All posts filed under: Sewing

Things I sew – historical and modern

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 …

1917 combinations and petti-slips thedreamstress.com

Combination-a-thon, or how I came to have more wearable combinations than anyone else alive in 2017…

When I was planning my wardrobe for the Fortnight in 1916 I knew I needed lots of combinations to wear under corsets: enough to have a reasonable week’s wearing before I did laundry. I was using Wearing History’s fantastic 1917 combination pattern.  Mid-1910s combinations are serious fabric hogs,  so I rummaged around in my stack of vintage sheets, and unearthed half-a-dozen of the thinnest and most seamed. On my first round of cutting I cut out three, carefully folded them all in one parcel, and set them aside for sewing. (who can guess where this is going?) The next night I cut out another 4, which would give me 8 in total (I already had a completed one): near the upper end of what my research suggested was a normal amount of first-layer undergarments for a middle class woman to have in any single season. A few days later I sat down to sew all the combinations. My first three?  Nowhere to be found!  Determined searching and re-organising failed to unearth them, so I persevered with …