All posts filed under: Sewing

Things I sew – historical and modern

Elephants & Kangaroos thedreamstress.com

Kangaroos & Elephants Oh My! – (almost) first me-made dress

In the sewing community May is Me-Made-May – a month of trying to wear more of the things you’ve made, using them to get out of wardrobe ruts, and setting yourself personal challenges around them. I’ve never officially participated, in part because wearing stuff I’ve made every day is pretty much an obligation of my work, and what I wear cycles in response to what classes I’m teaching at the moment, what patterns I’m working on for Scroop Patterns, and the weather (which currently includes the first snow of the winter – yay (note sarcasm)).  In bigger part, I’ve always been too busy with either the Sew Weekly, or the Historical Sew Fortnightly. Between sewing-teaching work, history-lecturing work, pattern-making work, running the HSF, and life, I’m one additional thing away from dropping all my balls – and I’m pretty sure that what I’m juggling is a mix of ostrich eggs in extremely fragile shells (some of which are well past their best-by date), newborn dragons (a la McKinley, where dragons are marsupials, so newborns are really squishy) and pressure-sensitive …

How to add pockets to the Scroop Modern Fantail skirt thedreamstress.com

How to add pockets to the Scroop Modern Fantail skirt

A lot of people have asked about pockets for the Scroop Modern Fantail skirt. I really wanted to include pockets in the pattern.  As I developed the pattern I tested multiple styles of pockets on the skirt: welt, in-seam, in-seam with standing welt, horizontal, back angled, front angled, patch.  Unfortunately none of them fit my requirements for being sympathetic to the aesthetic of the skirt, flattering on most body types, successful in all the fabrics that the skirt could be made out of, large enough to make the aesthetic and difficulty compromises worthwhile, and within the difficulty range of the pattern.  I didn’t want to include a pocket that compromised my vision for the pattern, just for the sake of having one.  So, the pattern is pocket-less. Of all the ways I tried to include pockets, by far the most successful was the back-angled drop pocket set into the side panel.  They weren’t perfect: they do make the skirt a bit more casual, and you can’t put bulky things in them, so they didn’t quite make the …

Experiments in ca. 1800 petticoat making

A part of my Jane-Austen sewing-a-thon* I decided it was finally time I made a proper set of Regency petticoats, and stopped just using my 1910s petticoats, pulled up to the underbust and pinned in place! The first dress that needed a petticoat was the ca. 1800 Madame Recamier gown.  It’s sheer, so it definitely needs a petticoat.  It’s also flat fronted, so the petticoat can’t have any front gathers, or it won’t sit smoothly over it.  The Madame Recamier gown is based on the ca 1800 bib-front dress in Janet Arnold, and the skirt panels are rectangles – no angles at all. I went looking for extant examples, period mentions, and period images, and quickly ran into a problem.  There aren’t many of any of those. There is this 1799 caricature, which mostly shows drawers worn without petticoats, though the woman having her stockings pinned up appears to be holding up a pink petticoat with no bodice, and the woman at the far right appears to be wearing a blue un-bodiced petticoat.  Neither tells us much …