Thursday, May 1, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #8 UFOs & PHDs

What it is:  1891 Reception Toilette
The Challenge:  #8 UFOs & PHDs
Fabric:  Cotton velvet, matelassé, quilted satin
Pattern:  Ageless Patterns #1180
Year:  1891
Notions:  Grosgrain ribbon, velvet gimp trim, thread, hooks and eyes
How historically accurate is it?  Fairly accurate in the silhouette and natural fabrics, but has some redesign for ease of wear.
Hours to complete:   30 minutes once the project was picked up again
Project started:  May 2011
Project completed:  April 2014
First worn:  April 26, 2014 in a Victorian Fashion Show
Total cost:  It's been so long I truly don't remember.
I can't believe it's finished!!!  I loved this pattern from the moment I saw it and immediately went to the fabric store and found exactly what I wanted to create my version.  Although it was spring in 2011, I was headed to Costume College in August and excited to have a new costume.  In July, however, I accepted a position that took me from North Carolina to Bangor, Maine and I wasn't able to go to Costume College.  But being forever hopeful, I packed up my sewing machine, and this unfinished costume, with the high hopes of wearing it to an event in the cold Maine winter.

Bangor, Maine is also the home of author Stephen King, and I imagined wearing this costume to some frightfully scary Halloween events!  But work was so hectic that all I got was this photo of the front of the King home with its completely awesome spider and bat fencing and gate.

For the next 2 plus years the costume stayed packed and the sewing machine idle while I transferred several more times, finally coming back to North Carolina and eventually retiring last October.  I have used the finished skirt and leftover fabric for the HSF Bodice Challenge.
Also spent some time finishing the jacket lining and back flaps.

And the last piece was the vest.  To match the print I decided to make the vest removable and therefore changeable.  The jacket is also fairly warm with the cotton lining under cotton velvet, so I made the vest with a complete front and grosgrain ribbon back.

The grosgrain ribbon worked perfectly for the costume's first use in a Victorian Fashion Show.  I had changes from a Natural Form Era day dress, to this costume, and then to a late bustle era dinner/masquerade gown within 35 minutes while also dressing two other models.  Thank goodness this was an easy in and out!

Here are some finished photos including one with The Mina Hat I made for Challenge #7 Tops & Toes, gloves, reticule, boots, and a vintage parasol with horseshoe handle.  This costume is now completely complete after almost 3 years!

 The only photo taken at the Victorian Fashion Show while I'm going on stage.  Looks like I'm fully dressed. Whew!
Love always,


  1. Fantastic, Jeanette! I do remember when you first struck out to make this ensemble. Glad it is finished to perfection:)

    1. Thank you, Diane! This outfit has travelled a lot of miles!

  2. Beautiful work on your gown. I like the fabric design of the bodice.

  3. Man, I want that outfit!

    1. Thank you so very much for the compliment!

  4. You look so lovely in the outfit. I love the fabric choices and the color palette.

    1. Thank you for the wonderful compliments, The Kaiser! They are very much appreciated!

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