Monthly Archives: August 2015

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. 






Filed under Sewing


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. 😉


Filed under Sewing

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…



  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.)



 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. 


Filed under Sewing