Saturday, March 15, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #5 Bodice

The Challenge:  Bodice
Fabric:  Cotton Twill and Cotton Matelass√©
Pattern:  Wearing History 1007
Year:  1899
Notions:  Passementerie, buttons for covering, thread
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  The pattern from Wearing History is designed for the original in La Mode Illustree.  All sewing techniques are accurate and while the passementerie is purchased, it is hand sewn to the bodice. 
Hours to complete?  15 hours
First Worn:  April 15th after I complete the hat for Challenge #7, then at Costume College
Total Cost:  Everything needed was taken from very old stash.

That's the most beautiful gown you've made!
I'm quoting my husband as he came to the deck while I was taking the final pictures of this bodice because he has watched me learn and struggle and sigh and even cry as I tackle new sewing projects.  It means so much to me, as I'm sure it does to all of us, to have our work acknowledged.  I'm thankful to have a husband who while he may not understand the why, certainly notices and applauds my efforts.
And this bodice was all about effort!  It started with my first e-pattern.  Thank goodness it was from Wearing History and had been tested.  Not only did it go together perfectly to become my paper pattern, but it was perfect in it's directions and fit.
I made a mock-up of muslin which I later took apart and used as a lining. 

Several years ago I made an 1890s skirt and had some of the matelass√© left over.  I used it for the contrast collar and cuffs and the lining inside the front pieces and the bottom inside edge.  It is a heavy fabric with a definite pattern and I aligned all the pieces so that the pattern is nice on all sides.

The back bodice passementarie had to be hand sewn but could be completed early in construction.
Here the cuffs have been attached to the sleeves and a venice lace is cut apart for the sleeve trim and hand sewn.  The small flowers left over are sewn onto the fabric covered buttons.
All pieces ready for final assembly!
Once the bodice is assembled and sleeve insets are put in to hold that nice 1890s full sleeve look, the sleeve passementarie is draped, pinned into place, and hand sewn
And the bodice is finished!


More pictures after I make the matching hat from a wonderful new pattern.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #4 Under It All

The Challenge: #4 Under It All - Edwardian Drawers, Camisole, and Petticoat
Fabric: Cotton
Pattern: Folkwear 203
Year: 1901
Notions: Lace and more lace and then a bit more lace, satin ribbon, grosgrain ribbon, bias tape, thread, buttons
How historically accurate is it? Very. The cotton fabric, even with the dots, is historically correct. The laces are purchased but all of the satin ribbon is hand threaded into the lace. The sewing techniques of French seams, flat-felled seams, tucks, and ribbon casings is also correct.
Hours to complete? 15 hours
First worn? Costume College 2014 with Tea gown.
Total Cost: Everything from stash. Yay! 
A lady is one who never shows her underwear unintentionally.
                                        Author Unknown
As I open my closet and gaze upon the fabrics and trims I have acquired I promise myself I will find everything I need for this challenge.  But I need so much yardage!  True, but somewhere in here is exactly what I need.  We can always buy more!  Everything I need is in here.
And so the struggle goes for me and probably everyone who loves the textures and colors of fabrics and trims and the challenge of the beautiful creation they are capable of becoming.  I win this little battle and find two possibilities to make an Edwardian drawers, camisole, and petticoat to wear under my tea gown at Costume College next August.  A pink with black dot is left over from a Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser in 2010 when I trimmed a black parasol with tiny corsets.
Those little corsets didn't use much fabric and I had yards left.  The other fabric was a mystery.  I didn't know where it came from, I didn't know exactly what it was, but I loved the color and had trim that would have worked nicely.  I put the choice out to my facebook and Historical Sew Fortnightly friends and the choice was the pink dotted cotton with black trim.
Then the question came:  Is a polka dot fabric historically accurate?  The answer was a solid YES.  The research indicates that George Henry V invented the pattern in 1220 and it became very common on clothing in the late 19th century in Britain.  This is a fashion plate of 1874 day dresses and one is pink with black dots (!!!):
The Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandria) with her sister Dagmar (Marie Feodorovna, wife of Alexander III of Russia) photographed in 1873, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Polka music was extremely popular during this same time and the name was applied to the fabric pattern despite no real connection between them.  It is suspected that Godey's Lady Book named the pattern.  French designer Coco Chanel favored dots in the 1920's, Marilyn Monroe loved them in the 1950's, and in 1928 this little polka dotted beauty hit the fashion scene.

My research affirms that the Edwardian underthings can be made from the pretty pink black dotted cotton using Folkwear pattern 203 and they will be historically accurate.

This pattern was new to me and I was so impressed with the detail!  Not only are there directions for the cutting and sewing, but there are directions to crochet the lace detail, and how to make French seams and flat-felled seams.  The pattern includes gussets, tucks, drawstring waist casings, gathers, seam casing, plackets.....and so much more that it is a great pattern for someone like me who still has so much to learn.  Although I grossly underestimated the time it would take to complete the three items and was sewing late the night the Challenge was due, I finished in time!
The first great lesson for me was flat-felled seams.  After sewing the seam along the seam line with right sides together, press the seam to one side.  Usually toward the back of the garment.  Trim the underneath seam allowance to about half...
turn the raw edge of the wider seam allowance over the trimmed edge...

press toward back and then stitch close to the edge.
And you have a beautiful finished seam.  A seam that won't fray, and is smooth against your skin.  

This may not be new for many of you, but for me it was the first time I had instructions for this seam and I was thrilled.  I'll be using it a lot in the future!  The pattern also had instructions for French seams and in some places where you don't mind the bulk of 4 layers of fabric, this is a beautiful seam as well.
The next lesson was plackets used for both sides of the drawers and the back of the petticoat.  Since I made the drawers first I had to have a right and left side and the instructions said to follow the instructions for the petticoat substituting different pattern pieces.  I wrote out my own instructions so that I could follow step by step.
While it didn't make sense to me at the beginning I just followed each step and eventually had a placket that will hold up to many wearings and washings.
The waist casing and drawstring for the petticoat was also new for me.  A buttonhole allows the grosgrain ribbon to exit the casing while allowing the placket to remain closed.  A bias fabric strip is probably more historically correct but this was outlined in the instructions which I followed.

The petticoat has a dust ruffle underneath the longer flounce.  I trimmed it with a pretty lace.  I could imagine that historically this piece would have received the most abuse when worn and could have been easily replaced extending the life of the petticoat.

Since I'm trying to use stash supplies (despite that constant little voice) I had a nice trim but it had a fringe.  Cutting off the fringe made a pretty lace for the lower edge of both the drawers and the petticoat.  For the trim above the drawer and petticoat ruffles and on the camisole I had a different lace which was perfect to weave 1/8" pink satin ribbon.  The millinery needle with the long eye made the task much easier!
The camisole took a long time to construct with the tucks, lace, flat-felled seams, gathers, buttonholes for the drawstring, drawstring casing, buttonholes and buttons, sleeve and neckline hems and trim, ribbon for the neckline, and lower edge hem.  Some photos along the way:



So with a bit more lace and some final details, the Edwardian drawers, camisole, and petticoat are finished!

Remember, ladies, never show your pretty underwear unintentionally! *wink*