Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Curtain-Along Sleeves

 Progress last night.  I am supposed to be working on a commission with an upcoming deadline, but I got majorly obsessed.  The sleeve pattern I used, I'm not entirely sure where it came from.  It may have sneaked into the ziploc where I kept the mock-up pieces from the last Anglaise I made from some other project, because they just didn't look right.  I ended up using the pattern piece from the J.P. Ryan Pet-en-l'Air pattern and just adding an inch at the seam allowance.  I haven't been pleased with the amount of pleating that is necessary to fit these sleeves into the armholes, but I guess that's how it's supposed to look.  It ends up rather poofy.

The next step is to attach the skirt to the bodice.  I may try a different technique than the one I have used on previous Anglaises.  Next will be to add facings to the center front and start looking into buttons.  If it doesn't fit after the addition of buttons, I intend to take it in from the center back.  I want to preserve the straight line in the front.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Curtain Progress

I inter-lined the pieces I had fit from the Navy Blue Anglaise last summer.  It only needed minor tweaking. I didn't bother matching prints, but neither did they...I quickly stitched the printed cotton to the 5 ounce white linen from  The linen had been lying around from a coat I never got around to making.  The lining will be a simple cotton muslin.  I was impressed that the fit was as good as it was.  My intention is to attempt buttons.  What kind will be determined based on what's available and what I can document as correct.

Things are going smoothly so far.  We'll see how it goes with sleeves.  Now a question, is fashion fabric facing on the center front period correct?  Time to do a little research.  My aim is to have this done for the weekend, but I'm not going to hurt myself trying.

I got a little obsessed with this project.  Let's hope the fervor holds out long enough to finish.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Curtain- Along Inspiration

From the Kyoto Costume Institute, and gathered from Festive Attyre's Pinterest, this dress has been re-cut from an older 1740s Francaise to a more 1780s style.  I want to make something like this, but I may need to find a striped sheer cotton to make a petticoat out of.

A lot of the KCI "Indienne" gowns pair white petticoats with the prints.  I may have to do the same.

I found from Burnley and Trowbridge, this gorgeous striped satin cotton.  It's $14 a yard, otherwise I would have bought enough to make an 18th century petticoat and a late 1790s style dress.  I may have to acquire it next time I have a spare $112.  It's soft, and gorgeous.  There's just something magical about stripes.

The other option I had in mind was one of Target's famed "Shabby Chic" curtains and sheets with its white-on-white embroidery and cool scalloped edge.

The next step for me is to cut and piece the bodice.  My aim is to have this done for Saturday, but I doubt it.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I am IN for the Festive Attyre Curtain-Along.  I love the cream and the black options of the "Felicite" curtain from Wavery for sale at Lowe's and Kohls.

I adore it in cream, but a dear friend of mine has suggested the Noir.  I have seen a few extant examples of Indienne in the cream, but have not seen many in darker colors.  Also, one tends to wear such things for hot summer reenacting events, and I can't help but be reminded of my favorite childhood doll, whose dress resembles the curtains.  And, as a redhead, I kind of feel obligated.

I will likely make an Anglaise, for wear-ability at summer events, with a matching petticoat.  In 18th century (and 21st for that matter) I tend to go for minimalist, no-frills kind of styles.  The print is so busy, that I wouldn't want to obscure it with a ton of trim.  Not sure as to whether I will do buttons down the front, or hooks and eyes, but I want to be extra careful about fitting the neckline of this one.  My previous anglaises have had issues with fit around  the neckline.

I may have to go visit these curtains in person at Lowe's today, and see what's what.

Update 4:08 PM - Lowe's trip accomplished.  Two Waveryly "Felicite" curtains in the "cream" option purchased.  I am most of the way through the petticoat.  I couldn't resist.  The fabric is GORGEOUS, and just a touch browner than I expected it to be, but that's a good thing.

The "noir" is absolutely gorgeous, and I may end up doing something with it in the future.  Lowe's actually had several beautiful 18th century style prints from Waverly when I went to the store.  Thoughts to file away for later.
Update 6:07 PM - Petticoat completely finished.  I flew through it, hand finishing and all in about two hours.  I am amazing.

Update 10.12.12 - 1:41 PM - The last remaining panel I have is 60 inches x 84.  That's about 2.33 yards.  I'm not sure my skillz are such that I can make a full gown out of that.  I may have to break down and get a second panel.  I really want to do fitted long 1780s sleeves, but I may be kidding myself.  I am most likely to wear this for 1770s events, and a 3/4 sleeve may be more appropriate.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hat Pins!

I have been busy. I made a ton of these gothy little Victorian hat pins. Got a few for sale on etsy. I had a serendipitous break through in figuring out how to secure the beads. I'm glad I have tons of random crap in my supply bins.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Steampunk Mermaid Skirt

It began with a simple pencil skirt pattern that I cut a triangle shape out of the back, just under the curve of the booty.  Then followed a 9-inch ruffle.  I despise zippers with a passion, so I planned to use a button back closure.

Of course, somewhere around the time I was stitching the last bit of ruffle into place, I realized I should have put the wider, longer ruffle on first.

I went back and corrected this issue.  Heavy upholstery tassel trim will hide the rough edges on the ruffle.

The next issue to tackle was the lining.  I ended up making a mini pencil skirt out of the same fabric and using it as an extra wide waistband on the inside.  I figured it was easier than trying to do facings on the buttonholes.

This got tacked on the inside, and buttons fudged onto it.  This skirt is an exercise in approximations and guess work. I knocked it together in about 24 hours.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A few 18th century gowns

I have been working a very demanding job, and I have had very limited time for sewing.  I did however sneak a few projects in under the radar.  This is the re-cut bodice of the navy blue anglaise I made last May.  I added the sleeve flounces too.

In its future: fine linen sleeve flounces with white lace, and much more pleated ribbon trim.
I think the higher back looks much more polished than the lower cut one I originally made. The silk move so beautifully.  I need to engineer more excuses to wear this gown.
I tracked down a sutler at the Rock Ford event in Lancaster PA - the very same sutler that I bought the ribbon around the neckline from at an event the previous August.  I got an additional 15 yards.  My intention is to do the same pleating around the sleeves at the elbow and down the front.
This project was envisioned as something that could be dressed up or down, and would work for a middle class impression.  It's made of gray cotton sateen - or more accurately, a cotton sateen bed sheet from Target in 'grey'.  I ended up cutting the sleeves a bit short after I decided I didn't like how they looked fitted around the elbow.  I cannot seem to find an extant example with sleeves above the elbow.  If i cannot find documentation, I will have to re-cut the sleeves, or at least add an extension.  I'm not thrilled with them.

I think some self trim may be in the future of this gown as well.
Ideas for self trim include a wide pleated trim around the neckline, and possibly something to hide the gap between the bones in the front.  This might look better a la polonaise, and with a matching petticoat.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Works in progress

I have been so inanely busy. Way too busy to post projects. I've been teaching high school history, and have very little time to do anything but work, commute, and sleep. Things in the works involve a re-working of the navy blue anglaise that I mostly finished for the ixth's New Year's party in Sturbridge, MA and a sleeveless hooded coat for a friend in Maryland. Projects on the horizon for the summer include: a striped brown and black natural form suit using the jacket bodice pattern from TV, and possibly some more 18th century wardrobe pieces. I am interested in making some more practical middle class type clothing as well as a ridiculous silk taffeta gown in a pastel color to replace the murdered green taffeta gown. Also, I am considering using the fabric from the green gown make a 16th century Florentine gown. The petticoat is mostly still good.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Plaid Horror at Midwinter

Rachel models the finished Plaid Horror at the Midwinter Gaming Convention in Milwaukee this January. It was well received. I think next year, we're looking to add some terrible faux rat fur trim to it, or something equally repulsive. It needs more stuff dangling from it.

I ended up not hitching up the train of the skirt polonaise style, but I think I should have. It looks bigger and more flouncy. Also, I'm thinking a ruffle or something on the bottom of the underskirt.

We'll get you on the best dressed list yet, my dear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

18th Century Casualties

Damned cat peed in a box that contained the better part of my 18th century wardrobe. It's currently in the wash. I'm trying to save it, but it doesn't look good.

Of course then, I had to be an idiot and put the Indian sari regency dress in with the others, and the dye bled. It's a disaster. I think the synthetics may make it out alright, but the green silk taffeta might be unrecoverable. The petticoat might be ok, but the gown might have danced it's last ball.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Plaid Horror Final Fitting

So my friend who commissioned this monstrosity recently started seeing a nutritionist. I ended up having to take it in almost an inch and a half on each shoulder seam and an inch at the back. I guess the exercise in tailoring an already-finished garment was worthwhile, but more than a little obnoxious. Now all that needs doing is attaching the flat hooks on the skirts.

The whole idea behind this dress was the contrast of the close-fitting, tailored bodice cut to fit over a corset, the elegant drapery of the 1880s, and the mismatched fabrics. It had to fit perfectly.

As for process, I started with several ugly non-flannel plaid shirts from several different thrift stores, clean and pressed. I used cotton twill as an interlining for added stiffness and basted the two together. The lining is a simple white muslin, and the edges of the armholes are bound in different color plaids. My cat, Marco helped. The front closure is a series of hooks and eyes about an inch apart, and there are a pair of cable ties in the center front helping the bodice to not appear puckered.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1880 Natural Form Research

A totally surreal experience this morning googling "natural form overskirt" and "1880 overskirt", I kept finding images of my own work. I don't know whether to be happy about that, or disappointed.