Thursday, 26 August 2010

Smocks and petal bums

This is just a quick post really on 2 items of C18th clothing.

Firstly the smock. I made this from cotton sheeting which is really wide and so when folded in half it can make a smock cut from one piece (with the fold along the sleeves) so it is like a T shape. As C18th smock sleeves only come to the elbow, I needed to adjust the pattern sleeves:

I then sewed and neatened both side seems. I cut a slit in the neck hole and when my stays were finished I tried it all on and put pins in to where I wanted the smock neckline to come and then hemmed it. I had actually made the back of the neckline far too low so I had to add in a piece of cotton to make it higher! Luckily this wont be seen as the gown will cover it.
After this I had to sort out the cuffs. As said before, the sleeves came to the elbow, so to make the cuffs I had to measure the crook of my elbow, which was 11" and make the cuffs accordingly. To do this I gathered the cuff, but left and inch either side of the sleeve seam and I then bound it with some leftover cotton fabric. Simple really.

Now, the petal bum. This is actually a bum pad that, obviously, goes over the bum and looks like petals. The pad makes the bum fuller and causes the gown to stick out at the back. The pattern was the middle piece of the paper pattern for a bum roll I made which was conveniently the right size and shape for a petal bum pad. It measures at the top 11" (the point on your torso where the hip bone is and is the measurement is from [about] kidney to kidney), at it's widest part 18.5" (width of bum) and is 7" long (from hip bone line to about half way down bum cheek!).

I cut the pattern from 2 pieces of cotton fabric, adding an inch seam allowance. With the right sides together, I sewed the sides and bottom seam, sewing in some cotton tape for ties. I turned the pad the right way round and drew on 2 curved lines (see picture) and then sewed along them using backstitch. I used some polyester stuffing for the padding (can be bought from haberdasheries) and then sewed up the top seam.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Stay pictures

Here are some pictures of the complete stays (my pillows made a good temporary model!)

Stays (part the 3rd and FINAL)

So yes, this is the last post about my stays as today, after 2 months, 2 weeks and 1 day, I've completed my entirely hand sewn stays! I am soooooooo very happy!

To continue from my last post, once all the channels were sewn, it was time to insert the boning. I used synthetic whalebone for this apart from the channels either side of where the eyelets were to go on the back panel, I used steel for these as it would require strength when laced.

When the bones were all inserted, it was time to bind the edges, which took some time and was quite tedious when going round the tabs (which I had cut at this point) so it took me a while to get this part done.

After that I decided to make the straps. My friend and I measured for these when we first made the pattern - 12" plus an inch for sewing into the stays. All I did for these was measure and cut out in the silk, canvas and cotton (for lining) 13" in length and just over an inch wide. I curved the end that was to be tied to the stays before pinning the binding to the silk and canvas (leaving the other end raw) and sewing down. I then lined using the cotton.

At this point I made a cotton case for my busk which sits in the centre front and is ever so slightly shorter than the stays. I sewed this to the top and bottom and added a few stiches in the middle to keep the stays flatter.

Next I started to line the stays. The tabs were individually lined with squares of cotton before the main body of the stays were lined with 3 pieces of cotton (the middle bit being one piece, and 2 side pieces), this was quite fiddly getting it to sit properly (not forgetting to snip the curves!), but quite quick and easy to sew down. I attached the straps at this point too so that they are between the canvas and lining of the stays.

After this, I started on the eyelets. There were 4 eyelets for the straps. I made the holes with what I think is a kilt pin (looks a bit like a safety pin, but much longer and thicker) and then used varying sized knitting needles to make a suitable hole. After those eyelets, it was time for the lacing eyelets at the back! My stays are spiral laced and so the eyelets were set out for this - there were 30 altogether and took several hours to complete!

Once this was done, all I had to do now was was sew on some ribbon along the seam lines on the front of the stays, commonly found on extant stays. You can see this on my collection of final photos in the following post.