elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
First I made another set of Truly Victorian combinations. I love my other set and it fits great. But when I made this one, it mysteriously ended up WAY too tight across the bust.

Later I told my HB about it, and he suggested adding a strip of fabric along the CF. Yeah, I guess I could have done that, but what actually happened is I grabbed the scissors for an immediate solution. I cut the neckline down so the bust would not longer be an issue, then threaded a drawstring to pull in the neckline as needed. Now I have a low-neck version for evening dresses.

I will not be modeling them at this time.

underwears (2)

I have no idea if this will actually work or if it will stick out or slip down. If it doesn't work I guess I can cut the top off and make it into drawers.

Okay, so then I used Liz Clark's drawers directions to make these.

underwears (1)

The directions were good but I don't know if I made my crotch length correctly. And my waistband ended up a little snug, I think. I guess the proof will be in the wearing.

I had intended to leave them totally plain but ended up doing a few tucks and a little lace.

underwears (3)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Not doing much the past couple days because I have been fighting with a cold, but before that I started putting this cage hoop together.


It's a moderate size; about 112" at the bottom hoop. It looks so tiny here but looks somewhat bigger with lots of foofy petticoats all over it. It still needs all the hoops connected and a waistband closure.

I didn't use a pattern this time; I made up the shape with a combination of math and just putting it on the dress form and messing with it. I've been planning a blog post with all the examples I drew from. Maybe next week.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Yesterday when I was feeling discouraged I decided I needed a (relatively) simple task, so I made a new shift.

I had only one I was sharing between 18th c and Regency, so now I have a change.

I used Kaufman handkerchief linen, actually a 60/40 linen and cotton blend, and the diagram in Costume Close Up. It seemed huge but I was tired and didn't feel like thinking much so I just went with it.

I did it all on the machine, with French seams on the body, which makes a slight lump where they all line up at the side gores, and flat felled seams on the sleeves and underarm gusset. The only part I handsewed was the pair of eyelets at the neckline for the drawstring.

It took me about 3 hours start to finish, which is faster than I used to be, so yay. And it did come out really big and floopy. Maybe one day I will actually devote time to making Perfect Undies, but for now at least I won't have to wear a sweaty gross shift the third day of coco.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I just couldn't take my stays being too big in the waist anymore, so I sewed some darts to nip the waist in, and what d'you know, it worked!

I am much happier with my figure now. I know that 1770s/80s is not all about the teeny waist like Victorian, but I realize now that I need a minimum 2" reduction just so my stays aren't slipping around my body. I have that 2" now, and even better, I can neither see nor feel the darts. Score!

So I adjusted bodice mockup #3 to reflect the changes and now I think I am ready to cut! As usual I could probably use one more mockup but it's so close now I am just going to go for it.

Wish me luck!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Made this in a couple hours the other day. I have completely, 100% copied A Fractured Fairytale's awesome bum pad(s). (Or tried to anyway.) This striped cotton is not ideal but it was stash fabric so there.

divided bum pad (1)

I tried it under a petticoat. I like the shape but wow, holy butt crack! I wanted a divide of course but this is a bit much.

divided bum pad (3)

I tried my padded petticoat over it as well to help soften/reduce the split, but it was just too much volume and the shape was too large. So hopefully the second petticoat and the gown skirt will soften the shape slightly.

more! )

I have also done two mockups of the bodice pattern and it's almost ready to cut. The only thing I am not perfectly happy with is my shape in my stays. There's plenty of boob support (even despite the aforementioned hoisting) but the waist is so big. I am lacing the stays completely closed but I would be happier going smaller. I feel a bit barrel-like; there is only about 1" of waist reduction.

I am not going to make new stays right now and I don't even want to mess around with modding these, but it's a drag that I am making this dress to fit over these ones when a better pair might be in my future. Ah, well, a minor complaint.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So I have gotten a little sewing done. I made this little ruffle/pad combo bustle and I am very pleased with the late natural form/early 1880s not-quite-a-bustle-again-yet shape. Modest enough for Laura Ingalls I think!

bustle 023

I made it with green polka dot cotton. I had big plans for a stripe but I couldn't find one crisp enough to make the ruffles nice. So I dug this out of the stash.

I made a base of white twill that I stitched the ruffles to. Then I made two pads: the first one is large and flat and filled with layers of cotton quilt batting; the second is little, stuffed with fiberfill, and tufted. At first I tried to just use the large flat pad but it wasn't enough.

The insides, over a skirt, and more )

And I have been working on my tiny knitted lace.

lace (1)

I don't know exactly what size needles these are, because I lost the package, they don't say, and my gauge only goes to 0. But by comparing them to other needles I am guessing they are 000. I am using sz 12 pearl cotton and this 1884 lace pattern. My ravelry page for this project is here.

the bustle

Mar. 21st, 2015 10:50 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)

bustle 018

bustle 022

More! )

Now I really want to make that matching corset! But it needs to wait; the one I have is good enough and I need to make a dress!


Mar. 20th, 2015 04:53 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finished the new bustle just now, and it's looking great! Exactly what I wanted. A bit of a beast to sew (I may have sworn at it a few times) but so worth it.

Photos when I get a chance; right now I am off to work!


Mar. 19th, 2015 10:28 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Sewing has finally happened here. I altered the bustle pattern the other day and then yesterday I bought some teal green cotton twill at work to make it up with. I got enough to make a matching corset in the future if I feel like it.

Today I got some time in the sewing room and it's about half together. I made exterior boning channels in black twill tape and cut a few bones. Tomorrow I need to cut the rest of the bones and get the side panels and waistband on.

I like the shape so far! It's big. Of course you can't really tell until it's all together but it's looking good.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, I've decided. I'm going to make a new lobster bustle. Closer inspection has shown my old one to be sadly wearing out, and there are some lovely sloped examples in the Kyoto Fashion book dated to the early 1870s. I have the wire already, a pattern from the old one I can update/alter, and hopefully I can dig some fabric out of the stash.

I also need a new petticoat (a girl can never have too many!). I'll probably alter the TV pattern to make a demi-trained version with lots of flounces and things.

Both of these are fairly straightforward. I just need to be focused and do it.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finally hit on one of the reason's I've been procrastinating on the new early 1870s dress: I'm dissatisfied with the shape of my skirt foundations.

There's a skirt shape look in the early 70s where the woman looks as though she's just been dumped out of a pudding mold.


It's wide and round but very straight; there's an almost dome-shape at the hips and back, but the skirts fall straight down; no angles. It's not a bad look, I like it in the right context, but it's just not what I'm going for right now.

Another early 70s shape you see a lot is more of an A-line. The bustle might be softer just behind the waist, but there's more fullness behind the knees and more of an angle from waist to hem in back.

That angled back line is most obvious when there's a train, but even here in these dresses without trains you can see more of that A-line shape, less pudding-mold look.

This is more like what I am going for with this dress. A-line with either a very small train or none at all.

Yesterday I got out all my early bustle undies and tried them on to see which combination I liked best. First I tightened my lobster bustle's lacings to poof it out more, then decided the shape was too abrupt and loosened them again, then I tried my Truly Victorian bustle last. I wore two petticoats - a plain one with a single flounce and a very full one with 3 rows of ruffles all around - and used an old linen 1870 skirt on top; the waist is now too small so I had to hold it closed with my hand. I also layered my horsehair ruffle in there somehwere. I put all the photos together to compare.

bustle comparison 1

Of these I like the shape of the center one best, but it's still too pudding-y. Not enough A-line shape; not enough fullness behind the knees. Part of it is volume; some starch in my petticoats and a good stiff hem facing on my skirt could improve that, but it's also just the shape.

So, what to do?

1.) Make a new lobster bustle. The one I have now is pretty dainty. I made it a while ago, back when I was still cautious about things being too big. I could make a new one which is pretty much the same dimensions up top but widens lower down.

2.) Make a new petticoat bustle. Like this.

Or the top left one here:

3.) Add another petticoat. Particularly with more fullness concentrated in back. Perhaps even with a tie-back and/or some netting. Like so:

I realize that plate (and the tie-back generally) are veering into "natural form," but if it gives me the right shape, it goes. I could also try achieving this shape with more ruffles/flounces:

(Again, this is an 80s example but you get the idea.)

I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but I'd better decide soon. The event this dress is supposed to be for is in just over a month.
elizabeth_mn: (winter)
Before I did the last-minute hat, I spent a few days on this petticoat.

treadle 004

Technically it's a class display for work, but I also just wanted a nice new petticoat. Still trying to replace some of my older, crappier costume components. And also, you always need more petticoats, period.

It's the early bustle view of TV 170, made in plain quilting cotton. I clean-finished all the seams, mostly French but I felled the CB to each side so I could carry the same finish up to the split opening. I planned to cover the horizontal seams (where the flounce and ruffle join) with binding, but ran out of time. I will add it later when I can take it home.

I like this pattern a lot; it goes together so easily and the tucks are just adorable, but it feels slightly skimpy to me for early bustle. It's displayed here over this natural form petticoat (It's all I could spare at the moment) and a bustle pad. I think next time I might make up a new side panel that's wider and gathered, to give more side fulness to the silhouette.

The waistband also seems a bit excessive to me. It's so wide! And the drawstring is really only needed in back. A tiny detail, but I like tiny details.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This morning I wanted to prioritize my sewing, so for once I told The Girl it was just too bad for her and headed to my sewing room directly after breakfast. Finished these up.

pocket hoops (2)

Yes, I am in my jammies. Please don't judge.

pocket hoops (3)

They are scaled up with no modifications from Corsets & Crinolines (once again, thank you cheap projector). Several years ago I made some very small side hoops based on the same pattern, but reduced in scale. That was a time in my costuming life before I realized that More Is More, and I was worried about making anything too big. For these ones I went full-size with no worries.

I took a tip from the J.P. Ryan pattern and sewed weights into the bottom piece. I do remember my last set of hoops riding up quite a bit, so hopefully this will prevent that.

pocket hoops (4)

And with an old petticoat (clearly not cut to go over the hoops!).

pocket hoops (6)

Clearly not as huge and awesome as the full hoopskirt, but much easier to manage on crowded streets. I am annoyed with myself for wasting all that time on the big hoop, but at least now I am back on track. This afternoon I plan to make the petticoat to go over these.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
hoop 009

I enlarged the Corsets and Crinolines pattern. I guess I figured out what my cheap crappy projector is good for!

hoop 001

And with some fabric thrown on it.

hoop 007

hoop 008

It came out very short! I am hoping full petticoats will alleviate the "waterfall" effect.

So the plan was to use this for the Glinda costume, then re-use it for a huge awesome 18th century thing. But, it's huge. Like really really enormously big. At least it feels that way to me. It does look appropriately to scale for Glinda, but I am having second thoughts about going out trick-or-treating in this. I don't want to be rude and taking up the whole sidewalk. I might feel differently if I had some kind of party to go to, but I don't. So I guess my options are:

1.) Use this huge hoop and continue with current plan.

2.) Make some pocket hoops for a more modest shape. Maybe use this hoop for something else later.

3.) Make the silhouette much narrower and use a small padded roll or my padded petticoat.

Advice, please?
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
A petticoat!


It's loosely based on Truly Victorian's free hoop petticoat diagram, but of course I had to fiddle with it slightly. I wanted a narrower ruffle at the hem (it's not on yet) and I was being frugal by making the upper section 30" narrower than the lower tier.

It's over this hoopskirt, which I made in 2008 (is it just me or does this seem like an eternity ago?). There is also a really big floofy ruffled petticoat under there; I originally made it for bustle dresses but it fits over the hoop, although the hem is wavy.

I am leveling it at the waist as you can see in the picture. I sewed a piece of elastic into a loop and slipped it onto my dressform, then pulled the unfinished waist of my hemmed petticoat through, pleating it roughly as I did. Next I'll measure from the hem to the floor and adjust it until it's even all around, then mark it and chop it before I attach the waistband. Because of the hoop's shape the petticoat needs to be a little shorter in front, and this way just seemed easiest!

Before I started this petticoat I fiddled with the ties in the back of the hoopskirt to make it rounder, with less back emphasis. I've been trying to figure out hoop shapes during the 1850s and 60s, and there is so much variation! The bell shape, the bell with more back fullness (like mine), the straighter, more triangular style, and the straight ellipse are the obvious ones. You could probably boil it down to a timeline but it looks like there's a lot of variation even within a single year. The takeaway for me is that not all women wore the exact same hoop shape. Subtle differences existed within the general trends.

And why grey, not white? No reason, I just felt like it. :)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I created these bustle pads as examples for my students in my Victorian Underclothes class a couple weeks ago. The class time limits and budget did not allow for making wire bustles, but I wanted to give my students options to enhance their silhouette. The goal was to help them create something simply and quickly that could be used for Victorian-era skirt supports.

I've shown each in back and profile view alone and underneath one petticoat. First, here is my petticoat on the form with nothing underneath for comparison. Pretty flat butt, eh? Let's see what we can do about that.

bustles (1)

bustles! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I have the chemise and petticoat class coming up, so I thought I'd whip up a yoked chemise to illustrate the style. I'm also going to offer the option to make a plain drawstring one for low necklines.

I thought this would be quick, but I ended up adding lace and doing a lot of hand finishing. Glad I did, though. It turned out so cute!


It's handkerchief weight linen wih narrow cotton lace. All the seams are enclosed, either french or felled.


a petticoat

Mar. 5th, 2014 08:17 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Made this from the La Mode Bagatelle bodiced petticoat pattern (thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] undycat!)

Here are small and crappy pictures.



The pattern is actually meant to function as bust support with a canvas interlining. Ha! I am wearing it over my stays, of course. I added some tucks at the hem for skirt support.

While I had this getup on, I also convinced my man to pin me into my bodice mockup. Looks good, so today I really want to get the dress cut out and put together.


Mar. 17th, 2013 02:29 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I finished these this afternoon.

green stays 002

Edit: They are WAY better than my blue pair.  I can't believe I felt so nitpicky earlier.  All I had to do was go back and look at a photo of the blue pair from 6 years ago to notice the difference.  Sometimes comparison is a good thing because I think these look freakin' gorgeous now. Yes, the support could be a little better, but it feels good enough now.  I think I set my standards way too high for my skill level and set myself up for disappointment. But I like these and that's enough.  No more griping.

They fit better than my last pair, the binding is loads improved, and I'm giving myself extra accuracy points for handsewn eyelets and not using bias.  They are much prettier!  But the main thing: I can put them on by myself.  That is crucial.  I get so sick of having to find someone to dress me, both for events and just for fittings.  I guess I could have just done a front lacing and skipped the back, but I like the sizing flexibility without sacrificing a smooth front. The neckline gapes a little but I can work an extra eyelet so I can tie the straps tighter.  The shape is nice and smooth enough.

More pictures! )
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
Of course, the answer is "more."

I've been doing dress fittings with two petticoats over my bustle: the new taffeta and one really old crummy unbleached muslin with fraying unfinished seams and a hole in it.  To replace exhibit B, I made this last week: fine, bleached muslin, cut gored in front and gathered in back, completely enclosed seams, with a nice tidy finish.  The ruffle is about 10", 2x the hem width, gathered, with a small bias strip covering the raw edge.  The petticoat closes with a button placket.

petticoat 001petticoat 004

I know I needed it, but I still think I was partly in aviodance mode when I made this.  My gown is still stumping and terrifying me.  I've got one row of pleats attached to the skirt, and I've put all the bones in the bodice.  I've even made some sleeves that don't look completely awful.  But I still feel like there are a couple more challenges that I don't want to face.  Undies are fun and quick and now I feel like I've accomplished something so I can get back in the game.
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