Friday, 22 May 2015

1880s Calico Day Dress - Purple and Cream

1880s Cotton Calico Day Dress,
Purple & Cream
with Silk vest front. 

**I took photos with several different camera settings, so the colors will vary. 

Fabrics: 100% cotton, printed. 100% silk Dupioni. Cotton/linen blend (solid purple).
Trims: Polyester satin ribbon, 100% nylon lace

Chest: 44"
Waist: 34"
Hip: <53"
Hem: 41" at front


I absolutely love all three of these patterns. The sizing is spot on and the final silhouette is almost perfect. I rearranged the back puffs on the over skirt a bit from what is directed in the pattern, but that's the only alteration I made. I also extended the back hem of the under skirt to accommodate a larger bustle. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

1880s Black Mourning Dress

Every so often, I make something that doesn't really come from a known pattern and/or isn't a direct copy of a fashion plate or something extant. In other words, I just make something up. I flip through the pages of my Dover plate books, get inspiration, and then press all the idea together like soap slivers to make a new, usable bar of soap. is one of my "soap" dresses, LOL.

As with everything, currently on sale on ebay HERE:

Chest: <44"
Waist: 34"
Hem: 40"

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The New Archives Page

I have decided to upload images of all the dress I made before I started this blog. Since it would really clog up the post stream to have dozens of new posts all at once, I've decided to make pages instead and post them by category.

Archives Page

At the top of the page you will see the page for archives. There, I have started posting links to pages that will feature pictures of my old dresses, many of them made so long ago that I can't remember much detail about making them. I used to just dump photos into my Flickr account, but I decided to leave Flickr behind because I feel that it is limited.

1870s Mourning Dress

A mix of Truly Victorian Victorian patterns, altered.
Bodice: TV460, shortened. Collar reshaped and shortened. Sleeves taken from TV420 to avoid shoulder puff. It is shown tucked in, under a belt, as well as untucked further down.
Over Skirt: TV305, front panel lengthened and widened at sides to create a straight hem. Extra pleats added at sides to compensate for the lengthening.
Underskirt: TV201. Closure moved from left side-back to center back with an overlapping gauntlet style placket. Otherwise, unaltered.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

1795 Men's Suit Project - COMPLETE

1795 Men's Suit
The Evolution of Fashion: Pattern and Cut From 1066 to 1930
Chest: 38"
Waist: 32"

**For construction specifics on each garment, refer to previous posts.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

1795 Men's Suit Project - Coat

Pattern: Margot Hill, The Evolution of Fashion.
The coat pattern is very simple. The pieces are only half front, half back, upper sleeve, lower sleeve, and collar. The cuffs are made up of two rectangles.
     While the waistcoat and the breeches associated with this suit came out quite well "as is", the coat required some big alterations to the lapels and collar. With the pattern as is, the lapels simply do not hang in the manner shown in the illustration. You will see what I mean further down when I discuss the lapels. Still, highly recommended with the alterations I will mention.

Fabric: Wool/linen blend. Gray, shot with subtle black and blue.
*This wool is modern suiting and somewhat thinner than what would have typically been used at the time.

Lining: In my readings I saw that men's coats at this time were often unlined. Since I planned to interface this coat, I decided a lining was best. Also, I am not a fan of facings without linings in most any application.

Here is the front lining with the wool facings being pinned in place.

Since I used a modern wool suiting that is thinner than the period accurate wool, I decided to interface the upper portions in linen. I think the weight I chose was a bit heavy, but it turned out well all the same.

Below you see the front and back assembles, with the interfacing showing on the lapels. Now, at this point I should have realized that the lapels were not going to fall in the way shown on the illustration. The outside edges of the lapel should hang almost straight down, but the shaping just doesn't allow it. 


As you can see below, the lapels are beyond ridiculous. The only way to make them fold and hang in any kind of appropriate way was to pull the whole coat toward the middle, which forced to the collar to meet and basically ruined the entire hand of the garment. I ended up having to take it apart at the neckline to reshape the lapel and the collar placement (something I should have realized BEFORE putting the lining in).

And here we have the lapels after my alteration. They do not, alas, resemble the large downward hanging lapels of the illustration, but they are a vast improvement. I could not alter it to fit the illustration because it would have required destroying everything and cutting entirely new front pieces. The fix was simple, though. See the diagram after the next picture.

The diagram below shows the pattern piece for the front. The red line represents the alteration I ended up making. I basically had to remove a triangular piece at the top of the lapel and shift the collar down to follow the new line.

The blue represents the cut I will make in the future to better achieve the look in the illustration.

Buttons & Cuffs

I decided to make my own covered buttons for this one, as I did not like any of the metal one's I had at the time. I use plain wood blanks from the craft section of the hobby store, and just cinched a circle of fabric around it (using wide a wide gathering stitch with strong thread). The shanks you see on these were made using button-craft thread, which I knotted repeatedly to make a strong loop.

 Here you see the mariner's cuff. Unfortunately, a mistake on my part forced me to make these cuffs nonfunctional (they are whip-stitched closed). I messed up the buttonhole placement and would have had to redo everything to keep the cuffs closed without gaping. But, there are plenty of historic examples of nonfunctional cuffs, so I'm not too worried.

Above is part of my process of doing the false buttonholes on the front of the coat. I used waxed cotton cord as a base to do my buttonhole stitches over. I am new to hand buttonholes, so they definitely could have come out better. Still, I think they lack of perfection kind of gives the suit an authentic feel. (at least, that's what I'm telling myself.).

To see the completed suit, continue to the next post =)

Sunday, 3 May 2015

1795 Men's Suit Project - Breeches

Pattern: Margot Hill, The Evolution of Fashion.
Fabric: Artificial micro-suede, apparel weight.

Final Size: 33" waist. *As is from the book pattern. I made no alterations to size.

 The pattern is cut on the cross to give mild stretch in the legs. There is no inside seam, of course. This makes size grading a bit funny, but not terribly difficult.

 The frustrating thing about this pattern, however, if that the leg piece measures 31" across, meaning that even with a sound 60" wide fabric you won't be able to fit the piece on a typical selvage to selvage fold. This results in rather a lot of fabric waste. You'll end up having to buy 2.5 yard to get the necessary width, but will be left with quite a bit.

Above are the pieces for the waistband, knee band, and front fly. The waistband is quite thick, 3", with plenty of room to add welted pockets.

If you already know how to make fall front trousers and breeches, there is really nothing special here. The pattern follows the usual line. I, however, did not know how to make them when I started so it was all knew to me.

I started by just sewing the legs together at the center seam, then did the outside seam of each leg. at that point, you have to cut the front flap open according to the lines on the pattern:

Before I started making these breeches, I had learned just the week prior how to make a "gauntlet" style cuff placket [Tutorial here]. Because of that, finishing the edges of the fall that I had just slit proved quite easy. Of course, the Hill book does not come with construction instructions, so having learned this ahead of time was convenient.

But before the plackets on the fall, I had to do the fly. It's basically two triangular pieces that meet under the front fall and button together to close the breeches. Below you see one side of the fly pissing to the slit where I will stitch it. I chose to do the fly pieces double sided, but I often saw them as a single pieces with edges just turned. It depends on how strong your fabric is.

Below I have the "gauntlet" placket pinned so that I can whip-stitch it on the other side. I am terrible at writing tutorials, so if you are unfamiliar with the details of the gauntlet placket, refer to the tutorial I linked above.

Above is the front fall, all bound and top stiched =)

Blow you will see the work I did for the knee band and placket. It's a pretty typical tab placket construction. I hand stitching the channels on the knee band and covered the buttons by hand (not the metal back covering kits).

And finally COMPLETE! =)

 The buttons that you can see while closed are burnished brass, engraved with a coat of arms. The other buttons are just mother-of-pearl, with the rough side turned out.