Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The "Sortie de bal" Mantle, and How I Finished It ;)

Pattern: from supplement pattern sheet included in La Mode Illustree, December 8th, 1889. Antique in my collection.
Pattern Quality: Amazing! Highly recommended, and actually quite easy to work with and resize once you figure out how it all goes together.
Sizing: No resizing. Made "as is" from the pattern for a 36"chest. Roughly a S/M in size.
Materials: Polyester brocade (roughly 4 yards)
                   Cotton Velvet, heavy (roughly 4 yards)
                   Faux Fur. (1.25 yards at 36" wide)
Notes on Finished Garment: This things will definitely keep you warm. Because I chose brocade and upholstery weight velvet, this Sortie de bal weights more than seven pounds! The fur trim at the front lends weight that really helps in pull it down and keep it from swinging open too much while moving.
And now I must sell on ebay-->HERE<---so I can afford to make the next lovely thing. =)

Comparison Above. I would have liked to do the beaded medallion decorations on the sleeve and back, but I couldn't find anything comparable and I'm not yet good enough to make up my own. besides, I think the fabric I chose is "Wow!" enough without the extra decoration. =)

Below, see more photos of the completed garment. Even further down, there are more photos of construction, garment insides, fur trim, etc.

I think this picture is one of the best for showing the fabric. It's difficult to show in photos just how GORGEOUS this fabric is =) I love it. I bought it from Wal-mart almost 10 years ago, back when Wal-mart still sold nice fabrics. 

The construction of the sleeves is a bit strange, so below are some pictures that will give you and idea of how they were put together. They will also show some detail on the fur trim.

I did flat lining for this garment, so I had to bind all the seams inside.
I used a polyester satin for the bindings. 

The fur strips on the center front edges don't start until about 2.5" below the neckline. The fur on the sleeves and collar covers this area, and I didn't want to add the bulk that was already accumulated at the throat. 

Here you can see all the bounds seams and the edges that were
bound in matching brocade before I put on the fur strips. 

The only closure on this garment is at the throat with one super large hook and eye. I did almost all of the binding by hand with whip stitching. 

As I started putting this one together, I was not yet sure if I would even do the fur trim at all. This is why I bound the edges by hand with whip stitching, in case I chose to leave off the fur. Of course, I did end up using the fur, so I could have saved myself a lot of trouble by doing the bindings with the machine, lol. Still, the fur strips did have to applied by hand.

I prepared the fur trims with their own backings. I formed the strips by using the edges of the patterns pieces as my "guides" for cutting the fur to shape. I could not just cut straight strips because they would not have formed well to the curves I was working with. Also, the direction of the fur was important. 

Here is the long fur strip for the right sleeve.
As a note on the fur: Some books recommend shaving or trimming the seam allowance before sewing. I really recommend you don't do this. It's a lot of work and unless you manage to sew precisely where your shaving stopped, it won't look right on the edges later. Just sew through with a very wide stitch (4.0, I suggest) and then use a comb later to pick the fur out of the seam and fluff it out.

And finally, more pictures: =D

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The "Sortie de bal" Mantle, and How I Figured It Out and Moved On... ;)

The "Sortie de bal", from La Mode Illustree, December 8th, 1889
*This garment is also featured in the Dover Press book 
First, a big thanks to both Frances Grimble and Heather McNaughton, who both kindly showed me the error of my silly ways with this one. Apparently, one of the pattern pieces shown in the diagram under the Sortie de Bal heading was for a different garment in the pattern sheet and had nothing to do with the Sortie at all. Aw, the good old days of using ever inch of paper every way you could! Once I discounted that piece, everything made sense finally =)

So, now that the confusion is out of the way...
Size: Unaltered from original. Will probably come out to a 34-36" chest
Outer fabric: Polyester brocade, deep red. Brown, pink, cream roses and vines. Heavy.
Lining: Cream velvet, 100% cotton, upholstery weight. 
Trim: Faux fur, brown, speckled with grey and tan. 

Since both the outer fabric and lining that I chose are quite heavy, no interfacing was needed on any parts. Here are the patterns and the pieces laid out, already flat lining in the cream velvet.
Pattern pieces for under-sleeve and upper-sleeve, no seam allowances.

Upper-sleeves. The front-top of the sleeve, as you can see, molds to the neckline, shoulder, and front. It's a strange design, but well worth it as you'll see later. 
Pieces for front, side, back, and collar. No seam allowances.
If you'll note the lines drawn over the breast on the front piece, those indicate where the under-sleeve will be positioned later. The under-sleeve will actually be top stitched over the bust on the front piece. 

Front pieces, brocade flatlined with velvet.

Backs, sides, and collar. Brocade flatlined in velvet. 

Because of the way in which this one is put together, it's easier to work on each side of the garment separately (center backs no attached), and then connect both halves together at the center back at the right time. 

I attached the front, side, and back pieces, minus the shoulder seam (left open for the sleeve insertion later), then set them aside to work on the sleeves. 

As you can see on the front, or leading edge, I chose to bind the edges with matching fabric. One could do a simply sack lining at this step, which is much less work. I chose binding because of the heavy weight fabrics I'm using. Doing a sack lining with heavy velvet would not have been feasible and would definitely not look well tailored, lol.

I am going to use fur trim, but I've decided to apply the fur trim later as a whip-stitched overlay trim rather than sewing it into the seams. You will see all of that later.

Putting the sleeve in turned out to be much easier than I feared. After top-stitching the under-sleeve portion to the front, I stitched the sleeve in along the under portion of the armhole and all the way up until I reached about 5/8" from the top of the shoulder. I had to leave that much so that I could stitch the shoulder seam, which is the very next step.

I neglected to take pics showing how the over-sleeve is brought over and attached to the front, but it's pretty intuitive since the front-top of the over-sleeve is shaped precisely like the neckline and shoulder. Just fold the sleeve in hold, bringing the over-sleeve forward to match up on the front, the stay stitch the neckline and shoulder, as well as down to the little slit "pit" on the top of the sleeve.

*Oops note: When I did the above step, I realized I had not yet finished the leading edge of the front piece, so when I laid the over-sleeve, I had to be sure to position it inside the seam allowance of the front, so I would have room to finish the leading edge later.

Above and below are closeups of the armhole as I was about to pleat in the excess at the top. Now, it's difficult for me to describe exactly what's going on here. The over-sleeve does not have a seam on the front, meaning that unlike normal sleeves in normal armholes, this thing is not attached all the way around. It's attached until you get to just over the shoulder at the front, then it flows out seamlessly to the over-sleeve attached the neckline and shoulder seams. This is how the garment will have that half-coat, half-cape thing going on. I'm quite certain that when you see pics of the finished front, it will all make sense =)

Above is a closeup of the inside of the armhole after I have done the pleating.
A note of caution: Be careful with the thickness of the fabrics you choose, because at this point here on the shoulder, you are sewing through the sleeve, shoulder, and the overlay of the over-sleeve, PLUS the linings for all...meaning that you will be stitching through SIX LAYERS of fabric. It was at this point that I began to regret my use of velvet, but I pushed through....

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The "Sortie de bal" Mantle, and How I Realized I Am Not As Smart As I Thought I Was =/

Perhaps it's because I've never made a Sortie de bal before. Perhaps it's because I don't speak or read French. Or, Perhaps it's because it's 90 degrees in my sewing room and I can't think straight. Whatever the reason, I have been staring at the pieces to an 1889 Sortie de Bal from La Mode Illustree for two hours now and I...JUST...DON'T...GET...IT. =(

Pieces 52 - 56 are in the supplement and I have already traced them out. The Massive sleeve, though (Fig.I) has to be drafted out according to all the measurements given on it. According to that, the sleeves is 210cm wide. Good Lord! Really? WTH? And the instructions (as far as I am able to translate them with Google) only refer to the sleeve in the last sentences, telling me to "set in the sleeve after pleating." No reference to the lining or how that is set in.

Below, I have written the joining numbers of the pattern pieces so you can see how they are supposed to line up, but it's barely any help to me. I still don't get it. Is Fig.57 set over Fig.52, or underneath it?

If it couldn't get more frustrating, there are no join-up numbers on the gigantic sleeve at all. The fashion image in the magazine only shows a back-side view, leaving me to wonder what the front even looks like. I'm rather certain Fig. 56 is meant to be the upper sleeve lining, yet I can't see how this works when it's obviously meant to attach to the neckline and shoulder. If I new HOW the gigantic sleeve is mean to be set in, that might make sense to me. As you can tell by my ramblings, I am FRUSTRATED.

I made some copies of the pattern diagram so that I could cut them out and manipulate them around, see if I could figure out how it goes. That helped a little, but I'm still nowhere near confident enough to actually cut anything out.

After tracing the pieces out, I'm starting to think I'll have to give up and find a similar style mantle or sortie de bal in one of my English language antique magazines, like Harper's Bazar. Although, considering how few instructions come with those patterns too, I'm not sure if being in English will make much of a difference. If anyone has made this or something like it and can tell me just what the heck is going on, I will much appreciate it. =/

Friday, 13 March 2015

Cheap Corset for my Dress Form

I bought one of those terrible cheap corsets from ebay ($12) to better help me pad out my dress form to size. It will much easier to pad the bust now.

And trust me when I say these "corsets" really are crap. Single layer polyester satin with 1/4" plastic boning. The auctions advertise them as having spiral steel boning, which is an outright lie. But, like I said, I only need it for Miss Plus Size Dress Form here. =)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Truly Victorian #163, "1887 Imperial Tournure"

It's a lobster skeleton!!!   
Or at least that was the idea, ;)

 I have made this pattern three times and I just love it. It is very easy and collapses on itself like an accordion when you need to store it. I made this one from a black mystery fabric ($1.50 a yard, anyone?) shot with silver thread. The contrast is white linen.

   I neglected to take pictures while I was mid-construction, but the most fussy part is when it comes time to insert the bones. I like to do it when everything else has already been assembled (with one side of the boning channels left open). With everything inside-out, insert the bones, then hand stitch the ends of channels closed. Then, you can easily turn it all right-side-out.

   For all I know, this is how the pattern instructions say to do it. I lost the instructions a while ago and just can't remember, LOL. =P

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Harper's Bazar, Vol.IV, No.12 - "Dress with Basque Waist for Elderly Lady" Pt.I

   I am still working from the same issue of HB (Vol.IV, No.12) because the damn thing just has so many good patterns in it! This time it was the No.II pattern on the supplement, a "dress with basque waist for elderly lady."

   Now, I love the word "elderly" in antique patterns because, more often than not, that translates as "larger". Larger in the relative sense, of course. One might get a pattern that comes out at a 28" waist rather than a 23", still small by today's standards (yes, I consider a size 8 to be small, lol).

 As you can see, I made some changes along the way, especially to the neckline. I felt that the fringe trim was just too much around the neck like that. I also decided on a simple satin bow at the center back waist rather than the elaborate medallion shown in the plate. (That, and I did not have the materials and/or patience to make the medallion.
Here we have the description for the dress. the pattern included only the body parts for the bodice, with the sleeves being taken from a different pattern, as instructed in the last few sentences there.

Below you can see the bodice in mid construction, inside-out. For the lining I used a scrap combination of rayon silky lining, pink, and silver grey silk.

You can also see that the fringe trim is not sewn "into the seam", but rather lies over the lining. I did this for ease of removal, should it ever need it.

Selling some of my 19th Century Photographs

I have decided to part with some of my 19th century photograph collection. I started collecting cabinet cards, cdv's, and tin types years ago as a way to see real period costumes as they were worn. They have served their purpose to me over the years, and now they just sit in their archive boxes. I love owning them, but at this point that's all I'm doing...owning them.

Plus, parting with them will provide funds for me to buy even more antique patterns! =D

Here is a link to one of the auctions---> Lot of Cabinet Cards
To see other auctions, visit my ebay profile----> Period_Attire

Below you will see just some of the cabinet cards I'm parting with: