Saturday, December 7, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #24: Re-do

Hello everyone!  Finally, finally, finally I've made myself a new pair of Regency stays.  I don't know if y'all remember the last ones (monstrosities that completely squashed me and were made with incorrect methods and metal grommets...) but I ripped those apart and, though I re-sewed the gussets in, that's as far as I got.  I bought the pattern and supplies for these stays about a year ago, originally planning to make them for the Pittsburgh Jane Austen Festival, which I didn't end up going to, and then for the Louisville Jane Austen Festival, but they sat untouched as I had other projects to work on.  I finally started work on them in September and now they're finished!  Hopefully they'll last me for a long time, because I really did not enjoy working on them.  Right now they're wearable, however I will be adding an extra eyelet in the straps and possibly a small pad so that the "girls" don't shift during flight ;) This is my late entry for the 24th HSF challenge!

The Challenge: #24: Re-do
The Challenge(s) you are re-doing: 
#1: Bicentennial: These were made with the years 1810-1820 in mind, so they're good to go for 1813!
#2: UFO: While these weren't *started* earlier, they did sit around forever, and I did mean to make them for a long time!
#3: Under it all: The most necessary undergarment--stays!
#13: Lace and Lacing: One of my favorite parts of this garment was doing spiral lacing for the first time.  I love the look, however I've been spoiled by having cross-lacing 1860's stays!
#15: White: These stays are the classic Regency white.
#19: Wood, metal, bone: These use a wooden busk in the front and boning (although it is plastic!)
#23: Gratitude: I am so thankful to all of my friends for their help in making these (and also cheerleading when I needed it!)  Namely MaggieSabine, and Betsy.
Fabric: Handkerchief linen and linen canvas from  I highly recommend both of these fabrics (especially the handkerchief linen, I'm addicted to it!) because they are very high-quality and wonderful to work with.
Pattern: The Mantua Maker Regency stays pattern (which you can find here!)
Year: 1810-1820
Notions: Plastic zip ties for boning, wooden busk, machine sewing thread, hand sewing thread, and buttonhole twist, some thin poly ribbon for a front drawstring, some thicker poly ribbon for the lacing and the strap ties, and one china button.
How historically accurate is it? The fabrics and the pattern are correct, as is the wooden busk.  I did use plastic bones and polyester ribbon and thread.  I would say these are 85% correct.
Hours to complete: I lost count a long time ago, as I worked on them on and off.  If I had to guess I'd say 25 hours.
First worn: I haven't worn them yet, but the first event I do wear them to will likely be the Locust Grove Ball.
Total cost: About $60, all things considered.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Ubiquitous Blue Coat of the Regency Era

Hello everyone!  In preparation for making the beau's regency items, I've done a lot of research regarding men's Regency fashions (with a lot of help from my friends BrianMaggie, and many others).  In case you couldn't tell from the blue cravat and blue vest I made Sam for the 1860's, Sam barely wears anything but blue.  I had originally planned on making him a black tailcoat from some suiting-weight wool that I had in the stash, but through researching I found out that isn't quite the weight we're going for in the Regency.  I kept finding more and more blue tailcoats in the era, and I came to the conclusion that 1. hopefully this tailcoat would last a very long time and I wouldn't have to make a new one for a while and 2. if they had blue tailcoats, then why the hell not?  I searched and searched for the correct weight of blue wool, but to no avail.  I came pretty close on some of the places I looked at, but either they didn't have the right weight of fabric or they didn't have the right color.  I even went to Joann's, of all places, but that fabric struck out on both accounts.  The night before the Market Fair at Locust Grove, I was talking to Maggie and mentioned my search, and she ended up having the perfect wool for me!  I can't thank her enough, especially because there will be enough left to make a pretty little something for me!  Anyway, enough talk, here are some of the many fashion plates and extant images that show this classic look.

c. 1817

Thomas Cooke, English actor (1786-1864) by James Warren Childe (1780-1802)

Incroyable et Merveilleuse

Costume Parisien 1804

Costume Parisien 1814

Le Beau Monde, 1807

Costume Parisien, 1804

And finally, the tailcoat and waistcoat fabrics I'll be using to achieve this look.  Wish me luck!

Edited to add: thanks to Betsy Bashore for helping me out on terminology.  Anywhere that I referred to a "tailcoat" with the words "frock coat" has been fixed!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Lydia Fast Bonnet Workshop

Whew!  What a whirlwind!  I had such a great time at the workshop and learned more than I could have expected to learn about millinery.  It's not so scary now!  I'm very pleased with how my bonnet turned out and surprised that I finished it this quickly.  Here's how it all went down...

First, I drove three hours to Ft. Meigs, where the workshop is held each year.  I had a bit of time to kill so I hung around the historical district.  Then we set up and went to dinner and to pick up some supplies, back to the classroom just in time to start work.  I chose to do the Pip, a style with a short crown and a curled brim.

This was one of the more difficult options, but I decided that I'd get my money's worth and do it anyway.  I chose a very pretty pink silk for the brim lining and a yellow for the crown.  This was my inspiration piece:

Ackermann's Repository 1814

Anyway, we received pre-cut pieces of buckram and mulling and a few other supplies.  We started by assembling the crown of our bonnets.

I half-attached my brim before we decided that it was time to turn it in for the night.  My friend Julie graciously let me stay at her house, so we went back there and stayed up a bit longer talking :)

Once we got back to the classroom the next morning, we started back to work.  I finished attaching my brim.  Since I chose the Pip, I had to steam-form my brim in order to give it that cute curled look. 

Here it is before steaming...

And after!

Once I finished this, it was time to take a little break and head to a great store called the Ribbonry in Perrysburg, Ohio.  It was intense!  Some of the ribbons were more per yard than a lot of my dress lengths of fabric!

As soon as we walked in I found the perfect plaid ribbon for Julie and helped my new friend Alyssa find a ribbon for her poke.  I promised myself I wouldn't buy anything but I laid eyes on the most perfect ribbon for my bonnet, and knew I had to get it.  Alyssa was so thankful for my help in picking her ribbon that she bought the ribbon for me!  It was incredibly generous of her and I am still floored.  So, you all should go to her website and buy her books, as she is a Regency author!

It looked perfect with my colors!

Once we were finished with the Ribbonry, we returned to the classroom and put our noses back to the grindstone.  Finally it was time to touch fashion fabric!  I first attached the crown tip, followed shortly by the brim fabric.

I then attached the brim lining--in my pretty pink silk!

I only got halfway through attaching the lining before my back started hurting and we decided to call it a night.  We went back to the house and had some laughs, and I slept like a rock that night.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we started again.  I finished attaching one edge of the brim lining and then attached the inside edge.

Next up was covering the crown.  I could taste the finish line! Thankfully, I was able to attach the crown before the end of the workshop.  Yay!

After I finished attaching the crown piece, I packed up and headed for home.  Today, I was able to put in the lining and attach the ribbon, and I'm very happy with how it turned out!  I might add a feather or some flowers, but here it is in its present state.

I struggled with the bow, but I really like how it turned out.  I'm planning on wearing this to the Jane Austen Festival next year, but hopefully some event will arise that I can wear it to, as well!  The workshop, all in all, was very fun and informative, and I will definitely be going again.  And now I can honestly say that millinery doesn't scare me anymore!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Delicious Bonnets of the Early 19th Century

As an early Christmas present, next weekend I'll be going to Lydia Fast's Bonnet Workshop!  In preparation I've been collecting digital images of the gorgeous bonnets of the Regency era.  Here are only a few of the images I found!  If you would like to get an idea of what I'll be doing at the workshop, please read my friend Julia's recap of the 2012 workshop.  Enough talking, now pretties!

The one in the top right is one of my favorites.

Ackermann's Repository 1809--I love the one in the bottom right!

I'm planning on making the one in the bottom right corner, because I love the gorgeous simplicity!

All of these bonnets are gorgeous, but especially the one in the bottom left.

Ackermann's Repository 1815--I am completely envious of this woman's entire outfit, but especially her bonnet!

And finally, this is the bonnet I'll be reproducing in the workshop!  It will have a light pink brim lining and a yellow crown, with dark pink flowers and feathers.  This is from Ackermann's Repository 1814.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fashions from Peterson's Magazine: July 1854-June 1855

I recently acquired two volumes of Peterson's bound in a peculiar fashion.  Instead of binding January-December of the same year together, these two bound July 1854-June 1855 and July 1855-June 1856.  I found this quite interesting, as all of my other bound volumes have contained the same calendar year within.  Oh well!  Peterson's listed the table of contents for previous volumes every half-year, so I suppose the woman who owned these didn't want to wait until January to start collecting!  Anyway, here are some of my favorite images from the volume of July 1854-June 1855.  Feel free to share, but please cite my blog.  And enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Lovely Accessory

I recently completed a knitting apron for my dear friend Deborah as part of an exchange.  In return, she knitted me a lovely pair of knitted under sleeves that were delivered to me via the post office at BGA Gettysburg... yes.  That was quite a while ago, but I have finally gotten around to finishing her apron!  Here it is in all its glory... on my dorm room floor.

The body of the apron is 100% silk taffeta with rayon velvet trim.  The taffeta was purchased from an Ebay vendor and the trim is from Needle and Thread in Gettysburg.  It is based off of an original in a private collection, which the owner graciously shared with me in order to make it for Deborah.  All of the trim is applied by hand, as are the pockets.  The only machine stitching is in the waistband.  I will be adding a buttonhole to the waistband and Deborah will be supplying a button.  All in all, I'm very happy with how it turned out!  It will look very lovely for her to knit in.

Here are some close-ups of the apron in the construction progress:

The initial photo of the fabric and the trim in natural light.  After some consideration, Deborah and I decided that plum trim would suit this reddish-orange very nicely.

A close-up of the hand-applied trim

And a close-up of my delicate stitches, of which I am very proud.