30 times inspiration

At the beginning of this month, Jennifer from Historical Sewing started a 30-day inspiration sharing project. I only commented occasionally, but really liked the idea. So, in retrospect, my entries. For this post, I choose to do all existent pieces. Links to the museum pages are included.

1. Favorite Time Period

Immediately one of the most difficult. I don’t really have 1 favourite, I like different things about different eras and what I like most changes from moment to moment. But, one that has always been high on the list is the second bustle era, ca. 1883-1890. I love the clean lines, dramatic fabrics and shape.

MetMuseum

 

2. Blue

I’ve always had a soft spot for this dress. The fabric is absolutely stunning.

Evening Dress  1850-1852. With detachable long sleeves. Dark blue / Emerald green, patterned fabric such as in the picture.:

MetMuseum

 

3. 1890’s

One of those eras that needed to grow on me, but I quite like it now. Especially the jackets, those are maybe the best from all time periods.

Emily Reynolds Historic Costume collection

 

4. Skirt

The Dutch 18th century chintz skirts are one of my favourite items. This one has a border, using the pattern on the fabric to its fullest.

Fries Museum

 

5. Pleating

Loads of pleating on this Edwardian dress. Pin-tucks in the sleeves and main part, with another pleated drape around the shoulders.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail:

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

 

6. Darts/Tucks

I love the tiny gathering on 1840’s  and ’50s dresses to give shape.

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

 

7. Red or Pink

I’m much more fond of red than pink, which is soon a little too sweet for my taste. I love the fabric on this dress, along with the cut-out design of the bodice.

Victoria & Albert

 

8. Bells

I’ve always loved the huge dramatic shape of the mid-19th century. My first big historical project was a recreation of this gown.

MetMuseum

 

9. Regency

Although rare, my absolute favorite Regency dresses are the ones made fully of lace. I’ve seen this one in person, and it’s even more stunning in real life.

Japon van zijden kant, `Blonde', in empirestijl met laag uitgesneden hals en pofmouwen., anoniem, ca. 1815 - ca. 1820:

Rijksmuseum

 

10. Shoes

Lattice-worked boots are probably my all-time favorite type of shoe. I want these.

1905 boots:

Vintage Textile (missing record)

 

11. Sewing Technique

One of the great joys of seeing historical garments in real life is seeing the details. Tiny stitches on the far left of this image, setting the pleat. Tiny cartridge pleats along the embroidered cuffs.

IMG_6780

Rijksmuseum

 

12. Fringe

I’m generally not a big fan of fringe, but the effect on a full dress can be stunning. This fringe I do really like, very creative.

Metmuseum

 

13. Braids

Intricate braiding on the sleeve of a regency spencer. I love details like this.

Spencer Date: ca. 1820 Culture: British Medium: silk, willow Dimensions: Length at CB: 18 in. (45.7 cm):

MetMuseum

 

14. Gathers

Smocking is a way of strategically gathering fabric to form a pattern. This blouse is a gorgeous example.

Paarse blouse in de stijl van reformkleding met lange mouwen en smockwerk langs de hals en op de mouwen. De sluiting is middenachter met knopen. De combinatie van blouse en rok was gebruikelijk in deze periode, maar in de reformbeweging werden doorgaans japonnen gedragen.:

Amsterdam Museum

 

15. Green

The 18th century does green really well. This is a beautiful example.

MetMuseum

 

16. 1830’s

Another one of those eras that had to grow on me, but I now quite like. This particular dress I’ve always loved though. Those sleeves!

1837 dress. printed challis lined with glazed cotton and linen.:

Victoria & Albert

 

17. Plaid

When Victoria showed an interest in Scotland, using tartan became very popular. Hence, there’s a large number of plaid mid 19th century dresses. This might be my favorite.

An exquisite Canadian plaid/tartan evening gown from circa 1860. The popularity of plaid exploded after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands as one of their royal residences:

Musee McCord

 

18. Reticules

This one was actually first shared by Historical Sewing, and caught my eye. My mother has picked up tatting for about 1,5 year now, so I immediately had to think of her. Also, she’s trying her hand now at recreating this in black, which is really cool!

foto van Historical Sewing with Jennifer Rosbrugh.

Kent State University Museum

 

19. Challenge

This is a close-up of a spencer jacket I’m using as inspiration. My recreation has proven to be a bit of a challenge, and so far the most time-consuming project I’ve ever done, but it’s also starting to be really pretty. My trim won’t be quite as ‘close’ as in the original, but close enough. I also really like how even the original isn’t 100% symmetrical, obviously hand-work, and a challenge to get as perfect as possible!

Maart historical - Spencer Jakcet - in progress:

MetMuseum

 

20. Outdoors

This couldn’t be anything but a large big cloak. Still on my wish-list to make.

MetMuseum

 

21. Undergarments

You’ve got to love Edwardian underwear. It’s the epitome of ruffled and lace undergarments.

MetMuseum

 

22. Lace

I love all types of lace, but black might be my absolute favorite.

Museum of Decorative Arts

 

23. Black or White

I have a weakness for black dresses in general actually.

MetMuseum

 

24. Parasols

I repeat the black lace comment from above.

MetMuseum

 

25. Edwardian

Not initial my favorite era, but once you look at it more the details are so gorgeous.

Dress      1909–11:

MetMuseum

 

26. Ruffles

No era does ruffles like early 1870’s.

MetMuseum

 

27. Oop-sies!

Not so much an oops in the dress as in the display. Museums are generally pretty good at displaying their costumes, and getting even better. Auction houses are more of a hit-and miss. This 1770’s dress looks like it’s got a round crinoline underneath. That counts as a miss.

STRIPED SATIN GOWN, 1770’s.:

Withaker auctions

 

28. Corset

This one was difficult just because there are so many gorgeous examples. I always love flossing on corsets, and the contrast on this one decided me.

Corset ca. 1893-97 From the exhibition “A Century of Style: Costume and Colour 1800-1899″ at Glasgow Museums:

Glasgow Museums

 

29. Unusual

Maybe not so much unusual as rare, this is one of the few surviving 17th century gowns. It will be on display when I visit Bath in May, so really excited to see it in person.

9f04d1519def01b735f28ef4570f7589.jpg (736×1605):

Bath fashion museum

 

30. Favorite Costume

This is another really difficult one, but at the moment it’s this chintz ensemble. Probably not worn together originally, but such print mixes were common in parts of the Netherlands in the 18th century. I absolutely love chintz, and very excited for the upcoming exhibition where this will also be on display.

Activiteiten sitsen - Activiteiten - Te zien en te doen - Fries Museum:

Fries Museum

Burgundian gown – Placket theories

I’ve been brainstorming about making a burgundian gown from my brocade silk. With the brainstorming came some research. I’ve never done anything before 1800 before, so 15th century is entirely new.

Most burgundian gowns seems to be made up in 2 different ‘fabrics’. One for the main gown, and one for the collar and cuffs. Some also have a strip along the hem of the second fabric. The main gown can be plain or very fancy. The collar and cuffs often seem to be made of fur, although fabric/velvet examples also exist.

Fur_zpsnywsntie (700x241)

Fur collars. Brown left, ermine right.

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Fabric collars

 

The burgundian gown itself is fairly simple to figure out. It either has loose or fitting sleeves, a full skirt and a collar. The back often shows that the collar also runs in a v shape in the back. The dress is fitted around the bust and looser underneath, worn with a belt to fit it through the waist. Different variations exist, in the exact shape of the neckline, the fullness of the gathers and the sleeve shape.

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Some back views

 

It gets a little more complicated when looking at what’s worn underneath. Most medieval dresses seem to have both a linnen shift and a kirtle underneath. A kirtle is basically an underdress and can either have short or long sleeves. It can also be worn on it’s own, or layered. Most kirtles lace/button in either the front or at the sides.

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Shifts, with straps or sleeves

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Kirtles. Side-laced left, front-laced right. Either with long or short sleeves. Separate sleeves could also be pinned to the short sleeve of the kirtle.

 

When wearing the burgundian gown, you can see a little of what’s worn underneath. Because the neckline is a deep v, you always see a little ‘placket’ there. Also often shown in paintings are the skirts, as ladies lift the skirts of their burgundian gown to show the one underneath.

That’s where it gets interesting. One would think (this was my original thought as well), that both the placket in the v and the underskirt would simply be those of the kirtle worn underneath. Side-lacing ones when you don’t see lacing, front-lacing ones when you do. And maybe they are in some occasions, but often in paintings you see a different color underskirt than placket. The big question therefore is, how would this work?

Different colors_zpscphwot1a (700x286)

All of these show a different color placket than skirt underneath.

 

I’ve done some googling, and from what I can find there are a few different theories. No one is conclusive, as so little original material exists. Images of women dressing & undressing exist, but are not all that common. No images I’ve seen are really obvious. These are the different theories, I’ve provided a link to the pages where I first read about each of them. (Ergo: none of these are my own, so I don’t take credit for any of them)

1. There’s a simple square/triangle of fabric pinned over the kirtle along the neckline. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

The page where I first found this has an image about this as well. I should note that this person has since moved on to theory nr. 2.

2. Two different kirtles are worn. One below with a high square neck, one on top with a lower neckline. This way you see the bottom gown in the v neckline but the top one when raising the skirts of the burgundian gown. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

Supported by these images, depicting several stages in a story. Left you see the red kirtle and first gown with black collar and lacing in front. In the second image, she wears the burgundian with blue collar on top of the one with the black collar. This way, when lifting the overskirt you’d see the laced gown(black collar), not the red kirtle. I do have to say I’m not 100% convinced by this image, as the belt also changes color from left to right image. It might just’ve been an inconsistency in coloring by the artist. Nevertheless, it’s a valid theory and layering dresses seems to’ve been quite common.

 

3. There is a piece of fabric attached to the burgundian itself. Connected on one side of the v, pinned shut on the other side.  (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

This sounds logical as well, but somehow doesn’t seem as plausible to me as the other theories. The author of this one preferred theory nr. 4 herself, also because of some of the evidence for that.

 

4. There is some sort of ‘wrap’ bodice worn on top of the kirtle. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

Inspired by these images. On all of these, there seems to be a very short bodice worn. In the leftmost image, you can see where it stops around the waist. In the second image, you see something is covering the lacing at the top. In the third image, you see the black ‘under-layer’ stops just below the waist. The glimpse of white at the sleeves also suggests this doesn’t have sleeves.

The author of this theory gives some more ideas on this, just follow the link above to her page to read more.

Stark Triptyque 1480 -detail

 

5. Skirt theories. There’s a separate skirt underneath the kirtle, there’s an under dress with a different skirt/bodice fabric or the skirt of the under dress has a broad border of different fabric.  This seems a bit less likely, as even a waist seam was pretty new in the late 15th century. It doesn’t seem so likely that they would’ve made completely separate skirts, or skirts of a different fabric than the bodice. The border you see on outer dresses as well, but none as wide as would seem necessary for the effect you see in paintings. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

6. Final options would be that two under dresses were worn, and both the burgundian and upper under dress are lifted to show the skirt of the dress at the bottom. Although it’s likely that more than 1 under dress was worn at times (as shown by paintings with different skirt layers), I’m not entirely convinced. It seems to make most sense to just lift your outer dress, to grab 2 layers and leave the 3rd just seems a bit too fiddly to me. (Theory credit/where I first read about it)

 

I quite like the 4th theory myself. I want a black silk placket under my burgundian gown myself, but I already knew I wouldn’t have enough fabric for a full kirtle. This solution seems more ‘stable’ than theory 1 or 3, but still requires little enough fabric to make it feasible for me. That means I’ll probably make a chemise, kirtle, placket/bodice, burgundian & headdress for this project. Whenever I get started on it, that is.

2017 plans

After the overview of last year’s projects, it’s time to look ahead!

In the beginning of the year, I want to make a baleyeuse to fully finish my 1870’s ballgown ensemble, to spare the train a bit of harm.

37.  Balayeuse ready

This wonderful baleyeuse is from Prior Attire, who also gives a tutorial!

 

I’m also looking into maybe making a day bodice to go with the dress. I have plenty of yellow silk left and some of the narrow black lace. I really like the idea of making both evening & day bodices for dresses, it opens up a lot of opportunities to wear things!

Aside from my own dress, I’m also helping a friend with hers. The base skirt is done, but I’ll be helping her with the overskirt. The bodice I’ll make for her as well. She’s a beginning seamstress, so the current division of labor is that she’ll do the pleats for trimming and I’ll do the bodice. This is the plan:

17308780_1915212242046657_3090473738175069019_n (417x600)

 

Also planned for first half of the year is the red spencer jacket. I’ve been working on it for a while, but it’s a slow progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it next year! A teaser:

35466160040_62d3a7ef64_b (600x337)

 

I have a whole load of unmade vintage dress patterns, ranging from 1930s to 1950s and I’m hoping to make some next year. For one I’ve already got the fabric, so that one will be first.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor SIMPLICITY - 8050

 

After these projects, the plans get a bit more vague. I have several patterns, and fabric for several other projects. What will get made probably depends on occasion and mood. Time will probably also play a role, as I’ll also finish my PhD project next year which means busy times lie ahead!

None of these next ideas concrete in any way, but it’s fun to dream ahead.

One is the red cloak which has been on the todo list for 2 years. If I finish my red spencer, I’ll have a more appropriate outfit to wear it with. (A red wool cloak over a short sleeved ballgown is just a bit weird). That might help.

Cloak late 18th century The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

 

I also have a gorgeous orange/black silk brocade. I’ve been debating between a bourgundian gown and a Tudor gown since I got it. I’m leaning towards bourgundian now though. As I also just got a remnant of black silk taffeta, I can also now make undergarments. The silk isn’t nearly enough for a kirtle, but it should be plenty to fake the idea of a silk kirtle if I just make all the ‘invisible’ parts out of black cotton. Not HA at all, but practical and a lot cheaper. The painting below has been on my mind for a while. So it would be this, but with black cuffs and collar, and a black kirtle and belt.

My fabric:

2017

Petrus Christus | A Goldsmith in his Shop | The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Of course, that would also involve a headdress and veil. I’ve never done medieval, but I love the look of them.

I especially like the steeple henins with butterfly veils. Probably the most impractical, but so pretty. This image shows one worn with the same style of dress as the previous painting.

Burgundian hats! In all their ridiculousness.:

 

Another project which has been on my mind is a 1660’s satin dress. I love these ‘smooth’ dresses. I also realized I have 4m of cotton/polyester in my stash, which can pass for satin. I originally bought it for a regency dress, but in the end didn’t use it because it was a bit too heavy. Would drape perfectly for this era though, and it’s not really suited to many other eras. So who knows.

Queens of England, Catherine of Braganza, 1638 - 1705, not strictly English, but Portugese.:

 

Then I got some patterns recently, including the Truly Victorian 1875 Parisian trained skirt. I love this pattern, and really want to use it. I’ve been eyeing black/white striped dresses, and it would be perfect for this. Now it should theoretically be in silk, all cotton I’ve found used during this period was the light colored/sheer type, not really suited for black. But finding silk like that which is also affordable will be very difficult, and I’ve seen plenty of lovely cotton reproduction dresses. So if I do this, I’ll probably go for that option. A design like this would’ve made my 14-year old gothic self very happy in any case. (and still sort of does)

Bustle paris skirt_zps9fsodpdo (1) (418x600)

 

Finally, I’ve been meaning to start on 18th century for a while. Other plans got in the way, but who knows?

2016 Overview

The beginning of the new year is a time to look back on what I accomplished last year. I find this to be quite inspirational, as you sometimes forget what you’ve done in a year.

In January, my todo list for the next year was as follows. Red-white regency dress, red spencer, red wool cloak, Edwardian hat, Edwardian tartan jacket & blue/silver regency dress.

I managed to complete all but the red spencer & red cloak. The red spencer is in progress, but taking a bit more time because I picked what’s probably the most time-consuming trimming method available. More on that later. The red cloak hasn’t happened yet, but will definitiely go on the todo list for next year.

I also mentioned doing 18th century, 1880s or Tudor if I had time. In the end, this ended up being 1870’s because I’ll be attending a Victorian ball next year and the theme is early bustle. In total I made 4 pieces of undergarments and 4 outer garments for this outfit, so I think I did pretty good on that!

Finally, I made 3 historical items which weren’t on the list at all, and finished 2 modern blouses, a new underbust corset and 6 modern skirts (3 of which I blogged about).

All in all, a pretty productive year! Blow, an overview of all blogged-about finished pieces made in 2016.

The first item was made right after the new year, a regency petticoat.

IMG_5445

 

Shortly after, the dress this petticoat was made for was completed. Still really happy with how this turned out, and I hope to have an occasion to wear it to sometime soon!

IMG_6602

After the recency projects, two modern skirts out of cotton.

 

Although the Edwardian tartan project started in 2015, it got finished and worn in 2016! The hat & jacked completed this outfit.

SONY DSC

 

I also made another underbust corset, my first attempt at pattern matching!

IMG_7456

 

Even though I didn’t really need another regency dress, this fabric was just irresistable. I made this up mainly because I wanted to get rid of some of my stack before allowing myself to start new projects. I do like how it turned out though, and I still love the color.

IMG_7484

 

Another regency item I didn’t necessarily need, but which came onto my path and was too nice to resist.

20160918_125712

 

After finishing the big Edwardian project and some new Regency pieces, it was time to start on something big and new. Early bustle (ca 1875) Victorian! A glimpse of the chemise.

20160906_180703

 

And of course, a bustle was needed!

IMG_7540

 

As well as a new Victorian corset.

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A slight interlude from all the Victorian costuming, a plaid wool skirt which finally got finished!

IMG_8667_zpsqbpgyfjj (400x600)

 

And a 1920’s evening dress. Because once I got an invitation to a ’20’s themed event I couldn’t resist.

IMG_8644_zps2tbhc85j (349x600)

 

 

The last couple of months of the year I went back to Victorian. Starting with a cotton petticoat.

IMG_8782b_zpssftn6cgu (800x426)

 

And, finally, the main pieces. An underskirt, overskirt and train.

IMG_8881b_zpsgn5s92v8 (800x400)

 

The final garment of the outfit: the bodice.

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To completely finish up the look I made red roses to serve as trim and hair accessories. The full outfit is completely wearable now.

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A quick project while finishing the dress was a mantelet in the same era.

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Finally, I made a pair of drawers. Started December 30th finished December 31nd!

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Victorian Drawers

Aside from a chemise, corset, bustle and petticoat, a lady in the 1870’s would’ve also worn a pair of split drawers. Called that because they’re split in the center. Slightly odd to modern eyes, but very convenient when using the toilet in a corset & bustle dress. (This great video by Prior Attire shows the process 😉 )

So a pair of drawers was still on my todo list for ‘one day’. I finished my dress & mantelet a couple days into Christmas holidays, with a couple of days to go without any plans. So I decided to make these up! I couldn’t find a pattern, so I drafted one myself. One of my inspirations for the trim: (fromt he MET)

1863 drawers, according to Met Museum (no explanation of specificity of dating, though).:

 

These were my sketches (apologies for the phone quality). Top right initial drawing. Right sketch of the pattern, not to scale. Bottom left pattern to scale (every square is 5cm). Basically each ‘leg’ is cut on the fold, top edge being half of the waist measurement. (folded double, so one waist measurement per leg… If that still makes sense).  The leg is sewn shut from the bottom to the line, from which it’s left open to create the split. The double line at the right of the pattern are front & back, I figured I could use a little more room in the back. In the end, I left the split go even lower and ‘shaved’ a bit off the corner you see in the back line. I ended up doing pintucks in this part of the pattern, but attached an extra part for the ruching and lace so they’re slightly longer than seen on the pattern. The waistband is a simple wide strip folded over, with darts on both sides to shape it a little.

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The finished drawers, front view.

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And from the back. Not much different…

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For the trim I made 2 pintucks in the leg. Then I cut a strip about 2 times as wide as the legs and gathered them on both sides. After sewing those on, I added a strip of lace I had left from my Edwardian petticoat. All done!

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