Friday, July 31, 2015

Attitude of an Era

"There was a great deal of fun about it all, and a great many ludicrous situations, which served to enhance the pleasure of the evening."
--From a description of a 'calico ball' in Atchinson, Kansas, as reported by the Atchinson Daily Champion, February 15, 1887.  Reproduced in America's Printed Fabrics.

Thus, parlor games.  Certain figures in the cotillion or "German". And all the humor in Dickens.

Fancy dress costumes from La Mode Parisiennes, 1866
Hat tip to Stormi

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.

Green hemp plait straw bonnet form, from "1859-1862 Low Spoon Straw Bonnet" pattern by The Dressmaker's Shop
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.

Low-spoon straw bonnet, front trimmings.

Low-spoon straw bonnet, back.

Low-spoon straw bonnet, side trimmings.

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:

19th century style infant caps from Sewing Academy 100 Infants' Linens pattern.

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):
Infant shirts, 1850s/1860s style, from the Sewing Academy-100 Infants' Linens Pattern.

Underdress/ "flannel":

Flannel or underdress, from the Sewing Academy-100 Infants' Linens Pattern.

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:

Two girls' pinafores, 1850s-1860s, from the Sewing Academy Compendium "1, 2, 3, Pinafore Variations"

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.