So this fortnight’s theme on the Historical Sew Fortnightly is Literature, and, of course, I’m using it as an excuse to finish (finally) my Polly/Oliver outfit (inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment).
It’s been so long since I worked on the outfit, or thought about it, and my skills have improved since then, and my image of the details has shifted somewhat, though I’m still going with the basic concept of 1880s Victorian does Georgian riding habit/military.
I bounced out of bed on Tuesday and thought “Right! I’m going to make massive progress on this today!” I had a rummage through my fabric stash, found a big bolt of blue rayon faille, and thought…”Oooh…what a great shade of military blue…and so practical and late Victorian.” Sure, rayon isn’t entirely accurate, but it the fabric does a reasonable approximation of silk, and the hand is perfect.
So I unrolled a length of the faille, spread it out on the floor, went at it with chalk and measuring tapes and scissors and quickly drafted and cut out a basic late Victorian five gored skirt. Then I did the same with a white cotton lining.
An hour later, I was sewing: stitching long skirt seams, and turning and pressing big panels. In record time the basic body was put together, and I sewing in a placket, and pleating the skirt into a waistband. A bit of hand finishing on the waistband, and I moved on to a hem: a slightly anachronistic but very effective bias-turned hem, which would be further protected with a dust ruffle.
A quick measure, a try on to mark the placement of the hooks, and I sewed on the hooks, feeling immensely proud of myself as hooks are often something I leave until the last minute, or end up skipping altogether for the first wearing.
Six hours of steady sewing later, I put the skirt on Isabelle (without a bustle, which is was made to go over) and stood back to admire it.
And this is when I realised that I am a complete, utter, and total idiot.
Sure, the blue is a good military colour, and very practical, but Polly/Oliver is a Borogravian. The Borogravian uniform is a red jacket with white pants. It’s explicitly mentioned in the book! Heck, it’s on the front cover of the book, which was right next to me as I sewed. Borogravia is (usually) fighting against Zlobenia, and the Zlobenians wear blue uniforms. Polly’s uniform is never, no matter how girlie and dressy they make it, going to involve a blue skirt!
I can’t believe I was so dumb. This is what you get when you don’t stop to plan and consider a project, and just try to sew as fast as possible.
So now I have a beautifully made dark blue rayon faille skirt that, depending on how I trim, and what I put it over, I could use for anything from 1880 to 1905.
But I can’t use it for Polly/Oliver, which means that for now it is a wardrobe orphan, and it was kind of a waste of a full sewing day. It makes me blue.
At least someone appreciates it:
Where’s Fiss gone?
“G’way. My skirt now”