Only minutes after finishing my new peasant dress, I packed it and left for my sisters house (and her birthday celebration), where we took a few moments to take some photos around the yard – which was the perfect setting for this dress.
Last months HSM15 Challenge was “Heirlome”, and as never inherited anything suitable and knew nothing about my ancestors I had some trouble deciding what to make for this one.
Basically, I could make whatever I liked as long as it heirs from Sweden.
Initially I thought about making another piece for my national costume – like the jacket, embroidered shawl or headpiece, but since time was short (starting 1 week after deadline) I decided to go with a more classic (and fast) alternative.
The 19th century farm girl.
Since almost everybody in Sweden heirs from farmers, it seemed logical to assume that so did me and my ancestors.
I used my 1840s fan-front dress pattern and cut the fabric down to scraps, carefully matching the plaids.
Then I sewed the dress together.
I made it all in three nights, altering between the sewing machine and hand stitching before the TV, and unfortunately “forgot” to take pictures. The sewing was pretty straight forward, so really noting to write in dept about (read about my last dress like this here)
I did however change a few things, from the original green dress, like:
Using darts to shape the front bodice, instead of fixed gathers. Adding the bodice to the skirt as to make a “whole” dress, and switching the buttons for hooks and eyes.
Just the facts:
Challenge: nr 8/2015 – Heirlome
What: A 1850s working woman’s dress – As my ancestors might have worn.
Pattern: Self drafted about 2 years ago.
Fabric: 2,6 m of plaid cotton flanell, 0,5 m of white cotton lining.
Notions: Thread, hook & eyes, 2 m bias tape.
How historical accurate: So so, the look and fabric is plausible, but I sewed most of it on machine and put in some modern techniques. Maybe 6/10
Time: About 10-15 hours
Cost: About 150 Sek (22 Usd)
First worn: For photos September 12.
Final thoughts: Unfortunately I do not love this dress. I like the idea of it much better then the dress itself.
I’t came out a bit to big for me, and being made to work without a corset I feel a bit frumpy wearing it.
Accessorized with apron and head-cloth from my national costume
Here comes the rest of the pictures from “The Day of the Big Crinolines” (part 1).
As the day progressed we walked round the old town of Gamla Linköping, visiting small shops and gardens, taking lots of photos and buying some new stuff.
Maud, in the sun with her new umbrella/parasol.
Sara of “A costuming Engineer” in her stunning new 1860s gown.
“Hm, you are very strange madam…”
When the shops closed (and the tourist headed home), we all went to the old times skittle-alley for some resting and playing in the shadows.
Barbaras jacket are made out of a tablecloth, can you believe it.
The whole outfit looks so smashing.
Just general fooling around.
We ended the day with a nice dinner at an beautiful old restaurant next to were we sat.
The food and the company was great, but we were all a bit exhausted by the long and hot day.
Then it was time to say goodbye.
Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again next year.
I probably should have stopped at the crazy group picture, but since this is my blog/account of the day, I will also show you the les glorious pics from after we said our goodbyes.
At the buss ride home, hot, tired and sweaty, I encounter my other sister – all fresh and styled for a night on the town.
I just had to do a un-glamours bus-selfie. After a long day of costuming in the sun…
Once home I finally got to take the boots of, and take a look at my sad feet and socks – the blisters will stay for quite some time I’d wold think, but mu bellowed stockings are lost to all hope of saving.
Goodbye my friends, We had some good times together.
You could make any historical costume look better and would always stay in place (above the knee) even without garters.
I will miss you, and have a really hard time replacing you.
So, it finally came – “The Day of the Big Crinolines”, that I’ve been preparing for all spring.
The Event poster made by Helena, using one of the pictures of my paisley gown.
The day was a collaboration with “Gamla Linköping” and “Svenska 1800-tals sällskapet”.
As a one of the hosts for this event I’ve put quite some work into getting it perfect.
Together with Pernilla from “Fashion of the days gone by” I talked to “Gamla Linköping” (the outdoors museum where the event was to be held) about help with publicity, booking the outdoors dance-floor and using their dressing-room among other things.
We had discussions with the historic dance team (to make hem do a dance show and a short dance course), with the “Historic costume group” for a fashion show and with several well read historic re-enactors for a small lecture on the fashion of the day.
At the end we only managed to get the dance team – who did a great job and was really appreciated by the participants of the day.
(Maybe next year we will be able to book some more entertainment and lectures…)
Besides planing the event itself, I’d worked on getting both me and my sister properly dresses.
Something I finished with just in time. My sister is wearing her new 1860s ensemble including her blue Skirt, white Shirt, blue Hat and black Swiss-Waist, paired with a bridal petticoat, bloomers, stockings, lace up shoes, and black lace mitts.
I’m wearing my new 1850s ensemble of plaid Dress, green silk bonnet, cage Crinoline, Corset, petticoats, bloomers, lace up boots and a clock in a chain at the waist.
The event was a big hit and lots of lovely people from different parts of Sweden joined in.
We even got our own full page in the local newspaper.
Yes, it’s me in the big picture – the reporters caught me of guard, and convinced me to both answer some questions and to pose for them. They even caught some of it on tape – read the whole article and watch the interview (in Swedish) here.
Enough talking, on to the pictures…
Staying cool in the sun
Clara, Maria and Engla in three quite different styles of 1850-1860s dresses.
Here’s a short film of one of the dances:
Then everyone was invited to join for a a few group-dances and some polka.
To be continued…
Since I didn’t finish the dress until the night before the event, me and my sister took a few minutes away from the others to document my dress at the day itself.
I’m wearing: My new Plaid 1850s Summer dress (part 1, 2 & 3), green silk Bonnet (part 1 & 2), my cage Crinoline, 1880s corset together with chemise, petticoats, bloomers, stockings, lace up boots and a clock on a chain at the belt.
Before I could continue on my 1850s dress bodice, I needed to decide on weather or not to do the gathers (part 1 & 2).
To help decide I posted the question n my facebook wall, and in my historic sewing class, and the answer was unanimous – Do the gathers.
Then I pulled all the treads through and secured them on the back side, before I stitched the whole piece down using hidden slip stitches. You can see the right side being finished while the left still have all the threads hanging lose.
And then I left it for a few a few weeks, fully occupied by working on my sisters 1860s outfit, training for my big running competition and preparing for vacation on work.
Once I finished all the other things and finally gotten my (well deserved) vacation I once more took on the task of finishing the bodice.
With only one day left to work on the dress before it was to be used, I need to hurry.
With no time to lose, I pinned and sewed the sleeves together and added them to the bodice using gathering threads at the sleeve head, before turning under 1 cm and hemming them at the wristPattern matching the sleeves
Then I hand stitched the boning channels to the sides, back and darts, and inserted cable tie bones cut to the right length.
I also added bias binding to the sleeve edges
I didn’t had time to ad the clouser to the front (Edit: Now it’s done).
The Facts – Bodice & skirt:
What: A 1850s summer daydress
Pattern: I drafted my own using Janet Arnolds ” Pattern of Fashion” and Nora Waughs “Cut of Womens Clothes”.
Fabric & Notions: Thread, 5 m of light weight plaid cotton, 0,5 of regular white cotton, 1 m cotton tape for waistband, bias tape for boning channels & neck/sleeves/bottom edge binding, Boning, hooks and eyes.
Time: About 10-15 hours – I made most of the dress by machine.
Cost: 300 Sek – the fabric was on Sale and everything else came from stash.
Final Thought: I really love this dress!
I feel so pretty yet comfortable in it. I can move, dance and breath on it and even though it’s long sleeved it’s not hot at all, just perfect for summer.
And I did get lots of compliments at its first outing :-).
All that’s need to be fixed for next time is, adding hooks and eyes for clouser and attachment bodice to skirt.
I also really need to re-set the sleeves. Well nothing is ever perfect 😉
(I’ve now re- set the sleeves, added the hooks and eyes needed at the front and made the bodice and skirt sit firmly together)
I pinned the darts while wearing the mock-up. Then I took it of, marked and stitched them shut.
And put it on again for one more try to see if i got it right.Looks pretty good I think.
I stitched the center back seam,but was not happy with the bad matching of the pattern.
So I ripped out the seam and used three times as many pins as usual to really get the fabric to lay still while sewing (I could just have basted, but was to lazy at that point).
The result was much better, still not perfect, but I figured it wouldn’t show that much once worn.
Then it was once more time to lace o the corset to check the fit.
Looks good. the only thing I needed to change was to shorten the back length some more. The vertical crease at the shoulder blades is a consequence of my corset, and will disappear as soon as I get the back boning in.
Now it’s time for the front draping.
I loved the clean look of the un-draped bodice (and it would be so much easier and faster to finish), but my I think it was the draping who made me love the inspiration dress so much.
What to do?
To be continued….
This time I wanted to focus on the light summer dresses I’ve seen so many examples of lately.
And to my surprise I found the perfect one straight away, and it was on sale. Yay! It’s a sheer cotton with the light feel of voile, and a pretty, light plaid pattern with lots of white to make the dress fit for summer.
At the moment I was rushing to finish my “Downton Mary dress“, so I couldn’t comit to the new project straight away, so to get tings moving I decided to start working on the skirt.
I almost used the same simple tequnices as in my sisters 1860s skirt (which I made a month later) – Cuting three skirt lenght of whole fabric widhts, matching the pattern and stitching them togeter to a huge circle.
Then I stsitched two rows of gthering stistches at the top and pulled to get the right waist measurment. I purpusly used one fabic widht for the front and two for the back, to disturbute the poufiness to the back.
All and all it took about 4 hours and was an evenings welcome break from “Lady Mary”
As you can see I also discovered I needed to shorten the skirt about 5-10 cm – great!
Back to the ironing table…
Nexts up: Construction for the dress bodice…
But I wanted a differnt look, or rater a more traditional simple yet stylish look. So I once more turned to the internet (bles you Pinterest) for some inspiration for 1840 – 1860s summer dresses.
So much prettyness…
But if you follow me on facebook you already knew with one I choose to me my main inspiration.
Once I’ve decided to make a blouse for some upcoming mid 19th century events this summer it all went pretty fast.
I decided to use the white dotted organza I’ve bought on sale a year ago (which I also used as contrast in my Ariel/Camille dress)
Sorry for the dark photo – I was working late at night
I made a pattern using my green 1840s dress bodice as a base.
I basted the blouse together, combining darts (in the lining) and gathers (in the organza) to get the right look for the bloused waist. Here you can see the gathered organza (left) and the darted lining (right).
The biggest mistake I made on this project was steaming on fusible interlining to the buttonhole stands. Once sewn to the thin blouse the buttonhole stand looked really bulking and heavy (and white).
So I ripped them of, and not having enough lining fabric left to cut new ones I carefully peeled the interlining of the fabric. What a mess.
Once re-sew (without the interlining) the buttonhole stand looks much better, and it was time to move on to the collar and buttons.Its just a slightly shaped thin strip of organza and lining folded over to make the low standing collar.Then I made all the button holes by hand, added the pearl buttons and sewed on a piece of bias tap to make a casing for the cotton cord used to control the fullness and size at the waist.
Looking neat from the outside…
…And just as neat from the inside.
The finished blouse:
What: a 1850-1860s blouse/waist
Pattern: I drafted my own using my green 1840s dress bodice and pictures of extant blouses.
Fabric & Notions: 1 m dotted white polyester organza, 0,5 m soft white cotton, 12 plastic buttons, thread, buttonhole thread, 80 cm bias tape and 1,2 m cotton cord.
Time: About 10 hours.
Cost: About 100 Sek (16 Usd) – Everything was bought on sale or leftovers from previous projects.
Final thoughts: I like the look of this blouse, even though I’m not sure the polyester content will keep me as cool as I would have liked in the summer heat. I may make another one out of a more suitable fabric someday, but for now I’m pleased with it. And It was such a quick and easy project.