Friday, November 21, 2014

The Height of the Issue

Great news, people of fashion: My very first, super gorgeous dress form (henceforth known as Matilda) has arrived.  Lovelies, you must excuse the state of my shelves; I'm in the process of reorganizing.

The Lady Matilda

The bad news: at her shortest she's still several inches taller than me. Sad, short people problems! I have a feeling that, in my adventures in costuming, I'll encounter this issue frequently. I have already had to draft a new stays pattern because of the absolute lack of length in my torso. I'm too new at this to be drafting things! Thanks, body.

In other news, I'm trying so hard not to get ahead of myself, but it's hard!  I want to make all the pretty things, not wash fabric and make underwear.  And yet. . .

The Great Fabric Washing of 2014 
Not-so-amusingly for me, That was my last of 3, very firmly packed baskets. It's a great indication of where I'm at, however--I've been sewing since I was little, but nobody ever taught me what the heck I was doing (with one exception, to be discussed later) so "pre-washing" never fell into my limited sewing vocabulary. I wish it had, because washing my entire fabric stash of once seemed really bad for the environment.

As to "undress", I've decided if I can hand-stitch my way through a shift, set of stays, petticoat, pocket, and bedgown I will allow myself to buy new fabric for a gown. Naturally I've been sewing like mad because I really want to do a robe a l'anglaise, like, yesterday.

Shift Hem
I'll post more about my first completed set of clothes once they're done, but for now let's have some pictures of undies! YAY.

From the V&A Collection

I don't plan on making hoops any time soon, and I don't think I can afford these mules from American Duchess just now (WANT), but I just love this set.  It's on the books for future projects, but for now my undies will be a bit simpler.

This was from, which now seems to be dead. :(
I modeled my stays after these from the 1770s as well as an amazing silk pair from this book*. I'm doing them in rose colored linen--supposedly.  Pink linen isn't exactly easy to find at your local Joann's, so I'm going to attempt to dye it myself. I'll, uh, report back after I probably ruin my entire kitchen.

My pocket is based on the extant pair above.  It's my first major embroidery project and this seemed simple. I was wrong!

From The Met
My shift is based on the above French chemise, done in a tissue weight linen/cotton blend.  It went really well until I totally buggered up the neckline, so I'm trying to salvage that.

No inspiration for my petticoat, it's just red linen sewn into. . . well, a petticoat.  They're so simple and changed so little for decades, why overthink it? I do wish I'd done it quilted, though--it's frigid outside.

On to more embroidery!

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