Monday, December 9, 2019

Historical Sew Monthly 2019 - November - Above the Belt

NovemberAbove the BeltNo hitting low! Let’s keep things on the up and up as the year closes, and make something worn above the belt.
The Dreamstress

Lady Maria Hamilton
Lady Maria Hamilton, 1802, by Thomas Lawrence

There are two things that have made me stretch and learn in my historical costuming journey:  the first is the Historical Sew Monthly.  The research and creation in a once every two weeks and now every month brought me much further in my learning than if left to my own schedule.  The second is Costume College which I've attended five times and have taken some incredible classes and learned so much.

My creation for this challenge began at Costume College 2015 when I took Kathryn Wolters class Mrs. Bennet's Coral Necklace.  I had previously sewn my first Regency costume for an HSM Challenge entitled Out of Your Comfort Zone.  Regency era fashion was definitely that!  I was wearing that costume to teach a Sunday morning class at Costume College and didn't have appropriate jewelry.  I'm all about the accessories for any historical impression and this necklace would be perfect for the Breakfast with the Bennets Sunday morning event.

As often happens in Costume College classes we just didn't have enough time to finish our project and into my bag went the project.  Last month I was searching through my Costume College bags and lo! there was my unfinished necklace.

There is a rich history of coral and coral necklaces both as a talisman to protect the wearer and for the color and beauty.  Coral necklaces were given to children through the 19th century to ward off ailments.  Coral was powdered and used as a medicinal ingredient.  The internet rabbit hole for historical research is both magical and mysterious and worth your time.

While I'm not a jewelry maker I do have a 3-in-1 tool and with that and the cut gold wire, the silk beading thread, and my memories from the class, I set out to finish this unfinished project.

To protect the coral beads from rubbing against one another and to give a free but sturdy structure to the necklace, the silk beading thread is hand knotted between each bead.  This is the same technique used for pearls.

To do this I add one coral bead, tie a knot, hold the thread near the bead with my tool inside the knot, then pull the knot until I have to remove the tool to finish tightening the knot.

For the earrings I use the precut gold wire provided by my instructor and shape it with my tool.

Coral is susceptible to perfumes, body oils, and dirt and, like pearls, should be cleaned after each wearing.  It is also susceptible to heavy handed novice jewelry creators such as myself.

After some trial and error, and a few more errors, here are my finished necklace and earrings ready for my next Regency costume event.  I think they are lovely!

Historical Sew Monthly

What the item is:  Coral Necklace and Earrings
How it fits the challenge:  Definitely worn above the belt.
Material:  Coral beads, silk beading thread, gold wire, gold seed beads, knot findings.
Pattern:  Single strand necklace, double drop earrings.
Year:  Popular 17th through 19th century.
Notions:  3-in-1 beading tool.
How historically accurate is it?  Modern materials such as bamboo dyed faux coral and knot findings for sustainability and structure.
Hours to complete:  3 hours
First worn:  Today to clean house.  How perfectly decadent!
Total cost:  $22

Monday, December 2, 2019

Historical Sew Monthly December 2019 Inspiration: On a Shoestring

On a Shoestring: It's an expensive time of year, so make an item on a tight budget
(say, under $15, or less than you'd spend on a reasonable priced takeaway meal for one person in your country - and no 'stash' doesn't count as free:  you still have to count what you would have originally paid for those items ;)  )
The Dreamstress

This will be the final Historical Sew Monthly Challenge for 2019!  What a year it has been and there have been such incredible monthly entries from so many amazing makers!

The 2020 Challenges have already been announced and they carry a common thread of Sustainability.  The wonderful part of Sustainability is that it often results in a cost savings as well.  To inspire you for the final Challenge of 2019 and in preparation for 2020 we can take a look back at past Challenges and find those entries whose final costs were under $15.  At the same time we can see why these are creations worthy of gift-giving, adding to the historical impression of garments, or even for modern use and what the creators did to keep costs in line.

#1 Dressed to the Nines

An Edwardian Reticule created by Amy Randall.  Using fabric remnants, ribbon saved from a received package, and purchased beaded tassels, Amy created this useful item for under $10.  It would be a welcome gift for historical or modern use and the perfect impression for many eras.

#2 Linen/Linens

Audrey Anna Smith recycled a $3 linen shirt to create an 18th century pocket.  Since the linen was off white, Audrey tea-dyed her thread to match.

Taylor Miller used an 18th century pocket as her first embroidery project and created this gift-worthy item for $10.

Katie Cornick recreated an 18th century pocket from the LACMA collection with her amazing embroidery skills and just $10.

#3 Sewing Kit

Vincent Briggs created a Gentleman's Wool Waistcoat using his buttonhole cutter and thimble and just $10 in materials.  The wool came from a thrift shop and is pieced to create the waistcoat front, the back is seven linen scraps pieced, and the lining is pieced as well.  As they say, piecing is period.  And it is a savings too!

#4  Upping Your Game

18th Century Girl's Gown created by Elroy Davis.  Reclaiming a bed sheet kept this beautiful piece under $10.

#5 Florals

After being gifted a lovely handkerchief, Jamie Timmer-Bisek followed an 1857 Godey Ladies' Magazine design and with less than $1 worth of thread embroidered a piece worthy of gift-giving.

#6 Favorite Techniques

Mia Falk gathered fabric scraps left over from previous projects and hand stitched an 18th century Soft Wool Bonding Cap.  Recapturing these pieces of cabbage can result in beautiful projects of their own at no additional cost.

#7  Unexpected

Finding fabric in unexpected places can yield a significant savings.  Alyssa Dawn Wesselmann found the silk for her Regency Turban Cap in a recycle shop in Japan.  She used just a bit of the silk and lined it with fabric recycled from a previous garment she had created.  Total cost is $7.

#8  Out of a Portrait

Of course smaller projects are less costly but larger projects can be thrifty as well when materials are shopped with a keen eye or received as gifts.  Leimomi Oakes created the linen petticoat and apron for under $2 with linen which had been given her over 5 years ago and a $2 piece of apron fabric which was shared with another textile artist to create the aprons for their historical impressions.

#9 Everyday

Marika Brimacombe created a Child's 15th century Camicia and Gamurra with fabric bought through a local not-for-profit that recycles.  She also used found fabric that was "waste" from the film and fashion industry in Vancouver BC.  Her total expense was just $8.

#10  Details

All entries for the October Challenge were above the $15 for this inspiration.

#11  Above the Belt

Johanna Nybelius created Late Medieval/Renaissance Rosaries from both wood and coral.  The wood were $5 and the coral $15.  Perfectly recreated from paintings and excavations.

Share your completed project in the facebook photo album for December and on Instagram:

IG #HSM2019DecProgress for works in progress.
IG #HSM2019Dec for your finished item.

Happy inspiration and Happy Holidays!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Historical Sew Monthly 2019 - October - Details!

Historical Sew Monthly 2019 - October - Details!
Sometimes the little things really make something fabulous.
Focus on the details of your garment to create something that just
gets better the closer you look.
The Dreamstress

This Challenge is all about the details and something I believe in passionately!  Sometimes those details are about the accessories.  Sometimes those details are about the wearer.  And sometimes those details are built into the garment itself and this is where I focused in creating my 1914 Dress à Corselet.

The pattern was a pdf download and print-at-home from Mrs. Depew Patterns on Etsy.  I wrote a post with some tips I've learned using the great resource that is pdf patterns.

The pattern was based on an original French pattern.  It had not been tested but I was willing to take on the challenge for what I saw as a very stylish design and perfect for several Edwardian dinners I was attending in September and October.

My design was inspired by a pair of American Duchess shoes, Seabury, based on a pair with the Newport Historical Society.  I had a piece of beautiful lace remnant with just a bit remaining after I had created a hat, a gold silk satin remnant, and a gold silk dupioni remnant.

The design on the Seabury shoes has the most beautiful colors and I had an idea to recreate the design for the corselet on the gown.  Using the Spoonflower website, I created a repeating image of the shoe design and had it printed on faux crepe de chine.  If you aren't aware of Spoonflower, let me introduce you:

The final cost was $20 for one yard but as the focus of this dress, I thought it well worth the investment as I was saving by using remnants for the remainder of the dress.  The fabric arrived and I was thrilled!

I had already decided on using pearl accessories that I had discovered in a glass jar at a flea market (yay!) and thought it would be beautiful to add some detail to the Spoonflower fabric using gold paint and glass pearls.

Sadly, the fabric remnants I wanted to use were not suitable to the drape and construction of the entire dress but happily I found a chocolate brown crepe back faux satin on sale and forged ahead.  The pattern had the original instructions, which were minimal, but as I worked I wrote my own instructions for next time.  There will be a next time as I can see a beautiful day dress from this pattern!  The dress is constructed as bodice with corselet and hobble skirt with gathered tunic overskirt all sewn into a one-piece dress that slips over the head and closes in the side seam.  I added ties to each side in place of the illustrated belt and used pre-made tassels which I embelished with pearls and beads.  More details!

The last detailed piece of the dress was the Medici collar and I wanted it to be another focus piece.  I cut the lace in a mirror image for the front facing of the collar.  Millinery wire comes already covered and as I had previously used it in the wire-framed brim for the hat made with this lace, I knew it would work well for the collar support.

I'm fortunate to own an extant blouse which I have studied numerous times to learn certain historical techniques.

It proved perfect for studying the collar stays for my new collar.  I used the same millinery wire I used on the edge and bent it with my 3-in-1 beading tool.

The extant blouse collar stays.

My recreated stays.

With the edge wire sewn in place and three stays created and sewn in place, I added a scalloped edge lace to the underside of the collar, basted the open edge, and sewed it to the dress.  I added the same scalloped edge lace to the sleeve edges and have also added pearls to the lace cuffs to hold the lace in place.

These are the accessories I selected and those gorgeous Seabury shoes!

But even without the accessories, the details of the dress are a treat:  lace Medici collar, lace and pearl cuffs, pearled and tasseled ties, and pearl and gold embellished corselet.

The October Challenge was "to create something that just gets better the closer you look".  Here is my completed 1914 Dress à Corselet.

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  October - Details!
What the item is:  1914 Dress à Corselet
How does it meet the challenge:  Detailed collar, cuffs, corselet, and ties.
Material:  Crepe back faux satin
Pattern:  Depew Patterns on Etsy 1914 Dress à Corselet #3123
Year:  1914
Notions:  Laces, glass pearls, millinery wire
How historically accurate is it?  Original French pattern and instructions, synthetic material
Hours to complete:  24 hours
First worn:  Downton Abbey Movie Celebration Dinner September 2019
Total cost:  $70