Continuing the brocade corset from where I left off in January- Right after the last entry, we had a "snow storm". For those of us from places where snow is commonplace.. we had about 10" of snow. For here, this was the "Snow-mageddon". Everything closed down. The good part for me was that I had a 1 day work week that week! The sad part was that the area power outages knocked out my internet (but luckily not my power through the house.) I got a LOT of progress made on the 1877 monster!
I stitched the corset pieces together with wrong sides together. Once this was finished, I made each piece into a boning channel and stitched it into place. Not sure if that makes sense, but I completely forgot to get photos of the progress.. D'oh! I do have some other photos of the result of the construction, so I'll go ahead and post those now!
As you can see, I have an unfinished princess petticoat under the corset. I'm having a really hard time finding the layers of "white goods" for this time period- some sources state that all petticoat layers were worn under the corset (to reduce bulk at the waist while maintaining the "natural form") and others (like the pattern I used to make this petticoat) say that it was for wearing over. Either way, the princess petticoat was popular to reduce waist bulk. I may make another one without ruffles and with small sleeves for under the corset, but to photograph this for now, it'll do nicely. I still need to finish the petticoat- buttons, more trim, etc, but that will be another blog entry!
On the self- fabric boning channels, I made the channel for the boning, stitched the casing in place with a strip of pink ribbon, and sewed to the corset on one end. This gives the corset a very flat look while still giving me a chance to play with trim. You can see that there were two seams where I didn't have enough fabric for a boning channel. Those I placed a piece of boning casing on, and covered with white satin trimmed with pink ribbon. This part was done in kind of a rush (even 5 day weekends come to an end!) and you can see that they aren't as perfect as they should be. I used the same white satin and pink ribbon at the bottom to close the corset, and at the top closed it with white satin and lace. All in all, for the third corset I've ever built, (and my first spoon busk!) I'd say it's not bad! The only major issue is that the dummy stands very straight, and isn't as easily shaped as a human being would be! Once I get more of the under parts finished, I will complete a photo shoot of the layers!
So, I have had the good fortune to get through a lot of stresses this past year and I am finally able to say that I'm making progress on the Century Project. This week, I started work on my new corset, throwing me into the 1870's. I had to modify the pattern because A. I'm way tinier than the patterns are made and B. I wanted to use continue the same print on the boning casings. I believe that the changes are absolutely wonderful, and I have a couple pictures of the progress. More are, of course, due.
Here you can see the brocade that I'm working with. It is, of course, much too flimsy to be used alone for a support garment, so it is being lined with a cotton drill.
As you can see, I attached each piece to the support fabric and used it as a single entity. Once I get some photos today, I will post to show the progress, and will prove that I successfully inserted my first spoon busk!
So, we've moved. Again. And I have a new sewing room. Again. At least this time I don't have to share the room with the office stuff AND the spare bedroom- it's really hard to get anything done that way. Also, really hard when you have to pack everything back up again!
Now that we're settled (mostly) and the sewing room is upacked (except for 2 out of 3 machines, which are on the sewing table but still in their boxes!) I'm back into projects. I had a quick project to get everything running (not Century Project related- this one was for our Engagement photos!) and now I've started to dig out the projects that were on the board.
First, my new 1860's Spoon Bonnet. Once I got rolling this morning I cut some grey silk for the outer and some white for the lining. Ben cut the wire for me, and now I can start to wire the bonnet and assemble (the buckram and inner lining has been cut for almost a whole year). Good times! Now, what will this new grey bonnet be worn with? All of my nicer 1860's dresses, of course! But most specifically, with the purple and orange silk dress that got started some time last June. SIGH! That was 2 moves ago! Also in the 1860's pile is my new wrapper.. which just needs some love on the lining and some fasteners, I think.
So, Silk Bonnet (1860's), finish purple and orange gown, and finish wrapper. That's 1-3. What's #4?? Start a new corset, of course!! I found a BEAUTIFUL brocade to use for my new 1870's corset (and bought it!) Horray for gathering pieces! Hopefully having such pretty fabric will inspire me to work faster to get to it. And of course, once the corset is done the outer garments MUST fo
The new sewing room is functional! Fabric is on the shelves, sewing table is set up, and my new Civil War gown is in the works! This one will be in silk dupioni.. and I know, all of the purists out there will tell me that dupioni isn't horribly accurate because it's considered imperfect in the 1860's... but my modern brain thinks it's beautiful. Especially in purple and orange, which is a popular 1860's color combination! I'll get some photos posted soon.
I am sure that the lack of updates are obvious to others. I apologize for the delay in updates (and in progress!!) I'm in the middle of moving, and the new sewing room is finally becoming apparent in the middle of the chaos. I'll get some updates soon, and hopefully some progress to go with it!
I admit, the making and wearing of clothes (in addition to that 'real life' thing that I feel obligated to participate in!) have taken so much time that I haven't been very good at posting! So, let me rewind and give everyone the grand overview of my Regency stuff!!
First, I'll show off my long stays from the Tailor's Daughter. I love them, they're so pretty!! They do all that they're intended to do ("lift and separate"), and give me super great posture! The busk is from corsetmaking.com, and gives a lovely knocking sound when struck. It also 'creaks' if I twist a little bit, which I found hilarious for some reason! The additional stiffening is achieved with cable ties. I'll have to come back and repost all of the materials, but for now, please admire!! (I promise that they look better on me than they do on the dummy, but I was in a rush to get some pictures before heading to bed)
Next is my bodiced petticoat. This is an over garment, which is made in unbleached muslin. It's from The Mode Bagatelle pattern, and had 'growth tucks' at the bottom to give a little bit of body to the garments that it's supporting. It's made with a shaped skirt (meaning that it's narrower at the top than at the bottom- different from a 'round gown', which has the same amount of fabric at the top and the bottom.) There is a small amount of boning in the sides of the bodice, giving a little bit of 'lift' in case no stays are worn, and giving form to the gown that goes over it.
Below, you can see the inside of the bodice to see a little better how it is constructed.
The next piece that I made is the Spencer Jacket (because the fabric for the gown wasn't here yet- and it was the Monday before I needed to wear this outfit!) I used a sea green linen purchased from JAS Townsend as a remnant- good thing, too, because the remnant was perfectly Spencer sized!! Actually, it was slightly less, because I had to make the peplam against the grain in order to make it fit, haha! The lining is a cotton-linen blend from Joann Fabrics. I made a crossover front, meant to be pinned shut with straight pins. There is a cap on the sleeves, and a false band at the wrist (they're actually sewn down, and I added decorative buttons later). The Spencer is on the dummy over the bodiced petticoat, since the gown was still in the form of fabric in the mail! Below, you can see better photos of the back of the Spencer and the peplam.
Finally, the gown. Above is a photo of me NOT looking very thrilled. I'm not sure why, becaue I really was very happy. The gown turned out AMAZING!! I had traced the pattern and cut out the lining ahead of time, but I didn't even cut out the gown until Thursday evening.. by Friday at 8 pm I was just attaching the bodice and skirt, by midnight I attached the casing at the bottom of the sleeves, and I put in the hem on Saturday, in the car on the way to the Genesee Country Museum and Village, where this photo is taken! Whew! The gown is made of 100% cotton shirting with a self colored stripe from Denver Fabrics Online. It's sheer, with the bodice being lined in a cotton linen blend. The style is a mock-cross front (the bodice is fitted- the pieces are merely crossed and then sewn to the waistband). The skirt is a shaped skirt, like the petticoat. You can see the petticoat underneath just at the bottom where it is shorter than the gown. The sleeves and skirt are unlined. You can see that the majority of fabric is pleated at the back of the gown, giving a very long, flat look to the front.
For finishing touches, I have a straw poke bonnet that I lined and tossed some ribbon on, a pair of leather gloves, and my sturdy reenacting boots, that you can't see, haha. I'll get some better pictures of the headgear, since it's not finished in these photos anyways. And, in case anyone was wondering, all of the photos with me in them are by the Tailor's Daughter. She's amazing!! I have to do an update with her gown, and 'underthings', but later. Suffice to say, she looked wonderful, as always.
I've been pretty terrible about doing updates on this section!! This is what happens when you let life run away with you!
Let me describe what you see in the photo. This gown is a Colonial Era Polonaise, made from 100% linen. The gown is an robe a l'anglaise en polonaise, and is made from a chocolate brown linen purchased at Denver Fabrics. The underskirt is made from a striped linen, also purchased at Denver Fabrics. The hat is a straw hat purchased from JAS Townsend, covered with 100% silk, purchased at Joann's. The trim on the hat were also purchased at Joann's, and are part of their Casa Collection. The ribbon around the crown is velvet, and the one securing the hat to my head is satin. The cap is actually made from 100% cotton muslin (I cheated there!) and is trimmed with a satin ribbon in brown. The earrings are freshwater pearl, purchased on Amazon.
Now, let me describe what you can't see in the photo above: The shoes are the Anna style from Fugawee, and they're wonderful. Worn for 1 day with no blisters. The stockings are also Fugawee. The under petticoat is 100% cotton muslin. The shift is also 100% cotton muslin, and has finished cuffs with drawstrings to keep them in place. The neckline is also drawstring. The stays are a dark blue linen, lined and interlined with a heavy cotton-wool blend, and edged with beige cotton twill. I cheated here as well, and used metal gromits (because I was running out of time!) and used cable ties for boning (because I'm cheap!).
At the time that this photo was taken, the buttons for the polonaise were missing, the ribbon holding up the polonaise is saftey pinned in place, and the sleeve ruffles are missing. I also discovered (which you can see if you look closely) that I need to add boning to the center front of the bodice. All in all, not a bad first time out!
As for the location, you couldn't have found a better one! Along with the Tailor's Daughter, I went to Old Fort Niagra for their Revolutionary War weekend. If you're ever looking for a beautiful place to visit in the Buffalo NY area, this should be on your list! Unfortunately for us, the day we were there was super windy and cold. Since it's not the official photo shoot for the project, we were only a little sad. Mostly we were extremely happy with the way that the outfits came together!
So, now you have a preview of the first gown! More to follow on the construction, more photos, and, of course, more gowns!
Here's a couple of quick pictures of my partner for the Century Project, the Tailor's Daughter. She's wearing a Caraco jacket made of 100% linen (block printed). I'm not sure what her source was, but it's beautiful! Her petticoat is 100% navy linen, and her shift, cap, and sleeve ruffles are a cotton-linen blend. Her shoes also came from Fugawee, and her hat (not pictured) from JAS Townsend. Her under petticoat is 100% cotton. The bottom photo shows a better view of the front of her gown and stomacher. I'll link her blog once she gets it up and running! We'll also have to get some photos of her stays, because hers are beautiful!! As always, a beautiful job by the Tailor's Daughter!
The Century Project is a concept that I developed while I was deployed to Afghanistan. The premise is: create 6 gowns, including undergarments, spanning a century of fasion. My partner in this project, The Tailor's Daughter, had already begun making our Regency Era corsets, due to our love of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth). While in Afghanistan, I began work on a late 18th century project for a friend (9 year old Emma). After the research on this period, the 6 time periods decided are: 1790's, Regency Era, Romantic Era, American Civil War, Late Victorian (1875-1885), and Edwardian.
I will post the progress of these individual projects as we have photos to show, and I look forward to sharing the final results later this year.
Stay tuned for more updates!