Bolero progress: decisions

I made some progress on the bolero.  The second sleeve went on (no issues-yeah!) The lining went in and the arm hole edges were bound. I got almost all of the trim on.  I just need to do the cuffs and closure.  I didn’t finish the cuffs because I started playing around with options for the closure.  As a reminder, the shirt that goes under the bolero was finished with a brooch and ribbon.IMG_20160228_175348353

Once I put the bolero on and played with the closure ideas, I couldn’t decide if the brooch was too much.

Stay tuned to find out which option I went for.


Sewing in the dungeon: round 2

I have made some more progress on the bolero.  My first session (Saturday) got me this far.IMG_20160416_170523409

And Sunday I made some headway on assembling the trim (it is a combination of 3 elements) and creating the “lapel” that is in my inspiration.  I also got the sleevils assembled with only one glitch (I made two right sleeves with the lining-doh!) and trimmed one and attached it.IMG_20160417_161044452a

Just for fun, I took “Paint” and doctored the photograph to show where I will add more of the trim.IMG_20160417_161044452

I wish the ribbon that I wove into the lace showed up better.  Hmmm.  Am I over thinking things again?

FYI: I asked the Facebook Historical Sew Fortnightly members their opinion on whether this pattern would work sleeveless.  Consensus is yes based on this picture.13047957_1085913514803791_6468210391760382875_o

The face in the above drawing is a very young one but I’m hoping that I could make a sleeveless one and not be a mutton dressed as a lamb.  Youth fashions looked a lot like adult fashion with shorter skirts and lighter colors, right?

I also found another inspiration fashion plate.  I need a contrasting skirt….petersons1865aug244x450…as well as a matching one.tv242colorfin

Progress Report-sewing in the dungeon

My son moved back home (yeah!) but I lost my sewing room (boo).  I did not wish to go back to the days where all my stuff was scattered all through the house and sewing days meant no family meals because my table was occupied.  So I cleared some crap out of the laundry room and set up head quarters there.  Today was the inaugural launching of sewing in the dungeon and it went well.  I have been working on TV444 which is a Spanish Jacket.  The inspiration is the black dress on the left.tv242colorfin

Since my version will be in red, it is obvious that the goal is “general impression”.IMG_20160416_170523409

Bodice and sleeves are assembled as well as the lining.  I’ve stopped here to consider how I will trim this because there is a good possibility that trimming will be easier at this stage.  I’m also considering relaxing those darts a bit.  The added bulk of the shirt seems to be making, what should be a loose item, seem a bit snug.  But it may not be needed as I am squishier than Trudy.  Lets just say there is more “give” in the strategic spots.

As a quick side note, I am thrilled at the latest addition to my Home Pastures dishware set.  It has been ages since I found a piece at a decent price!IMG_20160415_054559738




Turn the page: family

The next set of pages in my Victorian photo album features a lady and a family.


The family photograph has three women, 6 men and 4 children.  So one can assume it is either a group of friends or extended family.  There are no photographers marks on this card to help with location or date.  The photograph seems to be taken in front of a house so is this an amateur photographer?1b

When I zoomed in on the photograph I thought the fellow on the right in the front looked familiar.

1b (2)

I think he looks a lot like this fellow…. (also from the album).  What do you think?  Same guy?SAM_3263

This is the lady on the other page.1c

The St. Mary’s, likely refers to St. Mary’s Ontario.  There was a photographer there by that name who was working 1878-96.  I am wondering if this is a reprint of an older photograph.  Her style of clothing seems more 1860’s to me.  Very pretty lady.


Progress: latest project

I’ve been working on a knitting project.  I had tons of wool (unfortunately a blend but believable to the lay person) given to me that I thought would make a good version of this.image

The pattern suggests white and red.  I’m assuming that a Victorian woman would chose other colors based on taste and availability so mine is yellow and brown.img_20160320_190650399.jpg

It is working up well.  Trouble is, as I’m working it up, I’m realizing that it uses way more wool than I thought it would so I may have to start making the brown stripes wider and the yellow narrower.  The pattern does make the yellow narrower, but I don’t think it is going to do this fast enough to prevent me from running out of the yellow.  But, I’m going to go with the idea that Victorian women would make this adaption if they were running out of wool too! Hopefully, the change wont look cockeyed and drive my OCD into high gear.

HSF 16: pleats

The Challenge: #2 pleats.

The sleeve cuffs were to be gathered according to the instructions but I used pleats.  I gathered the top of the sleeves.  The bottom hem could be gathered into a waist band but I went with the loose tuck in version (just a straight hem.)IMG_20160228_175355360

Material: cotton blend

Pattern: Truly Victorian TV441 1861 Garibaldi BlouseIMG_20160228_175306356

Year: 1861

Notions: buttons, trimIMG_20160228_175348353

How historically accurate is it?  The pattern is correct.  The fabric is a poly/cotton blend.  The trim is, at best, a blend but I am fairly sure the lace part is totally poly.  The buttons are plastic which is incorrect from my quick research. It is machine sewn, which is plausible but the button holes would have been done by hand not machine.  I believe the colors are plausible.  I’d give it about 60%.

Hours to complete: About 10

First worn: Not until this summer some time.

Total cost: The trim was given to me, the buttons were well under a dollar. The fabric was on sale and came to under $10.

This is the first piece for my 1861 Señora dress.


Project idea: labor intensive and totally impractical!

I have seen a couple of beetle wing dresses and I’ve always wanted to make one.  The dresses themselves are simple in silhouette but the embroidery and attaching of the wings themselves would be insane!   That would be a year-long project all on its own!

After all that work, a dress like that would be more or less useless for me though.  I have no opportunity to wear a high-end evening dress or ball gown.  My costuming group is too small and our venues are too limited to do much more than a dinner out.  And historically speaking, I doubt there were many beetle wing dresses in the wilds of Canada in the mid-Victorian era.

But when I look at a dress like this one, I covet it in the worst way…

It comes from Kent University.

It comes from Kent University.

1863 to 1867

1863 to 1867

I wonder if the beetle wings break if you sit on them.

I wonder if the beetle wings break if you sit on them.

I also wonder how many thousands of wings were used in this.

I also wonder how many thousands of wings were used in this.