Having finally finished my 1780s pet-en-l’aire I was eager to do a photoshoot in it, but I delayed it for a few days so that I could do one more quick project: make a 1780s walking length muslin petticoat to go with it. I’m so pleased that I took the time to complete the ensemble!
The pet ruffles (particularly the little twists at the front ends) are just delighting me, and the petticoat is much better with the outfit than the old long one I’d paired it with before.
For the photoshoot Madame O and I got dressed up in our respective yellow pet-en-l’aires and headed out to a park for end-of-day photos. It’s been a very dry summer in New Zealand, and the whole country is in varying stages of drought, so the photos are ochre when they would usually be green. It didn’t look much like our usual vision of pretend 18th century Europe, so we just pretended we were in Provence.
Unfortunately we didn’t see a single other person at the park, so couldn’t get any photos together. Still, she did a beautiful job with mine!
The best part about my new petticoat is that it actually qualifies for HSF challenge: #6 Stripes. The fabric is a bamboo-cotton blend, with the main body of the fabric of cotton, and a bamboo stripe running through it.
No, bamboo certainly isn’t accurate as an 18th century fabric, but this bamboo isn’t as in-accurate as it might be.
There are two ways to process bamboo. The most common is to use chemicals to break down the tough cellulose bamboo fibres. This exactly the same process used to make other cellulose based fabrics like rayon (viscose), and isn’t particularly environmentally friendly. Less common is mechanical processing, which is much more environmentally friendly, but produces a stiffer, more linen-like, fabric. Mechanical processing would have been possible in the 18th century, and produces a fabric which is similar to historical fabrics in its handle and wear. Chemical processing, not so much. Some countries require that bamboo be labelled by the type of processing, but unfortunately New Zealand isn’t one of these countries. Still, based on the hand I am reasonably certain that the bamboo in this fabric was mechanically processed.
Also, I think I paid $4 a metre for this fabric, and I’ve had it in my stash for 6 years, and I decided to make the petticoat a quickie and machine sew the entire thing, so I’m not too worried about whether it is perfectly historically accurate or not. It’s done, and that’s a thing of beauty in itself!
My bergere hat is another newly finished (though I may trim it further) piece. I remade it from a really dreadful modern straw hat, so I’ll do a post on how to re-make your own straw hat into a bergere in a few weeks as part of the Accessorise challenge. I’ll also tell you a bit more about petticoat construction, for those who appreciate the statistics and details for their own sewing reference
For now, my last two favourite photos. This is naughty Dreamstress throwing acorns at Madame O:
Now how could you be mad at a smile like that?