Saturday, November 7, 2015

Help! My bonnet got squished!

I have received a few requests on this subject, so here is a little tutorial to help you fix a squished buckram bonnet brim.

You will need:  A steam iron, ironing board, cotton scrap to serve as a barrier, and a wig head.

First, take the squished brim, and iron using the cotton scrap as a barrier with high steam to dampen and heat up the buckram.  Once the buckram is soft and pliable, roll the brim while you move the iron over it to re-shape the brim.

Once's it's been re-shaped, let it dry and re-harden on the wig head.

The crown of the bonnet can be steamed with a little hand-held steamer to un-wrinkle it.

 I hope this helps, and I hope to be able to make a video at some point.  Happy bonnet-wearing!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quick Change Fix

I've done some work for Ginny at Her Story Theater and with the most recent 17th century jacket, she needed it to be easily removed during a performance with a minimum of noise.

Velcro was loud.  It made a really conspicuous ripping sound, and left icky goo all over the fabric with adhesive.  Snaps were a bit unwieldy, and buttons took forever, so I tried magnets.

I started  with the lining and a pack of magnets I bought at Joann's in the craft section.  I cut little rectangles of the lining fabric to fashion pockets to hold the magnets.  2.5 by 3.5 in.

After stitching the magnet pockets into place, I trimmed up the excess and put on the facings.   I ironed down the seam allowance to start.  The outer edge had to be hand-stitched because there was not enough room for the machine's foot.

 The result was a magnet-closed jacket that can pass for a theatrical rendition of the 1630s and can be removed quickly and silently.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Colors in 18th Century Bonnets

I've been busy busy making 18th century headwear for my adventures with Royal Blue Traders.  I've also been on the hunt for decent evidence of colored silk 18th century market bonnets, and met with some success.  So far, from what I have been able to turn up, the brighter colors, which tended toward blues and greens, were popular in the 1780s, and especially popular for younger wearers.

Blue Bonnets

A Lady and Her Children Relieving a Cottager (1781) by William Redmore Bigg, English, 1755 - 1828
Some very interesting hats in general in this painting.

A Market Girl Holding a Mallard Duck (1787) by John Russell, English, 1745-1806

I made my own version with less fullness, and more of bill-shaped brim in some lovely teal silk taffeta I picked up at Affordable Fabrics in Rocky Hill, CT.  That place is a treasure, but it's real hit-or-miss as to what gems you can find hidden away on the flat-fold remnants tables.  You also really need to know what you're looking for, and have a good handle on how to identify fibers, as nothing is labeled.

My version

Green Bonnets

A Girl Gathering Filberts (1782) by William Redmore Bigg

This spring-ey little piece is a very similar shape to the ones I have been making.  I think I need to re-create one from this portrait with that pink ribbon.

Mrs Ogee, satirical print published by Matthew Darly, 1775

This one features an older lady in a more olive green with blue puffed trim and a wider brim shape.

There is an extremely helpful, extensive list of sources a the Buzz at the Hive.  Especially helpful for the American Revolution period.  Now, on to cranking out more hats in time for the season before the baby arrives!

My version

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thinking about Renaissance Faire Vending

I have been giving some thought to getting set up to vend at local renaissance faires and other such things for non-historical pretties like flower crowns, feather cockades and maybe some other millinery.  Due to the cost of materials and other overhead, I would have to charge somewhere in the realm of $30 per crown.  Is this a fair price?  (no pun intended)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Melissandre-Inspired Renaissance Faire Ensemble

Going into the spring renaissance faire season, I started thinking about something that would be both comfortable and  flattering.  My mind went immediately to Game of Thrones and the delightfully creepy "Red Woman", the Lady Melissandre.  In order to create a look that is in line with hers, I thought about ordering a cotton Cotte dress from Moresca, but they're not cut to flatter a pregnant belly.  They're also $115, which was more than I wanted to spend.

I started with the bodice pattern from Butterick B5181 (which the cat promptly destroyed) and the sleeve pattern from New Look S0597.  I had to cut the sleeve down a little, but it worked pretty perfectly.  I will likely end up shortening the sleeves to just above the elbow or shorter.

I ordered some stretchy cotton/spandex from Ebay for about $30.  The seller's username is koshtex.

The fabric was heavier than I wanted.  I was hoping for something thinner and drapier, but this will serve for the moment.

Working with stretch knits has been quite a learning curve, and there are definitely things I would do differently - like wait until the entire bodice was assembled to hem the neckline - but overall, this went together relatively quickly and easily.

For the skirt portion, I took a measurement around the ribcage:  36 in.  My intention was to create four trapezoid shapes with a gusset in the back for extra drama.  36/4 = 9, plus 1.25 seam allowance.

The back of the bodice ended up being a bit too big, but the overall shape of the skirt is fantastically full.  I think I will wait to make any tweaks to the fit until May.  Next up is a hooded scarf to go with it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

18th Century Wooden Fashion Doll

My dad was kind enough to carve this doll for me out of bass wood using the Mill Farm pattern.

It's a little rustic looking, but that's perfect.  She could be a home-carved toy version of the expensive French dolls that were not really meant as toys.

As soon as I finish painting the exposed "skin" with white acrylic, I was thinking of using silk spinning fiber to make hair.  It might be kind of fun to try to fashion a tiny pouf wig.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blue Silk Taffeta 18th Century Jacket

I based this 18th century jacket on the JP Ryan pattern.  It's made of gorgeous, thick, iridescent french blue silk taffeta with self trim and fabric covered buttons.  I have made several jackets from this pattern before, so it went together very quickly.  The only trouble came with having to wait until the last minute to fit the front.

There are two petticoats:  The under layer is a cream silk taffeta, and the outer layer is semi-sheer striped silk from Renaissance Fabrics.  It's so stiff, and stands out so much, I feel a little like a cupcake.  It makes 19 weeks look like quite a bit more.

The photos don't really do it justice.  There are some beautiful portraits that use a similar type of fabric, but they're all from 1785 or later.  Apparently it was all the rage in Russia in the late 1780s, early 1790s.
Portrait of a Lady with a Book, Next to a River Source, Antoine Vestier, circa 1785.

Emperor Pavel I’s Daughters by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun,1796.

Elena Pavlovna of Russia by V.Borovikovskiy (1796, Gatchina

Since the ruching is so wide, I needed a double set of hooks and eyes to close up the top.  It worked out rather well.  The only thing I didn't quite get to was adding ruched trim to the cuffs.  I may need to add more fluffles and details for the next time this jacket makes an appearance.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Maternity Stays Done

 All done!  I suppose I could find something better to lace them with, but I needed to make sure they fit.  It's hard to believe I'm nearly half way through already.

The side slits are adjustable enough that I think I will be able to wear these stays through the spring, and beyond.

The linen is quite stretchy, and the fit is good.  They are weirdly comfortable.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Maternity Stays

Inspired in party by an article I read on Hyaline Prosaic I've been away from blogging for a bit, largely because I wasn't quite ready to announce the baby to the world.  I used the same pattern that I used on my pink silk stays, but with a few modifications.

I knew the heavy, 7.1 oz linen canvas from would stretch, so I made sure the opening in the back would be a little wider than on the pink stays.  Also, after wearing the pink stays a few times, I realized I needed to cut down the armholes considerably.  This project benefited directly from mistakes made on the pink stays.

They are also much more flexible, as  I used the 1/4 inch wide cable ties for boning as opposed to the thicker ones on the pink stays.  Really, I just need something to shape the bust for this set.

My one serious regret here is the binding.  I used a cotton  twill that in retrospect, I just too thick.  I was worried about the bones poking through the binding if I used linen, but next time, I'm just using something thinner.

The first test-run for these stays will be the Midwinter Ball on January 31.  Hopefully it works.