Sunday, January 18, 2015

1860's Corded Bonnet

Well, I haven't made my 1970's knit dress yet. I want to. I need to. The baby bump is making my normal clothes fit awkwardly and nothing seems quite so relaxing as the thought of draping myself in yards of soft comfy knit. But, well, when it comes down to it sewing for profit wins over sewing for personal desires and so, I made a new sunbonnet instead.

This sunbonnet is based on the below original, which I've wanted to copy for quite a few years now. For some reason I thought the vandyked edge on the brim would be super hard. It wasn't. It went together pretty fast, although I did use my machine for most parts.

It is a bit different from the standard "on the square" bonnets I've made before. This one has a flared brim which frames the face prettily without giving it a narrowing effect. It has a more fitted crown. The curtain is still rectangular. I gathered it by hand and whipped it to the inside of the finished brim and bottom crown edges.

It needs a little more work to be more like the original. A shorter curtain, a more tailored crown (mine came out a bit too poufy) and another set of 3 rows of cording in the brim.

It might be a nice addition to use a drawstring to draw up the fullness at the back neck. It would be adjustably sized that way and it makes ironing easier. I might try that on the next one.

The brim is cut in two identical pieces, sewn right sides together along the vandyked and short edges, turned and pressed. The cording is put in as 3 rows along the short and vandyked edge, then 2 more sets of 3 rows evenly spaced. (Just over an inch, in my case). Like I said, the next one will use another set of cords to more closely resemble the original.

This bonnet sold right away through a Facebook group but I was truly astounded by the interest in this style. I'll be making more and they will be available in my etsy shop for $45 pp once I refine the pattern.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Not much lately but hoods! I did have the luxury of going out today, without the children, to fabric shop. I bought a length of knit to make a dress from a 1976 pattern Anne unearthed for me from a dusty cardboard box stuffed on the bottom shelf of my book-turned-fabric-case.

A hood in silver grey with blue silk trim:

And one in quilted plaid wool:

I am tiring of hood-making. My thoughts are turned springward.

Its 2015! How did that happen?


Saturday, November 22, 2014

A New Style of Winter Bonnet

I made a new style of bonnet this week, copied from a mid 19th century bonnet made in what looks like plaid silk. For mine, I used some plaid wool.

The brim was cut as a rectangle with shaped ends. I piped round the edges and lined it with pale yellow cotton. It is interlined with cotton batting and hand quilted along lines of the plaid. Simple, but effective.

The crown was pleated to fit, and a rectangular curtain hand gathered and whip stitched to the piped neckline edge.

I didn't quilt the crown and the curtain is lined only with cotton. No batting, as I feared that would make it too bulky.

And an inside shot:

I also made another bonnet using the winter hood pattern I made and posted years ago. This version is made in black velveteen and blue silk with trimming of purple velvet ribbon.

It's lined with black sateen and interlined with cotton batting.

I wasn't sure if I'd like the purple with the black and blue, but now that its done I quite like it!

I finished the 1860's dress this past week also. It will soon be on its way to its new home.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Random Things in November

I awoke early this morning and went downstairs to put the tea kettle on.When I opened the blinds I was greeted by the sight of softly falling snow. Already enough had fallen to dust the ground like powdered sugar on a cake. It made me happy. Christmas is coming!

The boys are preparing mysterious programs at school that they gleefully tell me are "secrets". There is much whispering and giggling. Sometimes I will catch Judah singing the Chipmunk Christmas song and when he sees that I've noticed, he turns red and clamps his mouth shut. Apparently all will be revealed later this month at a special event at the school but until then, parents are to be kept in the dark.

This school year has been a bit rough for little David so far. He is a boy who deeply needs routine and predictability. His teacher took a leave of absence soon after school began and David had a very hard time dealing with that. Throughout the fall, several reports were sent hone about his acting out. Once he was sent home from school. He lost bus privileges for a few weeks because he was so out of control. I felt so guilty. David has always been " different". One on one he does excellently but he has delayed social skills and being in a group is difficult for him as he doesn't know how to interact as part of a group. On one hand, pulling him out of school and homeschooling him again seemed like the best option. At home with me he could learn and behave himself and would be able to pursue his own interests. But on the other hand, he *must* learn to interact with his peers, respond to authority figures other than myself and develop the social skills he needs to function as an independent adult.

I had no idea what to do. Then the school psychologist requested permission to do an autism spectrum study on David. I agreed, and earlier this week was able to meet with 9 people who work with and for David to discuss the results. It was determined he is high functioning autistic. Immediately an educational plan was outlined and submitted for my approval. It was a very long meeting, and I was overwhelmed and humbled by the depth of care and concern Davids teachers and other professionals have for him. They are committed to helping him in all his problem areas (mostly social) while also ensuring his education progresses normally. I am so blessed and thankful! The past few weeks David has done wonderfully in school and I was so proud of him when his bus driver pulled up next to my van a few days ago to tell me how well David has been behaving on the bus lately.

While the boys are in school, Anne is busy being a two year old. Above is a picture of her in her Halloween costume. She loves dressing up as a "Prin-thess" and then playing with cars, tractors and trains while thus femininely attired. She has a very large family of babies that she attends with adoring passion. She likes to think she can cook so whenever she manages to get it into the cupboards she mixes things in bowls. Her latest creation involved chili seasoning, marshmallows, a banana, half a bag of sugar, a lot of apple juice and the peel of a clementine. (She ate the clementine).

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving. Its such a lovely time of year!

Current Project: 1860's Dress

Looking forward to the last Hobbit movie! Maybe this time I will actually make a costume for it. I'm not counting on it, though.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finished Open Robe

I finished the robe but the petticoat took me a bit longer to make. Finally, earlier this week, I was able to complete it!

I am pleased with how it came out, although it is a bit large for me. Since I draped the pattern on the dress form and designed it to be able to fit several sizes, I would certainly tailor it more to my specific shape for next time.

The skirt panels are two 45" panels seamed down the center back, tightly pleated at the back with two pleats at side front skirts. This gives a pleasing flow to the skirts. The skirts move very gracefully, although I think for casual wear a round gown is much better.

The drawstrings do a good job of closing the front. On the form, they tie shut at a 40" bustline.

I am smaller, and uncorseted in these photos, but by drawing up the strings more the robe fit well enough. (Excuse the weird facial expression. Seems my young photographer enjoys taking candid shots, and soon lost interest in a serious endeavor).

I made the petticoat using the same bodice pattern, but with the opening moved to center back and the neckline and armscyes cut down a bit.

The back was pleated, with a few side front pleats.

I used a yellow cotton for the petticoat. For "work" wear a darker petticoat would be much better.

I need to work more on a better regency hairstyle. Due to an unfortunate string of events involving unintentional black chemical hair dye in the spring of 2013, subsequent black hair dye to keep roots from showing, eventual detestation of the dull synthetic black, experimentation with hair bleach to get out the black (yet not all the 3+ years worth of henna) I ended up with dark blonde/light brown hair whose color was actually similar to my natural color. However, it was so damaged and weakened I had to cut about 5" off and after a few egg and mayo protein treatments I dyed it with my beloved henna and an equal amount of indigo. It is already so much better feeling and thicker, but now quite short, alas.

OK, so the open robe is done. Now to start thinking about a Christmas dress for Anne Victoria and to see how I can turn this pattern into a short gown.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Open Robe Progress

My very first open robe is nearly done! Amidst the extreme chaos that a two year old girl brings to a household (the boys have nothing, NOTHING, on their sister - I'm so glad I have just one girl) I've been able to find odd minutes here and there to work on it. (Did I mention Anne is a holy terror? She has pure and innocent motives in all she does, but MY GOODNESS.)

I decided to use the bodice lining as the front bodice for this robe. The 1790-1800 open robe in Costume in Detail is cut similarly. The bodice is lined in white linen.

The Costume in Detail robe closes with drawstrings at the center front. Once my channels are sewn I'll run tape strings through.

All that's left at this point is handwork. Basically - a crap load of hemming. Then I'll need to make a petticoat.

I had just enough scrap left to piece a long strip for a possible neckline ruching. Not sure yet if I will add it or not. The neckline is quite low, so a ruffle may help raise it up a bit. A neckerchief could work just as well. We will see.