A Paletot for Ice Skating

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A Paletot for Ice Skating

Amanda turned 29 this year and for birthday festivities requested “Victorian Skating.” Which gave everyone lots of room for interpretation. On the suggestion of Jennylafleur I decided to be smart (I know crazy right!?) and make the paletot that I know I need for Gettysburg this year AHEAD OF TIME…..I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock………Good? okay onward!


In doing my virtual shopping research I discovered there’s a fairly large range of 1860s outerwear.

From the ever stylish circus tent….

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Oversized shoes encouraged

To more svelte fitted styles..

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Gurl you rock that sassy fringe…brick..layer..look

Some like the image above have narrow coat sleeves but some have GIANT SLEEVES.

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What? no it’s not drafty at all…why do you ask?

Common trims involve soutache or fur.

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With hands like those you could be president

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I killed a bear with my gaze for this fur. don’t you forget it.

And quilted trim was sure to keep you toasty

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For that un-made bed look

I found examples of length that varied form short and cute to almost wrappers.

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another theme? muffs make everything better

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“I’m not wearing a corset…BUT YOU’LL NEVER KNOW! MWAH HA HA. *ahem*”


So all this to say that when it comes to 1860s warmth you have a huge range of options. I only focused on coat-like-things here, but the cloak-the-size-of-Montana was also a popular look. I just have enough trouble feeling like a giant blob most days, a sleeve seemed helpful. I’m calling this a paletot because to the best of my knowledge a sleeved coat with no waist seam is a paletot and I’m not expert enough to disagree with THE Katherine C-G.

I used navy blue 100% wool flannel with an orange silk lining. The curly lamb trim was a find at a local fabric store maybe 6 years ago that I had been hoarding for such a project.

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Construction wise I used the Homespun Patterns “1860s Paletot coat pattern” on a recommendation from the ever wise Katherine. I was very very smart and didn’t notice that it came in sizes. so please imagine my face when I opened it and realized I had ordered the size 8-10-12 and I in fact needed a size 22…This is when it pays to have friends with fancy sewing degrees as Adrienne graded it up for me. I promised to have her babies.

 

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Derpy faaaaace

I did NOT follow the pattern construction instructions..they made no sense to me. I pieced the fashion fabric and the lining separately then turned under a hem and whipped the lining in.

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I love the “swoop” of the back

I chose to split the difference between tent-and super fitted. Seemed most versatile while flattering that way. and I have to say I’m HUGELY pleased. It was comfortable, easy to wear, easy to put together.

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And REMARKABLY easy to skate in!

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All together now “HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!”

A Tale of Two Pineapples

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A Tale of Two Pineapples

Pineapple the first

A long long time ago, in an apt far far away (okay about 10 miles) I was minding my own business and plotting things for Gettysburg in 2015 (I told you it was long ago) when Katherine found this awesome pineapple reticule.

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The original was sold on Ruby Lane but the posting is no longer active

It’s the pineapple knobby knitting pattern that is well reproduced, BUT it’s weird. And we know I love weird. It’s navy, it has TWO beads, and well…it’s weird. We all know how I love the erm bold.

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I did manage to finish it in the cabin at Gettysburg, see? it’s in the tintype…and that’s the only photo I have of it that weekend. oops? Did I take ANY in progress photos? of course not, cameras weren’t invented that long ago.

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Photo stolen from Amanda

 

I used DMC perle cotton from Joann’s and glass beads on size 00 needles. I would not recommend this combo.

  1. The beads started gold..they look clear as running down them down the thread rubbed off. Spring for good beads if you’re putting in all the effort.
  2. One little hank lasts one bobble worth. so I was changing thread and restringing beads ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME.
  3. The size 00s I had were 4″ long and it was entirely too easy to drop stitches.

That said DO use this pattern.  I found it much easier to follow than the one I used for Amanda’s pineapple…stay tuned we’ll get there…

 

 

Pineapple the second

aka can our impetuous heroine learn from her mistakes?!

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Pineapple reticules like this one in the Koyto Institute that were actually, you know, pineapple colored were more popular. I mean how boring right?

Turns out I have friends with more *ahem* convention taste, so when Amanda asked? I offered? somehow I ended up in the bestest barter ever. Amanda Bonnet for badly knitted pineapple. I got the MUCH better end of the bargain.

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So this time I DID manage a few in process photos…WHO’S IMPRESSED

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This time I used Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread, nicer glass beads and size 0 needles. Why size 0? firstly I couldn’t find the 00s, secondly I prefer bamboo needles…however they do have oooone distinct disadvantage…

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someone thinks they look like sticks

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who me? I’m an ANGEL

After a fair amount of cursing, swearing and threatening to turn her into a rug I managed to get the stitches sort of back on three needles and use a set of four as opposed to the original five. awkward but I made it work. As much as I hate the noise I think I might need to buy metal needles for tiny ones from now on. At least until my assistant isn’t so “helpful.” I’m told someday she’ll outgrow being a puppy…if we still have walls then.

Overall I was happy with the crochet thread, it looks a little bulky to me and I might consider doing a micro-tiny one someday but for my current lack-of-skill level it worked fine. I decided to try a different version of the pineapple pattern, I’m not kidding when I say they were popular you can find a few different original patterns for them. I found this version a lot harder to follow, for a beginner I’d recommend the other pattern.

I also tried putting the ties through the eyelets on the top as it annoyed me when the blue one was gathered up the leaves were all flaccid and floppy…but it gathered kind of weird so I’m not sure I liked that better.

Overall STILL things I’ll do differently for my next one (and yes I already promised one more then I’m pineappled out for a while). But I’m fairly happy with both of them as learning opportunities.

Dickensian Ken Doll

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From the MET. That pattern matching though! *twitch*

A long time ago (we’re talking years here) I was lamenting wanting to make Rob hideous plaid pants, and not being able to find fabric. Amanda happened to notice some truly loud orange and navy plaid flannel shirting at her Joann’s.  Being the benevolent friend that she is she purchased me some (do I remember how much? of course not).  And then it sat in my stash for *mumblty*years.

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muuuch better matching.

Spirit of Christmas and the Fezziwig ball 2017

Last year Amanda, Adrienne and I went on a recon mission to New Castle, DE’s Victorian Christmas shindig and deemed it totally worth going back. And thus an excuse for the plaid pants was born!

As previously mentioned they’re made out of a flannel cotton shirting, period? Heck no, actually findable in a garish plaid at a price-I’m-willing-to-pay-for-boy-who-doesn’t-care’s-clothes? yup. Because I was worried about the strength of the fabric I interlined them with white muslin. a68ec9e4f1a67f1d7a0571bf977ae08c

I used the same Country Wives 1800-1825 Narrow Fall Trousers pattern that I had used for his Mr. Darcy pants.

I know by the 1830s fall fronts were on their way out and fly fronts coming into style. But I found a few sources for fall fronts from the early 30s.

 

 

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Suit ca. 1830From National Museums Scotland

 

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1834 from the NY public library

As Rob isn’t the cutting edge of fashion, I already HAD the pattern and I happen to find fall front trousers quite sexy I decided to a few supporting references was GOOD ENOUGH(tm).

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Aside from the neurotic amount of time it took me to cut them out so that the plaid would match up I was quite pleased with how they went together. This pattern is light on illustrations so having made fall fronts before was definitely a leg up. The one tip I would include to remind both myself and others is that when you attach the flaps that close under the fall there is a maybe 1″ gap of slit below and that’s okay. They get caught into the fall binding. But that isn’t pointed out in the instructions and left me trying to remember if that was a cock up on my part.

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If only I had enough fabric

Spirit of Christmas and the Fezziwig ball 2017
I covered nickles in circles of fabric rather than buying buttons cause I’m cheap. Other than that the only change I made to the pattern was a layer of heavy linen as interfacing in the waist band.

For the ball he wore them with his shoes, but he really wanted to wear them tucked into the boots during the day. Farby? yes. Is a happy husband in costume worth it to me? yes. I should add loops for the next wearing.

All in all I’m very happy with the finished look. He wore his vest and coat from the Mr. Darcy costume and a nice plaid muffler to complete the ensemble.

Spirit of Christmas and the Fezziwig ball 2017

Stay tuned tomorrow (or you know July the way I roll..) for a write up of my new ballgown

1882 Lemonade Dress

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1882 Lemonade Dress
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Aren’t you hot in that?!

This past weekend was our annual outing to Belvidere Victorian Days in Belvidere, NJ. Every year this event is in early September and I start thinking fall thoughts. I’d say half the times I’ve gone it was actually autumnal and half it’s been summertime heat…This year was sadly the later with temps in the high 90s.

Our friend the Earl of Westwood was setting up his camp from 1882 Egypt and I simply had to have a natural form dress to match. I love a good theme. (we’ll pretend the classic car collection and large array of pop-up vendor tents are a different theme).

 

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1880s afternoon dress in the FIT collection

I found this dress that I deemed PERFECT. It was autumnal it was cool and light, it was sophisticated and I wanted it. So I headed over to my favorite voile pusher on etsy and ordered 12 yards (which wasn’t nearly enough) of their finest “off white” voile. I named it “The Coffee Victorian” and eagerly awaited it’s arrival.

Like a kid on Christmas morning I eagerly dug into my package of fabric…it was yellow. Not like warm beige, or ecru, or dark tan..no it was YELLOW.  I put it in the naughty pile for a week.

I tried bleaching a sample. It became a slightly lighter yellow…it sat in the naughty pile…finally time was running out, and I decided: when life gives you lemon fabric, make a lemonade dress.

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You can hardly tell it’s 150 degrees Celsius can you?

Having spent so long pouting I kind of ran out of time to do all the finishing touches I wanted, and sewed the trim on the front at 11pm the night before. There is a lot I’d like to revisit about this dress before it’s next wearing, but surprisingly I like it enough that it will definitely have a second wearing.

 

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I’m not shopping…nope

The skirt is actually Truly Victorian TV208, I just added more fullness in back and ties behind the knees. I’ve used this pattern now three times for victorian skirts and I just adore the sweep of the train.

The bodice is TV 420 with some mods. The original had a high neck and a fake v-neck out of trim. But I have a plate in Harper Bazaar from 1883 with a deep V and it was 100 degrees.  For the same reason I did 3/4 sleeves.

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pay no attention to the fact I’m wrapped in my train

Amanda made my adorable bonnet for herself and promptly decided she hated it…so I giddily made off with it. I think it was a Lynn McMaster’s pattern? But not having made it I’m allowed to not really know.

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Posing for our tintype

We had such an amazing time hanging out after the public left when the lit the lanterns and we relaxed listening to good conversation, live music and I laughed till my sides hurt.

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Serenaded by the Earl himself

 

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Amanda looking dashing

 

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I’m not sure what I like more, the backwards flag or the spyglass “accidentally” aimed at Alice’s bustline

Christmas, 1830s style

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Christmas, 1830s style
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Six more weeks of silly

Well I’m just a smidge behind on posting this dress…that I made for Christmas…heck I should have waited another month and done Christmas in July. But I resolved after moving to try to be better at posting so here you get a Christmas-in-June post.

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Me, Alice, and Amanda looking so cold and Christmasy (photo from the Asbury Park Press)

*sings carols in the 90 degree heat*

 

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Who am I kidding it was 70 at Christmas this year…but don’t worry climate change is a myth

 

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Hey look it’s real bread!

I made this dress for another trip to Historic Allaire, they were having some Christmas shenanigans, honestly it’s been so long I forget the specifics. Oh wait there were long lines for carriage rides and decorations.

Anyway, I had just come off the high of Gettysburg (what do you mean I never posted about that either…son-of-a-sock-monkey, more catch up coming later)…where was I..right so Katherine C-G was in my house and when I wasn’t squealing over a celebrity IN MY GUEST ROOM she was getting me all convinced that I could make an 1830s dress in a week. Or something close to a week it was months ago.

 

 

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Dress on the right

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Nice wonky bow there Robin

Part of Katherine’s brilliant plan was pointing out I could use my nicely fitting 1860s ball gown bodice pattern and just cut it straight at the waist.

We were flipping through Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion and boy she seemed to be making a lot of sense (this is how you end up with the costume equivalent of buying a time share).

The 1830s often featured wide, almost off the shoulder necklines, and the sleeve pattern in PoF is so huge and gathered you could just put it in any old armscye. aaaand then I made a dress in a week.

 

 

Not having time for proper sleeve floaties I just gathered a wad of netting (technical measurement) and tacked it to the sleeve lining so it was in between the lining and the plaid.  It cross laces with attractive black lacing as that’s what I found when running out the door.

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Stink eye is given

All in all I’m really happy with it. It’s a very simple cut in a very loud fabric. oh and crazy hair. The fabric is a some kind of synthetic I bought off a vendor at Belvidere. Nice hand but definitely dead dino.

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Remember 1830s is ALL about dat hair

1830s lavender voile dress

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1830s lavender voile dress

For those who haven’t been to the Historic Village in Allaire NJ it’s a sweet working village set up from the 1830s at Mr. Allaire’s iron works. Our friend Tessa was getting faked married as Maria Allaire on Sunday and that mustered some of the local Philly costume contingent to invade.

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The blushing fake bride is in the middle

It being June and hot as hades I figured a new voile dress would be a great idea…what was NOT a great idea was starting the dress the Tuesday before I needed it.

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Am I capable of not being talking during photos? I KNEW IT WAS BEING TAKEN

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I ordered 7 yards of voile form this AWESOME etsy seller, fabric was fabulous, got here ASAP from NYC, will be ordering again. ($2.99/yd?! yes thank you) I miss cut the front and had to recut it and ended up piecing one sleeve..so yeah only scraps really left.

The bodice is the Truly Victorian Ballgown bodice with a few alterations, second time I’ve used it for 1830s. The sleeves are out of Janet Arnold. Bodice and sleeves are lined with muslin and there’s a yard of hex net cut in half and gathered up in each sleeve. I would like to get around to making real sleeve puffers..but like I said started tuesday. The skirt is three panels two of which are in the back one in the front.

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I did also finish a corded petticoat which I’ll pretend will get it’s own post someday…for when I never get around to it it’s two length’s of Joann’s Premium muslin (not that crappy crappy stuff) and sugar and cream cording. I was very pleased with it, body but now super stiff.

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And a few more pictures

Before I re-wear it I need to add real closures (it has one at the waist and one at each wrist causing gaping) and actually iron it.

Alice’s Attic: 1898-1905 black and cream silk bodice

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