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

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Updates #6

The last two weeks have been SO crazy with school midterms and papers and everything. I wasn't really able to get much done, hence no Friday updates. This week I finally started doing a little here and there so I have things to update on!


I finally picked up the cap and started it, and even though it's all hand sewn once you actually sit down and start working on it it comes together pretty quickly. This isn't done yet, still edges to be sewn and a ruffle for the front! 


The entire short gown and skirt are done!! Hopefully I'll get pictures up and a post about its construction this weekend! Not the most flattering gown though....


and... as usual the never-ending quilted satin comforter. I think I'm in my third month on this one and there is still so much left on it! I admit though I'm not very concentrated on it, just doing little bits at a time! 

I know I've been planning a sheer 1860 dress for forever, and I actually have yards and yards of fabric for it, but lately I have just loved sewing 18th century! I literally can't stop, I'm already trying to think of the next 18th century dress I'll make. I started historical sewing with the 1860's but I actually think I enjoy sewing 18th century clothing so much more. Not to say that I won't go back to the 1860's or another time era but not till I'm out of this 1780 mood!