1770’s Corset and Panniers

I recently completed this corset and panniers, its the first things iv’e made with this mannequin and i’m really happy with how much detail you can do in something so small. not so happy with the binding around the edge of the corset, but hey, practise. As i made it over xmas i neglected to get photos of the process, woops.

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Pattern Drafting

Spent my first sunny day off this year drafting patterns, I usually start with inspiration that will help me with the design I want.

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I determine where the seam lines are in the outfit so that i am able to draw the shapes out, creating the basics for the pattern.

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I then place a piece of fabric on top of my mannequin, pinning it down so it is as crease free as you can get it and draw the basic shape on, following the binding lines on the mannequin.

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I then cut out the shape, leaving extra to the sides of the shape and draw a more detailed shape.

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Neglect

So… i have neglected my blog shamefully over the last week or two, but i am back on it now after writing my first essays and have several things planned. I have almost finished Arabella and i started Lydia, my 1810’s day dress, inspired by this picture from pinterest.

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I am also planning a 1840’s day dress inspired from another picture on pinterest and from my own books…. there’s a bunch more which I’ve forgotten, but it will all be up here anyway. I am also going to try an experiment, i was reading about the daily lives of dressmakers and seamstresses in Victorian England and learnt how hard it was for them.

I had read the book Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell and in in it Ruth is a dressmaker before she runs off and scandalizes everyone by getting pregnant, (good book, made me laugh to read that some eminent authors of the time burnt the book in disgust lol) but she does describe life as a dressmaker and how hard and drool life was for them. Anyway, i read here on the lovely internet by this lady that women could work up to 20 hours a day and get 10 minutes for breakfast, 15 minutes for lunch and 20 for supper, only if they had got on well or they would have no supper and had to carry on until 4 or 5 in the morning. I though this was epic and made me appreciate my measly 5 and 6 hour shifts sat at my checkout; so i decided that i would try it out. I am on holiday this Monday for a week so after i have walked the dog tomorrow i am going to do an all-day-er and stick it out for 20 hours.

I am going to make my 1840’s dress from above and it will be interesting to see how far i can get, i will be doing it all by hand as well, as that was how Ruth worked and my working class equivalent would have not been able to afford one anyway. I also found out a while ago that my Great Great Grandmother was a dress maker in the early 1860’s when she was about my age so this will bring home just how hard she worked everyday just down the road from where i am now.

ALSO, very shamefully i will add the final episode details of Downton Abbey, which was amazing and so lovely with its very English game of cricket :D.

Mutton Dressed as Lamb – Sleeves of the 1830’s and 1890’s – Part One

The big mutton sleeves first began to take shape in the late 1820’s with a thin gauze fabric overlaping the shorter sleeve, meeting at the wrist, creating a large mutton shape.

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Then at the beginning of the 1830’s the undersleeve began to expand rapidly, enlarging the overall size. Dresses meanwhile still had the short puffy sleeves of 1820’s, just much larger at the start of the decade.

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The large sleeves took over the 1830’s, becoming the infamous mutton sleeves that were also so recognisable of the 1890’s.

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A top layer of fabric othen overlapped the large sleeves, extending the length of the already deep shoulders.

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As the decade came to a close the sleeves began to take on a different, more structured shape and were scaled down in size and focused more on a strict structure that represented strongly womens place in society at the time.

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Size Charts

Something which was really important for me to get right was the size charts i will use to measure my patterns from. It was actually a really painful experience that i am so glad i never have to do again (I hope). Turns out that not only do every shop in the world have different measurements they follow but every country is different as well. I’ve kept it simple though, as this would make using the patterns to complicated and of course as long as people are more than generous with the fabric hopefully there won’t be a problem.

I found this brilliant page by the American’s which was so useful for the basic start and made little simple diagrams for me to use in future. I’ve made small, medium and large sizes for women, haven’t done men or children yet.

I keep adding things as i go so this will probably be just to start with. If only cloth sizes were more universal….

1860’s Crinoline

This little Crinoline basically developed into a 1860′ s design based on the way the wire felt like going that day. I had intended for 1840-50’s so i think i came quite close and am happy with the way that it turned out.

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What i did with the strips of fabric was to put little eyelets in them so the wire was more flexiable so that when the whole thing is together i can bent the wire better into the right shape. This little crinoline was more about practicality and shape than being authentic so the final dress on top would look right, but at some point i would like to make one that is more authentic in design.
Ive already picked out some fabrics in purples and pinks and i’m sure i don’t have enough so im going to concerntrate on the designs right now. I did try my hand at drawing on this hear samsung galaxy tab – which i think in future i am going to call tabby for short lol – and i was rather impressed with my little sketches (i did try and draw the dog but that was awful), for those who know what they are doing i expect you can get really good results.

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