Friday, July 24, 2015

Pattern Review: 1859-1862 Low Spoon Straw Bonnet by The Dressmaker's Shop

1859-1862 Low Spoon Straw Bonnet by Kimberly Lynch of The Dressmaker's Shop

I made this up in 1/2" hemp straw braid, purchased from the same shop.  Between making the largest size and overlapping some of the brim rows more than was probably necessary, I ended up 7" short on the straw braid--fortunately, at that point, it was just covering raw edges in the interior, so I supplemented it with some cotton bias tape.  In purchasing the pattern, be sure to select the appropriate brim size; instructions are provided for adapting the bonnet to your own back-neck measurement during construction.

The form: sewn and wired, prior to stiffening.

The pattern really covers how to make the straw form, and decoration is left to the maker's initiative; the reader is advised to consult original images and bonnets in doing so, which makes this pattern less-susceptible to “cookie cutter” issues. Each step of the process is illustrated with color photographs.  The brim rows may be sewn by hand or by machine, but the crown portion needs to be worked by hand.

What you get: 12-page instruction packet
brim pattern sheet (printer-weight paper)

What you need: 1 roll straw braid (18 yd of 1/2” or 36 yd of 1/4”), bonnet wire, thread, parchment paper, wire cutter, pressing ham, fabric stiffener (optional); ribbons, lace, trim, etc., as desired

Score: 4.5 stars

Difficulty: Intermediate and up. The instructions are clear, and the only specific techniques one needs be acquainted with are a back-stitch and a modified whip stitch (method shown). However, the shaping was tricky, and I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. New milliners may find a buckram form slightly easier.

Accuracy: The shape closely follows surviving bonnets (such as this, this, and this), though pictures of originals are not included with the pattern. It does, however, include period images of and magazine excerpts on straw bonnet production.

Strongest Impression: The pattern instructions could be more polished in their presentation/formatting, but the steps are clearly explained; the shape and methods appear well-researched.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recent Project: Infant Caps

Apologies for the blog-silence; I've been working on some projects-in-progress and then there was History Camp.

Anyways, I've now finished the remaining six infant caps for the Fort's lending wardrobe:

They're from the HMP/SA-100 pattern (infants' linens), in all three sizes.  An actual review will be forthcoming once I've finished making up stays, petticoats, and drawers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

1850s Infant Clothing

Here's a few more recent pieces for the Ft. Nisqually volunteer wardrobe.  I'm currently working my way through Liz Clark's pattern for infants' undergarments (Sewing Academy/ Historic Moments Patterns-100: Infants' Linens).

Shirts (one "open" back for 0-3m, and three closed shirts for older babies):

Underdress/ "flannel":

Caps, stays, petticoats, and drawers are next on the list.  Then on to gowns!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Two Girl's Pinafores

For the lending wardrobe and from Liz Clark's "1, 2, 3 Pinafore Variations" pattern:

The material is cotton muslin that I found in the scrap pile  and bleached white; both pinafores fasten up the back with two mother-of-pearl button.  Hand gathering and button-holes, otherwise all machine sewn.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hair-Dressing: More early 1860s side braids

Here's two more slightly-different ways of doing the side braids for an early 1860's hairstyle.

The first is based on the 1862 Braid With Roll; the instructions mention that if the roll doesn't suit, the braid can be done alone.  This ends up looking a lot like the front plaits from the 1860 braided coiffure.

Step 1: The usual T-part, and dress the back hair as you choose. (See basic hairstyle, etc.)

Step 2: Braid the side hair from the temples.

Step 3: Take the side braids to the back and wrap around the back hair.

The second option is taken from this 1862 hairstyle:

From Peterson's, September of '62, page 169.
It's reprinted in the December
Godey's, page 541/617.

(I attempted to duplicate the entire coiffure, but discovered over the course of an hour that I have too much hair for the "S" twist, and that it also doesn't hold a crimp well.)

Step 1: T-part and put up the back hair as usual.

Step 1B: Crimp or wave the front hair near the scalp, if desired. (Some period methods are mentioned here).

Step 2: Separate the side hair, reserving a small portion at the top front.  Braid the rest.

Step 3 Pin the braids around the bun, as usual.

Step 4: Brush the remaining loose hair over the top of the braid (this makes the braid seem to "sprout" out of the head).  Twist it around the bun and pin into place.

Viewers' Right: Plain braid (first option)
Viewer's Left: Braid with plain header (second)

Back view, the usual mass of braids.

Friday, June 26, 2015

One last look at HMP-250

Two more dresses for the fort's volunteer wardrobe, using the Historic Moments/ Sewing Academy Girls' Dresses pattern (see the review here, and more options here).  There's another "infant style" dress, this one with the fullest bodice option, and puffed sleeves.  It has a drawstring in the neckline, and another at the back waist, making it somewhat adjustable.
The material is actually a very fine white and pink
"gingham" check, not a solid.
The other is a yoked bodice, this one with the higher "jewel" neckline and the short, smooth sleeve.

It's a little small for the hanger.
Better view of the fabric and yoked bodice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hairstyling: Braids for a Young Lady, 1860

Here's another variant of the side-braided style, this one with additional crossed braids at the back rather than a chignon. I believe it's from the July 1860 issue of Godey's.*
"Coiffure for a Young Lady":
Side-braided hairstyle with crossed back braids.
Not having access to the original magazine, I can't refer to the description of the hairstyle, and am thus using the image alone as a guide. I'm trying it with three-strand braids, though 5 or more strands could be fun.

Step 1: Part the hair down the center, as usual, and then part it again behind the ears.  Do not combine the back sections, but keep four distinct bunches of hair.

Hair divided into four sections.
Step 2: Braid the two back bunches of hair, starting the plaits close to the scalp.

Step 3: Brush each side bunch outward, and braid it from the temple.
The braids need to start very close to the head.
  Step 4: Let the side braid fall down along the face, then take it underneath the back braid on its same side and across the back of the head. 
Front braid goes under back braid.
Step 5: Pin the braid to the opposite side of the head, tucking the ends underneath the opposite back braid. My hair ended up being too long for this, so the braid was looped around the top of the opposite back one, and doubled back.

Side braids crossed and tucked in.
Step 6: Take the back braids to the outside of the side braid (allowing it to fall straight down over the side braid), and then cross it to the other side and pin, once again tucking the ends under. Or, in my case, doubling back along the length of the braid and then tucking in the tails.

Step 7: Voila

This is definitely a style good for moderate to long hair rather than very long.  Braids just-past-the-shoulders through mid-back should make for a nice, tidy style.  Waist-length hair, as demonstrated above, just gets too bulky for neatness, and the beauty of the style is lost.

*The illustration is attributed to "Godey's 1861" on various modern sites, but I've checked that whole year of Godey's, and it's not present.  Rather, I believe it to be from volume 61 of Godey's (July-December 1860), based on this index, which lists the two named illustrations on consecutive pages; the image of this "coiffure" appearing on page 4 of the July 1860 issue, and a description of it follows on page 95.  Neither Google Books nor Internet Archive has the 1860 run of the magazine, however, so I can't confirm this.