Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trims, accessories and bargains

My stays are finished but the batteries in the camera was out (they are in the charger now) so the pictures of it whith me in it will have to wait until tomorrow.
While waiting for the batteries I would like to share some ideas with you, we'll start with the trims:

On the top is a silver metallic braid that I intend to use on the edges of my cuffs. I bought it on ebay mostly because it is very similiar in the design with one braid that was on a 1750 stomacher in the FASHION book.
Now my pet en l'air will be of a later date so I'm thinking of making a narrow version of this kind of trim (the bottom one) out of the plain taffeta I got instead, but I haven't made up mind yet:

The picture is borrowed from Art, beauty and well ordered chaos and her tutorial for making different kind of ruching.

In the middle of the top picture is the lace I'm going to use in the neckline of my shift. It's 100 % Cotton and slightly cream colored. I got it on my last job, when I made the orders for the factory I was allowed to order some for myself too. So I got 25 meters of it ;)

And at the bottom we have another ebay find. It's 100% Cotton and cream colored and I love the flower and bow motif. I will use it for my engagentes, in double layers and heavyly gathered. (I have 10 yards of it so I can splurge ;) )

While swearing over my stays, I have had plenty of time to ponder about acessories. My biggest issue was what to wear around my neck. Simple strings of pearls are not my thing so I decided to go with the silk ribbon in a bow with a charm option. I've reserached a bit and the most common version of ths is to wear a cross. I'm a pagan and out of respect for those who are christians I will not wear their religiuos symbol as an fashion acessorie, now matter how period correct it happens to be. I found this pendant in a flea market about month ago and I've decided to use it:

I think it's made of silver because it was covered in those blackish smears that unpolished silver has. I paid 5 SEK (under 1$) for it! I like the peacock motif and think it's suiting since this we'll be one of the most decorated outfits I've ever made. I willl try to get a rather wide ribbon so I can tie a big bow like this one:

I've also decided to try to make myself some new earrings. I''ve found a place that sells real pearl drops so I will go for those with a silver bow accent.

Then we ave arrived to the most fun part. HATS!
I will make two,one tricorn and one wide brimmed. I love the tricorns but I also know that they are not so very historic accurate for all occasions, hence the need to make a wide brimmed one too.

The tricorn will be covered with light blue velvet or light blue silk taffeta. The trim will follow my pet en l'air so it will be silver or ruched taffeta. It will have a sash round the crown made of white thin silk adorn with the metallic buckle that I bought earlier.I'm planning to buy some very pink feathers and a white silk rose to top it of.

The wide brimmed one will probaly be covered with some black silk (note to self, need to buy it). It will have a white sash or maybe a wide pink silk ribbon and the same kind of buckle that my tricorn has. And a plume made of ostritch feathers. BTW for my swedish readers, I found this site while searching for feathers and it looks like a cheap and promising source...

I've also been thinking about a fan but I'm not done planning this one yet so I can't share so much about it.

To top this superlong post of, here are pictures of too great bargains I've made:

This is a trinket box that I found on Tradera (a swedish auction site). It needs a new lining, the old one is ripped, but I liked the design on the lid so much so I decided to buy it anyway.

This is 60 spools of silk sewing thread. Some of them are full and some of them are only half but for a beginner embroiderer as myself, it is a gold mine! I got all this silk, a pair of very cute embroidery scissors and a package of needles for 185 SEK with shipping. (It's about 26$). It's a steal considering that one roll of sewing silk thread costs me 15 SEK at my other supplier. And I get the cute containers that the spools are living in too :D
I bought this stuff here (sorry only in Swedish):

Now I'm going to drink some tea and start sewing on my chemise.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

18th century coat/waistcoat pocket tutorial

There are many great tutorials out there that I've had great use of so now its my time to give something back to the costume community. Bear with my though, this is my first sewing tutorial ever written in English.

I learned this method of putting in pockets during my "practical vocational training" at the costume department at Borås City theater. They had learned the technique on a costume class for Lena Dhalström, a costumer that works for Drottningholms Slottsteater. (I've had "practical vocational training" there too and Lena really knows her stuff, I learned so much during the months I spent there).

Any way on to the tutorial:

  1. Mark the position of the pocket flap and the pocket hole:

  2. Cut out one pocket bag, it should be the length of your hand measured from the bottom of the hole x 2 + 2-3 cm. Cut one piece of your outer fabric thats about 2-3 cm wider that your pocket hole:

  3. Stitch the fabric piece on to the pocket bag in such position that it will fit over the pocket hole. You must have the pocket bag sticking out a couple of centimeters over your marking for the pocket flap.

  4. Put your pocket bag and your coat/waistcoat right sides together, mark the shape of your pocket hole on the back side of the pocket pag and stitch through all the layers around the outline. Cut ut your hole and leave 2,5 mm edge.

  5. Turn your bag into the hole and press it flat. The 2,5 mm edge you left will help you form a neat frame around your hole. "Dot stitch" (for swedish readers prickstygn) around the edge to keep everything in place :
  6. Take your bag and fold it so that at least 2 cm are sticking out over the flap marking (on the backside). Press and pin so it stays there. Place your pocket flap right side down and the point upwards, with the seamline on top of the marking and stitch it on though both layers. Fold you flap down and stitch down your lining with small stitches to hide the seam allowance . Press and voila you have installed a pocket!

    Here are some pictures of a finished one:

    Front flap closed

    Front flap open (You can see the 2,5 mm frame I was talking about earlier if you look at the upper edge of the hole)

    Back, the top line is the stitch that's holding both the bag and the flap.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The stays - before remaking

Right now I'm working on binding the bottom of the stays and when that gruesome task is finished I will move on to inserting the horizontal bones. Since this takes a lot of time I thought I might amuse you with the background of these stays.

I made these as my final project when I was in tailor school 5 years ago. I had limited time to research, make them and making a paper on them so I choose to sew them with machine and only do the interior finishing by hand.I couldn't find any reliable sources back then on how the 18th century silks looked so I made my stays of stiff linen in two layers. I boned it with reed thorough and bound the edges with cream colored lambs leather.

I used this pattern from Corset and Crinolines:

This is how they looked back then:

I was much more fit in these days so the stays turned out too big on me. Now they fit much better due to the more eh...wisdom I gained....

So in these pictures you can see that I have too fitting issues (besides that they are too big), the angle on the straps needs to be adjusted and the neckline at CF needs to be lowered so my boobs have a little more room. I also added two extra bones at the side of the bust and at the side on the front for more support.

I hope that I can post pictures of the refurbished stays soon.


Monday, September 7, 2009

And the award goes to...

I'm late with this but I've had trouble deciding and have wrestled with my stays all weekend.
Here are my nominees (in random order) :

Johanna over at 18th century blog
For making a fantastic resource and for posting beautiful pictures of her costumes, events and museum visits.

Maria and Fuchsia's 18th century dress project
For it was her blog that sparked my inspiration to start my project

Gail with her blog Art, beauty and ewell ordered chaos
For a very inspiring blog with a lot of interesting projects

Vivcore author of Fancy Girl and her Vivcore journal of Power!
For kindly sharing lots of inspiring information and nice tutorials

Hanna and the Quasi-Historical costumer
An inspiring blog and interesting projects (and she has a ball jointed doll, I'm so jealous!)


Friday, September 4, 2009

Power cuts can be useful sometimes...

On Wednesday this week, the power was out for almost a whole day and night. I could not work in my sewing studio, since I needed the electricity for both the machines and the light. (I currently only have artificial light in the studio but my lovely M are going to install a window for me).

So I had nothing else to do than resort to my hand sewing. First I embroidered on my pocket until I ran out of thread. Then I started to painstakingly remove the cream colored lambs leather I had bound the edges of my stays with. Oh, my what tiny stitches I had used :/

When that was done I started to remove all the bones. I was astonished when I discovered that it was only the horisontal, the shoulder bones, the center back ones and the longest side bones that were broken. The rest were completely intact.

I decided to go on and replace all om them any way, because I still think synthetic whale bone is better boning material. I also discovered that the pre cut crinoline steel I had ordered for CB was to shoort. I must have done a complete screw up when I measured the lenght of them or I screwed up the numbers when I wrote them down. (I hate having dyscaculia, it truly sucks sometimes). So now I have for precut and dipped lenghts that are completley useless for this project :(

Instead of the crinoline steel I now plan to use spring steel bomig, the same as I used in my pocket hoops. (I just have to find it, it's somewhere in the house or in my studio...) It's rather sturdy even though it's only 7 mm wide so I think it will work. I will put two lenghts in each channel though just to be sure of good support for the lacing. I will use the same steell boning on the horisontal boning too since I've read in Corstes & Crinolines that this was a common method for good bust support.

This evening I altered my straps and added some more boning channels and I will spend the rest of the night cutting, smoothing the edges and putting in plastic bones in my stays while watching this documentary of Marie Antoinette (again) and drool over the black/white and pink/white striped polonaise I want to make.

To finish this horribly long post, here are a picture of my pocket (again):

And one of my stays before I started to remake them: