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.
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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!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1840s Dresses at the American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA

With a family wedding in Maine, I took the opportunity to take a week long vacation back east to visit the greater Boston area, which was on my history to-do list for a while.  We visited Old Sturbridge Village (Ian's favorite), Lowell Mills National Park (twice!), the MFA Boston, followed the Freedom Trail in Boston, Cape Neddick, Maine, and on our second time in Lowell we visited the American Textile History Museum (which was closed the day we went before).  I thought I'd share a few photos of 1840s dresses that I saw in person that I have posted as inspirations to some of my projects!  I may have squealed in delight when I happened upon the two below. :)
1838-1843 cotton & wool blend dress with pelerine.
1838-1843 cotton & wool blend dress, pelerine detail.
1845-1848 cotton dress.
1845-1848 cotton dress front detail.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WWI Silk Satin Hat

I am getting together a WWI era outfit for a centennial event in August and have been slowly putting bits and pieces together.  I just finished another version of the Lynn McMasters pattern (the first was cotton velvet in View D) and I was pleased with how it came out.  I made a special trip to Downtown LA earlier this year to pick up supplies at California Millinery (oh my, I love that place), and also found a satin that had a nice backing, not too stiff or slippery, and didn't scream synthetic.  I really like how this hat turned out and really liked working with a curved needle on this project.  For trim I have an antique spray of black wheat to add, and that's about it.
Lynn McMasters pattern, View B
Lynn McMasters pattern, View B interior

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

1860s Ladies Paletot

After I made Ian an 1860s smoking cap for Christmas, he wanted to make me something after he finished up a few sewing projects for other people.  He decided to make me a wool paletot to go with the new 1860s impression I've been building recently.

For the coat, I had several yards of Italian wool that I bought seven years ago at B.Black and Sons in Los Angeles.  Ian was with me at the time and urged me to buy it for a coat, little did I know it would take so long to get around to making one!  For the pattern he used the Kay Fig Ladies Paletot Pattern (1860-1867) with some modifications.  The exterior of the coat is bound with wool braid, welt pockets were added instead of patch pockets, and a different collar was drafted.  The bound edges and sleeve decoration are based on an original in the Met Museum. The pattern is very well made a required very little alterations and I highly recommend it.  The shape of the sleeve is so perfect for 1860s I just love it!
Kay Fig 1860s Ladies Paletot front view.
1860s Ladies Paletot back view.
1860s Ladies Paletot side view of full coat sleeve.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

1860s Traveling Bag

In preparation of an upcoming overnight stay at an 1860s event, I spent some of my Christmas vacation researching and constructing a ladies traveling bag. I based the materials, decoration, and dimensions off of existing examples (see below). 
Mint Museum 1855-1865 Day Dress staged
with accessories including linen bag.
21"  long with 31" circumference when full (ebay auction).
Image from NorthSouthEmporium on etsy.
My version is made of drab colored linen and lined in polished cotton, as per many original examples. I applied cotton braid by hand and used the decorative feather stitch, which is used on all three of the originals above, on my sewing machine and then flat lined the polished cotton lining to the body of the bag.  I set in the linen ends, sewed the seams, and then hand applied the polished cotton lining in the interior so there are no exposed seams within the bag.  
1860s traveling bag repro side view.
1860s traveling bag repro end view.

Polished cotton lining set in by hand.
Overall it was a quick, fun project and fulfills one of my sewing goals this year to fill out my interpretation wardrobe with accessories.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Circa 1917 Ensemble

I put together a World War I civilian outfit in a week last year to attend the Fort MacArthur timeline event in July but didn't get any pictures.  We were invited to a 1920s New Years party and were encouraged by the host to wear our stuff, even though it was a bit out of date. It's hard to see in the photo but the dress has ruffles on the bum that are just too fun.    
Bob Herron photography.
Hat made from Lynn McMasters pattern in brown cotton velvet.

Past Patterns #8159: Ladies' Dress with Two-Piece Skirt