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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

2017 in Review

Time for the annual year in review post! And this blog turns 5 years old today!

2017 was a much better year than 2016, but I still feel like I only sewed a tiny number of garments. There are 29 photos in my 2017 projects folder, but only about 16 of them are garments of any substantial size. This year I hope I will sew a bit more, and continue to decrease the pile of unfinished things.

I think, out of all of the projects I did this year, the greatest accomplishment was finally finishing my 1789 fashion plate outfit. Everything but the breeches was made in 2017.
Of course I have complaints about the coat, as the materials were not good, but I'm very pleased with how it looks from a distance. I think the hat was very good for a first attempt, and I would like to make more. The stockings are also much better than the first horrible attempt at them several years ago.
I finished those darn strawberry pockets! Finally! They've been sitting in a trunk ever since, but I'm just glad they're done.
My Beardsley inspired waistcoat isn't really a 2017 project since almost all of it was done in the previous 2 years, but it is another thing I'm glad to have finished! I hadn't learned how to do covered buttons properly when I did it though, so I might have to carefully unpick and re-cover them sometime...
Another darn waistcoat from that ridiculously thick secondhand coat. It's warm and I wear it fairly regularly, but the fabric really is far too bulky for it.
The dinosaur waistcoat was awful!! It didn't fit at all! Foolish me, using a pattern that was fitted to someone else and altering it without mocking it up.
I've taken the lining apart, and will re-use it in a better waistcoat that is actually fitted to me.
Good things about my grey breeches: They fit, they're a nice colour, the material cost very little, and they're my first pair that actually buckles at the knee.
Bad things about my grey breeches: They are so, so very synthetic. They make a shwip shwip shwip sound when I walk, just like the snow pants I had when I was a little kid. I do not like that!

The black breeches I made earlier are also rather awful, as they button at the knee and are unlined cheap poly-cotton. This year my breeches will be nicer.
I quite like my block printed fishy banyan! I do wish I hadn't done button tabs though, as they make the already wide overlap very slouchy and rumply. I should have just put interfacing and buttonholes on the edge.
The indoor linen cap is very nice to wear around the house when it's chilly, and I think more indoor caps are definitely in order.
The Nelson undershirt is so warm!! It is pilling a bit, but other than that I have no complaints about it.
I hated these monster slippers when I first made them, but after a while I got over the minor imperfections and have been wearing them every day for about 9 or 10 months. They've become quite worn and dirty, and I will need to make new slippers sometime this year.
The ruffly bed jacket was a sort of trial run for a second one which I have still not finished. It's quite good for when my arms get cold in the summertime when I'm wearing a sleeveless nightgown.
Speaking of nightgowns, I love my dye paste hem monsters very much!
Oh, right. I forgot about this costumey shirt. I still have a mostly complete felt doublet thingy to go with it that I need to finish.
This was an awfully good year for my unfinished things pile! These stays aren't something I'm likely to ever wear, but they were started several years ago and now they're finally done.

I still need more shirts, but I made two new linen ones this year, which is good.
I forget exactly how much of the stuff in my surface design post was done in the past year. I haven't made anything out of my printed fabric, aside from the fish robe, and a pillowcase and sleeve board cover that I made for school.

I also made 4 brown suits for a theatre company, about 80 or little velcro pouches for a friend, a bathrobe for my mother, eight fleece monsters for a local children's author (and there's many more to come), and 30 block printed heart cards for a doctor.

I also made a few small un-blogged things, like these handkerchiefs.
5 of them have monsters on the corners, so they are monstergrammed.
And some embroidery samples! Here are my two favorites.
Copied from a suit embroidery pattern from 18th century embroidery techniques.
I have a lot more little silk squares that I'd like to do more samples on!

Monster friend on a scrap of soft, slubby cotton.
So, hmm. I guess I'll post a list of some things I'd like to do in 2018:
  • More shirts and pants, because I'm still rather low on shirts, and am down to 2 pairs of wearable pants again.
  • Death's head buttons. I keep meaning to learn how to do them but haven't yet.
  • More HSM submissions than last year. Which should be easy, because last year I only did 3.
  • A 1730's outfit. I have good fabrics for the coat & waistcoat in my stash.
  • I want to finish more of my unfinished things. I've shrunk the pile but there are still quite a few things left.
  • I'd also like to get into the habit of keeping time sheets on things. I've been terrible about tracking my time in the past, and consequently I don't know how long anything I make takes.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Simple linen indoor cap

 Hello! My goodness, it's been quite a while since I posted here.
This is my last project of 2017, and I shall do my 2017 review post soon too.
 A while ago I saw this photo-set of simple linen caps, which looked like a nice and practical thing to make. I was aiming for one like this.
Detail from Le Marchand d’Orviétan ou l’opérateur Barri by Etienne Jeaurat, 1743.
 I cut a rectangle of plain off-white linen to fit my head, sewed it into a tube with a flat felled seam, then did a narrow hem at one end and a wide hem at the other. I'd originally intended for the bottom hem to be narrow too, but the tube came out a bit too long so I made it wider.
Hat tube. I like the wider hem at the bottom, it makes it more sturdy.
 I carefully scrunched the top together and tied it with a ribbon. I didn't want to permanently stitch the top gathers together, because being a plain simple tube makes it very easy to wash and press, and it needs fairly regular washing.

I have no silk ribbon at all in my stash, so I tied it with this green synthetic one. Someday I will swap it out for a nicer ribbon.
The finished cap, all tied! I made it on Dec. 25th, and I've taken the ribbon
off and washed it twice so far, as it gets rather greasy after a while.
It's hand sewn with silk thread, and I think it took about 2 or 3 hours. I am pretty pleased with it! I'm not sure how accurate it is, since the paintings don't show much detail and the one extant one is of a somewhat different design.
 It's much more flopped down in the back than the ones in the paintings, so perhaps I still made it too long? Or maybe my linen is a bit heavier than theirs. I don't mind though, it fits well and keeps my head warm.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Grey Breeches

I've finished my third pair of breeches!

They're made of polyester one-way stretch taffeta and lined in a slightly stretchy polka dot cotton blend of some sort, both from the clearance pile.
Not the sort of stuff I prefer to work with, but it was such a pretty shiny grey, and so cheap! Plus, the one-way stretch lets me bend my knees a bit further. (I also want to perfect my breeches sewing with cheaper stuff before I do any in expensive fabrics. Breeches are complicated beasts.)
I thought the construction through and planned things rather better this time around.
They're cut so the stretch runs up and down.
I sewed almost all the seams by machine. The only hand finishing is at the knee-band, the four eyelets in the back, and the button covers.
I forgot to take pictures of the waistband, but it's interfaced with a layer of hair canvas machine basted to a layer of cotton canvas (which is lighter than the super heavy cotton canvas I've used for the first 2 pairs), and it's lined in a black cotton twill because I wanted something sturdier than the polka dot stuff.

In my first two pairs I cut a hole in the waistband interfacing for the welt pocket to go through, but I have no idea why I did that. I guess because I'm used to doing it for coats and things, but if it's just a watch pocket that's covered up by your waistcoat there's no point. 'Twas a foolish thing to do, so for this pair the pocket sits in front.
Things have to be done in a weird order to get in as much machine sewing as possible.
 The buttonholes are machine sewn, and cut with these wonderful scissors that I've had for years without realizing what they were for.

I love my buttonhole scissors!
The breeches are cut from the same pattern as the first two pairs, and I'm mostly pleased with the fit, but still need to make a couple of adjustments. The bottom of the inseam is too far forward, and there is not enough butt room. I added some to the pattern after my last pair, but it still needs more.

 Next time I will hopefully achieve the accurate amount of full-buttedness.
Needs more room! The gathers back there look far too sad and sparse.

 I finally got a pair of breeches buckles! They're these ones from Burnley & Trowbridge.
They were very, very blunt and I had to spend a long time sharpening them with a metal file before they were able to poke through the fabric, but they're sturdy and nice looking and they work.

I should replace the knee-bands on my other two pairs so I can buckle them too.
This would have looked much better if I'd bent my knee. Oh well.
I'm happy with how they turned out, considering what they're made of. They make a very synthetic sounding swish when I walk in them, but the fabric looks pretty good.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Two linen shirts (and some Halloween photos)

I have two new linen shirts that I have not posted yet, my goodness!

I finished this first shirt months ago, and have not posted it yet because I've been meaning to add lace ruffles to it, but since I haven't done that yet I may as well post it now. (I also realized that my old off-white lace might lighten up with some careful washing, and so may be better suited to a white shirt than an off-white one.)

I started it about 3 years ago, so it's another item off the Unfinished Things pile!
I only found one construction photo, but that's ok
because the construction is the same as usual.
It's made of a cream coloured linen, and it's somewhat heavier than both my other linen shirts.
It's completely hand sewn, making it the second hand sewn linen shirt I've done.
The thread buttons are ones I made around the time I started the shirt, and they're a bit smaller than I'd make them today. Two on the collar and two on each cuff.
It fits pretty well, but the collar was cut a bit too tight, and the cuff pieces are perhaps a bit too long.
The second shirt I finished a week ago, and it was also an unfinished thing from about 3 years ago. So unfinished, in fact, that I had been keeping it in my linen drawer instead of in my Unfinished Things box.

It started off as a pale purple linen, which for some reason I cut out and decided to make a shirt out of. After sewing the shoulder seams and one side of one neck gusset I realized that it was a terrible colour for a shirt, and it would not suit me at all.


Mama offered to take it to school and dunk it in the Indigo vat that happened to be set up at the time (They do them once a year for the natural dye class) and I agreed. After it was dyed, I put it in a bag and put the bag in my linen stash, and there it remained until two weeks ago when I dug it out and finished it.
 Most of the smaller pieces got lost somewhere along the way (probably frayed too much from all the dyeing and rinsing) but thankfully Mama also dyed the remaining bit of linen, so I was able to re-cut them.
 It's mostly machine sewed, with hand finishing on the insides of the cuffs & collar, as well as the underarm gusset and shoulder seam finishes. All the sewing is with silk thread.
This bit is rather awkward to fit under a sewing machine,
so it's easier to finish these little seams by hand.

As with the other shirt, they are rather smaller than I'd prefer to make them today.
 My buttonholes are done by hand as well, and the buttons are ones I made several years ago. I think the linen thread I used for them was dyed indigo at the same time, but I'm not sure.
 I used three buttons on the collar, and two on each cuff, and I have one left over because apparently I thought I needed 8 buttons when I made them.
It's a nice soft shirt and I am pleased with it! The dye job is mottled, but in a nice and even sort of way, and you can't see any of the original purple.
 I am rather less pleased with Indigo's tendency to rub off and turn everything blue. After a day of wearing it I discovered that my torso and arms were slightly blue tinted, and that the waistband of my pants, my underwear, and the lining around the armhole of my grey waistcoat were even more so!
I'm sure it'll improve after some more washings though.

A shitty dinosaur to illustrate what happened.

 Update: After a thorough washing during which it turned 3 sinkfulls of water very blue, the shirt does not leave any visible blue spots on me! It still rubs off a bit though. I did some hand sewing with white thread and it became pale blue thread.

And here are some pictures of me on Halloween!
This was my second attempt at doing 18th century hair, and I think it turned out okay. I definitely need more practice. I'm not at all sure how to do the side curls while still having the front look so swept back like it is in the portraits.
I also wore some excellent 18th century makeup from LBCC Historical. I shall have to make some more earlier garments to better go with it, as it's just doesn't fit well with the 1780's - 90's.

Here is a picture of me at a post-Halloween party on November 3rd, with slightly disheveled hair.



 And some photos from the same day when I tried on a different waistcoat.

And here's my first attempt at 18th century hair & makeup from some weeks earlier. The pictures turned out rather good!


I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with the top front section,
and there are some stray wisps of hair, but I am pleased with the curls!
 I have some other photos from this summer of me wearing historical clothes, so perhaps I should post those here sometime too.
And that's all for now! Hopefully I'll finish more shirts soon. I have recently made HUGE improvements to my sleep schedule, so I am getting more done now!