2017 Sewing Year in Review

This year’s sewing was definitely dominated by historical makes. There’s just always at least one event seemingly after another to sew for around here! My costume closet is getting pretty stuffed since it wasn’t just new dresses/outerwear pieces being made but also several new skirt foundations. And I’m also starting to run out of room on the hat shelves because for most of my new outfits I also made matching or coordinating hats!

Around this time last year I posted my 2017 sewing plans and I managed to complete everything on the list – and then some! (which isn’t helping with the space issue, haha)

In chronological order we have:

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1780s Mint Redingote at a Colonial Williamsburg Weekend!

Right at the end of 2017 I had a little dream come true – a costumed weekend at Colonial Williamsburg!

A couple groups of friends decided to get together there to take in the holiday decorations and sport our 18th century winter wear.

*Note*: all watermarked photos are courtesy of In the Long Run Designs – thank you again Gloria & Mike!!

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c. 1794 Striped Silk Open Robe (aka: more autumn colours!)

In early November I got to attend a lovely annual event here in the DC area: The Pumpkin Tea and Candlelight Dinner hosted by the ever-gracious Lady Detalle.

This post is about the outfit I put together for the afternoon tea.

The group shots and photos of me in my outfit were graciously taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs.

Everyone looked SO GOOD!

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1875 Autumn Plaid Dress – Construction

If you’re just joining, this is my follow-up post to last week’s that was full of pretty photoshoot pictures of my recent 1875 bustle gown, made for my Big Ass Birthday Bash. This post focuses on construction and the insides of the ensemble. And thank you to everyone who responded to the last post with questions about the making of this outfit, I’ll do my best in answering them!

The foundations for this dress are my trusty pink Victorian corset along with the Laughing Moon bustle/crinoline I made earlier in the summer…..

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1875 Autumn Plaid Bustle Dress

Well, I did it! I’ve now made everything that was on my historical sewing list for 2017 – and I still have a couple months to cram in a few more makes, ha! This dress was the last on the list and was made for my recent Big Bustle Birthday Bash. And last week I was able to do a dedicated photoshoot of it courtesy of Taylor of Dames a la Mode.

DSC_1701

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My BIG BUSTLE BIRTHDAY!!!!

My birthday is right at the end of September and this year was a milestone/slightly depressing one (though I’m really not that fussed about it, thankfully). My actual birthday was a little over-shadowed by the wedding of very good friends in Toronto (my husband was best man and I made the wedding dress – yes, there will be a post about that in the near future *winky face*). So, I decided to throw myself a big birthday party down here in DC a couple of weeks later; and to make it even bigger and better I made it a Big Bustle Birthday Bash! The main idea was Victorian bustle dresses but I also allowed late 18th century ones so as not to be *too* restrictive.

The party was set in 2 locations. First, we had a picnic together at the National Arboretum; then cake and champagne/cocktails at my house on Capitol Hill.

It was a pretty big undertaking but it was such a blast! I highly recommend costumed birthday parties if you can get the people together for it!

So now, without further ado, I’m just going to post a whole pile of pictures of the day!

Note: Photos with the watermark “In the Long Run Designs” in the lower right-hand corner were taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Making the Dress

This dress is old news now but in case you’re interested in how it went together I finally got my construction post for it done and up!

For most of this dress, both skirt and bodice, I used the draft from Patterns of Fashion for the 1870-71 dress – the one with 3 bodice options, I used the day bodice. Although this pattern is from a few years after my date, in looking at lots of fashion plates and extant garments I realized that pattern piece shapes from the early 1870s were largely the same as those of the mid-late 1860s – it was fashion evolution not revolution going on at this time!

1871-73 I think this is the dress from the Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940 by Janet Arnold

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Skirt Foundations Trials and Tribulations

Quick re-cap of this project:

This year is Canada’s Sesquicentennial – aka: 150th birthday. I went to Ottawa for Canada Day this year (or Dominion Day for those who go old school) which was on July 1st when some friends and I celebrated in 1867 style. If you’re just tuning in you can see the finished outfit in this post.

The silhouette and style I went with is more 1867-ish than straight on 1867 because, to me, the whole 1840s through 1860s is such a snooze fest fashion-wise. I just do not like 1860s fashion; so I pushed mine more into 1868/beginning of the bustle-era. What’s the point of making something that I’m just not interested in, right?

I’m doing a whole post on just the skirt supports because, lemme tell you, this was a whole journey in itself!

For reference, this was my primary inspiration for the dress overall:

Dress

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Raspberry Mint Sorbet Bustle Dress Part the Third: The Hat – Both the Making and In Action!

This is the third and final post on the construction of my Raspberry Mint Sorbet bustle dress completed back in May

If you’re just joining now, here’s the first post, about the skirts, and here’s the second, about the bodice.

I started thinking about the hat while I was finishing sewing the dress. In looking at mid-1880s fashion plates I quickly knew I wanted to do one of those small-but-tall crowned hats from the period. They just look so pert and jaunty – and have such ridiculously fun trimming!

Some examples:

the upper and lower left-hand ones here

Illustration of bonnets and hats - 1887

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