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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #15 - The Great Outdoors (Bonnet)

The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors

Fabric: buckram, velvet

Pattern: none. self drafted.
Year: 1795-1830
Notions: Wire. Ribbon and other trim.

How historically accurate is it? Don't ask...I'm not a bonnet expert. This has just been one big experiment.

Hours to complete: it took forever I lost count.

First worn: N/A
Total cost: I lost track of the costs. I know the buckram and wire was pricey. The velvet was a leftover and can't recall the price.

I made the frame out of buckram and wire. I hadn't made a pattern to cut the fabric out with so I used the pattern from the original bergere and fudged it (yep technical term).

 For the brim I worked my way round glueing first at the top then smoothing the material along the brim and glueing it to the underneath. I tried to use as small amount of glue as possible so when I sewed the trim on it couldn't keep hitting glue and gunking up the needles.
Next thing I drew round the top part of the bonnet and added about an inch so I had room to play with, cut it out and worked my way round glueing the edge and smoothing down the material.
I then measured the height and circumference and cut generous seam allowance. Folding over the raw edges and pinning in place (I did glue a few points to anchor it before pinning).
As you can see it needed a bit of tweaking as it doesn't sit flush.
I couldn't help having a play around with the feather and trim just to see if colours worked.

Next was to line the inside. Which I found very tricky as I didn't have a proper pattern. There was a lot of guessing a bodging involved. Basically I cut a large rectangle of fabric. Weighted it inside then folded over thr raw edge as I pinned, pleating to fit.
I then started to decorate the outside. Tacking the lining in place as I attached the band on the outside.
Then I looked at it and thought....there's something missing. Thanks to the HSF contestants(?) who made some suggestions. I added some gold braid.

If I get time I might add a cockade but I think this will do for now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #15- The Great Outdoors (Regency Spencer)

The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors

Fabric: Navy Blue 100% cotton, white lining.

Pattern: S&S regency spencer pattern, and peplum from TV pattern.

Year: 1795-1810 Regency
Notions: White piping, gold braid & buttons

How historically accurate is it? I believe the pattern is accurate. I also found some images on pinterest of fashion plates.
Hours to complete: about a week snatching hours here and there.

First worn: N/A

Total cost: I'm guessing around £25-35.

Notes: I read this quote "The color blue, while seemingly a natural one for the Navy to choose was actually decided upon by the then monarch, George II, who, seeing the Duchess of Bedford ride out in a habit of blue faced with white, was so taken by the combination that he chose the same for his officers’ uniforms."
on jane austen site and that's one of the things that first sparked off the idea. I'm contemplating a 'skirt' to match to make a riding habit ensemble.

I'd learned a few things making my trial version. So this time I had a different approach to the piping. Hand basting it in place first.
I borrowed the peplum off the TV pattern I had for another project. Modifying it slightly so it didn't overpower the spencer.
The Sleeves were narrowed so I didn't have to add the wrist ties. And I added the trim. I decided to have the focus on the back to show off the peplum effect rather than on the front.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Going Medieval! A new idea!

I've finally done it after procrastinating for ages after my first attempt at a medieval dress failed when I was first starting to sew, I've started my medieval dress.
Its for a comicon of course. The concept is Merida meets Hawkeye. Medieval Heroine.
so taking the dress shape from this
And purple and black colours from this

I've been researching the sewing/drafting techniques for a while but felt daunted by it especially creating a bust supporting gown. So I made a slightly fitted 'tunic' instead. I used the instructions from Sally Pointers website as a basic reference. I didn't have 60" fabric available so I did a different layout. I also made my sleeves 'short' with eyelets so I can lace the other part of the sleeve on. Like in Merida's dress. My dress will be front laced.

Concept idea
I'm also going to make a 'hood' to wear - and disguise that I'm wearing glasses - and buy a toy bow and arrow set. I'll need to make something to carry 'arrows' in and a little pouch to carry 'coin' etc. 
I have choice when it comes to shoes of ankle or knee boots. I can wear my generic shift underneath the dress too.

I noticed in this painting on this blog those tied on sleeves appear again...in conjunction with the front lacing.
The colour dress in the above image matches the fabric a bit more that I've used.
UPDATE: This idea is evolving each time I hit a hurdle. So as I'm struggling with the sleeves if I can't get tie on sleeves to work I'm just make the dress sleeveless.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Advice for Regency on a budget and not looking for absolute accuracy

SO realising I've not just got to make my new frock, spencer and bonnet...(and another shift) and maybe a chemisette. I have to make a set of clothes for someone else as well its dawning on me I need to plan.

So Basics - I need list of what is needed then what I can buy and what I can make and what I can bodge. Actually a nice guide for a first timer who doesn't want to look like they raided fancy dress up box but doesn't have time, funds or skill to make everything spot on accurate.

Apologies in advance to all those who always want historical accuracy. But I'm not a living historian - this is for 'fun'- so I think compromises can be made. ;)


1. Shift
This can be made.
Alternative - T-shirt will do (I used that and vest tops last time).
2. Stays/Bodiced petticoat
Short stays can be made but I'm not happy with fitting someone else other than me.
Alternative - Good Bra and bodiced petticoat.
3. Chemisette/Fichu/Shirt
Can make all of them but depends on choice.
Alternative - I can modify cotton shirts (H&M do the right kind)
4. Dress (yep now the fun part)
Have 2 commercial patterns I can use (1 accurate, 1 not) plus the version I'm drafting (bib front).
Alternative - You could modify a maxi dress but I'm actually going to sew these dresses properly.
5. Spencer/Pelisse
I haven't got a pattern for one (currently drafting my own).
Alternative -  Find a jacket close enough then chop it up to crop it.
6. Bonnet/Cap
Make from scratch using buckram etc. Or sew the capote or turban hats.
Alternative - Convert cheap straw hat from fancy dress shop
7. Sash/Shawl
Make one/Buy One
8. Shoes
Buy expensive accurate ones
Alternative - Cheap pumps from a well known cheap clothing shop
9. Gloves/fingerless gloves
Sew them from pattern
Alternative - Buy from fancy dress shop
10. Reticule
Simple and quick to make.
Alternative - You could probably find a drawstring wash bag.
11. Fan
Buy wood one and paint it.
Alternative - buy any one from cheap shop
12. Stockings
Well you could by proper ones.
Alternative - Tights (Mine were light pink) or long (knee high) socks.

So going the alternative route you could find most of that in your wardrobe already or in cheap shops.

For myself I only need to sew 1 4 5 6 10 (and they are just updates really). Half my problem is not knowing what the weather will be like.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #15- The Great Outdoors (1790s walking dress)

The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors

Fabric: White 100% cotton.

Pattern: S&S regency dress pattern, modified into bib front gown.

Year: 1795-1801 Regency
Notions: bias binding, ribbon, buttons, boning

How historically accurate is it? I belive the pattern is accurate. Not sure about the materials as they were a bit of an unknown quantity.
Hours to complete: Well one full day and two evenings.

First worn: N/A

Total cost: I'm guessing around the £25-30 mark. It was a mix of stash and bought materials.

So this started originally as something for the Black & White challenge, then as I didn't finish it planned it for the Art challenge...that was a failure.Threw the result away and started again, same pattern different fabric...and a few tweaks to my original idea.
So for one thing this time I boned the front lining flaps. I'd had problems before with stretching and wrinkling so this was my solution.
the front will be closed with hook n eye or lacing
I also added a drawstring along neckline to help with the shoulders sliding off. Inspired by seeing this image.

I Then worked on the 'bib'. This was supposed to be delicatly gathered. But it came out a bit..chunky.
 But looking around there are some exant examples from the right era with the chunky front panel.
and this gorgeous dress...I was originally going to do something even closer and have blue dress with white sleeves.
I notice her chemise shows slightly above the neckline...finding the right shape chemise is my next challenge.
 I added two loops to the bib and buttons on the 'straps' to hold front in place.
 and also hand pleated the back (excuse the scruffyness needs pressing). Next I had to add the waist drawstring and the belt carriers. Then hem it.

I found that when I added the bustle pad I didn't need to add belt carriers to keep it in place...but then that's only on the dress form. With moving around me it might be different.