Showing posts from August, 2011

Jacket progress

(This new Blogger interface!  I like it on its own, very clean, but it's hard to switch to.) So, I have done quite a lot on the jacket since Mom draped the pieces on me last Wednesday.  On Sunday, I pinned the muslin pieces together and tried them on over my stays in front of my mirror: I was worried that Mom had put too much ease into it and it would be baggy, and this turned out to be a bit true.  I raised the waist a bit, took the shoulder seam in on the back side, and took the side seams in on the front and back (although they should have been placed further back in the first ... place) as the back had a lot of ease in it.  When I was satisfied, I cut out the pieces from my linen - which I had bought a year ago to make into Jacket C on the same page of Patterns of Fashion I , which I partially made up and then found that it was too small and way too short; on the Fashion Fabrics Club website, it looked sort of like a painted natural linen, which isn't something I've s


I had one of those moments where I felt like everything I've done on this jacket has been wrong, why am I bothering, it's not going to fit and the print is ugly and not really period and I'm going to look like an idiot .  Then I attached the cuff I finished to the sleeve I'd set in and tried it on, which made the sleeve not look ridiculously short, and I started feeling so much better. Okay, the linen is too heavy (maybe it's meant for a modern jacket or upholstery) and the print, which looked kind of like a painted pattern on the internet, is not really right for ... any period, really.  And I think I'm going to have to take tucks in the cap of the sleeve to make it less puffy.  But it fits and it is much more period than an "English bodice" so I think I will be all right.  To be honest, I think my problem is that all I ever see is really good stuff from the bloggers I follow - since I haven't really gone to any events before, I have no idea wha

Earlier 18th Century Caps

Even though the Struggle for Liberty re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga is set during the Revolution, since the stays I made a while ago are 1730s/1740s, the rest of my outfit is going to be dated to that period as well.  I didn't want to make a later-period jacket to fit to that silhouette and not be able to wear it in its proper period once I had the right stays!  I've been looking at cap tutorials online, but most of them seem aimed at the 1770s, so I'm looking at pictures from earlier in the century and will adapt the tutorials once I understand exactly what I want.

Some progress

Some.  First off, I put the second cup into my thesis stays, and I gathered in the top.  (I also did a row of gathering stitches across the middle, which I probably will bring in a bit.)  I can't tell if I didn't make it wide enough, as the fabric's really not gathered that much, or if more buxom women would have used similarly-sized cups to smaller women and just gathered them less.  I should be able to finish all that up quickly, which means I'm basically done with the stays.  I plan to do some quilting, but that can be whenever.  So I'm going to have to make some appointments with museums to see some extant gowns. D: Scary!  Fun, cool, interesting, educational, but scary. On the more exciting side of things, Mom and I did our first experiment in draping this afternoon.  She was really not into it and wanted to scale up the pieces on newspaper, but I was adamant - last time I tried to make a jacket, it ended up way too small, and it's hard trying to scale up

Joining in the Bash

The Ultimate Book Bash , hosted by Austenitis!  All of my answers to her questions below the cut.

The Interesting Transition of the 1830s

The extraordinary changes in fashion during the 1830s are a reminder not to over-indulge in "decade-ism" - there is no one style emblematic of the 1830s as a whole: it is important to use "early", "mid", and "late" (or beginning and end dates) when dating extant garments and portraits.

Artistic Neoclassical Costume

I began discussing this in my post on the mantua .  As the wealthy began to create separate public and private lives, they desired paintings of themselves in private, dressed in ways they could never appear in public.  Some of the sitters wore actual negligée dress, but some were painted in an invented costume meant to invoke thoughts of the Greeks and Romans. Portrait of a Woman , William Wissing, 1687 Apart from being informal, this style of dress was meant to keep the portraits from looking as dated as those of the Elizabethans, with their supported skirts and ruffs, though it is up to the viewer to determine if it has had its intended effect.

Even More Sources

This time, from the Lewis Walpole Library of prints.  They are mostly satires - which are problematic to use as sources, of course, but they do tell you what people thought were the newest and most ridiculous parts of fashion, and the bits that aren't being satired in a specific drawing are usually pretty accurate.  Some images are just linked.

Yet More Sources - V&A

The corset is almost finished - I just have to do the cups.  So there will be good pictures soon, I hope.  But for now, I'm looking at more painting sources, this time from the Victoria & Albert Museum.  (Sorry about the color cards - they're probably there to show scale, since a lot of these are miniatures.)

Petticoat and Corset

Those promised pictures!  I would have taken a picture of the petticoat on me but it's dreadfully unflattering without stays, and I didn't feel like taking the time to really get dressed. The pleats from the inside.  I whipped them down to the twill tape with waxed linen thread.  Yes, the fabric has a strangely open weave - the things that happen when you order fabric online. This picture keeps uploading sideways.  Why?  I don't know.  But this is the pleating from the outside.

Silver Gala Dress: A More Thoughtful Post

There are a few days between me and this dress, so now I can look at it all in a more rational way. I volunteer at the National Museum of Dance, which is having its 25th anniversary this year.  A few days ago, it held its Silver Gala - attended by the likes of Marylou Whitney and Ann-Margret (who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame) - and one of my supervisors asked me to sew her a dress for it.  She isn't very into dressing up or shopping for fancy clothes, so it seemed like a great idea to have one made instead.  And it needed to be silver. I was given a few fit issues that my supervisor wanted the dress to take into account, so I set about looking for patterns.  I picked a few that seemed to work from Simplicity and Butterick - A-line skirt, high waistline, longish skirt - and then, as an afterthought, a pattern from Vogue with a sort of marquise-shaped panel on the left side, with the rest of the fabric pleated up into it.  Of course, that was the most interesting-lo

18th c. Petticoat

A while ago I bought some sky-blue linen with a slightly open weave to make a petticoat out of, for a planned jacket/petticoat outfit.  I partially made up the jacket too small and I'm going to be redoing that soon, but I figured that since the side seams of the petticoat were already done I'd get going on finishing that.  Yesterday I started pleating it onto a twill tape, and I just finished whipping the pleats down.  It's probably period to use normal-sized pleats, but for some reason I went as small as I could - I think I was considering cartridge pleats before I remembered that I thought they weren't period?  No pictures just yet: I have to go to work today!  But I'll try to take some of how it looks now, before I do the hem.  I'm going to use slipstitch, as per the hems on the shift I examined at FIT, although the hem is going to be deeper than it should - I ought to have done that first, then folded the top down enough to make the petticoat the right len

The worst sewing project ever

I feel like I shouldn't even write about this because it's been mostly done by my mom, but she is wonderful and the world needs to be educated. *blows her a kiss* A while ago, one of my supervisors at the museum where I intern asked if I could make her a dress for a gala.  I said sure!  Because generally I can follow a pattern on the machine, although my specialty is fiddly handwork (I think).  And I sent her a selection of pattern URLs, including this as an afterthought, and that is the one that she chose. Things I have learned from this experience: Shiny, slippery rayon is very hard to deal with Shiny, slippery silk charmeuse is even more difficult to deal with All of this is especially bad when everything is on the bias Asymmetry is confusing Pleating into a panel is painstaking Cowl necklines makes everything just a bit harder All of this adds up into: I will probably never do 1930s costuming. The most important lesson of all is, of course, that when Vogue sa

Devonshire Shoes

The American Duchess is putting up her Devonshire line of shoes for pre-order! The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s.  They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments. Pre-Order the Devonshires through August 10, and get the special $100 price.  They're only making 200 of these shoes, so don't miss the chance to own one of only a couple hundred pair on the planet!  Visit to order. Aren't they gorgeous?