Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #9 Black and White - 1882 Tea Gown

"A woman is like a tea bag,
you can not tell how strong she is
until you put her in hot water."
Nancy Reagan (First Lady 1981-1989)
What It Is:  1882 Tea Gown
Fabric:  Lamour satin, bleached muslin, cotton
Pattern:  Truly Victorian TV 432
Year:  1882
Notions:  Button kits, pleated trim, lace, thread, purchased belt
How historically accurate is it?  The pattern is correct, effort to recreate to a historic fashion plate, cotton and muslin fabrics are accurate although the satin is a synthetic, button kit is a cheat but creates a nice look.
Hours to complete?  20+  The gown can be cut and sewn easily, but the trim....the trim!
First worn:  Costume College 2014
Total cost:  Fabrics $65, trim $15, button kits and satin $50 = $130

The original plan for the HSF Black and White Challenge was a beautiful tea gown.  Although I got wonderfully distracted by the online corset class and finished this project late, I'm hoping you enjoy the gown!
Three years ago I used the Truly Victorian pattern TV432 Tea Gown and TV225 1878 Fantail Skirt to recreate the black velvet reception gown from Peterson's Magazine January 1879.

While I've loved the inspiration gown in the photo below,  I haven't had a reason to make a tea gown....until this year.  The typical "Sunday Undies" at Costume College has been changed to "Breakfast Belles and Beaux" and a tea gown is appropriate costume for that morning.

The Truly Victorian tea gown pattern requires 7 yards of fabric and I found a beautiful black and white Lamour satin fabric on eBay.  The satin fabric interlined with a bleached muslin, white lining fabric from the stash,  some satin/velvet pleated trim that I had in the stash,  and the velvet skirt I had previously made, would combine to become my new tea gown for Costume College.

There were several changes that I made to the pattern to recreate the inspiration gown:  I added 2-1/2 inches to the front centers to create an overlap, and I pleated the left and right side backs to open the side and show the underskirt.  To create the revers I used a nice white tone-on-tone cotton lining for the entire gown.  Other than that I followed the pattern with the Watteau back, left openings in the side seams to insert a purchased belt, and covered 81 buttons with black satin.  All the trim is hand sewn.  My hands are relieved that this gown is finished and I can't wait to wear it!

Here are some in progress and finished photos.

Planning the project.
The three layers of fabric in the Watteau back.

Satin and velvet pleated trim and 81 self-covered satin buttons.

And finally, a finished tea gown!

Thank you for reading!
Love always,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #9 Black and White

Do you have difficulty asking for help?  Thinking that with enough time and effort you can make it through anything?  Tough out any sewing project?  I certainly do!  And some things will sit forever waiting for me to admit I just can't do it alone!
So it was with the dreaded C..O..R..S..E..T.   Made me shiver just to think of it!
This was my first costume project in October 2007.  Mary Poppins with.....wait a minute...what's that....a mini corset?  A waist cincher made with a Truly Victorian pattern.  Grommets, boning, lacing.  Just following the directions and ta-da!  But make an actual foundation?  Impossible for me!

I thought I made a step forward several years later when I purchased a kit from Farthingales which included the Laughing Moon corset pattern and everything I needed to make a finished corset.  I was excited as I laid everything out on the table and then froze.  So much hardware!  So many pieces!  So many steps!  Everything went back in the package and in a dark corner of the closet.
While I have an amazing Victorian corset custom made for me by an incredible seamstress, this year with the Historical Sew Fortnightly and Costume College I will need an Edwardian corset.  I vowed this was the year I would make my first corset.  Through Facebook I learned that Historical Sewing offered an online corset-making class with video tutorials and handouts and a Facebook interactive group.  I signed up that day and promised myself I would make the corset.  I was going to use all the materials previously bought, some stash fabric and trims, and each week I "went to school".  I also started a Pinterest board for corset inspiration including flossing techniques.  This is the link:  Pinterest Corset Inspiration
The first steps in the class are making the mock-up, fitting, and pattern alterations.  Here are some pictures of the progress after those steps are complete.

A finished corset ready for trim.

Sewing on trim with a curved needle.
A trimmed corset!

The corset fits beautifully and is super comfortable due to the mock-up assistance given in the online class and Facebook group.
The Historical Sew Fortnightly Details:
What It Is:  1880s Victorian Corset
The Challenge:  Black and White
Fabric:  Coutil, silk dupioni
Pattern:  Truly Victorian 110
Year:  1880s
Notions:  Busk, boning, grommets, corset lacing, organza lace, satin ribbon
How historically accurate is it?  Very.
Hours to complete?  12 hours
First Worn:  Today for photo, next for a Victorian Underthings Tea and Demo using dressform
Total Cost:  $75 for online class, $15 for pattern and shipping = $90, remainder from stash
Thank you, Historical Sewing, for a wonderful class!
Love always,

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, matelass√©, 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,