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.
Spent my first sunny day off this year drafting patterns, I usually start with inspiration that will help me with the design I want.
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.
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.
I then cut out the shape, leaving extra to the sides of the shape and draw a more detailed shape.
I had hoped i would have got a lot more done during my week off but it wasn’t to be, i did understand how far my determination would stretch and apparently its endless 😀 I’m so glad i didn’t just give up. I’m hoping to complete her end-of-week because i’ve just got the bodice left to do.
The farthingale was where i had the most difficulty, apparently wire will not do what you want it to and i’ve noticed there are a lot of variety of farthingale shapes in portraits and among others reconstruction works (future projects).
At first it wouldn’t move into the shape i wanted, but in the end with the bum roll underneath it created the shape i wanted, high at the back and a deep dip at the front, like these below.
And with the petticoat on the shape is better realised, i did have a fun moment when i could climb underneath and hem the petticoat and no one would have seen me, perhaps my shadow but great hiding place.
I’ve already started on the skirt and but i think because of the weight of the Taffeta the farthingale is starting to lose its shape so i may add a flounce on to top like the black and white picture above.
I read somewhere that to be creative is to allow yourself to make mistakes, well that was what i did on Tuesday and Wednesday not willingly mind, but i excepted it and learnt from them.
I choose to make a late 16th century smock on Tuesday and it was important that i cut the neckline right to go with my 1590’s dress i was making and the corset i had just finished. However something went wrong mid action and perhaps i choose to ignore it or i was unaware of it and the smock was sent back 10 or 15 years. It did occur to me in the end that there is only one right way to cut a smock/chemise.
On Wednesday i carried on with the 1590’s dress and choose to make a large french farthingale to go underneath the skirt, it looked pretty simple (i had never made one before though) and went ahead without really considering it at first. I realised later on that i should of took into consideration what i would be boning the farthingale with, as it turned out that my trusty flexible wire wasn’t going to work, weighing the whole thing down. I also miscalculated the shape of the waist, i’m still not sure how i did this, but i will figure it out.
I felt pretty lacking in motivation at the end of wednesday, ready to go to sleep and forget the two wasted days, in my eyes. But my lovely tabby (samsung tablet) reminded me to read some verses in the bible and my motivation flooded back, reminding me whats most important and why i’m trying so hard. Anyway, heres hoping the rest of the week will be far more productive.
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 don’t know if anybody else has noticed that little boys before the first world war always wore little frilly dresses, just like the ones their sisters were wearing. I collected loads of photo’s of the Russian royal family from the internet after reading about them and bought several books (The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs and Queen Victoria’s Family, both by Charlotte Zeepvat) which had loads of photos like this.
After researching these little boys fashions i found that before the first world war its has always been like this.
The above are picture of boys, the little boy in the pink dress is American and would have continued to wear dresses until he was breeched, which i guess has something to do with boys in earlier times wearing breeches when they were considered a child and not a toddler anymore. Also in this photo, the young boy’s bodice has no point going down as a young girls would (which would have been following the line of the corset underneath) which is something that would have made the two sexes distinguishable.
You can also see this here with the three eldest children of the Prince of Wales, the two children sitting are the future George III and his brother Edward. Edward is wearing a similar dress to the boy above while George’s dress is very similar to his sister’s Augusta’s, yet they are distinguishable by the cut in George’s Bodice which the pointed edge is atached to his apron, while his sisters bodice has a pointed edge with no cut.
Later on the fashions became more blurred, with practicality taking precedence over rules and symbols as children were becoming more playful and free in there portraits. Above is two boys playing with each other and animals, unrestricted by lace and stiff bodices. While young girls were portrayed in similar scenes and demonstrating that fashion had inevitably moved on, they still had the stiff pointed bodices over their restricting corsets, perhaps predicting the strict fashion code and social codes they would have to follow later in their lives.
Bought on a recent trip to Bath (amazing place), it’s such a lovely little book with ideas for sewing cushions, pillowcases, cravats, work-bags, paper flowers, purses, fashion and furniture accessories among others. There are also a lot of quotes and lovely pictures which fill up the book, at first you would think this would be distracting and a bit annoying but there are some lovely paintings showing examples of the current fashions. This is a book you can use again and again. I have several projects in mind for little things i would like to make from this book.