This story starts as so many sewing related stories do: I went in “just to look.” In fact, we all went in “just to look.”
I’m sure you can guess what happened…
All three of us each came out with 2 or 3 lovely fabrics! We just couldn’t resist the bargain priced silks! My stash additions: 4 yards of apricot cotton, 6 yards of pink silk, and 2 yards of icy green silk. All truly stunning colors on their own, but together they just make me super happy!
What will I use them for, you ask? What a practical question! Well, the cotton for an 18th century under petticoat (a garment that will probably never be seen, so I picked a fun color that is vaguely plausible for that period), the icy green silk for 18th century accessories (hat, muff cover, and maybe mitts, with some leftover to do something else with as well…), and the pink for… something. Perhaps an 18th century something, maybe a sacque? Perhaps a 19th century something, maybe a bustled gown? I got enough to make something and have enough for self fabric trim, I think (it was all that was left on the bolt…). I’ll have to wait to be specifically inspired, but in the meantime I am generally inspired by the color. It’s a great grown-up shade of pink! Whee!
I also bought some silk ribbon that is a stash addition. The champagne ribbon on the top is the ribbon I plan to use to decorate my Kensingtons. Of course, while looking for that I got totally distracted and overwhelmed by other beautiful ribbons as well… not surprising, really, considering how lovely they are!
I justified their purchase by proposing a use for each of them. Blue: to trim my soon to be made Waverly Mineral Felicite 1780s jacket. Purple (they called it silver/grape, which is a cute name): to trim future Regency bonnets and an 18th century cap. Dark pinkish/red: I couldn’t resist the color! One day I plan to make the Costume Close-up laced front jacket, and I think this would be lovely for that, perhaps with some plain purple wool that is in my stash. Champagne: to trim my Kensingtons. Gold spool: to trim an 18th century hat, perhaps with my icy green silk? We’ll see about that. Persimmon spool (it’s not quite so bright in person): I couldn’t resist the color! I love it! I do plan to use it to bind some 18th century pockets in the near future (it will make me super happy to know that color is on my pockets, even if no one else sees them!). I have 10 yards of it… so I’m sure it will get used for other things as well!
As with the 1819 ivory gown, the bonnet that is part of my late Regency look has also been remade from its original style. Why re-make it, you might ask?
Though the bonnet was based off of an 1819 illustration in Cunnington’s English Women’s Clothing the Nineteenth Century, it was built for use in the theatre, so the materials used to trim it are nowhere near accurate for off stage use. However, the shape and placement of the trim was accuratly reproduced from the inspiration image and that fact made the re-trimming possible, because the base of the bonnet could remain unchanged!
The original trim was entirely polyester, which stands out when placed with other, more accurate garments and in natural light (rather than stage lighting). The color scheme was pink and peach fabric manipulated in various ways: the flowers were pinked and gathered lengths of polyester fabric, the ribbons were bias cut polyester fabric, the inside of the brim was lined with pink polyester shantung, and the brim was edged with white polyester lace. Aside from the polyester problem, the pink color scheme would not match my darling new spencer, which is brown and green. It’s not that the colors would clash, it’s just that they would look like they were not intended for each other… and I really wanted a coherent, matching look to my ensemble.
I removed all of the fabric flowers, the bias ribbon trim, the lace edging and the lining. The lining was replaced with green silk shantung to match the new bonnet trimmings and the spencer while the lace edging was changed to light brown vintage cotton lace that matches the lace used on the spencer. The flowers were replaced with millinery flowers in green and light brown from my stash. I decided to use the spark of orangey-brown near the top so that the bonnet wasn’t too matchy-matchy. The ribbon was changed out for a matching green ribbon that has narrow bands of gold along the edges (I confess it is still polyester… but I like the look of it and I didn’t have enough of my matching green silk satin ribbon to use it, nor did I like the shine of the satin with the green of the flowers). And voila! A bonnet that now is the right shape and has the right trimmings to match my Regency ensemble!
Oh my goodness my 1883 tailored bustle dress and undergarments are finally finished!!! YAY! Let’s glory in the beautiful pictures and the fabulous clothes… Since I can’t decide which pictures I like best, you get to see more than a few.
Finally, here are some pictures of my fitting for my 1913 tailored look!
We’ll start here, where you can see the mostly dressed view. This look is a tailored suit from 1913. In the picture you can see the pleated skirt. I actually wound up making the finished length longer than I originally thought I would.
The skirt is worn with an Edwardian blouse featuring cluny lace, pin tucks, pleats, and pleated cuffs.
To the right you can see the look with the unfinished jacket and hat. The jacket still has a mock-up collar and at this point there is no facing, so the interior canvas is visible on the lapels of the jacket.
This period is a strange mix of Victorian holdover clothing (like the blouse) and 20th century clothing (the tailored suit).
Under the skirt are undergarments that have slimmed down since 1883 and 1903 while still remaining numerous and Victorian in principle. On the left you can see the full length chemise which still features lace, pin tucks, and silk ribbon. The silhouette has narrowed considerably from the Victorian shapes of the 19th century, but the whole look is Victorian, not modern. The corset is much longer at this time, but the bones stop about four inches above the bottom edge so that movement is not impaired. This corset is constructed of a silk/linen blend that is flat lined with coutil. The seams are flat felled on the inside. It is edged in the same fabric cut on the bias. The top edge is also edged with lace and silk ribbon. To the right you can see the corset cover for this look: simple and straight forward, with just a small edge of lace. There is also a matching fabric petticoat for this look. The petticoat (or underskirt) is edged with a pin tucked ruffle and finished at the bottom with matching embroidery. It closes at the waist with a hook and eye. The chemise, petticoat, and corset cover are all constructed of the same ivory cotton.
Let’s start at the outside and work our way in. The exterior “suit” is two pieces: a jacket and walking skirt. Both layers are constructed of fairly heavy wool, so tightly woven it is almost like melton. Melton is a felted wool frequently used for outerwear and constantly used historically for it’s water resistance and ability not to fray–thus allowing tailors to leave their cut edges raw and not finish them with time intensive seam finishes. The walking skirt is intended for use out of doors: specifically for talking walks (hence the name) and promenading about in the public eye.
Under the jacket is a silk crepe blouse with a lace yoke, collar, and cuffs. If you look closely you can see the three points of the lace yoke on the blouse. The blouse is pulled off-center in this picture because of the alterations I needed to make-only one side has the alterations pinned.
Under the skirt there is a cream colored lace edged silk shantung petticoat. The petticoat has two circular, gathered ruffles at the bottom. The top ruffle has a wavy hem edged in lace and the bottom ruffle is edged in matching lace. There are also arches of lace above the ruffles.
There is also a cream colored corset cover that is not pictured in these photos. This s-shape corset is made of green silk shantung flat lined with coutil. The seams are flat felled on the inside. The edges are bound in bias cut shantung and the top is also edged with white lace threaded with pink silk ribbon. Under the corset is a cotton combination that buttons up the front. A combination is an undergarment that is functions as a chemise but has bifurcated leg openings, like drawers. This pair is edged in white lace at the leg openings and neck edge. The neck opening is threaded with a green silk ribbon to coordinate with the corset.