Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Snowy Picture

I randomly got an email from google+ the other day, and I never use google+ or really understand it but they told me I had a photo backed up and looked to see somehow falling snow was added to my picture!  I don't really know how it happened, but it's cool! So here's a bonus falling snow picture of my 1869 dress! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

1908 Transitional Corset

I finally completed my first corset and it's nowhere near perfect, the inside is a little bit of a mess and I I don't really have any desire to make another one anytime soon but I think I remember saying that about the first pair of stays I made too! I have to say though... for me at least, 18th century stays are SO much easier than making a corset!

1908 Transitional Corset

 It's a single layer of white cotton fabric that has a design in it but you would have to be up close to see it. I bound it with blue for a pop of color.

Since I've never made a corset before I actually used the front closing from an old 1860 one of mine I don't use anymore.

I may have also used the back lacing part of that corset because I don't have an eyelet puncher (or whatever those things are called!) which doesn't help improve the looks of it... but.. I couldn't justify buying one because I just don't ever have the need to punch metal eyelets.

So overall... I'm not exactly pleased with this, I'm almost a little embarrassed by it but I keep reminding myself it was the first corset I've ever made so it's okay if its slightly wrinkly and a little wonky in places. It does look better on though, and I think if I can get around to making some sort of chemise or whatever would typically go under it, it will look even better! 

Pattern is from this website. It's the second to last pattern on the list.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

1869 Tissot Dress

So I wanted to enter this dress into the American Duchess Christmas photo contest, but I somehow lost the pictures from when I wore it 2 or 3 years ago. With only a few days to enter and unable to find a good scenery for it, I missed the deadline. But with a winter storm down here in Texas I finally got some photos of the dress and in a snowy scenery!

So first... the comparison to the Tissot picture..
I made this one a few years ago and probably would have done it a little differently now because it doesn't quite get the 1869 shape. I also don't have the right skirt supports either. I do still love this dress, I think because I just love the red fabric I used! It's so soft and nice feeling. 

I preferred the skirts bustled up and unbuttoned in the front but I did get a picture with it buttoned and un-bustled. 

There is a small black fur muff to match the fur on the jacket. I considered making a large one because I still have this fur but... when looking at some fashion plates from 1869 they looked to be using smaller muffs. I'm thinking I'll use it to make an oversized 18th century muff. 

I also made a little hat to match from the same fabric. 

A  pug picture to complete the outfit

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday Update

No matter how much I keep trying to make anything and everything blue for my 18th century wardrobe I keep ending up with red tones. This weekend I found some red linen for $4 a yard so I got 5 yards of it. Actually I would have gotten more but that was all that was left so hopefully that will work! I'd like to make a round gown similar to this

I also ordered the American Duchess Antoinette shoes... I almost didn't and I literally ordered them with 2 hours to spare but I couldn't stop thinking about them! Of course I got the blue... and I'm a little worried about that. I still want to make a dress out of my magenta redish taffeta so blue shoes aren't going to go great with that but maybe if I dyed them dark blue... 

And because this post feels empty without a picture, three tie blankets I made this weekend! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1908 Corset Mockup

I decided to make something for the 2014 Foundations Revealed competition. 

I don't really have any ideas for the geometry theme but the 1908 Transitional Corset I thought would be a great thing to make. I've never actually made a corset, the closest was making my 18th century stays.  Early 1900's is also an era I haven't looked at before. 

I got the pattern and found a lot of helpful information from this article. I think you have to have a subscription to see it though. 

It did not have seam allowance and I decided not to add any because the measurements the original came out to be were a bit bigger than me and I'm not great with math so I figured I'd just go with this. 

As far as I can tell, I think the mock up size worked well and except for taking out one of the gusset pieces, it works. So next I'll cut out the actual fabric, when I decide on it! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HSF Challenge #23: Gratitude


While finishing up this dress, I was super excited to realize this could count as an HSF challenge! I couldn't have gotten through the making of this dress without the great tutorials and pictures that others have put out there. This was my first 18th century gown so I had tons of questions and no pattern so I relied on what others put out there! 


Here I learned more about chintz fabric

William Booth Draper sells a blue chintz fabric here that has the same white background with floral blue print similar to my fabric.  They also cite, The Pennsylvania Gazette which said "Run away... a native of Ireland... has on, and took with her, one chints gown, stamped with blue."  The same site also sells patterns and says that printed cotton is an option for a robe a l'anglaise seen here. This helped reenforce that my fabric wasn't completely inaccurate.

Before I could start on the actual dress I had to make a basic bodice lining pattern and the pictures of her draped lining on Jenny La Fleur's Robe a l'Anglaise dress diary helped a ton! Not too mention her other 18th century projects I looked through just to get a better idea of how to make my dress.

After completing my lining I really followed much of the tutorial here from The Fashionable Past

As mentioned in a previous post, when I got completely stuck on my sleeves, this website and dress tutorial here gave me a sleeve pattern that got me back on track!

I'm sure there are even more links that I am missing because as this shows the first place I turn to when I'm stuck are the tutorials and even just pictures others have put up. Anytime I make a historical item I spend a ton of time researching by looking at examples others have made. I love this challenge because I really am so grateful for all the research and pictures others put up! It's why I always try to document mine because you never know what little picture, or way of wording something, will help someone else with their project!

The Challenge: Gratitude

Fabric: Blue and white cotton chintz, blue linen, cotton lining

Pattern: Robe a l'Anglaise self drafted

Year: late 18th century

Notions: cotton tape

Accuracy: It's pretty accurate, I've hand sewn the entire outfit including both petticoats and I think I got the shape down pretty well. It's only issue may be the fabric. While there was blue chintz on white, the pattern on my fabric is probably not the most accurate in terms of the design size. The blue linen petticoat is accurate.

Hours to complete: many

First worn: For pictures!

Cost:  I bought this fabric in the early summer so I don't remember that anymore and am calling it stash fabric. The linen I got from an old table cloth! So no money spent for this one!

This is my favorite 18th century outfit so far. I really love how it turned out with the blue linen petticoat. It's very simple and I'd like to go back and trim it one of these days. Besides some problems with the sleeves it went together pretty well and was a great step in learning to make 18th century gowns.

The matching petticoat!

For all previous posts of the making of this dress click here

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

18th Century Cap

I did get pictures and a post of the Patience Tabitha dress, but I realized it was a perfect dress to use for the HSF challenge: Generosity and Gratitude  so I'm going to wait on that post for another weekish so it's closer to when the challenge is due!

I am somewhat taking a step back from the 18th century this week, to work on a halloween costume inspired by this dress (Though ending up very very different because I was working with the only star fabric I've got in my stash, but the idea of a starry night is the same!), my never-ending quilt of doom, and hopefully a football game day dress for a game this upcoming Saturday! ( I don't have high hopes for this last dress...) 

And finally the 18th century cap!


Inspirations: White with Yellow ribbon cap here plus many more I forgot to document. I mean to get a better actual silk blue ribbon or maybe yellow for this I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Pattern: Made by me from information on these websites, here, Fashionable Frolick, and Art Beauty and Well-Ordered Chaos

Fabric: Very thin white cotton (I'm pretty sure it's cotton) from my stash

Year: 18th century

Accuracy: All hand sewn. Each edge was hemmed with a tiny hem and then whip stitched to the other piece.

It was pretty hard getting the proportions just right particularly when you are putting pleats around your face. I don't love how my pleats look, I rushed to finish the hat for pictures with the P.T. dress so I think they could look better than they do.

It was kind of awkward taking closeup shots of my face with the hat on so to show the direct view of it I cropped a picture from the full outfit. I tried to make it look cool and rounded and old timey, it just looks like I cropped it into a circle... oh well

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sleeves Finally!

After my complete fail and frustration with my PT dress sleeves I spent a good while searching for 18th century sleeve patterns and any kind of visual that could help me make a better sleeve. I couldn't find anything that would help me draft a sleeve to fit my specific dress, which was my original plan to fix the sleeve, but I found a pattern that worked!

Using the sleeve pattern from this page, I was finally able to get some good sleeves! I actually just enlarged it on my computer screen till I thought it was at a large enough size then traced it bit by bit onto paper. I had to make it a little bit larger and a little bit longer after the first try but that was simple enough.

I lost my original scaled up pattern from the costume closeup jacket and tried to do that general shape after draping it and things are in the wrong place and it's just a mess! I do love that seam at the elbow though, I just couldn't get it right!

and finally the pattern that worked!! Yay!! 

Here are the finished sleeves!! Which makes this dress officially finished! I'd like to add trim but I'm going to move onto other projects before I come back and trim this. 

Hopefully I'll get some full outfit pictures of it up by tomorrow! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Sleeves...

I tried measuring the armhole and adjusting the pattern I had and that still didn't work. Then I tried to drape it which also didn't work.
Draping it I got a sleeve that fit the armhole and went and cut the fabric only to once again have the sleeve go wrong. 

I'm really really frustrated with these sleeves. I know the armhole may be too big but I can't think of any way to fix that without starting over. The newest sleeve fits the armhole but it just gets all weird and starts twisting. On top of that its too big around my arm and the elbow is too far down. 

I did finish the solid color linen petticoat to go with it, so all thats left are these awful sleeves! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

18th Century Handsewing

While working on my shortgown, I looked up a lot about 18th century hand sewing and different types of stitches. I started a list of sites with information about different stitches and sewing techniques and I figured I'd put my list on here so it's easy to find again later and to update when I find new information!

  • This one is an examination of multiple short gowns, not necessarily sewing techniques but helpful. I learned that piecing at the end of my sleeves and corners of my peplum were period appropriate from here. 
  • 18th century button holes hand sewn here
  • Dorset Buttons
  • PDF of lots of sewing techniques here. Tells you where they found the stitch used and what the stitch is/ how to do it. also shows sleeves.
  • Diary of a Mantua Maker- this post has a drawing of different stitches and explanations for them
  • Period Sewing Techniques- some drawings of stitches and descriptions of different sewing techniques
  • Annekata- this post doesn't really have sewing techniques but it does have a great picture from Costume Closeup on how to sew with the lining. 
  • Crooked Tree Farm - this has some links to sewing techniques which I think are some of the above links. It also has links to how to make men's clothing and children's. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The P.T. Dress Hit's a Roadblock

If there's anything that sets me back in historical costuming, it's the issues that come with patterns and sizing up etc etc.  Math is not my strong point!
I spent the weekend working on the Patience Tabitha dress and finished just about everything except the hem and the sleeves. I even got the matching petticoat done.

The finished and unusable sleeve

I very stupidly took the pattern from my costume closeup jacket (and even that pattern needs to be altered to fit me better!) and used it's sleeve's pattern. Of course I cut out both sleeves, floral fabric and lining, and sewed up a whole sleeve before discovering it didn't fit my dress. I did try to make it fit... but that resulted in weird bunching and messed up neckline.  To be fair, I think some of the issues are possibly from draping it. I think I cut the armholes larger than they should be, which I need to remember to fix on my basic 18th century pattern I made. 

I now need to go back and make a new sleeve pattern that actually fits but I think I may take a day or two and step back from this dress and work on some other projects. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Patience Tabitha Dress

This new dress I'm working on is "The Patience Tabitha Dress" named after my 6th great grandma and who was 30 at the time of the American Revolution.

I started off making a fitted lining and a fitted lining pattern that I can use for future dresses. I machine sewed this together because I wanted to be sure it was going to work before taking the time to handsew. In the future since it works, I'll hand sew this. The rest of the dress will be hand sewn. 

I'm realizing as I look at this that the front is rounded... I don't know why I didn't catch that before. I may need to recut the front lining pieces. I'm sewing it on the mannequin without the stays beneath because I know the lining fits me with stays on, so as long as I sew to the lining it will fit me fine.

The back smoothed out and pinned and the skirt pleated to the lining. 

The pleats are being whipstitched to the lining and then with the top fabric folded back over the pleats a spaced backstitch. 
pleats pinned down
closeup of pleats sewn with spaced backstitch

Finished Pleats and cut neckline

Hopefully, tonight I'll get the front of the bodice on and the front skirt pieces attached! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Short Gown

Fabric: Cotton fabric from the Stash

Pattern: self made from instructions from here and here

Year: 18th century

Accuracy: Fully handsewn. 

Overall Opinion:  I loved working on this dress, because it gave me a good starting point to work on sewing and stitches and making a petticoat so I feel really prepared starting on my first full gown. But, I really don't like this outfit. It just looks pretty unflattering on me and I don't love the fabric design or color.  When I get around to making an apron it will look better. I tried it on with my 1860 apron and that helped a lot and gave it a little more shape. 

Future 18th Century Plans

A post just to keep me on track on what I'm using what fabric for and what I still plan to make

Cotton Blue Robe a L'anglaise
This one is in progress right now! yay! I made the lining yesterday and hope to start sewing with the actual fabric tonight or tomorrow!
Also two petticoats for this dress, one matching the fabric and then a solid blue one.

Blue striped linen 18th century dress, no plans yet as to what style but a plain basic one
Need to order the fabric online, I like this light blue and this striped blue from Burnley and Trowbridge

Cranberry colored Taffeta dress
with gauze on the sleeves similar to this one from Patterns of Fashion. I think that I may want a solid petticoat of a different color (possibly quilted?) and one of the same color for this.

Random Extra Items
pockets, sleeve ruffles, finish cap, neck- handkerchief(?) 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Changing up my Stays

Not too long ago, I made my blue stays. They aren't super well stitched or anything but they worked. The only problem was it was a huge pain getting into them and no matter how I tried to teach everyone around me they couldn't get how to lace them up.

I was actually planning on redrafting my pattern so that it laced in the front and had a stomacher but I just don't have the time to be making a whole new pair of stays in a hurry right now. Plus the blue stays fit pretty well but would benefit from losing a few inches, so I cut them right up the front and took out some of the front boning and put lacing holes instead.  I almost didn't post about them because they're starting to look like a hodgepodge of different materials and whatnot but the one thing I've learned in historical sewing is when your researching something every little blog post someone writes is helpful in learning how to make it!

I've been so busy lately I've only had time to do a little bit of searching but I really didn't see any with front lacing like mine.  I know some front lacing is sewn about half way up and then the lacing begins and I may try to do that still, but I like being able to easily get in and out.

I did order lots of lots of cotton and linen tape from Burnley and Trowbridge recently though! I needed it for my petticoat ties, but I ordered some that was too small but turned out perfect for lacing it up, not to mention looks a lot better than the ribbon I was using before.

Side-note: I am very undecided about shoulder straps on stays... before I made stays I loved how they looked and now they're a huge nuisance because they continually peek out from my outfits. I've been trying to decide if next pair I should make them with smaller shoulder straps or do a strapless pair. I feel like stays have been the most confusing thing for me and I just don't know why! If they are strapless, could they still lace up the front?

I know that I didn't lace it up correctly, but I've kind of given up on this pair looking perfect. BUT I am excited because since this pair works for right now I can slowly start working on a new pair that will be perfect and hand-stitched since I know the pattern will work!

On me, it should lace completely closed