Friday, March 20, 2009

My how time flies

Although time got away from me, it has not been spent unwisely. Ok some of it has, but I've done quite a bit of reading, research and thinking.
My original plan was to do a full wardrobe from the ground up. Underpinnings of a sort based on vintage garments, but dag nabbit I need clothes now. But, although it's skipping the underthings a bit, I chose to keep it vintage.
Last week I started a victorian walking skirt, drafted using the information from a really nice book by Don McCunn titled How to Make Sewing Patterns. I use it in combination with the pattern drafting information from YWU (your wardrobe unlock'd) for most everything I make. It certainly saves the cost when you're not paying for the more expensive vintage patterns, plus it's less fiddly when it's based on your measurements from the start.
I still have to get my digicam back online, so no photos just yet, but it's not finished yet either. I'm about 3/4 of the way through. I chose a nice grey cotton, and as usual with my things, I used medium quality muslin to make bias strips to cover the raw seams with. I plan on using hooks, although buttons might have been nice. But the placket is in the back, and buttons just aren't easy to do when they're behind you. The next skirt I do, I'm definately going to have to work out a decorative front placket so I can have buttons for a change.
We're also putting in our first garden this spring, which means I also need a sun bonnet/hat. I just began the draft of it, based on information from a vintage book originally from 1928. It's found here if you're interested in millinery :The New-Way Course in Millinery

My idea was to draft a type of regency poke bonnet that can pass for a cute modern hat as well. I'm using buckram with a bit of wire to get the shape of the brim, however I decided to use a fabric bag for the top. Similar to this bonnet:

I just haven't decided what colour to make the bag yet. I planned on making a work dress, originally doing it in something tudor like. But now I'm wondering if I should go with something that matches my hat a little more.
Thirdly I got down to sewing another corset. The first three weren't quite right, but over the past year I've done nothing but learn more about corsetry. And thanks to it's increased popularity, more information is being shared all the time. Crossing my fingers and hoping here. I'm saving coutil for when I'm confident with making corsets, so this one is going to be in black poplin with black cotton lining. I wanted to keep it light, since summers here are terribly hot.

However, black might not be the best choice of colour, it is the colour I find most attractive in corsets. If needed, I won't finish it off until I've decided whether it needs another layer or not. I plan to finish the outside in either blue or red floss with a bit of lace. Undecided yet, but I'm leaning toward making it either by crochet or tatting.
And I have narrowed down something of the wardrobe I want to do.
Since I recently had some input from hubby, he's indicated he really likes turn of the century styles. Aka edwardian. Which narrows things down a bit, but fits right in with my love of steampunk. I have my eye on a nice Edwardian princess chemise from la mode illustree to start, and of course the corset is in the works. One of them anyway. I want to tackle this one for the edwardian pieces:

On top of that I have to learn to knit a pair of stockings. 18th century sewn won't work with this era, although I would love a pair just to have.

For the knickers/bloomers I'm using the free instructions graciously shared by Elizabeth Stewart Clark at the Sewing Academy. It's a free pattern if interested, and if you like it, she has two books on how to sew vintage fashion without patterns as well. Her forums is probably the absolute best place to learn early 19th century fashion, and the ladies there are very friendly.

A petticoat will be necessary, however I've learned it's easier just to use my walking skirt pattern and draft that into a matching petticoat. It fights with my skirt far less, and they work almost as if it were a lined skirt. I haven't decided yet, but I think hand embroidery will be in line since I want everything to be vintage couture. Machine eyelet fabric as a quick cheat doesn't seem right.
Still working on the main pieces, but already I have a lot of work ahead of me right now. The edwardian era is the easiest to fit in with modern fashion, really. Because they had many pieces that are very similar high fashion worn even now. I think the directoire jacket for example, would be very nice in the modern board room, don't you?
I guess rather than go days with nothing to say, if I come across something interesting, technique wise, or a nice period piece for study, I could share those as well.
Tomorrow I'll see if I can find a corset collection I have bookmarked. It's probably the absolutely best source for online study when it comes to corsets, and you'll be surprised by the styles she has. It's both fascinating and inspiring.

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