Thursday, June 9, 2016

Building an 18th century kit

I keep going back farther in time with each new impression I put together.  My husband has joined the 33rd British group and I am putting together a camp follower impression.  I am going to sew the underclothes first to get in the hang of hand sewing again.  So far I have only made a pair of linen pockets from the Kannik's Korner Pattern KK-6001, view A.  I used cross-stitch directions from Sharon Ann Burston to embroider my initials on one pocket and my husband's on the other.  I have a JP Ryan stays pattern and Kannik's Korner shift and bedgown patterns coming in the mail this week, so I'll have plenty to keep me busy this summer.
One pocket KK-6001, view A in progress
Completed pair of pockets, KK-6001, view A

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

1815 Regency / Empire Attire

This post is way overdue to document my first attempt at Regency era attire. Last summer my husband attended the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and had been building his French impression over the past year. Although I did not attend the Waterloo event (I went to Amsterdam instead, so don't cry for me), I did put together a basic wardrobe because if you ever have an excuse to make a Empire waist dress, you make one!

I made a simple linen chemise using the Laughing Moon pattern and then I started work on a sheer muslin dress using materials that I had in my stash using the Laughing Moon's fall front pattern. My dress design was inspired by an original in the Kyoto Museum Collection.

Kyoto Museum Collection
I used a woven cotton for the inset front panel to replicate the insertion on the original.  I used the same woven material for the fall front bodice and trimmed the puff sleeve band.

To accessorize, I made a silk reticule from my bonnet scraps using a pattern from the American Girl's Book (pg. 265). I used leftover silk satin from my wedding dress to make the piping and self-fabric cording.  The interior is lined in white silk. I also made a silk ribbon to tie at my waist to break up the silhouette. I wore a coral necklace and gold lead hair pins that I purchased in Paris years ago.  For footwear I wore my bridal slippers made by Robert Land.  Overall, this was the atheistic I was going after.

What I was most excited about was my hair!  I am admittedly horrible when it comes to dressing my own hair. I've attempted rag curls and pin curls before in the past, with bad results.  This time I used bendy straws and IT WAS AMAZING.  No kinky ends, lots of bounce, even with my largely straight thick hair.
Ta da.

Monday, February 22, 2016

1815 Morning Dress

I recently completed a morning dress for an upcoming overnight event at an inn.  I was inspired by several originals including this:
1815-1818 Met (Accession Number: 1975.274.2)
I purchased the fabric at Michael Levine's in Los Angeles for entirely too much per yard, but when you are making a Napoleonic-era dress and the bee print fabric is called "Josephine" YOU BUY ALL OF IT.
I used the Laughing Moon #130 Wrapping Front Gown pattern with modifications so there is no lining, just extensive hand finishing.  I drafted up my own collar and trimmed it with a ruffle made with the selvage edging (see image above), which I also used for the ruffle along the bottom.  The sleeves are very long, and made even longer with a cuff ruffle.  A self-fabric tie is the closure. Overall,  the instructions were clear, I had fun with self-fabric trim, and now I need to work on a cap!
Finished Laughing Moon #130 Wrapping Front Gown with modifications

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.
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