The Historical Sew Monthly April Challenge this year was "Local", and boy was I stumped on what to make for that.
April 2020: Local: Support your local industry and your local history by making something that (as much as possible) uses materials made locally, or purchased from local suppliers, or that features a garment specific to your part of the world.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no textile mills in my state, so no locally made materials. My town is severely lacking in locally owned fabric stores. And I can't think of any garment specific to the Midwestern United States. Not that I'm not proud of my roots and my home, it just doesn't transfer well to this challenge. And so, what was I to do?
I decided to look through my fabric stash and see what fabrics I had earmarked for historical projects which had been bought from small, independently owned, fabric shops in my state. Yes, we are lacking independently owned fabric shops in my town, but not in my state as a whole! Thus, I widened my definition of local to include my whole state, and this gave me a handful of options to pick from.
After considering my options, I decided the floral silk from Ensembles of the Past was the "fabric purchased from a locally-owned shop" which I wanted to use. This business is located in my state, and I met the proprietress, Sara, through a historical sewing group local to our state. Thus, the 1780's caraco I shared about the other day qualifies as my submission to the "Local" HSM challenge.
I would have shared the Historical Sew Monthly details for this project in my last post, but that post was already plenty long. As I had more pictures of my caraco than I could share in just one post, I decided a second post sharing primarily the HSM details and more pretty pictures, taken by my talented brother, would not go amiss!
And so, without further adieu, here are the Historical Sew Monthly facts as they relate to this project:
What the item is: 1780's Caraco
How it fits the challenge: I bought the fabric from a small independent fabric shop in my state, and the proprietress is a member of the same historical sewing group as me.
Material: Printed silk taffeta, wool for lining, silk shantung for trim.
Pattern: 1775-1785 Caraco from Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold.
Notions: Thread, hooks an eyes.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is accurate. The internal seams are sewn by machine to save time, but all visible stitching is by hand. The construction order is accurate according to the information provided in Patterns of Fashion 1. The fabric print isn't entirely accurate, but it's close. The fiber content of the outer fabric and lining, silk and wool, is accurate. I'll say 75% accurate.
Hours to complete: 9 hours of patterning, mocking up, cutting out, and machine sewing. No real idea how much time was spent hand sewing though. Maybe 30 hours total?
First worn: For pictures immediately after finishing 5/25/2020
Total cost: The printed silk was $67 for 4 yards. The silk shantung was $10 a yard and I used less than a yard. The wool was gifted to me. Add in thread and hooks and eyes and the total is around $80 USD.