Historical Sew Monthly – January, Firsts and Lasts

I like the corset.  I get progressively less interested in fashion the further it gets from the corset.  Maybe it’s because it feels less like history and more like “fashion” which has never really been my thing.  Anyway, we did a 19-Teens Tea through the costuming guild in February, which was a new time period for me.  New period = new underwear = new corset.

Nice thing is, this works great for the 2017 January Sew Monthly challenge.  (I like challenges; they keep me focused)

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Historical Sew Monthly December – Red

December didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to.

This was supposed to be a fun month for costuming.  Dickens on the Strand the first weekend, then some holiday cheer at my volunteer ranch to follow.  I had my December challenge item, a ball gown bodice, slated for finishing for the ranch events, and I was going to wear my awesome November “red” dolman for Dickens.

However, I ended up not being able to go to any of it.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances with my supervisor, I ended up having to attend drill the weekend of Dickens on the Strand.  And I had some other obligations that ended up taking precedent over the ranch events.  Then in January?  My parents’ puppy got stolen, and that was all kinds of bad.  Sad stuff.

I did get a chance to finish and wear my dolman, and now that things are quiet, I thought I’d catch up with the posts!  I’m quite happy with the end result!


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Making a Hat From a Bigger Hat – 2

October was insane.  I had a two week extension on a deadline for a picnic dress, and I still almost didn’t get it done.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the even at all, except I had a concert in Dallas the night before I was not going to miss.  All in all, the ensemble turned out nice:
The ins and outs of this dress were legion, so much so it killed most of my writing/blogging time over the past few months. The most I can say about it is… make sure you cut your skirt panels the right length for your height!
Anyway, it needed a hat.  A cool hat.  Something tall.  A nice late Victorian walking hat.
But I’m lazy.  And time-pressed.  And breaking out the buckram did not sound like fun.
So I tried something new, and it worked pretty well.  I also got more photos of this hat than the last one, so I think we can consider this a proper tutorial!  Best of all, it’s completely made with items you can buy at the big box stores.

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Making a Hat From a Bigger Hat

When I started on my 1880s polonaise, I knew I needed a bonnet.  I also knew I didn’t have much time – two weeks is an eyeblink when you’re trying to deal with millinery.  I needed something fast, quick, and period appropriate, so I turned to the straw hat stash in the craft closet.  
(Yes, I have a straw hat stash.  For reasons exactly like this.  You never know when you’re going to need one!)
And it turned out pretty good!
Easy, fun, and period correct!  And the best part is, I did this without any special supplies at all.  Including the time it took to block and stiffen, this was a three day project (a day to block, a day to stiffen, and about six-seven hours to finish up). 
Below the break is a sort-of tutorial on how I made this bonnet.  I do apologize for the paucity of photos; I had very little time to get this done!

September Sew Monthly Challenge – Historicism

I was working hard on a dress for the costuming group’s train day, but Very Understanding Boyfriend found out his friends’ wedding was that weekend! I was happy to change plans, but it did leave me with a half-finished dress and no costuming event for the month. And then I remembered that we had a tea!

The theme for the tea was “pink”. Which is why I wasn’t planning on going. I’m not a pink kind of girl, as it tends to go very wrong on redheads. However, I do like making things. And when I realized this would be a good fit for the “historicism” challenge, I picked up six yards of lovely Civil War cinnamon from the local quilt shop and got to work.

This is the finished dress:



The Challenge:

Material: The pink calico is a quilting cotton. The skirt is sateen from Jo-Ann’s. The accent bits are silk and rayon velvet from Dharma Trading.

Pattern: The underskirt is the go-to Truly Victorian 4 Gore underskirt. The polonaise is draped based on a pattern in Bustle Fashions. The little style details are from Bustle Fashions

Year: 1883-1885

Notions: Covered buttons, twill tape, hook and eye closures, one (non period) snap for the neck, spiral steel boning, lace

How historically accurate is it?: I adapted a pattern from Bustle Fashions, so I’d like to think it’s pretty accurate. Materials and construction techniques are as close as I could figure.

Hours to complete: 25-35.

First worn: 17 September

Total cost: Oh god… fashion fabric, 6 yards at $11; lining 6 yards @ $1.50 (on sale at JoAnns), underskirt 4 yards @ $8 (also on sale); silk and velvet scraps @ $15, covered buttons $7, pink cotton thread $8. The rest of the notions I had in the stash. So… $137.
I did not have much time to get this done. Two weeks. Two weeks, with one weekend taken up by a family trip to my cousin’s wedding shower. I needed something I could get out fast, clean, and without a whole lot of angst. I don’t know why I thought a polonaise would be fast, but at least it came together without any massive problems.

Please note, I was HAULING on this, and didn’t get to take as many photos as I’d have liked!  Construction notes are below the cut.

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August Sew Monthly – Pattern

Between my computer dying and trying to get sewing projects time, I haven’t been timely with any of my writing lately!  This post is horribly delayed.  However, I did make it – my August sewing challenge!


Because this is Texas and bigger is always better, I decided I needed a larger bustle support for my plaid 1880s walking dress. I decided this was the perfect project for August – patterns.  Nobody’s going to see it, so why not have fun with the fabric?

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