Friday, September 18, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #8 - Heirlooms & Heritage

August – Heirlooms & HeritageRe-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.
The Dreamstress
Historical Sew Monthly
Recreating historical garments and historical research seem to be an inseparable duo.  It's most impossible for me to start research into the fashion and accessories of the time period I am attempting to recreate without learning the culture, trends, and historical events of that time.  Most of my family has passed leaving behind little information as to their lives and nothing of their possessions.  I am a combination of many cultures with my grandparents coming from several countries.  While I never had the chance to meet my paternal grandmother I have seen a picture when she was quite old, and as I have aged I see the strong resemblance.  She came to the United States from Sweden and it is in her honor that I researched what the royalty of her country would have been for her as a child in that country.
When is comes to heirlooms and heritage we cannot dispute that the royals know the deep meaning of tradition and pageantry.  The royal families of the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Tonga have similar practices in the orders and medals they use.
Sweden's Queen Victoria, 1862 - 1930, was my inspiration for a gown I recreated.  She was born Viktoria and changed her name to Victoria when she became Queen by her marriage to King Gustav V.
In current royalty, Crown Princess Victoria is in this photo and according to my research, she could be wearing a necklace created from the stomacher jewel that Queen Victoria is wearing in the photo above.
What do you think?

In 1892, Queen Victoria might have worn a similar gown to this plate from Harper's Bazar, January 2nd.

This photo of Queen Victoria shows a similar style with a fur trim and may have been around 1892 as she would have been 30 years old at that time.
 Since I have a skirt appropriate for the era that I have used for several other gowns, I will reuse the skirt once more and I create a bodice from Timeless Stitches TSB-130 Basic Ballgown.
I use scraps of the matelass√© fabric used for the skirt, and velvet inserts for interest.  The bodice neckline and skirt hemline are trimmed with fox fur and a nice sparkle to the buttons will give it a royal feel.

The beautiful part of what the royal family of Sweden shares is the heirlooms and heritage of their Royal Family Order, badge, star, and sash.  This is Crown Princess Victoria wearing the appropriate pieces.
On her upper left side nearest her shoulder she wears the Royal Family Order.  It is an order awarded by the sovereign of a monarchy to female members of the royal family as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals worn by the men.  The order is more of a personal memento rather than a state decoration although it can be worn during state occasions.  Oscar II is the earliest known Swedish king to present female relatives with a miniature portrait of himself surrounded by brilliants.  In Sweden the portraits are known as Kungens miniatyrportratt, literally, The King's miniature portrait.  This is a close-up with a portrait of King Gustav V.
Other Royal Family Orders:

The Royal Order of the Seraphim (Seraphim being a category of Angels) is a Swedish order of chivalry created by King Frederick in 1748 together with the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Polar Star.   The order has only one class with the dignity of Knight, Member for women, and Member of the Cloth for clergymen. When originally instituted the knights of the Order were required to supervise the major hospitals and mental asylums in Sweden, and in particular, the Seraphim Hospital which was a major hospital in Stockholm until it closed in 1980.  During the course of the 19th century this requirement died out.  Since the reorganization of the orders in 1975 the Order of the Seraphim and the Order of the Polar Star are only awarded to members of the royal family, however, the order can also be conferred upon foreign citizens such as heads of state and members of foreign royal families.
The ribbon or sash of the Order of the Seraphim is pale blue, referred to as seraphim blue.
The badge of the order hangs from the sash.  It is a white-enameled gold Maltese Cross with a gold patriarchal cross on each arm of the cross and gold seraphim between the arms of the cross and framing with their wings the central medallion.  The badge hangs from a gold and enameled royal crown.
The star of the order, also worn on the left side, is the same as the obverse of the badge without the royal crown, except that the star is entirely of silver and only the central medallion is enameled.
Credit for the photos and information from these websites:
In honor of my family, my paternal grandmother, and her home country of Sweden, I set out to recreate a similar impression.
I have previously purchased some jewel pieces and buttons from a craft store:
And created a set of Royal Family Orders with my husband as the monarch of our family.
With a blue moire sash and similar badge and star, I am ready for the Gala and Red Carpet Presentation at Costume College 2015.
Queen Silvia wears the beautiful Nine Prong Tiara:
A similar tiara was offered at auction:
My completed costume recreation to honor my paternal grandmother and her home country of Sweden:
Historical Sew Fortnightly
What It Is:  Sweden Order of the Seraphim Recreation
The Challenge:  Heirlooms & Heritage
Fabric:  Matelass√© and velvet
Pattern:  Timeless Stitches Basic Ballgown Bodice
Year:  1892
Notions:   Buttons, fur trim, moire ribbon, craft supplies
How historically accurate is it?  Very close for the correct impression with due respect.
Hours to complete?  6 hours
First Worn:  Costume College 2015 Gala and Red Carpet Presentation
Total Cost:  $245 for notions and trim

A little Costume College fun!

I hope you have enjoyed this bit of history and recreating!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #7 - Accessorize

July – Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.
The Dreamstress
Historical Sew Monthly
If you have read my post for the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #6 you already know that I'm going to share with you two items I made to accessorize my Regency costume.
The first was a beautiful piece of dove gray chiffon that was the perfect size to accessorize my riding hat.  This was time for me to learn how to sew a rolled hem as I had perhaps 60 miles of hem to sew.  Yes, that's slightly exaggerated, but that is certainly how it looked to me!  Several videos and some online tutorials helped me learn a nice technique that I will share with you here.
1.  Begin by folding a narrow hem.  I used approximately 1/4".  Take a long stitch into and then out of the fold.  This stitch is approximately 3/8".  Finish the stitch and the thread will be hidden in the fold.

2.  Move the point of the needle down directly from where it came out of the upper stitch and take a very tiny stitch just below the fabric that you folded over.  This stitch will show when you create your rolled hem so make it very small.  Look closely at these photos and you will see the thread coming down from the top stitch to the bottom stitch.
3.  Continue by taking the needle straight back up to the top of the fold and make another long stitch inside the fold.  Then come back down and take a tiny stitch into the fabric just beneath the folded fabric.  Do this for 8 stitches.  It will look like this:

4.  After you have created the pattern 8 times pull your thread and stroke the fabric to make a smooth rolled hem.  The stitches going from top to bottom will pull nicely and roll the fold down to the lower stitching.  It's really a beautiful finished hem!

This was a nice project to take with me during work assignments and here is my finished scarf on the Regency riding hat.  I love the look of the rolled hem!

Now that I have a new skill I can use it to make another accessory - a Regency chemisette.  Since I didn't have time to hand sew my Regency bodiced petticoat and gown, I can be more historically accurate with my chemisette since it is a much smaller project.

The pattern is included in the La Mode Bagatelle Regency wardrobe pattern collection.  I sew the French seams entirely by hand, and use my newly learned rolled hem technique to finish the sides of the chemisette.  Some lace, a few buttons, some grosgrain ribbon to secure the chemisette when worn, and now I can add some modesty to my daytime Regency gown.

The accessories are finished for my first Regency costume.

Historical Sew Fortnightly

What It Is:  Scarf and Chemisette
The Challenge:  Accessorize
Fabric:  Chiffon and muslin
Pattern:  La Mode Bagatelle Regency Wardrobe
Year:  1810s
Notions:  Thread, buttons, lace, grosgrain ribbon
How historically accurate is it?  Completely hand sewn.
Hours to complete?  Scarf - 8 hours    Chemisette - 2 hours
First Worn:  Costume College 2015
Total Cost:  All items were scrap from other projects.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #6 - Out Of Your Comfort Zone

June – Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.
The Dreamstress
Historical Sew Monthly
There was never a doubt as to what garment I was going to create for this Challenge and there was never a doubt that it was so far out of my comfort zone that I had no clue where to start.  Since I was going to be attending Costume College 2015 and the theme for the Sunday morning event was Breakfast with the Bennetts, this was going to be my maiden voyage into the Regency Era.  Research yielded wonderful inspiration and I realized that I might enjoy this new era.  This is the Kyoto Costume Institute exhibit that set my heart racing and if I were going to make only one Regency era costume in my life, this would be my inspiration!

It seems easier to venture into new eras of costume now that I have been sewing and blogging and making friends with some amazing costumers.  It was through some of these other costumers' recommendations that I found the pattern that I ultimately used for my project.  La Mode Bagatelle offers a Regency wardrobe in a single package.
The package contains patterns and a full instruction booklet for a wardrobe from the inside out and top to hem including trim and embroidery instructions.  There is a wonderful explanation of the pattern pieces to use for a riding habit and the luck continued from there!
A few years ago I purchased a sample hat from a costume hat pattern designer.  While the hat was in the style of the 1860s I noticed the style was also used during the Regency period  and similar to my inspiration although the sides of the brim were turned upward a bit more than my hat.  I had also purchased an embroidered linen fabric from the same milliner and it was a the fabric she had used for the hat.  What luck!  I had also purchased some beautiful dusty rose embroidered linen from her which would make a beautiful Spencer.  Since I had to teach a ribbon flower class at Costume College I decided to embellish the hat with ribbon pansies I had made.  I had a pair of dove gray shoes with a Regency impression, a length of dove gray chiffon, and purchased dove gray leather gloves.  My plan was complete!
Another stroke of luck as my class is scheduled for 9AM the same morning as the Breakfast with the Bennetts at Costume College.  I wear my finished gown and accessories to a beautiful breakfast and then to my Ribbon Flower class and find that Regency is quite comfortable although with the train I only have one hand to use at any given time as the other is holding my train so that I can move around the room.  Apparently that is a vintage pose!

While I'm waiting for my photos from Costume College to appear on the photographer's website, I'll show you the finished photos that I took at home.  Notice the pretty silk shawl?  A lucky find at the airport bookstore on my way to Costume College!  $14.99 and the colors were perfect.  It is shorter than those worn during the period but if they had had another at the bookstore, my shawl would be twice as long.  *smile*   Also lucky because with the pressure of packing in June for a move on July 7, there wasn't time to sew the Spencer.  But I'll save that for the Re-Do Challenge in December.
And here is my finished Out of My Comfort Zone Regency gown!
First, the bodiced petticoat.  I used coutil for the lining of the bodice and it is boned in four places.  There is a casing and drawstring on the entire upper edge.  It is made from a bleached muslin with a cotton lace at the lower edge.

The petticoat is extremely supportive and provides the perfect silhouette for a Regency impression, however, it is not modest by any definition.  So I'll share this photo on my dressform just to give you an idea of what I mean.


For the gown I chose the crossover bodice option with trained skirt and short sleeves.

The July Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge is called Accessorize and for that month I made the chiffon scarf and chemisette for the Regency costume.  I'll share a photo here so that you can see the complete costume although I do have a blog post for those accessories.  I have to admit, the entire costume was such fun to wear!!

Now I'll put this post in my draft folder while I wait for the photographer's photos. 
Edited September 11, 2015
The Costume College photographer's photos are available and I had such fun with the people at Costume College during Sunday morning's breakfast as well as the Ribbon Flower class I taught afterward.  The costumers are such wonderful people and every moment of Costume College is special!

Historical Sew Fortnightly
What It Is:  Regency Era Gown
The Challenge:  #6 Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Fabric:  Linen, muslin
Pattern:  La Mode Bagatelle Regency Wardrobe
Year:  1812
Notions:  Ribbon, buttons
How historically accurate is it?  The Regency impression seems good as compared to my research but due to time constraints I used a sewing machine for the gown and bodiced petticoat.
Hours to complete?  20 hours
First Worn:  Breakfast With The Bennetts at Costume College 2015
Total Cost: $55
Love always,