söndag 30 augusti 2015

Upperclassing the 1905 dress

Last weekend, I went to turn of the century days in Marstrand with a group of friend, and as you all know, for an event you want something new to wear. I had already remade the 1885, but with two weeks left, it was plenty of time to make something more. (Not really, but still...)

 I knew I had to make a hat, so I took my straw hat, drenched it in water and unpicked the crown, and sewed it togheter with a more cylindrical shape. I then added a very sturdy wire to the outside of the brim. That way, I could turn up the sides of the brim a bit. I covered the wire with ruched strip of fabric. Adding lots of tulle around the crown gave it the wide shape of the early 1900's. I also added some flowers.

With still some time left, I decided I wanted a more upper class alternative to the shirt and bow. I made a new dip waist belt, with a pointed front and back. It is made from thin wool. I drafted it, made a mock-up and tried it on, adjusted the shape a bit, and made it up. It is boned with rigilene in front, sides and back, to keep its shape. The closure is of the working-but-wrong sort: I just used two hairpins to keep it closed, in channels at center front. Invisible and fast, and I did not feel like adding buttons and loops for them.

 While I was at it, I also made a simple black faux leather belt, to wear with the shirt. The seam allowances is glued down instead of sewn, it is boned in the front, and it has the same hair pin closure.

Then, I decided to make a bolero. Generally, I do not like boleros, but for this era, they give a nice silouette. I started with the same pattern as the shirt, shorteded it, made a toille and made it a bit more fitted in the back, and made it up in the real fabric. Suprisingly fast, until I saw that the fit was horrible in the back. I had to unpick in, make seams in the side back, and generally fiddle around a lot, before I decided it would have to do. For decoration, I used strips if the selvage, that had contrasting colors, and sewed three rows down the front.

With only one day left, I convinced myself that it was not a good idea to make a lace blouse to go with this. Instead I found a modern blouse in my wardrobe that looked decently Edwardian. In the photos, I wear my big petticoat, a bum pad, corset and bust pad, and a corset cover. (I am very much a fan of using padding rather than tight lacing to get more curves!) I also have thin leather gloves and a small bag I think my grandmothers mother used.

Photos by Olof Tengstrand, from the turn of the century day as Marstrand last weekend. 
Posing at the old fortress, built during 17th-19th century:
A stroll with a friend:

 Ladies admiring a beautiful car:

I stuffed a leg from tights with hair rats, and made a circle of it. Then it was quite easy to pin my hair over this, and get the large gibson girl hairdo. 

We got a private tour of a beautiful steam ship. I doubt the engine room had ever seen ladies dressed in lace, velvet and large hats before...

What the item is: ca 1903-1906 bolero, belt, hat.

Fabric: Thin wool for bolero and belt. Polyester tulle for hat.

Pattern: none, drafted and tested.

Notions: Polyester thread. Straw hat, paper and fabric flowers.

How historically accurate is it? The look is good. Bolero construction is plausible (machine seamed but lining stiched in by hand). Hat is just made up to look decent. I am not sure a straw hat would be used as a base for a fancy hat like this, it might have been more for everyday or sporting outfits.

Hours to complete: 1.5 h for belt. 3 h for hat. 7-10 h for bolero?
First worn: at turn of the century day at Marstrand 22-23 Aug

Total cost: 0, as all fabric was gifts or left over from other projects.

onsdag 26 augusti 2015

Changing the 1885 bodice

...and after!

This dress was my first foray into 19th century dress. With time, it became slightly too tight, so I decided to re-design the front of it (I like to be able to eat a good dinner even while corseted...). I had already used all the seam allowance to get some extra millimetres, so I added a fake vest and blouse, making it both a bit bigger and a bit more elaborate.
Inspiration was pictures such as these.

 I used the instructions of how to make a layered vest from Truly Victorian. That instruction assumes you already have a false vest front, so I had to start with deciding how wide my false vest front would be. I decided to keep the edges of the bodice straight, following the stripes. I cut away a few cm at each side of the center front opening, and stiched them down by hand.
I then started on the layered vest part. I put on corset and bodice, and pinned a piece of scrap fabric undeneath to see how wide I wanted it to be.This would become the lining of the front piece.  Then I cut it, and put on hooks and eyes on this front lining. I also experimented  a bit with how high I wanted the "vest" to be.

I then added the soft white fabric that would be the "blouse" part and gathered it.

Then I cut the "vest" part in the same fabric as the skirt, made button holes, and sewed it onto the front part.

When I sewed this front to the bodice, I was not happy with the proportions. The blouse was not wide enough at the top. Fixing that meant redoing the upper part: taking in the bodice at the sides, unpicking the gathered fabric, adding fabric to the sides of the front part lining, and making a new gathered blouse part.

 I then made buttons. I thought that large buttons in a contrasting color would make a nice touch, so I covered some old plastic buttons I found with scraps of a darker blue wool fabric.

 I added the buttons. Just to realize that these large and darker buttons looked just like the buttons of a clown dress. Not quite the impression I was after.

 Trying to see if adding revers to the bodice would help tie it toghehter. It did not!

 Here I am experimenting with smaller buttons. The size is better, and the white ones might work, but I had only four. Time to go button-shopping!

What I really wanted was the kind of buttons that not have holes through them, but a loop at the back instead. These seems to be much more common for this type of dress. I have wanted this nice row of small buttons up the center front since I made this bodice the first time, but then I was to much scared of button holes to make it. Now I had the chance!  These buttons proved to be hard to find, unless you wanted them in gold. I did not want them in gold. I found three different types in gold tones, but none in silver. I did not want gold, as it would look to much marine with blue and gold buttons. In the end, I bought gold ones and a can of spray paint. Ha, I got you, buttons!

Of course, switching to smaller buttons meant re-doing the vest portion, as holes in fabric are quite permanent (that was why I was scared of them in the first place, after all.) I then sewed on all the buttons.

Which left only the collar to be fixed. To keep the statistics of re-doings up, I first made the collar in one way, then unpicked it, tried a lot of other ways to do it, before finally deciding. The final way meant I had to make a blouse collar as well. Just for good measure, I made it too high, so I had to unpick and remake part of that one as well before I was done. Twice. *Argh*

The white under collar fastens at the side. It has two hook and eyes to fasten it to the front of the blouse, and then fastens to the bodice collar at the side with snaps.
 The collar from outside and inside:


Maybe you can tell, by the time it was done, I was kind of tired of this project. It was supposed to be a quick and easy remake, but never ended. I knew I had to fiddle with this one until I was really satisfied with the look. "Meh, ok" would not do for this one. Otherwise, I would never wear this one when I am so happy with my other 1880's dress

Finally however, I Was Done! After like 97 un-pickings and remakes of remakes. But then I am very happy with it, and with keeping at it until I was happy, not giving up. Photos, as always by Olof Tengstrand:

What the item is: Modifying my 1885 outfit by adding a false vest and blouse, in order to both get more room for eating dinner and making a bit more elaborate.

Fabric: Small pieces of cotton from stash.

Pattern: Instructions for construction from Truly Victorian. Drafted the shapes myself.

Year: ca 1883-1885

Notions:  Metal buttons, silver spray paint. Waxed linen thread for the hand sewn parts and polyester thread for the machine sewn parts. Hooks and eyes, snaps.

How historically accurate is it? Construction is plausible but I have not researched it. Using layers and revers to simulate different types of vests and blouses was common but I have not seen this exact look, with a false vest and gathered blouse and a collar belonging to the bodice.

Hours to complete: After a while, I did not want to keep track. Probably not less than 15.

First worn: For turn of the century days at seaside Marstrand 22-23 Aug.

Total cost: 160 kr (about 17 Euro ) for the buttons and spray paint, the rest from stash.