Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Pocketbook

Today I have whipped up an C18th pocketbook. I was going to do it last weekend during an event, but it got cancelled due to flooding.

I got my inspiration and basic ideas from this blog. I used the same measurements for the main pocketbook piece and then made an additional pocket based on the measurements I already had. For my pocketbook, I used some scraps of leftover linen - stripe from my skirt and plain white. I also used some tape for the binding.

The whole process is pretty simple. I first bound the two sides and bottom edge of the pocket flap and the top edge of the pocket (the one that was to be sewn on to the pocketbook itself). After this, I turned under the bottom edge of said appliqué pocket and sewed it to one end of the main pocketbook (about an inch in).

Now came the binding of the main pocketbook. My starting point was towards the end of one of the long sides, I did this so I could bind in the appliqué pocket as I went, and when I reached the short end, I bound in the pocket flap too. I followed the instructions of the aforementioned blog and made my lining slightly longer. As I reached the middle of my pocketbook, I box pleated the lining before continuing binding. I think that was the only fiddly bit I had to do!

I was then that I realised that the other end of my pocket book will look bare, so I cut a square of felt and sewed it to the stripy linen (avoiding the lining) so I had somewhere to put pins and needles. Once I had finished binding, I then folded in either end to create the main pockets. I left an inch gap in the middle of the pocketbook in total. Finally I added some ties to keep it all together.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Finished Bonnet and Reticule

The ribbon came for my bonnet today and I bought a tassel for my reticule so I was able to finish off both items.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Bonnet

This I had been putting off for a little while as I was a bit scared of making it! I did think about purchasing a plain one already made, but I was looking at about £40 by the time I had decorated it. So I went onto ebay and picked up a plain straw hat for £11. I got some remnant silk from a local silk shop for £3 and some binding from the haberdashers. The silk organza I already had. I think that comes to around £20 when I add the ribbon I bought online last night!

I looked at the various instructions of making a Regency bonnet on the internet, the best one being here. Before cutting the hat, I made the lining with the organza first so that it could be sewn in straight away when I had cut the hat (that was the scariest part!) I would recommend folding the hat in half and drawing a rough cutting line before actually cutting the hat. Note that the brim is curved at the bottom. I also cut a little out of the crown of the hat. I then stitched along the new edge, as the hat frays. Then I was able to sew on the binding to the edges, catching in the lining as I went.

Once I had bound all the edges, I stitched down the second row of gathers on the lining to the edge of the crown, this holds it into place. With the leftover lining I folded neatly into the hat and stitched it down so it wouldn't come loose. After this I made the silk cover for the crown. I measure from the centre to the edge (6.75"), doubled it and added an extra inch to get the diameter of the circle needed. I them found a very big bowl with the same diameter and used that as a template! I then gathered the silk, folded the edge in about an inch as I went along. I placed it over the crown and pulled the thread so it gathered to the right size and then stitched it to the hat.

All I have to do now is attach the ribbon when it arrives!


Next on my list for making was a reticule. I had a browse online to see what other people had done, and I came across these wonderful instructions. I made the basic reticule as I was wanting something for 'everyday' use. For mine, I used some leftover cotton from my stays and some plain white cotton to line.

I used the same measurements given in the instructions. I then sewed the two pieces together, leaving the bottom edge open - the lining was slightly shorter than the outer fabric. I then folded and sewed the top edge down about 0.5" to form a channel for the drawstring. Then I stitched the side seams together. After this I gathered the lining up and stitched it firmly in place, followed by gathering the outer fabric. I gather them separately so that if either one of them comes apart, nothing will fall out of the reticule!

As I was having two drawstrings for my reticule, and the fabric had been folded, I had to make a hole on the other side to allow for this - if that makes sense?! I snipped the channel on the opposite side to where I already had two hole for the drawstring and I whip stitched the edges so they didn't fray.

I had bought some cream coloured cord to match my reticule fabric, and used this for the drawstrings. I think I need to purchase a tassel or two as it looks a bit bare without one!

Regency Stays

Firstly I apologise...again. I lost motivation after making my Mary I style hood and didn't pick my needle up until after birthday, and since then I've had several events!
One of my birthday presents kick started my motivation - a pair of Regency spectacles in a case - and also the offer of going to an event (in August) in whatever period I wanted! So the clock started ticking...

I had already made a start on my Regency long stays in January. For this I bought the Mantua Maker pattern. I must say, this is a great pattern to use and I highly recommend it to anyone. Of course, some adjustment was needed - I decided to make the straps separate, I lifted the 'cups' a little higher, and made the gussets higher too so that they sat on my waist.

The pattern comes with two options, normal or riding (the latter having two of the four gussets laced). I went for the riding option, even though I never plan to go riding. This was because I thought I could loosen.tighten the extra lacing for comfort. It also meant having to sewn in fewer gussets!

The instructions were very simple (do read them before starting!), although having made various boned undergarments before, I didn't really read them after I got going. For my stays, I used a paisley printed cream cotton for the outer fabric, canvas for the interlining, and calico for the lining. The main seams were machine sewn, but everything else (as it gets quite fiddly) was hand sewn.

I don't think I having anything else to add, but feel free to ask questions!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mary Hood (not related to Robin)

Yes, it really has been that long since my last post and that's because boys and girls I ran out of motivation to sew anything, but alas my sewing bug has returneth!

At the beginning of March, I made a start on a Mary I style hood for this years Kentwell events. For this, I took the measurement from the middle on my head to the bottom of my ear, but making sure I squared it off (does that make sense?) as they Mary I hood is quite boxy! I also measured from the centre of my head to the back of my head so I knew the depth the hood should, roughly, be. Then I took these measurements and drew them onto scrap paper before transferring onto cardboard for a toile. I was pleased with the initial results, but I did have to take a bit off of the depth and shape the ends a little.

Once I was happy, I drew the pattern onto some stiff buckram. I then sewed on some millinery wire around the edges so that the hood could be shaped. After this, I covered the buckram in some scrap cotton (using the pattern and adding seam allowance) - this protects and provides a smooth layer before the fashion fabric is attached.

A week later, I sewed on the fashion fabric - a fine black silk - and then the lining underneath. I then left the hood again until the weekend just gone, when I managed to pluck up the courage to sew on the billiment (hood decoration). I used pearls for this (fake ones) and I started sewing them on individually, until I realised how complicated it was. I decided to thread them onto doubled embroidery thread as I have heard tale of people damaging their hoods and all their decoration falling off! When I had my string of pearls, I then sewing them onto the back edge of the hood sewing a few stitches between each pearl.

I then left my hood to let my fingers recover from severe needle action! For the veil, I used the toile one I made for a French hood I made while I was at Sixth Form as the pattern piece. I can't remember where I got the pattern for it from, but The Tudor Tailor does provide a good pattern (or you might be able to draft one by looking at my photos). I made the veil in the same black silk as the hood. I hemmed the top and bottom before sewing the sides together. I then sewed about half of the veil onto the back edge of the hood and gathered the other half so that it would fit nicely onto the head.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Swinging back to the '50s!

For some time now I have been longing to make a 1950s circle skirt. A couple of weeks ago, I had two excuses: my friend's 21st and £15 off voucher at my local haberdashers!

Flicking through the pattern books in the shop, I came across the perfect pattern - Simplicity 5403. Just like it's name, it is simple to use and very quick to put together so I wholly recommend it! The only alterations I had to make was the hem - it was too long for my liking and so I took it up 5".

The fabric I used for it was a lovely blue cotton with little white spots. I will upload a photo of my entire outfit after the weekend, but here it is so far:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tricorn at a Third of the Price!

Whilst out shopping with a friend of mine, I came across a very cheap, black felt, wide-brim hat for £3. I'm sorry, but even a reenactor couldn't miss a bargain like that - it would make the perfect tricorn!

So that is what I did today. I cut down the felt trim it had around the crown before pinning up the centre back and two sides. I had to play about a bit to get it right/equal. When I was happy, I sewed these sides with embroidery thread in a 'X' shape (see photo). Afterwards, I added some gold cord, which one of my friends had used to tie my 21st birthday present with, to the edge of the hat. Hey presto, I now have a tricorn for C18th and pirate usage at low cost!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Meet Georgiana!

I absolutely love the C18th Queen Anne dolls and would love to own a repro one so that I can clothe it. However, I could never afford the wooden doll itself. But I had a brainwave - why not make my own version from fabric? And so the clogs started turning...

You can follow the progress on Facebook.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Complete C18th 'scummy' Kit.

Here is the complete outfit.
Yes, this is also proof that I travelled home, via the London Underground, in said kit.

Another Jacket: Part 2

Well, I managed to get my jacket finished before the new year. I cut out the wool and linen and sewed them up separately and then sewed them both together at the neckline and hem. I then patterned for some sleeves. I used the pattern I had for my polonaise gown to get me started and adjusted it to make them full length. I made a toile before cutting out the real thing and they fitted perfectly.

I used the sewing machine to contruct the sleeves, partly because I couldn't face hand sewing them and partly because the fabric is quite thick where there are seams! I sewed the wool and linen together at the cuff first before opening them out and sewing down the main sleeve seam. I then sewed them into the jacket with the seam at the back and about an inch of gathers at the back too - just like on my gown.

Then tried it on. Again, I needed to take in a lot of fabric on the jacket straps - I think it's time for me to draft a new pattern for these! And I also pinned the line I needed to sew down at the centre front. For this, I turned the wool and linen inside the jacket and ladder stitched it up. I then sewed on some hook and eye tape for the fastening.

It was after trying it on, to find it gaping, that the original jacket had concealed lacing. So this was what I did. I had some scrap home-made binding leftover and used 10" for each side and sewed in some eyelets. Using shoelaces as a temporary measure and cross-lacing it, it worked - no more gaping, huzzah! I'm rather pleased with the result. I also made a bow from some scrap wool for decoration.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Operation Petticoat

So I'm putting together 'lower orders' C18th kit as you know - see previous post on jacket (which is finished, but need a good photo). I bought some striped linen from Tinsmiths, it was cheaper than most of their linens, but the top end of my personal budget. To be honest, having looked about online and in local shops, there is nothing in the way of striped line. Cotton, yes, but no linen.

Anyway, I ordered it late last year and then found out a couple of days later that the shop is closed until 3rd January. I was really hoping I would get it by today (4th January) because I had the great idea and temptation to travel on the London Underground in my 'scummy' kit after dancing in my 'posh' stuff at the Twelfth Night celebrations at Dr. Johnson's House on 5th January.
Well, it turned up, as I hoped just before 10.15 this morning. I was now racing against the clock to get the petticoat made. After washing the fabric, drying it in front of the Aga, and then ironing it, at 1.40pm I made a start on measuring the length I needed. As the fabric is 150cm wide, I only needed to buy enough for the length I wanted for my petticoat, plus a little extra just in case.

Once cut, I pinned and sewed up the side seams on the sewing machine, leaving a 10" gap at the top to allow access to the pockets. As it was the selvedge, I didn't need to the neaten the seam, hurrah! With the seams ironed open, I turned up a 2" hem and hand sewed this. Then ironed the hem.
After this, I pleated the waist. I had a 2" box pleat in the centre and then fourteen 0.5" pleats either side. I pinned these first and then machine sewed them. It was now time to add the waistband.
I used 1" wide white cotton tape for this. I cut two lengths long enough to go around my waist and tie into a bow. I then machine sewed one length onto the back waist, folding it over the pleats to cover the raw edge, and the other length onto the front waist.
To some this may sound odd. The way this is worn is that the back is tied first (the ties brought round to the front and tied) and then the front (ties taken round to the back and tied). This allows for the pocket slits to overlap (noone wants their pocket slits gaping!) and also means it can be worn by pretty much anyone. And hey presto, the petticoat is finished!

Now, it may need some altering and its length, but I wont know that until I wear it tomorrow.
Here's a photo of it at the moment: