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ADBP – Basic Under-Petticoat Review

When you start a new project, you always want to start with a review of the foundational pieces: corset, petticoats, and chemises, and then you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I need?
  • Do I have something from a different era that will suffice or are the shaped so radically different that I need to make a standalone piece?
  • Do I really, really need to make another [fill in the blank].

In this particular case, since I’m going to be working my way through the entire book, the answer is in the form of a question, “What is the first project?”  In this case, it’s easy-peasy: it’s the first project in the book: “Basic Under-Petticoat.”

Step 1: Find myself some heavy linen.

I have some 7 oz. Spruce green, heavy-weight linen. I’ve been planning on making some Outlander cosplay entirely out of linen, and this seems like a good place to start.  I have bleached linen, but it’s only 5.3 oz. Linen and thus, not heavy enough for this project.

Step 2: Measure from my natural waist to lower calf.

I got 33 inches.

Step 3: Cut two pieces 33 inches long by the width of the fabric.

Check; trim fabric width down to 50 inches from 60 inches, for a finished skirt width of about 98 inches, check.

Step 4: Sew. By. Hand. [hashtag #HandsewingInsanityProject ]

I’m using the mantua maker’s seam on the raw edges of one of the side seams and the other I’ve used the selvage.

Step 5: err …take pictures while sewing

Initial stitching -- my hand sewing skills are a bit rusty.
Initial stitching — my hand sewing skills are a bit rusty.

I’ve played a little bit with the color temperature of my iPhone photo in a vain attempt in try and get something closer to the actual fabric.  Alas, it’s a fail.  And yes, since this is an exercise in using what I’ve got on hand, the thread is a bit too green for the fabric.

You’ve probably noticed that the edges of the fabric are offset.  This was purposefully done.  I used the mantua maker’s seam to finish the cut edge side seam.  The seam finish is very similar to a traditional flat feld seam.  The book explains it better than I can.  I will add that requires a lot of pins to neatly hold the fabric in place while you’re sewing.  I like the look of the finished seam as it is very small and very flat.  I plan on using it for my chemises and smocks moving forward as it should make the armscye gussets less bulky and thus, much more comfortable.

Tacking down the selvage to form the side opening. My stitching is looking a bit better
Tacking down the selvage to form the side opening. My stitching is looking a bit better.

 

I switched to a black silk thread on my other side seam.  It’s a little easier to use a single strand, and not doubled. I tried doubled thread, but it kept twisting up on itself and annoying me.

Photo Dec 08, 2 44 44 PMStitching the double-turned 1/2 inch-ish hem.  I eyeballed it and then pinned it to death, stabbing myself a few times in the process.

Adding bias tape to serve as the waistband

Adding bias tape to serve as the waistband with lots and lots of straight pins to hold it and the pleats underneath in place.

The book calls for 3/4 to 1 ” wide linen or cotton tape for the waistband.  As I did not have any, only some 1/2 ” wide twill tape left over from my last Trunk Club, and I already had other plans for it, so I used the linen bias tape I made for the 18th-century cloak class I took at Costume College 2016.  [It’s the same fabric that I’m going to be using for my English gown.  This way if the skirts slip, it won’t be quite as noticeable.]

Finishing the waistband, and using lots and lots of pins to keep the fabric in place while stitching.
Finishing the waistband, and using lots and lots of pins to keep the fabric in place while stitching.

 

Whip stitching the ties closed with a zillion little stitches.
Whipstitching the ties closed with a zillion little stitches.

Step 6: Model finished project.

Petticoat is modeled by "the chick".
Petticoat as modeled by “the chick.”

 

As I totally stuck at selfies of any kind and my husband was out running errands to prepare of a business trip, I popped my new finished onto my dress form that we nicknamed “the chick” many moons ago.  It’s currently padded out to fit my BFF, so it’s smaller than my measurements, hence the droopy waistband.  That extra green fabric that hanging below is a cotton blanket that is being used to pad the chick out and impatient me didn’t bother to pin up out of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 7: Conclusion and nitpicks.

Somewhere in my bio, I believe that it states that my mother taught me how to sew as an attempt to teach me patience, and probably what the results of perseverance will bring forth when you chose to apply yourself. When it comes to sewing, I am a speedy girl. It’s one of the reasons why I own a 1/2 horse-power industrial straight machine. I just want to “getter done.” What I am going to suggest to everyone, regardless of the years of sewing under their belt, is slow down and take the time to read the instructions before launching off into the deep end.  I completely glazed over the instructions for cutting the fabric and it wasn’t making any sense until I went back and reread the cutting instructions.

All and all, this is a very easy and straightforward project.  The instructions are well written, and for the visual group, the photos are worth a thousand words.  Once you’ve mastered this project, you’re ready to tackle the next project: the English Gown Petticoat.

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Embracing the insanity that is hand-sewing: The American Duchess Book Project

There are days when I question my sanity, and then I remember that I’m running a fever and everything makes sense.  I started coming down with a cold when I made this earth-shattering decision: I decided that I was going to make everything in the newly published “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking” book.  Some of it will be done all by hand, some it will be mostly done by machine and other concessions along the way, but all of it will be for me.

The book is nicely presented with color photos and illustrations.  The text is easily understood.  My only initial complaint is the book does not contain shifts, chemises (if you’re French) or stays (corsets).  I’ve watched the YouTube videos and heard about the time constraints and that some things had to be cut, and would be covered elsewhere like the AD blog, but how about a book on underpinnings, and just underpinnings?

For the purpose of continuity and ease for searching, the blog posts, this series is going to be referred to ADBP with the project name. I’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #HandsewingInsanityProject

Wish me luck.

 

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The Shawl from hell 10-20-16 Update


I think that I have lost count of how many times I have gotten so frustrated with this project because of miscounting stitches or inadvertently added them that I’ve been left with the only thing to do is rip out everything and start over from the beginning.  I think that this makes reboot number 9.

Wanting to truly wipe the slate clean, I started over with not only two different skeins of your, but a new set of knitting needles to wipe any bad psychic vibes that may have been imprinted on my bamboo ones that I have been using.  The new ones are part of a multi size interchangeable set from a company called Knit Picks. The needles are made from multi layer dyed rosewood. They’re very attractive in a quirky sort of way. I like them.

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Costume College 2017 — The Shawl from Hell

As part of my personal continuing education and need to keep my brain alive by learning new tricks, I’ve taken up knitting, and not just any knitting, hand-knitting lace.  Because I don’t have enough things to drive my insane.  Anyways, my neurologist signed off on the idea as being a good one and gave me her blessing to proceed.  And ultimate truth be told, I fell in love with all the knitty bits that Claire wore on Outlander and had to have them …and the only way to get them was knit them myself.  Fortunately, Lion Brand carries the official Outlander kits.

As my current skill level is slightly better than a novice, there is a whole lot that I simply do not know, thus making any project that’s beyond knitting the 4th doctor’s scarf is new and has a steep learning curve.  I’ve ripped it out at least 5 times now because it’s such a simple pattern, it’s easy to get confused.

mohair-shawlMy chosen project is a Lady’s Wrap circa 1961.  It’s to go with my lavender silk cocktail dress for the Friday evening cocktail party.  According to the lady from whom I acquired it from on Etsy: “This pattern is from Bear Brand and Fleisher Yarns Hand Knit Mohair Fashions Vol. 55, from 1961….”  I invite you to check out her Etsy shop: Vintage Knit Crochet.  There are lots of good things to recreate there.

The yarn in question is Patons Lace yarn and the color I’m using what they call “Plum Smoke.”  I got it at Joann’s, on sale, before I even knew what I wanted to make because I loved the soft heathery deep lavender color.  So when I decided what I was planning on making clothing wise, a wrap for a sleeveless lavender silk cocktail dress seemed natural.

I decided to take a break and write up a little something on this project before I go bonkers and rip it out yet another time.

 

 

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Costume College 2017 Project list …

One of the advantages of going to Costume College is getting to learn what the next year’s theme is going to be, and thus getting a metaphorical leg up on your fellow costumers — not that there are any prizes to won outside of bragging rights and exposure.  But it’s nice to be able to dress the party and not be rushed, which I’m going to be anyway because I’m on a D-I-E-T and planning on losing a half a dozen or more dress sizes between now and then …and I am so not going to make everything in a size 28-30 when I could very well be a size 18 by then, just saying.

The theme for next year is the 1960s, which is actually rather great as far as I’m considered.  Besides being a child of the ’60s, I am finding myself actually preferring the clothing convention of those two decades: conservative clothes with clean lines and ended with a little funky.  Basically, me in fashion.  So I decided I would make clothing that I could rotate into my normal day-to-day wardrobe like dresses, skirts, sweaters, pants, jackets and cute little blouses.  So I started trolling the interwebs for vintage patterns — those iconic styles from my childhood that we saw so exquisitely reproduced on Mad Men and lovingly watched reruns of Bewitched — but since they are going to be incorporated into my capsule wardrobe, I’ve got to really like them.

I have now acquired about a dozen or two patterns now and each delightful acquisition, with the exception of  two, when shown to my (semi-retired) MOD revivalist hubby what meant with “No, that’s too high fashion.”  You can well imagine the conversation that has followed….

Me:  What do you think of these? 

Him: They’re too high fashion.

Me: Did I at any time say that I was specifically doing MOD?  No. I said I was doing the ’60s.  And for that matter, I don’t think I was specific about what century either.  I could very well be doing 1560s, [insert dramatic pause] which gives me an idea…

I also made a list of the number of outfits I am going to need for the three-day event.  There’s the Thursday evening Welcome pool party reception, Friday classes, Friday evening cocktail party, Saturday Classes, Saturday night Gala and possibly Sunday breakfast, but only if it looks like I can jet out of Woodland Hills in time for church in Glendale.

  • Thursday Evening: I’m thinking something hippie chick. I’ve got some truly obnoxious green and blue paisley that will make a wicked swimsuit. Or possibly the pink and orangish swirl for a skirt and some type of floaty peasant type shirt.
  • Friday Classes: I’m leaning towards something sporty so I can move around.  I have some blue and gray paisley reproduction print from Liberty of London that I’ll be using for the shirt.  Haven’t decided if I’m going with sleeves or not.
  • Friday evening cocktail party:  This is the one outfit I’ve got locked down. I have lavender silk crepe di chine that I am going to hand-smock the yoke and bead.  (Think something that you would expect Samantha Stevens would wear to a corporate cocktail party hosted by the Tates.) And I’m knitting a mohair wrap to go with it.  Said wrap is already in production.
  • Saturday Classes: Again, like Friday classes, I’m leaning towards something sporty so I can move around.  To appease the gods of MOD-dom, I’ve decided to go a bit more MOD.  I’ll be hand-knitting a sweater.  It’s cute: it has a bow. I just need to decide what to pair with it: a skirt or the 1960’s equivalent of skinny jeans…. and research appropriate colors.
  • Saturday Gala: Because it’s my first love and truly my field of expertise, I’m going 16th century.  I haven’t decided with I’m going Tudor or Elizabethan or Venetian, but definitely 16th century.
  • Sunday morning: something that I can wear to church.  However, as I’m typing this blog post up, I’ve decided.  I scored some borderline hideous, reproduction blue-green and bone floral print cotton from Liberty of London and a semi-current Simplicity Patterns 1960s dress pattern release that I’m going to whip up.

Costume College 2017 won’t be until the end of July or the first part of August next year so I’ve got six to nine months to change my mind.  Let’s see if I do.  [Okay, make that let’s see how much I change my mind.] Blog posts to follow as each item progresses.

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What the Dickens?

I’ve always wanted to go to a Dickens Festival and could never make it up to San Francisco to work let alone visit the annual event that is still put on by the same folks behind the original Renaissance Pleasure Faire.  I do not even remember how I found it — I may have been searching Steam Punk — but I found one that in held in Riverside, CA and in February.  Since it was only just a weekend event, I thought I might be able to get pastoral dispensation and work it, so I volunteered.  Then, I realized that I literally did not have a thing to wear, except for a pair of brown tights.

Here is my list:

My patterns are split between two companies: Past Patterns, whose patterns I’ve worked with before and will need to grade up a couple of sizes, and Laughing Moon Mercantile for the first time.  Their patterns go up to size 34, which is larger than I actually need.

Chemise: Past Patterns: # 717 — Tucked Chemise, circa 1850-1860, purchased via amazon.com.  I found some really awesome paisley eyelet fabric for the body at joann.com and some interesting eyelet trim from Korea on etsy.com.  The fabric washed up beautifully and is both delightfully semi-sheer and soft.

Petticoat and Drawers: Past Patterns: # 706 — Mid-19th Century Petticoat & Drawers, circa 1860-1870, purchased via amazon.com.  I found some very reasonably priced border eyelet fabric on fabric.com in white for both and denim blue for the top petticoat.

Corset: Bijoux Pattern Co. (they’re a division of Laughing Moon Mercantile) Ladies’ Victorian Corset #1.  I picked this one because it’s got more seams and should be easier to make the necessary sizing adjustments.  I’m also going to make this in a light khaki-color 5.3 oz linen that I have in my stash.

Day Dress (wrapper style): Laughing Moon Mercantile 120# — Pleated Wrapper/ Word Dress.  I found a cream background reproduction print for it at twobeesfabric.com

I also have a ballgown pattern and hoops and bustle pattern, but since I won’t be going to the ball, I won’t be making them for this go-round.

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Nottingham Festival 2015 — OMC, what have I gotten myself into?!

Having run my into the proverbial writer’s block known as having your characters sit down for supper and get stuck there for a year and a half, I decided what better way to get the mojo working again.  as I mentioned in my pattern review post, I had run myself out of original Renn Faire character story arc and the proverbial wall. So I decided, “Hey why not make yourself a costume and go to some local faire and be your female protagonist again and see where she takes go.”

So about a month ago I tweeted out the picture below saying, I’m thinking about making this to wear to the Nottingham Festival, which they favorited and replied they’d liked to see it.  My source is taken from the Album Amicorum of a German Soldier that is housed at LACMA.  It was part of their online collection a few years back, but is currently unavailable.  In looking at my graphics, I found similar gown in “gray” that might fit the bill, too.

Option #1

I have less than a month to build something from the ground up. And by the ground up, I mean the gown, some type of head covering since I have barely shoulder-length  hair, partlet, and a farthingale or petticoat, though I leaning towards just lining the gown with some heavy-weight linen and see where it take me.  The only things I don’t need are a smock and a corset.

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Tudor kirtles and petticoats

Intro: The Tudor Tailor’s Patterns for Tudor kirtles and petticoats

I am still in the midst of writing my historical romance novel and have hit that crossroads where I have run out of original Renn Faire character story arc and the proverbial wall. So I decided, “Hey why not make yourself a costume and go to some local faire and be your female protagonist again and see where she takes go.”

So I’m going the Nottingham Festival …. in a month …from yesterday. It’s the last local faire until the spring and will tie in nicely with the timing of #NaNoWriMo which starts on 11/1. No pressure. Since time was of the essence, rather than draft my own patterns because I have to start from the ground up, I chose to go with The Tudor Tailor’s Tudor kirtles and petticoats pattern. I bought the pattern a couple of years ago and it’s been sitting around calling to me.

The fabric of choose is asphalt grey 5.3 ounce linen that I also acquired two years ago. The sleeves may or may not be made in either willow or natural linen, it depends on our capricious weather.

More to follow …

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A Whovian’s …err “Delight”? — making the fourth Doctor’s Scarf: part 2

It is finished, at least the knitting part.  I still need to weave the ends in and add more tassels — the Whovian Times pattern that I used calls for seven tassels and I think that must have been wrong and every scene I’ve seen while streaming classic Doctor Who via Netflix has much more.

My Doctor Who Scarf ticker — as of 7/8/13

 

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A Whovian’s …err “Delight”? — making the fourth Doctor’s Scarf

You always remember your first Doctor…

I know I either heard or read that somewhere, just can’t remember exactly where so I”ll give the Doctor himself the credit and move on from there.

Being a child of the sixties and seventies, my first Doctor was number 4, although retrospectively speaking it could have actually been 3 because it was my father who introduced me to Doctor Who [pun not intended, exactly], but it was Tm Baker that won my heart and like all fans I had to have the scarf.  That was also 30 years ago.

2013 has sorta of become my bucket list year, not that I’m dying or anything like that, just finally getting around to doing things that have been sitting around too long — the first being the (almost fully finished) Eleanora of Toledo Gown; the second being my beloved fourth Doctor’s scarf.

I started the scarf on May 18th as sort of an early birthday present and I’ve being tweeting my progress on the scarf via one of my twitter alter egos, which I’ve recapped below and have gotten a couple of replies.  One was a woo-who, very excited and the other was “I’ll never do that again.”  Surprisingly, when I did a search on the #DoctorWhoScarf hash tag on Twitter, that was the majority opinion: never again.

Perhaps I’m in the minority, the extreme minority, but I’ll only been at this 6 weeks and I’m over half way there as testified to my my scraf-o-matic ticker below.  [Come on people, it’s only a simple garter stitch! You can do it!  she says in a bad impression of Matt Smith as 11.]

My Doctor Who Scarf status ticker – 6-29-2013

I am delighted that I’m finally knitting this and that is going so very quickly and yes, I am available for hire to knit one of your very own, I’m just trying to figure what it’s going to cost.  (Reply to this post if you’re seriously interested and I will get back to you.)

For those who’ve just gotta know, I’m using the “Official BBC Enterprises Knitting pattern for the ‘Doctor Who’ Scarf,” which can be found here: http://www.androgums.org/scarf.html.  I am using a combination of acrylic yarns that best matched the colors with a slight deviation from the original — I’m using an oatmeal color instead to the camel to go better with my skin tones …after all, it is my scarf.

I’ve used the color resources at Doctor Who Scarf .com to help pick my color palette. I opted for the more natural colors.   http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/s12.html

Twitter feed recap:

5/29/13 — #DoctorWho scarf status report week 1.5 I’ve gotten about 27 inches done.

5/30/13 — This witty knitter is using a blend of acrylic yarn and cat fur so it won’t be too itchy #DoctorWho

5/30/13 — #DoctorWho Scarf — the first 27 inches http://twitpic.com/cue3r8

6/8/13 — Knitting 54 rows of the same color is so unfufilling #DoctorWhoScarf

6/9/13 — I confess, I’m making the 9ft version from S-15, not the 12ft as it’s for me & I’m only 5’6″ #DoctorWhoScarf

6/9/13 — 40 inches knitted #DoctorWhoScarf http://twitpic.com/cwb4xt

6/10/13 — I do not understand why most swear they’ll never knit one again. It’s easy-peasy lemon sqeezy #DoctorWhoScarf

6/16/13 — #DoctorWhoScarf Week 4 knitting total: 52 inches

6/27/13 — I have just passed the half way point. Huzzah! #DoctorWhoScarf

6/28/13 — Whovian Highlight of day: knitting 4’s scraf while watching 11. #DoctorWho