Friday, July 24, 2015

1860s Velvet Hair Net

I made this 1860s velvet hair net after years of wrestling with my hair.  It's long, thick, and I have ZERO hair dressing skills. I knew I wanted something neutral and I was lucky to find a ribbon that matched my natural hair color. The black ribbon is vintage from a friend. 

To make the net, I cut a round piece of cardboard and marked the the center with a north-south and east-west guideline.  I cut long strips (I think 16") of the brown velvet and wove a lattice pattern like a pie.  I then used pins to keep the strips in place and then sewed each overlap point with matching thread (see image below). THIS TOOK AGES.  Once the lattice part was sewn, I finished the edges by making a loop at the end of each strip.  THIS ALSO TOOK AGES.  The loops were then used to thread a length of brown twill tape that meets at the nape of my neck.  The twill tape is pulled tight once I have the net in place.  To cover the loops and twill tape, I pleated the black velvet, as was common in period images (see below).  I roll my hair into a rat at the nape of my neck, put the net on, and secure with a few bobby pins.  So much easier than making buns, braids, and rolls that I used to.  Also, I just like the neat and tidy look.
1860s velvet hair net side view

1860s velvet hair net back view
1860s velvet hair net bathroom mirror shot!
Latticed ribbon pinned in place.
Godey's 1864
Flat velvet ribbon 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Modern Cat Quilt

My sister and I have started a tradition of making quilts for expecting friends and co-workers. We made two crib sized quilts over the last few years, but a co-worker of ours recently adopted a two year old from overseas, we tried our skills at something a little bigger. Inspired by the fact our co-worker is the neighborhood cat lady, we decide to replicate a quilt with an online tutorial for the quilt blocks.

Since the quilt is for a toddler, we went with a grey background instead of white (kids=dirt). We chose three shades of green for the back with a slight size gradient from light to dark, and the edge is bound with a random black and white dotted fabric, all in cotton. The quilting design followed the quilt seams and then the edges were bound by hand. 
Green ombré backing
Edmond helping, cat approved.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Regency Bonnet Completed

After staring at me untouched for way too long, I decided to finish my bonnet this Saturday.  I only had scraps left over from cutting out the silk exterior fabric, so I had to piece together strips for the bonnet ties, which I then hand felled. The ties are attached under the last row of trim on the crown, which seems to be a pretty standard practice of the time. I had some bias cut strips of white silk that I pieced together and then pinked the edges.  My first version used a gathering stitch, but it was too wild.  My second attempt was pleated, sewn, and then trimmed down further and then applied to the brim.  Many of the original fashion plates I referenced had some sort of trim on the brim, either lace or other detail, and adding some white really brightens up the entire hat.  I added a little bow to the back, because a hat can never have too many bows!
Inspiration 1814 fashion plate 
Regency bonnet front view
Regency bonnet 3/4 view, ties attached under trim.
Regency bonnet brim view

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My First Foray Into Regency Millinery

I am slowly putting together a Regency wardrobe for the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo, and I've always wanted to make myself clothing from this era.  This weekend I started on a Lynn McMasters Regency Bonnet Pattern. I can't say I am much of a fan of her patterns and in the future will probably just draft my own. I minored in Theater Arts in college and took a millinery class and should really put those skills to use again when it comes to making custom patterns.

I chose to make view A and used silk taffeta from Carmels Fabrics for the exterior. Taffeta is fiddly and shows every lump and pin prick, but looks so pretty when done well!  I am still working on trimming the exterior and need to make the bonnet ties, but made good progress this weekend.
Pleating the inner brim.
Add caption

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WWI Red Cross Knitting Bag

This weekend I threw together a linen Red Cross knitting bag based off an original that sold on ebay a while back (left image).  The original measures 20" tall and 18-19" wide, as does my reproduction (right image).  There was no information if the original had a lining, but I put in a light colored polished cotton from my sewing stash. The cross is red cotton flannel. I went on an epic quest to four different stores in a metropolitan area to get the purse handles.  Only Jo-Ann's Supercenters carry purse making supplies, Michael's has clear plastic handles to crochet cover, nothing at Wal-Mart, and finally Hancock Fabrics was the promised land. I wish the handles were a bit larger to spread out the gathered fabric better, but the next size up was enormous. I wanted to have it made for this weekend as I am attending a WWI Living History event and wanted to work on my knitting with a better knitting bag than the vintage one I have that looks good for WWII, but not WWI. 
Original WWI knitting bag (left), my reproduction (right).
Polished cotton bag lining.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dressing the 1860s Part II

I realized I never posted the completed 1860s dress from last year (see this post for details). For how little I do 1860s I've yet to make myself a cage crinoline, so I wear a corded petticoat and bum roll for the skirt foundation and then wear three petticoats on top.  Overall it creates a look that I quite like.  The skirt has pockets in the side seams lined in navy polished cotton.  I really like the gold silk belt I made for the gutta purcha belt buckle I found.  Other accessories include a velvet neck bow, small white standing collar and cuffs (tacked in to remove for washing), and a silver ladies watch and chain. 
1860s dress, front view
1860s dress, side view
1860s dress, back view
1860s dress, pocket detail

Monday, June 2, 2014

1940s Silk Robe

To keep a living history event going at overnight events I like to wear historic lounge wear.  For 1840s/1850s events I have a linen nightgown I made from The Workwoman's Guide and a wool/cotton challis wrapper based on an extant garment.  For the overnight 1940s events I've been attending I recently made a silk robe from a novelty print fabric I bought in the LA fashion district.
1940s Wrap Dress/Robe pattern
Novelty print silk detail
Complete with camel pocket!
The vintage pattern I used is genius as there are no buttons or zippers and goes together in less than a day! I spray starched the cut pieces, let them air dry, and then pressed each piece, which stabilized the fabric enough that it was a lot less painful to sew with than I had anticipated.  I used pinking shears to finish the seams. If I am diligent enough this week after work, I may have a pair of 1940s pajamas to wear at the event this weekend too!