I’ve finally gotten around to doing a sort-of how-to post on the ruched sleeve cuffs of my rust 1780s Italian Gown. This is very far from an authoritative description or tutorial as it was entirely trial and error, my own cuffs are far from perfect and I didn’t have a full tutorial in mind when doing it. But, hopefully it can somewhat helpful to people and it would be awesome if it was a starting point for someone to come up with a much better and more comprehensive how-to!
I’ve never done a sewing plans post before but with the year ahead already starting to fill-up event-wise I thought it might be useful for me to have it all laid out in one post. This is going to be (primarily) historical sewing plans because they (usually, though not always) involve more planning and lead-up time. Modern makes are often more spontaneous.
So here’s what’s on the docket for this year in (roughly) order of making: Continue reading
Hello! Happy (Belated) New Year! I’m a little late to the 2016 review/ring in 2017 party but better late than never, right? I hope you all had a wonderful and as unstressful as possible holiday!
I’ve only done one sewing year in review before (for 2014) – I only started this blog in 2013. Last year I just could not get my act together for it, there was WAY too much going on – namely, frantically preparing to teach (for the very first time) 2 courses at a local university for which I’d been hired only just before the holidays. This year I’m teaching again, but it’s not quite so insane…..yet, lol. And man, has this been a bumper year for me in terms of sewing! It didn’t seem like so very much while I was in the middle of it all but looking back it’s surprising even to me how much I got done! Going through this list I’m counting 31 distinct projects – several of them made up of multiple garments. Holy Doodle! I guess this is what happens in a year when I’m engaged in neither all-consuming-research/thesis writing or working a normal-people-hours job! And somehow my fabric stash is only slightly smaller than it was this time last year………………………….oh well.
I’ve decided to break down this review into the three main categories of Historical, Non-Historical, Home Sewing with sub-categories of “blogged” and “not blogged.” I think I did manage to blog most things but there are a few that got missed so I’m using this post to play some catch-up – I hope you won’t mind!
I think 2016 was probably unprecedented for me in terms of the number of historical makes, never before have I had so many reasons/occasions/events to do historical sewing for. I’m getting totally spoiled here in DC and already don’t know what I’m going to do without this kind of vibrant historical dressing community when I go back to Canada in a little over a year and a half.
I did a little calculating and discovered that I sewed 101 metres (approx. 110 yds)) of fabric over 2016! Although my net reduction of the fabric stash was only 23m…….. Anyway, I’d like to say that this year’s goal is to beat that figure but I’m not sure if that will even be feasible, I guess we’ll see! Continue reading
This is the event for which I busted my butt making my recent Natural Form gown – a Victorian Christmas Tea I hosted at our historic Capitol Hill house (built in 1908).
As hostess I didn’t really have a chance to take photos, but a couple of my guests, Gloria of In the Long Run designs (all her photos have her watermark) and Maggie (sans watermark) appear to have well taken care of that for me!
The theme for attire was Victorian but open to any part of the period to make it as easy as possible for people in a heavily 18th century/Regency-oriented region to attend.
My latest – very frantic – make, is an 1876/77 Natural Form day or reception dress in striped silk taffeta and plum cotton sateen.
It was made to wear at a Victorian Christmas tea I hosted at our house last Saturday. A big part of the reason for the tea’s Victorian theme is that I’d started missing Victorian sewing over the past few months, nearly all the historical events and activities around here have been either 18th century or regency. I know, I know, life is so rough, huh? I swear I’m not complaining but I have wanted a little change of pace. I’m also still deeply into a Natural Form phase and had started planning out this dress at least two years ago so I was delighted to have a reason and opportunity to finally make it a reality!
Now I can finally show you the whole look of my new 1780s ensemble all put together!
(and I will still be doing a post about the sleeve cuffs, some of the underpinnings, and the wig, which I will link to here when it’s done and up)
Taylor (aka Dames a la Mode) graciously volunteered to do a photoshoot for me last Friday. The location is St James church + yard just up 8th street from my house here on Capitol Hill that’s done in an atmospheric faux-gothic-Jacobean mash-up style. I kinda love it!
And now on to the show!
A quick re-cap of the original dress/pattern in Patterns of Fashion and how I modified it:
the original dress has a box-pleated skirt but I wanted the tight, narrow knife pleats so common for this period.
So I used the skirt pattern from another dress in Patterns of Fashion as a rough guide.
Although I still did things a little differently from either. I cut my skirt as two full-width panels of my fabric with a little bit of a train at the back but completely straight along the top. Instead of cutting the waist edge with a curve I just sewed it with one – you’ll see what I mean in a moment.
The style of the petticoat is based off the original one that goes with my primary dress inspiration/pattern in Patterns of Fashion:
Although to make it I simply cut 2 panels of my fabric, with the back slightly longer than the front to help accommodate the false rump that’s going under there. I also pleated mine differently from the original since it appears to have been done according to an older style where the pleats all face towards the side/pocket openings – another clue that the ensemble *may* have been an earlier one altered in the late 1770s/early 1780s. During the later period petticoat pleats tend to all face towards the centre back similarly to dress skirts, although the pleats themselves tend to be larger than on dress skirts.
This dress post is even more belated than the summer ones from this year as I made it back in the spring. However, since I’ve also been wearing it over fall I thought I could get away with still posting about it.
It’s actually one of my overall favourite dresses right now because it’s both so pretty and super comfortable!
It’s made of lovely soft, swishy rayon challis in an aqua/pink/red print, with solid red rayon for the accenting bands.
To re-cap, here is the bodice pattern I was using from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion:
I did make and fit a muslin first but am not going to bother with that here, let’s get right to the fun stuff!