mala_14: (Default)
Before I forget everything, I better finish my recap.

Friday I dressed in my white striped Regency dress. I had a red ribbon in my hair (the one from Snow White) but managed to lose it by the time I got downstairs. My hair is just too slippery! I attended Trystan's "Suffragette Fashions" lecture and Abby Cox's "Finishing Your 18th C. Look" lecture and I took a great muff workshop by the Lady Detalle (even though I had to leave early due to extreme hunger). Buuuut mostly I just hung out and socialized with people. :)

I wasn't the only one in Regency that day. We discovered we all colour coordinated too!

Needless to say, after this I wanted more Regency stuff, like new dresses and more accessories! What you can't see very well in this picture is that I picked up my new necklace from Dames a la Mode and am happily wearing it here. It's olive green and so shiny and sparkly. Love it!

I got ready for the Social pretty early and wandered around looking for people. Ran into a big hat twin! This is Breanna (sp?), whom I met last time. We were both ready to support the campaign for women's suffrage! (Although, we kind of look more ready to go to a women's suffrage garden party or something...)

The rest of the day and the Social behind the cut )

After the social was the Pink Princess Party and the alternate quiet party. I spent time at both and enjoyed myself. I had some drinks and wore a tiara and hung out on people's beds and didn't take any pictures. It was great!

(Note: Once again, please let me know if you would like me to take down any of my pictures of you. I am totally happy to do so.)

mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
Went to an event today with living history folks. It was a fundraiser for the Manitoba Museum/trade show for local businesses. We were dressed c.1800-1860. I finished up my sleeves yesterday afternoon, so for once in a long time I wasn't up late sewing! I took some pictures when I got back. I wanted to take outdoor ones, but it started raining when I was out, so you get more hallway pics.
This outfit was pretty comfortable to wear. I can raise my arms all the way up and touch my head and stretch them across too. It's great! I can totally get actual wear out of this now. :) I love the way the back looks now. Look at those underarm wrinkles; exactly what I wanted. Although maybe I need a new shift that fits better in the shoulders. This one drops a bit too much and you can see the sleeve poking out there.
Sleeve comparisons and info )
This outfit needs a white petticoat with pocket slits. I wore my Edwardian petticoat underneath because it's narrow, plain, and white, but had to wear my pockets over it and they short of shadowed through. But I'm not working on that now. Up next is some work on baby quilts for friends' babies that were born last year. I figure if I can give them quilts before they are 1 year old, I am doing pretty well. Next costume is my new Victorian corset and various other 1867 things.

New sleeve

Jun. 1st, 2016 05:08 pm
mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
I drafted up a new sleeve with a much shallower sleevehead. And it fits so much better! There isn't any more pulling and I can move my arm around, both forward and up! It has a little bit of wrinkling in the front of the arm, which was bothering me. But upon looking at pictures of people who made up the Past Patterns gown (which has a similar pattern construction to mine) and portraits from the era, that front wrinkle just seems to be a thing. The back has just the right kind of wrinkling also. So I am very happy with this new sleeve and am about to cut it out in the real fabric. :D
These 1803 portraits show the same wrinkling/creasing at the front of the arm by the armpit:
mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
Ok, so I don't ACTUALLY need a new dress, but our living history group got invited to a fundraising event for the Manitoba Museum this Friday and it will be a bit fancier we are dressing 1800-1850. I don't want to wear my print ensemble again, because I don't think it's very fancy. My striped chemise dress comes to the rescue. Even though I made it for 1795, I figure I can put it on over my Regency stays and it will look fine. However, I sort of tried it on and I seriously have very little range of motion in the long tight sleeves. It also had some stains on the skirt where I accidentally closed a car door on it the one and only time I ever wore it. I spot cleaned the skirt and now the stains are barely there! I realized that the sleeves really held me back from wanting to wear this gown to other things. So, my solution is to re-make the sleeves, then I will have a sort of new dress for Friday. (I also need to add slits in the skirts so I can reach pockets.) I still have a good chunk of the striped cotton left if I can't cut the new sleeves from the old sleeves.

I was always unhappy with the sleeves. I think that when I made it two years ago, I just didn't have enough knowledge or experience to draft such a difficult sleeve. The new sleeve will be a shorter, elbow-length one. The sleevehead really needs to be much flatter, with more fabric at the back of the shoulder/arm. Lots of this style of gown sleeves tend to have a big crease at the back of the arm when the arm is down; this is the excess fabric that allows movement. Getting inspiration/information from the Past Patterns Lewis & Clark era gown and this gown from Colonial Williamsburg that was patterned by the 19th US Regiment of Infantry living history group.


  • new-ish, somewhat fancier dress to wear

  • the white cotton dress is a Regency wardrobe staple, I will be able to make all kinds of fun things like spencers to go with it

  • it will get worn more frequently if it is comfortable, instead of languishing in my closet


  • this style of dress really is 1795-1810 (max) because of the drawstring-front closure, so not quite in the range of what our living history group reenacts

  • it's a bit short in the skirt considering most early 1800s gowns of this sort had trains (but I don't want to worry about a train really anyways because of dirt and people stepping on it)

  • I have to do the work to re-do it ;p

mala_14: (iris)
Things I made in 2014 (some still need a bit of finishing, but are mostly done), with comments:
1. Smooth Sailing grey wool trousers: need hemming, nice wardrobe staple, will be good for when I have to look professional or something like a grown-up ;p

2. 1790s plum silk stays: technically need tape over the seams, but wearable as is, SO GLAD to finally have these done!

3. 1790s cotton-linen shift: practical and useful
More behind the cut! )
I did a terrible job on my 2014 goals, but don't care at all. I ended up wanting to sew different things. It happens. :p

On average I managed to sew one thing per month. Not bad for me. I also tried out a lot of new techniques and made a wide variety of garments. 2015 will mostly be CoCo sewing: lots of 1880s stuff and possibly a couple of other eras thrown in, plus many more accessories! :)
mala_14: (iris)
I recently joined the local Jane Austen Society of North America on the recommendation of a friend. Here are some pictures of me at the annual celebration of Austen's birthday. My friend is the photographer. It was rather dark because it's winter, so you can't really see the little ringlets I made out of my way too long bangs, but Look! whole outfit! I'm in the basement in front of a really cool fireplace.
The event took place at Ralph Connor House which he had built in the early 1900s. He nearly lost it when he went off to WWI and left his investments in the hands of a friend who proceeded to accidentally bankrupt him. To save the house he became a pretty famous author. Here's a picture of the drawing room with members of the society.
For [ profile] jenthompson, a Regency wedgie shot in the library!
And, lastly, a picture of my not-a-pompom. :)
Ok, so awkward moment: I was the only one there in costume. (My friend said that the main organizer has a dress that she usually wears for this event, but she didn't.) However, I got tons of nice compliments on my outfit and my friend is now quite determined to have one for next year. One of my professors from school was giving the presentation and we had a great talk about having 1890s stuff to wear at Dalnavert House, another local museum/house that was shut down last year and will hopefully be reopening this spring.
mala_14: (iris)
There always seems to be stuff to do! I've got my thesis going, which is getting to crunch time. There's work and family stuff and friends. Sewing is increasingly getting the short end of the stick. So far I have half of my corset pattern traced out on a mock-up fabric. That's it. I did make a trip to the fabric store the other day and got some wide, black ribbon to use as a sash for my 1790s chemise dress. There weren't very many colour options (white, red, pink, and brown were the other colours) for that width. I thought black would make a great contrast, having this portrait, which has always been a favourite of mine, in mind:

Planning on wearing it to the local Jane Austen Society of North America event that celebrates Austen's birthday.

I was good and didn't buy anything else, but saw something that was rather tempting. There was a bunch of home decor polyester fabric (labelled dupioni, but really more of a shantung or taffeta) for $4/metre. It's a pretty convincing-looking faux silk, fairly matte with just a slight sheen. And for such a price! I'm a bit of a natural fibres snob lately, but it's such a good deal. I could buy a ton of yardage without breaking the bank and make something with all the frills and furbellows, or even several somethings. What do you think LJ friends?
mala_14: (iris)
I bought my Costume College ticket the other day! And a ticket for the Gala! Yay! I can't believe that it's really happening. All I need to do is make a bunch of things to wear now... It looks to me like there are about 4-5 opportunities for costume wearing (not including vintage stuff that can be worn whenever, like it in classes). So here's what I have on the docket, but very little idea on which days to wear what:

  1. 1880s Little House on the Prairie cotton print bustle dress

  2. GoT Tyrell costume

  3. 1882 Little Mermaid gown for the Gala (Hm... just noticed that both of my bustle dresses have "Little" as the theme)

  4. Regency, either something new if I finish my stays or my 1790s white striped dress for the Breakfast with the Bennets (which needs a sash and petticoat, also need to figure out some sort of hair)

Also, hair stuff! I've got to figure this one out. I'm thinking a braided bun of some sort will be nicely versatile for lots of the above.

Other things that I am thinking of bringing, mostly vintage-y stuff for day wear

  1. 1960s pink cotton confetti print dress, has super handy pockets and is very comfy

  2. 1942 green linen dress, need to repair a seam, concerned with the fact that it's linen and wrinkles like a MoFo

Other things that I am thinking of making, but won't really care if I don't get around to it

  1. 1920s 1-hour dress, Gatsby theme

  2. Some other random vintage dress so I can make some use of my fabric stash and patterns that I have

  3. 1890s something, totally a pipe dream, I think 1890s might be my post-CoCo era

Whew! So many plans and thoughts! Anyone else bought their ticket yet? What do you think you're bringing or wearing to what (even though it's still months and months away and all plans are subject to lots and lots of change)?
mala_14: (iris)
I finally put in the last stitches of hemming and finished off my entry for the HSF challenge: Art. I was inspired by 1790s chemise gowns. In contrast with 1780s chemise gowns, these ones have fitted backs and often long sleeves.

These paintings are from the Tansey Miniatures Foundation.

The rundown:

The Challenge: Art

Fabric: Striped cotton fashion fabric (I think it's a voile) and cotton broadcloth lining

Pattern: Started off as the lining from the Open Robe in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion Vol.1

Year: 1790s

Notions: Cotton thread

How historically accurate is it? Pretty close. The design is totally accurate, the fabrics are accurate, the thread would probably not have been cotton though. Also, most portraits show some type of closure at the wrist, but I was able to get on my fitted sleeves without needing a closure. Machine sewing is obviously not accurate, but hand-finishing is! Overall, maybe about 90%

Hours to complete: Don't even know. I've been working on this on and off for the past month and a half.

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: Striped fabric was about $5/m and I used probably just over three metres, broadcloth was $10/m but didn't use much of that. Altogether, around $25.

More pictures: how it is put on, hand stitching )
All it needs to finish off the ensemble is a petticoat, a sash, and some big ol' 1790s hair!


Jun. 14th, 2014 05:33 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Finally some progress. I have the skirt just over half hemmed after working on it for a couple of hours today. A couple more tomorrow and it should be done. And only two weeks after the HSF deadline. ;p (Although this one could technically count for either challenge this month: Art and Politics of Fashion. It is very French Revolution and the time of Mary Wollstonecraft's writing.) Then pictures! Then starting the Regency stays!
mala_14: (iris)
Following the lead of [ profile] girliegirl32786 and [ profile] fancyfrocks, I am posting some pictures of what was pretty much my final pattern mock-up. I think it's so cool to see the shapes flat that turn into different 3D results.

For reference, I started out with the 1795-1803 Open Robe pattern lining from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion Vol. 1 but added a few inches of length to the bottom, raised the neckline, and adjusted it to my corseted measurements. I also changed the front/side piece into two pieces. The resulting shapes are quite obviously transitional/1790s. The position of the waistline is well above the natural waist, but not right under the bust. The back piece especially shows the movement from the very narrow two back pieces connected to a big front piece of the 1780s to the single back piece with a curved side/back piece with an underarm seam of the Regency. The sleeve is still quite 1700s in shape with the top of the sleeve cap on one side and the bottom/underarm on the other. Also, the distinct point where the curve changes direction fits into the corner where the back bodice meets the side back and strap. (When sewing this, it is easiest to sew the under arm from the point up to where the strap meets the front first and then sew the top of the sleeve in to the strap.)

Having made up the gown, in retrospect, I would move the side bodice seam forward to where the armscye is lowest. I would also take off a bit (but not much) of height from the sleeve head to eliminate the three small pleats I ended up having to add to the sleeve. (Note: I added about 10 inches to the two sides of the lower sleeve to turn them into long sleeves and then tried them on to mark the length.)
mala_14: (iris)
I put some pins in my hem on Friday, but that has been about it for sewing. Weekends tend to be incredibly unproductive for me. Social obligations take up so much time and whatever free time I have is spent reading for my thesis. I had hoped to get some sewing done today but had to go to school for work and put in the whole day there. I may still get something done this evening though. Unfortunately, this week is shaping up to be very busy. Darn, I really wanted to get that gown finished last week. Oh well. Anyways, I took some quick pictures on Friday of me wearing the gown with sleeves. I knew that they'd restrict motion, but I had no idea what that would be like. Apparently it means not being able to reach a hand much above my shoulder. There also doesn't seem to be much of a wrinkle in the back under my arm, which may account for some of the restriction. Also, The sleeves with the small back tended to keep my shoulders back and force good posture. Very interesting feeling. I wasn't quite careful enough when hemming the neckline and this has resulted in a bit of wrinkling on the front of the shoulder strap where the lining is a little bit smaller than the outer fabric. Not a big deal but something to remember for next time.

I will probably have to put in another long day at work this week. It's annoying for sewing, but the work itself is super interesting. I'm a research assistant for one of my English professors. Although we're in English, he's attempting to create photograph plates using bitumen/asphalt on metal plates using the sun for exposure. It's sort of a recreation of very early photography from the 1820s. We managed to get some images to appear today, but they didn't stick to the plates. It will be really cool when it works completely.

So close

Jun. 4th, 2014 09:52 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I'm almost done! I just need to mark the skirt hem and actually hem it. This evening I hemmed the wrists in a not-very-period way and the neckline in a very-period way. I cut the sleeve lining 2 inches shorter than the outer fabric and then turned the outer fabric twice to cover the raw edge of the lining. I hemmed the wrists by hand using a sort of whip-stitch-like thing, my interpretation of what Costume Close-up calls a slanted hemming stitch. For the neckline, I turned the outer fabric and lining in towards each other and used point a rabattre sous la main. Thanks to [ profile] koshka_the_cat for her video tutorial! This whole thing should be finished this week. Then some sort of pictures and on to the stays.
mala_14: (iris)
I totally missed the HSF due date on this one, so not I'm taking my time instead of trying to rush through. (A good thing because it gives me more time to read. I have a lot of reading to do before I meet with my thesis advisor in late July.) After taking yesterday off, I got back to it and set the sleeves in today. They have three little pleats on top, although I had originally wanted no pleats, but I don't really mind them. They're not that noticeable when the gown is on. I think I also figured out the elbow wonkiness, so that was good. I just needed to change the half seam on that side of the sleeve so that it went farther up the sleeve in a curve over the outside of the elbow. Now all that's left is hemming the neckline, wrists, and skirt.

I've also been doing lots of thinking and planning for my next HSF project. The challenge is Shape and Support and I want to make a pair of Regency stays. Initially interested in the Short Stays Studies at Kleidug um 1800, I did some further investigation into the J.S. Bernhardt book that Sabine references and found the page that has all the stays diagrams.

There is, of course, text that describes how these stays are made. Unfortunately I do not read German and the free, online translator I used was only moderately helpful. I was interested in Fig. E (bottom middle). It seems to have elastics/springs in the front piece and shallow cups. There is a similar, though shorter, set of stays in the Met collection. After looking at this picture of stays from 1813 from [ profile] nuranar's Flickr, I decided that I wanted to make a sort of mash-up of Fig. E and Fig. C. It'll be mostly Fig. E, with the shaped pieces, single hip gusset (I hate putting in gussets), and shallow cups, but like Fig. C at the bottom, longer and curvy. Also, no springs in the front. I think this should give me a set of stays that will be suitable for a pretty good range, say 1805 - 1815ish. I think that closer to 1820 bust gussets are the prevailing thing. I'm hoping that I can build a pattern off my 1790s stays using these diagrams as a guide. I'm also hoping I don't stall over sewing the eyelets. :p
mala_14: (iris)
I can see the finish line! It involves sleeve and lots of hemming by hand, but it's still a finish line. The striped chemise gown is now enough together to try on, so you get pictures. I'm wearing it over my 1790 stays and shift. I pinned in the sleeve to check length and any wonkiness. Overall, the sleeve is good, but way too long and it needs a little bit of taking in at the outer elbow I think.
More pictures )
The only thing that I don't really like, and which I just noticed, is that the side-back piece should extend further toward the front. But other than that, I'm pretty happy with it. It was fun to try on and swish around the house in for a while. :)
mala_14: (iris)
I got all the drawstring channels sewn and I pleated and attached the back skirt to the back bodice. It was a 58" rectangle pleated to a 8 1/2" back waist, so it looks really neat. The pleating was something I was really not looking forward to, but actually, thanks to the stripes, turned out to be fairly pain-free. Next is the shoulder strap and attaching the front to the back. There will probably be some sort of picture tomorrow. Perhaps a preliminary try-on?
mala_14: (iris)
I'm currently hand-sewing the drawstring channels into the front of the gown. It feels like it's taking forever. I don't think this is going to be done in time for the HSF deadline, but maybe only a couple days late.
mala_14: (iris)
Got the handsewing done on the front bodice lining. Pictures of the bodice so far:

The back has been all machine sewn. The fronts have the top and bottom hemmed by hand, white the seam joining them to the side fronts was sewn by machine, but whipped by hand to finish the edges. The seam allowances are facing the front so that I can later have the seam allowances of the side front neckline turned inside to finish the neck edges. Next is making a slit in the big front piece and then adding drawstring casings. I suppose next could also be pleating the back skirt and attaching it to the back bodice. For the first time I didn't think through the entire construction process in advance, so it has been a bit free-wheeling.
mala_14: (iris)
Well, the back bodice pieces went together fine. I layered the outer fabric and lining so that when the seam is sewn and then pressed open all the raw edges are enclosed in the middle. I think this is often done with corsets. The effect is the same as the seams shown in Costume Close-up but without handsewing down the other side of the lining. Instead, that lining is sewn down at the same time all the other layers are. The problem arose when I started work on the front lining pieces and realized that the curve in the front piece (from the strap to the front neckline) did not want to be hemmed nicely. Even though it really should have been fine. The Glasgow Museum gown has it like that. I then remembered that lots of bib-front gowns have the front lining as two different pieces, a side front that attaches to the strap and a front that goes under the bib. (My gown is not a bib-front, but the lining is made on the same principles.) So I cut a chunk off my front piece and cut out a new piece to attach to it. And then realized that it wasn't close enough to wear that strap connects so I cut even more off the front piece and another new piece to attach. Whew! I think this should work but it was a hassle and made me not very pleased with this gown last night. :-p

Lesson: Next time the lining should have a less dramatic curve from the strap to the front!
mala_14: (iris)
I decided I was done with mock-ups and cut out the actual dress last night. My skirt panels don't seem perfectly perpendicular at the hem, but I figure that can get sorted out when I actually hem the thing. I got stalled after cutting because our iron wasn't working and my pieces definitely need ironing. However, we now have a new iron so I can get that sorted out and start assembling. I'm machining all the seams, but hand-finishing everything. It should go together fairly smoothly after all the practice I've had with mock-ups.


mala_14: (Default)

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