Saturday, August 30, 2014

Riding Habit Construction

Unfortunately, I didn't take construction pictures of the entire process... I got too caught up in everything, and learning completely new ways of doing things! But here are a couple images of some of the early steps, and some pictures of it after it's done to highlight a few interesting things.

I must take a moment to acknowledge the incredible generosity of my husband and his master, Mark Hutter, for helping me with the construction of this. I feel blessed to have them in my life, as mentors and friends!

The very first thing I did was sew the center back seam of the jacket. This was done by putting all four layers together (2 wool and 2 silk lining) so that they could be sewn all at once. Make sure the two wools are right sides together, and the two silks are right sides together. 


I sewed the seam in non-matching (totally period!) silk thread with a tiny, tidy backstitch. 

Once it's sewn, you can unfold the layers like so, revealing a fully-encased seam.

Ta-da! Make sure to press it so it's nice and neat. Pressing is your best friend when it comes to tailoring. That, and chalk.

Another interesting (and very different from mantua-making!) aspect of tailoring is all of the interfacing! There's no pad stitching anywhere in this garment, just a heavy, coarse linen (I could/should have gone the extra step and put a couple layers of gum tragacanth on the linen to create buckram, but...).

The interfacing is tucked under the seam allowance of the front edges. Press, press, press!

Then I basted down the front edge so everything would stay in place. The lining gets folded under to meet the edge, and then is felled down.

On the outside of the jacket, the outer edge of the interfacing gets tacked into place with a very widely spaced backstitch. Yes, it shows, but it's helpful and period, and if done neatly, it looks quite nice!

All of the body seams (side-backs, shoulders, armseyes) were sewn twice: once with a back stitch, and then again with a spaced back stitch on top. I pressed the seam allowance to one side, and then did a spaced back stitch along the seam.

Eighteenth century stitching (in fact, stitching from ALL periods!) is NOT always pretty! Especially when it won't show. :) This is how the lining is attached to the back skirts. It is done from the outside with a spaced back stitch. The underside looks shoddy...

...but the outside is very neat and tidy! But no one will see it unless they are scrutinizing your bum...

The side-back seams of the lining are folded on top of the center back lining and felled down, just like on women's gowns. That was at least something I was familiar with!

Buttonholes... Oh, buttonholes. I love doing them now! I never thought I'd say that. But they are quite satisfying to do, making the little knots. These buttonholes were done using a "proper" buttonhole stitch, not a blanket stitch. I totally did not know they were different things before doing this project... I'd never needed to do buttonholes before! Now I do thousands by hand for work...There's a good tutorial here on Youtube. I can't remember if he says it in the video or not, but WAX YOUR THREAD! You will thank yourself... And use silk buttonhole twist, too. Having the right materials makes a world of difference, and it makes things easier!

I hope this has been useful! I don't usually do construction write-ups like this, but this was such a fun, different experience that I had to share. If y'all like this kind of thing, I'll try to do it more often. :) Cheers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

17th Century Middling Outfit

I got to go "play" at Henricus yesterday for work. It was awesome! I'm so addicted to the early 17th century... I'll be doing a separate post about my pair of bodies and smock once I get good pictures taken. Those pieces, and the coif, were entirely hand sewn. The actual doublet and petticoat are not, because I made them at work, on work time, for eventual inclusion in our inventory. Thus they are a mix of machine sewing (where you can't see) and hand sewing (where you can, like all the button holes). It's definitely a time saving way of making things! And it greatly helped my wrist as well. My outfit is essentially the "prototype" for new styles of women's clothes for our female interpreters. They are very excited and so am I!

It was going to be me, Michael, Mark, and my boss, but my boss got called away on work-related business, and Michael went to Canada for the battle of Ft. Erie. However, we still had a good time! The visitors were great and asked excellent questions. They were very open and receptive to new ideas about the comfort of our clothing, etc. I had a wonderful conversation with two Muslim women about covering up completely in the heat. One of them said she often gets asked if she's "hot in that" just like we historical interpreters do!

My slate frame arrived yesterday (unfortunately not in time to be dressed for the event), so I'll be able to start on my blackwork coif in the near future. I also have fabric and trim on the way for my upper class/noble 1610s gown. I had originally thought to use that wool satin, but it was never a color that was speaking to me for that project... So I caved and bought what I really wanted, green silk for this outfit:

Anyway! Here are pictures! :)



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Costume College! And Gowns for Sale :)

I did a very brief post on Costume College at my Livejournal. It was amazing! :)

I also have a few gowns for sale on my Etsy site. We got hit with some unexpected medical bills relating to my wrist (it's a huge mess, actually...), and I could use a closet clean-out.

Steampunk, anyone?