July 27, 2010

Linen Frockcoat

Here is a linen frockcoat that I just finished. It is a light gray/brownish color, hard to describe. It doesn't photograph well because, even though the picture below makes it look like a long trench coat, it actually has a well defined waist seam. We'll blame it on the hanger.
This was the pattern I used, and it worked very well. The instructions were very confusing though, and I wouldn't recommend them. Also, the guy this is made for is very tall so I had to alter the length of all the pieces.
We changed it to single breasted for variety. No one likes to go to an event and look exactly like everyone else. In the back view you can just barely see the back vent and side pleats.And just for fun, some candy stripe linen as lining. The buttonholes will be hand done by the proud new owner, as well as topstiching and other final details.

July 23, 2010

An Original

A fellow member of the Sensibility forum found this lovely painting of an 1880s scene. Notice the two ladies in the background and what they're wearing? Yes, it's almost identical to the dress I just finished!

It is so nice to see an image that makes the design come alive. And now I can probably assume that the style would be appropriate for older ladies too.

On another note, I am working away on another 1880s polonaise. The two I made last summer are here and here. I would rather do a grand reveal and show the entire dress rather than bits and pieces, but unfortunately that creates a rather boring blog.

I have realized that making a dress is rather like building a house. There are so many decisions to make...fabric, pattern, lining, buttons, trim, hem length, neckline finish, hat decorations, the list goes on! These decisions are made infinitely harder when you have three people who must agree. When I work for the museum I decide what works best construction-wise, the volunteer gives input on style (and if they are paying for it, material) and then the museum curator must approve everything historically. It gets to be a complicated mess that greatly prolongs the process.

That isn't to say I don't like it. Usually everything comes together and we end up with an amazing product... one of which I should hopefully be revealing to you soon!

Thus ends the journal entry,

July 18, 2010

Striped Linen Waistcoat

Of course, to go with a new shirt another waistcoat is needed... This one is in a lovely striped linen. Much less formal than the silk one I made earlier.
Typically the back panel is made from a lining fabric rather than the fancy fabric used in the front. However, for this waistcoat I was running short on lining and had plenty of the linen. And once again, there are no buttons yet because the man I sew for likes to hand do them himself.

July 16, 2010

A Checked Shirt

My goodness, it looks like I've gotten into the shirt making business! For every one I show you there are usually two others you don't see. What can I say... they're easier assembly line style, and the only reason I am showing you pictures again is because this fabric is different and fun.

It's cotton this time, unlike the previous linen ones. A black and cream check--so soft I think I want one for a nightshirt.

The style is similar to the Robin Hood tunic. Someday soon I'll have to dig up a tutorial because it's so easy I think I could convert many of you to my shirt making club. *I just realized that the first picture makes the shirt look really strange. It's not that short, I just folded it to fit on the table. These shirts are so large and unwieldy, they don't photograph well.

July 06, 2010

New 1880s Dress!

Yay, I finished something! Can you believe it? This dress is for some of the new volunteers at the living history museum I work at. Out at the homestead, the daughter's name is Cora, and this year we have two new teen volunteers to play the role.
This dress is perfect for the two girls because they are close to the same size, but just different enough to make a normal bodice tight on one, and baggy on the other. Since this dress belts at the waist it can work for each of them and we get Cora looking consistent without making two dresses.
I drafted the bodice using a diagram from Fashions of the Guilded Age, Volume 1 by Frances Grimble. There is a commercial pattern for this bodice available but I was too impatient to wait for it, and too frugal to buy it.
Typical 1880s pleating on the cuffs, and piping along the shoulders and along the top of the pleats. Other than that, there is no trimming because this is another work dress.