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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Interpreting Myself in Times Past

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is how to keep my sewing as a reflection of contemporary me.  We've all gone into a fabric store and bought something 'pretty' without a particular use that then sits in the stash waiting for a purpose because it never quite fits.  I have two lovely silks in my pile that I take out and pet every so often, then carefully place them back in their cubby until I think of something 'really good' to use them for.  As much as I love them, they don't fit for me.

When the Dreamstress wrote this week about Historical Accuracy, I knew I was on the right track.  I want my sewing to reflect not only who I am now, but who I think I would've been in each time period I work in.  At first I thought I would create a persona for each outfit or dress to focus my whole outfit towards a common goal, but that wasn't quite enough.

I've decided to make a list of things that represent not only my station in life (very important for historical sewing!), but also things that make me want to wear a garment.  So, here's the start:

1 - My family started a lower-middle class, then rose to upper-middle later on.  Being an only child helped (simple math, only so much to go around), but most 'special event' garments were paid for by my Grandparents or made by my mother.  Also plausible that about the time I'd be 'coming out' in society my family's resources would have allowed me to make a more favourable match than 5 years earlier.

2 - I like working.  I simply can't bear to be idle.  I imagine I'd be constantly embroidering or gardening (a.k.a. killing plants...).

3 - I'm a HUGE klutz.  No, seriously, I walk into a wall about once a week.  Any costume I make has to stand up to my particular brand of 'grace' and 'agility.'

4 - I like an element of fun in my clothing.  Whether it be a fun print, or a snappy colour, or simply a quirky accessory, I like things that are just slightly left of centre.

5 - I like to be comfy.  I'm comfortable in a suit though so take it as you will...  Clothing that fits properly and has the right amount of structure is more comfortable to me than leggings (hello muffin top!).

6 - I'm usually a few years off current fashion.  Whatevs, I'm cool with it.

With these in mind I've refocused my projects for the next few months.  For example, I'm making a complete Regency outfit for a ball in May.  I've been putting off adding the busk to my stays and couldn't figure out what I was afraid of.  Seriously, it's a paint stick, not a torture device!  But then I thought about the above, particularly 3 and 5, and realized to me it IS a torture device.  I'm going to pull the bloody thing out partway through the ball anyway, so why bother.

I'm keeping a fair bit of boning in my Regency stays simply because I can't imagine myself simply tossing out a) all that whalebone and b) going completely away from such a structured garment like 18th century stays.

Enough said. Now, back to the grind.


Up next...
Regency Stays & Petticoat

Monday, 2 February 2015

1760s Stays. FINALLY.

I'm pleased to post my 1760s stays!  I'll spare you the photo of me in it with the excessive 1760s boob-age.

Not perfection by any means, but I'm quite pleased with myself.  I learned so much! Binding by hand was a bit more than my carpal tunnel could handle, hence the late entry.

This is my second entry for the January Historical Sew Monthly Challenge.  At least one was finished on time...  


What the item is: 1760s Stays

The Challenge: #1 Foundations

Fabric: 100% cotton. Toile fashion layer, canvas inside, broadcloth lining.

Pattern: Butterick 4254

Year: 1760s-ish

Notions: Cotton thread, cotton embroidery floss, plastic cable ties.

How historically accurate is it?  Maybe 60%?  The toile pattern is a little off, but I love it.  Mostly machine sewn except the binding and lacing holes.

Hours to complete: 30+ It feels like forever, but it was so worth it!

First worn: Just for a photo.

Total cost: Maybe $25 CAD

Things I learned:
- How to sew eyelets.  Definitely something new and something to continue to grow my skills in.
- How to fit a corset.  I wouldn't say I'm the best at it, but I followed a great tutorial on how to use cardboard to fit stays before cutting everything.  

Things to change:
- The straps are too short and quite difficult to put on properly.  
- It's hard to see, but there's one too many tabs in the front.  A note for next time.

Up next...  Regency stays!