Monday, March 28, 2016

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #3 - Protection

March – Protection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.) - The Dreamstress

In a previous Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge I made an apron from a vintage 1940s pattern and wanted to start a little collection of aprons through the decades.  That was in 2014 and so this Challenge is the perfect time to begin the collection with a wonderful find from a 1934 sewing magazine.  Of course the 1930s are a time of stretching the budget through repurposing and reusing and recycling and the apron sewing pattern follows that trend exactly.  This sweet little apron is made from an old bordered tablecloth.  eNeedlecrafts has made this pattern available in a pdf download but the pattern is now part of the public domain.


It's incredibly easy to find bordered tablecloths in antique shops and flea markets.  The pattern calls for a 42 inch square tablecloth, or even a 36 inch square for a shorter person.  I find a cute yellow plaid linen 46 inch square tablecloth and decide that at $5.00 it is quite perfect.

With my instructions printed from my etsy purchase and digital download (who could have imagined any of that in 1934!) I begin my tablecloth apron.

I'm using a fabric marker that disappears with time or when water is sprayed on it and I measure and draw my pattern on the tablecloth.  The tablecloth has seen a lot of wonderful meals and has some holes in it, so I try to set my pattern for best use of the good areas.

The main portion of the apron, the ties, and the pocket are cut.  I pin everything on the dressform and choose a piece of leftover material that will give me the best pattern for the neck back piece.

After I've cut my back neck piece I'm ready to hem all the edges.  The small pile of material in the lower right corner is all that is wasted from the original tablecloth.

It's spring and I just can't resist adding some daisy trim from my stash which adds just the exact amount of pretty for this recycled tablecloth.

Who will notice that hole when it is covered with a pretty daisy?

The tablecloth has a new life as a perfect spring apron!

The lady of the house with her new apron 82 years ago in 1934.

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  #3 Protection
Material:  Linen border print tablecloth
Pattern:  eNeedlecrafts on
Year:  1934
Notions:  Thread and daisy trim
How historically accurate is it?  Pattern from a vintage sewing magazine
Hours to complete:  3
First worn:  Today
Total cost:  $5.00 for tablecloth and $3.99 for pattern

Happy Spring,

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #12 - Re-Do

December – Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges. - The Dreamstress

Finally!  My December 2015 Challenge and my 39th completed Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge!  But it almost didn't happen....

In the spirit of keeping things simple I decide to add to what was my greatest challenge in all of 2015 - Out of Your Comfort Zone.  This was the June 2015 Challenge and I made my first-ever-and-scared-to-death-to-do-it Regency gown.  I wore it to Costume College that summer and even taught a class wearing the gown since I was teaching how to make ribbon flower pansies and I had decorated my hat with those flowers.

June 2015 Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge - Our Of Your Comfort Zone
This is the blog post for that Challenge:
My inspiration for this Regency gown was an ensemble from the Kyoto Costume Institute.
There may be a day where I will encourage my husband to join me in this era, but that day is not now.  I do, however, want to create a Spencer - a short jacket. The pattern I used for the gown is a complete wardrobe and has a wonderful Spencer pattern with options for two different collars, a peplum, and oversleeves.  The pattern is Regency Wardrobe by La Mode Bagatelle.
Being short on time and long on a stash fabric of embroidered linen that I purchased from the same costumer who sold me the white linen for the gown, I go immediately into a final sewing.
All pieces and lining cut and ready.

Lining for front.  Notice the 3/4" shortness of the front piece?  That happened with the outer layer as well and I still don't know why, but I simply tapered the lower edge into the side piece and made a note to revise if I make this pattern again.  Note to self - always make a mock-up.

Lining back.

Tabs for sleeves.
Pieces ready for assembly onto the main body of the Spencer - lower band, peplum, collar with tassel, lined sleeves with lace and tabs.

Collar ready for assembly to the main bodice.

Collar basted to bodice.
Lining attached.

Back with collar.

Front with collar.
Lower band is added, peplum attached, and band lining stitched in place.
Attach the sleeves, some hand finishing because there wasn't time to be historically accurate and hand sew ALL THE THING, and I have a pretty pink Spencer for my Regency gown.  I really love the color and in different lighting it changes to a beautiful dusty rose color.


At this point it's the holidays, work assignments, cold weather, and a determination on my part to have some wonderful photos of this ensemble being worn.  When I wore the gown I was nervous as it was completely 'out of my comfort zone' as the named Challenge.  Although many people saw it at Costume College I didn't receive one comment about the gown.  When I finally posted it in the Challenge album there wasn't a single comment and only 9 'likes'.  While still hesitating to wear, photo, and post my final Challenge for 2015 I create a two-tone feather inspired by this portrait.
I clipped the feathers off each side of two different color feathers and then ladder stitched them together.  It worked well and I see other multi-colored feathers in my future!

My husband has graciously agreed to be a photographer for a day and I ready everything.  Then it rains.  While combing the stash for a fabric for my next project I spy this lonely little remnant and decide it is the perfect color for a reticule for my ensemble and the La Mode Bagatelle pattern already contains a wonderful design.  So as to not lose my nerve about the photo shoot, I make up this pretty reticule.
The exterior and the lining and my go-to tool for sewing points - a wooden chopstick.

Thread the ribbon completely around from one side...

Thread a second ribbon completely around from the other side and knot the ends.

Pull the ribbons and you have a pretty reticule to carry your cell phone.

It is now March 21st, the second day of spring and the weeping willow tree in our front yard is in full bloom.  It is clear and sunny but very windy and my husband and I enjoy a spring day with me in a very spring-like Regency gown and accessories.  Thank you, hubby!!

Historical Sew Fortnightly

What It Is:  Regency Spencer and Accessories
The Challenge:  2015 #12 - Re-Do
Fabric:  Linen and cotton lining
Pattern:  La Mode Bagatelle Regency Wardrobe
Year:  1812
Notions:  Thread, tassel, frog closures, lace
How historically accurate is it?  Primarily machine stitched with hand finishing.
Hours to complete?  8 hours
First Worn:  Today for photos.
Total Cost:  $18

Love always,