Friday, August 6, 2021

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

Hello everyone! I know it's been ages since I last posted anything on my blog. However, I will have a big announcement coming soon that I hope will be as exciting to the living history and historical costuming communities as it is to me. I have big plans and I can't wait to share them with you so stay tuned! My Etsy shop is currently set to vacation mode. I will be moving future listing to a new platform.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

2018 in Review

Sooooo, this post has been sitting in my draft folder since January. Not sure why I never completed it. Oh well! Better late then never I suppose! My blog has been sadly neglected this year so I figured a post of some sort was long over due. For more regular posts and updates, follow me on Instagram.
I felt like I hadn't really created much in 2018, but after compiling this list it seems I sewed I lot more than I thought! So here's a quick recap of 2018.

I finished quite a few things that had been languishing in the UFO pile and listed them either in Etsy or on Facebook. Check them out here!

From the UFO pile of past years - 1940s pinafore with rickrack trim
Cherry print pinafore
Asian print 40s dress
purple and white 40s dress
2 bolero jackets
green 40s pants and bolero
pink 40s Scottie dog blouse

My bigger sew-to-sell projects included these 1920s inspired headbands using vintage trims, several self-tying 1940s turban and TWO pairs of 1930s beach pajamas using the awesome Wearing History pattern.

Wish I knew her name! A lovely customer wearing one of my headpieces!

As for sewing projects for myself I made (or finished from the UFO pile) the following in 2018.

1920s velvet dress
1940s blue silk tap pants
Helped Erin with her 1940s dress
1770s silk gown - 90% complete
1930s beach pajamas
1940s wool plaid Du Barry dress
Repaired a vintage evening dress for Reading dance
Red/green plaid skirt - 90% complete

Events in 2018
Northeast Reenactors Fair
GBVS White Lightning Ball - made dress
Timeline Orange, Mass- WAVES and plane spotters
Mid Atlantic Air Show in Reading, Pa
LHA Timeline - WAVES
Strawberry Banke Timeline -WAVES
1920s lawn party
D-Day Ohio
Fort 4

Union Station photo shoot with A Timeless Collection
Battle of the Bulge shoot with A Timeless Collection
18th century shoot with A Timeless Collection

Sewing goals for 2019

New mid 18th century stays - Started but no where near finished as now September 2019
One new 18th century gown to go with stays - I've actually started two new gowns, one cotton and one wool. You can see my progress so far over on IG.
19teens corset - Cut out a mock up but that project is on hold for now.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sold But Not Forgotten - Du Barry 2413B

I haven't blogged in some time, so today I'm writing up a quick post on a past sewing project to help get back into the swing of things.

This dress is easily one of my top ten favorites of all the reproduction pieces I've made to sell so far. This super cute 1930s/40s reproduction cotton print was a lucky find at my local fabric shop. (I was also able to find it in a purple colorway as well!) A few of you may remember the first time I used Du Barry 2413B, waaaaay back when I first started sewing 30s/40s clothing for myself. It's a great pattern and one I can see myself sewing a few more times!

It's a fairly basic pattern but it has some great details too. I love the option of the little V-shaped pockets! They make the perfect accent for a war-era dress. While the skirt does have some tiny pin tucks, they are kind of lost in this particular print. I think in a solid fabric they would stand out a bit more.

Here are a few in progress shots on the dress. Another thing I like about this dress are the little pouf sleeves and gathering at the shoulders.

Playing with some trim for the pockets! I ended up using this cotton eyelet. It helped break up the bright red print just bit. I added some dark colored vintage buttons from the stash too for the same reason.

Here are a few photos of the finished dress. I'm very happy with how this one turned out.

My friend Christiana bought the dress and she looks amazing in it! She even wore it for a photo session with A Timeless Collection. Here are a few images from that shoot, shown with permission.

Photo by A Timeless Collection

Photo by A Timeless Collection

Interested in purchasing a reproduction dress or blouse from me? Have a look at my Etsy shop.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Late 1930s/early 1940s reproduction cotton print
Pattern: Du Barry 2413B
Year: About 1938/39
Notions: Buttons, thread, cotton lace trim
Time to Complete: Start to finish, I'd say about a week. It's an easy pattern to complete in a weekend if you have the time to sit and sew.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn close! The pattern is original vintage and the fabric is a historically accurate print. The buttons and lace trim, though vintage, are likely 1950s or 1960s.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? I've made this pattern once before and it goes together pretty easily.
Did you change anything? I chose not to add a side zipper. Instead of adding a collar I just turned but the front edges to form mini lapels.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Blog Update!

Hi folks!! It's been a looooong time since my last blog post! Just wanted to post a quick update to let you know I have not forgotten or abandoned this site. I have lots of things I want to blog about but finding the time over the last year has been a challenge.

I'm still sewing, still trying to sell my reproduction clothing, and working on a couple different research projects to get ready for some exciting events this summer. I also plan to do a little house cleaning on this site and change things up just a bit.

For regular updates on my sewing and research projects be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram. That's all for now!!

Photo by A Timeless Collection

Sunday, May 20, 2018

1770s Fashionable Gown - In Progress, Part 1

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I have jumped head first back into historical sewing. The fabric, pattern and bodice mock up had been sitting in the stash for over a year now. So when my friend planned a sewing weekend with some of our reenacting friends early this spring, I figured it was a good excuse to pull out the project and get back to work.

I'm using the 1770s Fashionable Gown pattern from Sign of the Golden Scissors. This pattern is fantastic and has needed only very slight alterations to make it fit. While some may raise an eyebrow at the price of this pattern, keep in mind you are getting A LOT for your money. All Smith and Larkin historical sewing patterns are essentially one of their two day sewing workshops in an envelope. It's not just the paper pattern for the gown and bum roll, but historically accurate sewing instructions, notes on fitting, fabric choices, stitches, etc. as well as historical information on the particular garment you are going to recreate. Included is a colorful documentation card that you can carry with you if you choose. The instruction booklet for the 1770s gown is 35 pages with color photographs to help you with each step When making an item of historical clothing, it's important to make a mock up. Especially if you have never used the pattern before. I've made a few 18th century gowns before so I'm pretty familiar with the steps involved. However, the fit of this particular gown is very different from my other gowns. First off, it's important to note that this style of gown is high fashion for the mid 1770s. The neckline and placement of the shoulder straps reflect that, as well as the looping of the gown skirts. This gown would not be appropriate for my normal middling class or British camp follower impressions. I'm not making this for any particular event, but rather more of a "just because I can" kind of project. And yes, it's going to be entirely hand sewn for the same reason.

Fabric choice is super important, I went with a lovely striped silk taffeta that is similar to what I've seen in period portraits and original gowns.

I used some miscellaneous fabric in my stash for the mock up. There are two sizes in each envelope so I cut the 34 bust as it seemed closest to my size when wearing my stays. The only adjustments I found were needed were to shorten the shoulder straps a bit and to lower the arm holes just a touch. After that I moved on to cutting out my lining and silk bodice.

During my friend's sewing weekend I completed my bum roll, assembled the linen lining, minus sleeves and shoulder straps, and cut out all the pieces for the silk bodice. I even finished sewing the pleats into the gown back pieces.

The side seams of both the linen lining and the silk are constructed with lapped seams. The sleeves use the same period technique but require an extra step to whip the lining into place. For those that have the new American Duchess kind to 18th century sewing the lapped seam in shown on pages, __.

Here is what the sleeves look like prior to stitching. I posted a live video on my Facebook page talking about this if you would like more details.

I spent one evening cutting out the panels for my gown skirts. Originally, I thought would skip the step of cutting my silk into period correct widths and save a little sewing time. The gown skirts are made up of two front panels, two sides, and one center back panel.

As it turned out, given the actual width of my silk and not wanting to waste any, it was actually easier to follow the instructions and cut multiple widths and then tapper the lower edge of each panel as needed. (Because bum roll!!) The instructions called for each panel to be 23 inches wide, as that matched the width of the original gown the pattern was based on. My silk was 50 inches wide so my panels are actually 25 inches wide. I will be able to incorporate the selvedge edge of the fabric into the gown fronts which will be nice. And of course I had kitty "help" because no sewing project would be complete without it!

With help from my husband, I tired the linen lining on to test the fit again. Then had him help me pin the silk on top, again to test the fit. Something just seemed wonky with the fit but was excited to see the gown taking shape. I suspected the fit issues had to do with the waist placement so I consulted the fitting section of the American Duchess 18th Century Dressmaking Guide. Turns out I was correct so I will need to bring the lower edge of the waist up just a bit before adding the skirts to get rid of the bodice wrinkles. Once I attach the skirts the weight of the silk will help smooth things out as well.

So, my next steps with this gown will be to pleat the skirts (SOOOOOOOO MUCH PLEATS!) Make my adjustments to the bodice and reattach the linen shoulder straps so the skirts can be attached. Then assemble the bodice lining and fashion fabric. Once that's done I can set the sleeves (again with help from the husband) and add the silk shoulder straps. The only thing left from there will be hemming and trimming! 

  • This pattern was created as a one for one copy of an original in a private collection. The bodice fronts were pieced on the original gown so a pattern piece is included for the "bodice front extension." Instructions for the gown trim are also based off the original.
  • This gown is designed to wear over period correct undergarments i.e. shift, 1770s/80s stays, bum roll and, if you wear one, an under petticoat. Pick you pattern size based on your measurements while wearing proper undergarments.
  • This style also requires a bum roll to help give the gown it's "fashionable" shape. The pattern and instructions for the bum roll are included.
  • The shoulders may feel very restricting at first. I found when I first tried the mock up on that I had to rotate the whole bodice further back then I thought. Then the neckline, which is lower and wider than my 1750s/60s gowns, sat where it needed to which should be just above the top of the stays. 
  • The arm holes are meant to be high and snug and the sleeves should fit closely as well. You will want to make sure your shift is a mid to late 18th century style with close fitting sleeves to eliminate bulk.
  • The lower back section of the bodice is not meant to sit flat against the back, it needs to have some "space" if you will, to fit over the bum roll.
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