Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mitts mock-up and my little sewing corner

I started making the pattern for my mitts on Friday and sewed the mock-up yesterday and here's the result:

The thumb part ended up a bit too long but it was easy to fix. After making a couple of changes to the pattern, I began with the embroidery pattern today. However, it ended up too complicated so I need to make another one. It's not too complicated to make, really, but I want a more simple one for my first mitts. So I'm going to save the embroidery pattern for another pair that I plan to make in white some day.

The weekend was quite busy and I was happy to finally organize and clean my sewing corner that I have quite selfishly taken over in our bedroom. This is where I work at the moment:

While dreaming of my own sewing room, it's nice to have this little area for myself in our small apartment...

A new find from Saturday (above). It's really nice to have things divided into small boxes so I can easily find what I'm looking for while I'm working at the table. This isn't exactly what I was looking for but I thought I could paint and decorate it some day because I couldn't find a prettier one. I've been searching for something like this for ages so when I came across this one I simply had to get it.

Some of my history and costume books... Some borrowed, most of them my own.

A couple of stash boxes. I couldn't find space for them in the walk-in closet... And that's my old lap top on top of them, along with the black wool that I intend to use for the mitts.

I've got stash here and there, everywhere around the apartment...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pair of garters 1780 - Finished!

So, I just finished the garters this morning! Yay!

Since I have another day off today and plenty of spare time during the weekend as well, I'm already planning what to sew next. I just found some leftover pieces of black wool in my stash and I'm thinking about making embroidered mitts. I also need a neckerchief and a cap... We'll see what I come up with next! But because I can't afford to get much new fabrics at the moment, I'm going to be making some accessories, that's for sure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pair of garters 1780 - work in progress (again)

Some time ago, while browsing on Victoria & Albert Museum's database, I found this lovely pair of garters. I was so inspired by their dramatic, yet romantic slogan that I decided to make them. Usually I've just worn white modern socks (under-knee length) because I never had the patience to make such a simple article of clothing - that won't be much seen anyway - on my own but now I really want to make a pair of socks to go with the garters. This is also a perfect pair of garters because I've decided to make proper undergarments for 1780s costumes and these are from that decade as well.

Pair of Garters, ca. 1780, V& A

I drew the garters up on a paper a few weeks ago and while I was embroidering my 1890s corset (it's almost finished! Yay!) yesterday I felt like I should keep on going so I also picked up the garters and finally started making them. Here's the pattern I made for them:

Embroidered so far...

These were the colors I already had and tomorrow I'm going to get some more threads to do the rest of the embroidery work...

Woah, I'm actually amazed by the amount sewing I've done in the past two months. I usually work in short periods of time and I might have a few months break in between but now I've been sewing like mad for longer than I usually do. I guess it's one of those rare periods when I get a lot done. Also, note to my dear readers, because of taking long breaks from sewing from time to time there might be long breaks on blogging, too, even if I'm posting quite a lot at the moment...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hand-bound lacing holes or metal eyelets? + More stays progress

In the 18th century the lacing holes would be hand bound with thread and that's how I've used to do it on my stays. But lately I've started to consider if I should use metal eyelets because the hand-bound holes have stretched and ripped after two years of using my former stays and now I wish my future stays to stay neat as long as possible. I've been debating whether it's more important for me to have historically accurate lacing holes or the stays last for longer and haven't yet come to a decision. I know it doesn't really matter as much when I have machine-sewing seen as when I don't have it seen and right now the machine sewing is visible on the outside of the new 1780s stays so I'm starting to think I could go for the metal eyelets.

Here's my list why I should use either:

Metal eyelets:
-last longer
-quicker to attach
-not historically accurate

Hand-bound lacing holes:
-historically accurate
-look prettier (that's just my opinion)
-stretch and rip over time

Conclusion could be to use metal rings to strengthen the lacing holes. Yesterday I discovered that it's also historically accurate. Here's my rough translation from Underkläder by Britta Hammar and Pernilla Rasmussen:
"... to make the (lacing) holes more durable you could strengthen them with a piece of leather. Another option was to sew in metal rings around the hole between the layers of the stays or on the right side - a method that is used, for example, in the two stays of Malmö Museum's collection."
There are also pictures of these two stays in the book but I couldn't find them on the Internet... However, since I'm going to make another stays after I've finished the ones I'm sewing right now, I'm probably going to try out the metal rings on the next ones and go with the metal eyelets this time.We'll see about it later.

So, after I had sewed the pieces of the stays together, I stitched the seam allowances flat to the underside and also stitched the seams by hand on the inside to make the stays even more durable.

After that, it was finally time for the metal eyelets. I'm really pleased with my choice, in the end.

Now, this also isn't a historically accurate way to do the lining, but I've always preferred to sew the lining under the binding because I think it looks more finished and prettier that way and because these stays aren't going to be worn every day so I doubt the lining won't have to be changed.

I got to try these on and like I had assumed, they were indeed far too big. I drew the pattern back in September and have lost weight since. It doesn't matter, though, because these will be sold anyway when finished. 

Next up: the binding... Don't we all just love that part with the tabs...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Search the collections

I can't believe I had missed out this one! And I thought there couldn't possibly be more online collections because my online collections list (see the list on the left side of the blog) seemed so long already. ;) Anyhow, if there's anyone like me who hasn't seen the collection here's a link to it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

More progress on the stays and two great articles

I've been really excited about sewing the 1780s stays and have made progress on them every day since last post. I debated whether to have visible boning channels or not but eventually I thought the boning channels seem to be always visible in the late 18th century stays I've seen so that's how I wanted them to be.

Recently I've been exploring a lot of new blogs and found some interesting articles. To mention a couple, you should definitely read: 

This post on Textile Time Travels. Annika Madejska talks about SCA events but to me it seems there are some similar issues on the 18th century reenactor community as well. The second half of the article in particular. 

Also, on HistoricalSewing.com Jennifer Rosburgh has written a great article about trying keeping up with other costumers. I'm sure many of us agree with her. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

W.I.P.: 1780s stays and petticoat for polonaise progress

So, I'm happy to tell I actually kept my promise I made in the last post and started sewing the petticoat for my robe à la polonaise. At the moment I've got only half of the trimming on the hem left to do. I got the idea for the pinking of edges from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion I. I guess most of you are familiar with the book and recognize the petticoat I'm talking about. I don't have a real 18th century pinking tool since it's not available anywhere on the web at the moment (Do correct me if I'm wrong.) so I used my pinking shears to imitate the triangular pinking style. It's quite time-consuming and doesn't have the exact same shape of the original 18th century pinking but I'm happy with the result anyway. 

I decided on a pleated trimming style that matches with the trimming on the gown itself.

I found this lovely drawing of a woman sewing with a similar pleated petticoat trimming style.

Louis Roland Trinquesse, Seated Woman Sewing, 1788

Also, I mentioned I was making patterns for 1780s stays in a post last September (Was it that long ago, really?!)  and I found the cut pieces last weekend when I was going through my fabric boxes and thought I should make them although I had decided on another pattern. I'm probably going to sell them once they're finished so I 'm not going to make any changes to them according to my size. I do this just purely for fun and to test out the pattern I had picked.