Mar 6, 2014

1890's Costume Challenge -Inspiration and Patterns

Now that I'm no longer in a sewing frenzy, it is time to play catch up on the 1890's costume challenge.

The Inspiration

 I spent alot of time looking over scaled period patterns, costuming books, fashion plates, and period photos to get a feel for the 1890's.  I decided pretty quickly that I would make a simple skirt but really had no idea what to do for a bodice until I saw this ensemble in Costume in Detail. I fell in love with the ruching on the bodice and knew I wanted to incorporate it into my costume. 

For my purposes, I really like this style of bodice and yoked bodices in general.  They have a more relaxed look and fit than their smooth fitted counterparts.  Because of the extra ease build into the front, they make fabulous "work" garments allowing greater mobility and less precision in fitting, thus saving a bit of time.  Plus, the extra fabric at the bust does wonders to conceal the top edge of the corset, which is really great if you don't have time to make a proper corset cover.

The Patterns

My salvation on this project was a set of "Natural Form" patterns from Truly Victorian, that I got back before my youngest was born.  
They include:

* the above images courtesy of Truly Victorian

Way back then, I made the corset (which I cannibalized for my current project), and a mock up of the jacket.  Everything fit and looked fantastic. 

Then, I found out I was expecting my youngest.  With a little one on the way, and growing belly,  the project and it's restrictive corset were joyfully tucked away in the closet, behind my maternity clothes.

Fast forward 5+ years to Feb. 2014, when I find myself in need of a costume which would be suitable for 1888-1900.  This set of patterns instantly springs to mind.  

Sure, there are some style changes between the 1880's and 1990's but altering a working pattern with seams in the right places is much quicker than starting from scratch.  

I made the corset according to the pattern directions, keeping the CF and CB of my original cannibalized corset as they were, complete with spoon busk and lacing grommets already in place.  I cut all the other pieces to my new measurements, basted them into  a mock up which fit perfectly, and then proceeded with the final assembly.  

The petticoat was cut according to the pattern instructions for view 4.  It was easy to construct, but those ruffles were tedious even with the help of my ruffeler.

The bodice is where it got tricky.  Although I dabble occasionally, I'm no expert pattern maker and what I've learned is from trial and a lot of error.  I wanted so badly to find a good tutorial on how to adjust my fitted bodice pattern to the new style, but didn't.   So, I was stuck winging it.  Now that the project is finished, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 

In the future, I hope to do a quick tutorial about the changes I made  to the bodice pattern, so check back later if your are interested.  

If you know of a good tutorial for making similar changes, please send me a link and I'll include it below.

Mar 3, 2014

1890's Costume Reveal

I finished my 1890's costume just in time.  It isn't perfect, but it was perfectly fine for Saturday's cooking extravaganza with fellow volunteer, Wendy Neff, in the Meals house at Burritt on the Mountain.  This is what our table looked like about halfway through the day.  We aren't the tidiest of cooks, but our food tastes amazing. We were so busy during the day, that I didn't get a picture of myself in my building.

However, Kelly Fisk, the historic park supervisor, was kind enough to take my picture for me at the end of the day in the Balch house kitchen next to the old wood stove.  Check out the hair.  I swear it ages me 10 yrs.