A long awaited Spencer Jacket (HSM 3/2017)

I finally did it, the one thing I’ve been talking (and thinking about) for about 4 years.

I made a Regency Spencer!

Yay!

I’ve been wanting one since I first got into this hobby.
Doing the occasional regency dance recital in our often les then agreeable Swedish climate (I’m thinking of you – dance recital oct 2013), I felt I really needed someting more then a shawl and mittens to keep the cold of my back between shows.

So in planing this years HSM I (as usual) added the wish to maybe this year would be the year when I finally made that jacket. Not getting any big hopes up, what with a baby, starting work again, and another big costume all wanting my attention.

inspiration

But somehow I managed to get inspired, and to whip it out in between baby’s naps and other projects costume fittings.

I started by trying to decide which of my two Spencer patterns to use. Full of indecision I actually patterned and made mock-ups of them both.
Laughing Moon 129 “Wrap front Spencer”
 
I like the fit, and I LOVE the back peplum, and it was fairly easy to get together.

Period Impression 461 “1809 Spencer jacket”
I like the fit of the bodice, even though it felt a bit long and the peplum in the back was so wide it kind of got lost. Something that would be easily fixed, and I do love the way the waistband goes cross the sides and fasten on to the back piece.
I’ve also heard a lot (and not the good stuff) about the sleeves on this pattern, so I decided to try 2 different styles. The left sleeve is the original, which was bulky at the top, narrow at the wrist and twisted along the arm. For the left sleeve on my mock-up I used the previous patterned “Laughing moon” sleeve, which surprisingly fitted both my arm and the sleeve-cap much better.

After some debating back and forth my boyfriend decided for me, and I went with the “Laughing moon” style, with the fold down collar and the nice sleeves.

Then I busted my stash and found a lovely burgundy colored wool I bought for a Regency gentlemen tailcoat a few years back. I figured I could always get more fabric if I ever felt the need to make that (like that’s ever going to happen…).

Not sure if it was the reference image that inspired me or not (probably), but I also decided to make the collar and cuffs out of some black wool I got a whole bolt of in my stash.

So as usual, I cut the fabric, pinned and stitched the main pieces together. bodice stitched together.

I made the sleeves

end stitched, cut, turned and attached the collar.I haven’t padstiched anything since fashion school, and it felt great doing it again.

I inserted the lining, and clipped and turned the bodice.

Then I tried it on.  Sorry for the pore quality mirror selfies

That’s when I realized something was of with the collar.
 Jupp, thats my boobs, and a VERY un-evenly attached collar

After some carefully re-measuring I discovered I’d stitched it on more then 1,5 cm uneven.
Crap!
After some hesitation, where I tried to figure out how to fix the problem in the easiest way possible, I un-picked the stitches a few cm around the “to long” edge, and turned in the amount of fabric/collar needed to make it even. Then I hand stitched it closed again. That’s what you call cheating, but there was no way I would un-pick the whole collar, with the seam-allowence already cut and jacked.

I also needed to re-stitch the points of the darts a tiny bit lower, to get it to sit nicely over my stays.

Then I finished it up, by attaching the sleeves and adding hook & eye for closure.

It was around this point, when trying to iron the collar to lie nicely, I realized I’d totally forgot to make the the inner facing on the front edge.

Doh… 😦

That would explain the white lining peaking out way to much.
Serves me right, for not wanting to waste time or tracing paper on linings and facings, but simply using the main pattern pieces for everything.

Well not much to do then to use force (which meant several rows of stitches and a whole loot of steam) to try to get it to lie nice.

The finished Spencer:

All the facts:

Challenge: Nr 3/2017 “The great Outdoors”

What: a 1800-1830s Regency spencer.

How it fit the challenge: It’s a wool jacket meent to be worn outdoors. The color (and my accessories) also makes it perfect as a riding outfit.

Pattern: Laughing Moon 129 “Ladies wraping front Spencer”

Fabric and notions: 1,5 m burgundy colored wool, scraps of black wool, 1,5m white cotton for lining, thread, 2 pair of hooks and eyes.

How historical accurate: So so. The Pattern and material are all good, but it is made entirely by machine using modern construction techniques. Strictly speaking it would be a 5/10, but since people of the period wouldn’t notice the machine stitched seams unless they were rely close I say 8/10.

Time: About 6-7 hours. It took me a week to make du to needed to wait for baby to sleep, but I’m confident I could whip one up in less then a day if I could work without interruptions.

Cost: Everything came from stash, but bought anew it would have cost about 150-200sek (20Usd).

First worn: Late mars for photos.

Final thoughts: I love it! I felt so nice in it, and would love to wear it as a piece in my modern wardrobe (Hm, maybe it will work well with jeans and a t-shirt…). It was also very fun and fast to make, and I’m already thinking about making a few more.

Bonus pic of me (multitasking) trying to get some blogging done in between mock-up fittings.

An Outdoorsy Regency Spencer (sort of)

By the time it came to start on the HSF challenge 15, The great Outdoors, I was pretty drain sewing wise. I knew that if I was going to compleat this year of cahllenges I needed to give myself a break and make something simple once in a while.

So I decided to make something I’ve been thinking about for a while – a regency spencer.
But then I realised that I only had scraps left of lovely brown coton vevet I’ve wanted to use. and I did like the idae of buying even more fabric.
So I re-calculated and decided to make a sleveless spencer instead. And while I was at it why not turn it in to a west compleatly.

I used the Simplicity 4055 as a guide to get the overal line right, since I wanted the west to go over the yellow dress I made from the same pattern.IMG_0724I made some changes, like added a dart and re-shaped the back.

Then I cut it, made a mock-up and tried it on.
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It fit pretty well, but I didn’t really like the high neckline.IMG_0808

So I marked the new neckline and cut.IMG_0835

Ok, so it looks pretty stupid in these pictures but I like the tought of the lower necline and the dress showing.IMG_0844IMG_0839

When the pattern was fitted properly, I started to cut the fabrics – velvet, cotton lining and cotton twill for interlining.IMG_0891

I stiched the back seams and basted the shoulder and side seams together.IMG_0908

IMG_0909A first version to try on.

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It fit perfectly, even though the new lower neckline didnt really show due to the seam allowence.

IMG_0931I didn’t like the bust darts though, so I marked hem for shortening.

IMG_0963I toyed with the idea of skipping the dart and gather the bust instead. But decided it looked to bulky on the velvet. So I restiched the darts instead.

Then I putt in the lining, fideling a bit on the arm holes.IMG_0968The last piece to attach was the waistband, which I stiched to the lower edge.

IMG_1019I made one edge of the wasiband longer to make a cross over clouser.

Before turning the west right side out, I made sure to notch all the curved seams to make everything lay nice and flat. IMG_1018

I used a regular bath towel when iron the velvet as to not crush the pile.IMG_1017

Lastly I attached some buttons and the hooks and eyes for the clouser.IMG_1029

The finished piece (paired with my yellow regency gown):IMG_1171

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Just the facts:

Challenge: 15, The great Outdoors.

What: a regency spencer/west

Pattern: I used Simplicity 4055 as a guide, but re-shaped it quite a bit..

Fabric: 0,4 m of brown cotton velvet and 0,4 m brown cotton for lining (both scraps left over from previous projects) and 0,4 m of cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, two buttons, 5 hooks and eyes.

How historical accurate: not much I fear – even though it is compleatly hand sewed. I havn’t found any sources on this kind of wests.

Time: about 8 hours.

Cost: Basicly free since everything was leftovers from previous projects but if I would have bought it now it would probably be about 150 Sek (22 Usd).

First worn: For photos in the middle of august.

Final thoughts: I’m not happy with the bust. It looks rediculus and I have no idea how to fix it. Perhaps gathering will be my only alternative after all.

Medieval Sleeves as Outerwear

As the deadline for the HSF challenge 20: Outerwear, drew closer I needed to decide what to make. The time was pressing and I had a couple of other costuming deadlines lurking close by, so I know I needed to make it an easy and quick one.

So why not make something I could use for the up-coming medieval event my dance group are hosting.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the whole medieval outfit from the inside out, so I needed to prioritate. The gown will be made in time for the “Green” challenge, and as “Outerwear” I will make a pair of lose sleeves.

birth_of_mary_gr“The Birth of Mary” shows a servant with one of her lose sleeves taken of.

Technically they don’t count as outerwear as they will be worn under the short sleeve of the cotehardie, but as they are separate they can also be worn together with a sleeveles kirtle over a shift – thus becoming outerwear…

I bought a light brown/beige colored wool with a soft feel to it.

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I the drafted the pattern, using “The Medieval Tailor Assistance” diagram for –  a Kirtles fitted sleeve.

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I didn’t make a mock-up, but cut and basted one sleeve togheter and then fitted it to my arm. It needed some taking in across the upper and lower arm.

I stiched and felled the seams, reinforced the buttonhole stand and the wrist with some brown cotton..

Then it was time to make the buttons.

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Cutting about 30 circles of fabric, and sewing the buttons when ever I got some spair time, really saved me a lots of time and effort.

I sewed the finished buttons on to the sleeves, putting them close togheter.

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Then I made all the buttonholes, using a buttonhole-thread and all of my patience and determination to get them finished in time.

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And the finished sleeves.

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And being worn, paired with my Peasant Kirtle.

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IMG_2490“Knitta please” are maching my outfit

Just the facts:

Challenge: 20 outerwear.

What: A pair of lose sleeves.

Year: 1300 -1450

Pattern: Drafted from “The Medieval Tailor Assistent” – Kirtle, fitted sleeve.

Fabric: 1 m thin light brown wool.

Notions: Thread

How historical accurate: Pretty good. The fabric, thread and methodes where all used during the time. I give them 8/10.

Time: About 15 hours (the button-holes took like forever).

Cost: 150 Sek (16 Usd)

First worn: On the photoshoot begining okt.

Final toughts: The sleeve cap is a bit low, and needs to be either raised a bit or tied to a very firm shoulder-strap that won’t slipp of the shoulder.