mlsdesigns: (cocktail)
To celebrate my stays being finally finished (for now, lining comes later) I decided to whip out a quick project, and a banyan for elegant lounging seemed like the next logical step after stays, more underwear!
This banyan is definitely an odd little thing, it's a real stash buster, and is rather ghetto fabulous ;) I had a 2.5yd length of Indian block printed cotton I bought ages ago intending to make a jacket for Mummy, it's very fine though, more like a muslin or lawn than the first fabric I bought from them, which was more of a quilting weight. So, completely unsuitable for a jacket, and the print isn't really suitable for anything other than 18thC, so it needed a home. I also had the remains of a length of supposedly linen with an open-work stripe, that is far too shiny to be 100% linen and definitely has some dead dino content! The 2 together seemed perfect.
With 2.5yds I had just enough length to make a longish garment, although not quite as long as I'd have liked, and by making the cuffs from the linen, I had just enough width to make elbow length sleeves, again, not as long as I'd like. I loosely based it on this ladies banyan from the V&A I shaped it with a pleat running over each shoulder down to the waist at the front and the back, and a small inverted box pleat at the centre back. To get a bit more width at the hem I small godets cut from the waste from the underarm shaping.



It's all machine sewn, except the hems (which I'll do on my lunch break tomorrow), I even stitched the pleats down by machine, although, I'm debating redoing them by hand. I'm finding it hard to reconcile myself to the idea of visible machine stitches on anything in my 18thC wardrobe. I know I shouldn't bother, the lining is so obviously poly, and I'm never going to wear it to a reenactment in front of the public, but...


Jan. 16th, 2013 03:41 pm
mlsdesigns: (sunflower)
I'm so pleased with them!!! Now I finally get to start making pretty things to wear over them.


Hmm, all this work, and hardly anyone will see them ... or maybe not ... you all know what I'm like ;)
mlsdesigns: (cocktail)
Hooray! I don't have to take them apart! I get to sew the leather now .... yay?


mlsdesigns: (cocktail)
I hate sewing eyelets!!! But at least they're all done now :) I'm quite pleased with them actually, and I only managed to stab myself with the awl 3 times, and only 2 of them were in the same spot ;)


I've been working in the shop today, so I was able to get lots done. The pieces are all whipped together (by the way, 'whipping' sounds like a fairly quick process doesn't it? Not at all!! It took ages to do each seam, I do hope they fit, I'm not looking forward to having to unpick the whipping to alter them!) and the silk ribbon reinforcing the eyelets is done. So now, when I get home, I can finally try them on! Then, fingers crossed, I can tape the seams (I'm using the same leather as the binding) and do the binding and then move on to something else! I'm going to leave the lining till March, and insert it on the plane. I don't need to wear them before then except for fittings, and I want to pack them in the hold, so it's win win :)

Fitting pictures later hopefully!


Jan. 9th, 2013 04:19 pm
mlsdesigns: (cocktail)
My boning channels are all sewn and the reeds are all in! Remember how my reed never came, then I emailed her and she said she'd send me a few lengths to be a size guide? well, the 'few lengths' she sent seem more like half a roll, so I had plenty to bone (reed?!) my stays :D
I got so much done yesterday. I finished the panel I started on Monday, and did another panel and started the first front on the bus on the way home. Last night when I went to bed I only had one and a half channels left on the first front! I'm amazed at how quickly I'm getting through these stays :) although, I have a feeling I'll slow right down when I start binding!
I'm now about to start the eyelets. Why did I decide it would be a great idea to have them open in the front AND the back!??!
mlsdesigns: (cocktail)
These photos are from Thursday, when I was getting ready to go away for the weekend. I cut out all my pieces, then did a practice boning channel to work out the size they needed to be, and how I should stitch them: what thread to use and which stitch, I opted for 1 strand of silk thread and my strange bastardised version of a backstitch/running stitch combo ;)


The reed is great, I'm so excited to see how it's going to work out in the end! nice and strong, and SO light, and it doesn't show through the pale linen at all. My practice eyelet went in very easily, but now I just need to find something to lace them with.


I stitched the linen to the canvas with a long machine stitch along the sides, where the pieces will be whipped together, then I marked all the channels with a mechanical pencil (which shows through the thread and makes my lovely new pale pink linen look all grey and grubby :( still, I suppose it'll be actually grey and grubby soon enough!)

So, like I said, these photos are from before my weekend away, I took my sewing with me though, like a good little girl, and I'm amazed how much I got done! I only took four panels: both backs, a side back and a side front, and I finished them all! and would have had time to do at least one more, if not two or three! Oh well, hopefully it won't take too long now I'm home, I got most of the side back done in my lunch break today ;)

I have a question for you stays makers though. I'm planning to bind them with leather, and have so far failed to find out if the reed should finish right at the edge of the stays inside the binding, or if it should stop at the stitching holding the binding on?


Dec. 30th, 2012 10:54 pm
mlsdesigns: (sunflower)
This Christmas has been crazy! we've been so busy nearly every day ever since I finished school, in some ways I'm actually looking forward to school starting again so things can calm down a little!
I finally finished the last of my Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, and since then I've been doing things for our Georgian evening party (which was on the 27th) and I made a couple of modern skirts too, but today I was able to get started on my new stays :)
I ordered the reed and canvas for interlining ages ago, and the fabric came before Christmas, but no reed :( there was a note on the packing slip saying it was 'to follow' with no note as to how long that would be! I got very cross and wrote a snotty email, to which I had a very nice reply saying their reed supplier had just retired and that they hadn't yet emailed me because they were nursing a sick relative. Kind of hard to be cross, but I'm still grumpy it's not here yet! So, she's sending me a few lengths to use to plan the width of my boning channels, and the rest when it comes in from the new supplier.
Anyway, I was able to do my mock up today, using the stays pattern from Costume Closeup and some cardboard from the box a vacuum cleaner came in ;) I think I've got the fit right - I wore them to eat lunch and then try on some of my old costumes, and they were still very comfy, (but need a little length taking off the top edge). The only problem is, they make my waist about 2-3 inches lower than my old one, which means all my petticoats are too long, and my jackets are too short :( I think it's because my old stays are boned with steel, which doesn't have much give, so they couldn't bend over my hips properly, so instead flared out too high up, whereas the cardboard bends right where it needs to. I'm hoping that the reed will work in the same way, from what I gather from looking at all your stays it should. Anyway, here are some pictures!


I'm changing the angle of the centre front a little, making them smaller in the waist and bigger in the bust. After lots of to-ing and fro-ing I've decided to make them lace at the front and back. While I can lace myself into my back opening stays, it's quite a struggle sometimes, especially in a tent, and as I want to do more reenacting next year, and Mummy won't always be there, that's a definite issue!

I'm thinking I want to make them half boned, I'm planning to sew them by hand, and do not relish the idea of doing so many channels! so hopefully they won't stand up quite so well on their own as the cardboard ones do, otherwise I have no idea how I'll ever be able to pack them!!!!


I tried my blue and white pierrot jacket on over the cardboard stays, and it was horrifying :( the jacket wound up quite short waisted because of the problems I had lining up the stripes, and while that was not too bad with my old stays, these new longer waisted ones were quite dreadful. Then I tried on the new short gown that I haven't quite finished yet, and it too was far too short in the waist, but at least I can fix that, it's just a case of redoing the side seams with a lower waist and stitching the pleats down for a few more inches. By this time though I was terrified that all my clothes would be useless with the new stays, and not only would I have to make an entirely new wardrobe, but I'd never be able to wear my gorgeous sacks again. So I rushed upstairs to try on my spotted sack from last spring. Luckily, it's ok! the petticoat is too long and shows 3" below the gown skirts, but I never got round to finishing the top edge, so it's just a case of taking the waist-bands off and moving them down. Luckily because of all the waist-bands and ties round my waist, the slightly too short waist isn't really noticeable, and the fact my waist is a little bigger and my bust a little smaller in the new stays doesn't matter because of the ties in the back lining. So relieved!!!
Now I need to wait for the reed though, because until it's here I won't know how many layers to make them from. I'm using very pale pink linen for the outer layer, with canvas for strength and a loose linen lining, but I don't know if I need to use 2 layers of the canvas, or if the linen is strong enough on its own, nor if the reed will show through the pale linen and make it look funny. So I thought I'd do something else while I wait, something that doesn't need to fit! so either a cloak or a banyan I think :D
mlsdesigns: (lying on grass)
I work part time this term and next, so today was my day off, and I was hoping to spend it sewing, but in the end I didn't get round to sewing till this evening :( I did manage to make and fit a bodice mockup though, and I think it's looking good. While I was getting dressed though, I started thinking. I originally bought the fabric for a ball dress for Mummy, its such a dark red, and I now think maybe it wouldn't be best as a ball dress for me, it will be too dark I think. I still want to make it up though, and I'm now thinking of a riding habit, or something inspired by one :) So that leaves me making up the fabric I originally planned to make my dress from! It's a lovely gold shot taffeta and I got 30yds of rococo ribbon trim to trim it with, I'm planning frills and flounces all over :) The mockup will work for a sacque back as well as the anglaise I was going to make, I'll just leave off the point. Oh and the alterations I made to my stays have made an amazing difference, the straps actually stayed on my shoulders!!
I took pics, I'll try to post the tomorrow, but, unless we have more snow (fingers crossed!) I'm at work tomorrow :'(
mlsdesigns: (plaid and bonnet)
Well, with the stays at least :) Today was a bit frustrating though, I had loads of tidying to do after Christmas and New Year, and I've had a rotten cold since Christmas so it all piled up till there was so much to do today :( BUT I got it done, and I baked as a reward. Chocolate brownies and cupcakes, but the frosting for the cupcakes turned out a bit strange tasting? Oh well, they're not BAD just odd :)
So now I can get started on the mock-up for my gown! Since Mummy has decided she likes being a boy I'm going to use the dark red ribbed silk I got to make her a dress for mine! I'm planning to make an en forreau back, and not too frilly, because I also have plans for a sacque back which will be very frilly, and I want them to be as different in style as possible. So a box pleated frill on the petticoat and box pleated serpentine with the silver braid twining the other way on the skirts. I'm not sure how I want it to fasten, centre front or with a stomacher, or maybe a compere front, I love those :)
But first I have work tomorrow, and friends in the afternoon then my best friend is spending the night, so not much sewing for a while I think! Pooh, I wish it was the holiday still :(
mlsdesigns: (puppy)
Well, I did put some ribbons on a pair of little white ballet pumps so I can wear them to dancing tonightm I put green ribbons on to tie at the ankle and will make rosettes for the toes, with something sparkly in the centres. I did green so they match my new regency ballgown, the next ball is regency so I want to practice in these shoes so I'm used to them!
But no stays progress today :( I have spent ages trying to work out what to use for my hoops though. because I'm not making pocket hoops, or a covered pannier, the spring steel crin steel I ise will be no good, it's too springy and I don't want to have to do tapes tying it into an oval because you'll see them and they annoy me! I wanted cane, but can't work out what I need, or where to find it. When hunting though I found out that buckram covered hoop steel is bendy (ie, "be careful, don't bend it, it won't spring back") so it sounds like if you WANT to bend it you can. Not having ever used the stuff, am I on the right track?
Off to dancing now, I'm teaching new regency dances for the ball, well trying anyway, we all learn together pretty much!!
mlsdesigns: (crazy hair)
I got out all my 18th Century stuff, and tried it all on, as predicted, nothing fits the way it did, BUT, for once it's a good thing, they seem to fit better! Once I got Clare out of bed (it was lunch time!) she helped me pin out darts on the shoulder straps to bring them up onto my shoulders properly, and there was a lot to take out! I've since redone one strap and fixed all the poking bones on that side, and put the binding back on, the other side still needs doing, I should have got so much more done today, but at least I did something!
mlsdesigns: (in window)
So looking back over last year made me think. Mummy asked me why there was nothing before April, and I realised I did practically no sewing in the winter/early spring. I hate that time of year, it's so cold and dark, I have no motivation. Unfortunately this year I don't have the option to do so little, we have the Baroque Ball in Bath in March, and a Regency ball for Vallentines, and a Victorian ball in May, all of which need working on. So I'm going to get some better lighting in the dining room (my new sewing room, we've had a bit of a reshuffle) and really try to crack on.
For the Regency ball I want to make a new ballgown for Clare, nothing else, so should be not too bad. For the ball in May I want to make myself a new ballgown, I've had the fabric since CosCol, what, 3 years ago?! I've made a new dress for May the last 2 years, usually it's a quite time sewing wise!
The Baroque ball is the one that's worrying me :( I want a new dress, and need new panniers, Mummy wants to be a chap, I have a coat at school that I wanted to adjust anyway, so I'll sort that out for her, and then she needs a waistcoat and britches, I have a pattern for the britches, and the waistcoat should be easy. Clare will be a boy too, I have some gorgeous fabrics for her coat and waistcoat, just need something for her britches.
So tomorrow I'm hoping I might manage to get out my undies, I need to try the corset on, and I know it needs a little mending. I want to make some panniers like the ones Kirsten Dunst's Marie A wears when she's dressed to enter French soil, the ruffly hip length ones! I've been looking for pics of other ones like that, no luck yet.
Oh, and I'm going to try posting everyday again, might help me work harder :D


mlsdesigns: (Default)

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