Thursday, January 20, 2011

Black Velvet Swiss Body - in progress

I have decided to make a black velvet swiss body to provide a sporting look to go with a green with silver shot dress that I hope to make later this year. The dress will of course be a two piece so that only the skirt will go with the body.

I purchased the pattern from Heidi Marsh ages ago when I first started sewing. Once I had made the toile of the body I realised that the patter was quite a waste of money as it is only a deep necklined bodice pattern, minus sleeves. It would be very easy to adjust any previously fitted bodice toile to make this swiss body.

Swiss Body Toile

 I altered the toile a lot to get the shape I wanted and to get a nice fit. I decided to make the body in black cotton velvet with a black cotton lining. The piping was made myself with the left over velvet and 1/16" piping cord. The velvet is still quite thick and required tacking stiches to flattern the seams.

Outside bodice with neckline and one armhole completed.
 Body lining

 Armhole, pinned for hand sewing to attach the lining to the front and piping.

1830s Day Gown - In progress

The first settlers in South Australia arrived in 1836 at Kangaroo Island and then moved to the mainland to settle in December 1836. That makes this year the 175th aniversary of Adelaide. In honour of this momentus event the Victoriana Society decided to hold 1830s sewing workshops to assist and help all members in making 1830s dresses.

I must say that I am not a fan of the big sleeves of the 1830s. I am a fan of the fashions from 1838 and the 1840s. This left me in a little bit of dilema making a dress that I would not like. I am also quite tall at 6ft and big sleeves would take out the rather large hats of the other ladies, especially as the sleeves of the times were filled out with large pads similar to the bustle pads of other periods.

This is the style of dress that I had originally wanted, however it would be highly unlikely that the women would have worn a dress of 1837 when then left England in 1835/6.

The design I have finally selected for the dress is from a fashion plate book. It allows me the freedom to have the sleeves pleated in at the shoulders and to tack on the caplet to add detail and  the larger sleeves from the early 1830s and yet have the option of removing the tacking for when I wish to wear the dress for late 1830s.

This design has a similar shape sleeve under the caplet allowing me to still create the dress I wished but in a period correct way for the earlier 1830s.

In the workshops, patterns from the 150th aniversary celebrations that were drafted by Briain Reader, an expert and author on 1830s fashions, were made available to trace. We used these to make our own toiles that were then kindly fitted by Mrs Smith, who was trained as a tailor and dressmaker. This is a simplied account of what took 2 whole workshops and multiple fittings and toiles to achieve a final and workable pattern for the actual bodice.

The front is in 1 piece with only a single large dart under each breast, unlike the later periods that have 2 darts. The bodice will be laced at the back, which is in 2 seperate pieces.

The fabric I purchased was on sale so that I purchased 6m and recieved 3m free. It is 100% printed cotton and is a lovelly soft fabric. With a white and lilac background with light brown flowers. I did a lot of research on the prints in the 1830s and found it hard to find a print that was suitible, so I was extremely happy with this. I find that it doesnt help that I do not like ordering fabric from the internet without samples, which has limited my supply base. I really need to get more confident with online shopping.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Trowsers, Shirt and Men's Drawers

After the wedding sewing marathon I decided to take a month off. Then I got back into work, slowly. In September Nic had found some lovely green plaid cotton fabric. Using the same toile as from his wedding trousers I made the following pants. Note: Plaid is horribly frustrating to work with for someone that had never used it before. I had to line up and match each pattern piece individually before cutting the fabric. This made the process time consuming and fiddly compared to previous sewing projects. I am happy with the outcome and the look of them. I would like to get a new buckle for the back, however my supplier is out of stock of the type I like and may not be getting any in the future.

 Front of the Trousers.

 Back of the Trousers.

Nic's shirts were starting to get very worn and I had started darning them around the buttons and armholes. His shirts were all made by his seamstress, before we had met. It was interesting to learn how different period shirts are different to modern shirts. I used the pattern from his seamstress to make his new shirt and added alterations to make them more period correct from museum photos and period tailoring books that I own. I am very happy with the way the shirt turned out.

View of completed shirt.
Finished Outfit Front.

Finally I decided it was time to make Nic a pair of drawers to go under his trousers. It is only right that he dress period correct in every aspect, and it is not a visible aspect of his costume it had been sadly neglected. I found a pattern online and it was very easy to construct and required only slight alterations due to Nic's slim figure. Nic likes them so much that I plan to make him further pairs in both a thinner cotton for the heat here in summer and some wool knit for when he is camping in winter. He decided that it was inappropriate to take photos of him wearing them.

Full view with laces for tightening the fabric at the ankles.
Front Fly opening with bone buttons.
Back of the Drawers.