Natural Form in Plum and Chartreuse

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!

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‘An Agreeable Tyrant’ and Me

**Warning: Long and image-heavy post ahead**

A new fashion exhibition has just opened up at the Daughters of the American Revolution museum here in DC, ‘An Agreeable Tyrant’: Fashion After the Revolution. It explores Americans’ various relationships with prevailing fashions during the early Federalist period of 1780s to 1820s. Over the past year I’d been assisting the curator, Alden O’Brien, with the exhibition. First, with some late-stage planning and design, then with drafting scaled down patterns of several of the garments going on display, a little bit of photography, and finally mounting the garments on their mannequins including making adjustments to the mannequins themselves and also making some of the underpinnings needed to properly display the garments. Most of this was on a volunteer basis but I also wrote one of the essays for the catalogue (on fashion and thrift) and that was on a professional level. It was very exciting for me because its the first time I get to see my name in print this way!

FYI: The exhibition runs until April 29, 2017 and the catalogue is available to purchase online here – and they do ship internationally.

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2016 Summer Frock Parade – Pistachio & Ivory

Next up in my Summer Frock Parade is this little number in a cute pistachio and ivory print cotton (probably a quilting cotton). It also continues with the mint/aqua and coral theme I’ve got going on this year – yes, I know, I haven’t posted anything coral yet, I’ll get there!

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MMM’14 Weeks 3 & 4

Super late post, but I did fulfill my pledge for MeMadeMay’14, both in terms of wearing at least one make from an Indie pattern per week and sewing only with Indie patterns for the month. Now, to be fair/honest I sewed several duplicates of a few patterns. I need new summer dresses and making a couple from the same pattern in a weekend was the most efficient/effective way to achieve this with my available time and applicable Indie patterns.

I’ve combined weeks 3 & 4 because a) I’d be even later if I did a post for each and b) there was a lot of repeat items over these 2 weeks.  But, they were all new makes, so it’s still fun!  The weather’s been funny over the past couple of weeks – very up & down, one day sunny and hot, the next cold and rainy, or sunny but with a strong cool wind. So what ended up happening is that I’d wear a new make on a nice day, plan to wear an older Indie pattern make the next, but the weather wouldn’t co-operate, oh well.  New stuff is more fun to show anyway!

So here we go:

On Tuesday and Wednesday of week 3 I wore 2 modified Macarons I’d made the previous weekend, I then wore them again on Tuesday and Friday of week 4.

Here’s #1:

 

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #4: The Ballgown!

I saved posting about the actual gown for the Regency Ball so that I could make it my entry for the last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of the year, #26: Celebrate!

One of the ‘rules’ of the HSF is that items should not be finished more than about 6 weeks before the challenge due date (I think).  This one just made it in being finished a little over 5 weeks beforehand.  Even if it hadn’t quite fit in I probably would have cheated and entered it anyway because it was too perfect not too, being made explicitly for a celebration.  And not just any celebration, but the commemoration of bicentennial of one of the most influential books on current costume afficiandos: Pride & Prejudice.

I would have preferred more and better photos for this post, but for now the ones we were able to get in the low lighting of the ‘ballroom’ will have to do.

Here are the HSF details:

The Challenge: #26: Celebrate!

The Item: Regency Ballgown (& ensemble) for a ball in honour of the bicentennial of P&P’s first publishing

Fabric: pale blue dupioni (but a very smooth one), silk organza from an Indian shawl, ,

Pattern: I started with Sense and Sensibility’s Elegant Lady’s Closet bodice pattern for the wrap gown and ball sleeves as a base but modified them a great deal and took off from there on my own.

Year: c. 1813

Notions: ivory and gold trim bought in Istanbul, little buttons for the back closure and for the neckline pull-backs at the shoulders, narrow gold trim/thread I braided to trim the front edges of the overlay and the loops at the shoulders, pale blue braid trim (possibly vintage) for around the neckline and sleeve bands.

How historically accurate is it? It’s mostly machine sewn (I didn’t have time to hand-sew it up) with hand-sewn details so big points off for that.  And it’s a mish-mash of dates spanning c. 1800 to almost 1820.  The trim is made of synthetic fibres too.  However, besides that I have to say that I think many a young lady during the Regency period would have been happy to wear this dress so I’ll give myself 70%.

Hours to complete: Quite a lot over 3 weeks

First worn: November 30th to the local Regency Ball

Total cost: All came from stash so no money spent directly on this.  I would estimate a total of about $50-$60 thinking back on when I did buy this stuff and the amounts of it I used on the dress.

It was a very windy evening and we were having hair issues to begin with (the rag curls I tried to do didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped) so my hair is not nearly what I wish it to have been, but oh well.

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UFO Dress from last Fall: McCalls 6433

I started this dress a little over a year ago, but didn’t manage to finish it before I considered fall over.  As much as I love wearing fall colours, it somehow doesn’t feel right to me to do so once December arrives.  It may seem silly in a time when most traditional sartorial rules have been thrown out the window, but I also follow the ‘no white after labour day rule’.  So, I left off this dress and focused on more wintry sewing.  Going through my UFOs a couple of months ago I found this and decided it should be finished.

Here is McCalls 6433

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Thanksgiving Dress, McCall’s 6473

I will take almost any flimsy excuse to make myself a new, pretty (silk) dress.  Most recently, Thanksgiving did the trick.  I also decided I wanted to try out a vintage pattern in my stash that’s had me intrigued for some time: MacCalls 6473 from 1962.

McCalls 6473

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