"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Monday, May 27, 2013

A regency shift - HSF #11 - Squares, rectangles and triangles

The Challenge: 11 - squares, rectangles and triangles

Fabric: Cream Polycotton

Pattern: No pattern I just...stumbled through it from looking at other shifts and chemises online with a little help from the blogosphere.

Year: approx 1800 was my intention

Notions: ribbon, thread and embroidery floss

How historically accurate is it? As I copied a lot of images of accurate garments apart from the fabric choice and unique construction order I would think it was accurate.

Hours to complete: about 12 hours...but really it was 2 afternoons and an evenings sewing time including time taken for embroidery.

First worn: N/A

Total cost: I used leftover fabric from another project I think just over 2 metres and notions were from my stash. So it was free technically speaking but probably be under £10 in all.

Notes: Well I expected a shift to be simple and stright forward. But it wasn't...and least without a commercial pattern it wasn't. I understood the principal of the construction but certain elements bemused me.
Firstly the gussets for the sleeves. I took them apart and resewed them so many times (as you can see in the below image there was something not quite right).

Every explination I read got to the same point then became vague/confusing and quite frankly I was really annoyed. Thanks to helful suggestions from various avenues I realised what I'd been doing wrong. I blame all those instructions for sewing made for people who machine sew. Just makes it over complicated. I'll do a step by step tutorial of MY way one day. (As a handsewer I am a bit more dexterous than a machine sewer so can do things differently).

The neckline was a bit of a guess....and a bit of a mess. I didn't have enough fabric to make bias binding so I had to fold over the neckline. Which is why it was a bit messy.
I added some embroidery detail on the centre back where a thread had pulled in the fabric to cover it up and stop it laddering.
I also embroidered some simple detail on the 'sleeves'. As I thought it was a bit plain as is. 
I hope to make another longer one in another material as I can't afford proper linen at the moment. Next in my regency wardrobe will be a bodiced petticoat....and I have a special idea with that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bonnet and Veil - HSF #10 - Literature

You are getting two for the price of one.

The retrimmed bonnet
"Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better." Pride & Predudice."
The Veil "...very little wite satin, very few lace veils"  Emma.

I've taken my inspiration from some images from pinterest.

Source: flickr.com via Lady on Pinterest

Source: reg-ency.com via Lady on Pinterest

The Challenge: #10 Literature

Fabric: Veil was some chiffon. The bonnet was a straw hat I cut up and modified with a linen type material.

Pattern: No pattern used.

Year: 1790-1820

Notions: Self fabric biasbinding, thread, feather.

How historically accurate is it? I tried to give a similar shape to the bonnets from fashion plates so guessing its fairly accurate. Probably should have covered the straw in fabric but it seemed more trouble than it was worth.

Hours to complete: approx 20. I lost count. As I made it in stages.

First worn
: For the photos for this blog.

Cost: Straw hat £4, Bias binding left over self made so free, Linen type fabric less than a metre approx £3, Feather £1, ribbon reused, less than metre of chiffon £2. Total £10 approx.

This was the bonnet before:

I cut off the crown. Made a gathered material one instead. Reused the ribbon. Bound the cut edges with biasbinding. Added a loop and button so I could adjust the fit.
The veil is a peice of shiffon with a rolled hem. I pinned it onto the bonnet for a quick change.

And After:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pride & Predudice - having a ball

I wanted to point my costuming readers to a program called "Pride & Predudice - having a ball" if you haven't already seen it.

To quote the description:
Documentary celebrating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, revealing the hidden world behind one of the greatest love stories of all time by restaging a regency ball at Chawton House, the grand estate of Jane Austen's brother. Amanda Vickery and Alastair Sooke lead a team of world class experts as they reconstruct the ball in loving detail, from music and dancing, to food and fashion.
Jane Austen loved to dance and balls were hugely popular in early 19th century England. Crucially, a ball is also where Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy meet and begin their courtship. However very little is known about what they were actually like. What sort of music would they have danced to? How difficult were the steps? What were the clothes like to wear? And what did the food taste like?
This film uses music from the Austen family archives, as well as dances and dishes mentioned in her novels and letters to recreate the experience of attending an early 19th century country ball - the sort of event that Austen had in mind when she wrote some of the most famous and powerful scenes in English literature.

There's some fabulous outfits and it nice to hear authentic music on authentic instruments. They use real candlelight, which show off how nice the white muslin dresses look in that low light. There's also comments on how energetic the dancing is...having tried a bit of the dancing at the jane austen festival (see video above) I have to agree. Lots of fan fluttering. lol!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Open Robe and Matching Dress - HSF# 9 - Flora and Fauna

The Challenge: #9 Flora and Fauna

Fabric: Cotton Dyed Green with floral motif, plain white linen type material.

Pattern: Sense & Sensibility regency gown (modified)

Year: 1795-1800 (Regency but the open robe gives it more of the feel of end of georgian era)

Notions: bias binding, self cover buttons thread

How historically accurate is it? I couldn't be sure with the materials but it definatly looks authentic. Like its off a fashion plate.

Hours to complete: Open robe was an item I made last year but realised it needed lots of changes. So time taken to adjust, amend and dye the robe about 3 days. For the dress underneath took me about 6 days which included making the bias binding and making fitting adjustments.

First worn: To take these photos. But will be worn again next year as I have a regency event I plan to go to.

Total cost:£20 for the dress, Probably about same for the open robe.

You can see the original robe here. The adjustments of the open robe was:
Raise Waistline
Remove Button
Remove front panels

I used the front panels from the open robe to make the bias binding to trim the dress. Which was made to complement it. Yes I know the sash is in the wrong place. I couldn't reach to pin it in place at the back or do up all the buttons by myself. The long sleeves in this image are pinned in but in future will be tacked in when needed. 
My shift is showing..oops! I will have to make another one along with a waist petticoat.