After a week or more of #cleandontsew (which is not nearly as fun as #sewdontclean) I got home from work and realized that, for the first time this week, I had no evening plans. Woohoo! Then my sister-in-law called and invited us over. But for a few precious, fleeting moments, I had time to sew.

I worked a bit more on my Victorian drawers.


I added some more nice cotton lace to the bottom of the ruffle. It doesn’t match the colour of the not-nearly-so-nice not-cotton lace above. I am tempted to pull the other stuff off, except that would be annoying.


I started binding the edges which won’t be the crotch, because these are going to be split drawers, but which would be the front and back crotch seams if these were closed crotch drawers. Except, I got confused and used the wrong white cotton (somehow I have acquired at least six swathes of white cotton in my “Victorian underthings” box. Yes, I now have one of those.) So the strips are rather lighter weight than the rest. I’m thinking I don’t care. Or I could make up something about it reducing bulk. As long as I remember to use the right stuff for the waistband.


I used a similar band on the inside where the ruffle attaches. This is not one of the hemming techniques that my Victorian sewing texts recommend—one suggested making a quarter-inch tuck three eighths of an inch above the bottom of the fabric and sewing the ruffle on so it attaches under the tuck. Another said to finish the hem, then slash the bottom and sew the ruffle in between the two layers. I thought that this would produce pretty much the same effect as a separate band, so I’m doing a separate band.


I feel like my drawers are suffering a bit from issues of scale. The tucks are too big; the lace not sufficiently delicate. All the things that tend to make reproductions of Victorian items look like, well, reproductions. I’m trying not to sweat it—hello, novice costumer here—but I can definitely understand the authenticity-snob mindset. /sigh.

In other Victorian Costuming news, I think there’s enough of that lightweight, unbleached cotton twill that came in the Box Of Quiltness to make a petticoat. Possibly a bustle also. I am coming reluctantly to the conclusion that I need to make a bustle. The house was built in 1884, prime 2nd Bustle Era. Anyone with thoughts on suitable alternatives to metal bands for a lobster tail bustle? The American Duchess has a great tutorial. Also, now I want her button boots. >_<



Filed under Sewing

12 responses to “Draw(er)ing

  1. Being away I have manage to have 3 #notsewdays … very difficult… I have almost bought a sewing machine – whatever… but this time I had enough handsewing to do and fitting so – a sewing machine will be next time.
    The drawers look great! I admire you!
    It is difficult to resist the American Duchess – they have fabulous things… I was thinking of buying one of the shoes as well…

    • I think I need to start bringing my sewing machine on vacation! I’ve done a bit better in my proportion of #sewdays this week, if only by sewing first thing in the morning… πŸ˜‰

  2. Bustles are so much fun! I’ve considered using cane in a bustle, but I think it would need to be bundled quite a bit to have the strength and durability. May I ask why is metal not an option? it really is the best to use and is what was used in them.

  3. I’ve made some “bustles” with the really stiff netting. You just sew 3-5 layers of gathered ruffles and attach to a grosgrain ribbon waistband that snaps in the front. It’s like a little tutu for your behind. You can also make a bum roll (a rounded pillow) attached to a ribbon to go under the net ruffles if you find you need more support.

    Don’t sweat the details in your first round of costuming. (There’s plenty of time to get snobby about the details, hehe.) As long as you pull off the silhouette and lines, most people will never notice. =)

    • I guess I’m not really interested in historical costuming without the details, sigh. General silhouette I could probably pull from my own closet… πŸ˜‰

      I love the cute little net bustles but I don’t think it’s quite enough to hold up a full heavy skirt. I should probably try a pillow one, though…

  4. stellaastro

    Polyethylene tubing as a sub for hoopwire. I’ve made 18th century panniers with it, and can’t speak highly enough. It’s readily available at hardware stores, very inexpensive, lightweight, and easily shaped with heat if necessary.

  5. LinB

    Bum roll. (It’s a real thing, not a comment on your posting.) The Elizabethans used it as a substitute for a farthingale, so I don’t see why you can’t use one as a substitute for a bustle. Don’t do the “half-a-donut-at-the-waist” bum roll. Do the “puffy mitten-without-a-thumb” pillow that rests atop your bum, filling in the curve between your waist and your bum proper. It will support the weight of the skirts and create the proper line, cheatingly from the point of view of the purists. Costumers cheat this way lots of times.

  6. Nice project! Fabric + trims look a pleasure to work with. Would putting the finished item in a tea bath help mellow / blend the components?

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