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

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.


Fancy photo

I bought a nice cabinet card awhile back with a fancy edge and “background”.SAM_2773 aI don’t think I have anything else like it in my collection!  I’m guessing this is a late 1890’s card based on those scalloped edges but the big ol’ sleeves would have told me the same thing!

I like this girls face…she seems handsome, young and friendly to me.  I wonder what her life was like.

I must admit, though, I bought the card  because of this lovely bodice.  I love the pleats and beads.  Very nice feature.  I’d like a dress made with these details!SAM_2773 b

Confirmed: my job does get in the way of my “art”

In between catching up on the laundry and grocery shopping, I have been spending the remainder of my vacation in the sewing room.  I have completed the 1872 Lilac Dreams bodice!  Yeah me!

Truly Victorian 1872 Vested Bodice TV403

Truly Victorian 1872 Vested Bodice TV403

The white part has little white buttons running up it that the glare washes out but I was making myself crazy trying to get the fabric to not look blue and didn’t notice I had washed out the white part.  Me thinks I need a better camera.


I think I may need to tack that bow down a bit more.  It seems to be sitting a bit cockeyed.


That is how it is supposed to sit.

In addition to finishing the bodice, I have cut out and sewn two skirts a la assembly line style.  There is a purple skirt to go with this bodice and a blue one for another project.  I’m at the hand sewing stage now.  They both might get some trim but I’m going to wait and see how they look with their bodice and over skirt first.  They might not need anything…especially the purple as the pattern it pretty wild on its own.


Evil Sleevil next

I got a ton of hand sewing done this past weekend!  Bodice is all done except for the sleeves.  The faux shirt had to be hand sewn in and all the buttons-16-in all needed to be put on.  Kept me busy for a couple of

What am I gonna call this dress? 1872 Lilac…um…Lovely Lilac….no….Lily’s Lilac….no….ah….Lilac Bush….GADS NO!  1872 Lilac Dream.  Sure why not Lilac Dream it is.

HSF 15: #1 Foundations

I hope my sewing this year will fit into one of five goals.  One is to sew things that will make my current Victorian wardrobe more useful.  An example of this is I have an 1870’s mantle that doesn’t really go with anything.  That makes it useless.  I hope to fix that this year.

The second goal is to blast through some of those stashes (fabric and wool). If you sew then you know….

Third goal is  making something for others and I have a few ideas for my son that I’d like to work on.

Fourth goal is the UFO pile which hasn’t gotten out of hand but I’d like to keep it that way.  Okay, okay, I lied.  My sewing pile isn’t too bad but the knitting pile is moving into a hoarding kind of scenario.

The fifth goal is to keep my wardrobe from growing to much…really, there is only so many places I can wear this stuff.  So instead of growing my wardrobe I’d like to enhance the things that I have.  Add some trim, lace, beads…. what have you.  If you look at authentic Victorian clothes…at least the museum pieces…they have trim on their trim.  This goal will also help with the stash busting.

My first submission for Challenge one is going to meet the challenge and my fifth goal.  I took my bustle, which is a foundation garment, and I fixed the broken hook, shortened it because I keep stepping on it when I wear my flatter heeled shoes and I added lace because it was simply a bare bones garment.  Victorians would pretty up even their undies. (Oh that bodice on Trudy is one of those UFOs).



The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: TV 101 wired bustle

Year: 1870-80

Notions: lace and ribbon

How historically accurate is it? The pattern and fabric are fine. The lace is a poly something and I’m not sure they would have put lace there. I’ve seen ruffles. It is plausible enough. So 70%

Hours to complete: As I said the bustle was made previously but it needed a repair on the hook and eye, needed to be shortened and was too plain so I added the lace. That took about 3 hours.

First worn: Can’t remember first time I wore it in its original incarnation. Summer 2013? I haven’t worn it since it has been updated.

Total cost: Can’t remember what original cost was. To do the repair, alteration and update $0. (Unless you count the thread…the lace was all given to me.)


So I have some plans similar to this entry where I can meet my goals, participate in the challenges for Historical Sew Fortnightly and not kill myself with deadlines that become less of a motivator and more of a burden. Wish me luck!

I can now mark that UFO done

It has taken over a year…a YEAR!…but I finally have it done (unless you count the cape I hope to make for it by next Saturday).

I’m not madly in love with it.  The black is light sucking.  I did so much by the seat of my pants that I have no idea if any of it is actually plausible.  I had to totally alter the sleeves from the original pattern because finishing it in fall means shorter sleeves will be impractical.  And the whole up sizing of that pattern was a challenge (aka  a drag).  But, it is done.  It is wearable.



My next goal is the cape to keep me from freezing to death next weekend.  I wish I had some black wool.  Alas, I do not.  And I have mountains of black material in my stash to use.

Two steps forward, one step back

I’ve made some headway on my mourning gown.  But, I did have to re-cut and sew a new front flap panel.  It fit with some squishing but I decided that in 1900 they were starting to move towards the pigeon front and not the snug fit of the earlier years.  This required a piece that was 3″ wider.  Thank heavens, I had enough fabric to re-cut it!



I realize that the remodeled panel looks crooked on the top.  It isn’t in reality. Once it is really buttoned down (I will be using the Chinese frogs I made for the Oriental challenge of Historical sew fortnightly) and the faux shirt is laying flat, it will be fine.

I’m on the edge with the faux shirt.  It seems a bit like over kill.  But, since it is just a bib like thing, I could find a fabric I like better and make another one.  This one will do fine for the more Halloween version of this dress’ incarnation.  The one thing I do like about it, is it adds some more curve that would help with the pigeon front look.  I just don’t know….

Once the sleeves are on and the fasteners are on and functioning, I should be able to make a better decision on the shirt front.

If all goes well, I should have the bodice done on time for my event next weekend.  It is an evening event and our evenings are getting decidedly cold.  I’ll need some sort of item for warmth.  I had thought of dying one of my knitted shawls black but the dye pack I was looking at, could not promise that it would dye black and not some dreary shade of grey.  So now I’m hoping to get a cape made by next weekend.  My oh my, being employed is getting in the way of my sewing plans!