For the photoshoot I got some help from my friend, modelling my new 17th century outfit.
And here it is at last, The finished “Sew 17th century challenge” ensemble:
Inspiration pic (like you don’t know by now…)
+ Coif (headwear)
What: Reproduction of Gerard Ter Borch’s “The Concert”
Pieces: Skirt, cuffs, coif, fur shawl and bodice
Time: About 60-70 hours
Cost: About 400 Sek (60Usd)
Final thoughts: I think this challenge was great and I loved making all these pieces, and stepping away from my usual time periods.
I’m allready planing some new 17th century outfits.
Once the outer fabric, lining and sleeves where set it was time to deal with the tabs.
(Every stay makers dread)
I had no idea how to fix i and the problem caused me to loose steam (and love) for the project.
After some nights to cool of and think, I figured to just hide it.
So I went trough my stash and found some lovely golden lace, to see if that would do the trick.
In the end I decided not to use the lace, even though I still think it looks stunning (maybe something for a later date).
The last thing to do on the bodice was to make all the lacing holes.I use pins to mark the distance before I use my chalk-pen
Practice makes perfect.
Ok, not yet perfect but pretty decent looking eyelets if I may say so myself.
Yup, that’s the sad truth – the bodice I to small, and not “If I lace a bit harder it might work” to small, but “There is no way in hell I can close this sucker” to small.
Luckily my inspiration painting’s only shows the back of the bodice, so hypothetical there is a chance the girls wear a open laced bodice over a stomacher – far fetched I know, but at his point there was no way I would redo it or try to ad to the sides. And logically they must have size shifting back then too, right?
So I will make a stomacher for this bodice before the next wearing, but for now I’m considering it done.
Just the facts:
Challenge: nr 6/HSM15 – Out of your comfort zone
What: A 1660s bodice
How it fit the challenge: This is my first venture into 17th century, and even though I made both bodices and stays before the way this garment combines the two was a new experience for me.
Pattern: “1660s bodice lining” from Waugh’s “Corset and Crinolines”, with some alterations.
Fabric: 1,5 m red polyester “silk”, 1,5m white cotton/linen blend for lining and 1 m un-bleached sturdy linen for interning and foundation.
Notions: Thread, button-hole thread, 15m plastic whalebone for boning, 5m cord for lacing, 60cm white bias-tape for edging the sleeves and 3 m red bias-tape for binding the tabs.
How historical accurate: So so, the bodice is made 50% on machine with all the outside seams made by hand. The fabric is modern but the shape and look of the garment is good for the time period. About 7/10
Time: A lot! probably about 60 hours – I worked on this for most of the summer.
Cost: About 300Sek (45Usd)
First worn: At old town beginning of August for photos, and I’m thinking on using it next weekend for a “all times” dance recital.
Final Thoughts: I’m so happy with the look and feel of it. My only concern is the size – Why do I keep making things to small? And no, I have not gained weight – I’m just constantly over estimate my “squeeze factor”, and underestimate the difference boning and extra fabric layers make to the size.
And if it ever is to be worn again I might have to redo the front, or just slap some trim over it…
Then it was time to ad the boning.I used synthetic whalebone, and cut each piece to match the channels.
The whalebone itself is not as strong as metal or reed, but it is lightweight and in a fully boned bodice like this the thin quality is to prefer (in my opinion)
The one thing that worried me most was the “shrinkage” almost always caused by adding boning.
The thinness of the whalebone was really necessary to keep the difference in size as small as possible (the thicker the bones the bigger the size difference).You can clearly see the difference from left side (boned) to right side (un-boned) in this picture.
Then it was time to start on the exterior fabric.
After keeping my eyes open in my local fabric store since January, in June, I finally decided to take the 1 hour trip to the next towns fabric store (which is awesome by the way).
And I did not regret it.
I’d accidentally made the outer layer a bit to big at the side seam, and tried to pin it down to fit.
After some fiddling I decided to let it be for now, and to take the excess in later if needs be – better to big then to small.
(a very wise choice as it proves later on)
Once the main bodice pieces was basted down I started working on the sleeves.
Drafting the pattern using my books as a guide.
I pleated the sleeves by hand, and sewed chains of thread to keep the pleats in place.
And finished them of by folding some self fabric trim round the lower edge. The sleeves ready to be set.
Next up – the finishing touches
The last piece I needed to complete the “Sew 17th century challenge” was also the main piece – the bodice.
Read about the other garments here: Skirt, Cufs,Coif, Fur Shawl
And to make this post a bit lighter I’ve cut it up in a few manageable pieces.
First up – The Pattern
When researching the bodice I found several different patterns*, and after some narrowing things down, I ended up with two finalists to make into mock-ups. Both from Waughs “Corset and Crinolines”
I traced the pieces and made some alteration to my measurements.
I added boning at some vital places, and my pre-made lacing strip to the font, to get a more accurate fitting.
I really liked how the pattern fitted my body – both comfortable and strong.
I also like the look of the off-the-shoulder sleeves, even though I can hardly lift my arms.
I printed, attached and sewed the pieces in the same way as before.
I love the shape it gives me, but It’s not nearly as comfortable as the previous one.
I’ll have to move the lacing to the front on this one, and to do some serious editing to the sleeves and neckline.
Hm, which one to choose…
In the end I opted for the “1660s bodice lining.
So then it was back to the drawing table to ad some tabs to the otherwise perfect pattern.
I even tried it on with my (at the time) almost finished skirt.
Pretty rough, but you get the idea if the shape.
*I found patterns for 17th century stays and bodices in almost every book covering this period: Waugh’s “Cut of Womens Clothes”, Arnold’s “Pattern of fashion” and “Seventeen-Century Women’s Dress Patterns” by North & Tiramani.
Next up – making the foundation…
Once I picked a picture to recreate for the “Sew 17th century challenge“, it was time to take a closer look.
Gerard Ter Borch, “The Concert” (ca 1655)
The picture shows the back of a girl/women playing an instrument (possibly a Violin played in the knee) and in the background an older woman playing the Keyboard.
The room is dark and the focus lies on the neck of the younger girl and the contrast of her fur collar to her glowing ivory skirt.
At a first glance I decided I needed to make at least three pieces of garments – Bodice, skirt and chemise.
The bodice seams to be made in a red fabric with only a subtle shine to it, in contrast to the much more reflective skirt fabric. This caused me to believe the skirt would be made in a silk satin, while the bodice perhaps is made in some les shiny material. I would still guess silk though.
The skirt seems to be relatively easy, with the pleats and folds clearly running from the waist.
A closeup (and lightening) of the girls neck shows the irregularity of the fur collar and her lovely intricate braided hairdo, as well as the drop-shaped pearl earrings..There is no way to know how the fur is attached to the bodice or if it in fact is a loose collar/shawl.
To ad to the wear-ability of my outfit I decided to make it as a separate piece.
The bodice itself is made in the boned rigid way of the 1660s with big poufy sleeves tightly pleated to the arm holes. The waist is slim and tightly held in the rigid bodice, who ends in square tabs at hip level. You can even see the slightly un matching binding on the edges of the tabs.
The front of the dress is a mystery, but one thing is for sure – it must have some kind of clouser.
The common practice during this period seams to be back lacing bodices, but since the back seems to be whole, the opening must be in front. This girl (who seems to be about the same economical status as our girl) have a front lacing bodice.
An other question who need to be debated was the be or not to be trimming on the bodice.
Most of the portraits I studied seems to have at least some trim to them (see picture above). But considering the dark room, coarse collar and the sadness of the subject, I think an unadorned bodice is most true to the over all mood in the painting.
Researching this painting I also found several different versions of it:Different light and a gentleman by the Keyboard.
I have no idea which of these paintings is considered the “original”, but if you search for on Wikipedia this is the result.
Same settings, but lighter then my first version.
(klick on image to enlarge)
Last fall Isis from “Isis Wardrobe” started the “17th century Challenge” to encourage more interest and recreation of 17th century fashion.
(As she explain in her blog post (see above) the idea comes from Maria of “In deme jare cristi” who started the “Manuscript challenge“.)
I immediately liked the idea, since I’ve been pondering on making a 17th century dress for some time and this seamed the perfect excuse.
(This project also fit perfectly into the HSM15 challenge “Out of your comfort zone” due in June)
The rules for the “Sew 17th century challenge” are simple:
*Pick a painting or original garment from 1600-1699, and upload your picture to the Facebook album
*You got 1 year to recreate the painting (every piece of clothing) as close as you can considering, skills, time and budget.
*Present your garment in the Facebook album and tell a bit about the process.
(read the in dept rules at “Isis Wardrobe”)
So this winter I took a good look at what internet had to provide in terms of 17th century fashions.
While searching I discovered some of the typical styles in (women’s) fashion painted in the 17th century.
The extremely elaborate court robe:
The “simple” high waist:“Yellow dress” (1632)
The extremely elaborate high waist:“Susanna Temple ca. 1604-1669″ by Marcus Gheeraerts, (ca 1620)
The crazy as embroidery: “Portrait of Margaret Layton”, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts, c. 1620. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
I would love to make this one from the recreation of this fabric some day, But not right now.
The “Poor” people dress:“Mother Combing Child’s Hair” by Caspar Netscher (1669)
The rigid and “simple” dress: “Portrait of Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland, and later Countess of Montagu”, by Peter Lely (1668)
The rigid and lace decorated gown:“Portrait of a Lady” by Gabriel Metsu (ca 1660s)
Even though I can see something charming in almost every one of these fashions (maybe except the “crazy as panniers” – I mean what is that), but I’m definitely drawn to the 1660s “simpler” styles of dress.
So focusing on portraits from that period I still had to narrow it down to just one favorite.
Elizabeth Capell, Countess of Carnarvon by Sir Peter Lely (ca. 1665)
Princess Henrietta Anne of England (1644–1670) by Jan Mytens (1665)
While both lovely, I knew I wanted to make something a bit more basic and les fancy.
You can find my Pinterest board for the “Sew 17th century challenge”here.
While working on the Paisley skirt I had trouble deciding what kind of bodice I would make to go with it, a daytime or a evening bodice. And with a long vacation from work ahead of me, I thought “why not make both?” And so I did.
Working on the daybodice and evening bodice at the same time, I made pretty good speed, cutting and sewing the mock-ups. I also minimized the amount of times I needed to put on the corset by trying on both of the mock-ups at the same time.
The fit was a bit underwhelming, and I ended up lenghten the bodice at the waist by 3 cm, re-shaping the shoulder, changing tha bust seam and adding another 5 cm to the front tab.
For the evening bodice I decided to use piping in the seams. I made my own using cut bias-strips and cotton cord.The piping serves to give the garmnent a more finished and historical look, and at the same time makes the eye accept the breaks in the print better. So apart from the extra work making and putting them in, it’s a win win situation.
Piping basted to the seam-allowence.
And as you all know, if you don’t have enough to do already, you make sure to give youself some more work…While cutting the sleeve allownece I accidently manadged to cut a piece of the sleeve away. (if you look closely you can se the hole (big as a thumb) right by the seam about half way up the sleeve.
I had not enough fabric to cut another sleeve, and I was almost finished with it anyway, so I decided to mend it.Using a smal scrap of fabric, matching the print, I stiched the hole up. Turning the edges over both on the outside and the inside. And now it hardly shows at all.
The final thing I had to decide was which trim to use. I had several metres of a golden fringe, and a smal piece of the brown fringe left.I like the brown the best – which ment I could’t make another row of fringe on the jacket :-(.
Well I can always buy more later, if I decide I whant some more.
Just the facts:
Challenge: 14 – Paisley & Plaids
What: A 1850s cotton evening bodice.
Pattern: None, draped my own.
Fabric: Hard to tell, since I cut the skirt and daybodice from the same fabric at the same time. But if I had to guess I’d say 0,5 m of paisley, twill and lining.
Notions: Thread, buttonhole- thread, 5 m cotton cord for lacing, 5 m cotton cord for piping, 4 m syntetic whalebone, and 1 m of brown syntetic fringe.
How historical accurate: I don’t know – I made it to look the part. But it is made using modern techniques and material. Even though a cotton evening bodice was probably what the les whealty women wore, I’m not sure she would have chosen such a loud print.
Time: Same as above – not sure, but my best guess is about 10 hours (the eyelets took a great deal of time).
Cost: I estimate the cost to about 100 Sek since everything was from stash.
First worn: Only for photos. But I do hope I get the chance to attend a Dickens teamed bal of some sort…
Final thougts: I like the bodice and it fits quite well, even though the eylets are a bit smal and needs an awl for lacing.
And I could not wear my new chemise with it since it bulked and showed to much. Did they use special evening chemises in the 1850s?
After finishing the 1850s skirt for the 14th HSF challenge I started on the jacket.
I knew I wanted a fitted jacket with a bit of a peplum and a sculpted neckpiece on top, like the ones in Nancy Bradfeilds “Costume in Detail”
Then it was time to cut the pieces.I needed to ration the fabric very carefuly to make sure I had enough to get the print matched on each piece. It was a bit tricky but I manadged to fit all the pieces pretty much the way I wanted.
I’m particulary proud of the center back (which unfortanly won’t even show beeneth the neck piece).After basting the interlinig to the paisley, I sewed the pieces together and tried it on.
This time it looked rater good.
Then it was time for the linnig, which I putt in using the “bag method”. and to make sure all the edges would turn nicely I made notches in the allowence of all the curved seams.Notches on the neck-seam.
Then it was time for the boning. Well actually I should have done this before putting in the lining, but forgot and thous needed to do it the harder way, trying to avoid getting the lining intangeled with the chanels.anyhow, I sewed the boning chanals to the seam allowences using self made bias-strips. Then I cut, shaped and put in the plastic whalebone, starting on the sleeves.
When the bones and the sleeves were inserted and the lining was sewed down nicely it was time to deal with the clouer of the garmnent. I used several self covered buttons and stiched them to the front. But since I didn’t had the energy (nor time) to make buttonholes I put the buttons on the outside, and stitched hooks and bars underneat to use as clouser.
And lastly I pinned and sewed on the brown fringe to the edge of the neckpiece.This is the only fringe I’ve ver used, and I love how it’s sewed at the end to prevent the fringes from getting caught in your stiches. When finished sewing you just cut the stich away, and you have a nice straight fringe. It’s great.
Just the facts:
Challenge: nr 14: Paisley & Plaid.
What: a 1850 daydress (bodice and skirt).
Pattern: None, draped my own using “Costume in detail” as a general guide.
Fabric: Two bedsheets with duvet covets from IKEA, 1,5 white cotton sheets for lining and 1 m cotton twill for interlining.
Notions: Jacket – Thread, 3 m of plastic boning, 3 m of self mde bisatape, 12 buttons, 14 pair of hooks adn eyes, 1,5 m of brown fringe. and only thread and hook and eye for the skirt.
How Historical accurate: So so. I think it does look the part but I’m not sure about the messy pattern. Cotton is legit and paisley was a popular pattern during this time, but I doubt that the dressmaker using cotton in her daydress would have had a sewingmachine.
Time: About 15-20 hours total.
Cost: 300 Sek (48 Usd) for the whole dress.
First worn: Ony for photos so far. I meent to wear it at a victorian picknic in july but the weater was way to hot for all the layers, so ended up using another costume instead.
Final thoughts: I’m not totaly happy about how messy the print looks made up in this dress. And I could have spent some more time getting the pattern to mach up and also making the neckpiece fit better.
All in all I think it was a funny project and I hope I get to wear it sometime.
In my last post I told you about my trouble with the pattern for my opera gown. Now I will tell you about the sewing and construction of it, and also show you the finished gown (bodice and train only).
I recently learnt a new trick, on how to sew darts on fabric and interlinning which I wanted to try. You simply baste the layers close to the darts, then sew inside the dart, very close to the original sewing-line.
This way you can easy get a nice looking dart without any bulk, and the stiching won’t show once the dart is sewn.
Hm, not great. Some changes are needed. Like taking the armhole and shoulder seams in a bit. I also need to re-shape the front a bit, and make the neck opening a bit lower and bigger.
The buttonholes took about 3 hours (guess I’ve becoming faster), and when finished I sewed on the buttons. I’m really pleased with the way the front bodice looks, and are happy I took the time and money to buy 5 extra buttons.
Then I once again got dressed to try it on.
And even though it fit much better now, it still needed to be reduced a bit at the shoulders.
Then I started on the back pleats. Using the pattern as a guide and treating the two layers (fabric and lining) as one, box-pleating the three back seams.I then attached the pleats to the bodice sewing into the interling by hand.
Heming the train would have been an easy step, if I’ve cut the lining long enough. But no, I had to skrimp on the fabric, leaving me no other choise but to piece the train (using scraps) to the desired lengt.
When the bodice was finished I brought out the fabric I saved for the apron, and got to work draping it on the dressform.
I also decided the dress needed some more decoration. And finding this fringe trim the day before the bal caused me to re-visit the sewing machine, and using 8 m of it on the hem of the bodice, train and apron. (And since this was a last minute change, I haven’t got any picture of the trimmed dressed).
Even with the dress finished I’m not totaly happy with the neckline – the fabric is being pulled in some ugly directions at the neck, caused by some fiting trouble.But It is to late to do anything about it now, and the bal room will be faily dark…
Train draped leaving the sides straight/down, and then with sides tied up.
What: A 1880s trained evening bodice.
Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 (totaly re-modeled)
Fabric: 6 m golden polyester brocade, 4 m ivory cotton lining, 0,5 m ivory cotton twill for interlining.
Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, 15 buttons (which I covered in fabric), 2 m string for piping, 3 m string for busteling/draping the train, 8 plastic cable ties for boning, 2 m self made cotton bias tape for boning chanels, 8 m brown fringe trim.
Time: 25 hours
Cost: About 800 Sek (120 Usd)
Things I would do Different: I would definitely have draped my own pattern, and taken the time to do multiple mock-ups to get the fit over the shoulders and neck just right. I will also have changed the lines of the side/back piece which curved shape now causes it to pull a bit. And re-placed the straight boning with spiral boning in the curved side/back seam, for the same puporse.
Final Thoughts: I love the dress. I think it is cool yet elegant and I did get lots of compliments on it at the bal. The unusal neckline makes it so interesting and viasualy pleasing.
I would love to wear it again – perhaps at a steampunk convention, paired with brown throusers and some cool accessories.