Plum & Chartreuse at the Portrait Gallery (+ A New Hat!)

Back in mid-August I had the opportunity to participate in a really great experience. My friend Gloria (of In the Long Run) and her husband, Mike, organized a meet-up of historical costumers and photographers at the National Portrait Gallery here in DC for an afternoon photoshoot.

photo by Justin Schneider

There were 8 of us in costume (from left to right: Gloria, Stephani, Glynnis, Me, Nastassia, Tarisa, Taylor and Maggie) and 3 photographers (Dan, Justin and Mike). So we split into 3 groups of costumers and each group rotated through the photographers for about an hour with each, taking turns getting photographed. And what costumer doesn’t love an opportunity to get good photos of their hard work in a beautiful setting?! Continue reading

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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Natural Form Teagown

This project was finished about a month ago, but I only just got photos of me in it this week, so waited until now to do a proper post. I started this early in the year and used it as my entry for the Historical Sew Monthly challenge for March: Stashbusting.

My teagown is a combination of this inspiration original piece (It’s dated 1886 but I don’t know by what authority and the overall silhouette looks comparable to Natural Form to me):

Abiti Antichi- Abito da casa 3 Continue reading

Pink Victorian Corset

As part of my adventures in Natural Form foundations garments I also made a new corset. This is something I’d wanted to do for a while anyway. My previous Victorian corset was fine, but I wasn’t getting quite the curve in my figure or roundness in my bust profile I wanted. It also makes my hips sore because – and this was a big revelation for me! – there wasn’t enough fullness at the hips built into the corset. Duh! One of those things that seems so obvious once you realize it. The adjustability gained from having a lacing gap at the back will get you only so far!

Enter this beauty from Jill Salen’s book, Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques

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