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)
This is F's other new costume, a cotton 1860s/70s dress for Little House dressup.

She is doing her "Sunday face."

little house (4)

little house (6)

Again, these are from the hotel at the con so they are not great pictures. But you can see the dress, more or less.

I used the Truly Victorian princess dress for girls pattern (TV600) and used it pretty much as it came out of the envelope. My girl is a little slim for her height so even though she is 6 1/2 years old I cut a size 4 in the chest and waist (and that even came out roomy!) but lengthened all the bodice pieces to the size 6. I cut the skirt extra long in order to sew tucks. The tucks are 5/8" deep and about 3/8" apart (from fold to next stitch line). I like these as a cheap and easy skirt detail but also for practicality - I can pick a couple of them out next year to lengthen the skirt if needed.

The fabric is the one she picked out last year on our fabric and candy store trip down at Reproduction Fabrics. The apron is a Moda print from work. It was totally last minute. The dress is very plain and I knew it needed something. Plus what's more Laura Ingalls than an apron? I planned to make a bib section for it but ran out of time. It needs it, because as you can see, the half apron slides down. I still have the fabric set aside for it, though, so the bib section will be easy to add later.

It buttons up the back with antique shell buttons I got from a coworker, and she is wearing it over two fluffy petticoats.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Sunday we had a Victorian tea to attend at the LeDuc house to celebrate the birthday of one of the costume group gals. I decided I would try some rag curls in The Girl's hair. She just had two little braids for skating but the curls are fancier!

I didn't want to make her sleep in them so I started them during morning cartoons. I dampened her hair with half and half Lottabody setting lotion and water, and wound up locks of hair on strips of muslin. I tied the muslin in knots to keep it on. I remembered reading something about rolling the hair away from the face in front, so I did that. For the rest of her head I was just winging it.

tea 028

She wore them all day, even on errands and to play in the yard. At around 2:30 I gave them a just-in-case blast with the blowdryer, let the hair cool, then unrolled them, nervously. Aaaaaand... they turned out okay! Not perfect, but if I'd wanted perfect I would have used rollers instead of rags. And gotten someone else to do it.

tea 030

I tied a nice cotton sateen ribbon around her head. She chose white. The curls stayed in very well and felt so very soft and touchable. I kind of couldn't stop playing with her hair.

tea 032

She wore the red plaid again, her only currently-fitting Victorian dress. I think this may have been the last wear for this one. Our next Victorian event is probably not until summer, and I doubt this dress will still fit when cold weather comes around again.

tea 037

And her new tweed coat. Hopefully not the last wear for this!

tea 033

I decided to wear my green calico. Everything else I have seemed either too summery (the Renoir or the seaside) or too dressy (the green and blue taffeta ruffle dress). So it was down to the green calico or the brown wool, and I am getting a little tired of the brown wool. Plus I feel very like myself in the green calico, and I guess yesterday I just wasn't in a mood for fussiness.

I spruced up the calico with a new ribbon, another one of the cotton sateen ribbons from work. I tied it in a bow and pinned it in place with this antique pin my HB gave me. It's very dark green glass in a gold-tone setting. I also had my winter bonnet and buff-color gloves. I took this photo at home afterward so it's a mirror shot!

tea 046

My HB wore his 1840s suit that he bought from a company in Canada. He also wore the new top hat which I need to remember to re-shape a little with the hat jack.

There were 8 of us total in attendance. I didn't get photos of everyone but here is the tea table!

tea 041

I made two plates of sandwiches: egg salad on soft whole wheat (we don't keep white bread in the house, generally) and smoked trout spread on very dense, very thin German pumpernickel. One of those loaves that comes vacuum-sealed like a little brick. You know.

There were also deviled eggs, raw vegetables, brandied carrots, crackers with goat cheese, apple crisp, three kinds of cake, lemon tart, and a cold joint ("for the men," as Mrs. Beeton puts it). With so many sweets I wish I had made more sandwiches! Or even just bread-and-butter! There was also tea (of course) but mostly we drank champagne, and a teeny pitcher of orange juice was arranged for F.

The Girl behaved very well and her good manners were remarked upon by the tea guests. She LOVED exploring the LeDuc house and pretending we lived there. And she sat very nicely at the table and said please and thank you and was very nice about the food, even for being as picky as she is. I was very proud of her. Of course, she did get restless by the end of the day but that's okay because we knew it was time to leave! So, overall, a lovely event. SO glad we all went.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Yesterday we had our Victorian Ice Skating event downtown at the Landmark Plaza rink. It was PERFECT weather, maybe even a little warm at 30 F, and no wind. The Girl and I were joined by Miss French and Mr. Geraghty on the ice, and Ms. Low attended and took photos.


I made The Girl a new coat and muff. She wore last year's dress and hood.

skating 001

Miss French was a little timid, not having skated in years. But I think she did wonderfully!


We skated about an hour and then headed to the St. Paul Grill for drinks and desserts. Lots of chat about the next events we want to do, as usual! Looks like Victorian bathing is going to happen for real. So I need to get cracking on historic swimwear that I can actually swim in! Or wade, anyway.

I am so glad that this ice skating event has finally gained a little momentum. I really want to keep it going and do it every year! Now if only we could convince the skating rink to play waltzes.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Just a few quick photos before I move on from this for a while.

Skirts are done!


There are 2 very stingy rows of pleats at the hem of the underskirt. The overskirt has a pleated apron front and a poufed back. There are more tapes and hooks sewed inside the back but I am still playing with how I want to pouf it. I like the poufs but you also see a lot of droopy draped backs to overskirts in the early 1880s. Since the hooks and tapes are all in, though, I have options.

The center pleats on the front overskirt are copied from a dress in Fashion in Detail. I love this detail; it keeps the dress from feeling too generic.

a couple more )

Left to do on this: sleeves, collar, bodice facings, buttons/holes. I am setting it aside to work on 18th century picnic stuff!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I ended up with just the sleeves to set in and a couple odds and ends the morning of the ladies' luncheon. It all came together pretty smoothly and I really enjoyed wearing it. I took a zillion photos because it has been FOREVER since I have made a new fancy dress that I love as much as this one.

Hey it's my backyard again!

green ruffle bustle dress 014

There are a ton more )


Accessories! )

I really love the way this dress turned out. I love early 1870s and I haven't had a fancy one since my wedding dress. It's nice to play and experiment with other eras, and it's fun to make weird styles just because it's fun that they are weird, but bustle era for me is like coming home. It's an aesthetic I genuinely enjoy.

The only thing that ended up being wrong with this dress was I couldn't raise my arms much! That "tried-and-true" sleeve pattern turned out not to be so true after all. I probably don't have enough fabric to fix it so I will just live with it. It was fine, except I couldn't drive wearing it, and I had to put my hat on before my bodice.

There is an evening bodice in the plan for this, and I did manage to save out enough green silk for it, yay! It might end up being my costume college gala dress, we'll see. In any case, I will certainly wear it at the January 2016 ball.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Started the overskirt. This is what is actually sewn:

skirt progress (1)

And these are just draped here for the effect (now they are pinned in):

skirt progress (2)

The side/back pleats are just pinned in here, too, of course.

I am falling pretty in love with this dress. Obviously not everything is coming out perfect, but the look is really coming together the way I want! I am not even very bothered by the visible machine stitching. Would it be more gorgeous and awesome if I had hand-hemmed those ruffles? Yeah, probably. But it's 1870s, so machining it is totally valid, right? And I would never get miles of ruffles like these if I was going it by hand.

I'm also thinking accessories. I would love to make a new hat, but I am going to focus on the dress first. I have an old trimmed straw hat I could use if I run out of time. Or my seaside hat might work.

For this project I decided to finally buy some American Duchess shoes. This took weeks of waffling and obsessing (and looking for cheap fakey alternatives) before I finally decided to just do it. Well today I was all set to order my dyeable Tissots - I even had them in my cart! - but then every dye color I chose was out of stock. I tried at least 8 different colors. None of them were available.

White shoes aren't much use to me and since I am doing this rather last-minute I can't wait and dye them later. I might give her a call later and see if it's a glitch or if every dye color is really out of stock. Or I might dig around in the closet and see what I can do to mod some old crappy shoes.

Update: I called Lauren and she said the out-of-stock was a glitch and to go ahead and order. So I did! I still cannot believe I am blowing that amount of money on shoes. But here's the part I left out: my hubby told me to. No, seriously. After I whined about mother's day he said I should have a fancy gift and I said well, there's these shoes. . . so there you are.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The actual skirt. It just needs a hem. I am very happy with the shape! And it has a very short, almost non-existent train.


a couple more views )
I briefly obsessed over the idea of giving it a ribbon-edged hem but I think I am just going to use a facing and fold it. And probably machine it.

When I first started daydreaming about this dress I had visions of lots of hand-hemmed ruffles, but I am on a deadline and that is never going to happen. Eh, it's 1870s, it's acceptable to use the machine for ruffle hems. Not as amazing but whatever. There are 300 miles of ruffles and it'll be a time crunch even with the machine.

Here's is the plate I am more or less reproducing (left):

But I am borrowing the silhouette from this one.

And my contrast fabric. Green and turquoise again, are you surprised?

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Basted the skirt lining to check in lieu of a mockup. In my jammies again.

skirt lining mockup (4)

skirt lining mockup (3)

skirt lining mockup (2)

The pattern is this one from [livejournal.com profile] jenthompson's 1870 Peterson's magazine Flickr set. I used the projector to enlarge it and added 4-6" of length (that sure made me feel tall!).

This is over the new bustle, corset, and two fluffy petticoats. I think it'll do. I'm not quite getting the feeling of hugeness I was picturing, but I have to call it good enough at some point.

Now to rip this apart, cut the silk, flatline it to the silk, and put it back together!

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)
A few local folks organized a very informal Victorian tea outing for yesterday, just a meetup at a cozy local place for a snack and a chat. Of course, I needed something new to spiff up my brown wool.

I desperately wanted a nice wintery hat. I have a couple of cute little summer straw ones, but nothing even close for winter. I realized I could never make a whole new hat that quick, so first I tried to cover an old straw frame with velvet, which failed, because I was trying to do it the cheater's way, which, for me, always fails.

Then I remembered I had a tiny little round hat I made years ago for something 1560-ish; it had a small, narrow brim and a soft, pleated crown. I made it but never wore it because it didn't work out perfectly and came out a little small. So I thought I could trim it up to look Victorian.

First I bent the brim into a nice curve. This is basically the "before" shot.

hat (1)

Then I started adding trims. I had a very small piece of striped silk in a taupe-y grey with black stripes that I wound around and crunched up around the base of the crown. A small remnant of wide, chalky brown petersham became a bow, and I sewed several white feathers with a couple black ones and stuck them behind the bow. I had some wonderful picot-edged black velvet ribbon (that someone gave me) to make chin ties.

I forgot to take a picture of it on the styro hat head but here it is on me.

hat (9)

winter (1)

I had a little bit too much fun taking backyard tripod photos.

More! )

I have realized that these tiny 1870s hats really don't look right unless you have the right mountain of hair to prop them up. Since I generally fail at hair, I wasn't optimistic but set aside an hour to try anyway. And I think I came up with something okay! Here's what I did:

Hairdo details )

The "tea" turned out to be drinks, dessert, and champagne. My kind of tea! It was fun and I was glad to get out in costume. I am really enjoying doing more costume events but of course it does make me feel like I NEED MORE DRESSES NOW!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Or, as I couldn't help but think of it, Dress-Up Ice Skating.

I was right that it turned out to be just me and my fam. One woman from the group did come, but she wasn't dressed up and she didn't skate, she just wanted to take a couple photos (including this one).


But I didn't care because I love skating and the weather was great. The rink was totally deserted which surprised me because last time it was mobbed. And on a Sunday afternoon! But it was nice to have plenty of room. This rink is on St. Paul's Summit Avenue, where all the beautiful historic mansions are. Lovely!

While my husband can skate he didn't yesterday, he just helped The Girl a little.

skating (1)

She doesn't need much help, though! She is already learning to stay up quite well on her own!

Believe it or not, I am going backwards in this one.

skating (2)

I am not a great skater by local standards but I do have a lot of fun! And I didn't fall down, thank goodness! Trying to get up in this dress would have been challenging. I thought of that little poem from Punch (I think this is quoted in The Cut of Womens' Clothes) with the woman who falls down skating.

Ok, I think she is roller skating, and it's more a comment on tight natural form dresses, but whatevs.

We skated for about 45 minutes (I could have stayed for hours, but my fam was getting cold) and then went to French Meadow cafe for coffee. F had a cup of hot chocolate with a HUGE mountain of whipped cream on top and somehow managed to keep her dress spotless.

More about What We Wore )

I have been wanting to do an event like this for so many years. I am glad we finally just did it! Maybe next year we can get a few folks to join us. Because I am definitely going to make this an annual thing.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Not quite done, but getting there.

fur 002

Not in love with the hood shape, but I never am with hoods so I will live with it.

I still have to fold the other edge of the fake fur under and stitch it down by hand. Somehow when I started this project I had the idea I could just lay a strip of the fur down and stitch it like an applique; that the pile of the fur would hang over the raw edges. Nope. It looked stupid, and I realized I have to turn an edge under AND wrap the fur strip around the edge of the wool like binding to make it look nice. Unfortunately I already hemmed the wool, which now seems to have been an unnecessary, bulk-adding step.

I stitched that first edge by machine, RS together. Then it got flipped around and I will have to spend a few hours stitching the other side around the edge by hand.

fur 001

As much as I enjoy hand sewing, I am also a huge cheater and I tried and tried to come up with a non-sucky-looking way to machine this. Alas, I couldn't.

The hardest part of all this has been psyching myself up to cut the fur. I don't know why it seemed so scary! But I managed to be REALLY frugal and saved a large enough chunk for a muff, which I will set aside for some future date.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
A quick post because I am on my way to work.

The materials.

fabrics 002

The mock-up.


A test sample of the fur edging.



I tried sewing the edging two ways: simply topstitched along the raw edge and then with an edge folded under. Folded looks nicer on the edge but the fur gets bushier and sticks up a bit more.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I never shared the results of the last fabric quest to the suburbs. Well, I pretty much struck out. I was really shocked, actually; they have tons of silk and I was sure I would find something that would work. But there was no green, no blue, no teal of any kind in taffeta, satin, or even shantung. A couple teal chiffons. A gorgeous white faille. Ok, there was ONE green taffeta, a dark spruce-y forest color which is my least favorite green ever. I considered it for a while, but at that price I needed something I loved.

So then I headed online. Puresilks.com had some promising colors, but I wanted to check at Treadle one more time before I ordered anything. I was working last night and found these.

fabrics 001

I bought out the rest of the roll on each. 7 yards of the green silk taffeta and 3 of the blue (same), 60" wide and 54", respectively. The grey taffeta is the one thing I found at Harris, I got 4 yards just so I wouldn't leave empty handed. I think I can work these into a design somehow. The green was a good price, but the blue was a little spendy. I get my employee discount but still, I haven't spent this much on a dress since the pink ballgown. I was scared to look at my receipt! And I still need linings and underlinng and notions. . . eek!

I've narrowed my design inspiration down to these:

Love the use of two colors here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/540994973962954674/

I am particularly fond of this just for being made here in my home city: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/73746512624065768/

The triple apron front drape is a neat detail (left): http://www.pinterest.com/pin/540994973962954109/
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