"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Regency Ballgown - Part 1

So as you may have read my first attempt at using the sense & sensibility pattern was not a sucsses. I quite gave up on it. Then I started using patterns for simple things...building up my skill base. I also had a read of how to make a bodiced petticoat. Picked up the pattern again and gave it another go. This time it was so much easier. I also did the adjustments myself rather than letting mum make them. Lengthened the bodice for one thing and used darts instead of gathers.

I also looked up some actual garments for inspiration....
Like this
Source: metmuseum.org via Lady on Pinterest

and this

I noticed that they had waistbands like the petticoat. So I factored that in.

waistband hight is it ok?

I wanted to disguise the 'darts' a little and the images gave me the solution. Put trim over them. I'm going to make it so I can put a drawstring through the waistband at a later date if needed.
As it was an 'experiment' I used cheap material in my 'stash'....and was surprised how well they went together. The white is a linen blend and the claret colour is a poly silk haboutai.

The back will have a buttonhole closure. As I'm low on material the hem might come just above my ankle and the fullness at back taken in a little.

Which seems acceptable for a dancing dress. (looking at that picture I don't know how those slippers are staying on. If that was me they would have gone flying off my feet by now. lol!)
I may add some trim like a ruffle or lace to lengthen it if needs be.
I will update when its finished. But would love to know your thoughts on it so far.

Update 1
I've started on the sleeves and made the eyelets in the waistband.
 I'm planning on slitting the white fabric so the red colour shows through like the fashion plate above.

yes I know its upside down (forgot to rotate it before uploading)

Quite enjoyed making the eyelet its nicer tan making buttonholes.

And here is sleeve on the bodice. Hopefully suitably 'puffy' need to choose where I want the red-y lining to show.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just spotted a giveaway....

I've wanted to get my hands on the 1940's sailor playsuit pattern from wearing history for ages. I can just see so many variations I could do....and I love nautical styling on clothes. And 40's fashions suit me.

I spotted on the wearing history blog there is a 'give-away'

I'd like to buy all the patterns....but my bank account would probably have something to say about that. lol!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doctor Who meets Regency

It just sprung to mind the 1820s dresses were a bit Dalek-ish. So here is a Doctor Who inspired frock.
You will now be returned to usual programming. lol!
What do you think?

Edit: I discoverd this fashionplate
1818 Regency Fashion Plate - Promenade Dress  (La Belle Assemblee Magazine)

Monday, September 24, 2012

If I made it, 'Fichu' buy it?

Ok...the title is a bit rubbish but seeing what was on sale at the regency fayre in Bath I spotted a gap in the market. Fichus and linen caps. I do like my embroidery and its the kinda thing I can carry around and do in odd moments when I have spare time.
My fichu in situe
I'll of course vary the shape and design of embroidery. I used a poly cotton for mine...but if it was asked for especially I'd use 100% cotton (I struggle to find lightweight enough linen).
You can see I do everything by hand including a rolled hem and embroidery.

I found mine provided extra warmth I needed.
So if I made some...would you buy them?
This wouldn't be a proper business, just a hobby where I would sell a few one off pieces. I do think of each of them as a work of art. The fabric is my 'canvas' and the thread my 'paint'. 
I might even try using muslin and tambour work...if I can figure it out.

I'm just throwing ideas up in the air at the moment and any feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jane austen festival, Bath - Regency Dress Outing - Part 2

And here is part 2. On the Monday we had signed up for the beginners dance workshop. But we had a few hours to pass before it started...and what can you do in Bath to pass the time while dressed in regency outfit.

Visit the pump rooms to take the waters. Got lots of people ask for photo's someone even thought we were the staff. lol!

Oh, dear....wonkey buttons

Have a cream tea. We went to the Bath Bun tearoom. A place discovered on a previous visit which does lovely lunches and cream teas. And I loved how the waitresses just took it as quite normal we were dressed up.
As you can see I was wearing open robe and 'regency turban' for the dancing.

We arrived at the venue for the workshop early but found others there so we had a little chat before doors opened. I joined in almost all of the dances. Despite my usual issues with 'heys' and 'strip the willow' in dances.

My favourites was the 'polonaise' with its funny step, and 'the duke of kents waltz' which I thought was very elegant.
It was a shame we couldn't stay for the 2nd workshop and learn Mr Beveridges Maggot.
I did get a quick video of the dancing though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jane austen festival, Bath - Regency Dress Outing - Part 1

"Her daily expressions were no longer, "I wish we had some acquaintance in Bath !" - Northanger Abbey

Well as you know if you are a regular reader of my blog, I have been sewing a regency outfit in preperation for the Jane Austen Festival. It went through many erm...changes till I found a combination that I liked, even having to make a last minute change after looking at the weather forcast. The weatherman was wrong BTW. It was warm enough I needen't have made a spencer. Oh, well.
Above is photo of all my regency stuff laid out ready. After trying it on I decided to ditch the open robe for now and got with dress, sash and spencer with my bonnet.
We had to take the bus into Bath. got many requests for photo's along with the never ending "why are you dressed like that?" even got asked if we were 'on TV'. lol!
Arriving quite early (although there were some people already there) we had a chance to mingle and talk to the other 'promenaders'. Everyone was very friendly and didn't mind having their photo taken. I got quite a few photo requests myself.

 I found myself as did other quickly hiding the modern cameras before a photo was taken.
"Quick, hide the modern stuff"
Met the lovely Sandi and Aroura.
As well as several people from various parts of the world. Including America and the Netherlands

 I found everyone willing to talk and compare outfits. I must admit some of my photos was me going "like that idea, must try to re-create it".

Like the tartan/check/plaid.

the ladybird wing like slope of the jacket is nice

Pretty spencers...
 Everyone was asked to line up each side of the path. The redcoat soldiers marched past first followed by everyone else in twos...or near enough.

Snaking through the roads of Bath flanked on each side by people taking photographs.
And throughout the promenade the old juxtoposed with the modern (oh, deep...yeah I know).

Till finally reaching the parade gardens...where everyone filed in.

There was a display by Steps in Time of dancing.

Lots more chatting before making out way to the guildhall.
Now, which way is it?
It was the perfect setting..such beautiful archetechture.
Me rushing up stairs (I was hungry after all that walking)
I was keen to get to the luncheon as I was hungry and parched from all that promenading. lol!
 It was a very pretty spread...and I will be making some brie and grape sandwiches in future...yummy!
Then had a nose round the fayre...lots of pretty stuff I liked but couldn't afford. lol! Did get some cotton lace from the haberdashery stall in the corner thought and some hair grips from the wig stall.
I also took the opertunity to admire more outfits...and then toddled off downstairs to see the Pride & Predudice play. Didn't realize it was audience participation. lol! Got called 'Charlotte Lucas' with my curls and lace cap.
Had a cup of tea before heading back to our accomodation. The next day we didn't have tickets for anything but on our wander round Bath quite enjoyed trying to spot people in costume.

Part 2 - coming soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cold weather sewing

So I've talked previously about my retro sewing wishlist. Now I'm going to talk about my Autumn/Winter sewing plans....ok intentions. You know I get distracted with other projects. I surveyed my winter wardrobe (I find autumn and winter my wardrobe is pretty much the same with maybe a slight difference in colours.) To find out what was needed and what I should replace.

1. Knitwear - always essential, but I don't knit fast enough to make garments so they are shop bought. I still have a few knitted tank tops that will do but some need replacing as they are looking a bit worse for wear. Would like a vintage looking one.

2. Blouses & Shirts - I need more long & 3/4 length sleeve blouses in plain colours. At least 2 black and 2 white and 2 pattern (various colours).

3. Skirts, Jackets and Hats - Thinking tartan pencil and a navy blue A-line in a wool blend with matching jacket (suit) and hat.

That should keep me busy for a while. Calculating costs can't afford to make a coat and a suit so coat will have to wait till next year as my shop bought one from last year with the fake fur collar is still neat and usable.

Looking up the fashion trends for the season...I seem to be on track quite accidentally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Things you notice when you start sewing...

Ever since I've started sewing for myself my shopping habits have changed. I look at shop bought garments in a completely different way. I thought I'd draw up a list.

1. You start looking at fibre content and will dismiss items on basis of fabric quality. I tend to buy cotton, viscose and polyester only if its in a blend.

2. You check the stitching on seams & hems. The amount of times I've rejected items on basis of the collar has just been overlocked in a scruffy manner.

3. You look out for things like facings, linings and pockets.

4. You look at an item and instead of just thinking 'ooh pretty'....you think "princess seams, lining, pleated skirt...quality I'm having that."

5. You know the value of the fabric and the time it takes. And compare it to what you would make and decide you could make something similar for less, forgetting you don't have the time coz of a zillion other projects you've got in the pipeline.

6. You don't go clothes shopping very often....you go fabric/pattern shopping instead.

Can anyone add to this? Do you agree with my list?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My first pencil skirt - Part 1

You may say 'first'? Yep. Well first I've sewn. Always felt daunted by them being so fitted. The only RTW pencil skirt I like is my stretchy grey wool one with matching braces I got in a sale many years ago when I was a dress size or two bigger.

Now lets go back to the start....I treated myself to 'Gertie's new book for better sewing'.
Source:  http://www.blogforbettersewing.com

I haven't had much luck with sewing books in the past. Its always buy a machine, thread a machine and follow pattern. Which as a hand sewer frustrated me. I wanted the proper sewing techniques...and not just that I wanted to know how to make patterns fit and draft my own. So far I've been muddling along using trial and error but I wanted to know the correct way...even if I then ignored it and did it my own way at least I'd be making a conscious decision. I also wanted to be told if you do this you get this result, not 'buy a special foot for your sewing machine'.

In Gertie's book I found exactly what I had been searching for actual sewing techniques....and as a bonus timeless stylish patterns that I would wear. Looking achievable too. Not too many specialist materials to find and with suggestions on alterations. I'm already looking at the patterns and seeing how I can alter them to create the garments I want.
(There's a particular outfit from a film I think I could get close too by combining one of the skirts and blouses...if I can figure out how to get the sleeves I want).

From sky's the limit

Back to the pencil skirt. After reading the book it just seemed so simple...so I rummaged through my sewing cupboard and came up with a metre of 45" wide quilting cotton*.

Managed to cut out the pieces, sew the darts and tack the seams in one evening.

Tried the skirt on pinned it close. All was well till I tried to sit down.
Ping! The pin went flying across the room.
Erm...a little more ease needed (as you can tell I have this issue with pencil skirts). Add another inch when I cut out my 'mystery fabric'. I bought it ages ago and neglected to write down what it was...its navy blue with a bit of 'give' in it without being deliberately stretchy. I'll be lining it with polycotton so shouldn't irritate me.
So I hope to get back to the pencil skirt next week.

*yes I am aware I'm mixing metric and imperial measurements.

I saw a tartan maxi skirt on tv...suddenly got the urge - with the cold weather - to make a tartan pencil skirt.