All posts filed under: Sewing

Things I sew – historical and modern

1795-1800 muslin dress

A mental meh and a very-end-of-the-18th-century muslin gown

I was really excited about my trip to Australia, and an opportunity/excuse to make a new ca. 1800 dress. I’ve done very little historical sewing since last Costume College, and I’m definitely missing it.  Regency has been on my sewing wishlist for quite a while.  I had a length of muslin I found at an op-shop that was just asking to be a simple almost-white dress. Should be perfect! Unfortunately I’m pretty meh about the result. I’m not sure if it’s really the dress, or simply in my brain. I’m currently going through a really hard patch as a costumer and historical sewer.  Mentally, I need a certain amount of time to focus on a project in order to really do a good job.  And I also need to keep in practice in order to not only to keep growing as a historical sewer, but to just stay at the levels of sewing that I’ve achieved in the past. And for the last few years I just haven’t managed to make that time.  Between starting …

Theresa with a Fichu at Old Government House Parramatta,

A new 18th century fichu – HSM 2018 #5

I always try to have a bit of handsewing on the go, so I have something to work on while sitting in a waiting room, or whenever else I have a tiny bit of down-time (an all too rare occurrence in my life at the moment, sadly). My last handsewing project was another 18th c fichu – a twin to the one I made back in December, because it’s easier to cut a square and divide it into two triangles than to cut an individual triangle, so you might as well make fichu in pairs! I finished my fichu on the flight to Sydney, just in time for Theresa to wear it for my talk and our photoshoot at Old Government House in Parramatta, Sydney. There isn’t a great deal to say about the fichu’s construction.*  I cut it at 80cm/31.5″ along the straight edges, which creates a 132cm/52″ angled edge.  The little slit in it is 12cm/4.5″ long. The slit allows it to sit nicely and snugly against the back of the neck. The …

The quest for Regency uplift: J.S. Bernhardt’s 1810 Stays, View C

I love ‘Regency’ and Empire fashions: the high waisted silhouette of the 1790s to the late 1810s. However, my body does not.  I’ve got small, firm, low-set breasts, very sloping shoulders, a relatively large square ribcage, and scoliosis.  It’s a natural fit for 1910s, but not ideal for ca. 1800.  Most of the bust supporting undergarments (whether they are stays, long or short, or jumps) of that 25-year span that I have made or tried on haven’t really worked for me.  Some are literally painful: twisting my already twisted spine into unhappy positions, or trying to use my shoulders to yank my very-resistant-to-upwards-yanking bust up, and thus cutting into my shoulders.  Others are just disappointing: flattening my bust into total nonexistence, or gaping sadly over each cup.  Some seem OK at first, and then get progressively less comfortable over hours of wear. I’ve felt like a total costuming failure with all my attempts at making Regency/Empire stays.  Some have been so bad I haven’t even been able to make myself blog them.  Some of it …