1890’s Day Dress, the “Pumpkin” Gown, Photos

Today I have some photos of my completed Orange Taffeta Dress to share! We photographed it in it’s natural habitat – a pumpkin patch!

These aren’t my favorite costume photos (I probably prefer last years) but I’m just happy we got some that were usable. The day we photographed this it was insanely windy to the point where the dress wouldn’t lay out properly. And since it was so difficult to control the dress I wasn’t comfortable walking in the dusty or potentially muddy areas, which left us with limited background options.

Luckily we managed to get a few I really like – though I would like to get more photos of it in calmer weather in the future, it has a lovely silhouette when it isn’t being battered by wind!

Construction notes about this dress and hat can be found here, here, and here. It was worn over a steel boned 1880’s style corset which was made from a pattern from “Corsets & Crinolines” by Norah Waugh. The skirt is supported by two petticoats that were taken up by three inches the night before this shoot so they would sit properly underneath the skirt. I also wore it with these boots* – you can’t see them in the photos, but they made me feel more authentic which has to count for something.

Now onto the photos!

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This one is my favorite. I love how the light catches the feather, and the waistline makes me feel better about how uncomfortable the stupid corset was!

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The abundance of “looking off into the distance” shots has to do with it being really sunny and that being the only way I could fully open my eyes.

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And that’s it! Thanks for reading – a new “Making of” post should be up tomorrow!

Making an 1890’s Day Dress, the “Pumpkin” Gown, Part Three

It has taken me longer than expected to write this, but I finally have the last “Making of” post about my orange 1890’s dress to share!

Part one can be seen here and shows the making of the bodice. Part two is posted here and focuses on the sleeves. This post will be about the skirt and some of the finishing details. I didn’t take a lot of photos of these steps but hopefully I took enough for it to make sense!

Since I was unhappy with my previous 1890’s skirt attempt I decided to use a pattern for this one. I once again referenced 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns *, using the pattern from one of the ladies street costumes. Of course I altered it to match my measurements, but the shaping of the pieces is the same.

Here is the finished pattern. The side and back pieces were both cut out twice and the front panel (the narrowest one) was cut on a folded edge of the material.

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After cutting it out from the material I assembled the pieces with french seams and roughly pinned them onto my dress form.
I was originally a bit disappointed by the slim silhouette since SO much fabric went into this skirt, but I liked the shape enough to stick with it.
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I turned the top few inches of the back edge inward twice, so the raw edge was hidden. Then I sewed the edge down. I left this portion of the skirt open and sewed the rest of the back seam normally.

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Then I gathered the back of the skirt by hand.

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The silhouette looked a bit fuller after this, which I was happy with. However I was not happy with the length of this skirt, it’s a whole inch shorter than I had envisioned. There was no room to do the pretty hem I wanted.

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To make things even more annoying, the back was too long and had to be cut down.

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I had to scrap my ideas for a one inch rolled hem and chose to face the hem with some suiting instead. I sewed this on with a quarter inch seam allowance to keep the hem as long as I could.

I don’t think this was a bad idea, but I should have used a lighter (or stiffer) fabric. This one didn’t iron smoothly and the hem ended up looking puckered even though I was very careful when sewing it. It bothers me to the point that I plan on redoing it soon, which is pretty drastic for me!

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After hemming the skirt I sewed loops and buttons onto the top portion of the back seam to keep the opening I left closed. I’m not sure where my pictures of that went, but the process was identical to adding buttons and loops to the sleeves.

Then  I sewed the bodice onto the skirt with the wrong sides facing each other, so the raw edges are on the outside.

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 I covered the raw edges with a waistband that has a pleat running horizontally across it to add interest. It was originally supposed to be gathered but that didn’t look very nice so I pleated it instead!

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The final touch was adding a matching modesty panel to the back to hide the foundation garments that were peeking out from the loops the last time I tried it on.

This is just a rectangle with the edges whip stitched inward, then it was whip stitched to the lining.

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And that was it! Here is the back all done up. Not historically accurate, but I love the buttons and how far down they extend.

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Here is the front.

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A close up of the brooch~

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And pictures of it on the dress form – keep in mind that it doesn’t really fit my dress form, the silhouette is a lot more dramatic when I wear it over a corset.

There is also a bit of petticoat peeking out since the hem was shorter than I had planned. Even though I was annoyed by this, it was kind of a blessing in disguise since it forced me to shorten my petticoats which were all way too long.

Overall I really like this dress. I’m so happy with the fit, and how light it is. The fabric is beautiful and was wonderful to work with – even though the color isn’t my favorite, I like how striking it is. And the button details make me so happy.

The only thing I don’t like is the hem, but I’m confident that can be fixed.

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With the dress discussion done, it’s time to talk about the hat! I’m not the biggest fan of hats from the 1890’s since I feel like they are out of proportion with the full sleeves. I looked through a lot of references and couldn’t find anything inspiring (except for the ones with birds on them…but one bird hat is enough for me, or at least for this year).

At least until I came across this fashion plate – I’m not sure where this is from or if it was even drawn in the 1890’s, but I love how different it is. It’s like a twentieth century bicorne.

I made the base from interfacing.

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I bound the seams by hand, then sewed wire into the edges.

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I made a cap from interfacing too. The cap was covered with brown silk and lined with cotton, then sewn to the brim.

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The brim is covered with brown silk as well, and lined with some leftover orange material.

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For decoration I used a peach ostrich feather across the top.

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And the side is decorated with fake roses, leaves, and some small brown feathers.

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It can be worn in a variety of ways – with the feather facing the front, or either side. I ended up wearing it like this and pinning a comb into the cap to keep it in place.

And speaking of hats, I wanted to take a minute to mention the video I made about all my hats. It shows them in detail, along with how they look worn and a bit about the construction process/period they come from. If you like hats, you might enjoy it! It can be watched here.

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And I think that’s it for this post! The dress is done, the hat is done, and so are all the things that go underneath them. I’ve already photographed this project (in its natural habitat, a pumpkin patch) and as soon as I get done editing  I will post them too!

Thanks for reading!

 

Making an 1890’s Cycling Costume, Part Two

The sporting jacket continues! This post will cover the process of making some big leg-of-mutton  sleeves and completing the jacket. If you missed it, part one can be read here, and I have videos about making this project, which can be watched here and here if you’re interested!

At this point I was happy with the fit and shape of the jacket, but I thought it was a little bland. As much as I like the wool herringbone, I felt the jacket needed another textile to break it up and make it a bit more interesting. So I decided to line the lapel with a contrasting fabric.

I was originally going to use a black cotton sateen, but it looked very stark against the grey. So instead I choose to use some plaid flannel instead (which will also be used to make the bloomers that go with this jacket).

I traced the lapel and collar onto the flannel, then cut out two pieces. I folded the edges inward by a half inch so the flannel sits a half inch away from the edge of the lapel. Then I redid it a bunch of times to get the plaid pattern symmetrical!

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Then it was sewn in place with slip stitches.

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With the lapel and collar finished I was finally able to sew up the shoulder and side seams.

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I  finished the armholes with strips of bias tape that were sewn on with the right sides of the material facing each other, then turned inward and sewn down. This was my lazy way of doing a facing since I didn’t want to draft a new pattern.

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I turned the bottom edge of the jacket inward by a half inch and hemmed it with small running stitches.

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Then I put the jacket on my dress form to see how it was looking – and I was really happy with what I saw! The side seams and hem added some shape to it, and I think the plaid lining made a huge difference. It really highlights the lapel and makes the design come to life!

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Now I could move onto the sleeves! These were the part I was most excited about, but also the part I expected to go wrong. I’ve never made proper leg-of-mutton sleeves before and I figured getting the fit and shape right would be a challenge. Because of that I decided to use a pattern from the book 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns by Kristina Harris*.

I took a photo of the pattern I wanted, then resized it on my computer, used the screen as a lightbox, and traced the pattern onto newsprint.

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This pattern is huge – almost thirty three inches long. But believe it or not I probably would have added more volume to the top if i’d had enough material leftover. The finished sleeves don’t look nearly as massive as you’d expect based on the pattern.

But for the most part i’m really happy with this pattern. I had to take it in by an inch around the lower arm and that was it! Sort of loving this whole not drafting my own sleeves thing, it makes the process way easier.

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I ended up adding a half inch to the seam allowances to allow for french seams.

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Then I attempted to stiffen the tops of the sleeves with netting, interfacing, fusible web, and some other stuff. I figured this would give me lots of effortless volume without the annoyance of sleeve supports.  But it made the sleeves look horrible and didn’t really add to the shape of them since it weighed down the fabric. So I ripped all of that out, which luckily didn’t damage the material. But it did leave behind some glue residue  on the interior which you can see below.

Once that failed attempt was taken care of I went ahead and sewed the french seams.

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And I had two very odd looking sleeves!

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Then I gathered the tops of the sleeves down to fit the arm holes in my jacket.  This was done by hand with running stitches, as per usual. 

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Then I pinned the sleeves onto my dress form to see what the shape was like. I think I stuffed them with a bit of quilt batting for these photos but I can’t remember. They hold their shape much better when they are worn (my arms bulk them up a bit, and the undershirt makes them less prone to collapsing) but the batting definitely helps exaggerate the leg-of-mutton effect!

Either way I was pretty thrilled with how they were coming along!

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I finished the cuffs with strips of bias tape that were turned inward to hide the raw edge. These were sewn in place with hidden whip stitches.

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And the top edge will be covered by the jackets lining, so I didn’t have to cover it.

Here are my finished sleeves~

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They got pinned onto the jacket..

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And sewn in place with two strands of thread and lots of tiny whip stitches.

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Then I pinned the lining in place. This was a huge pain, it took me hours which is ridiculous.  I think if I made another jacket similar to this I would try flat lining the pieces and finishing the edges separately (which was often done during this period). It’s just too difficult to get the lining to match up with the jacket, and i’m always worried it will effect the fit.

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I sewed it in with whip stitches – except for around the hem, I used running stitches for that.

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And then the final step was sewing on buttons! I used La Mode buttons in the style 219. They are stitched one and a half inches apart and half an inch away from the seam line.

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Here they are after being sewn on – part of me wishes I’d used larger buttons that don’t have a pattern, since these kind of get lost in the herringbone print. But I still really like them!

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And that’s it! I’m so pleased with how this turned out. It fits really nicely, even without a closure method. And the sleeves look so good. I was really worried they would look silly or end up being too big, but they are actually quite fitted while still having lots of volume.

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I love the plaid material at the lapel. I debated about whether to add that or not, and i’m so glad I did. In addition to making the jacket look better I think it will really tie the look together when it’s paired with matching bloomers.

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I’m also happy with the back seaming on this jacket. When I ordered the wool for this I was a bit concerned it would be too heavy to pull off the seaming, but it worked perfectly!

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And the thing i’m most happy with is that I learned from the mistakes I made on my last fitted jacket and managed to properly execute the collar and lapel.

The only things I wish I could change are related to fabric quantity – which is my own fault. If i’d ordered another yard I could have made the jacket longer, and the sleeves a bit bigger which would have made the silhouette more dramatic. But even without those changes I really like the end result. And I can’t wait to show you guys how it looks with the shirtwaist I made to go underneath it – but that will have to wait for another day!

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And I wanted to mention that from now on a “*” after a link will indicate that it’s an affiliate link. I thought this would be a nice non-intrusive way of (potentially) making a bit of money off what I post here. I promise affiliate links will always be relevant to what i’m talking about and marked with an asterisk. As a reader I don’t think you will notice any difference, but I wanted to make sure you were aware!

That’s it for this post! Thanks for reading!

1890s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Photos

I’ve already talked about this project a lot, so I won’t ramble on for too long. But I wanted to say once again that i’m really pleased with how this project turned out.

I don’t think these pictures are the best photos in the world, but i’m so happy with how the costume looks in them. Sometimes I see other bloggers photos and wonder how they make historical costumes look so…right, and effortless when worn. Mine always take ages to lay out, and if I move the skirt has to be refluffed and the bodice adjusted to make sure it looks okay.

This costume doesn’t have any of those issues. Even after walking for half a mile on dusty trails it looked fine as soon as I dropped the skirt. So when I see these photos I see the ease of wearing this costume, which makes me feel like i’m one step closer to making things that are on the same level as the costumers I admire. And that is a pretty wonderful feeling!

A brief write up of this project can be found here, along with links to the “Making of” posts which detail the entire process of creating this costume. 

I’ve also uploaded a video that shows the details of this costume, the process of getting into it, and some footage of it being worn. If that interests you it can be watched here!

Now as promised, here are the finished photos of the ensemble!

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And a close up of the back – I don’t like this photo, since the wig looks shiny, but I wanted the show off the soutache detailing!

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That’s it for today, thanks for reading!