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Monday, 20 June 2022

OFMD Velvet Robe Pattern & Wearable Mockup

Hello! I'm going to make my own version of the iconic bird printed velvet robe from episodes 7, 8, and 10 of Our Flag Means Death. I'm not going to do it in the same colours, but I do want to keep the cut as screen accurate as I can.
I've made a mockup, and have drawn out my pattern diagram, which I hope will be helpful to other people who are also looking to make this robe.

Photo by Aaron Epstein

It doesn't have much in common with 18th century wrappers, unlike the yellow one Stede wears in earlier episodes, but this isn't the post to get into historical accuracy so I shan't.
(I've got a very long guest post on the show's costumes over on Frock Flicks. Part 1 is here and I'll update this with another link when part 2 goes up.)

The robe is fabulous and I think it works very well for the show!

It's made of a printed cotton velvet (not silk, as Izzy mistakenly called it) and there are a number of online shops that carry the exact same design. Handicraft Palace has it on their website, as well as on ebay, and is the company the show's costumers got the fabric from.

It should be noted that their 3 yard listing is much cheaper than 3 individual yards, so even though the robe only requires about 4 and a half (unless you want to do pattern matching) it's more economical to just get 6 using the 3 yard option if you're buying from this seller.

The etsy shops Theblockprints, TheTealThread, and Godsgiftstextiles all have it.

All these places have it in a variety of other colours besides pink, and I've ordered the dark purple version for my version of the robe. (I do like pink, but if I'm going to wear it I'd rather it be pastel.)

Ian Snow has almost the exact same print but with the large flowers in yellow instead of red.

I've been told that the way it looks in the show is more accurate to how it looks in person than the extremely bright hot pink it is on the website's photos. And that it sheds a lot of fuzz in the wash. I'll be sure to serge the edges of all my pieces before sewing, even though it'll be fully lined. I don't want any internal fraying to fill the hem up with lint.

If you're looking for a more budget friendly option, or dislike velvet, Theblockprints and Handicraft Palace both carry the same pattern printed on a smooth plain weave cotton.

Hannahgreenecostumes and heathervanderstitch on instagram, who worked on the costumes, have both posted about the robe and here's what they said about it in the captions and comments:

"Lining is a fuchsia matka from Sai Silks in NYC with vintage tassels from @westerncostumecompany."

"I started with a traditional kimono pattern draft and added a box pleat at the back neck because costume designer Christine Wada wanted more movement around the feet, but not be too baggy on the shoulders. I also had to add shoulder seams to keep the birds facing up."

"The tassels are stitched to the corners of the sleeves and the corners of the neck band. There are 4 total."

"I don't think it had any beading, I'm almost sure it was a thread tassel."

"The piping is actually a bright orange dupioni and the lining is fuchsia. Initially the robe lining and piping were all going to be either the fuchsia or the orange, but when we did stitching samples to determine the size of the piping, the fuchsia didn't pop well against the fabric. The orange however wasn't as cohesive with the outer fabric, so we used both.

"@shizenbeauty did a great job of getting that exact 1/8th" piping! I swooped in at the end and stitched on those great tassels."

From Hannah Greene's instagram.
You can see the inverted box pleat quite clearly here.
I'll be using different fabrics for the lining and piping on my robe, but if you're looking for orange dupioni Pure Silks has a lot of it, and Silk Baron has some too. (Those are just two of many many places though, dupioni is pretty common.)

After having had a quick look at some sites, the pink silk matka I've come across has been awfully expensive, especially for the rather coarse texture it is. Personally I'd want something more slippery for a lining, like satin, or perhaps taffeta (which is maybe too crisp for the lining of something so drapey, but will soften up if you wash it).
There are definitely lots more pink lining fabrics out there, but I haven't looked very hard because I'm not looking to buy any, and this post is more about the patterning.

As far as I'm aware, the piping is in between the neck binding/collar thing and the robe body, and nowhere else.
A good view of the piping.
I think there might be a bit of interfacing in the neck binding, but it's hard to tell since it's such a heavy fabric, so I'll have to wait and decide when it arrives.
We don't get any good clear shots of the upper back in the show, but you can kind of see the pleat here.
They've done some pattern matching, and you can see the two red flowers are in the same place on the neck binding. 
Not many good views of the tassels, but you can sort of see them in a few shots when Ed is wearing the robe.
The tassels appear to be made partly of threads in the same shade of pink, with a cap of what looks like a dull tarnished metallic gold, or maybe just brown.
There are some threads of the same gold/brown colour around the outside of the pink tassel centre.
The robe itself is quite long and loose fitting, with kimono sleeves, as Heather talked about in the instagram post.

We can see here that it's about ankle length on Ed, 
and he's a little bit taller than Stede (when Stede isn't wearing heels).
One of the most helpful photos has been this one of it laid out on a table!
From Hannah Greene's instagram.
You can see from the placement of the pattern relative to the edges that the sides of the front and back are cut straight up and down, while the front edge tapers. Here's the same picture with the front piece roughly traced in yellow, and a green line going straight along the grain through the same fabric motifs.
I made my wearable mockup out of a burgundy rayon from my stash, which is of course much thinner than the velvet, but I think it did a decent job all the same.

Here it is with my fish print flannel nightgown.

Comparing it to the original, the one big difference was that my neck binding was about 3" too short. The 9" tassels I used ended at just the right level though, which means that for the final robe I'll do 6" ones.
After adding the extra length and accounting for seam allowances, and the necessary seams at the top of the sleeves and CB of the neck binding to account for the nap of velvet, here's roughly what my pattern looks like:
I drew out the front edge the way it looks in the photo, but am not completely sure if it's right. I think I drew the curved neck bit too short and it'll end up being proportionally longer on the actual robe. Hmm. I'll baste it before sewing it, just to make sure.
If it isn't right then I'll just shave off a bit of the front and update my pattern drawing accordingly. 

(Sorry about the inches. I'm from a Metric country and usually prefer centimetres, but sometimes inches are more convenient for large measurements that don't have to be super precise.)
My hem was very uneven when I first sewed everything together, and part of that was because it was wibbly wobbly rayon, but I do expect to have to hang up the velvet robe and trim the bottom to be more even before finishing it too. I'll baste the lining and outer layer together to make sure they stay put while doing that.
There's not much to say about the construction of the mockup, it's unlined and all the inside seam allowances are serged. I put some fusible interfacing in the neck binding. I keep calling it a binding, but really it's sewn on much like a collar and isn't binding anything.
Not up to my usual standards, but still wearable.
The tassels are made from a burgundy rayon fringe, which has been in my stash for quite a while, just like the fabric. I cut 4 identical little lengths and just rolled them up and stitched them together at the top. 
I know a mockup probably doesn't need tassels, but they do affect the drape, and this is a very fast and easy way to make them.
Making tassels out of thread or yarn is pretty easy too, but a lot of it is too stiff and tangles easily, and this fringe has a much nicer weight and swoosh to it. I haven't decided what I'll use for the ones on my final robe.
I will post about the construction of the actual robe, once my velvet arrives and I sew it up! 

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Early 18th century shirt that closes with a ribbon

 I made another hand sewn shirt!

This one's an 18th century style I've wanted to try for quite a long time, where the collar fastens with a ribbon instead of buttons. I have a section with all the examples I've found on my Shirts pinterest board. Usually the wearers are in a partially undressed state, but there are a few more formal ones where the ribbon can be seen peeking out from under a stock. They appear to have been most common in the early to mid 18th century, but there are a few examples from later.

I suspect this evolved from late 17th century styles, when they had those large colourful bows tied in front of their collars. I don't know for sure, since I haven't researched that era, but it looks like the shirts in this portrait and this one are tied with a ribbon in the same way as these later shirts. I have no idea how that worked with the lace cravats they also wore though.

I shan't go into the construction here, since it's pretty much the same as my previous shirt. The only difference is that the collar is shorter because it doesn't overlap as much, and has one buttonhole on each side for the ribbon to go through.

I don't know if the heart shaped shirt reinforcements were a thing this early in the century, but they're sturdy and I like them, so I added one.

The hem gussets.

I've found that on some of my shirts the folded edge of the wristbands is very thin and flimsy, so this time I cut them a bit wider and folded them in quarters before attaching them, so the fabric is doubled up all the way through and it fills them out a bit better.
I had a go at recreating this painting, since it's got a shirt and violin and not much else in it.
Young man with a violin by Jan Kupecký, c. 1706.
I think it turned out pretty good (though I know I'm not very good at editing photos).
Here are some more shots. I'm wearing it with my green wool 1730's breeches.
I don't know how to play violin, this is an 1890's one that I borrowed from my parents.
I'm wearing my little brass sleeve links with the pinwheel design on them.




I didn't have a red silk ribbon like the one in the violinist painting, but I did have a pink one, which is one of the colours you sometimes see in other paintings with this style of shirt.
Portrait of a man by Nicolas de Largillière, 1703.


Worn with my 1730's brocade waistcoat.


There are also some that show a narrow black ribbon being worn, so I tried that too.
Sir Charles Howard by unknown artist, 1738.


Both under a stock, and untied, since there are portraits of both.
I found that the collar doesn't sit as nicely as buttoned ones do when it's just tied, but when there's a stock over it it stays put just fine.

 Being all rectangles (and one heart), it qualifies for the Geometry challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly.

What the item is: A man’s shirt.

How it fits the challenge: It’s all rectangles and squares! (Except the little heart shaped reinforcement, which is a square that’s had a little bit trimmed off 3 corners.)

Material: White plain weave linen from Pure Linen Envy.

Pattern: None, just a list of dimensions.

Year: Early 18th century, but it could work all the way to the mid 18th century, and probably for the late 17th century too.

Notions: Linen thread, vintage crochet cotton for the buttonholes, a short length of silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good! The cut and construction is accurate to the best of my knowledge, and it’s all hand sewn with linen thread. I didn’t add a laundry mark though. I also don’t know for sure if the heart shaped bosom slit reinforcement was around this early, since I’ve only seen examples on a few late 18th century extant shirts, and earlier shirts are even more rare and there aren’t many pictures of them to be found.

Hours to complete: I neglected to keep a time sheet, but probably 30-something.

First worn: May 3rd, 2022

Total cost: About $35 CAD





And that's it! I've got a couple more shirts in progress that are machine sewn coloured linen ones for everyday wear, and I'm thinking I ought to machine sew some white ones too, so I don't wear out my hand sewn ones too quickly.