Bib-ity, Bobbity…

 

Woven-stripe “muslin”

 I found the perfect fabric for a stereotypical Regency muslin dress to go over my short stays, right there in my stash just waiting for the right project. (Seriously—it was one of those fabrics that I had bought purely because it was gorgeous, with no project in mind.) However, it’s also really freakin’ sheer (as Regency-style muslin should be) so, obviously a petticoat or underdress was in order. Since my stays are, um, a bit extravagant (i.e. not plain white at all) I wanted a full bodice for the under-dress, not just a strapped petticoat. And after paging through Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion, I wanted to do a back-closing muslin dress, so I thought it might be preferable, then, that the under-dress have a different closure. And what else would spring to mind than trying out a bib-front closure. I was thinking along the lines of this:

  
But with a bust-covering part to the bib. 

 

worn with no stays and totally the wrong chemise.

 Mine ended up a fair bit, um, fluffier.

 

A wee little bib front.

 First off, I had read that bodiced petticoats often had a coarser fabric for the bodice part, so I dug around until I found a smallish end of fairly coarse-woven cotton. I had obviously cut it into something else, but I have no idea what. >_<  Then I went looking for something a little finer for the skirt—but not too fine. I found a big pile of white, medium weight, nice weave—oh wait, that’s the poly-cotton broadcloth I got from the bargain centre for $1/m because it was stained. (Stains came out in the wash.) But, no poly cotton on historical costuming, thank you. Next I found an even better option—pure cotton, nice close weave, not too heavy—wait, that’s the extra-wide stuff I bought for making that bedsheet. Um, no. Eventually I went back to the leftovers from the batiste I had used to make the chemise. A little lighter than I had been hoping for, but it would work. And there was just barely enough to make the skirt I wanted with enough length to add some tucks. Fortunately lace was on half-price that weekend. 

 

felled seams, homemade bias tape on the edges.

 After some fussing and trying to decide if I could be bothered to scale up the pattern pieces from Patterns of Fashion and other angst, I decided to just modify the regency short-stays pattern for the bodice—cut it down in front and omit the gussets and it would look very much like the bodice in the picture above. At least then it should (theoretically) cover the stays. I have a feeling I should’ve cut everything a little wider and higher though…

 

there’s a hole in my dress!

 I wasn’t really clear on what the best construction technique was (accuracy-wise), so I  bound the edge with some home-made bias tape from the same fabric as the skirt. I even used my little bias-folding-ironing doohickey. It’s not my best work, but it will serve, although I’m pretty certain it’s not terribly historical. The batiste bias tape is pretty delicious to work with, though, especially with just a little bit of starch added. 

  It took a couple of iterations of the bib to get the sizing and amount of gathering right, and it may still be off once I try it with the stays, which are away being on display for a wee bit. I initially made the same booboo the Dreamstress recently fixed on her gown, gathering all the front width onto the bib, rather than having part of it extend around the sides below the join.  Again, I’m not sure how accurate my narrow band/ties are, but it’s certainly functional. I haven’t found as much on the details of regency construction as I did on Victorian bodices—maybe I just haven’t been digging in the right places.  

Hallowe’en costume, Tanitisis. CHILL. 

  I was pretty annoyed that I had to go buy lace for the hem—I so wanted this to be a stash-only project—but I was very thorough with my other petticoats with using up everything I had for their lace, and the only eyelet lace I has in stash had a distinctly polyester vibe, especially around the embroidery, that would drive my nuts on a project like this. (Hallowe’en costume, Tanitisis!)

  I finally mastered (on my second attempt) the method for attaching eyelet so that the seam is hidden in a tuck—basically the bottom tuck is a large, lop-sided French seam sewn on the outside of the fabric.   

  My hem finish was inspired by this bodiced petticoat at the Met, though its longer waist looks a teeny bit later to me (but what do I know?) and obviously it isn’t a bib opening design. 

  In

Kj

MK

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Boring. 

I’m not really sure why I’m feeling the need to post about this considering all the other more interesting things I’ve failed to blog recently, but here it is: I made a bedsheet.  

 
I got this extra-wide cotton back in the spring, (which for me these days is actually fairly efficient), especially with the intention of making a new fitted sheet, since one of our two previous ones finally shredded itself. I even got as far as pre-washing the fabric and cutting it roughly to length. And then it sat, until today when I very nearly turned it into a petticoat. So I thought I should probably finish turning it into a bedsheet before I forgot what it was for again and made it into something else (because it really is a very nice cotton). And trying to get our lone bedsheet washed and back on the bed same day every time was getting old. 

Blerg. That was boring. And I managed to sew one of the corners wrong-side out, so I french-seamed it because I’m much too lazy to rip stitches on a bedsheet. And now I wish I had French-seamed all of them, because it looks so much nicer. (Don’t ask me why I might ever care how the inside of my bedsheet looks.)
It does fit the bed. I checked.

But I bet you’d much rather be reading about a petticoat. ;)

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Regency Underoos

 

Sense & Sensibility Patterns Regency chemise and short stays

 It occurs to me that I’m establishing a bit of a pattern here. I’ve made another set of historical underclothing. Hmm. If you go back and include the fairly-mediaeval bliaut I made way-pre-blog (hand-worked eyelets up each side, dude), that was basically an underdress as well… well, let’s just say I have yet to produce any historical outer wear of note. Hmm. Maybe I should give up and just go with “underwear across the ages”. ;)

Regardless of what that says about my sewing inclinations (or maybe just my attention span), I have made another set: Regency underthings this time, perhaps aiming for a date around 1805, although frankly I’m trying to restrain my latent authenticity Nazi and don’t feel like researching ’til my brains ooze out my ears. But I kind of spent a bunch of time on vacation last month pinning Regency fashions, since they’re some of my favourite (and arguably considerably more translatable into a modern aesthetic than anything much before or after), and then I got it into my head that maybe it would be a fun Hallowe’en costume. One impulse purchase of the Sense & Sensibility Patterns Regency Chemise and Short-Stays pattern (PDF), some serious grumbling over the printing thereof (not pre-tiled, layout not at all paper-maximizing), and a very very small piece ofsome very scrumptious embroidered silk and, well…

  

Chemise

  I didn’t really follow the chemise pattern, partly because I only printed half of it, but mostly because I prefer a gored construction method, and I’m pretty sure it’s still historically accurate. I did copy the neckline, but otherwise I used the same two-gored construction I did for my Victorian chemise. In hind-sight, I wish I’d done the single, asymmetrical gore (more “old fashioned”) but I forgot at the time. Apparently I need to make another. Because I really need another historical chemise. >_< Add rectangular bits for sleeves and the last couple of square scraps for gussets.

 

Flat felling, be hand and machine

  I did all the long seams flat-felled on my machine, but I can’t quite wrap my head around flat felling the gussets by machine, and I never do a very good job of matching things up so my seam allowances were, ah, wonky… So I felled those seams by hand. Hand-sewing: for fixing fuckups. ;)

  I made hand-worked eyelets for the neckline drawstring to pass through. However, not being overly bright, I worked them in the BACK of the neckline. Oops. I’m not really happy with the neckline anyway (I did a fairly terrible job of applying the bias tape drawstring casing) and it seems a little high so when/if I get the time and inclination Imay redo it. 

 

Coffe, coffee everywhere. :(

 The short-stays were more fun, and slightly less of a comedy of errors. Aside from the part where I dumped an entire cup of coffee on the pattern and fabric. We won’t speak further on that. At leas the silk is pretty coffee coloured to begin with. 

 

Ticking lining

 I used ticking for the lining and interlining, rather than coutil, mostly because a friend had recommended it as a locally-available alternative to  coutil, apparently very low-stretch due to the tight weave. Though I’m not sure this was the best project to test it out as the short stays are very lightly boned. The softness of the ticking wouldn’t be too much of a problem in a fully-boned corset, but might be an issue in something that has less boning than some of my bras. Though at least initially it seems to be working. I used the maximum amount of boning suggested (the instructions are pretty thorough in going over various options for boning and cording and even quilting. And there’s an online version with extra photos, too.)

 

Quilting

 Speaking of which, I added some quilting to the back, which is completely unboned, for a wee bit more support. It looks nice, anyway. 

 

Back view

 I wanted a coordinating silk in a solid to make my bias binding (the idea of trying to make a binding out of my embroidered silk was a bit horrifying) but there was naught to be had. So I threw authenticity out the window* and went with a very modern polyester satin bias trim, which was both fast and easy and a great colour. 

 

Front. My dressform does not squish as well as I do.

 I made my eyelets by hand, as per period (and not nearly as many as that damn mediaeval dress, as I reminded myself constantly) but reinforced with metal jump rings. Although I’m not sure how often this was actually done, (I did read about it, though, somewhere) it was fun to try out and the resulting eyelets are nicely circular and sturdy. 

 

Eyelet inside, with jump ring.

 After studying my Pinterest boards, I opted for spiral lacing. Regency seems to be pretty much right around when the switch from spiral to crisscrossing lacing happened, but more of the extant garments and images seemed to me (in a very unscientific survey) to be spiral-laced. (Or have holes spaced for spiral lacing even if their laces are currently cross-laced.) 

The bottom of the stays is designed to have a drawstring to hold them down. I left the channel open but haven’t tried to thread it—my rib cage  doesn’t exactly taper downwards, so I’m not convinced it would help with anything. 

 

On me. Hopefully I’ll have better pics eventually

 I cut a size 12 (same sizing as big 4 patterns, as far as I can tell, how nice), with the B-cup gussets. I optimistically auditioned the C-cup versions but, ah, no. I also cut down to a size 10 in circumference, though I didn’t mess with any of the vertical measurements. 

 

Shoulder tie.

 The only actual change I made to the pattern was to have the straps separate in the front and attach with ties. Not so much because I thought there was anything wrong with the pattern length but just in case, y’know. Plus I had this fabulous matching velvet ribbon. I think I set them a little further apart than the original pattern would call for—this isn’t inappropriate for the period but would probably be too wide for a lot of people (including my dress form.) They seem to stay fairy well on me, though—though I haven’t tested them under heavy movement yet. 

 

Lift and separate!

 
It was a pretty darn fun project, anyway, however ridiculously impractical. And quick.  And now I can think about a Regency gown for Hallowe’en.

Although first I’m gonna need another petticoat. ;)

*if there was anything left to throw out after I chose my embroidered silk; I haven’t been able to find anything in period even remotely as ornate as my silk. 

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Maxi Mania

Jalie 3246

Jalie 3246

Maybe it was Carolyn’s recent binge on maxi dresses, or maybe it was that EVERY stylish lady in my office (and frankly, I think that’s all of the ladies in my office) has been wearing one at least three days a week for the last month, but I finally made time to make up Jalie 3245.

Jalie 3246

Jalie 3246

I meant to make this up last summer, but time slipped by me, as it often does.

The Black Version

The Black Version

As with most Jalie patterns, once you make one, it’s hard to stop. I made the first once in about two hours on a Saturday morning before I had to go to work, and that includes tracing out the pattern. I made it from a fairly heavy black knit (a doubleknit, I think) with a crep-like texture on one side—it’s got great drape and more stretch than a ponte, but is still a fairly firm and potentially sweaty fabric. Maybe not the best choice for a summer dress.

Front, black.

Front, black.

But it sure looks classy. I made this one up pretty much exactly as per pattern, only grading form size R at the bust to S at the waist and hips and adding a bit of length on the bottom. Since I recently ordered a million miles of narrow black fold-over-elastic off Etsy, I used it for the neckline and arm-bindings, which is super fast and would have looked great if I’d taken three more minutes to test my tension on a scrap or two.

FOE, slightly wavy.

FOE, slightly wavy.

As it is, it looks fine on but is a bit wavy off—limits the hanger appeal. Boo. Fortunately, handmade clothes aren’t really about the hanger appeal. ;)

Skirt: Narrow.

Skirt: Narrow.

The only major problem I had was that the skirt is VERY narrow. This means you can easily get the dress out of a pretty teeny amount of fabric, but it’s not great for walking in, especially in my rather firm fabric. There is also something slightly off about how the hips fit, which goes away when I hike it up about 1.5 cm—so for the other versions I made a small tuck between bust and waist and they sit very nicely. I’m glad I didn’t try to shorten the bodice at the shoulders, which is what I often have to do, because the armscyes are NOT deep at all, and in fact could probably be lowered a wee bit.

Back, black.

Back, black.

After the fact, I took a bit off the sides to get a closer fit in the back. It’s hard to get dresses like this to cling to the extreme back-curve I have there. The back is pretty wrinkly even when I’m not standing with my hips off to the side, but that’s life with a swayback.

How to walk in a narrow skirt.

How to walk in a narrow skirt.

The main problem with the narrow skirt is that I wind up walking around with it hiked up to my knees so I can take a decent-sized step.

Version 2 (or is it three?)

Version 2 (or is it three?)

I cut out the other two versions together a couple of days later. Both are rayon jerseys of some variety, although very different in terms of their overall stretch and feel. This dark, processed-photo-looking floral (with blue roses!) is super-stretchy and very drapy, with lots of weight, but a hard, almost scratchy feel.

Back view, with seam.

Back view, with seam.

In an effort to maximize my skirt width, I cut the second and third dresses with a back-seam and a non-directional layout. This also let me add a swayback adjustment and some shaping to the back seam, so really no downside here—and, I figured if the skirt was still too narrow for walking, I could add a slit at the back seam as well. (I know I could’ve left side slits on the original version of the pattern, but I just don’t like that look as much.

Flared skirt cutting diagram

Flared skirt cutting diagram

This may not have been the best choice since technically both my prints are directional, but I’m hoping they are big and crazy enough that nobody will pay attention.

Crazy Paisley

Crazy Paisley

Incidentally, I wasn’t paying attention to print placement at all… for the third maxi, there’s a distinct repeat to those giant paisleys that wanders from almost dead centre at the hem to distinctly over to the left side at the bust. Oops. In my defense, what I was paying attention to while ignoring the print was the grain of the knit, so I’m pretty sure that the print is not at all square to that. And maybe this is better than direct boob paisley?

Butt paisley

Butt paisley

For the non-black versions, I didn’t have a fabulous matching fold-over-elastic to speed me on my way, so I opted to bind the edges.

Step one: overlock.

Step one: overlock.

I pretty much always use the same method, only varying whether I include a bit of clear elastic in the mix or not: cut a band across the greatest stretch of the fabric, 1.5″ wide or so (I am not overly precise in this, and for the roses maxi I actually used the rather off-grain strip that was left from between the two pattern pieces—plenty stretchy in this fabric but it led to some rippling that was much less of a problem when using cross-grain pieces.) These days, I typically layer fashion fabric (right side up) – knit band (right side down) – clear elastic on top, and serge away. If I’m being good, I test to see how much tension I need on both knit band and clear elastic… if I’m not, hopefully I started somewhere like the bottom of the arm-hole so no one will really see how messed up the first few inches are. I don’t pre-measure and I don’t apply it in the round, more because I am lazy than because I think it’s a better way to do things.

Serged!

Overlocked!

Once I have this firm base attached, I wrap the binding around so that the loose edge is to the back and snug it up—having plenty of width makes it easy to pull it gently snug.

Wrap binding around to back and topstitch.

Wrap binding around to back and topstitch.

Typically, I actually just use a narrow zig-zag to topstitch—I have kinda developed a hate for twin needles, mostly to do with their cost vs. the teeny amount of sewing I’ve ever managed to do with one—I don’t think I’ve ever had one last through a second project (arguably, I am hard on my needles.) However, for this project I decided to try out a feature of my Grandma’s Rocketeer that I read about in the manual but hadn’t tested yet—it can actually hold two needles in its needle slot, side by side. How? You just keep opening the screw until they both fit. They do sit side by side, so it’s a narrow spread between, about 2mm, but that was perfect for the narrow bindings on these dresses. I’m pretty darn happy with how it worked, actually, and if I bust one, all I’m out is a regular stretch needle, not some fancy expensive twin.

Trim the excess off the back.

Trim the excess off the back.

After topstitching, I trim off the extra from the back—hooray for non-fraying knits! (I wouldn’t want to use this on a knit that runs, but then those are like sewing with the devil anyway.

A little press and, voila!

A little press and, voila!

I’m pretty sure I originally got this technique off of Pattern, Scissors, Cloth, which is no longer available, a fact which makes me cry on an almost weekly basis because Sherry had SUCH great info. Everytime I go to think about making a jacket now I want to go check up on her RTW Tailoring Sewalong, and then I can’t and the sadness just wells up.

Voila!

Bindings!

I’m sure there are a million other tutorials on this way, and I know there’s lots of other ways to attach a binding, too, but this one is the one I keep going back to.

Side paisley

Side paisley

 

It seems kinda dumb that I just spent so much time going over the neck and arm bindings on this pattern, but really, that’s 3/4 of the sewing time—everything else is just a quick zip over with the serger. And the hem, of course—Steam-a-Seam is my go-to in that department.

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A long time coming.

Simplicity XXXX

Simplicity 5691

It’s been a while since I made a 70s pattern, and this one was a LONG time coming—but I’m so happy it’s finally done. I can’t even remember when I picked up this pattern, though I think I could probably find it in the blog archives since it dates back to the days when I would proudly show off all my new purchases here (as opposed to shamefacedly stuffing them out of sight before my husband finds them, like I tend to these days. The pattern collection is, um, excessive.)

Worst Women’s Pattern Ever?

70s Simplicity patterns are hard to beat for their cuteness, and in my opinion this is one of the cutest. Although, here it is on in Peter’s “Worst Women’s Patterns Ever” Pinterest board. ;) possibly the tunic version with the wide-legged bell bottoms hasn’t aged as well as the dress version? ;) I confess this is not the only pattern on that board that I own, and paid real actual money for, too.

I found the perfect fabric amidst a mess of different things at Fabricland labeled “European Fashion Designer Prints”… It’s what I would call a lawn, lovely, close woven cotton, crisp but not at all hard, and surprisingly wrinkle-resistant. The mock-patchwork print is just about my favourite thing ever. And ever so 70s, too. It has all the intricate, geometric/paisley details that make me go all squee over a print, plus that mock-patchwork look. Serious love.

Back View

Back View

Unfortunately, I started this project a little too late last summer—I got the dress nearly complete just in time for the weather to go cold, and then  when I got it to the try on stage, the square shoulder adjustment I didn’t do bit me in the butt and I needed to unpick around some of the unusual sleeve-to-bodice structure. I stalled, and the dress got wadded up and stuffed in a ziplock UFO baggie for the winter.

Buttons closeup!

Buttons closeup!

Finally, a few weeks ago, my craving for a new spring dress with minimal effort finally outweighed my distaste for unpicking and on the fly fit-fudging. I unpicked and cut down the inside-shoulder piece. The visible, fluttery sleeve is no problem, of course, but there was this full-shoulder-covering lining that just wasn’t working. I cut it down to about an inch wide (along the neckline side) and it works much better now. Then I procrastinated for a couple more weeks until I finally put on my big girl panties and did the buttonholes.

 

Slant-Shank Buttonholer

Slant-Shank Buttonholer

I dug up the Rocketeer to try out my new slant-shank Singer buttonholer, which my crafty sister-in-law found at a big neighbourhood garage-sale this spring. It worked beautifully.  Though that might’ve been the glorious fabric.

 

Wash-away stabilizer behind buttoholes

Wash-away stabilizer behind buttoholes

Or the wash-away stabilizer I added, because that stuff is my new fave notion. It’s much sturdier than the thin film stuff I’ve used before. Anyway, flawless, even the one over the “waist” seam which was a bit touch and go. My button-attachment is less flawless, and horizontal buttonholes are not very forgiving, so there is a little bit of bunching here and there where my button placement ended up a trifle off. It’s not bothering me enough to actually fix. Oh, and the hems on the sleeves and the bottom are rolled with my serger. Which, while not really a period finish, works really well for this look, I think.

So glad I didn't skip the giant patch pockets!

So glad I didn’t skip the giant patch pockets!

Confession: I still need to hand-stitch down the bottom of the bodice lining, which is a soft, lighter purple voile. And I’ve already worn this more times than I want to admit. It’s great, easy to throw on for work or at home, and perfect since the weather seems to think its July already.

One down from the Dresses list.

Back at the beginning of last summer, I had pulled a trio of summery dress patterns from stash that I wanted to make up—this was going to be the only one in the group that I actually accomplished last summer. Yikes. I wonder what the odds of me getting to another one are? I’m leaning towards the one on the right for summer, and then the middle as we creep up on fall.

I’ll doubtless be distracted by something else along the way, mind you.

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The Very Boring Corset

A very boring corset

A very boring corset (and some not-so-authentic underpinnings)

I promised my husband I’d make him a shirt, so of course I had to whip up another corset.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I went back to my Butterick 4254. First I re-traced all the pattern pieces 1/4″ narrower than before, then I made a few tweaks around the bust and waist. (Basically, more bust, less waist! Woohoo!) I decided I’m pretty happy with the overall length and shaping, I just wanted to refine the shape a bit more. Then, as I was sewing a quick mockup, I realized that my original pattern pieces seemed to be calling for 3/4″ seam allowances—and I’m pretty sure I sewed both my earlier mock ups and my blue corset with regular 5/8th seam allowances. Which explains where that extra 1/4″ on each piece came from. (I’m still glad I removed it, though, as I don’t need 3/4″ SAs to make channels for 1/4″ boning., and they cause issues like puckering, and or need clipping and things.)

Back view.

Back view.

Although I was tempted by the siren-song of some of my other fancy materials, I resisted, as I really needed this to be a quick sew that I could bang out of the way and move on to other projects. Like shirts for my husband. I did dare to cut into my precious coutil, though (I used about half of the 1m I have, so I still have another corset’s worth. ;) ). This is it, plain and un-covered, in a single layer, with serged seam allowances (so non-historical!) and hardly a lick of ornamentation.

Closeup!

Closeup!

The only reason the pretty purple ribbon is there as opposed to boring old twill tape like the bottom is my friend Steph gave it to me to use. I enclosed some narrow ribbon within it for a drawstring, and I do like being able to pull it in at the bust (especially as there’s a bit of extra room up there, as I said.)

Silhouette comparison

Silhouette comparison

I think the size is much better this time around—still roomy in hips and bust (arguably the bust is a little too roomy but I really don’t want compression in this region ;) ), with a smidge (or more than a smidge) more waist definition than before. And a perfectly reasonable, roughly parrallel lacing gap. By the way, I get a whole 2″ of waist compression out of this thing (unlike the other one, which actually doesn’t change my waist measurement at all once you add in the bulk of the corset itself.) I think that’s pretty much my limit, barring serious waist-training that just isn’t going to happen. I wasn’t really expecting more—there isn’t a lot of space between my hips and ribcage to squish in, and I’m a pretty rectangular shape to start.

Have another corset view

Have another corset view

One thing that really stands out is the difference the busk makes. For the first corset, I used a spoon busk, and while I did have to straighten a fair bit of the spooning as it wasn’t hitting at the right spot on my body (it would’ve needed to sit about 2″ lower to work properly) it still does help “hug in” the bottom front—there’s a very distinct gap (shadow) you can see in the newest corset at the bottom front. Not a big deal under petticoats, but something to tweak a bit if I want to make “fashion” versions. (Not sure where I’ll wear a “fashion” corset yet, but then again I’m not really sure where I’ll wear this full Victorian getup either.)

Lobster tail

Lobster tail

And here’s a shot of my American Duchess-style lobster-tail bustle, because I haven’t really done it justice on the blog (nor probably will get around to it, sadly) For this dress-up I experimented with fastening it a bit lower on my hips (rather than right at the waist). My theory is that it elongates my waist and gives me more room between butt and waist to build up the layers of bustled stuff in the back, though I couldn’t really say it makes much of a difference.

Steph in my corset!

One bit of fun I did have was stuffing a couple of my sewing friends (yes, real-life people I get together with and we MAKE STUFF! Slightly more than once in a blue moon) into the corset to see how it looked on different bodies. I think the answer is “better than on me”—but anyway, that was super fun.

 

Chrissy. She's probably going to kill me for picking this picture, but I love her face! ;)

Chrissy. She’s probably going to kill me for picking this picture, but I love her face! ;)

It was really interesting to see it on different bodies, but even more fun to see their reactions to “corset shape” for the first time! :)

With Authentic Vintage Photo Filters (TM)

With Authentic Vintage Photo Filters (TM)

And, well, just for fun, here’s the full ensemble again. Sorry for the cami under the corset—my chemise was awol and I was on a tight time-frame for taking the photos.

In other news, my last “Historical Clothing” workshop is this weekend at the Marr Residence. I’m nervous (cuz I always am) and a little sad that it’s the last, and wondering where to go from here… after all, I’m just about ready to start planning the outer dress!

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The Very Boring Petticoat

Petticoat!

Petticoat!

I made a third petticoat. This was always the plan, though I wasn’t quite expecting to do it, um, this weekend, since there’s about four other higher-priotity projects in the queue… But, I had a couple of metres of muslin lying around after another project, and when I got home from work Friday night it was whispering and, well, that was that.*

A Very Boring Petticoat

It was pretty obvious when I finished my fancy, flouncy petticoat that it needed another layer underneath, to smooth over the ridges and lines of the bustle and corset. Possibly my flannel petticoat would serve that purpose as well, but certainly not in the summer (which is what we are gearing up to here, at long last.)

Lace on Hem

When I first started cutting the muslin, I meant to make it a completely plain white skirt, but, in true Victorian fashion, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and several metres of lace found their way onto the hem. Still, after all the tucking and gathering and more gathering of the last one, it was a pretty quick and dirty affair.

Felled seams

I used my flat-fell foot to fell the vertical seams, and I felt a lot more successful this time, if only because the muslin is like the best-behaved fabric in the universe. The main thing (aside from actually reading up on how to use the foot) is to use the right seam-allowances—1/4″ on the bottom 1/8″ on the top. Still not flawless, but mostly good, and no one’ll see the booboos anyway. ;) Half my fells are on the inside, however, and half on the outside—after I screwed it up on the second seam I decided I didn’t care and just did whichever side was most convenient. Not the tidiest ever. BUT NO ONE WILL SEE. (Except everyone I show it to because I’m all like LOOK I MADE A PETTICOAT!) I used a total of three skirt-lengths of 44″ wide muslin. To reduce fabric waste, I added a centre front seam to the front gore. Initially I was going to use only two skirt lengths, but it would’ve been a really scrawny petticoat, so I scrounged around and turned up another piece of the same fabric, just long enough for another set of gores.

Long back.

Long back.

It’s more trained (long in back)  than my previous petticoats, because one of the sets of gores I made was cut from a full 44″ width of fabric, not a half-width. This was not my best idea ever since I don’t particularly want a trained petticoat. Oops. I also cut the waistband little large, thinking it could sit a bit lower on my waist (and also not wanting another overly-tight waistband), but this doesn’t seem to work overly well for these skirts—the bustle gets in the way, I suppose. It looks kinda like one of those “look at my old pants!” weight-loss commercials. https://instagram.com/p/2zyEWwr0Mu/?taken-by=tanitisis   Like the flannel petticoat, I made a folded placket in the CB. This time I put the narrow edge of the placket on top and the wide one beneath—this seems to work much better with all the gathering that is going on in a sort like this, although it’s pretty much opposite of the instructions. Untitled As I was trying to throw this together quickly, I was in no mood to try some stroked gathers (pity because I think I might’ve done better counting threads and things on the muslin)—I went with two well-spaced rows of machine gathering, although I tried a little extra-hard to make sure the stitches were as synchronized between the two rows as I could manage. I’m not too bothered, anyway.

Two petticoats!

Two petticoats!

Aside from the waistband, I’m pretty happy with it, and it serves its purpose admirably.

One petticoat vs. 2

One petticoat vs. 2

The hard bustle bone ridges you could see with just one petticoat are much better hidden this time.

Skirts appears a little more full, I think.

Skirts appears a little more full, I think.

Although I’m noticing more “skirt spread” now, angling out of the front part of the skirt. Not quite the 1880s fashion-plate look, although pretty common in actual period photographs. The solution, according to Mrs Church and others, is ties or elastics that run across the inside of the skirt, from one side to the other behind the knees, pulling everything in. This would require adding little slit-type openings to all the petticoat layers for the ties to pass through… We’ll see.

Teehee!

Teehee!

It then occurred to me that I’m taking photos in my back yard in my underwear. Teehee! Alas, my attempts to vamp it up Victorian-style mostly came out looking more “axe murderer” than “come hither” (a problem I often have…), so you’ll have to settle for a peek of ankle. *Yes, as you may have noticed, I have also made another corset. It, like the petticoat, is very boring. I will blog it as soon as I get the chance, I promise.

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