Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Three Magazines, One Fashion Plate


Years ago, this would be 2001 or 2002, I had a very good mail day in which I received a copy of a fashion plate from La Belle Assemblee and a bound edition of The Lady's Monthly Museum from 1829. Much to my surprise, one of the dresses in one of the fashion plates was identical. I wrote about them on my webpage.

So imagine my surprise when a third copy came up on Pinterest! This one is from 1828, and was published as Costumes allemand et francois.

This dress was also redrawn in Costume in Detail

Here's a link to the pins--I couldn't post them next to each other, so a screenshot and Flickr it was!

Quite exciting, no?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Virginia Cloth Anglaise and Another Muff!

I wore my Virginia cloth dress to An Evening with the Redcoats at the Skirball Cultural Center this past weekend, so that of course means pictures! Since this wasn't a costume event, there aren't a lot. I made sure to get a few posed shots though!

Virginia Cloth Anglaise Virginia Cloth Anglaise

Front and back views--and oops, my sleeves are pushed up a bit! I noticed this after, pictures, of course :)

Virginia Cloth Anglaise Virginia Cloth Anglaise

A closer front and back view. You can see where the front is pinned under the robings.

DSC_4889 DSC_4874

With a few accessories--my new mitts and an apron. Oh, and with the sleeves more properly placed, even if my shift cuffs aren't buttoned.


And with my new green short cloak. I took pictures of making this--the whole hour and 20 minutes it took--and based it off this page on cloaks.

Muff Number Three!

And my new muff. It seemed a little much to do a post for just this! And it really doesn't go with this dress! It's grey silk satin, green silk embroidery floss leftover from a pinball (not the more proper flat silk), seed pearls couched on, and another Spoonflower miniature!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Sleeves

Who hasn't been working on a project and had a moment where the sleeves just weren't cooperating and then wished that all clothes throughout all history had been sleeveless, chilly, goosebumpy arms and all?

As I was working on my 1780s blue silk jacket (inspired by a 1790s jacket that I own, naturally) today, I noticed something--as in all my other bodices, the sleeve cap didn't match the armscye. This didn't bother me as it's what I always do. I had tried the jacket on, and was happy with the sleeve fit, so knew the mismatching wasn't an issue.

Every fabric behaves differently. Even the same fabric behaves tends to behave differently when made into two different sleeves--it's rare that I set two sleeves exactly the same. They usually want to do something a little different! I firmly believe in close enough when it comes to patterning sleeves. Get a sleeve that pretty much fits, and fix it in the final fabric.

Now, I wish I had a slightly less messy fabric than this brocaded taffeta to demonstrate this!

Blue Silk Jacket Sleeve

You can see the shoulder strap and the sleeve cap is extending past it on the right. Initially, as I usually do, I matched the edge of the sleeve cap to the edge of the armscye edge. Then I tried it on (I recommend parallel pinning to do this!) and looked at where the sleeve bulged, and then pulled the extra fabric in.

Blue Silk Jacket Sleeve

In this picture, I'm folding the sleeve strap into its normal place.

Blue Silk Jacket Sleeve

And here's the sleeve strap folded into place. I will trim the seam allowances to match, especially since in this jacket they're going to be pressed towards the bodice and the lining will cover the raw edge!

Blue Silk Jacket Sleeve

And just another angle of the same. The strap is on top, with the top of the sleeve extending below.

I hope this is a helpful technique--I know when I started out and thought that I had to match the cap to the armscye perfectly, I had quite a bit of difficulty with sleeves. Now that I don't try for that, sleeves are no more daunting than anything else!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Muff Cover--A Mini Tutorial!

I have a muff base, so of course, I needed more than one muff cover! Some of my favorite period muffs are those with miniatures. I didn't think I'd be able to have one though, as I don't draw, paint, or anything remotely like that.

Enter Spoonflower and public domain artwork :)

Pink Muff 5

It was really quite simple--I found a painting I liked, in this case, The Wool Winder by Greuze, cropped it into an oval in Photoshop Elements, and uploaded it to Spoonflower. I chose a centered design, and just hit the smaller button until I liked the measurements--about 3 1/4 by 2 1/2 inches. Then, all that was left was to order a cotton/silk blend swatch. An 8x8 swatch is more than enough fabric--note the size of the design--and only $5.

Pink Muff 1

And here's the swatch. The cotton silk is a nice, satiny fabric.

Pink Muff 2

I cut the "miniature" out and clipped the edges so they could be tucked under.

Pink Muff 3 Pink Muff 4

Then pinned it on, and sewed into place with a whipstitch. Unlike my last muff, I sewed the trim on first this time.

I then made a frame and bow of some sequins I had on hand (yes, modern, but I had them on hand, and they are flat, not cupped. They should be round, but I was impatient and didn't want to spend a fortune on real metal spangles for this project).

I then finished the cover as in my last muff. I did make this one two inches shorter though, so it fits better. Important with no trim on the ends!

And now, of course, I need another. I uploaded a mezzotint to Spoonflower today during lunch at work. I didn't even crop it this time (silly impatient me) and will just cut it into an oval when it gets here. This will be a grey silk satin muff with a pearl frame and a green embroidered vine around that.

Muff Number Three!

I think I might be addicted to muff covers. They're quick and so pretty!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An 18th Century Muff Cover--A Tutorial!

Part One of this tutorial describes how to make a muff base


First, measure the circumference of your muff. This will be measurement one for your cover. Mine measured 20 inches.


Next, measure the length of your muff, plus a little extra for overhang. My desired measurement was 15 inches, though next time I'll make it a little shorter.


Cut a piece of fabric that measures measurement one--with no seam allowance--by measurement two--with a one inch seam allowance on each side. My fabric therefore measured 20x17 inches. You don't want a seam allowance on the circumference so it's nice and tight. You want a larger than usual seam allowance on the length so you can make channels for the ribbon.


Iron the length ends under 1/2 inch, then turn and iron them 1/2 inch again. This will make sewing your channels much easier!


Unfold the seam allowances, fold the muff cover in half, and pin the top edge shut. Stop the pins about 1/2 inch from the fold for the channels. These are the vertical pins in the above picture. You're just going to sew between those two pins so the ribbon has room to escape. I used a small backstitch for that seam.


Once you've sewn the seam, refold the channels at the edges into place, and sew. I used a small whipstitch for this, and went over the opening twice.

muff_cover07 muff_cover08

Thread the ribbon through the channels.


Stuff the muff into the cover, and tie the ribbons. Make sure you can still fit your hands in :)


And decorate! You can decorate before sewing as well, of course, but my trim was so thick I didn't want it in the seam. I also wanted to play with placement.

And now I'm really looking forward to a second cover :)

An 18th Century Muff Base--A Tutorial

While visiting the Milliner's Shop in Williamsburg, I saw something rather brilliant--a muff base with removable covers. How wonderful is that? Only one largish thing to store, with lots of little fun covers? Well, with an upcoming trip to Williamsburg in March (please, don't be unseasonably warm), I decided that it was about time to make one. Which, of course, means a tutorial!

Though linen would probably be a more typical base, I used some wonderfully soft pink wool leftover from my pink and green wool Regency dress. I came across it when looking for linen and decided to use it. I used polyester fiberfill to stuff the muff. Yes, wool would be the accurate choice, but I didn't want to use up the last of my wool batting, and for this purpose, the synthetic does work. And sometimes being able to go out and buy something is just nice!

OK, so, onto the muff!


I started with a rectangle of fabric 21x26 inches. (Well, I started with two that size and then realized that the muff would be too big. Way too big. I liked the folded in half size!) I folded that in half to make a 21x13 inch rectangle and sewed the long seam shut using a small running stitch.

You can make the muff whatever size you want--look at fashion plates and originals for ideas. I say that a lot, don't I? But I only say it because it's true!


Next, I folded the muff in half, creating a tube. The bottom end of the muff is a fold, and you stuff the top end. You're basically starting to turn it right side out, and stopping half way.


This picture shows the tube a little more clearly. Stuff the tube! Use lots of stuffing. You want the muff to be nice and firm.


My stuffing came with a Stuffing Stix! Use it! It really helped. If you don't have one, it's really just a blunt chopstick :)


Once the muff is full, pin it shut. Continue adding stuffing around the top as you go.

muff06 muff07

Once you have it pinned, turn the edges in to each other. Trust me--it's much easier to do this in two steps instead of turning the edges in right away!


Whipstitch the top edge shut. And that's it! You're ready to make lots and lots of pretty muff covers!


Part two shows how to make a muff cover!

You can see my friend Aubry's muff here
And a description at A Fashionable Frolick

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Sacque--Or Robe a la Francaise--Tutorial, Part Nine--Separate Front Skirts

Since the rest of this tutorial tells how to make a sacque with the skirt and front bodice cut in one, but many sacques--especially later ones--were cut with separate skirts, I thought I'd go ahead and update this tutorial!

I'm mainly basing this off the robe a la francaise in Patterns of Fashion 1.

This tutorial picks up after Part Three, The Back of the last tutorial. No need to repeat myself!

The only difference between the pleats in this dress and the rest of the tutorial is I made them narrower, and to do this, I put a small pleat under the back pleats, as seen in this entry on a cotton sacque at The Sign of the Golden Scissors.

Cotton Print Sacque 1

The back is pleated, the side back pieces sewn on, and it's ready for the side skirt to be pleated in the above picture.

The side back pieces are quite simple to sew on. I like to start them about an inch above the lining (wiggle room is always good!), then just sew with a running stitch to the hem.

The side skirt on this sacque is different than the chocolate francaise. While that skirt was straight, the pieces of this skirt are gored. The back of the skirt is straight, and the side piece has one straight edge and one gored edge. The straight edge of this piece is sewn to the back skirt, and the gored side is sewn to front skirt, and left open for the pocket slit at the top. The front of the skirt is essentially a trapezoid, with two parallel gored edges. This makes much more sense with the pattern draft in front of you!

Cotton Print Sacque 3

The pocket slit will be on the gored edge of this piece. Hem that first. It's much easier when you pleat it! Just hem about 8 or 9 inches from the top. Then make stacked knife pleat as shown, with the hemmed edge of the pocket slit on the outer edge.

Cotton Print Sacque 4

Baste that into place. Later, you'll sew it to the lining, but basting it now makes it much less prone to wiggling out of place later on!

Cotton Print Sacque 5 Cotton Print Sacque 2

Tuck the pleats underneath the bodice back. Snip the bodice edge above that so that both the pleats and the bodice edge can lie flat.

And yes, these pictures are from opposite sides of the skirt!

Cotton Print Sacque 6

Now it's time for the front pieces. I cut these to the same size as my pattern pieces with a little extra seam allowance. Because of my figure, I didn't need to dart this piece, but they usually were darted. It'll be hidden by trim anyway! It's a figure specific thing, so look at a few originals (I do suggest that a lot, don't I?) and do what your figure needs!

I started at the back, and pinned the bodice piece into place, folding the edge under as I went.

Cotton Print Sacque 7

Then I continued down the front edge, pinning and smoothing as I went.

Cotton Print Sacque 8

Then I continued at the bottom edge, still smooothing...

Cotton Print Sacque 9

Then, up the back. Still smoothing, of course! It should extend just past the back pleats. Don't worry about following your lining's seamline. Just make an attractive angle.

And now, sew all that down! I used a spaced backstich and point a rabbatre sous le main. A much easier stitch than it sounds, really :)

Cotton Print Sacque 10

And now, the skirt! It's topstitched on based on an example in Fitting and Proper.

Hem a few inches of the front edge opening, or turn it under as if you were going to hem it. Then fold the top edge over, and pin it to the front of the skirt. Now, the front panel is slanted, so you need to make the fold deeper at the opening of the skirt than the side seam. Here's the fun part--play with the pleat until your skirt hangs correctly.

Cotton Print Sacque 11

Now you're going to make a stacked pleat to mirror the back pleat. Again, the pocket slit should be hemmed. To do this, I just pinned the first pleat, then continued making pleats over that. Once the pleats are done, pin the rest into place.

Cotton Print Sacque 12

The kind of finished skirt pinned on! It just needs the stacked pleat. I initially read the draft incorrectly, and then forgot to take a picture of the correct way! With the extra pleat, it didn't hang right over the pocket hoops. Uh, oops? :)

Cotton Print Sacque 13

Then take the dress off the form, line up the skirt side so it's even, and sew the skirt side seam!

Untitled Untitled

And here's the finished dress! Admittedly, much was skipped in this part of the tutorial, but it is all covered elsewhere!

Robings--I left robings off this dress. It looked like some originals were done this way, and my fabric is a quilting weight cotton--I really didn't want to add extra weight. Here's my Pinterest board of cotton sacques

Now, if you want robings, you can make them like the ones on my anglaise, or you can cut the bodice piece extra wide, and then make them like on my chocolate francaise, except, of course, just bodice length. I was going to do that on the yellow sacque I just made, but make a cutting mistake and did it like the anglaise. Oops. both are period, right?

The stomacher--This dress has a compere opening--basically a split stomacher that closes with buttons. To make it, I traced the stomacher I made in this tutorial, and added a little overlap in the middle.

Sleeves--The sleeves on this are sandwiched between the lining and the outer fabric. I initially made them with the sleeve cap on top, but then I decided I wanted the narrower trim many original sacques seem to have. I have two sets of sleeve instructions up. these are the more detailed, and these show sleeves covered by robings on my chocolate francaise.

I believe this covers everything! For some reason, writing this one didn't come easily, well directions are never easy, but even less easy than usual! So please, if you have any questions, ask them! I do want these tutorials to be very, very helpful! I've already edited my anglaise tutorial based on a question, and I found an unclear spot in my francaise tutorial today as well. So please, do ask!