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Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

A frou-frou stomacher (based on an extent original) and making buckram

I made a very, very frilly stomacher to go with my Frou Frou Francaise!

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

I based it on this stomacher, from the MFA Boston:

Stomacher, American, mid 18th century, silk , Boston Massachusetts, MFA Boston 49.918

Stomacher, American, mid 18th century, silk , Boston Massachusetts, MFA Boston 49.918

I was searching for stomacher inspiration to go with my Frou Frou Francaise, because I wanted something a little more dynamic and interesting than the usual stripes-of-ruffles or bows (not that they aren’t charming, but this one just needed something different), and I stumbled across this one, and it was perfect, and (amazingly) it’s also the only extant plain blue silk stomacher that I know of.

I realised that it would be the perfect project for the HSF Challenge #8: Extant originals, where you copy a period garment that is still in existence.

I tried to replicate the exact shape & dimensions of the stomacher, but I just couldn’t get it to pin onto me and into my francaise and looking right.

So instead I worked with a shape and dimensions that did fit my body and my dress, and adapted the trim to fit.

To make my stomacher first I made linen buckram for the backing:

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

Making Buckram:

Burnley & Trowbridge have an excellent youtube tutorial on how to make your own, which I mostly followed, but had to adapt slightly based on what I could get in NZ in a reasonable timeframe.

Gum tragacanth is the most easily accessible modern ingredient that was used in 18th century buckram making, but I couldn’t find any in Wellington, and I did some research and it turns out that most stuff that is sold as GT is actually xanthan gum anyway.  That you can get in Wellington – it’s not historically accurate, but I decided to try it to see if it would work.

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

I mixed it with hot water:

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

Probably not enough hot water: 2T in half a cup of water made a VERY thick and gloopy paste.

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

But I decided to try it as it was, so I dropped it on my linen…

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

….and spread it around.  It was quite gross and mucos-y.

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

And then left it to dry in the sun:

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

And the end result was very buckram-y.

Making Buckram thedreamstress.com

The next time I would definitely add less XG, and make my buckram as a whole cloth, and then cut my fabric later.

Making my stomacher:

To make the stomacher I cut a piece of silk 1.5cm wider than my buckram base on all sides.  I folded the excess silk over the edges of the buckram base:

Frou Frou Francaise Stomacher thedreamstress.com

And then hemstitched it down, so the stitches caught only through the buckram, not through the outer silk.

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

For the trim, I took the MFA Boston image, and scaled it up to the dimensions they give for the stomacher.

I then printed it out, and used the design to develop one that fit on my slightly shorter, slightly wider stomacher.  I transferred the design to my stomacher with pinpricks.

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

I hand-cut scalloped trim from my silk (I dream of owning a real pinking chisel, but as far as I know no-one is making replicas at the moment, and original ones don’t come up very often).

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

The original appears to have small holes punched in the ruffles as well.  I experimented a bit, and finally discovered that the sort of hollow-needle that tag guns (the ones that put in those plastic clothing tags in shops) use was exactly right for punching a tiny hole that still lasted.

With scallops cut and holes punched, I ruched my trims with whipped gathers.  My trim did come out being much frillier and more gathered than the original: I think that’s both a combination of too-much gathers, and the original being crushed and flattened with age.

Frou Frou 1760s Stomacher thedreamstress.com

I’m also wondering if there is a chance that the originals ruffles are sewn down along the sides as well.  Maybe that’s what I’m seeing instead of punched holes…

Stomacher, American, mid 18th century, silk , Boston Massachusetts, MFA Boston 49.918

Stomacher, American, mid 18th century, silk , Boston Massachusetts, MFA Boston 49.918

So my stomacher isn’t quite as close to the original as I’d hoped, but at least it’s attractive and works.

And the HSF info…

What the item is: a 1760s stomacher

Which extant original did you copy: a mid 18th century stomacher from the MFA Boston, 49.918

Material: silk taffeta, silk thread, and linen buckram (linen & gum)

Pattern: none, based on period examples.

Year: ca. 1760

Notions: silk thread

How historically accurate is it? Pretty close!  But not perfect, because it’s not a perfect match, and the xantham gum etc.

How close is it to the original? My blue is less blue-green, and I wasn’t able to get the exact dimensions of the original to work on me/with my francaise, so I used a different shape base, and copied the outline of the original stomacher for my trim. My trim is much more ruffly and three dimensional – I’m trying to decide if that’s because the original has been flattened with age, or if the ruffles are actually sewn down.

Hours to complete: About 15

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost: About $10, if you count how much of the silk taffeta I used.

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Rate the Dress: a Francaise as blue as the Hawai’ian ocean

This week’s Rate the Dress pick is thematic: it’s a francaise (be prepared for all the francaise posts…),  it’s as blue as the ocean around Hawaii, and it’s covered in a lush array of flowers worthy of any tropical garden. Will it make you feel like you’re on vacation at Versailles and Waikiki at the same time, or will it leave you cold?

Last week: a late Regency era evening dress

The star-shaped-sequins covered evening dress didn’t inspire an outpouring of commentary and interest, but most of you who rated it agreed that it was an extremely attractive and charming example of its type...well, at least all of you who commented by Saturday evening did.  Perhaps there was an outpouring of dislike before the ratings closed, because…

The Total: 9.4 out of 10

I haven’t had internet since I wrote this post, so don’t know what the final rating is.  It will be a mystery until I make it out of the valley and back to town.

Picture perfect!

This week:

There isn’t a huge amount to rate with this francaise: it doesn’t have a petticoat, it hasn’t been posed and styled with accessories.  But I thought the colour, patterning, and trim were interesting enough to be worthy of your attention.

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Robe a la Francaise, 18th century (probably 1770s), silk, Lot 550, sold by Whittakers Auctions, Fall 2016

Lots of photos, not a lot of commentary: I’m leaving it up to you to supply that!  What do you think?  What do you imagine it being worn with?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it!  Thanks in advance!)

 

 

Hey Honolulu I’m going home to happy Hawai’i!

I’m off to Hawaii for the next two weeks to be with my parents at the family farm.  I won’t have the best internet connection while I’m there, but don’t worry, I’ve pre-scheduled lots (well some) fun blog posts.  There will be a Rate the Dress every week – though I might not be able to tot up the final ratings until I’m back.

If internet is better than expected, you might even get some bonus posts!  I seem to write particularly good posts when I’m in Hawaii.

Sadly, there will be no duckling post as they all hatched earlier in the year. 

Ducklings, Molokai, Hawaii thedreamstress.com

Nor will there be a Honolulu Museum of Art or ‘Iolani Palace post, as I’m spending the whole two weeks on Moloka’i

The portrait gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art

The grand koa staircase in the Great Hall of 'Iolani Palace thedreamstress.com

Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of Slugfest 2016.

(slug photo redacted by popular demand)

Even more hopefully there won’t be a Hawaii Hurricane Watch 2018 2.0 while I’m there!  (or at all.  Frankly the world has had quite enough weather excitement for the whole year already).

I’m just looking forward to spending time with my family, enjoying the farm, enjoying the warmth, enjoying all the farm produce, and catching up on local culture.

Growing lettuce, Molokai, Hawaii, thedreamstress.com

Josie helps with the lettuce planting