Late 1820s Day Dress

So although my mind is still spinning with thoughts and memories of revwar reenacting and 1770s dressmaking, I particularly like the Day 5 CoBloWriMo prompt (write about a favorite project you’ve done in the past) and it brings to mind a very plain day dress I reproduced a few years ago.

osv 1820s

Posing (and even smiling) in the Towne House Garden Arbor at Old Sturbridge Village. And yes, I have fixed the hem since this picture was taken!

The blue-grey cotton dress in the photo is loosely copied from one in the collection of the Andover Historical Society.

front detail sm

Detail of the original silk dress with interesting pleating at waist and sleeves.

The original dress dates to right about 1830, maybe a tad earlier, and is made of lightweight brown silk taffeta. My favorite construction detail is the skirt pleating with the stacked box pleats.

From a fashion history standpoint it straddles the 1820s & 1830s by being able to hang relatively straight rather than being gathered all around the waist. The skirts of both the original and the reproduction do form a slight bell shape if enough petticoats are worn or displayed underneath to give it a more 1830s feel.

The detail at the top of the sleeves is more typical of the 1830s with rows of parallel knife pleats to control the fullness before being released into full gigot sleeves.

For my repro, I was a bit limited on fabric and was also trying to create an 1825 appropriate look for a particular event I was attending. I reduced the fullness of the gigot sleeve and skipped the pleating at the top of the shoulder but I did retain the false cuff detail. My false cuff falls straight across the sleeve rather than at an angle like the original, but I still like the overall effect.

sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

Only the bodice of the original dress is lined and it’s a lightweight unbleached linen or cotton that acts as support for the fan pleating/gathering at the waist and neckline. The neckline on the original is piped as are the back bodice seams. It closes with hooks and eyes at the center back with only the lining being fully closed. The silk fabric is gathered in such a way that it meets when the lining is hooked shut.

I did the same (lining, piping & back closure) on my cotton version. The fabric I used has much greater drape than the original and may in fact have some rayon or even silk blended in. I don’t recall purchasing it with that knowledge but after years of wearing it, I’m not convinced it’s 100% cotton. In any case, it’s been one of my go-to dresses for working in an 1820’s historic house, attending events at Old Sturbridge Village, or going to other big-sleeved costume outings!

osv chickens

Sometimes I even get to hang out with chickens while wearing it! And for the record, this is probably the best detail shot of that bonnet that I have ;o)

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Blast from the past… 1770s style

Antique Nanking ware platter from Kovels.com. Mine is almost as fabulous!

Antique Nanking ware platter from Kovels.com. Mine is almost as fabulous!

Long story short (which is not one of my strengths…) I found myself at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, Massachusetts earlier today. A small revolutionary war encampment was happening and I went to meet the owner of The Georgian Kitchen. Sadly, I didn’t get to sample any food (total fail on my part not his!) but it did look delicious and I did snag some stunning Nanking ware platters and dessert plates.

This was my first visit back to the 1770s in quite a few years, and while I can’t be sure, I think it’s been nearly seven years since I last visited this particular historic site. As a super-involved RevWar reenactor from 1999 through 2009-ish, I spent many weekends at places like the Homestead. Being there on a beautiful day like today, it’s easy to recall many of the memories I created over the years and I have to admit that I still miss parts of the hobby.

One of things I miss most is teaching and presenting clothing workshops – I love seeing the look on someone’s face when they have an a-ha! moment in the midst of learning a new technique or when a smile pops up while modeling a new gown.

As I looked through my computer files for photographs of events in Danvers, my search came up empty but I did stumble upon a two presentations I gave related to 1770s clothing in Danvers. So instead of pretty event photos, I’m sharing some facts, figures, and what-nots from those notes. Without further ado…

danvers clothing 2007

While the talk was originally 90 minutes or so, I’m cherry picking some of my favorite bits and pieces here, including this unusual portrait of Nancy Bezoil Lane and one of her children. According to the notes I copied at the time, the auction site (F.O. Bailey) that sold the painting had the following to say:

Nancy Bezoil Lane and fifth child by Benjamin Blyth, 1781.

Nancy Bezoil Lane and fifth child by Benjamin Blyth, 1781.

A fine 18th C portrait of Nancy Bezoil Lane (Mrs. Nicholas Lane) and her 5th child (mother of 13 children) of Salem, Mass., in the manner Joseph Badger, from the Frothingham/ Smith family who have resided in Wayne, Maine since the early 1900’s;

http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/articles/jan06/bailey0106.htm

There was one item in the sale that might have escaped unheralded but for a few bidders in the know. It was a large oil on canvas with its subjects identified through family history as Nancy Bezoil Lane and her fifth child of Salem, Massachusetts. Later information dug up revealed that her husband, Nicholas, was a sailmaker. The consigning family was from Wayne, Maine, and represented the Smith side of the Smith/Frothingham connection to the famous furniture makers of Massachusetts.

Apparently, the double portrait was misattributed. Listed as “in the manner of Joseph Badger,” at least two knowledgeable bidders blew off the Badger connection and proceeded on their own knowledge. The winner at $32,480 was dealer Marvin Sadik of Scarborough, Maine, who was dead certain that the artist was actually Benjamin Blyth (baptized 1746-after 1786).

He affirmed later: “There’s a lot of information on [Blyth] in the Massachusetts Historical Society…I’ve had it cleaned, and it looks terrific, and the woman has a wonderful coiffure. It was painted in 1780. We found that out by checking her birth date. It was in Salem.” He later added, “She’s sitting in a Chippendale chair, and the baby is holding a teething ring. I just got it back from the conservator…There are only about three known oil portraits by Blyth, so cleaned up it looks wonderful.”

Sadik referred to a very similar painting in Nina Fletcher Little’s Paintings by New England Provincial Artists 1775-1800 on page 55. “The painting is quite similar to mine of Mrs. Benjamin Moses, virtually the same size as mine, painted by Blyth in 1781, and it is in the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, and that is evidence enough for me.“

What is perhaps most interesting is that according to the Gloucester & Salem Vital Records books, Nancy’s husband Nicholas was a sailmaker and they married and lived first in Gloucester before moving to Salem, a major port town adjacent to Danvers. The portrait is a great pictorial example of what clothing was being worn by the middling sort and when combined with newspapers from the time, we start to get a more accurate sense of what was being worn in the area.

Although Danvers was primarily a farming community, its proximity and connection to the larger prosperous town of Salem would have exposed many residents to range of goods and services. And even Danvers had its own shops that catered to the fashion needs of the residents.

Here are a few of the listings that were included in the original presentation:

Date Shop Name Owner Business Location
1768 No info Nathan Andrews Cordwainer Unknown
1768 King’s Head Tavern William Jones Tavern Rd fr. Boston to Salem
1768 Bake House Benjamin Pickman, Esq. (of Salem) To be let Near new mills
1769-70 The Bell Inn Francis Symonds Selling India & English good; Entertainment for Man and Horse Near Salem
1774 No info Jeremiah Page Store & Shop adjoining to be let 1 m. east of Mr. P’s Tavern
1774 Mr. P’s Tavern Mr. P______ Tavern 1 m. west of J. Page
1774 Unnamed Joseph Jackson Assortment of English Goods, suitable for all seasons Opp. Capt. Page’s
1769-74 Unnamed William Pool Gloves, Leather Breeches, etc A little below Bell Tavern

Phew! The midnight hour is creeping upon us once again and while it would be lovely to add some more portraits and pretty dresses… that will just have to wait for another post. Happy stitching my friends… and for those that like the challenge of research, I hope you enjoy these little tidbits!

Update: Oops! My bad… this post was totally inspired by the Day 4 CoBloWriMo prompt: Write about a recent event you’ve been to or trip you’ve taken.

Raindrops on roses

Remind you of a song? Well, with the witching hour approaching and being a bit tired, I’m putting aside my planned costume-specific post to take up today’s CoBloWriMo prompt: 5 things that make you happy. So here’s a few quick thoughts on some of my favorite things!

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Handsewn eyelets… yep, you read that right! There’s something therapeutic about creating those little circles in a layer (or four) of fabric without breaking any of the woven threads. This example is from an 18th century stays tutorial. Seeing it again almost makes me want to start a new pair of stays. Almost…

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Antique & Vintage Costume Books… oh, the hours I can spend poring over their contents and drooling over the illustrations! This yummy example is in my private collection and is a Ladies’ Tailoring sample & sales book from 1909-1910. The fabric swatches are amazing and the designs are super details. Fabulous for eyeing and touching! I’ve been fortunate to come across a few books and magazines from as early as the 1890s to add to my shelves and also have many more digital or repro copies, thanks to Google Books & Ebay. One of my go-to e-books is a 1911 dressmaking guide by Carrie Crane Ingalls. Yes, the first name caught my attention at first but after making many petticoats, underclothes and skirts from her instructions, she won me over with her attention to detail and thorough explanations.

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Costume Lovin’ Friends… because of course pretty clothing is best enjoyed in company! Yes, researching, planning, stitching, and wearing a new costume is a wonderful journey and one that I love to be part of but it’s always more fun to grab some friends for an afternoon of shenanigans in costume. Better yet if there’s a road trip and a great meal involved. And while photos always help capture the moment (and would add some extra imagery here) many of my favorite memories were created without a camera in sight and I’m so thankful to have a great group of costuming friends to play with! (Although to be fair, this particular photo is helpful in reminding me to shorten my petticoat 😜)

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Sterling silver thimbles… and other old-fashioned sewing tools – I just can’t get enough! They just make me happy to see them on my finger, on a shelf in an antique shop, in my work basket, and yes, even pretty photos on Pinterest. I truly enjoy hand sewing and while costuming full-time several years ago I was often stitching 8+ hours each day. I mastered the art of using a thimble (or at least remembering to use one) and have been partial to sterling thimbles since then. The soft metal warms and better molds to my finger with each wearing… so much so that I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve found myself walking around the house (or out running errands!) with a thimble still stuck on my finger hours after I’ve stopped sewing!

And last but not least:

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A cup of Earl Grey tea… yum! Need I say more?

So while raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are also wonderful, these are a few of MY favorite things!

1830s Roller Print Pink Gown

Now that CoBloWriMo is officially underway and the first prompt (What are your goals for 2016?) has been issued, it’s time to put my bits of blog planning into action! For at least the next few days, I’ll be catching up on projects that have been completed but that I never took the time to write up.  First up… one of my favorites: the gigantically-enormously-sleeved roller-printed pink striped 1830s day dress!

Photo by Pearl White Studio, 2015.

Photo by Pearl White Studio, 2015.

Did I mention gi-normous sleeves? Why, yes… I am wearing pillows on my arms! (No, really I am! They’re tied to the inside of the dress, but more on that later…)

This gown was a two-year process to make and was started in time to wear for the annual street festival, Andover Day, in 2014 when I would be participating in a living history open house at the museum where I was working. In my haste to prepare for that event, there were many details that were left unfinished, including all the back closures, hemming & closures at the wrist, neckline inside binding, and basically anything that needed final tacking or topstitching. Let’s just say I was walking around very carefully that day – I had straight pins up and down the back of the dress, throughout piped areas on the bodice and even at my right wrist!

But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start with the basics. The fabric is a delicious warm pink and cream wavy stripe – a reproduction print cotton that I fell in love with and purchased locally at Quilter’s Common. They stock a rather stunning array of repro cottons and I usually dream of new gown ideas every time I stop in!

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Truly Victorian’s pattern was inspired by an 1832 fashion plate.

The pattern is the 1830s Romantic Era Dress by Truly Victorian. I have to say that I love this pattern! I did fit the dress over my 1830s stays and with using those related measurements, I had only very minor tweaking at the shoulder area for a perfect fit. As is my usual habit, I did not make a muslin – I just dove in with the good fabric. I used 1/16″ cotton cording for all of the covered piping, picked up from the home dec section at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I have a note to myself to use Coats & Clark Knit-Cro-Sheen crochet cotton for the next time around but have yet to actually pick some up!

The bulk of the interior seams were sewn by machine, and the bodice and sleeves are fully interlined with another light cotton. I regret lining the sleeves as it makes them terribly warm when worn at any temperature over 70°F. Less than ideal for a gown likely to worn for spring/summer/fall outings. And back sleeve puffto the pillows… I used the short puff sleeve sleeve pattern to create a sleeve pouf – similar to this one from the Victoria & Albert Museum. I’m also betting that a down filling would be cooler than the cotton batting I used. Did I mention the sleeve were on the warm side?

To create the proper bell-shaped skirt, I wore three petticoats beneath the dress. First, and closest to my corset was a plain linen petticoat from my 1770’s wardrobe. It’s lighweight and starts to create some bulk at the hem. Over that was a corded organdy petticoat, made following Jennifer Rosborough’s excellent instructions. Lastly, I added a quilted petticoat to add some loft and soften the bell shape. And voila… a lovely 1830s silhouette!

 

1830s Roller Print Cotton Dress - Finis!

1830s Roller Print Cotton Dress – Finis!

As I sit here typing and trying to recall details so many months later, I’m reminded of the few finishing touches I added before wearing it for Andover Day 2015. I did manage to finish the neckline (self fabric binding to hold the piping to the inside) as well as add hooks and eyes at the center back and both wrists. Some vintage ribbon with paper flowers and leaves at the waist and in my hair were my go-to accessories both years. Maybe for the next wearing I’ll craft an actual belt!

Photo by Pearl White Studio, 2014.

While I did not use sleeve puffs in 2014, I did make and wear them in 2015 and you can see what a difference they make! Here’s my 2014 portrait as taken by Pearl White Studio. Not so gigantic, right?

As the midnight hour approaches and I wind down this entry, I’m still contemplating the initial prompt for CoBloWriMo: goals for 2016. This post, and this dress (even if it’s a past project), are well suited to that theme. One of the first things I did this January was reach out to some like-minded relatively-local costumers to see if we could try to coordinate outings and make some concrete event plans. One of the ideas (goals?) kicked around was a Wives & Daughter’s 1830s theme picnic. As the half-way point of the year approaches, I’m excited to say that those plans are underway and we’re looking forward to fabulous outing in September. And as I pour over old photos, costuming notes, and pinterest images, I’m still loving this gown so maybe I won’t be adding a whole new 1830s ensemble to my 2016 goal list after all.

On the other hand… A belt? A reticule? A pelerine? Now those are some costuming goals I can get behind… and maybe even get ahead of! What a list – I’m off to get some sleep and start dreaming of big-sleeved parties…

Back on the (blogging) bandwagon

Isn’t it funny how a small coincidence can have a big impact? After not being particularly active or following the Historical Sew Monthly very closely on facebook, I was in binge reading mode when I saw the following post:

facebook post suggesting idea of coblowrimo

What? An excuse to get back to writing? An excuse to write about costumes? An excuse to meet other like-minded sewists? Yes, please and thank you!

So, here we are on the very eve of day one of CoBloWriMo, or rather a moment into it, and I actually have some plans in place to carry me through at least the next week of writing. Please stay tuned dear readers… it may be a bumpy ride, but at least we’re headed in a forward direction! The next few posts will see me catching up on details from some 2015 and early 2016 completed projects but I’m also hoping to finally get some patterns drafted for sharing, too. Fingers crossed that this motivation continues ;o)

In the meantime, here’s a few sneak peeks of some favorite finished pieces… with details to follow of the related shenanigans in the coming days!

1830s Night Gown

And a most desirable night-gown at that! I’m working with one of my favorite books again, The workwoman’s guide, and although I’m referring to the 1840 imprint, it had been available for several years prior and these are generally not the most up-to-date high-fashion styles being illustrated. Therefore I’m tagging this one with a general 1830s timeframe!

Here’s the full description from the book:

NIGHT-GOWN.
PLATE 8. FIG. 5.

1830s Nightgown

This shape is not so much worn as that of Fig. 4, nor perhaps has it so neat and finished an appearance, but on many accounts it is the most desirable, being in the first place, more economical ; it also washes more easily, and above all, is particularly convenient in time of sickness, when it is very essential to a weak or suffering person to be able to draw open the gown at the neck and wrists, so as to have full play for the arms in changing her linen, or having blisters, leeches, &c. applied; whereas those night dresses confined at the neck in collars are very irksome, and cause much unnecessary suffering in being removed. The scale and plans so clearly explain the size, shape, &c. that nothing remains to be said, except that a band is sometimes worn round the waist, with a narrow frill sewn round the ends, which are sloped off, according to fancy.

It is better economy to cut three or six gowns together, as the gussets, binders, &c. take about the third of a breadth, so that in cutting out one, there in an unavoidable waster of the other two-thirds of a breadth. The two sleeves cut in the width, and are, for the largest size, 9 nails (20.25”) long.

While I’m neither weak nor suffering, I do appreciate having my neck free and the illustration was a bit more delicate looking than the other options.

For measuring and cutting, I re-calculated the table printed in the book to equal inches.  To doublecheck my math (or try other patterns from this book), a nail = 2.25.” Here’s the original:

1830s nightgown, measurement chart

And here’s my updated table:

Woman Girl of 18 yrs. Girl of 14 yrs.
Width of material, if gored 33.75″ 14 12
Width of gore to be cut off each side at the top  3.9375″  3.9375″  4.5″
Width of the bottom will be 41.625″ 39.375″ 36
Width across the top will be 25.875″ 23.625″ 18″
Quantity required for one 4 yds 2.25″ 3 yds 18″ 3 yds
Quantity required for two 7 yds 29.25″ 6 yds 18″ 5 yds 24.75″
Length of skirt 1½ yds 1 yard 1 yard
Depth of slit in front 13.5″ 13.5″ 11.25″
Space to leave for shoulders 5.625″ 5.625″ 4.5″
Slope of shoulders 2.25″ 2.25″ 1.6875″
Width of binders 4.5″ 3.375″ 3.375″
Length of ditto down selvage 18” 18″ 18″
Width of sleeves or two in the breadth 16.875” 15.75″ 13.5″
Width of wristband (if required) 4.5” 4.5″ 4.5″
Length of wristband down the selvage 9” 7.875″ 6.75″
Size of sleeve gusset 6.75” 6.75″ 6.75″
Depth of frill 2.8125” 2.25″ 1.6875″

I used the ‘woman’ scale and cut my pieces as follows from 45″ wide fabric:

  • Cut 2 body/skirt, 54″ x 45″
  • Cut 2 binders: 4.5″ x 18″
  • Cut 2 sleeves: 16.875″ x 20.5″
  • Cut 2 wristbands: 4.5″ x 9″
  • Cut 2 sleeve gussets: 6.75″ x 6.75″

1830s nightgown - cutting the gored bodyAfter cutting those pieces, I shaped the body/skirt pieces by folding both pieces in half, lengthwise, and marking half of the top width (25.875/2=12.9735) and half of the bottom width (41.625/2=20.8125). I used a piece of painters tape to connect the markings and give me a line to cut along. This step saved me from piecing my gores – a major bonus since my fabric was wider than needed anyway!

Next I marked the shoulder area with a pin, measuring 5.625″ along the top of the body from the gored/side edge. To give the shoulder seam the recommended slope, I measured down the side gore 2.25″ from the top and marked the location with a pin. Then a cut a straight line from pin to pin – this creates the shoulder seam.

This was one of the steps and measurements I fussed over a few times – mostly because I’m not accustomed to having shoulder seams on most early 19th and 18th century garments. Earlier garments are often cut with the body as one piece over the shoulder but this book is written just as that’s beginning to change. In the end, it was what the directions and illustration indicated so that’s what I went with!

The final shaping for the body/skirt piece is the neckline. I picked one of the pieces and cut down the center front 13.5″ to create the neck slit. And I must say, that’s a mighty long slit.. perfect for getting to the chest and for applying leeches and blisters to invalids. For us non-invalids – it could probably be shortened to 8-10″ and still allow for easy dressing.

I scooped the back neckline about 1″ deep and scooped the front neckline about 3″ deep. This was a random guess on my part, based on the sole illustration from Plate 8. That said, it worked out pretty well and came out looking similar enough that I’d use the same measurement in the future. Once I had the neckline shaping in place, I measured the distance around so that I would know how long to cut the fabric for the frill or neck ruffle. In this example, my neckline measured roughly 31″ and I wanted a frill that was roughly double that width. I was able to cut my frill/ruffle piece from the extra material left over from cutting the side gores – this meant the ruffle could be one long piece. Mine was cut 2.8125″ x 68.”

Hemming the frill was the first actual sewing I completed, and that was done with an itty bitty whipstitch to create a 1/8″ hem. Ah – the joys of working with tightly woven fabric! I think I almost could have managed a 1/16″ hem – it was great fabric to work with!

Next up was seaming the shoulder. In most cases, the interior seams were stitched by machine with 1/4″ seam allowances and 12 stitches per inch. The gussets (we’ll get there soon) and all of the felled edges and hems were sewn by hand, also with 1/4″ seam allowance although I usually only manage about 10 stitches per inch by hand. Although this won’t ever be worn for display or museum or other educational purposes, so I didn’t really have to hand-sew, but it does turn out so much better that way – plus I was doing some typical late night sewing and didn’t want the noisy machine to wake anyone up!

So, back to sewing… Shoulder seams – stitched and felled. The neckline slit was hemmed and reinforced with extra whipstitches at the bottom of the slit. The unhemmed edge of the neck frill was gathered by machine and pinned in place to the neckline, right sides together. The gathering strings were pulled up to match the edges and then very slowly stitched in place by machine. I did not want to have to do this part again! You can see my gathering stitches in the photo below – I stitched them in black to make it easy to remove them after I finished assembling the night-gown.

White on white stitching… not so excellent photo – but the ruffle did turn out well. The felling was easier to do with the black gathering stitches in place. They were removed after it was finished.

As with all the other seams, the ruffle seam was felled down to the night-gown. Having the gathering stitches in place helped keep the bulk of the ruffle together while I was doing the felling. The black thread was only caught in the felling in two or three places, otherwise it pulled right out when I was done.

Most of the rest of the night-gown went together similar to a shift or shirt construction – pleating the sleeve to fit the shoulder, adding sleeve gussets to the sleeve, and attaching the sleeve to the body. I will say the sleeve pleating was probably the only place where I’m questioning my steps. Without a reference to  how narrow to pleat the sleeve, I had to guess based on the illustration and its markings. The sleeve looks right, but fits a bit more narrow than I would like under the arm. I pleated the top of the sleeve to measure 6.5.”

1830s nightgown - sleeve pleating

That’s the interior with the ruffle and shoulder seam in the upper left corner. I would definitely use fewer or smaller pleats in the shoulder in version two.

Next time around… I’d probably increase that to 10.” The pleating wouldn’t be as pretty, but I think the fit would be more comfortable. (A key feature for something you’re sleeping in!)

1830s nightgown - shoulder binders

Interior of shoulder & binder on left and the finished area as seen from the outside on the right.

With the sleeves and gussets sewn in place, the rest of my weekend sewing was taken up with felling all those seams and hemming the bottom. This nightgown also specified binders, which are rectangular pieces sewn in place to reinforce the shoulders – and save them from wear & tear.

Because of the shaped shoulder seam, this was trickier than usual. I ultimately ended up just adding a dart at the shoulder to compensate for the odd shaping. The rest of the binder was turned under 1/4″ around all edges and pinned to the inside of the night-gown. The sewing was done as a teeny running stitch from the right side. The idea is that as the binders wear out, they can be replaced so it doesn’t make sense to sew them in as securely as the other parts of the garment.

I saved the wristband for last. Had I read the instructions more closely, I might have skipped the wristbands entirely, but since I already had them cut out, I did go ahead and add them. (I still haven’t added the buttons or buttonholes though…. shhh!)

The wristbands are basic shirt-making 101 – sleeves pleated to fit, band stitched to sleeve, folded in half towards the inside and all edges whipped together and/or to the shirt to create a wristband or cuff. (And then you’re supposed to add buttons and buttonholes but umm, yeah… I’ll get to that later!) I did find it surprising that wristbands were optional – but then again, considering this was ideal clothing for invalids, it makes sense not have any constricting closures.  I’m also considering adding some silk ribbons to the neckline, just to keep it close if I so choose. It actually stays pretty well without any closure but could be a bit more exposing than I would prefer over morning coffee.

1830s nightgown

Not the best photo, but still my favorite! The night-gown looks both like it’s trying to photobomb by Christmas tree and like it’s about to catch on fire at the same time. Couldn’t have planned that if I tried…

1830 stays – Part 4

Amazing what a little snowstorm (or a big blizzard) and a few snow days will do for your productivity! An expected snowfall last Saturday led to the museum being closed for the day and I managed to get a fair amount done on the stays – enough to even do a quick try-on. Not an ideal fit, but good enough to proceed!

DSC_0619

Yay to finishing all fourteen eyelets without an awl! Hopefully the symmetrical lacing will work – it’s the same on my original pair but I sense they will never feel as secure as the single lacing on my 1770s stays.

When I originally traced the pattern pieces, only one of the linen layers was marked so I decided to thread-trace all the marking and cutting lines with red thread from the front side of the garment. This made it much easier to begin inserting the gussets. You’ll see that I traced both the cutting and stitching lines – there’s not much room for error there.

Since my other half was out plowing several towns away, I managed to get this on myself and reasonably snug-laced. I had thread-traced the cutting lines for the hip gussets and cut them open about halfway up while I was wearing them. I just wanted to give some ease around my hips and try to determine if the bust area was going to work and a rough placement for the straps in front.

Once this mess was on and the lacing tied off, I determined the following:

  • The bust cups are workable but will need a slight bit of gathering as the binding is applied
  • Overall the bust is a bit large but I think someone else lacing them and shortening the straps will help
  • The length was perfect but the hip gussets will start about 1 1/4″ below where currently marked. Not surprising since that’s about the same amount I add to most patterns to adjust for my height
  • And lastly, I’ll probably machine sew the next pair….

Once all that was behind me (and I managed to get them back off of my body) I set to work re-marking and thread-tracing the new lines for the hip gussets. Those have been a work in progress – one done, three to go. I did finish all the stitching on the bust gussets, though. And earlier this evening I pulled any excess marking threads and got the iron heated up to remove the pen markings. I have the say – they are starting to look awfully pretty!

Taking a break from the monotony of straight gusset stitching, I decided to start marking and sewing some of the quilted details. And yes, I really did use cinnamon and a sock to transfer the pattern.

DSC_0639

For the record, I hate wearing socks so I was happy to sacrifice half a pair to the costuming process. The pattern was copied onto white paper and pricked with a pin to create holes for the cinnamon powder to transfer the design through

I was skeptical that this would work but lo and behold….

Score one for historical accuracy… I was just perusing one the earliest issues of The Lady’s Book (aka Godey’s) and sure enough pouncing with cinnamon through pricked paper was the method recommended for transferring embroidery patterns. Go figure!