Making a Shirtwaist – 1890’s Cycling Costume, Part Three

This week i’m talking about making another shirt. I actually finished this one before my 1860’s blouse, which means it’s the first structured shirt i’ve ever finished! I think I made a few jersey shirts when I was cosplaying, and i’ve made partial shirts/corset covers recently, and tons of chemises, but never a proper structured shirt. Then last week I made two! Which is a big accomplishment for me.

This shirt is a proper shirtwaist.  I based it mostly off of this example, but I searched for shirtwaist advertisements before  starting just to get a better idea of the silhouette. This shirtwaist is going to be part of my 1890’s cycling ensemble, but the shape and sleeve design is a lot closer to what would have been worn in the early 1900s since I find them a lot more visually appealing.

And before getting started I wanted to mention that I also filmed the process of making this shirtwaist. So if you’d like to see me sewing it and describing the process in a bit more detail then you can watch the video here!

For this project i’m using two and a half yards of striped cotton shirting, and vintage shell buttons I picked up on etsy.

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I started by draping the pattern. This would have been really easy to flat draft  but I was feeling lazy.

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Once taken off the dress form I had something that looked like this. It’s rough around the edges but surprisingly it looks a lot like the shirtwaist patterns I found online. One is posted here, and another with more photos is here.

I’d planned on linking to a few paper patterns for shirtwaists but weirdly I couldn’t find any, which i’m assuming is because they are so easy to self draft. The closest things I could find are linked above, but I know the The “Keystone” Jacket and Dress Cutter* has drafting instructions for a couple styles (along with sleeves and collars).

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I smoothed out the edges and added seam allowances. Then I made a sleeve and cuff pattern. I chose to make the sleeves one piece with a dart from the elbow to cuff, which probably isn’t historically accurate, but when it’s worn you can’t even tell.

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I cut the sleeves out.

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Then added the dart. This was sewn with a french seam so raw edges weren’t visible on the interior.

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I turned the edges of the cuff inward, then fused interfacing overtop to give them a bit more structure.

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Then the lower edge of the shirt was gathered down and pinned to the cuff.

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I sewed the cuffs on with slip stitches.

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Then turned the lower eight inches of the seam allowance inward by a quarter inch. Then inward once again to hide the raw edge. I sewed this down by hand with whip stitches.

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Then I sewed lining into the cuffs and snaps to keep them closed. I used snaps for all the closures on this project, since the buttons I picked are really tiny and there was no way I could make buttonholes that small without them looking awful. The snaps definitely aren’t historically accurate, but they do make it easy to get the shirt on which I appreciate!

The final touch were three shell buttons on each cuff.

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I gathered down the top edge of the sleeves and that was it, they are finished!

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After cutting out the bodice panels I used red thread and basting stitches to mark the pleat points. Then I turned the front edge inward by a quarter inch. I covered that edge with a one inch wide strip of interfacing, then turned it inward once again.

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Then the panels were pleated. I started at the center front and pleated towards the side seams. The thread marks made this really easy to do.

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The process was repeated on the back seam. After doing this I sewed across the pleats by machine with two rows of stitching. Then the basting stitches were removed and the pleats were ironed.

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Buttons and snaps were sewn onto the two front panels.

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This took me ages since the snaps are so tiny.

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The bodice panels were sewn together at the shoulder with french seams. Then I turned the neckline inward by a quarter inch, then inward once again. It was sewn down with whip stitches to keep it in place.

With that done I sewed on the final snap and button.

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The sleeves were sewn on with a half inch seam allowance, then I covered the raw edge with lace binding. After that I did up the side seams with french seams – the side seams were sewn from the hemline to several inches above the cuff (to the point where the edge was turned inward, which leaves an opening to get my hand through).

I hemmed the shirt by machine and that was it!

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Well…kind of. The shirt was wearable at this point, but I wanted mine to have a collar.

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So I made one out of cotton sateen. It’s two layers of material that were sewn with the right sides facing each other. Then it was turned the right-way out and the bottom edge was finished with lace tape.

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I sewed that onto the collar of the shirt and now it’s really done! I think it looks quite nice. I really like the  sleeve volume and the proportions of this. It’s a bit big in the waist (which could be fixed with the waist ties/belt that were usually worn with shirtwaists ) but that isn’t a big deal at all. I think it looks pretty good for being my first real shirt.

And it’s definitely the most comfortable piece of a historical costume i’ve ever made. The fabric is thin enough to hide the corset, but light enough that you can feel a breeze through it. I wore it for around three hours last weekend (along with a pair of flannel pants, full length socks, a corset, combination chemise set, wig, and wool hat) when it was 80+ degrees out with very high humidity and managed to stay pretty comfortable.  So I can definitely see why these were paired with sporting costumes!

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However as much as I like it, it still didn’t seem quite finished. And that’s because it was missing a bow. I made the bow for this by folding a two inch wide ribbon into this shape. (Isn’t that a great description?) I basically fiddled around with the ribbon until it started to look like a bow. This is it from the front.

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And the back. I ended up sewing the ends of the bow to the portion of the ribbon that is folded over.

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Then I gathered the bow down at the points where stitching is visible.

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Which turned it into this! I sewed a center overtop of it, then strung thinner ribbon through the center.

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The ribbon that goes through the center of the bow ties at the back of the neck…which is honestly a pretty bad design. The ribbon is prone to slipping which makes the bow droop, which makes the collar loosen, which makes the neck look wider. It isn’t a huge deal, but once I got home and after wearing the costume and looked at photos of the ensemble I realized the problem right away .

Luckily that can be fixed by creating a tie that snaps or hooks closed.

Here it is with it’s pretty little bow~ It’s so perky looking I love it.

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And here it is with the matching wool jacket! It’s all starting to come together and I love how it looks so far.

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And that’s it! Sorry if descriptions and photos were a little vague this time around, since I filmed making it I didn’t tak as many photos as usual.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Petticoat, 1890’s Foundation Garments

It’s been a while since i’ve written about making foundation garments – the last post on the topic was almost a year ago! But now i’m once again venturing into an era of fashion I haven’t worked on before, which means making a new set of foundation garments to achieve the proper silhouette.

Petticoats had a variety of different shapes between the late 1880s and early 1900s, which made my attempts in picking a design difficult. I really wanted a petticoat that was versatile enough to wear with very full turn of the century dresses, slimmer edwardian gowns, and everything in between. This is partially because I don’t like making petticoats all that much (they are time consuming and take a lot of material), but it’s also because I don’t have a lot of storage space.

In the end I decided to make a three tier single layer petticoat from cotton and shantung, without any netting. The petticoat has a very wide hem which means it can be layered over petticoats I already have to add fullness but it can also be worn on its own to add a little bit of flare to the hem of a slim gown.

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Petticoats in the 1890s were glorious. Often they were ruffled with very detailed hems that were decorated with lace and embroidery. Unfortunately my petticoat didn’t end up being that pretty. I made this right after my giant fabric haul so I wasn’t eager to spend even more money on raw materials, much less on lace trim for an undergarment that won’t be visible in the end.

Maybe someday it will get a mini makeover and lace flounces, but for now it’s quite simple.

Here are the rough dimensions for each piece. It’s a pretty basic design, the top half is made from four panels of cotton and the ruffles consist of thirteen strips of shantung. Each piece is a rectangle or has straight edges so I didn’t bother creating a pattern. Instead I drew guidelines for each piece directly onto my fabric with the help of a ruler.

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I decided to tackle the ruffles first. Here are the larger strips cut out of shantung…

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And the smaller strips.

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The strips were then sewn together with a half inch seam allowance. This left me with one 18″ x 240″ strip and one 8.5″ x 540″ strip. The wider, shorter strip was set aside while I began hemming the longer strip.

The hem is a pretty basic one, I started by turning the raw edge inward by a quarter inch and sewing it down. Then I turned the hem inward again, so the raw edge is hidden.

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And then the strip got gathered down, so it was roughly half its original length. I did this by pushing the material under the presser foot as I sewed since I didn’t need it to be very precise or pretty.

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I pinned the ruffle onto the hem of the eighteen inch wide strip.

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And sewed it on with a half inch seam allowance.

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This looked good from the front side of the fabric, but the back was a frayed mess. I trimmed the edges so it was a bit tidier, then sewed lace seam binding overtop.

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After doing that I folded the ruffles up and set them aside so I could start on the top half of the petticoat!

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One of the “features” of this petticoat is an adjustable, partially gathered waistband, which is created by having the back panels gather with a ribbon. Though the process should be pretty straightforward I hadn’t done it before, so I decided to do that before anything else.

Step one was cutting out the back panels – which was super easy since they are just big rectangles. Then I turned the top twelve inches of the back edge inward by a quarter inch, then inward again by a half inch so the raw edge was hidden.

Then I turned the top edge of both panels inward by a half inch, then inward by a full inch. This creates a channel for the ribbon.

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I sewed across the bottom edge to complete the channel.

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Here is the back edge, all nicely finished. This portion will be left open so I can easily get the petticoat on and off.

It’s important this edge is finished before the top edge is folded over. If you do it after then the ribbon won’t have an opening to go through!

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I threaded ribbon through the channel and that was pretty much it for the back panels!

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Then I made the front half of the waistband. This is just a twenty by four inch rectangle of interfaced cotton which is folded in half. I originally folded the edges inward, which is what you see below, but that was a mistake. Luckily I realized the goof up and fixed it before it became an issue!

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I cut out the rest of the petticoat pieces and sewed together the front and side panels with french seams.

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I left the centermost ten inches of the front panel flat since I didn’t want a lot of volume near my stomach. But the side panels, and half of the front panel were evenly gathered down until the top edge measured twenty inches.

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Then the front waistband was sewn on and the raw edge was finished with bias tape.

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And the side back seams were done up with french seams. At this point it didn’t look like much and I wasn’t happy with how blocky the back panels were, so I did a bit of trimming before moving on.

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I measured the hem of the top half of the petticoat, then gathered my shantung down to that length.

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And sewed it onto the top half of the petticoat. Then I trimmed the edge and finished it with lace binding to control the fraying.

Now it actually looked like a petticoat! But this photo is pretty deceiving, since this is it layered over a cotton/netting petticoat that I made a while back. On its own it has very little volume.

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I decided to add a bit of detail to the seam between the shantung and cotton, which I did by sewed on some ruffled eyelet lace and a thin pink ribbon. It isn’t much compared to most 19th century petticoats, but it looks better than nothing!

The final step was sewing the back seam, which was also done with a french seam. I tapered the stitching off as I neared the top twelve inches of the edge, which were finished by hand earlier on. And that’s it!

(these photos also show it layered over a small cotton/netting petticoat)

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But since I mentioned versatility earlier on I thought I would show you a few of the different shapes this petticoat can have with the help of some extra layers and safety pins.

Here it is layered over two cotton/netting petticoats. It has a very full A line shape, with a nice rounded slope at the hip which was common during this period.

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Here it is with an (unfinished) skirt thrown overtop. It collapsed a bit after I hemmed it and added the facings, but the shape has stayed pretty much the same.

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But if I take out one of the netting/cotton petticoats, and use a safety pin to gather the bottom edge of the back panel it takes on a MUCH different, more narrow shape.

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Which works well for the slimmer shape from the late 1890’s – like this plaid project i’ve been working on!

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The only downside is that it’s a bit too long to wear on its own. In this picture i’m on my tip toes and it’s still more than a inch too long. Which means in it’s current state I can’t wear it underneath Edwardian style gowns.

But i’m going to fix that! My plan is to sew two eyelets into each seam and at the center front. The eyelets will be placed vertically, about six inches apart. Then ribbon can be threaded through the eyelets (one piece of ribbon per each two eyelets) and tied to adjust the length.

I could also use the eyelets to adjust where the volume is, like I did with the safety pin above. Hopefully i’ll get to that soon and be able to share the process in another post, along with better photos of the finished product!

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This post was probably longer than it should be considering the subject matter, but clearly I get excited when writing about petticoats!

Thanks for reading!

Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part One

So my blogging attempts have been abysmal lately, which is pretty obvious if you look at my three week gap between posts. Recently I haven’t been happy with how my projects are going, or my attempts at writing, or the videos i’ve tried to edit. The combination of all those things going poorly has led to a bit of a motivation block, where I don’t feel like working on anything.

But i’m trying to fix that! And i’m also going to attempt to follow a blogging schedule, and a schedule in general since I’m a lot more productive when i’m following lists and trying to reach weekly goals.

Part of my plan to restore my enthusiasm involves starting new projects. And this is one of those new projects. I normally I write about projects after finishing them but today I felt like posting about what i’m currently working on for a change!

For a while now i’ve been itching to make something different from my recent projects. Something where the construction is the main focus. Which is why I decided to make a plaid skirt and  jacket with every seam matching perfectly to create a chevron print. What is more construction focused than that?

It’s based off this ensemble, which is one of my favorite examples of fashion from the 1890s. I’m not trying to recreate it, just using the shape and pattern as inspiration for my own piece. Right now I have no clue what the jacket I plan on making for this project will look like, but I have made good progress on the skirt, which is what this post is about!

For this project i’m using the fake wool that I purchased from Joanns a while back. I have a little more than six yards of this and it was purchased for a total of $24. I’m pairing it with two yards of a silk I purchased a few years ago, which I’m pretty sure cost $16 total. I think including the price of lining materials and basic supplies this project will have a total cost of $50, which is pretty good for a historical ensemble!

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The first step was creating a pattern. Or taking the measurements to create a pattern. I would have liked to cut the skirt as two pieces, with two seams, but I didn’t have enough material for that.  So instead I came up with a six piece pattern with shorter side panels that would have the lower portions pleated. I’ve seen similar things done on lots of dresses from the 1890s and I thought it would help break up overwhelming amount of plaid.

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I turned the measurements into a functional pattern then started laying it out. Each panel has to be bias cut to create the chevron print. Unfortunately this process requires a HUGE amount of fabric and leaves lots of weirdly shaped scraps. I’m really hoping those weirdly shaped scraps can be used for the jacket, otherwise I may not have enough material to complete it!

To make sure everything was cut out on the right angle I drew guidelines onto my pattern pieces. These guidelines were matched up with the underside of a beige line.

Here are two of the pattern pieces laid out.

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I used the pattern for cutting out half the skirt, then used the pieces I cut out as a guide for cutting out the other half. This way I could perfectly line up each piece with the fabrics pattern and ensure that my skirt would be symmetrical and that my seams would match up.

You know you’ve done a good job when it’s difficult to see the piece that’s already cut out because it blends in so well.

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And if everything is done properly the pattern should match pretty well without *too* much effort! Here are the two front panels before I sewed them together.

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Though the pieces line up pretty well, I wanted them to line up perfectly after they were sewn. So I didn’t use pins for this project at all, instead I basted all the pieces together by hand.

For each seam the process was the same. I started by basting the pieces together with wrong sides of the fabric facing each other. I used the plaid pattern as a guide and made sure my needle went through the same points of the pattern on each side.

This was made a bit more challenging by the fact that everything was cut on the fabrics bias, so it shifted around and warped really easily.

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Then I used my machine to straight stitch over the basting stitches. I trimmed the seam allowance down to an eight of an inch and pressed the seam open so it was flat.

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Then the fabric gets folded at that seam line, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.

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And then the basting process gets repeated!

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 Then I used my machine to sew over the basting stitches and ironed it once again. This is the front seam, so the primary and secondary pattern both line up.

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Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to make all the panels line up this well. The pattern on the side panels only line up in one direction – note how the lighter beige stripes and light grey boxes don’t line up. Luckily this really isn’t noticeable from a distance, since the zig zag pattern is so much more prominent.

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Speaking of the side panels, somewhere along the way I majorly goofed up. After spending hours making sure everything lined up perfectly and getting half the skirt sewn together I realized I cut the back of the skirt out upside down. So the plaid was facing in the wrong direction.

It looks fine from the front!

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But not from the back 😦

My dad kindly drove me to the two nearest Jo-anns but neither of them had any more of this fabric. I didn’t have enough fabric left to recut the back panels, so I decided to add a second side panel instead. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

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I sewed together the two side panels using the same hand basting method. The I turned the hem inward by a half inch and created a facing out of some brown suiting. Most skirts during this period had facings at the hems, or were lined. This added weight to the hems which make the skirts easier to walk in, and makes the skirts lay better against the petticoats.

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I sewed the facing in by hand, then made up some piping. For this I used cotton cord and some green wool that was leftover from my Merida costume. This also got sewn on by hand.

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Now it was time for the pleated panels! I cut out two twenty eight inch by forty eight inch panels of silk. Then I turned the hem inward by a half inch, twice, and sewed the hem by hand.

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And then both panels got knife pleated. I went for one inch knife pleats, which are half an inch deep since I didn’t have enough material for the full depth.

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I pinned the pleated panel on roughly, then pinned it to my dress form and adjusted it so the length was right. Then it got pinned on properly and sewn on with a whip stitch.

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Here is the back of the pleated panels after sewing them on. As you can see there is some excess fabric at the top, which I trimmed down to one inch.

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 Then I folded the trimmed edge inward, so the raw edge was hidden.
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And then I sewed the edge down.

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Now the interior of the side panels looked like this.

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And the outside looked like this.

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And that’s my progress on this so far! I really like how it is coming along. I still have to do up the rest of the skirt seams, hem the front and back panels, add facings, and sew hooks into the back. So it isn’t close to being finished yet, but it’s getting there.

Oh, I should probably also mention that the sloped hem on the side panels is intentional. I thought that would make it look a little bit more interesting, though for some reason I didn’t include that detail in my pattern sketch.

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Now to figure out what the top half of this project will look like…

Thanks for reading!

Making a Plaid Dress, 1860s, Part Three

This blog post is really overdue. Usually I’m a few weeks, or even months late when it comes to blogging about projects but in this case i’m years late. This project was originally completed in November 2014! I never got around to writing about it and I have no idea why.

This past November I fixed it up, made a matching headpiece, and got photos of the project. So now seems like an appropriate time to finally write about it. If you would like to read about making the bodice there is a blog post about that here, and a blog post about making the sleeves here!

Usually skirts from this period would be cut from gored panels. Because gored panels create full skirts with less material at the waist, and require less fabric to make. Win-win all around.

But doing that requires sewing certain seams on a the diagonal, and that wouldn’t look very nice on the linear plaid material that I was working with. So I decided to make a simple rectangle skirt from three 48″ by 55″ panels. These got pinned together with the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other.

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I was very careful to make sure everything lined up perfectly. Then I sewed a half inch away from the raw edge, trimmed the seam allowance down to 1/4″ and folded the fabric so the right sides were facing each other and the raw edge was hidden.

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To make sure the plaid pattern would line up perfectly I used basting stitches instead of pins to secure everything.

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Then I sewed a half inch away from the edge, again, to create a french seam. Once ironed everything looked pretty good! Not perfect, unfortunately, but it was close(ish)…

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I folded the bottom edge inward by a half inch and basted it in place.

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Then folded it inward by an inch so the raw edge was hidden.

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And stitched across the top edge with a cross stitch!

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I marked the pleat placement across the top edge. This skirt was knife pleated (the easiest and prettiest type, in my opinion). Two thirds of the pleats go in one direction, and one third in the other direction.

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Once the pleats are marked it’s just a matter of playing connect the dots (or lines, I guess)!

I pinned them in place.

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And put it on my dress form to see how it looked. At the time I was really happy with it, now I feel otherwise. How did I think that level of volume was okay for this period? It looks so sad!

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But on the positive side of things, I really like how the pleats look!

After pleating everything I sewed across the top edge and did up the back seam (with a french seam). As per usual I left the top eight or so inches open and folded the raw edge inward twice, then secured it with whip stitches. This opening lets me get in and out of the skirt.

Since I didn’t want the petticoats to be visible through the portion of the skirt left open, I used snaps sewn onto each side to hold it closed.

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I did a terrible job documenting this part of the process but the next step was making the waistband. I cut out a strip of plaid material and interfaced it, then folded over all the edges.

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I made piping from bias cut strips of matching green fabric, flannel (as lining), and cording. I don’t have photos of the piping but I do have photos of the raw materials which is probably not super helpful.

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Then I sewed the piping around each edge of the waistband and sewed the waistband onto the skirt with whip stitches.  I covered the raw edges of the waistband interior and the top edge of the skirt with cotton lining, which was also sewn in with whip stitches.

This wasn’t the best decision. The thickness of this fabric (especially when pleated!) added a lot of bulk to the waistband. The top edge should have been finished separately and folded down, so it sits below the waistline and adds volume to the skirt instead of adding extra inches to the waistline.

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I sewed a button hole into one side of the waistband, and sewed a button onto the other. With that done the skirt was finished!

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Here is what it looked like worn, over a bunch of random petticoats and with the cotton sateen corset I made to go with it.

The skirt is so…meh

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This November, when the fall colors were in full swing I decided I wanted more photos of this project. Which required fixing the skirt problem.

Which meant I needed to find something to make it fuller. I don’t have a round hoop skirt or elliptical hoop skirt that would be appropriate for this period, but I DO have a spanish farthingale which is kind of similar. To make the shape of it a little nicer I folded a petticoat in half and safety pinned it to the back of the farthingale.

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Then tossed a cotton/tulle petticoat over the whole thing to round it out. It’s a little lumpy, but it definitely has the appropriate level of volume.

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And my skirt had enough volume to sit nicely over the petticoat without disrupting the pleats! All I had to do was re-hem it to suit the new shape. This involved raising the front by almost three inches, and the sides by an inch.

Another change was sewing three snaps into the back of the waistband, which line up with three snaps sewn onto the back of the bodice. This weighs down the back of the bodice so it doesn’t move when I raise my arms, and prevents the skirt from “sinking” and showing the bottom edge of the bodice.

As a side note, I love the silhouette this petticoat and farthingale combination gives. It’s a little flat at the bottom since the top petticoat isn’t long enough, but other than that I think it’s great. I’m so pleased that i’m now planning on using it underneath another mid 19th century gown, all i’ll have to do is make a more appropriate, ruffly petticoat to go overtop!

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I also decided to make a headpiece to match the project. I didn’t want to make a full bonnet, but I really liked the look of this partial bonnet. Though I didn’t have proper materials for that, so I combined the shape with the sheer/open appearance of this evening cap from the same period.

I made my pattern out of newsprint.

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Then cut it out of felt weight interfacing. I tried it on at this point and realized I made it way too big – I had to take it in by three inches!

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I closed the opening and sewed wire to the interfacing so it became shapeable.

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Then I got to decide on materials. I chose to use the matching green material (which was used to pipe the waistband) and a bit of vintage lace.

I ended up using a half yard of crochet lace in a deep beige color and a stained lace trimmed mesh collar in the same shade.

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I covered the opening with the lace. Then I removed the binding from the collar (and the stains), gathered it slightly, and sewed it onto the top edge. This creates a bit of texture, and a ruffle, which is something this costume was really lacking!

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I covered the interfacing with one inch wide strips of bias tape, which were made from the green fabric. I left the tails of the bias tape really long so I could use them as ties for the bonnet, which will keep it in place when worn.

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The edges of the bias tape were whip stitched together and then it was done!

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Here is the project all together!

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And here it is when worn!

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Look at how much that side profile has improved thanks to the petticoat switch!

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I’m very pleased with how this whole ensemble turned out in the end, even though it took a while to get there!

I’ll do my best to edit the rest of the photos we took in November and have those up soon…but no promises!

Thanks for reading!

Making a 1840s Floral Red Dress, Part Two

I’m a few days late but here is the second part of making this floral lacy dress! Part one shows the process of making the bodice and can be read here. Today i’ll be talking about how I made the sleeves and skirt.

I went back and forth about what type of sleeves to make for this dress. I love huge frilly sleeves but the neckline of this dress has so much detail that big sleeves would take away from it. So instead I settled on small sleeves with a little bit of lace, which ended up being very similar to the ones shown in the painting I used for inspiration!

To create a pattern I measured the arm hole, measured my arm, and used a lot  of guess work when it came to the length and slopes.

I made a mock up from broadcloth and liked how they looked enough to turn them into a paper pattern which was used to cut them from my floral fabric!

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I also cut the pattern from muslin. I pinned the muslin and floral fabric together, then sewed around the top and sides. This created three finished edges and saved me from making bias tape and sewing french seams later on.

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I folded the fabrics inward by a half inch on the lowest edge to create the appearance of a finished edge and pressed them in place. Then I pinned lace in between the two layers.

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Then the lace was into place, this is what the sleeve interior looks like! I usually don’t make sleeves that allow for this method (It can’t be done on puffy sleeves without adding a lot of bulk) which sucks because it’s so easy and looks so nice.

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I did up the only remaining seam and the sleeves were done!

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I sewed them in place with small straight stitches, then went around the outside with a whip stitch to make sure they are secure.

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After the sleeves were done I sewed together my lining and pinned it in place. Aside from attaching the panel of buttons I think this is the only machine sewing on this costume.

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The lining was completely hand sewn in place. Once that was done the bodice was finished! The lining on this isn’t perfect but it’s pretty close, it’s the damn basque waist that always screws me up.

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Since the bodice is done it’s time to talk about the skirt! Like my last two 19th century dresses, the skirt is made up of one big rectangle. Because I didn’t have that much fabric this skirt is only one hundred inches wide, which makes it look a little weird over petticoats.

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I marked out the hem line in pen.

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I did a sort of strange hem on this dress, the selvage was rolled over and basted in place, then the new edge of the fabric was rolled over to create a two inch hem. I used a cross stitch for securing this hem, since it’s kind of fun to do and you don’t see any stitches from the exterior of the garment!

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Then I gathered the top of the skirt. They aren’t large enough to be called cartridge pleats, but I used the same method just with quarter inch wide stitches. There are two rows of gathers, each a half inch apart. I left sixteen inches ungathered in the front, which was turned into a four inch wide box pleat.

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I pinned the skirt onto the bodice and sewed it in place with a whip stitch. This took ages and I ran into so many problems, my  thread was so tangly and broke a half dozen times during this process.

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After the skirt was stitched on I sewed it up with a french seam, I left a six inch opening in the back to make this dress easy to get into. The opening closes with five small snaps.

Once the back was all figured out the dress was done! I’m really pleased with this dress. It’s so girly and lacy, just looking at it makes me smile. I’m also proud that I managed to make this dress from start to finish in forty eight hours, without sacrificing the quality of the finished garment.

I think I might do more forty eight hour challenges in the future, hopefully they will all be as satisfying as this one!

I have a whole bunch of photos of this dress laying flat, but no worn images just yet. I’ll post those next week along with a write up on how I made a matching headpiece.

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Thanks for reading!