venerdì 2 dicembre 2016

1750s wool riding habit from "Patterns of fashion I" by Janet Arnold

For my latest reenactment event in Stupinigi I had to sew a ridign habit, since the theme of the day was hunting and I didn't own a proper dress. I always loved riding habits from 18 and 19th century so I immediately started to look for references from paintings and extant gowns,
Riding habits were extremely popoular at that time and were also used for walking or travelling, so were versatile; they were inspired by mens fashion so they were often made by tailors following traditional male techniques, as buttonholes on the left side instead on the right. They could be richily decorated or simpler, with long or short skirts, worn open or closed on the bust. Blue and red were popoular and fashionable colours. 

I wanted it in velvet but I thought it would have been too pretentious to be a first riding costume so I went for wool. I didn't have a particoular colour in mind and I chose a pumpink wool I found at a very good price in my home town. I also bought black wool for waistcoat, collar and cuffs. I wanted to look the most accurate as possible so I wore the proper undergarments (chemise, stays, pocket hoops, petticoat and riding shirt) including the riding waistcoat; now the fun part: tailoring. Seriously, tailoring is totally different from regular dressmaking. For my waistcoat I used my Outlander jacket as reference for the main body, enlarging the front pieces and elongating a lot the skirts as seen in "Patterns of Fashion" and "The cut of women's clothes"; the back has lacing as the male waistcoats. It is lined in cotton and it came together really quicly (sadly I didn't take photos of it during the event!) with hand finishing on the outside but machine sewn buttonholes. It was really warm! 

Now the riding habit. The skirt is a classic 18th century skirt made of rectangles with slits at sides and a waistband. I didn't took photos of the construction since I think almost all us know how to make a 18th century skirt properly =) It ended to be longer than I expected so I will have to hem it again in the future. 
The jacket was longer to make. I used Waugh's pattern to start but I definitely abandoned it because I disliked the dropped waist in the back skirts (The Antique Sewist explains this issue in her blog perfectly with lot of photos of the finished garment) so I referred to Janet Arnold. The pattern was kinda easy to draft but I did some alterations in the skirts and omitted the side pockets. The collar is from Waugh's pattern - it was faster to make. 

Janet Arnold pattern

The back and the sleeves fit perfecly but there are some issues with the front. The jacket looks bulky and too long and this is probably due to the position of my old pocket hoops. The front edges of the jacket are reinforced with canvas according to the pattern instructions. 
The pockets and the hems have been stitched with whipstitches on the inside and visible stitiches on the outside to keep lining in place. Cuffs and pockets have been them embellished with gold metallic buttons. 

Et voilà! 

mercoledì 23 novembre 2016

Pink robe à la française from Norah Waugh "The cut of womens' clothes"

As stated in a previous post, I attended a 18th century reenactment event in September and had to sew a proper court dress. I already had some beautiful pink satin in my stash so I just had to decide which kind of dress I wanted to wear; I couldn't get decided between the classic sack dress and the more comfortable (in my own opinion...) robe à l'anglaise, and in the end I went for the first one which looked better in pink.
I used the pattern provided by Norah Waugh in "The cut of women's clothes" and I can say it surprised  me: the pattern needed just some basic alterations and the dress came together really quickly. The Watteau pleats took a while to be done and aren't still perfect but I'll work on them later. 

Now, my pattern:

I took the measurements wearing full undergarments but - however - the sides ended to be longer than I expected, giving the bodice a clumsy look. The back of the bodice has eyelets for accuracy and it's all flat lined in cotton to add more support; on the other hand, the sleeves and the skirts fit perfectly.
The stomacher is fully boned and it's a separate piece pinned to the stays; at the beginning of the day I pinned it to the dress but the weight of my satin stressed it a lot so we stitched it to the robings. The petticoat is made of the same ivory brocade of the stomacher but just at the front; the rest of the petticoat is made of cotton. The whole dress is trimmed with white cotton ruffles, all pinked by hand and hand sewn over the robings and skirt openings.

For those who it's not a wig :) I also wore a cheap straw hat with paper flowers since I didn't manage to sew a lace cap.
To be honest this dress is not a masterpiece but it's ok to be the first sack dress and to have finished it the night before the event. There are several issues to fix but we're all here to learn =) I dislike the lower sleeeves too, they're too big and cover the engageantes completely.
It was a very sunny day and my delicate eyes couldn't stand the light enough to take some decent outdoor shots so excuse for my bad expressions!

- I learned to drape Watteau pleats better
- Proper colour and fabric choice
- Easy pattern to work with

- Not too wide panniers
- Bodice sides too long
- Engageantes not visible as I wanted

Some references I used, dating from 1750 to 1770:

Black linen spencer (1795-1805) from "Regency Women's Dress" by Cassidy Percoco

Be aware: this post is full of photos!

In August I turned 30. An important date, yes, so I decided this birthday deserved good self - gifts. After checking my Amazon wishlist I chose to buy two important books for my costuming activity: "Regency women's dress" by Cassidy Percoco and "Costume closeup" by Linda Baumgarten. They are two different books, referring to two different eras as the titles suggest: Regency era and 18th century. 

Let's start with the first one. After reading several reviews online, I decided to buy this book because I needed some Regency patterns to be drafted by my own. The book lacks of technical explanations about assembling the garments so I wouldn't recommend it to beginners or sewists used to commercial patterns (like Simplicity, just to tell one) but the patterns are really well drafted and easy to use thanks to the grid. I'm European so I use cm instead of inches but the grid made the conversion easier (a square = 1 inch = 2,5 cm). The pattern came out easily (I drafted it follow my measurements directly) and with very few alterations needed (ok, I've been lucky). 
I needed a spencer for my latest Regency event in Stupinigi. It had to be warm enough without being too heavy so I went for black linen and cotton lining. The spencer in the book dates around 1795 to 1805 so it refers to early Regency fashion with the typical curved sleeves. I did several alterations to the closure (the pattern calls for button and buttonholes mounted on two strings that keep the spencer closed on the front) and I closed it with a simple drawstring. The back seams are all piped and the whole thing is lined in cotton; the bottom of the garment is faced with black bias tape - all hand sewn. 
The neckline has two small lapels at sides and  a regular collar  - nothing hard here.

The worn garment:

- The pattern was really easy to be drafted 
- The linen and the cotton are really warm and comfortable on skin
- Black is a versatile colour I can use with all my Regency dresses
- The drawstring closure makes it unique (the linen keeps it in place)
- The back of the spencer ends with very nice small tails

- There are no images of the extant garment. This would have made things easier, especially for lapels and collar. 
- The illustration in the garment description are minimal  and not detailed
- I made the sleeves a little bit tighter in the upper arm and too large in the lower arm - my fault, I'm not a friend of curved sleeves and I need to practice
- The lapels need a brooch or some small stitches to stay in place when worn

I hope these small pros&cons may help some of you out there! Pay attention to sleeves and keep in mind to enlarge your pattern enough since you're making an outer garment that has to be worn over your regular clothes (don't make my mistake...).
Now the photos - I hope you'll enjoy them!

Some examples of fashion plates from the period (because references are everything):

martedì 15 novembre 2016

Come arricciare un tessuto - Tutorial di cucito

Avete presente quelle piccole, simmetriche, arricciature che troviamo spesso nei nostri abiti, ad esempio nelle maniche o nelle gonne? Bene, in questo tutorial vedremo come imparare a realizzarle con la nostra macchina da cucire, a casa e con tranquillità. 

Prima di iniziare, assicuriamoci di avere a portata di mano:
- Stoffa
- Filo 
- Forbici
- Appositi piedini

Le arricciature possono essere realizzate in due modi: con il piedino o senza. Il procedimento con il piedino è spiegato in maniera dettagliata nel mio video tutorial, che trovate su Youtube:

Ed ecco il piedino: 

Utilizzarlo è davvero semplice: dopo aver rimosso il piedino standard con l'apposito cacciavite dato in dotazione inseriamo l'increspatore e posizioniamo la stoffa in modo che combaci con l'estremità destra del piedino; dopo aver aumentato la tensione del filo possiamo iniziare a cucire. Et voilà! 

Se invece non possediamo un piedino c'è una valida alternativa: aumentiamo la tensione del filo e la lunghezza del punto, raggiungendo la lunghezza massima consentita dalla nostra macchina, cuciamo e distribuiamo le arricciature tirando con delicatezza i fili. Otterremo un risultato molto simile a questo: 

Il consiglio è lasciare una coda molto lunga sia all'inizio sia alla fine della nostra cucitura.
Ora non vi resta che provare e far pratica! Per qualsiasi dubbio o curiosità lasciate un commento qui o sul mio canale Youtube! 

domenica 30 ottobre 2016

Claire Fraser yellow gown from Outlander season 2

Ah, Outlander season 2... those costumes, the parisian atmosphere, the luxury of the court... simply amazing. I loved everything, especially the strongest relationship between Jamie and Claire.

Concerning costumes, I immediately fell in love with the yellow gown Claire wears in one of the first episodes of the show:

After doing a little bit of research I decided to reproduce it for our Etsy shop. The dress looks like a typical mid-1700's gown with contrasting stomacher and petticoat but it's not a robe à la française (I would say it definitely looks like a later gown for the pleated back...); it's worn over proper pocket hoops and the outer edges are embellished with black trim. Easy, simple but elegant (and yes, yellow was a very popoular colour in 18th century: Terry Dresbach knows her stuff!) so started to work on this model at the beginning of the summer. 

I sewn in total three versions of this dress in different sizes and this is one of them, created for a client in size 16. 

The fabric is gold satin duchess with contrasting cotton satin printed with flowers; the bodice is flat lined in cotton to add support and it's not boned since it has to be worn over stays. The black organza trim is all hand sewn and attached to the lining with whip-stitches. The elbows are trimmed with a gold ruffle made of the same fabric. 

I also did a version of the short cloak since the client requested it. 

 The cloak is lined cotton to be warm and has a generous hood. 
The whole outfit took almost three weeks to be completed but it turned out really lovely. The photos don't give it justice, I have a couple of photos sent by one of our clients (for their privacy I cannot publish them yet, it seems legit!) and it looks amazing, the back of the dress ends with a slight train and the sleeves look so rich! Yummy!

To order your own dress, visit our Etsy shop or click on these links: dress and cloak. We strongly recommend to choose the right size after taking measurements really carefully! 

venerdì 21 ottobre 2016

Life, vita di corte: a 18th century day in Stupinigi

Last month I could visit the beautiful palace of Stupinigi not as simple tourist but as reenactor. I'm kinda new into 18 and 19th century reenactment (you're probably tired to read it every time lol) so I was kinda nervous about my costume. We were allowed to wear dresses from 1740-1770 so I originally planned to sew a robe à l'anglaise; due to time and budget, I decided to use a beautiful pink satin fabric two friends gifted me last year but I couldn't figure my anglaise in pink. After looking to my books I decided to make Norah Waugh's sack dress (info e details about the construction in the next post).

I finished the dress and hat the night before the event. I did a fully boned cotton satin stomacher with matching petticoat, cotton ruffles, pink choker and straw bergére hat with paper flowers. For sure I was wearing chemise, stays, pocket hoops and petticoat underneath. 
I started with a pinned bodice but it didn't stay in place so after lunch my boyfriend had to sew the robings to the stomacher to keep me dressed up. I'll never use pins again! 

The dress came together quite easily but has some imperfections I need to fix. I wore very few make up to stay accurate: just red on lips, light pink on cheeks and black mascara. That's all. 

The event was about the daily court life so some of us were dressed like aristocrats and others as servants; we spent the day chatting, walking and taking photos, while some ladies from the group were teaching visitors how to drink hot chocolate (yummy!). 
Walking in the palace has been a real dream. Some furniture is authentic, the mirrors are still bright, the tapestries are fabulous. I felt like the Duchess of Devonshire hehe 

Just to say: keeping my hair up was a nightmare. Trust me. At the end of the day my neck had enough and I had to make a simpler hairstyle (not so accurate but I was suffering). 
I spent most of my day doing embroidery. I started to sew a linen stomacher a couple of months ago and still hadn't the time to finish it. 

We also had the time to take some funny shots ;) 

And now, off to the next event of Life, vita di corte: hunting! Let's make a riding habit then! Thanks for reading! Don't forget to visit Le Vie del Tempo on Facebook for more photos! 

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