Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Venturing Into A New Era! HSF Challenge #8 and Sew for Victory

The key to change is to let go of fear.
                                Rosanne Cash
If you are a costumer you must be an extrovert!  Putting yourself out there on display, being different, dressing historically and being judged.  No fear, right?  Wrong!  Because I enjoy creating does not mean that I'm so confident in my abilities and presentation that I don't get nervous, even paralyzed, when it comes to something new.  I enjoy dressing in my creations and having great times with other like-minded individuals.  I've very much enjoyed the people and events that are part of my hobby.  But if you have read my posts or seen my photos you know that I tend to stay in the Victorian era with brief touches of the Edwardian era.  Until now.
Although the idea was lurking that I could move into another sewing era, it took so many things happening all at once to move me out of my comfort zone!  The Historical Sew Fortnightly and the eras it encompasses gave me that first push.  Then came the Sew for Victory 1940s Sew-A-Long and with it a discount on some sewing patterns.  The right fabric at exactly the right time (and the perfect price).  And these shoes!

I adored the colors on these shoes and won them at auction.  Thinking they would work for a 1910s suit, I learned they were more appropriate for late 1930s and 1940s and now the push was complete.  I was going to sew something with a 1940s impression!

A downloadable blouse pattern from Mrs. Depew on etsy and the Smooth Sailing Trousers pattern from Wearing History seemed perfect with these linen/cotton blend fabrics which I found on eBay.
A vintage 1940s applique apron pattern was also an eBay treasure.
My UFI - Un-Finished Idea - was about to come true!
I surfed YouTube and learned how to applique.  Three different fat quarter quilting cotton pieces became the applique pieces for the leaves, grapes, and top and ties of the apron. 


The apron edges are embellished with folded ribbon using the directions on the vintage transfer pattern.


And when everything is assembled, a pretty 1940s applique apron!
After all the hand work of the applique and ribbon folding, sewing the e-pattern wrap blouse and e-pattern trousers seemed so simple.

The UFI is now a Finished Idea and I look forward to more 1940s sewing projects! 

It's time to cook!

Historical Sew Fortnightly:

The Challenge:  UFOs & PHDs & UFIs
Fabric:  Cotton, linen/cotton blend
Patterns:  Mrs Depew 1940s Wrap Blouse, Wearing History Smooth Sailing Trousers, Vintage4me2 Vintage Apron Transfer Pattern
Year:  Early 1940s
Notions:  Purple satin ribbon, zipper, hooks and eyes, thread, brown satin ribbon
How historically accurate is it?  100% in patterns, fabrics, and techniques
Hours to complete:  24, most of which was the apron
First worn:  Today for photos and for a day at Costume College
Total cost:  Patterns $30, Fabric $46, Ribbon and Fat Quarters $15 = $91

Love always,


Monday, April 14, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #7 Tops & Toes (The Top)

What It Is:  1890s Equestrian-Inspired Hat
The Challenge:  Tops & Toes
Fabric:  Matelassé and cotton velvet
Pattern:  Denise Nadine Design Mina Hat
Year:  1891
Notions:  Brass chain, leather braided trim, ostrich feathers, pin, cameo, feathered bird, netting with chenille dots, vintage feather trim, bias tape and French elastic, millinery thread and needles (curved and straight), buckram, millinery wire
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  All techniques and materials are as close to vintage or replica as possible.  Except the bird.  A taxidermy bird would have been used in 1891 but this one is from a craft store.
Hours to complete?  8 hours
First worn:  Perhaps April 26th for a Victorian Fashion Show, definitely May 7th when I host a post Kentucky Derby Tea for ladies at a retirement community.
Total Cost:  Fabric scraps and stash

"Ladies wear a lot of hats and they deserve this."
Elizabeth Jennings
In the spring of 2011 I started to create an 1891 matelassé and velvet reception toilette.  Then I accepted a new position and everything went into a container and travelled with me for the next two years.  It is finally out of the container and waiting to be finished - which will happen for HSF Challenge #8!  I'm excited!  It is an equestrian-inspired costume and needed the perfect hat which I found in Denise Nadine Designs new release of The Mina Hat pattern.  While many 1890s hats are wide to offset the voluminous sleeves of fashion, The Mina Hat inspiration sits perfectly and prettily atop the head.
The hat design is basic.  A brim, sideband, and crown tip.  I've steamed the edges of the brim slightly with the steam iron and molded them into a light curl.  Millinery wire is stitched to the 3 pieces...
...the sideband is stitched closed and the crown tip stitched to the sideband.   Bias tape and French elastic cover the wires and a piece of flannel pads the crown tip....
The fabric is sewn in place.  A velvet upper brim and crown tip...
...and a matelassé under brim and sideband.

The crown is stitched to the brim and the hat is ready for decorating.
I have a box with every flower and feather, buckle, pin, and whatnot that I think would be pretty on a hat.  This collection yields a fun assortment of items.  Starting at the top is a collection of ribbon, buttons, a brooch, feathers, chain, leather cord, a bird, feathers from the sporting goods store that are used to make fly fishing lures, and in the center my two favorite pieces - a vintage millinery feather with the store tag still attached, and a cameo of a lady with her cart and horses.
Below is a photo of the still unfinished gown bodice which has a quilted satin equestrian-themed vest.  I start laying bits and pieces on the hat and see what strikes my eye.  All those pins are the upper brim velvet before stitching in case I change my mind before I sew.  I change my mind a lot when it comes to hats.

The chain and leather trim were a must have and I wove them together to create the hatband which hides the stitches where the crown is attached to the brim.

I also popped the button off the organza/brass brooch and added the cameo.
Decorating a hat takes me forever as I constantly move items around until the moment comes when I can say "Finished"!
And here is my finished Equestrian-Themed Mina Hat! 

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful spring blossoms in the pictures!
Love always,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #7 Tops & Toes (The Toes)

What It Is:  Ribbon Embroidered Stockings
The Challenge:  Tops & Toes
Fabric:  Cotton stockings, 1/8" faux satin ribbon
Year:  1887
Notions:  Large-eye needle, blue dye
How historically accurate is it?  Embroidered stockings are shown in all vintage periodicals I have seen although usually embroidered with thread.  For this fancy dress/masquerade costume I chose ribbon.  If ribbon had been used in 1887 it probably would have been silk ribbon.
Hours to complete?  4 hours
First Worn:  Will be worn with The Little Red Riding Hood costume.
Total Cost:  $7 stockings, $3 blue dye, $2 ribbon = $12

" silk quilted skirt; square velvet bodice, with lace chemisette and lace sleeves; large white muslin apron and bib, trimmed with two rows of Valencienes lace; red cloak with hood lined with blue silk; silk stockings, worked with crimson; a crimson satin sash..."
       Fancy DressedsDescribed or What to Wear at Fancy Balls, Ardern Holt, 1887

You can imagine that sewing the skirt, overskirt, bodice, and cloak for the HSF Challenge #6 Fairytale just about did me in!  The sewing room was a mess and so was I!  But I finished it!  Well, except for the blue silk stockings worked with crimson.

Finding blue stockings was enough of a challenge not to mention silk.  So I was happy to find a pair of ivory cotton over-the-knee stockings.  The Rit website was my next stop and they have the most wonderful dye chart with formulas!  I found my perfect color and followed their instructions which includes adding salt for cotton fabrics, and with a little stir - blue stockings!

This pamphlet by Dover Needlework Series called Ribbon Embroidery by J. Marsha Michler has been my go-to booklet for all the stitches I've learned and the design ideas are beautiful.
For the stockings I used a crimson ribbon with a 5-loop French knot for the tiny roses, and a seafoam green ribbon with a ribbon stitch for the tiny leaves.  There was a design in the stocking and I worked with that to create my ribbon embroidery design.
I embroidered the outside center of each stocking and here are the finished stockings for Little Red Riding Hood's fancy dress costume.

A close-up of the stitches.  Click on the photo and you'll get a larger image.
The embroidery will show with the ankle-length skirt.
But then who wouldn't want to show off such pretty stockings!

I love ribbon embroidery and have used it on reticules.  But now that I've experimented on stockings I'm really hooked!  The best that I've discovered recently is small flowers of embroidered ribbon on velvet buttons.  I hope to show you that in another HSF Challenge.
Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #6 Fairytale

What it is:  Little Red Riding Hood Masquerade Ball Gown and Cloak
The Challenge:  Fairytale
Fabric:  Cotton velvet, silk taffeta, organza, costume satin
Pattern:  Folkwear 207 Kinsdale Cloak, Truly Victorian 261 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt, Truly Victorian 460 1885 Bustle Cuirass Bodice, Truly Victorian 362 1884 Wash Overskirt
Year:  1887
Notions:  Valenciennes lace, satin ribbon, buttons, grosgrain ribbon, velvet skirt trim
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  The design follows an historic Fancy Ball book description.
Hours to complete?  24
First worn:  Fantasy Masquerade Party, Victorian Dance Cruise, January 2015
Total Cost:  $11.62 for Valenciennes lace,  remainder from stash.

But Grandmother!  What big ears you have."  said Little Red Riding Hood as she edged closer to the bed.

The French fairy tale was written by Charles Perrault in 1697 although it's origin may date back to the 1400s.  It could be a tale to remind children to behave, or it could be a story about girls coming into their womanhood.  However long the fairy tale has been around and what it truly means, it is so widely known that the character of Little Red Riding Hood was described in a book in 1887.  The book is now part of The Public Domain Review.  "Fancy Dresses Described or What to Wear at Fancy Balls" by Ardern Holt describes the costume this way: silk quilted skirt; square velvet bodice, with lace chemisette and lace sleeves; large white muslin apron and bib, trimmed with two rows of Valenciennes lace, red cloak, with hood lined with blue silk; blue stockings, worked with crimson; a crimson satin sash...

 In January 2015, Patrick and I will take the Victorian Dance Cruise.  One of the events will be a Fancy Masquerade Party.  This fit nicely with the HSF Fairytale Challenge.  I had white organza, blue pintuck silk taffeta, black velvet, and red satin in the fabric stash.  Since I had just finished Challenge #5 on the due date, I had only 2 weeks to complete the gown and cloak.  I'm not sure I will finish, but I'm going to try!

The completed skirt over a lobster bustle and one petticoat.  I've made up this pattern several times before and it goes together quickly.
Most of the costumes in the 1887 book were raised above the ankle, so I did the same, and added a velvet trim to the lower edge.

The embroidered organza became the "apron".  Although I hadn't made up this pattern before it is very simple and beautiful.

The Valenciennes lace with a satin insert.  A lucky eBay find!
A velvet bodice modified with a keyhole insert.

The keyhole insert and sleeve extensions were made with the organza and lace.
Wait!!  What??  That next picture isn't a part of a Red Riding Hood costume, you say.  No, but it could have been.  I was eating pancakes and I looked at the syrup container and there it was - 1887.  And I'm making a Fancy Dress gown described in 1887.  Perhaps in 1887 a lady was eating her pancakes and sewing the very gown I'm sewing today from the same description.  Makes me smile!

Back to 2014.  The Folkwear Kinsdale Cloak pattern makes up beautifully.  But it's already April 1st and the Challenge is due today.   I have 102" of cloak that has to be gathered into 24" of collar, I've already sewn the collar together wrong, and lost my seam ripper.  Ack!  So I use a 2014 shortcut and zig-zag over dental floss.

Pull the floss, and instant gather.  Not historically correct, but I'm sure if they could've they would've.  The collar is fixed and I'm almost finished!  Some hand sewing, tie ribbons, and...
Little Red Riding is finished....well...except for the blue stockings with crimson embroidery, but I'm saving that for Challenge #7 Tops and Toes.
Here I added some Valenciennes lace to the back of the gown to continue the "apron" impression.

The "crimson sash" described in the Fancy Dress book is a pashima scarf.  The embroidery for the stockings will be the same color.

The "hood lined with blue silk" is the same silk taffeta I used for the skirt.
A pretty necklace with a wolf silhouette and miniature Little Red Riding Hood book.  There is also a small copper basket at the lower edge of the bodice.

There wouldn't be a story without the Big Bad Wolf and this is Patrick's mask made by Judith of Leopard's Leap.  Truly an amazing and beautiful creation!

 Off to do some taxes (and embroider some blue stockings).  See you in two weeks!