1825s silly, silly evening hair

One of the things I got the most compliments on wearing the new 1825s outfit was the crazy as hair I sported.

There’s a party on my head…

Since I don’t have a lot of hair on my own – modern everyday style beats once in a while historical hair-possibility’s, I needed to do something drastic to disguise the modern me for the upcoming historical ball.

My first thought was to use my “go to” solution – A turban.
It’s easy, cute, comfortable and perfectly accurate for the time period.

But then I would need some fake curls for the bangs…
..and those 1820-30s hair are pretty fun and crazy…
..Maybe… I could…what if I…Hm, this flower wreath looks cute…and this braid is almost a perfect match for my hair…

And then I was caught.

I searched my bookshelf, my bins of hair-accessorize and the box of neatly rolled spool of fake hair I’d cut from a wig a few years back and never used.
Collecting the material.

After reading through “The laced Angels” blogpost about her 1830s hairdo I felt confident enough to give it a try.

I started by cutting apart one plastic “doughnut” (the kind ballet dancers/gymnasts use, which suddenly got really popular a few years back) 

Then I separated a few of the curled pieces of fake hairand twisted them around the doughnut/crescent, adding glue where needed.To make it sit more secure on my short  hair I added two wig clasps to the ends of the piece.

Then I cut the black elastic from a hairband-braid, and glued it together to form a circle.Not a nice joint, but it will be covered by other things later so I’m not overly concerned about it.

I Braided a few of the other pieces of fake hair,and put together a the rest into two clusters of curls for the bangs.All the pieces lain out roughly the way the’r suppose to sit on the head.

Here’s my first try at putting it on:
Starting with a back combing of my own bangs, and a brown hairnet, to keep all the short hairs from acting up.

Then I pinned/clipped the crescent on top of my head.

I added the two curly bits to the front/side of my face

and put the two braids on to cover the edge of the cresent.

Finally I added a wreath of purple plastic flowers

As you can see, I definitely needed to do something about the back of my head. Something I fixed by re-arranging the hanging braid and adding a white flower over loops of  pearls stitched to the back of my the thick braid.

A few days before the event I dyed my hair a bit darker red to match the hairpieces.
Blending together much better now.

Here’s a few pic from the photoshoot:

1825s Purple evening gown – photoshoot

The day after I finished my dress I’d scheduled a photoshoot with my sister (and her 1860s ball gown).
Perfect timing 🙂

We took a while getting ready, working hard to get our hair to behave in a acceptable way. And I got to try my newly finished hair-pieces (more about that in an upcoming post).
For these photos I’m wearing my purple 1825s evening gown, Regency long stays, chemise, petticoat, white stockings, ballet flats, long white gloves, fan, pearl necklaces/wrist band and a flower wreath in my hair.

Photo: Elin Evaldsdotter

1825s Purple Evening gown

When talking about attending the spring ball this year (and deciding to make a whole new outfit (inside out) for my sister) I promised myself I would not make anything for myself (yeah right…).
Since I already have so many dresses that almost never get worn, I convinced myself that I would use one of them, exactly which one would be a problem for later. Some of the dresses I had to choose from in my closet.
(You can find them all in my portfolio)

But as my sisters dress neared completion, and there still was 3 weeks to the ball, my determination started to falter.

I made a quick sum-up in my head and (on paper) to see what, if anything, would be manageable, if, I decided to make some small thing anyway. Could/should/would I make something like one of these?

The following days I did a quick survey among my friends to find out what they intended to wear for the occasion. It turned out they all was to wear their regency style, mostly due to lack of space for big skirts on the dance floor (ops, maybe I should have known that before starting on my sisters 1860s dress…).
Sadly I didn’t felt at all like wearing regency.
And all my old dresses seemed so dull and un-flattering, or overused.

You all know this anguish.

So what to do?

Without any particular plan in mind, I started rumoring around in my stash, hunting for inspiration.
And there I found a sett of purple/white printed bedsheets I got on sale a few months back, thinking I’ll turn them into a 1850s evening gown.  Pretty purple cotton satin
Sadly I realized to late the duvets was white on the backside, and not purple all around like I thought. And therefore not enough fabric for big 1850s skirts.Bummers…
The purple fabric would however, be enough for a small/medium sized dress if carefully cut and using the pillowcase for the bodice.

That’s when inspiration struck.

I would make a late regency/early Biedermeier dress.

Or more precise, the 1825s dress from “Pattern of fashion”, combined with this fashion plate from 1820s

It would be something like this  a quick drawing of my intended design

Time to get to work while inspiration was high. So I drafted a pattern using my regular templates, and since I’d recently run out of drafting paper and of course forgotten to get more, using baking paper for the bodice.Oh, come on, you’d all done it…?

I made a quick mock-up and after some help pinning myself into it, did a fitting.

Adding darts in the front, lowering the neckline a tad, and taking the whole thing in at center back a few cm, was all that was needed.
Then it was time to cut the fabric.

I interlined the bodice (and the sleeves), pinned and stitched the pieces together and added the darts at the front.

Then I stitched rows of gathering stitches on the sleeves and carefully gathered them to the right size.
Huge sleeves – here is one done and the other one awaiting gathering.

I pinned one sleeve and a piece of contrast piping to the neckline for the fitting, to get a better idea of how it would look.

The only thing needed changing was to take the darts in a tad,

resting over night on my dressform

Once I was convinced the dress would fit right, I got started on the piping.
Using bias cut strips of the white/purple fabric combined with pieces of a cotton cord from my stash I soon had the 3 m or so I needed for the neckline (and belt). 

I stitched the piping to the bodice, and the pre-made skirt to the bodice, added lining, folded under the edges for closure and hemmed the skirt. 

With a fully functional dress, is was now time to get starting on the decoration.

Since both Waugh’s pattern and several other sources I accounted called for a padded hem, I decided to give it a try.
Cutting strips of corresponding fabric and basting it to cotton bathing, after which I tured the edges under and whip-stitched the ribbons to the bottom of the skirt. Basted strips waiting to be attached.

And lastly I used upp the final scraps of fabric to make a belt, backed with heavy interfacing and edged with contrasting piping.Working on the belt.

And that was that.

The Finished dress:

The Facts:

What: A 1825s Evening gown

Pattern: I drafted my own, using Waugh’s “Cut of women’s clothes” as a guide.

Fabric & notions: 1/2 of a purple cotton beed-sheets and 1 pillowcase (approx. total 2,5 m fabric), 0,5 m cotton for lining and interlining, 14 pair of hooks and eyes for closure, 1 m stiff interfacing for the belt, 0,3 m of white/patterned cotton and cotton wadding for decoration, 4 m cotton string for piping.

How historical accurate: So so, the material and silhuett are good, but the print and construction are all modern.

Time: It was pretty quick so maybe 10-15 hours, over a timespan of 2 weeks.

Cost: Everything came from stash but bought anew maybe 200 Sek (20 Usd)

Final thoughts: This is one of my favorite dresses of all time. It is so fun and beautiful in a crazy way. The color is really pretty and it’s so comfortable and easy to wear. I felt so pretty dancing around in it and got lots of compliments on it.
I will most definitely re-visit this decade sometime soon.

1865s Teal Evening gown (HSM 5/2017) – Photoshoot

The week before the ball my sister came over to do the final fitting and to take some photos.

She is wearing her new green corset, orange cage crinoline, petticoat and 2 pieced gown. Accessorized with black gloves, black lace-fan, a black velvet bag, silver tiara and necklace. She is also wearing a chemise, stockings, bloomers and dancing shoes.

Photos: Elin Evaldsdotter

Bonus:
Video of the gown in motion (shaky mobile video – sorry)

1865s Teal Evening gown (HSM 5/2017)

When all the underwear (almost all, I still had the chemise and a second petticoat left to finish), it was time to get started on the dress itself.

Since the dress was for my sister, it was she who ultimately took all the decisions on the final style, and I came with lots of suggestions, inspirations and different looks.inspiration sketch

We finally decided on one main inspiration Evening dress ca. 1865, From the Cincinnati Art Museum

Since the budget was particularly scarce on this project, we decided to cheat and use a set of IKEA curtains I already had in my stash for the dress fabric.It’s a thin polyester in a lovely dark blue/teal color that would be really pretty in a style like this.

1 pair of 2,5m x 1.45m curtains would require some really thoughtful cutting and pattern layout, but with some math and quick calculations I was fairly shore I could get the dress cut from the fabric (as long as I didn’t do any errors…)

I also recently ordered 5 m of silver sparkles and a few m of black lace which both would be perfect for this project. (So, not stash, but almost:-))

I started by drafting the bodice pattern using modern templates and my sisters measurements.
Then I did a quick mock-up that we tried on over her recently finished corset.

Lots of adjustments needed

Just to be sure I got everything right (and since I didn’t had fabric for any errors) I did another mock-up of the bodice.

After the last alterations was made, it was time to cut the fabric.
Only scraps left.

Then I got to work making the skirt.

Starting by marking and stitching the silvery sparkles (which I’ve already cut apart) on the skirt panels.

Then I sewed the skirt panels together, interlined it with a black cotton fabric that also would serve as lining and pleated the top to my sisters waist measurement.
not completely happy about the look of the pleats, I put it on my dress-form (over the new crinoline) to get a beter look. Something seamed wrong.
So I grabbed my books and read up on the period way to pleat the skirts to he waistband, and there I found the answer – by the 1860s they left the knifepleats of the earlier period for a few double box-pleats evenly spaced around the skirt. So that what I did.
 Much better

Then I attached the skirt to the waistband and after a final fitting cut and hemmed the length. I also moved  some and added some extra sparkles and stitched on a narrow black lace ribbon to the bottom edge.

Then it was time to get started on the bodice.

I started by interlining all the pieces in a strong black cotton twill, after which I stitched the darts and the pieces together. I added some bias tape and bones to the seams to make the bodice old its shape.The interior of the bodice

Then it was time to try the gown on my sister.

Don’t you just love how she matches the wall… 
Thank good for multiple mock-ups. The bodice (and skirt) fit almost perfectly (the wrinkles you see at the back will disappear once I got the center back bones in).

After some minor adjustments, I set the sleeves and the lining and got started on the eyelet for the back lacing.Here I ran into trouble. after almost 3 months of planing and making undergarments for this dress, I still hadn’t found any suitable lacing cord in a color that would work for the dress. I’d been to every sore in town, searched the internet, contemplated using black or even discard of lacing for closure all together, when I realized I might in fact have something in my own stash that would work.
Hurray! The odd colored cotton cord I’d got on super sale a few years back turned out to be the exact shade of Teal I needed – what are the odds? Perfect match! – Is this a sign my stash are to big?

Once the eyelets where finished I stitched down the lining, hemed the sleeves made a belt and added some black lace to the neckline.  

Then I got my sister to come and try it on for a (almost) final fitting, where we marked the skirt length, stitched the belt on the bodice and added hooks and eyes to the waistbands of both pieces to keep the bodice from riding up.
We also decided on how to accessorize, and to ad a piece of the same black lace around the sleeves and hem.

And since I want to submit this dress for the Historical Sew Monthly nr 5/2017 – Literature, I did some thinking on what book I would choose to make it fit. Then came the obvious answer – Victoria and her Court by Virginia Schomp (find preview from Google Books here).
Because who if not Queen Victoria would house a gown like this.

The Finished dress:

Just the facts:

Challenge: Nr 5/2017 – Literature

What: A 1865s evening dress

How it fit the challenge: It’s a plausible outfit for one of Victorias many ladies in waiting, or even the Queen itself, as described in Virginia Schomps book Victoria and Her Court.

Pattern: I drafted my own after studying the 1865s dresses from Waughs Cut of women’s clothes and Arnolds Pattern of Fashion.

Fabric: 5 m of teal colored polyester curtains (2 pieces 250 x 145 cm each), 4 m of black sheets for lining and 0,5 m of black cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, Buttonhole-thread, 7 short bones, 1m black bias tape to use as bone casings, 1 m heavy interfacing for the belt, 1 belt buckle, cotton cord for lacing, lots of silver spangles and 7 m of black lace for decoration.

How historical accurate: The shape/look is right, but the construction, pattern and material are all modern. So maybe 4/10

Time: In total about 20 hours (on the dress).

Cost: Almost everything came from stash and/or was really, really cheap. I think I payed about 300 Sek (30 Usd) total for everything. But on a dress like this there really is no limit at what it could cost.

First worn: For photos on May 1 by my sister, and later for a ball on May 6 2017.

Final Thoughts: Both me and my sister are totally in love with this dress. I love how it’s so stylized yet over the top at the same time. The small bodice comparied to the lovely exaggerated shape of the skirt, and the subtle sparkle of glitter when it moves makes me very happy. I also had a lot of fun making it. Only problem is, now I want my own…

 

Golden 1860s corset

As I mentioned in an previous post about my sisters 1860s corsetI couldn’t resist the temptation to make one for myself (even though I didn’t need one and really didn’t had the time for it). I tried to convince myself that it would be like a workable test-run of the pattern for my sisters corset. But since I both started (and finished) it after my sisters was already done, that argument fell kind of flat.
But anyhow, I did make one for myself :-).

Using the same pattern, and initially also the same mock-up I got to work.

Terrible first mock-up

Wanting the fitting just right, I also made a second mock-up – based on my own measurements (instead of my sisters).

Using a beautiful cream/golden coutil from “Vena Cava designs”, and a orange cotton sheet for lining.

I sewed it up in the same way as my sisters (but I didn’t need any additional alterations), so it went faster.

Attaching the busk to the beautiful golden fabric
Oh, how I wished I’ve gotten the tad more expensive golden busk on my last order.


Front and back of the guessets

I stitched the whole thing together, adding bone casings, grommets and bones. I made my own bias tape using pieces of main fabric and used it to bind the top edge.

Then all that was left was to add the decorationTime for lace and flossing

Isn’t it amazing when your stash yields everything you need for a beautiful composed corset 🙂 (or maybe that a sign I got to much stash? Neh 🙂 )

The finished corset:

The facts:

Pattern: “Past pattern” 1860-1880s corset

Fabric & Notions: 0,5 m cream coutil, 0,5m orange cotton for lining, 1 busk, grommets, boning (plastic and metal) 4 m cotton cord, 1 m golden lace, thread, buttonhole thread for flossing.

Time: About 7 hours – pretty fast and easy

Cost: everything came from stash, but bought new probably 350 Sek (32 Usd)

Final Thoughts: I’m in love with this corset. It’s so light yet really strong, and it’s really comfortable, and on top of that I think the colors are delightful. 🙂

1860s Huge Orange Cage Crinoline

The next piece (after the corset) I needed to make for my sisters 1860s evening attire was the crinoline.

And since I’ve been wanted to make one for quite some time, and already had the pattern, I just needed to decide on fabric and get started.Using “Truly Victorian” 1865 Elliptical Cage Crinoline pattern

Since I wanted to use as much of my stash as possible for this whole project (both corset and dress material are basically all from stash) I went diving in my fabric bins and came out with an unexpected (very) Orange cotton sheet that wold work.
 All pieces cut and ready

The pattern was really easy to follow, and I was so happy that I didn’t need to do any calculations what so ever on this one (as opposed to my 1850s self drafted crinoline). I did however need to use all my brain-cells and keep the concentration high when trying to get all the noted measurements and markings right.

The fabric I had was almost enough, and once all the pieces and ribbons was cut, all I had left was shreds, and I still needed some fabric to enclose the free hanging bones. this was all that remained

I contemplated getting another 5 dollar sheet, but decided on the easier (but way more expensive) alternative and bought the 15 m or so bias tape needed to cover the bones/hoops.

For boning I used metal pipe cleaners sold on rolls of 7,5 m at the local hardware-store.

I spent a full evening measuring, cutting, encasing and taping the bones to make them into neat bias covered hoops.

bias tape stitched and ready for the hoops

taping the edges together

After stitching the bottom “bag”, attaching all the vertical ribbons, making the belt and stitching the back “crescent”, it was time to get the hoops attached.  the 4 stages of making the fabric tubes

belt and cresent attached
and the bottom bag attached

The working was slow (but not difficult), and I loved watching the whole piece come together by pinning on one row of hoops after the other, matching all the pre-made markings.
late night work

slowly getting there

Once all the hoops was pinned to their mark, it was time to make the final adjustments to get everything to hang/sit smoothly and evenly.

much better
I’m not sure if it was my markings/measurements (probably) or some error in the pattern but It did needed quite a lot adjustments.

Lastly I spent two whole nights hand stitching the hoops to the ribbons.

To be sure I made everything correctly, and not made any foolish mistakes or own inventions, I used the sewing instructions quite a lot, referring back to them before, during and after each step. This made the work go slower, as it always does when working on something new and unfamiliar, but I do think it turned great.

The crinoline was awesomely big and that meant I couldn’t fit in my small sewing room, but needed to work in our loving room. Which also meant I couldn’t close the door but was forced to pack everything away as soon as the baby awoke (about 3 times a day).

It took me bout a week of 1-3 st 40-90 minutes intense work-sessions to get the crinoline done.

The finished Crinoline:

The Facts:

What: A 1860s Hoop Crinoline

Pattern: Truly Victorian (TV103) 1865s Elliptical Cage Crinoline

Fabric & Notions: 1 orange cotton sheet (about 2,5 m fabric), about 15 m of brown bias tape, tread, 1 belt buckle, 1 m of interfacing for the belt, about 21 m of hoop wire, duck-tape, 4 m of cotton sting. I also needed heavy pliers, strong fingers and lots of patients.

Time & Cost: The total time was maybe 10-15 hours and I guesstimate the material to about 400 Sek (40Usd).

Final Thoughs: I love it! It so ridiculously big and orange. And it looks gorgeous under my sisters evening skirts.
The pattern was easy to work with (even for one not used to the inch measurements), but I don’t think I’ll willingly do another one for a loooong time…