Friday, April 5, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #7 Accessorize - Part 2: 18th C muff cover!

Way back in March of 2011 I went to the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Accessories Symposium.   Like all of the CW symposiums I've been to it was a great learning experience and one of my favorite parts of it was the hands-on muff making class Janea Whitacre of the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop gave.  (Val of Time Traveling in Costume wrote a nice review of the class which you can read here; you can see me in group picture in the front row with the pink muff.)  I made a muff base and cover in that class but have always wanted to make one of the beautiful portrait muffs I'd seen in museum collections like this one:
MFA Boston 1785-1800
So when I saw Katherine of The Fashionable Past had come out with a tutorial for a portrait muff knew it was time to make one!

My muff cover design was inspired by the extant muff above and this one Maggie did, I really liked the pleated trim on the sides of both of these and wanted to add that to mine.  This was a pretty easy project, the base fabric is just a rectangle with a draw string on either end.  I took Katherine's advice and added my trim before stitching the rectangle closed into a tube.  I was lazy and just fused my portrait to another scrap of fabric with stitch witchery then stitched it onto the fabric about 1/8 of an inch from the edge.  I pinked my trim on both sides,  pleated it, then stitched it down about 2 inches from the edge where the drawstrings and then hand sewed the sequins on top of the portrait edge.

Fabric:  Ivory Silk Dupioni - not the most historically accurate fabric I know, but it was the only color in the stash that worked with the portrait and was neutral enough to work with most of my costumes.  The portrait is one by Elizabeth Vigee-Le Brun of Madame Grand I found on Wikicommons and uploaded to Spoonflower.  I ordered a swatch of the fabric for $5 and voila!  Added bonus, I have several more Madame Grands I can make into muff covers for friends!  I seem to recall reading somewhere that LeBrun thought Madame Grand exceedingly silly and given I often seem to be making goofy faces and am also a blond I thought it rather apropos.  

Pattern: The muff cover I'd made in the CW workshop I mentioned above.

Year: 1780-1800

Notions: Silk ribbon for drawstrings, copper sequins from Berger Bead, thread

How historically accurate is it?  Not all that accurate given the modern printing, plastic sequins and the fact that I machine sewed all of it save the sequins! 

Hours to complete: 2-3

First worn:  Not yet!

Total cost: $5 for the portrait fabric (plus shipping) all other materials were from the stash.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This post brought to you by your friendly neighborhood fabric enabler...

In other words, there's a sale on boys and girls!  Fashion Fabrics Club has a bunch of different cotton fabrics on sale from now until tax day, April 15th. The category that caught my eye most was the cotton lawns  - $4.45 per yard or less.  I saw quite a few I thought costumers might like should they have a Regency dress, summer bustle, sheer 1860s gown or 1920s day dress in mind.

Here are a few of my favorites:
An ivory voile perfect for the Gatsby Picnic frock.

A pale apricot lawn perfect for your repro of the Duchess of Polignac's chemise dress from the Marie Antoinette movie

A white with turquoise stripe that would make a great summer bustle gown a la the Buccaneers

Or how about this lovely pink lawn with a metallic gold stripe for a Regency gown?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #7 Accessorize: Sabretache-Inspired Reticule

 After looking at all those lovely hussar costumes while I was making the red linen Spencer I decided I really needed a sabretache-inspired reticule to go with it.   I tried to emulate some of the features I've seen in both sabretaches and reticules the era, such as a heavily embroidered central motif and a central point tassel.

The Challenge: #7 Accessorize

Fabric: Black cotton velvet scrap and black silk satin scrap

Pattern: I used a print out of this sabretache that I found on the military website as the pattern for my reticule although I adjusted the size a bit and added a drawstring at the top.

Year: Approx 1800

Notions: black and gold piping, white and gold cording for the drawstrings, two beaded fleur-des-lis appliques from Heritage Trading and a beaded tassel from my friend Jenny-Rose (thanks again Jenny-Rose!)

How historically accurate is it? It's plausible, but not a copy of any extant reticule I've seen.

Hours to complete: Not long, a few hours?   I really don't keep track of these things!  :P

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost:  Another all stash project!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

A big thank you to American Duchess for awarding me a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

To accept the award, one must:
1. Display the award and link back to the person who nominated you.
2. State 7 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 bloggers for the award.
4. Notify the winners.

So without further ado here are seven facts about myself:

1. My very first sewing project was a quilted totebag I made in Jr. high school home ec.  It looked kinda like this only WAY uglier.  :P

2. I love brussel sprouts.

3. I was raised by hippies.

4. As a kid I wore a patch over one eye a-la-pirate because I had amblyopia.

5. I was on the debate team in college.

6. I have many strange fish tales from my days of working in a public aquarium.

7. I am a bread snob.

And here are the 15 of the many wonderful blogs on my reading list I'd like to nominate for a Very Inspiring Blogger award!

1. Jenny La Fleur
2.  Demode
3. Stitcher Baby
4. Festive Attyre
5. Diary of a Mantua Maker
6. Madame Modiste
7. Scandalous Liberty
8. Maggie's Costume Wardrobe
9. 18th Century Blog
10. The Austrian Woman
11. At Sign of the Golden Scissors
12. Aimee Major
13. Isis' Wardrobe
14. The Fashionable Past
15. Before the Automobile

From the Bookshelf: Free Costume Books!

I know I've posted about this before, but I just can't get over how wonderful it is that the MET has put a plethora of their costume books/exhibit catalogs online as free pdf downloads.  You can read online to preview your selected book, then download it for your computer or ereader, and even print it later if you desire.  I thought I'd mention a few of my favorites:

 For lover's of the 18th C:
Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century. What if a museum staged some of their 18th C costumes amidst some of their most stunning 18th C furniture in dramatic vignettes?  The MET did and the result is a lush extravaganza of 18th C gorgeousness.

The Ceaseless Century: three hundred years of 18th century. The 18th C styles are so iconic that many other eras took their cue from Marie Antoinette and put their own twist on 18th century style.  This wonderful long out of print catalog pairs 18th C clothing with the imitators from other centuries.
 The 18th Century Woman. While this doesn't contain the lush photography of the other two books and is an older book it's an extensive review of the 18th C woman that's worth having, especially at this price!  

For the Victorian/Edwardian crowd:
Imperial Style: fashions of the Hapsburg era. While this book covers the entire era the main focus is on the late 19th Century.  Painting, etchings and full color photos of costumes from the era plus extensive text.  Added bonus for the menfolk - many uniforms.

 From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress from 1837 to 1877. A wonderful survey of clothing in Victoria's time - paintings, etchings and many full color plates of extant garments.

La Belle Epoch. Oscar Wilde, Lillie Langtry, and the Folies Bergere, what's not to love?

 Asian costume:
 Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress. Gorgeous photos of costumes influenced by Asian styles from the 18th Century to modern day.

The Manchu Dragon - costumes of the Ch'ing Dynasty 1644-1912. Beautiful photos of extant garments of the era.  

Russian Costume:
A History of Russian Costume 12th to 20th century. A few color and many black and white stills of men's and women's costumes, including military and royalty.

Diaghilev: Costumes and Designs for the Ballet Russes.  I haven't downloaded this one yet and the read-online version seems to not include all pages but so far this appears to be more of an essay than a photographic catalog.

 Other cool stuff:
 Swords into Ploughshares. Remember my blathering about military inspired women's wear?  Who knew the MET had a book specifically on that subject?  I haven't read it yet but it's been downloaded!
Bloom! a celebration of flowers in fashion.  Not much text here, just full color photos of lovely flowery gowns from a multitude of eras.

Bare Witness. Fashions that dared to show some skin from the 18th C to today, full color plates.

There are many more titles available as free downloads, you could easily spend days reading them all!  The link to all the costume books the MET has published is here - however you need to click on each title to see if it's one of the free downloadable ones or not.  Most of the titles beyond the first page are.