To test out my pattern changes before cutting into the silk, I cut my flat lining and basted it together to check the fit. Looks good in the front!
And also looks good in the back! Success! No further alterations needed!
The zipper in the back is my fitting zipper–a long separating zipper I can baste into mockups to check the fit without having to pin anything. This is great for fitting on myself! The zipper ensures the my center back edges will meet nicely so I can move on knowing that the bodice will fit.
As a side note, I have to mention how silly bodices from this period look without skirts! The bodice stops at the natural waist on the sides, which makes my legs look super long and my torso super short! This bodice actually stops even a little higher than my natural waist. The layers of hoop, petticoat, and skirt waistbands all add bulk that needs to be accommodated for smooth lines on the finished bodice.
The next step will be to work with the lovely apricot silk that will be exterior of the dress.
Most of the patterns I make and choose to keep are for historic clothing. I choose to keep them so that I can use them as a reference for future garments or so I can reuse them as is. A lot of these are garments that I’ve made for myself, but some are also patterns I’ve made for work. Probably 85% of the patterns I keep are historic or vintage. And probably 90% of my patterns are self-made. (I really like having self-made patterns–I find it easier to see what’s going on when there is only one size on the pattern, no seam allowance included.) Some of the envelopes contain vintage and modern commercial patterns for which I’ve traced off my size for the given garment pieces, sometimes making changes to them as well. At that point, I choose to keep those pattern pieces separate from an original purchased pattern.
Given these factors, I choose to organize my patterns by historic period. I use the post-it notes so I can easily change which folder the label is on. Purchased patterns (of which I only own very few) are stored separately, because there are so few of them.
Each self-made pattern is folded and put into a manilla or recycled envelope. I label the front of each envelope with:
the month and year I made the pattern
the name of the garment
other pertinent information: such as the measurements the garment is made for, whether a mockup of the garment is also in the envelope, and an image or drawing of the garment if possible, etc.
At this point, I’ve maxed out the number of patterns I can fit in this one basket, so I’m trying to decide what categories of patterns can be stored somewhere else, and where that somewhere else is… Someday when I have a sewing room I hope to change these over to a filing cabinet.
As for my books, I keep all of my personal books at home and bring them into work only on an as-needed basis. I do this for two reasons: first, that I’m very protective of all books that I own and want them to stay in the best condition possible; and second, that I enjoy seeing these books regularly.
How do you organize your sewing related patterns and books?
The first step in constructing my 1760s Curtain-Along jacket was to draft up the pattern from Janet Arnold (you can read more about the pattern I chose in my Initial Curtain-Along Thoughts post). In my experience, sometimes the patterns work pretty well without a lot of tweaks, but sometimes you really do need to do some serious fitting to make them work. Given that knowledge, I decided to make a mock-up of the pattern without any adjustments to see how it would fit. The measurements weren’t too far off of my own, so I didn’t think I’d run into any really awful problems.
And here are the results! I put the mock-up together matching up all of the points that were indicated in the pattern.
Oh, I also lengthened the sleeve pattern a bit, because it was a little short on me, and extended center front so it would actually close… After making the adjustments to the pattern, I took to the scissors and cut out the real fabric, mineral felicite and peach linen lining. Then it was on to the hand sewing…
I recently shared with you my research for a Regency Spencer! I found many inspiring images, but below is the one that I chose to reproduce, with some creative license, of course. 1819 is the specific year much of my Regency ensemble is aimed at, so this Spencer fits in perfectly! Aren’t the tassels adorable?
First of all, let me share pictures of the mock-up of this garment!
I draped the pattern and left seam allowance on the draped pieces (to eliminate the step of creating a paper pattern from my muslin) so I could move straight to the mock-up stage. In this case especially, I felt the mock-up to be essential to the fit of the spencer (especially the seams in the back) as well as to reaffirm the scale and placement of the decorative elements. Only after I had fit the Spencer and marked the necessary alterations did I rip open the seams and use the muslin to create a paper pattern.
Coming soon will be pictures of the finished garment!
I reached a point where all my patterns were complete! The next step was to make a mock-up, or toile, of each garment. My mock-ups are made out of muslin: their goal is to determine what changes I need to make to my patterns so that the garments will fit well before I cut and sew the garments out of my fashion fabrics.
By eliminating major fit issues in my mock-ups I am able to achieve a better fit in my final garments with fewer alterations. In these photos you can see the pins that mark the areas of the garments that I need to go back and change on my patterns so that the fashion fabric garments will fit better.
Look 1: 1883. In my brain this is the “bustle dress.”
Look 2: 1903. This is the pigeon breast dress.
Look 3: 1913. This is the tubular suit look.
Yay! My project is on its way to becoming actual garments. There’s still more work to do, but it’s inspiring to see it beginning to take shape!