Tag Archives: Janet Arnold

HSF #20: Finally Finished 1822 Walking Dress

…It’s only been a year! Or pretty close to a year. I posted an overview of my early 1820s project last November. The project included a petticoat, 1824 ball gown, 1822 walking dress, muff, tippet, bonnet, and chemisette. Some of these things are still in the UFO pile or on the to do list, but I’m super pleased that this post is about the completion of the 1822 walking dress!

The image below is my inspiration for the now complete walking dress. I wore it last December to go caroling outside before Fezziwig’s Ball, but at that point my time had run out and though the construction was complete there was no trim. Below the image of my inspiration is an image of the walking dress as it looked last December with no trim. And below that is an image of the now completed walking dress with trim! It certainly fits me better than the hanger, but you’ll have to wait a few months to see it on me.

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Promenade Dress. Ackerman’s Repository. December 1822.

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December 2012. Unfinished early 1820s ensemble.

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Yay! All the trim is on!

Before I share some close ups of the trim and construction, let me share the facts:

Fabric: 4-5 yds of dark pink wool, 4-5 yds of ivory super soft and thick cotton twill, 1/2 yd-ish of lavender polyester velvet, 1/2 yd-ish of lavender silk shantung,  and a bit of canvas for the collar.

Pattern: Adapted from my 1822 green ball gown pattern, I think. It’s pretty much exactly the same except that it has a higher back, collar, and sleeves. The ball gown pattern is based off of a pattern in Janet Arnold.

Year: 1822.

Notions: Pink and lavender thread, polyester batting in the hem, and hooks for the waist.

How historically accurate?: Very, having used modern materials and a few very nice looking modern fabrics . The pattern is from Janet Arnold, so you know it is good on accuracy and the trim scale and pattern is taken from a fashion plate from 1822. As a historic costume I give it 98%.

Hours to complete: Oh goodness… I’m sure the main construction took at least 40 hours and the trim took probably 50ish hours to cut, press, and hand sew. I didn’t keep track at all on this project.

First worn: To Fezziwig’s Ball in December 2012, though with trim it will debut at Fezziwig’s Ball in December 2013!

Total cost: $40 perhaps?

Ok, now for the trim and construction shots.

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Top of the sleeve. First I had to sew the bias into a tube so the raw edges would be finished and the bias could “float” without having to be sewn down all along the edges. Then I tacked the bias tubes in a zig zag then crossed and tied other zig zags to get the finished pattern.

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The front. The pattern looks very much like an oak leaf to me. The bias is stitched in a tube with the raw edges showing on the back, then the edges are stitched down all around to create the pattern.

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The sleeve. The bias is stitched on the same way as it is on the front. The motifs are sewn on the front of the arm rather than the outside.

I actually had forgotten that I’d taken these construction shots. In fact, I had totally forgotten the method I had used to construct my sleeves until I saw the picture again! These pictures where the wool looks more pink than maroon show the color best. It’s really much more vibrant, and much less brownish, than some of the pictures make it look.

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The canvas pad stitched into the collar before sewing the pieces together.

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The top of the sleeve before the gathered sleeve top was sewn on. I didn’t want to waste wool where it wouldn’t be seen, so it stops part way up the lining, then the gathered cap is sewn on and hides the raw edge of the wool.

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The lining is stab stitched to the wool at the cuff.

And just in case you want to read more about my entire project from the early 1820s, here’s a link to that category of entries on my blog. As I continue to finish up other bits and pieces I’ll keep adding them to that category, and it’s neat because the category filters only those posts so there’s a nice continuity.

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Mock-up-ing-Along

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.

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Initial state. It is pinned down at center front, but I haven’t made any other adjustments. Squishy is pretty close to my shape, so you can see that there are some adjustments that need to be made for the jacket to fit me.

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First problem: the gap at the shoulders. You can see on the left that I’ve pinned out the excess fabric, and on the right side nothing has been pinned.

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Second problem: the center back waist point is halfway up the back! I extended the center back seam above the waist so that the waist would sit lower and match the side fullness.

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I don’t think anyone has a back/hip area that would easily fit into this shape…

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Third problem: sleeves that are too far off of the shoulder and twisted around in a way that is odd looking and uncomfortable. I had to try this on to make those observations, but you can see the problems in the picture.

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The solution was to take the sleeve off, adjust the armsceye, and pin the sleeve back on without it being twisty. You can see on the left side that I’ve adjusted the sleeve, and on the right I didn’t do anything.

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…

Details Of The Bronze And Pink 1893 Ball Gown

I’ve been meaning to post about my new 1893 ball gown since Newport Vintage Dance Week back in August… Well, I’m slow about getting it done, but but this is going to be a post with mounds of great detail, so I think the wait was worth it!

At the 1890s Soiree during Newport Vintage Dance Week in August.

This gown is constructed of bronze shot silk shantung with pale pink slightly slubby silk satin. It is flat lined throughout with ivory waxed cotton. It is stabilized with cotton canvas at the hem and in the waistband. The bodice is trimmed with ivory net and bits of metallic bronze/gold net that have sequin motifs on it (in fact, it’s the same metallic net as the top sleeve section of my 1912 burgundy silk evening gown, which I also wore at Newport). The sash is trimmed with the metallic bronze/gold net. The sleeves have layers of ivory tulle inside them to help maintain the full shape.

I wore this dress with a combination, a corset, a slight bum pad, two petticoats (one silk, one cotton), stockings, and shoes. Exterior accessories include cotton/poly elbow length white gloves (I have lovely leather ones that come up above the elbow, but they are getting soiled from being worn while dancing with men who are not wearing gloves (breech of decorum on their part!), so I chose not to wear those to this ball); my handy Battenburg lace fan; my faux pearl drop earrings; a long strand of faux pearls (originally bought to be worn with my 1928 green silk evening gown); a nice bling-y necklace borrowed from a friend for the evening; and my fabulous almost-Victorian tiara from eBay!

My tiara shares a general design with the Lover’s Knot Tiara, below. Both tiaras have round elements connected by jeweled arches above a second row of round elements, both rows of which are surmounted by tear shaped pearl elements which are set above a final row of further round shaped elements around the base. Additionally, in both tiaras there is a high point in the center which then diminishes toward each side. Obviously, the two are not exactly the same, but I think they’re similar. Of course, wearing mine for an 1893 look is slightly earlier than the given date of the Lover’s Knot Tiara, which is c. 1913. But isn’t that excusable, when the tiara looked so wonderful with my dress and accessories? There’s a closeup of my tiara below so you can compare.

Lover’s Knot Tiara by Garrard c.1913.

My eBay tiara.

It took a bit of work to come up with a hair style I liked that also worked with the tiara, I can tell you. I wanted to have a puff of hair not directly behind the tiara, but close enough that it would provide a dark background for the tiara to stand out from. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great pictures of my hair. Oh well! It also took A LOT of bobby pins to secure the tiara. I  think I used about 20 for the tiara alone. I put one between each of the base pearls, then another to cross the first one. I also secured the ends of the tiara with extra pins. It was really stable and didn’t move at all during the entire night, so that part was successful!

Here’s a closeup of the jewelry.

In the picture above you can see the jewelry better. You can also see the one major flaw in this dress. The wide neckline wasn’t shaped quite right, so the sleeves started slipping off my shoulders, making the sleeves look slightly less impressive. This is one of those things that was perfectly fine in all my fittings. It’s during those pesky balls, when you move and sweat, that you really discover the flaws in your clothes! I’ll have to do something about that before I wear the dress again.

A full length view. This was the end of the night, and the end of the week, so that’s why I look tired.

A full length back view. Again, you can see how the sleeves just didn’t want to stay on my shoulders.

Now on to the specifics of patterning. The bodice (and especially the sleeves) of this dress are from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 2, as is the skirt. The decorative sash and bodice trim were inspired by an image in Norah Waugh’s The Cut of Women’s Clothes. I looked at many images that had similar sashes with bows, so I’m sure I was influenced by those as well.

The next thing to discuss is the construction of the dress. It is in two pieces: a plain bronze silk skirt and a decorative bronze and pink silk bodice. The wonderful thing about this arrangement is that I can make other bodices to go with the skirt (I’ve got extra bronze and pink silk). For example, I plan to one day make a day bodice to go with the same skirt. Since the skirt takes the biggest bulk of fabric, this is an economical and practical plan in addition to adding to my wardrobe!

I’ve got some great closeup pictures of the bodice construction, but I didn’t take any close up pictures of the skirt, come to think of it. Honestly, though, it’s not as interesting. The skirt is gathered in back and set into a waistband which closes at the back with hooks. There is a placket opening that is hidden in the gathers. The entire skirt is flat lined with ivory cotton. In addition, the hem has a 12″ band of bias cut canvas tacked between the silk and cotton. The canvas helps the skirt form those wide folds at the hem as well as providing a certain weight and gravity to the lightweight silk. Finally, it also helps provide a clean sharp edge over which to turn the hem. For the hem, the bronze silk is folded to the inside over the canvas, turned again, and stitched to the cotton lining. The hem is about 1/4″.

The bodice, by itself. As you can see, the sash is a part of the bodice.

Here is the net applique on the sash ends. The net is great because it doesn’t fray, so I simply had to cut out the motif I wanted and then stitch it around all the edges to the sash. The sash is a tube of bias finished at an angle on the ends with a slip stitch.

A closup of the shoulder and top of the sleeve. You can see the ivory net trim around the neck of the bodice, which terminates in those cute bows on the shoulder. The bronze part of the sleeves are rectangles that are knife pleated radially at the shoulder, which you can see in this photo. And finally, you can see the gold net applique which is stitched over the ivory net around the neck opening.

Then comes the question, where are the closures on this bodice? Well, the sash is stitched to the bodice from the right side front around the left side to center back. Then the bodice opens up center back.

To keep the sash in place around the right side, there are three hooks that correspond to thread loops on the bodice. This keeps the sash in place. You can see the canvas backing of the sash in this picture.

One of the thread loops on the bodice that holds the sash in place.

The center back closure is hooks and thread loops. I like thread loops better than the metal eyes or loops because you can’t see them when the bodice is pulled tight, like you can with the metal. You can see that I added a placket that extends farther than the loops just in case something pops open.

The inside of the bodice. I LOVE to make the insides of garments pretty, and I think this is one of my finest examples! Aside from the fact that it is modern materials, it looks just like an extant garment from the 19th century. The bodice is boned up center front, the front darts (which create a V-shape on either side of center front), the side seams, and each of the four side back seams. The neck and hem are finished off with self fabric bias with is then nicely whip stitched to the cotton flat lining. The armholes are bound with self bias. Then there is also a waistband, to help alleviate the tension on the center back closure. This waistband is cross stitched to each boning channel and closes with hooks and eyes.

The right side of the bodice. You can see the bias bindings, the boning channels, cross stitched waistband, and hooks. Oh, and I just noticed that I also finished the exposed seam allowances by turning them back on themselves and whip stitching. (The seam allowances under the boning channels are trimmed and left raw.)

Center front. The boning channels were whip stitched to the cotton lining along the sides. It was a bit of a logistal problem to determine how to nicely bind off the edges of the bodice with bias, since there is a sash part of the way around. You can see that there is a separate piece of bias covering the join between the sash and the bodice from the right side where the sash opens.

The left side. On the waistband I did use the metal bars instead of thread loops, since I knew they wouldn’t be seen from the outside. You can also see how the sash was attached. It was flipped up and topstitched to the bodice (avoiding bones!), then flipped down to cover the raw edges and joined to the bottom of the bodice with bias.

The interior of the pink under sleeve. The silk is gathered into a cotton lining. Of course, you can’t see up into the sleeve when there is an arm in it!

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, to have such a beautifully finished bodice. And I felt like such a princess at the 1890s Soiree, to be wearing an all silk dress with silk petticoat and a fabulous tiara!

Whee!

1912 gowns in 2012: one hundred years after Titanic

 Next year, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. So expect to see an increase in passing mentions of the event as well as reproduction dresses being built by costume historians and seamstresses. There will also be lots of 1912 themed events coming up. Anyway, I want to start the season by sharing this fabulous 1912 dress with you from the Diary of a Mantua Maker. Enjoy!

1912 gown

This gown has a related post on the blog Diary of a Mantua Maker. In short, the dress uses the pattern in Janet Arnold’s 1860-1940 pattern book to create a unique version of the gown. I encourage you to visit the post to read the description for yourself and see more photos! I think it was quite a success.

Project Journal: Victorian Women’s Tailoring Part II: Patterns

The first step of this women’s tailoring project was to research what exactly I wanted to recreate. That being finished, I embarked on the next task: to create patterns for each of the garments I would be building. Each look is made up of about 8 separate garments: a chemise/combination, corset, corset cover, petticoat, blouse, skirt, jacket, and hat (the 1883 look also includes a bustle). To create the patterns for these garments I used a combination of the methods mentioned below.

Basic Sloper: a starting point for patterning

The simple undergarment patterns such as the chemises and corset covers were drafted using my models’ measurements. Pattern Drafting for Fashion Design, by Helen Joseph Armstrong, was a great starting point for creating these shapes.

The corset patterns were adapted to fit my models from the book Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh.

The petticoat patterns were created using a combination of methods. For all of them I found an image I wanted to recreate, then I either used the drafting method I used for chemises and corset covers, or I used a historic pattern that was lifted from a historic garment like the patterns for the skirts and jackets (mentioned below). The images came from a wide variety of books, including The History of Underclothes by C. Willett Cunnington, Everyday Fashions, 1909-1920, as Pictured in Sears Catalogs edited by JoAnne Olian, and Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazaar, 1867-1898 edited by Stella Blum.

For the outer garments (skirts and jackets), I used patterns from historic garments that were resized to fit the models who will be wearing the garments. The patterns are lifted from historic garments and printed in books such as Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses and Their Construction C. 1860-1940 by Janet Arnold, Turn of the Century Fashion Patterns and Tailoring Techniques by S. S. Gordon, and The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh.

In addition, I also consulted a variety of books to get more background information about the fabrics and colors, method of construction, and look, name and use of each garment. Other helpful reference books include, but are certainly not limited to, English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century: A Comprehensive Guide with 1,117 Illustrations by C. Willett Cunnington, Underwear: Fashion in Detail by Eleri Lynn, and Authentic Victorian Dressmaking Techniques edited by Kristina Harris.

For the hats, I found an image I liked and then used millinery reference books to get more information. Millinery books included From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking by Denise Dreher and Edwardian Hats: The Art of Millinery by Anna Ben-Yusef, edited by R. L. Shep.

More coming soon! Next, a look at my mockups of these garments!