Tag Archives: historical costume

Orange Pet en l’aire

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Orange Pet en l’aire

In my last post I casually teased that I went to Jennylafleur’s AMAZING Big Ass Hat Tea, it was pretty overwhelmingly fabulous.

An invitation to a Jennylafleur party is basically the golden ticket of costume events, and I felt pressure to live up to the people I would be with. I was waffling around trying to decide what on earth I wanted to make for this era I don’t really feel good in and my awesome friend Adrienne plopped orange check silk in my lap…yes the largest part of it is earmarked for my Gettysburg ballgown this year buuuuuut…a minimal amount of debate later (I.E. 30min over tea and cookies at sewing day) a plan was concocted for a pet en l’aire or caraco jacket.

 

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I am a big fan of this one in the LACMA collection

I started with Katherine’s francaise tutorial. If you’ve never read it and ever wondered anything about how to construct a francaise gown I demand you stop and read it…hold on I’ll wait…It blew your mind and made it all make sense didn’t it?!

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draping the back pleats on top of the fitted lining

Basically I followed the francaise tutorial but in short. Instead of inserting full side panels I laid out my side seams about 8″ in from the edge of the fabric to build in the skirting.

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sewing pleats

I hand sewed all of it, mostly because I find period construction techniques just work better with hand sewing. Well that and I happen to find it really relaxing.

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Smoothing on the front panel..see that waist wrinkle?..more on that later

I did struggle with the waist dart, in the end, I let it win. I didn’t WANT to put in a waist dart, but there are originals that have one and sometimes you just gotta listen to what the fabric wants.

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Jerk. Please admire the AMAZING carpeting in my sewing room too.

In the end I was moderately happy. I need to insert a little gusset under the arm to increase movement. But it was comfy enough that I stayed in it for 12 hours without noticing the time flying by.

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I borrowed Jenny-Rose’s petticoat, Adrienne’s hat, Jenny-Rose’s cap, Bridget’s earrings…it was a team effort.

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I did back lacing down the lining for adjustability, and bonus tie peeking

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It’s hard enough finding pictures I don’t look dumb in..closed eyes is bound to happen…also my petticoat came untied playing aggressive Graces

A huge thank you is due to our gracious hosts Jenny-Rose and the whole White Family. They throw a party like none other.

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Modeling Jenny-rose’s hat. Tell me that’s not a confection of delight.

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!!”

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

A dress for Tea

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A dress for Tea

On Saturday Madame Kat from madamemodiste hosted one of her famous parties (Kat is the originator of the Francaise dinner party, a killer annual Victorian party, the original moon landing and many other exploits).

I decided that I simply required a new dress and that it was the perfect time to try my hand at making a bib front style regency. I started with Simplicity 4055 that I’ve used in the past and started making mock-ups. In the end I made three of the bodice. I changed the shame more to coincide with shape of the bib front gown in Patterns of Fashion

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They told me to strike a dramatic pose, America’s Next Top Model WATCH OUT

 

I used white cotton muslin as it was affordable and easy for my first bib front, if it didn’t turn out I was only out a few bucks. And in the end I DID go through two skirts so it was a GOOD thing I didn’t mind burning through some fabric. (and I turned the bad skirt into my petticoat)

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a boring front view

 

My bonnet, No mine! I saw it first!

My bonnet, No mine! I saw it first!

Some of the other beautifully dressed guests

Some of the other beautifully dressed guests

Julia from The Bohemian Belle was there selling her gorgeous wares

Julia from The Bohemian Belle was there selling her gorgeous wares

Taylor from Dames a la Mode satisfied all our ribbon cravings (and cravings we didn't know we had)

Taylor from Dames a la Mode satisfied all our ribbon cravings (and cravings we didn’t know we had)

 

A group photo courtesy of Gloria from In the Long Run

A group photo courtesy of Gloria from In the Long Run