and purpose." 
  • To marry the couple had to prove that they had published their "intent to marry" at 3 different religious meetings, the three days prior, or posting it in a public space for two weeks.
  • Many women were pregnant coming into the marriage, but this didn't seem to perceived as negative as long as the couple did marry.
  • After the marriages of Martha's daughters the brides then would often remain at home an extra month or two with their parents, though at times, their husband would spend the night. Eventually the husband would take his bride and they "went to housekeeping." This seems to be a more concrete event since the daughter actually leaves the home for good at that point. 
18th century spoons via

Before her daughter's weddings they bought:
  • Before the wedding Martha bought, a case of knives and forks, some small spoons, sewing silk, 23 3/4 yards of a fabric called Camblesteen, and a dozen plates. Six bowls, 9 1/2 yards of "camblet teen", 5 yards lining, and 3 pounds of tea and a handkerchief.  A month later Martha also purchases, pewter dishes, a coffee pot, and six tablespoons.  
  • While Ulrich doesn't know if all of these items would have gone to the daughter, they are "representative of what a young couple might have" so it's a good possibility. 
18th century quilt via

And the quilting!

  • "The girls had the Ladies to help them quilt, Martha wrote on November 1, four days after Hannah's wedding. Quilting was the most insistent of the matrimonial preparations. The first round brought the neighbors, the women coming by turns, Sally Cox and Sarah Densmore on October 30, Polly Pollard, Mrs Damrin, and Mrs Livermore on October 31, and the unnamed group of Ladies on November 1. Whether Parthenia's was the first or the only quilt to go into the frame during that three-day period we do not know"
  • Later that month, Hannah began "piecing a bedquilt" and interrupted this work to weave "a tow and woolen blanket"
  • "These quilts probably combined a top made of imported fabric, a filler of combed wool, and a homespun lining, the three layers being stretched tightly on a wooden frame, marked with chalk, then quilted together. (In the fanciest of quilts, the stitching formed an intricate maze of feathers, fans, and scrolls.) One of the oldest pieced quilts known to have been made in America is a Maine coverlet, long identified as a 'wedding quilt' because of the appliqued hearts in the center. Hearts or no hearts, the quilts made in the Ballard house in November of 1792 were clearly associated with the transition from girlhood to marriage. In this sense, quilting, too, was one of the rites of marriage." 

( All information and quotes taken from A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laura Ulrich, using a Kindle, loc.  2321- loc. 2421)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pink 1860 Dress New Pictures

I finished my pink 1860  dress a year ago but never really got great pictures of it! I've been trying to get better pictures of dresses I've made, for my portfolio, so this dress finally got it's turn!

I am absolutely incapable of not squinting my eyes in the sun so this was the very best shot of the front I could get!

Since I intended this dress to be more of a work dress when I volunteered, even though I love it with the hoop, I most often used it as an 1850 dress with a corded petticoat or none at all. With, of course my pinner apron.

I do still love those puff sleeves. They may possibly be my favorite sleeve ever. 

In the meantime, I've got a historical and a modern project in the works and hopefully will get pictures of another 18th century outfit this week!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

American Duchess Shoe Giveaway!

American Duchess is having a shoe giveaway for their new shoe the Nankeen! I've never sewn anything regency but it's on my to do list and I would definitely be up to sewing something regency with a pair of these! Don't they look so comfy?

Enter the giveaway here!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I am so excited because the 2014 costume competition at Your Wardrobe Unlock'd just started and I'm just happy that I actually had the guts to enter my dress! I had planned on entering the 1908 transitional corset (the only reason I made it in the first place was for this contest) but I was embarrassed that it wasn't just perfect so I didn't, and now I wish I had! So I'm especially excited that I entered my Lavender 1780 dress! I think anyone can see them here but you just have to be a member to vote! 

There are some really amazing entries! Everyone made such beautiful dresses that they have me itching to make regency dresses and late 19th century dresses! There is even a bridal dress! They are seriously all so fantastic! 

I have always wanted to make one of these french knot sheep...

I've got tons of midterm papers coming up so I haven't gotten much sewing done lately but small projects here and there, but I have big plans for spring break! Big