Sunday, March 1, 2015

I'm dreaming of dresses. . .

It's cold. And snowy. And slippery. So, other than caring for the animals I'm staying inside today where it's warm and not slippery. On one hand this is sad, I can't go to church this morning and I really wanted to, but on the other hand this means I have lots of time to sew on my ball gown! And dream of things I'd love to sew one day if I ever have time.

Ever since finishing my purple plaid wool dress I've been dreaming of making more historical dresses from different time periods, why? Just for the challenge, the experience. I want to become a better seamstress and this is one way I can pursue that goal. Also because I love history. I want to know what it was like to live in the past, to wear the clothing of the time. (although I do really appreciate having my sewing machine to use when making these, so nothing is completely historically accurate as far as construction goes.) So these are some of the projects I am hoping to one day get around to (when I'm not sewing stuff for other people).

First off, I want to make,

This dress. I found it on Pinterest. I love it. It's from 1885-87, the second bustle era. I love the triangular over skirt and the lace trim. I even already have fabric for it.


This green calico, the fabric I originally got to make my purple plaid dress out of, before I found the purple plaid. I have 10 yards of it! 


Then I have these two patterns I should be able to put together and alter to make the dress.
I can wear this dress over my existing corset, and probably over my two plainer petticoats, but I will need to make myself a wire bustle, that will be a new experience to be sure! I also ought to make my self a combination, a combined chemise and drawers, similar to a union suit, it is worn under the corset and far more prevalent than a chemise and drawers were by the late bustle era.  

Next, for Christmas one of my best friends gave me this book.


It has copies of pattern of original dresses made between 1600 and 1860, and gives information about how they were made. I plan to use it to make a regency (Jane Austen's era) gown. Most likely this one, although there are a couple others I like too.


And this is the pattern for it.


And that is wear the challenge lies! I will need to transfer the pattern from this 1/8th inch grid to a 1 inch grid. and then size it to me. In the past I've always worked off a commercial pattern, altering it as I need to make it look like the design in my head. This will be the first time I've drawn a pattern myself, so it's a little scary! Although I'm really excited about getting to use a pattern from c. 1800, rather than a modern pattern. If this project goes well there are several others in this book that I would love to attempt! 
For fabric I might just use plain white muslin, or I might use these green striped sheets I got at a thrift store. They are about the same weight as a thin muslin and would make an amazing dress! I'm just not sure I want to use them incase this project doesn't turn out well.


Now the undergarments for the regency era were considerably different than those from later in the 19th century, so I will have to make myself a complete set, including a set of half-stays (corset like thing) and a bodiced petticoat. I may be able to wear a chemise I already have with it though.  

And finally, I have this printed sheet that I think would make a wonderful period dress.  


The print reminds me of something from the 1820's-1840's, so I think I'll make a dress from somewhere in there, but I have nothing picked out yet. If my regency dress turns out well I may consider using another pattern from Patterns of Fashion I, but only time will tell.

Now back to sewing! I've made considerable progress on my ball gown this week, but most of it has been hand sewing so there's not really anything new to show. I'm hopeful that I can get it done within the next 2 weeks or so. That kinda depends on what the goats decide to do though, I have several left to kid yet. I'm just hoping they wait till after this cold snap to have those babies! 

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