I completed my first 1840s dress in February 2019, after working on it for over a year. This dress ended up being a great example of when taking it slow and steady pays off. It's great fun to wear and the hundreds of hours of hand sewing that went into it are well appreciated. I wore this dress so many times (and loaned it to friends) that I lost count of how many times it was worn!
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Monday, July 19, 2021
As I expanded my 18th century costume wardrobe, the next item to try after making a bum pad was the ubiquitous pocket hoops or panniers.
I used a rough-textured, thick-fibered, open-weave linen in my stash for these. This linen was one of my first "historically accurate" fabric purchases, and again highlights my lack of understanding, at that time, of suitable historical reproduction fabrics. This linen has too much of an open weave to be a functional lining, it's too thick and scratchy to be a shift, and the threads are thick and chunky...ugh. Pocket hoops seemed like the only way to use this fabric in a mostly appropriate context.
The panniers are boned with two layers of reed boning in each channel. The channels are made from strips of the linen fabric.
I sewed these with linen thread which was prepared by lightly coating in beeswax before sewing.
Monday, May 3, 2021
A great way to learn more about historical fashion is to study original garments. I like to keep a few feelers out on eBay for damaged, stained, and otherwise far-from-pristine antique garments, because they're great for learning historic sewing techniques and taking patterns from!
Today I took a detailed look at this antique Edwardian corset-cover-petticoat combinations. I think it dates towards the later end of the Edwardian period, as its a mere 68" in circumference at its widest point.
It's decorated with lace, pin tucks, and whitework embroidery. Surprisingly, it is entirely machine sewn - even the buttonholes and lace insertion! I wonder if the machine sewing and sloppy seams indicate that this was mass produced, maybe piecework in an immigrant home or made from exploited labor in a factory.
You can watch the full analysis and see all the details of this antique combination undergarment in my YouTube video, below: