January 31, 2017

HSM January Challenge: Firsts & Lasts

Oh hello, my poor neglected blog...it's me, your writer.  I may have dropped the ball on blogging this month, but I did sew some.  In fact, I just snapped a few pictures of my recently completed corset and giant sleeve puffs to serve as my January entry for the 2017 Historical Sew Monthly!  That's right, after a year off, I've decided it's time to rejoin the global sewing challenges, hosted by the Dreamstress.  (Click the link to join the fun!)

Part I:  The Corset

First, I must say a huge thank you to my good friend, Allison, for all of her assistance...from generously providing the pattern - Past Patterns #708, not to mention her apartment, to all of her encouragement and assurance that gussets without a seam are not as impossible as they look.  Though, it did take an entire afternoon to stitch all sixteen of those in (and out when they weren't behaving) haha!  

Laced and ready to wear!

The corset is made with two layers of cotton drill, bound with caramel colored bias tape and flossed with a matching DMC floss:

It features two bust gussets per side: (That's eight bust gussets total counting the inside layer)

A front and back hip gusset on each side:

A front opening busk and six bones, which, though less that I'm used to, provides ample support:

And laces up the back with size 00 grommets:  Which, by the way, took me three hours, two hammers, a pair of pliers, sandpaper and steel wool to punch.  I bought a really nice grommet kit from my favorite corset supplies supplier, and was uh a little disappointed...maybe next time I'll just hand stitch those eyelets... 

All in all, I am very pleased with the results.  Fit wise, it produces much more "lift" at the bosom than I expected, so I may cheat and use it for earlier-19th century purposes.  When I'm up to making another corset, I will have to remember to shorten the front...as I am having a little difficulty sitting with the length as it is now, hmm.  Regardless, it needs a good pressing, but the inside looks as nice as the outside, which makes me very happy! 

Part II:  The Sleeve Puffs

Much, much larger than the last pair with twill tape ties to secure them to the inside of my 1830s ball gown bodice...if it ever behaves so I can finish it:

Staple of the high fashion of the 1830s or not,
I still see a remarkable resemblance to croissants! 

Stockings, shift, corset & sleeve puffs.

And onto the entry details:

The Challenge:  January: Firsts & Lasts - Create either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit.

Material:  Corset - cotton drill;  Sleeve puffs - cotton muslin

Pattern:  Corset - Past Patterns #708 (1840's - 1880's Corset);  Sleeve puffs - drafted my own

Year:  Corset - according to the pattern, 1840s - 1880s;  Sleeve puffs - early 1830s

Notions:  Corset - 12" busk, 6 metal bones, thread, cotton bias tape, DMC embroidery floss, 8 yard lacing, size 00 grommets;  Sleeve puffs - cotton batting, thread, twill tape

How historically accurate is it?  They would both certainly be recognizable in their respective time periods...

Hours to complete:  Didn't keep track, but the sleeve puffs probably took an hour or two, while the corset took several days

First worn:  Not yet, but perhaps for pictures when I finish the chemise...

Total cost:  Didn't keep track for the corset, but I bought the drill, busk, boning, a new awl, lacing, grommets and grommet kit.  So, I'd say $100?  Sleeve puffs were made from the stash.

January 1, 2017

Year in Review: Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." 
~ Albert Einstein

Wishing all of you the happiest of Happy New Years!  It's out with the old, and in with the new; so, may you be happy the whole year through!

Time for one of the most rewarding posts of the year for any blogger...Looking back and reflecting upon the past year’s accomplishments and forward to another twelve months of sewing and blogging.  There were high points, and low points.  Times where I felt like I was moving forward, and times where I questioned why sew or blog anymore.  So, before the needles fly in this new year, it’s time to highlight the skills learned and challenges overcome in the past year through the 2016 sewing year in review:

January -  To start off the year, I finished my 1820s-esque Mad for Plaid Ensemble, featuring this dress and matching bonnet.  This was the last photo shoot Maria and I did before I left for Pittsburgh: 

Also, I made several Christmas gifts, including this patchwork pocket:

February -  February saw the completion of my 19th century sewing box and accessories:

March -  Most of my sewing this month was either for my production assignment in The Bluest Eye or as part of my costume shop apprenticeship at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.  Though I did manage to complete one personal project - a new, linen round-eared cap:

I was also talked into making a Facebook page for The Young Sewphisticate!

April -  April was a busy month in the shop as we built dozens of pieces for Drowsy Chaperone.  I think I worked around 60 hours in the two weeks before the opening - tacking trim, beading, and stitching wherever asked.  In all, I helped bring 11 pieces to the stage, including:

Macrame trim!

Art Deco Robe.

And more, which I still need to blog about sometime...

May - With classes, work at the costume shop (where I had the privilege of studying dozens of their extant garments up close and personally) and exploring the great city with friends, there wasn't much time to sew.  In any down time, I'd put a few more stitches into my semester-long Berlin work project, completed thanks to a care package containing DMC floss from the loving partner-in-crime:

June -  Home again, Maria and I resumed our photo shooting partnership with Short Gown Study IV, a golden short gown featuring hand-rolled trim:

July -  This was the summer of rolled hemming!  In addition to rolling half a dozen neckerchiefs at the museum (sorry no pictures), I made a new lawn cap and double ruffle chemisette!

Hosted my first "giveaway" with a housewife or sewing kit:

And taught my first summer camp that was all about 19th century fashion and FUN!  (Post pending to be published sometime before Fashion Fun take two...)  I will never forget my very sweet, first class of fashion enthusiasts:

August -  I completed my late-1820s project this month including a shift, sleeve puffs, dress with pelerine and other accessories:

I also made a beribboned cap, which won a blue ribbon at this year's agricultural fair!

September - I may have missed the Tall Ships to work on a special tourism project at the museum, but I finished the 1810s dotted dress anyways!

I also made a dotted chemisette based on an original extant garment to match: 

October - October brought three very special projects, including a little sacque coat:

...The great pleasure and privilege of being a part of one of my nearest and dearest friend's wedding celebration.  Two years ago we were talking about making her wedding dress someday, the running costume-designer-gone-bridal joke, but I never imagined the honor of being asked to make her wedding veil and rosettes for the bridal party:  

The tiniest rolled hem so the pearls would float!

...And finally, the chance to pull costumes for Sense & Sensibility all thanks to my director friend!  Not only did many of my personal Regency creations get their debuts onstage, but returning to YOHP and STAGES for the first times since senior year of high school brought back so, so many fond memories: 

The Dashwood Sisters - Elinor, Marianne and Margaret (left to right) -
First Act costumes on fitting day.

November -  I was Cinderella for Halloween:

And introduced Ginny as our traveling doll with a first foray into doll clothing, inspired after taking Anna Worden Bauersmith's straw doll millinery class.

December -  Last but not least, December brought several small, yet satisfying projects.  Including a new housewife or sewing kit:

Ginny resumed her adventures with a doll dress for Yuletide:

And the last projects of 2016 were two Regency reticules, which will be featured next, in the second blog post of 2017:

What to expect more of in the coming year:

  • Continued restoration efforts to most of the past blog posts
  • Much more sewing and photo shoots! 
  • Expansion of content to include more living history posts 
  • Eventual publishing of queued projects and posts
  • Updates to all of my social media platforms 

What a year to review!  A most sincere thank you to all who read and encourage my sewing adventures.  Each and every “like,” comment and subscription here (and on Facebook) was greatly appreciated – your continued support keeps me sewing!  May your needles always be sharp, and your fabric stashes always overflowing!

Cheers 2017, and may we make every minute count!