Edwardian Chemise + Other Unmentionables

I decided that I’ll probably be going to an event next summer that would be a great excuse for making a full Edwardian daywear outfit. And since I have almost a year and I’ve been wanting to make a suit with an Eton jacket (probably in navy blue) for a while, I’m embarking on sewing the full thing from the skin out (as I have no actual Edwardian pieces at all). If I complete about one garment per month, I’ll be in good shape and shouldn’t feel too rushed.

First up: the chemise. I used the chemise in Truly Victorian’s TVE02 for this with no modifications. My decorations are pintucks, ribbon, and eyelet lace. For I think the first time in my life, I made this entirely out of materials from my stash! (Note to self: Always buy large amounts of cotton lawn when you need to restock–it will always be used!)

(Left: front. Right: back.) I appreciate that the pattern has you neatly enclose all raw edges. Though I’m guessing it assumes you’re using lace with a finished edge on both sides and since mine was not finished on one side I ended up using self-made bias tape on the armholes.

No photos of me actually wearing the chemise since it’s, um, pretty see-through.

I’ve also completed these mysterious items:

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That’s a hip pad and bust forms from TVE01. I honestly have no idea how the bust forms are supposed to be worn and the pattern gives you no clue; guess I’ll figure that out once I’ve got the corset going??

Speaking of . . . Next up is the corset! Then I’ll be doing a combination, skirt, shirt, and the jacket. And I should really decorate a nice big hat to complete the whole outfit.

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Cropped Pinup Sweater

It’s getting cooler, right?! This sweater has been in my sewing queue for at least two years, so it’s quite an accomplishment that I finally made it (and it only took about 4 hours, so I don’t know what my hangup was). Anyway, the pattern is the Pinup Sweater from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, cropped (like, I think I chopped 7-8 inches off) and with long sleeves. The sleeves and bodice are finished with wide bands. The sleeves are a little long, but I keep making things with the sleeves ending up too short, so I’m leaving them for now.

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The fabric is a soft and drapey cotton/poly hacchi sweater knit (no longer available, sorry). I have about half a yard left and I need to find something to do with it since it is so, so soft.

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Anyway, hopefully this will be a versatile staple for the cooler months (or, honestly, for the office air conditioning in the summer).

Blue Floral Summer Frock

Another summer party dress! This one is made from stretch poplin, which gave me the courage to finally make a tight-fitting bodice in a woven fabric. The bodice is McCall’s 6989, which I modified by making the front a V-neck (which included adding a center front seam) and leaving off the sleeves.

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The dress is unlined and the neckline and armscyes are finished with bias binding.

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The skirt is a full circle skirt with, of course, pockets.

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I kind of wish I’d piped the bodice princess seams and waist to make it more obvious that I was in no way attempting to pattern-match there, ha. And that I’d lowered the neckline a bit. Next time. Looking forward to dancing in this at an event in early September!

OAL 2017: Complete!

My outfit for the Outfit Along 2017 is complete! My knitted garment is an Evening Spencer Jacket in red cotton and the sewn garment is a self-drafted skirt. Details on the knitted jacket (including lots more photos of it) are up on Ravelry. The skirt is a linen/cotton blend and this is roughly the pattern I used:

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I call it a 1/4+ circle skirt for obvious reasons–it starts with a 1/4 circle, but has a couple of extra panels added on the back for a bit more width (the width of the back panels was determined by what I could eke out of 2 yards). The waistband is just bound in bias tape and it closes in center back with a zipper.

This isn’t exactly what I ended up with, though. It turns out that even with the extra panels and even with it sitting low on my waist, it wasn’t quite wide enough for my hips/butt (sigh). I lowered the waistband (trying to bring wider areas up higher) and took in the extra width at the waist in two pleats around the center back. (Darts would’ve been an elegant solution, but I couldn’t get them to look right.) It’s still not quite as wide as I’d like, but it works. Next time I’ll just go with a half circle!

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Of course I added pockets. Patch pockets this time since there aren’t any side seams–with fun embroidery! These are hand-embroidered; on the skull pocket I used Skully Stitcher from Urban Threads (in white and red to match the jacket) and for the other pocket I just picked up some elements from that design.

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Anyway, have some more photos, including a kitty photobomb:

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Lace Dance Dress

I finished this dress months ago and have worn it to two events now, so I think I should just accept that I’m not going to get any better photos. I do think it looks much better in person–but of course the only time I remembered to get photos was when I was already sweaty and shiny in the middle of a ball. Oh well!

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This is another McCall’s 7160, View C. This time it’s in a lovely wine-colored rayon jersey (that seems to no longer be in stock) with a black lace overlay (the sleeves left unlined). If I’d bothered to get swatches first, I might’ve gone with a brighter color to contrast better with the black lace. But, again, oh well! The belt is just a length of wide satin ribbon held in place by a couple of thread belt loops. Of course, it has pockets.IMG_7235

 

Anyway, it looks kind of limp and unexciting in these photos, but that circle skirt swings nicely when dancing. (Someone was taking a video of at least one dance this evening and I keep hoping it gets posted somewhere, but nothing has materialized yet.) Plus, I can scrunch it up in my suitcase for easy transportation to dance events–no need for a garment bag.

Purple Rose Giselle Maxi Dress

I admit, this was almost 100% copied from Marcy Hariell’s Giselle. In fact, it’s thanks to her post that I discovered and bought the pattern in the first place, so it’s kind of funny that it’s taken me this long to actually make the maxi version! (I did make View A a few years ago.)
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The fabric I used is a lovely, cool rayon challis, which sadly doesn’t seem to be available anymore. I did underline the midriff with cotton lawn to give it a bit of stability since it’s very drapey and shifty. I started with View B, and make the following changes:
  • Added the sleeves (I used the View A upper bodice and back pieces).
  • Lowered the bustline to get the midriff under my bust, which caused the lower edge of the midriff to hit my high waist, so to me it doesn’t really read as an empire waist (this is what happens when you have a “short” waist). Beware, this makes it rather low cut! I debated adding a piece of lace to fill in the V a bit, but Instagram/laziness convinced me that it’s okay as is.
  • Swapped the two skirt pieces so that the longer one was on top, though now I’m wondering if it would’ve been better the other way–eh, I’m happy with it in any case.
  • Added in-seam pockets!
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I was planning for this to be a casual summer daytime dress, but I feel like the fabric makes it look pretty fancy. Oh, well! Now I have a dress for summer cocktail parties (if I ever go to any, ha).

Blah Black Knit Dress

I don’t know what I was expecting, but this dress just turned out . . . blah. It’s McCall’s 7349, which I have made and loved before. The differences from the last one are:

  • Short sleeves
  • High-low skirt (my attempt at making it less blah)
  • Lower neckline w/ band instead of facing

Maybe it needs to be shorter? (But here’s the thing–I dislike exposing the skin in my legs to the subway seats, so I tend to only wear shorter skirts in cold weather, when I’ll be wearing tights anyway.) Maybe it needs a more interesting neckline? Fabric with less drape? More flare in the skirt? Exciting accessories??

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(Kitty cameo!)

I don’t know, but I think I’m done messing with it. The fabric is some bouncy, spandex-y stuff that came in a kit for a skirt. I discovered after cutting out half the skirt pieces that there wasn’t enough fabric (grr!!!), so turned it into this instead.

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To be fair, the dress is really comfortable and cool, and will protect my skin from the subway while not flying up in a stiff breeze. Plus, it’ll be easy to add layers to it (such as the jacket/cardigan I’m knitting!). So I may end up wearing it a lot this summer despite my current lack of enthusiasm. We’ll see.

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Speaking of knitting, I’m joining this year’s Outfit Along! I confess, I’m using a knitting project already in progress rather than starting a new one, but my excuse is that I’m a beginner and was already well into my first top when the OAL was announced. I’m afraid I’d lose my momentum if I set is aside for a couple of months. So the garments I’ll be making are:

  • Evening Spencer Jacket in red cotton
  • Quarter-circle maxi skirt (self-drafted) in a black linen/cotton blend (hopefully with some embroidery if I still feel inspired when I get to that stage)

Another Halloween Handbag

Finally, it’s the black purse that’s been on my to-do list for about a year. This is another Date Night bag, and the fabrics are the same as the ones I used for my Halloween Essential Wristlet.

Modifications from the pattern were:

  • Make the front pocket a zipper pocket (with a horizontal opening this time)
  • Add an interior zipper pocket
  • Replace the strap with loops and D rings

Not much else to say about this one!

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Oh, yes–I picked up this delightful skull charm at the Texas Renaissance Festival last year. Isn’t it great?

Regency Dance Weekend 2017

I’m combining these two dresses in one post since they’re essentially the same dress in different fabrics. Both were worn at this year’s Regency Dance Weekend in Salem, MA.

The pattern is Laughing Moon #126, and both dresses have the View A bodice front with the skirts cut on the short side for dancing. (Possibly too short–but, speaking from experience, I much prefer that to tripping over my hem all evening.)

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The first dress is my wearable muslin, made out of an old duvet cover. I was so pleased with the fit that I decided it was useable as a dress for the first night and for the daytime tea on Sunday. It has View B puff sleeves with detachable long undersleeves (as in, they’re attached by whipstitching). For daywear, I also added a chemisette, spencer, cap, bonnet, and shawl.

The second dress was made from a sheer chiffon sari (a gift from a former colleague) and white cotton lawn, and uses the View C puff sleeves. The sleeves are unlined, the bodice is both flatlined and lined (this made sewing that shifty chiffon much, much easier!), and the skirt is a lawn underskirt with a shorter split overskirt made from the sari. I loved using the sari–it’s just instantly more impressive with all that nice embroidery! Plus, it has built-in matching trim (that trim at the neckline and sleeve bands is cut off a different part of the sari). I wasn’t going to attempt to make self-fabric ties from chiffon, so the ties are a coordinating ribbon, which I’m pleased to say was a simple substitute (and I’d be tempted to do the same for future dresses just to avoid the extra work of making the ties).

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I’m also wearing a high-waisted petticoat under the purple dress, but I don’t have any photos of that because it’s the type that’s held up with just straps instead of a full bodice (like this one). I used the skirt from the dress pattern, but didn’t cut the front slashes, left an opening in the center back, and threaded a drawstring through a waistband. It’s got a couple of rows of cording and tucks at the hem to help it stand out a bit. The straps are just wide twill tape.

All in all, I really like this drop-front dress design. It’s kind of a wrap dress, with all the easy, flattering fitting that entails, plus you can get in and out of it yourself (though it’s always nice to have another pair of hands to make a neat bow in the back).

Long Time No See

As much as I hate summer, I confess the warmer weather is causing my thoughts to drift to making lightweight clothing. I have to take a look at my closet to see what should be retired, but I’m pretty sure the main lack in my wardrobe is summer tops. (That said, I’m already planning three new skirts [which I realllly don’t need, ha].)

I would like some tops with button closures and I’ve bookmarked a few patterns . . . but I’ve only had pretty disastrous results with my buttonholer (and forget handmade buttonholes). However, I know I read somewhere in the last few months that other people really like the buttonholer for the Featherweight, so maybe I need to try it again? Maybe it’s okay for shirting and the problem was trying it with canvas?

Anyway, this blog was supposed to be a chronicle of things I made and I haven’t been actually updating it because taking photos is such a pain. I’ll just accept that I’m never going to photograph the plain black turtleneck I made months ago (though it’s a very useful wardrobe staple). Aside from that, I’ve mostly been working on two Regency dresses in preparation for last weekend’s Regency Dance Weekend in Salem (write-up on those to be posted shortly).

Now that that’s done, my tentative sewing queue currently includes:

  • Ball/party dress for Pawling and Pinewoods dance camps
  • Short-sleeve top(s) (still deciding on pattern(s))
  • Short-sleeve dress (probably another M76349)
  • Black purse
  • Knit maxi skirt
  • Linen maxi skirt
  • Peasant skirt (look, this will be useful for the ren fair, so it’s totally necessary!)

Further out:

  • Costume for Pinewoods?
  • New top for JC Ball (stretch velvet)
  • New costume for ren fair?

I’ve also started knitting! I’ve finished two pussy hats, an Outlander-inspired capelet (just in time for warmer weather, haha), and am making good progress on a lace shawl. Of course, I really want to make a sweater . . . but not sure if I’m up to that quite yet. Find me on Ravelry under Sewfall.