Monday, December 23, 2013

1864 Smoking Cap

I finished what I thought was going to be a quick project after several weekends of handwork, but I think it turned out okay for my first attempt at soutache.

I used the January 1864 pattern and directions from Peterson's Magazine. As per the instructions, with the black velvet base and use of blue soutache I used gold beads as the accent.  The tassels is gold and blue embroidery floss bound together and set under a gold decorative button.  The interior is black sateen embroidered with a diamond motif and padded with wool batting.  I really enjoyed working with the soutache and the beading went relatively quickly, it was picking out the tissue paper from the crown after the braid and bead work was done that took FOREVER.  Tweezers saved the day!

January 1864 Smoking Cap instructions from Perterson's Magazine.
Finished 1860s Smoking Cap.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1840s to 1940s

I've been participating in living history events in the Bay Area this past year and finally got around to make myself a wool crepe dress for 1940s civilian.  The dress is actually two seperate pieces and I have enough wool left over to make the matching bolero! I need to shorten the skirt a little more but overall I am really pleased how it came out.  I never sewed with wool crepe before and it was lovely to sew.  I also made shoulder pads using the directions with the pattern and they were the perfect size to give a nice shape to the shoulders without looking like a line backer!  The hat I am wearing is vintage and the pocket square is my grandmother's who was training to be a nurse during World War II.  
Photo by Dave Nelson
Edited to add: I made the matching bolero June 2014.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dressing the 1860s

My newest project brings me back to the era that started me in historical sewing over eight years ago!  I interpret living history at a historic site in the Bay Area that was used from the Civil War to the end of World War II and have been able to make several civilian outfits from the 1910s and 1940s.  Now I am branching out to do interpretation at another location at the site that began as a Civil War-era fort, so it's the perfect opportunity to make a new 1860s dress!

Like I said before, since I haven't made an 1860s dress in many years, and my shape is changing into an athletic build from my other hobby, my usual darted bodice standby no longer fits my chest or arms. My husband draped a bodice for me using Elizaebeth Stewart Clarks instructions in her Dressmakers Guide.  This is what we came up with on the first go-round.

We added more to drop the shoulder and drafted out D-shaped sleeves based on my sleeve measurements. The back seam is pinched in versus separate side back pieces. I am very excited to finish the mock up today and go to work so I'll have it ready for an event at the end of the month! Here is the fashion fabric:

A new set of white collars and cuffs are on my to do list and a silk belt to go with my new Gutta Purcha buckle that I got for a steal since the vendor who sold it thought it was wood. A GP buckle has been on my wish list for years so I am giddy that I finally found one!

Friday, February 15, 2013

1852 Diggins Dress

I finally decided on a dress design for the 2013 Columbia Diggins event (even though it's a bit outdated for 1852)!
This dress:

American Textile History Museum, 1845-1845
with this fabric:
Cheddar and Illuminations Dargate reproduction print. 
and modifying the Truly Victorian 1845 German Day Dress pattern. I'll have to drape the bodice gathering detail, but everything else should be pretty straight forward. The pattern also may need some adjustment around the armscye.  I actually ripped the armscye of my favorite work shirt now that my chest, shoulders, arms, and delts are a lot bigger and stronger from weight lifting.  I do have plenty of sheer white fabric that I can work with to make a nice chemisette to fill in the lowered neckline if I have the time/inclination. I own a beautiful original chemistte with whitework but it's far too delicate for wear, but is a great inspiration piece.