Sunday, 6 December 2015

1880s Plaid Three-Piece Suit - Fashion Plate inspired

                Self drafting for the rest.
Fabrics: Plaid is 100% cotton, homespun weave. 
               Solid blue is 100% cotton, standard weave.
               Blouse is a fine cotton semi-sheer with a floral pattern woven in (not printed).
               Blue lining is 100% rayon "super silky" (Not historically accurate, but it's my favorite).
Inspiration?: An 1863 fashion plate featured in the collage book Victorian Fashions: A Pictorial Archive. While the design is from 1863, I reshaped it below the waist to accommodate the bustle eras. 
Available on Etsy HERE
Available on Ebay HERE
Chest: 38"
Waist: 29"
Hip: Free (The skirt is pleated at the waist and the jacket peplums allow for full movement)
Hem: 41" at front. 

I did not bother taking many construction pictures, as I did not use an available pattern and the construction details are pretty standard. The most interesting part is probably the shawl collar, but if you have ever made a shawl collar before, the construction here was not much different from you have already seen. Needless the say, the collar is "built in" to the jacket front pieces and does not include any separate pieces. 

Construction Notes:
As always, I have fully interfaced the torso sections and everything is fully lined. The cuffs are double interfaced for stiffness and are self lined. The skirt waist band is also interfaced. The buttons on the vest are silver metal and the buttons on the jacket are a different silver colored metal. The buttons on the cuffs are sewn together double sides, basically making false cuff-links. 


My drafting methods are entirely self taught and, most likely, pretty slap dash by professional standards. I typically don't even make muslins first. I just make up a standard bodice in excess of the lengths I know I will need, then I begin marking and cutting it right on the dress form. Like I said, not the type of method most are taught, but it has always worked for me. My method also tends to result a good deal of fabric loss, so I don't recommend it if you're using expensive fabrics. 

The Blouse
Since the blouse is the only garment I made from an actual pattern, I'll talk about that. I LOVE this pattern. It's marked as being from the 1860s, but I think it translates quite well to later eras too. Here I have made no alterations to the pattern except to add lace at the center front.

I had a 19th century lace collar from an antique store find, but I believe it was originally for a young girl since it was too small for adult use. I decided to cut it in half and use the then symmetrical pieces to create the lace ruffle at the center front. The white buttons are real glass, vintage, though I could not give you any kind of precise date for them.

For this pattern I will caution you to measure your wrist circumference first before cutting your cuffs. They come in a single size which probably won't be wide enough for the large size wearers. 

The fabric is semi-sheer, due to the floral pattern breaks. The solid white you see at chest level is the bust pads I had to use to fill out the size on my dress form.

Above you can see awesome detail on that salvaged collar. It sort of pained me to cut it in half, but I have no use for child sized items as I don't make children's clothes. It will go on to a better, and probably much longer, existence in this form =D

The Skirt

Whenever I have a fabric with a very hard to match pattern, or which is very fine and looks better gathered, I don't make a gored skirt. Instead, I use a single wide panel that allows me to have one seam at the center back. I then shape the top, hem, or both to suit the silhouette shape. In this case, the shape being for the bustle era. 

And let me state once again my belief that the secret to a good historic impression is layers and accessories. Layers! =)

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