Monday, 29 February 2016

Sewing Plans: 1790s Open Robe

So, when making my chemise en robe I only fitted it once, and it seemed okay - a bit tight, but I thought that was typical of the period - but when I tried it on at the end, it is very tight in the back and bust and gapes where the hooks and eyes meet. Stupid of me, I know, but I am a beginner to this particular hobby. I feel like if I sat down, the hooks and eyes would burst off and go flying everywhere, so not very practical! A bit disappointed, but I've come up with some solutions:

  • Alter it with two panels in the back. This would be a lot of work and look messy, so perhaps not...
  • Create a sleeveless 1790s open-gown to go over the top. It's the correct period, looks relatively easy (no more gathers in sleeves, yay!), and is really cute.

So I've come up with a design for the open-robe in my little notebook, thanks to a picture on Pinterest and my Patterns of Fashion 1 book by Janet Arnold. I'm excited! The back of the open-gown would hide the small gape in the back of the chemise, and the lack of sleeves means that I can still show off my puffed chemise sleeves! Plus, it fastens in the front with ribbon lacing, so it will be easy to take on and off myself. So many bonuses!
I'm planning on it being pale blue with black accents, to match my sash that may or may not go over the top of the whole thing. How cute would this be with a matching hat!

Here are the pictures that inspired me, and my sketch.

The colour and style I'm going for, but rather than draped bits at the back, I was thinking of a solid skirt and train for the back part, like the second image below.

This is exactly what I want, but in blue with black binding. Maybe I'll hand sew it this time?

The Janet Arnold Pattern I'm thinking of using in combination with Elizabeth Friendship's "Creating Historical Clothes" for the correct fit.

My sketch of how it will all look together, as an outfit. Sorry for the terrible photos, it's dark in my room!

I'll either start before or after I go to Florida. Excited! In the meanwhile I'm making a skirt and some silk ribbon embroidered pin cushions.

1920s-Inspired Sporty Sailor Dress - Finished Project

Over the past week or so I've been sewing this 1920s-inspired sailor dress with a navy polkadot fabric I picked up on sale. I designed the dress last summer after a trip to London, where I bought the bias binding, iron-on appliques and buttons from Liberty - but I've only gotten round to using them now!

The pattern I based this dress on was Butterick B6185 from the Lifestyle Wardrobe section. I cut the dress short for a dropped waist, added small cap sleeves, drafted and changed the collar to a sailor style at the back, and added a pleated skirt - so it looks completely different from the original pattern. I always have trouble finding a pattern that looks anything remotely similar to my moleskine designs!
I was originally going to add the bias binding (which is gorgeously soft, by the way - I love Liberty fabrics) to the collar, but tackling mitered corners with the bias was really hard, so I had to give up the idea and use it as a faux button placket instead.


I think that the red embellishments go really well with the dark blue and white, and it has quite a vintage feel with the dropped waist and knee-length pleated skirt. The sailor collar is super cute and very nautical for use on the beach; I'm currently making my holiday wardrobe for when I go to Florida at the end of March, and this shall be part of it!
I intend my wardrobe to be vintage-styled but still modern and upbeat with quirky touches (such as the angel wing appliques here), so soon I shall be making a 1940s beach crop top and a Lolita-esque skirt from more Liberty fabric. Perhaps, if I have time, I'll also make some fun 1960s dresses from the Burda magazine I bought last year.

Romantic Mourning OP - Finished Project

I've had the Simplicity Alice and Wonderland pattern for about five/six years now and never really used it until recently, to make my Romantic Mourning Lolita OP. Funnily enough, I ended up cutting out the pattern wrong as the labels were a bit off with some mistakes, but in the end it was in my favour. I tried to make view B but the bodice turned out more like view A, for the Queen of Hearts, which I found I liked better after all.

Please excuse the bad photos; it's hard to get good light in my house, especially when photographing black on black. 

Details of the lace, which I bought at a local market.

When wearing it I feel like a mourning Victorian child and a long lost member of Malice Mizer at the same time, haha!
The leg of mutton sleeves could make it look like any period really, from Baroque, the Romantic Victorian period (1830s), to the 1890s and early Edwardian era.  

  In the end, it took just less than a week on and off to make, and I found it relatively easy, with almost no mistakes made! I'm very pleased with it, and the leg of mutton sleeves are fun to wear. 

1790s Chemise en Robe - Finished Project

For my first project on my blog I thought I'd start with my most recent make, a 1790s chemise en robe. I've been interested in historical costuming for a while now, and this is my first costume. It isn't historically accurate what with being machine-sewn and having a poly-cotton lining, but I was aiming for look here more than anything.

From Miss Morris:

I've always admired the summery, dreamy feel of those chemise dresses (so informal and delicate), paired with coloured satin or taffeta sashes and a huge, feathery hat - and thus, I have wanted to make one for a long time!

This dress is made from what feels like miles of gauzy, net-like muslin, which is very soft and delicate to the touch. It is also unbearably hard to work with, so for future chemise en robes (of which there shall be many) I may resort to using linen, silk taffeta, lawn or voile, depending on how period I want to go. It rips so easily and probably won't last long, especially with how much unpicking I have to do. :) Still, I think it looks very romantic and flowing.

At first I found this project very easy making up the bodice and lining, but then came the difficulties with the fabric, attaching the bodice to the waistband, and measuring the length for the skirt wrong (and therefore I had to add another ruffle to the hem, but that wasn't too much of a sacrifice to make). The ruffle was something my grandmother thought up, to create a channel and feed some tape through to gather it; it was very long-winded gathering four and a half meters of muslin and then sewing it three times, but in the end I think it's worth the hassle.

I was also unsure what feel I wanted to give the dress. My pattern from Laughing Moon was for 1790-1800, and what I really desired was a mid-18th Century chemise en robe, not something more Regency in feel. I do like the Regency period, but the frippery, dresses and fun of the 18th Century is where my heart is; so, I wanted to make something that looked like it came from an earlier period. I think I may have managed that with the puffed sleeves and ribbons, but perhaps the empire waist and bust-line makes it clearly early Regency.
Either way, I love how it has all come together! My first costume! When I've had a bit more practice and built up a portfolio, it is my dream to open an online store selling bespoke historical garments from Medieval times to the 1950s - that, along with writing my books. :)

My grandmother helped me making this dress, so I'm very thankful for her help. It would have been very difficult to tackle without her!

I added a black taffeta sash that I made earlier and a muslin fichu as accessories for these photos.

You can also see my other sewing projects on my old blog with this tag.

Next I'll be posting my process from my LiveJournal blog.


Hello, this is my new blog made specially for the subject of sewing! I already have a blog dedicated to my pets, a professional one about my writing, and one for general subjects - and seeing as sewing is becoming a big part of my life, I thought I'd blog here too, so that people don't have to root through all my posts just to find sewing. :)

My name is Ellie, I'm a 17 year old girl living in the UK, and I love writing books, sewing (vintage, historical. Lolita, as well as modern), and making art. I come from a very crafty family, so I've been making things and sewing since I was very young. Occasionally I attempt to knit and crochet too. Recently I've published a book too.
It's my ambition to become either a costume designer or somebody who is commissioned to make bespoke historical or vintage costumes, as well as a self-published author.

I'm a big fan of Lolita fashion and consider myself a "lifestyle Lolita" in my hobbies, interests and dress sense.

From me you may see costumes, Lolita fashion, historical garments, some embroidery, and clothing gifts that I have made for family members and friends. Now I've got to start posting!