Thursday, 30 November 2017

Grey Poly-taffeta 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!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Flannel undershirt c. 1800

 I made an undershirt!
A few weeks ago I saw this on pinterest and thought "that looks like the coziest thing ever, I need one." And so I started one, and just finished it today.
 Undershirt belonging to Horatio Nelson, c. 1800, National Maritime Museum. 

Part of the description reads:
"The shirt is made of lightweight cream-coloured wool flannel. The skirt is of a heavier gauge wool flannel. The body is of four panels, the seams are finished with a combination of cross and herring bone stitch in white silk thread. The right sleeve is cut short and the edge is finished with blanket stitch. The collar is edged with linen tape. The shirt fastens in the front with seven dorset buttons which are supported by a strip of linen tape. The buttonholes are stitched into a wide stripe of cotton/linen tape. The right cuff is edged with narrow linen tape and fastens with a dorset button."
Back view of the original shirt.
 Amazing! Wonderful! I don't know how I hadn't noticed this shirt before, as I'd saved it on my undergarments board quite a while ago. (There's also another one from around the same time that's made of knitted wool fabric, but sadly I don't have any such materials.)

I based my pattern loosely on my frock coat pattern, as it's cut much more like a coat than a shirt. I found it surprising that it doesn't even have underarm gussets, but the range of motion is not too bad.
 Sadly, I have no wool flannel, so I cut my pieces from an old cotton flannel sheet. It was a very nice thick sheet, and pilled a bit but not discoloured at all. I used linen for the binding.

I didn't cut the skirt separately as I only had one weight of flannel, but I have since bought some flannel yardage and will make more warm undershirts!
 The main seams are sewn by machine, but there's a huge amount of hand finishing. Both the machine and hand sewing are done in silk thread. Like on the original, I left all the seam allowances on the outside and finished them with a herringbone stitch.
Back view of the shoulder.
It doesn't show up very well in this photo, but there's a lot of herringbone stitching here.
 The linen bindings are all machine sewn to the edge, and then turned down and whipstitched. The narrow strip the buttons attach to is entirely whipstitched on.
Buttonholes are also done by hand.
I made Dorset buttons from linen thread and tiny plastic rings. I love thread buttons! And in my opinion they're the very best activity to do while watching movies or television shows.
 The cuffs are bound in the same way, with another bit added on to the other side of the buttonhole opening.
I attached the linen first, and then cut the buttonhole through the flannel layer and sewed it.
 I was trying to be economical with my linen scraps, so I used two short strips for one cuff vent, and patched the end with another little rectangle.
 It's done! And it's warm! I love my new undershirt!
I've been more excited about this project than any other garment this year,
which I think is a pretty good sign that I need more warm clothes.

Lovely fitted sleeves that I can bend my elbow in.
 I do plan on making a few changes to the pattern before I cut out my next one though. It needs to be a tiny bit broader across the chest, a bit lower in the front of the neckline, and a few cm shorter so it's not so bulky and difficult to tuck in.
All in all I am thrilled with my wonderful flannel undershirt!

Update: It has proven comfortable enough to sleep in! Which I wasn't expecting from something so fitted.
I also put on a regular shirt over it today, and was VERY warm. I look forward to wearing this in the coldest part of winter.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The strawberry pockets are done!

Way back in September of 2012 I started embroidering a pair of pockets inspired by a pair from the Met. I did a post on them a bit later, when they were 1/4 done, and worked on them a sporadically after that. And now, 5 years later, they're done!
I finished them a couple of weeks ago.
They're embroidered on plain white linen with 2 strands of embroidery floss. I laid down all the colour blocks like needlepoint.
Then I outlined it all with a couched white cotton yarn, and put gold split stitch down the middle of all the stems.
Here are the rest of my fabrics. Yellow linen for the binding, soft canvas for the back, and under the top 3 fabrics is the off white linen I used to back the embroidery on the front part.
I sewed the edges together with a backstitch.
And very carefully sewed the bias binding on with tiny stitches. I didn't have any yellow silk thread, and was too impatient to get some, so I used off white and it blended in pretty well.
The strips along the top are not bias because they don't need to stretch.
My longest standing unfinished sewing project is done!
Now I have yet another pair of ladies' pockets that I'm never going to wear. Oh well. I started them, and am glad I finished them. If nothing else, they were a good thing to work on while waiting for stuff.

Here's the original pair from the Met.
Silk Satin pocket, 1700-1750, British.
And a closeup of mine compared to the originals.
My pocket.
The gold thread in the originals is much thicker than mine, and I used linen because I didn't have silk satin, but that's ok. I thin overall they came our pretty good! (Though my more recent stitching is better than the bits I did 5 years ago.)
And the Met's pocket.
Now I can move on to other embroidery projects! Yay!