Friday, November 21, 2014

Linen Tailcoat, c. 1815

After looking at Sam at Jane Austen Festival and realizing that he was wearing every article of Regency clothing he had, I jumped into a frenzy of sewing for him that hasn't quite stopped.  Number one on the list was a new linen coat for him.  He is now a costumed interpreter at Historic Locust Grove and their period of interpretation is 1816, so he needed a new coat since his late-1790's secondhand coat would not work.  We decided to base it off of this original in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is dated 1815.

We found the perfect fabric at Regency Revisited, which you might recognize from Sam's Civil War-era waistcoat that I made last year.  Thankfully, Walt and Jan still had it in stock and we could get some for this coat!  

We began by mocking up the pattern.  We used Laughing Moon #122 with some alterations to the collar and lapel.

It got off to a rocky start - right off the bat I had to piece the collar because we forgot to cut 4 pieces and only cut two.

Only to find this giant chunk of fabric left over from the waistcoat after all of the piecing!

Next up came padstitching the collar - gotta love it when it stands up by itself!

I'm so happy with my topstitching on the collar and lapel - look how neat it is!

In true Deviant Dressmaker fashion, this was finished the morning of the event. We were hemming and sewing buttons on the coat until the opening of 200 Years on the Ohio!  Oh well, it is finished, and looks amazing.  And a sewing machine never touched it!  Sam has worn it for multiple events since then and it's holding up very well.  I can't say the same of his breeches, but that's a story for another day!

Check him out :)

200 Years on the Ohio - photo by Past Impressions Photography

200 Years on the Ohio - Photo by J. Meyer

During one of my cooking demonstrations at the antiques fair at Locust Grove - Photo by Story Moon Photography

The Locust Grove costumed interpreters perform at the Annual Meeting - Photo by Story Moon Photography

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Louisville Jane Austen Festival

Hello everyone!  Long time, no talk!  In the weeks leading up to the Jane Austen Festival, I feverishly sewed quite a lot, and in the weeks after, I completely crashed from all of the stress.  Finally I'm getting on my feet again!  With all of the stress that Jane Fest brought, it was immensely fun and worth all of the work.

The weekend began with an early morning drive to Louisville in order to drop off two pairs of trousers and one waistcoat for my dear friend Julia at Bingley's Teas.  After that we wondered around for a bit and finally ended up at the home of our dear friends, Brian and Amy, who were hosting my dear Regency sister, Erica.  We sat around, sewed a bit, and ate pizza until we were ready to Twilight Shop.  I wasn't feeling well so I didn't think I wanted to dress out for the shopping... but about 1 hour until showtime I made the snap decision to dress out anyway!  Monsieur Stay-Lacer Brian aided in my dressing and we went and shopped until we dropped.

Mr. Cushing has many talents. Photo by Amy Liebert.

Saturday brought lots of fun!  We spent most of the day practicing our first-person impressions with Brian and Amy, which was quite fun.  I wore a new gown based off of this original from the Bath Fashion Museum:

I decided to shorten the waistband and make the skirt flat-fronted in order for it to be suited for a time closer to 1815 than 1820.

I accessorized with the bonnet I made in Lydia Fast's workshop, with added cherry blossoms.  Photo by Reva Shottenstein.

There was a light rain in the afternoon, so I covered my bonnet with my wool shawl, courtesy of Maggie :) Photo by Janet Abell

Mr. Loomis had a grand old time, getting to join the boys at the Hellfire Club (don't worry, we had our own inaugural meeting of the Sweet Angels Temperance Society) and serving Mr. Cushing as his second in the duel!  We finished the evening with a fun get-together at Brian and Amy's, watching Blackadder and playing Question and Answers.

For Sunday, I refashioned the first Regency gown I made.  I was just a novice seamstress when I had made that gown and it was no longer indicative of my skill as a seamstress.  I threw it into a corner of my closet and vowed never to wear it again.  

Not only was it an earlier style than the period I currently portray, but it also had some crazy horrible stitching, an accidentally unlined back, and overall clumsy construction.

In my scramble to get gowns ready for the festival, I saw this original on Pinterest, and I was absolutely taken.  I knew I needed to make it, and my old gown was the perfect canvas to start on.

I essentially tore the gown apart, recut the bodice, added piping to the skirt, changed the sleeves, and put it back together.  Then, in a moment of blind faith, I threw it into a dyepot and prayed!  And I LOVE IT!

Photo by Jessica Bagley.  The hat was purchased from Lydia Fast on Friday night, and worked perfectly with the gown!  Maggie, again, helped me out and made the ruff for me to wear.

All in all, we had the greatest time.  It's hard to express how dear this event is to my heart, and I can't wait for next year!

With love and care,
Mifs. M. Alexander

photo by Dale Matthews

photo by Janet Abell

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Regency Clothing for Mr. Loomis

This past weekend Mr. Loomis and I were honored to go to an event at Historic Tunnel Mill, a lovely up-and-coming historic site just outside of Louisville, KY.  This was Mr. Loomis's first event in 1812 clothing, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  In preparation I completed a few projects that were in my mind to make since Jane Austen Festival last July--clothes worthy of a Regency Dandy.

First was the shirt.  To be honest, I picked up and put down this project so many times that I forget how long it took me!  I had it on the roster since Fall of last year, and it's not even completed yet (it still needs a few reinforcements).  I used the Kannik's Korner pattern and a very light, delightful handkerchief linen.

A picture of the shirt in progress--I'm immensely pleased with the little chest ruffle.

Next on the list was fall-front breeches.  I used the Kannik's Korner trouser pattern modified into breeches--I think next I'll make him a pair with a shaped seat and a slightly tighter leg.

Sam helped cut them out before a night of English Country Dancing--very appropriate!

Before I put the fall buttons on, this was their state.  Fall fronts really aren't that difficult, it's just a matter of motivation!

Next up was a double breasted waistcoat.  I made the mistake of only getting 1/2 yard of silk (and in a stripe!) so it was a headache to cut it out, but I did it without having to piece anything!  I had made a waistcoat before for my friend David, but it was single breasted and had no welt pockets--needless to say this one was an experience and a half.  I had to alter the pattern to account for the double-breast, had to attach twice the buttons and sew my very first welt pockets ever.  I'm pleased with how it turned out!

This is the waistcoat that served as the main piece of inspiration for Sam's waistcoat.

This is the fabric I had left after cutting the waistcoat out--I really pushed the limits on this one!

Preparing to padstitch (one of my favorite things!)


My first completed welt pocket!  I sewed these very late at night--I was tempted to leave them off of this waistcoat but they really did improve the look.

Since I'm a procrastinator, I didn't get his wool tailcoat finished quite yet, but my dear friends Julie and Terry sold us one of Terry's old tailcoats, which fit Sam impeccably.  He wore a straw hat from Regency Revisited and brown-top boots from Fugawee (a little present for our one year anniversary coming up!)  Here is him all dressed out and looking sharp.

Doesn't he look handsome?

A view of the back

Showing off the waistcoat--we've decided to make the blue wool into a tailcoat that just barely buttons in the front so he can wear it open and show this lovely thing off!

It came down to the wire on a few of the projects but I'm so happy we got him out for his first 1812 event!  He's very excited and can't wait to go to another reenactment--and neither can I!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #5: Bodice

For a recent clothing presentation for my Jane Austen class, I completed a (hasty) reproduction of this gown from an 1812 Costume Parisien fashion plate:

The fabric is a lovely plaid that I got for dirt cheap ($1 a yard!) a while back.  I, of course, have a sizeable stash of white fabric, but since I was making this dress very quickly I didn't want to dip into my strategic muslin reserves.

I cut an 1860's bodice and sleeves out of the fabric before giving up on making it before Gettysburg.  And yes, after making the entire 1812 gown I still have enough for an 1860's sheer!

This was also the first gown that I draped on myself.  I'm decently satisfied with how it turned out.  I think I need to change the placement of the gathers if I make it again.

My first adventure in bodice draping!  I literally threw muslin on myself and fiddled with it until it looked ok.

I began on the gown on Friday evening after class, worked on it all weekend, through the next week (and midterms!) and finally finished it at 3 AM on Friday morning.  I think it turned out pretty well for a 1-week dress, although I am tempted to do a bit of alteration on the ruffle.  That's what happens when you decide to put one on at midnight the night before your presentation!

The day of the presentation I accessorized with my bonnet and a pair of vintage gloves.  Another warning against 3 AM ruffle sewing--look at the bottom of my gown.  See how it is bunched up?  Yeah.  I didn't notice that until looking at these pictures.  Le sigh.

All things considered, it was a fun experience.  Here are a few more pictures of me in the gown (my apologies for it being a bit wrinkled)

The Challenge: #5: Bodice
Fabric: A few yards of plaid 100% cotton lawn, lined in cotton muslin
Pattern: my own
Year: 1812
Notions: Three hooks, some cord for the ruffle, and polyester thread
How historically accurate is it?: All in all I'd say 60% since the bodice is flatlined, most interior seams are sewn by machine, and the specific plaid pattern is debatable.
First worn: For a presentation for my Jane Austen class
Total cost: Less than 10$!

Also, if you're interested, my friend Sabine at Kleiding um 1800 reproduced the same gown.  Go check it out!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #4: Under it All

Sorry for the long hiatus!  The stress and craziness of school beginning got in the way of any exceptional projects, so I just didn't have any time to post.  However, I did get one small thing finished.  This petticoat is actually a remake of my previous bodiced petticoat--something that I made with no documentation and very poorly (feel free to smack my wrist!)  I decided to tear everything apart and make it up completely differently.  Here is my new Regency petticoat!

The Challenge: #4 Under it All
Fabric: Cotton muslin
Year: 1810-1820
Notions: Polyester Gutermann thread and two china buttons
How historically accurate is it?: I would say 80%.  The cut is period correct, but I sewed all of the long seams by machine.
Hours to complete: about 5
First worn: Just for pictures
Total cost: $0, since everything came from the stash!

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Re-sew-lutions

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all!  I've been happy to spend these past weeks with friends and family, and I've been glad to take a break from the hustle and bustle of school.  I had planned on all sorts of new projects to undertake but unfortunately my friend Procrastination reared his ugly head.  Alas, Sam and I won't be going to the Locust Grove ball representative of 1812... 1860 or 1950 will have to do.  To try and hurry through our clothes would just be a shame, since we took so much time and care into picking the perfect materials.  I'd rather make a product I'm proud of and miss an event than make something I'm ashamed of and go to one.

Anyway, this new development means that there are a bunch of exciting projects lined up for the new year!  I hope to use 2014 as a year to explore new eras, since I've been itching to try new things out.  So, here are my New Year's Re-sew-lutions!  Onward and upward!


The National Gallery

I'd really like to delve into the 18th century this year, as I've wanted to for many years--and as this is an era with a lot of reenactments, I'll be making the beau a suit as well.  I'm planning on beginning my stays immediately after the Jane Austen Festival in July (or even sooner, if I'm able).  Hopefully having those will be the kick-start I need for entering this era!


Le Bon Genre, 1812
The Fashions of the War of 1812 will be the focus of this year, since both Sam and I find it as our particular favorite and we both need new trimmings.  Having recently finished my stays, I'll be altering my bodiced petticoat and making a new shift, along with making several new gowns and spencers.  Sam needs all the accoutrements of a Regency dandy--shirt, breeches, tailcoat, waistcoat, and cravat.  This year's Jane Austen Festival will be the most fabulous one yet!


Pariser Moden

Sam and I have been entertaining the possibility of going 1840's in the near future.  I think the styles would suit Sam very well and a few of our good friends represent the 1840's very well.  Who knows?  the 1840's could be visiting us in 2014!


Abiti Antichi

The Chickamauga mayhem resulted in Sam and I taking quite the break from Civil War, a break that still hasn't ended.  I hope sometime this year I'll jump back on the horse and make a few 1860's things--in particular, the bonnet that I started in 2012.  There are a few events we're looking at for 2014, but we're not committing to anything since we're going to take this year to ease into new things.


LIFE Magazine

Last year, Sam and I met at a USO dance held by a local veteran's association.  This year, for our anniversary and for the dance, I'm hoping to make something delightfully 1940's in flavor.  This dress is super top-secret, so I can't spill any more beans about it!  I'll also be altering a few things to fit Sam better, and possibly making him a new coat (if he asks nicely).  I'm hoping to use 2014 in order to get into more of the "vintage" eras as well--the 1920's through the 1950's.

Do you have any New Year's re-sew-lutions you'd like to share?  Please share them in the comments, or link to your blog so I can follow your progress!  I love to make new friends, especially ones interested in the same topics as I am.  Good luck to everyone in the New Year, and God bless!