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…

Green 1860s corset

Who knew it could be so much fun sewing guesses?

When I started working on the 1860s corset from “Past Patterns”, for my sister back in January I dreaded what was to come.

All the Guesses…
4 on each side = 8 on the outer fabric
+ 8 on the lining =16

Phu…

Then of course there was the question of the Mock-up = another 8
And me, my crazy as decided that a second mock-up was needed = another 8 guesses

I must say I lost count by now, but I’m not finished yet…

For once I started on my sisters corset, I of course wanted one of my own… (but that’s for a later post)

I think the final counting (including a few that needed re-setting) lands at about 60 or so.

But lets take this from the beginning.

This winter I got an invitation to my dance groups yearly historical ball, that was to be held in May.
I immediately asked my sister if she would like to join – which of course she would.
Then we started debating what to wear.
The timespan set for this ball was 1750s-1850s, so a pretty big gap and quite an ocean of possibilities.
I decided to postpone the difficult decision for myself a few months – after all I have a wardrobe full of dresses that would do (more on my thoughts on this dilemma in a later post).
But my sister only had one or two things from previous events, which non would work for this occasion. Quickly drawn sketches of possible ways to go.

And since The time I had to spend on her dress was limited by both my family and my work, we needed to find something relatively simple to make.
So after some debating back and forth, we (despite better judgment) decided to make her a complete set of 1850-1860s evening attire.
Of course…:-0

Starting with the corset.

And here we are.

I drafted the pattern from “Past Patterns” mid 19th century stay pattern, with some alterations for my sisters and made a mock-up.

Silly me, thinking that the few bones in this corset would hold upp the cheap cotton I use for most of my toiles. No It wont do. So I made a second mock-up in a much sturdier upholstery fabric (a friend bought at IKEA and gifted to me).
Sorry no photos of the second fitting, but it looked much better.

So I cut the fabric, a beautiful light green satin I got a few years back for exactly this purpose (well, it was intended for my corset, but what do you do – sometimes sisters need pretty fabrics to ;-)).

I interlined it with a sturdy cotton in a similar color from stash, and started on the gussets.

I stitched the boning channels, set the grommets and added the busk. 

Then I did another fitting, which I usually never bother to do, but since we where to meat for a cup of coffee I figured, why not.

That was a good call, since some adjustments still needed to be made.
I took it in a few cm at the top, let out a few at the bottom, shortened the whole thing a bit and added two extra bones on each side.
Only the bone in the middle is from the pattern.

Then I wrapped it up by adding the bias binding (made from the same fabric as the corset), lace and working some flossing on the bones.

Now it fit much better! 🙂

The finished corset:

The facts:

What: a 1850-1880s corset

Pattern: “Past Pattern” nr. 708 – Mid 19th century stays

Fabric & Notions: 0,5 m green cotton sateen, o,5 m cotton interlining, 0.5 m green cotton for lining. Thread, 1 busk, boning (plastic and metal), grommets, buttonhole thread for flossing, 1 m ivory lace, 4 m of cotton cord for lacing.

Time: With the many fittings, and short work sessions late at night it took about 10 hours.

Cost: Everything came from stash (fancy that!), but bought new about 300 Sek (25 Usd).

Final thoughts: I think it came out really well, and my sister loves it. Lets just see how well it holds up on the ball room floor…

Regency Riding habit – Photoshoot

Once finished I asked my sisters to help me with some photos of my new regency outfit.

The day was nice with a clear spring sun, but a bit windy and chilly, so we where all pretty cold by the time we where done.

I’m wearing my new Spencer, riding bonnet, my white regency ball gown, long stays, petticoat, low boots and some accessories like gloves, a fichu and a shawl.

Inspiration

Photo: Elin Evaldsdotter

Regency Headwear – Riding bonnet/helmet/?

While working on my recently finished Regency spencer, I also decided I (of course) needed the headdress the lady in my inspirational picture is wearing.

Looking pretty awesome, right?

Starting with a modern wool hat I got on sale from one of the leading fashion stores, I begun my hat making adventure.


Before

I stated by removing the inner stay band and completely soaking the hat in hot water.

Then I used force and even more hot water to shape it in a somewhat oblong shape. In short supply of proper hat making equipment you got to use what you got…

When dry the hat had a rough but much better shape then before. The brown ribbon is pinned on, to hold the brim in while the hat dried.

The shape after the first round.

Once dry, it was time to cut the shape of the bonnet. Roughly drawn markings on where to cut the brim down.

Looks pretty decent, but the brim was still to wavy to work.

So I got to work steaming the brim and shaping it using my hands and a plastic bowl

Much better.

Then I re-stitched the inside stay-ribbon

using orange thread – ops…

Lastly I added some bias cut scraps of the spencers red wool to make the bonnet look even more like the inspiration.

I also remembered (even though it really was in the nick of time) to add some millinery wire to the brim to help it keep its shape. I finished the hole thing of by adding a woolen chokade and a cotton neck tie.

The finished bonnet:

Complete outfit

The facts:

What: a 1805s riding bonnet

Pattern: None,just a re-shaped and cut hat.

Fabric & notions: 1 black wool hat, thread, scraps of red wool and black cotton, 20 cm millinery wire, 1 hook & eye and one gold button.

Time & cost: Not including the time it took to dry, I’d say about 3-4 hours. The only thing I bought anew was ten hat and it cost 35 Sek (3 Usd), the rest is scraps.

Final thoughts: I’m really happy of how it came out, and I think I looks smashing. But I must admit it looks a bit like a combination of a riding helmet and a truckers hat 🙂

A long awaited Spencer Jacket (HSM 3/2017)

I finally did it, the one thing I’ve been talking (and thinking about) for about 4 years.

I made a Regency Spencer!

Yay!

I’ve been wanting one since I first got into this hobby.
Doing the occasional regency dance recital in our often les then agreeable Swedish climate (I’m thinking of you – dance recital oct 2013), I felt I really needed someting more then a shawl and mittens to keep the cold of my back between shows.

So in planing this years HSM I (as usual) added the wish to maybe this year would be the year when I finally made that jacket. Not getting any big hopes up, what with a baby, starting work again, and another big costume all wanting my attention.

inspiration

But somehow I managed to get inspired, and to whip it out in between baby’s naps and other projects costume fittings.

I started by trying to decide which of my two Spencer patterns to use. Full of indecision I actually patterned and made mock-ups of them both.
Laughing Moon 129 “Wrap front Spencer”
 
I like the fit, and I LOVE the back peplum, and it was fairly easy to get together.

Period Impression 461 “1809 Spencer jacket”
I like the fit of the bodice, even though it felt a bit long and the peplum in the back was so wide it kind of got lost. Something that would be easily fixed, and I do love the way the waistband goes cross the sides and fasten on to the back piece.
I’ve also heard a lot (and not the good stuff) about the sleeves on this pattern, so I decided to try 2 different styles. The left sleeve is the original, which was bulky at the top, narrow at the wrist and twisted along the arm. For the left sleeve on my mock-up I used the previous patterned “Laughing moon” sleeve, which surprisingly fitted both my arm and the sleeve-cap much better.

After some debating back and forth my boyfriend decided for me, and I went with the “Laughing moon” style, with the fold down collar and the nice sleeves.

Then I busted my stash and found a lovely burgundy colored wool I bought for a Regency gentlemen tailcoat a few years back. I figured I could always get more fabric if I ever felt the need to make that (like that’s ever going to happen…).

Not sure if it was the reference image that inspired me or not (probably), but I also decided to make the collar and cuffs out of some black wool I got a whole bolt of in my stash.

So as usual, I cut the fabric, pinned and stitched the main pieces together. bodice stitched together.

I made the sleeves

end stitched, cut, turned and attached the collar.I haven’t padstiched anything since fashion school, and it felt great doing it again.

I inserted the lining, and clipped and turned the bodice.

Then I tried it on.  Sorry for the pore quality mirror selfies

That’s when I realized something was of with the collar.
 Jupp, thats my boobs, and a VERY un-evenly attached collar

After some carefully re-measuring I discovered I’d stitched it on more then 1,5 cm uneven.
Crap!
After some hesitation, where I tried to figure out how to fix the problem in the easiest way possible, I un-picked the stitches a few cm around the “to long” edge, and turned in the amount of fabric/collar needed to make it even. Then I hand stitched it closed again. That’s what you call cheating, but there was no way I would un-pick the whole collar, with the seam-allowence already cut and jacked.

I also needed to re-stitch the points of the darts a tiny bit lower, to get it to sit nicely over my stays.

Then I finished it up, by attaching the sleeves and adding hook & eye for closure.

It was around this point, when trying to iron the collar to lie nicely, I realized I’d totally forgot to make the the inner facing on the front edge.

Doh… 😦

That would explain the white lining peaking out way to much.
Serves me right, for not wanting to waste time or tracing paper on linings and facings, but simply using the main pattern pieces for everything.

Well not much to do then to use force (which meant several rows of stitches and a whole loot of steam) to try to get it to lie nice.

The finished Spencer:

All the facts:

Challenge: Nr 3/2017 “The great Outdoors”

What: a 1800-1830s Regency spencer.

How it fit the challenge: It’s a wool jacket meent to be worn outdoors. The color (and my accessories) also makes it perfect as a riding outfit.

Pattern: Laughing Moon 129 “Ladies wraping front Spencer”

Fabric and notions: 1,5 m burgundy colored wool, scraps of black wool, 1,5m white cotton for lining, thread, 2 pair of hooks and eyes.

How historical accurate: So so. The Pattern and material are all good, but it is made entirely by machine using modern construction techniques. Strictly speaking it would be a 5/10, but since people of the period wouldn’t notice the machine stitched seams unless they were rely close I say 8/10.

Time: About 6-7 hours. It took me a week to make du to needed to wait for baby to sleep, but I’m confident I could whip one up in less then a day if I could work without interruptions.

Cost: Everything came from stash, but bought anew it would have cost about 150-200sek (20Usd).

First worn: Late mars for photos.

Final thoughts: I love it! I felt so nice in it, and would love to wear it as a piece in my modern wardrobe (Hm, maybe it will work well with jeans and a t-shirt…). It was also very fun and fast to make, and I’m already thinking about making a few more.

Bonus pic of me (multitasking) trying to get some blogging done in between mock-up fittings.

Make-do Pieced shawl (HSM 2/2017)

One other thing I made that would fit perfectly into the challenge of “Make-do and mend” for last months HSM, is this simple cotton shawl/neckerchief.

It started out as a small piece of rectangular fabric (50 x 140 cm) that I got for 10 sek (1 Usd) at a estate sale last summer.

It reminded me of lots of Swedish folk costumes and fabrics worn by my peasant ancestors back in the day.

I knew I wanted to make something that could be paired with outfits from 18th century all the way through to the 1920s. But what?

It was the small amount of fabric (les then 50cm) that made the choice for me – a shawl/neckerchief/fichu, would be perfect.

The only problem was the piece was to short to make a proper shawl.
But as they say – “Piecing is period”…
Time for some mathematics.

I cut the fabric in 4 different sized pieces and then attached them again to get that biggest size shawl with the least amount of seams possible.

The sewing itself was noting special, just spaced backstitches and folded over edges and hems. detail of pieced corner

finished but not yet pressed.

The only thing that I wasn’t completely happy with was the fact the plaid was a un-even, which caused the side-turned piece not possible to pattern match. But I don’t think that will be noticeable once worn.

The finished shawl:

Paired with my 18th century “Outlander” jacket:


Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 2/2017 – Re-make,

What: a 18th-20th century neckerchief/shawl/fichu

How it fits the challenge: The fabric is second hand from a estate sale, and I pieced the fabric to make a bigger shawl then the original fabric.

Pattern: None – just made some quick calculations.

Fabric/Notions: 70 cm blue/white plaid cotton fabric and thread.

Time/Cost: About 15 Sek (1.5 Usd), and 3 hours.

How historical accurate: Spot on I think :-). The material and weaved in plaids are good, and so are the stitching with waxed linnen thread and the fact that I pieced together a bigger piece from a smaller one.

First worn: Beginning of Mars for photos

Final thoughts: I think it is good, and i will probably get some use out of it being so simple and non time specific.