Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Plotting a Challenge, AKA Boredom Takes Over

Alright, so with semester over for now, I can fully participate in the Historical Sew Fortnightly! This requires a bit of planning on my part and alas a bit of luck as well, but it's me so there's loads of luck. Anyways.....

I looked through the list of upcoming projects and found that by my sheer luck, I can participate in the next few without having to buy anything! YAY! This is rather important now, because my dear Data, my laptop of six years, is no more. So money must be put aside for that. Luckily I already bought the fabric for some of the upcoming challenges.

Next project will be for #11 which will be a red petticoat, I need one for my damsel 1.0 gown for faire. Following that is the secret project for #12. Then possibly corded stays or a new corset for #13. But this post is about my planning for Challenge #14, the Eastern influence. :)

I went digging through all and found this pretty fabric.

The original plan had been to make an awesome fantasy princess gown. But the image I have in mind,  requires more fabric then I possess. So back to the drawing board, sorta. 

Looking through the Pinterest for the challenge, I found this.

It is a furisode kimono style dressing gown from 1885. It's housed in the FIDM Museum. It's really pretty and who doesn't want a gorgeous dressing gown, or robe in general? Which leads to more digging. Giving us these:

The first is from the Adventures of Robin Hood with Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn. It was the only full length shot of the dressing gown for the love scene I could find. The second is of Padme Amidala from Attack of the Clones. Image is from Padawan's Guide. 

So these three plus the pretty wrapper/dressing gowns in Gone with the Wind, have influenced my project for Challenge #14. I'm still playing with how I want it to look, but so far definitely romantic and flowing. Eventually I'll put a pretty nightgown under it, probably more influenced from the Padme image, but that can be another challenge.....

Ooooo yay! I love sewing plotting. Now on to the red petticoat!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

How Merlina Makes Pockets

How Merlina Makes Pockets
Pockets are simple. At least how I make them. I do not present this as the most historically accurate way to make pockets. This is the way I do it. Are there better ways to do this? Yes. Is it wrong to do it this way? No, at least not for me. 
Mine are pretty plain, I embroider fairly well I simply don't have the patience. I however applaud those who do. This was an excersise in use of stash fabric and practice with my hand sewing. Plus I like colorful underthings. Who wants white all the time?
And now, making a pocket or two.
I start with a piece of paper taped to my waist. Reach my fingers done to the edge and mark the fartest they reach. Then fold the paper in half and connect the dots for a kind of tear drop shape. Cut out and we get this:
Pocket Pattern
My hand to show shape
Next you cut out four of these from your choice fabric. If you want two pockets, cut two pieces if you want one. I personally prefer two. To me, there are days when one is just not enough. Mine are made from the remains of the blue medium weight linen I used for my blue hood. It's a little wrinkled, but alas linen is known to do that.
Four pieces of blue linen for pockets
Now we sew the pockets together along the tear drop shape. I did mine by hand with waxed undyed linen thread. Once I stitched down the first row of stitches, I clipped the seam allowance, and turned the pocket inside out then pinned and sewed again. Making a kind of french seam. My intention was to turn that inside again. But I thought it looked cool, so it remains.
Pocket sewn up
I am aware that this isn't period. I simply wanted to do it this way. And I like french seams, they're pretty. :) I do this for both of the pockets.
Then we cut a slit down the center to allow one to access said pocket. I bound the slit with self fabric bias tape.
Pocket with finished slit
We shall repeat this on the other pocket so there are two. Then stitch them onto a tape or more self fabric bias tape. In this case a piece of yellow linen from my yellow Marian gown, which still isn't finished (damned sleevils). I place my pockets at my sides over my hips. All my petticoats have the same placed slit to access them.
Et, voila! Finished pockets!
Aren't they all bright and cheerful?
Perfect for my cell and ID, and money for the next historical adventure! And possibly some cleverly historical pocket trappings. What historical lady doesn't want a letter from her beloved? Or a little token to show off?
Next up on the sewing run is a recycled fabric red petticoat. The color is actually accurate, but that's for another post. And so much better than boring white. I'm not knocking white, but really who doesn't want a red petticoat? Sounds fun to me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

For the Love of Pockets

For those of us who venture forth into the past from our humble modern beginnings are forever tasked with hiding the common place items we use in modern life. Things like cell phones, keys, ID, cash and credit cards among numerous others. Now certainly we have the option of a purse. Reticules were very popular in the Regency Era and after. Pouches hanging from belts can also work. Which is all fine and dandy but I have tried both, and find neither to my liking. Which brings us to an Eighteenth Century necessity, the pocket.

Pinned Image
Pockets found via Pinterest, claim to belong to the Bath Museum
These clever little pockets are on a tape and tie around one's waist beneath one's skirts. They vary in size and can hold quite a lot of things. Perfect to hide away the cell phone and other 21st century necessities. 
Now what follows is my opinon, just me theorizing. So don't jump down my throat. I have little to back up my thoughts besides theory.
Pockets to me are one of the most useful pieces of historical fashion. I have worn them under dresses dating from the Tudor era all the way up to the 1860s (exception being the Regency). They hide out easily under the layers of skirts and skirt supports. As far as I know there is no evidence to back this, but I don't think something this useful just suddenly appeared in the 1700s. Although I believe the idea of a pouch on a belt under one's outer skirt is mentioned in The Tudor Tailor.
If my theory is true, which greater minds then mine may already know, the question ranks what happened to all the pockets? The same thing that happened to all the other extant clothes. Only the fancy pockets survive. But if the majority of the world worked and used pockets, I think the pockets would have been plain, and used until they could no longer be repaired. So that's my theory, if anyone asks.
Now on to the good stuff.
I have had a pair of plain machine sewn white pockets for ages. They were of a heavier fabric, maybe a cotton, maybe a blend with bright teal bias tape to finish the slits. I do know there is a picture of them, I don't know where it is.
Unfortunately, my pockets became a victim of the ferious black cat. (He's really not that ferious, rather adorable) They were scratched up and taken to parts unknown. Therefore I now need new pockets. Which I will show you how to make in my next post!

Monday, May 20, 2013

I live!

I just want to tell all that I live! The semester is over, the papers are written. All is well with the world. Tomorrow we open the pool and then I shall blog. I swear.