More 1827 progress

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 21:08

The extra fabric needed for the lady’s costume arrived today, so for that relief much thanks.The man’s waistcoat, with bound pockets, has the lining pinned in and ready to sew. They are on hold now while I work on the friend’s 18th century costume. She’ll be here tomorrow, so I have to be far enough ahead of her to give her something to do – she’s a very good assistant! I lost time on Wednesday going for a blood test, and shopping, and this morning I had to go and buy some steels for the stays’ back as in spite of, quite literally, having hundreds of steels, I had no 16 inch ones! Everything is marked out for work tomorrow – just need to actually do it!



The song of a shirt

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 12:35

or not. It has taken far too long to make the shirt for the 1827 gentleman. I rather foolishly did fittings with a genuine 1830’s shirt that I acquired somehow, and promised him a copy for his shirt! I could not work out how the pleats worked, until, trying to explain them to my DH, the penny suddenly dropped! It still took far too long, as there is a lot of fiddly stuff, and hand finishing – the neck gussets were sewn in by hand – much easier than machine, but much slower.

In amongst that I had to go to the surgery for a minor problem, only to find out that I needed to get a fasting blood test. I don’t do starving very well, but managed it, only to find that “there was not enough to do the analysis”. (Read – “Some clutz dropped the vial”, so I have to go back again!

And while preparing to cut the last bits of the lady’s dress, I discovered that I was about half a metre short, so ordered some more, but it is taking longer this time to be delivered, and I had to put the couple off.

But on the good side, I took a personal day and visited Hampton Court with my new BF to take a class in trapunto, a kind of padded quilting. I thought it was going to be rather boring and modern when we got the introduction, but in fact it turned out to be fascinating, and made me look at things in a new way. When, if ever, I come to make the big crazy quilt, (below) it is going to have some of those ideas incorporated. Ah, well, back to the waistcoat.



Picture of the theatre lady dress

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 08:34

This is a photo of the theatre lady’s dress. I would wish that she had put it on better, and the cap is crooked, but she did manage it, obviously. I hope for better ones another time.


Slow going

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 10:09

Over the weekend I finished all the underwear for the 1827 lady, and began to work out the amount of material I’d need in the skirt panels so I could make tucks in the skirt. To my horror I realised that I was short of fabric. I had not accounted for both the bodice and sleeves being cut on the cross, thereby taking up much more fabric. I promptly ordered some more fabric from Reproduction Fabics, but they are in America – just hope it arrives soon!

Monday was a slow day as I was feeling pretty lousy from the antibiotics. I’ve stopped taking them, but it took a while to feel better. So I spent most of the day copying the original shirt I have so it would fit the gentleman. The pleats at the centre front were really playing me up, but I finally realised what was going on, so after the cup of tea that is cooling, I will get on with that.  I need to make some serious progress today on his costume, so I am ready for when the fabric arrived. And I am out all day Friday – aaargh!


Happy theatre lady!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 11:27

The theatre lady came on Wednesday and was ecstatic about the dress. I must say I was pleased with the fit after the debacle with the corset. Each piece of the four piece bodice had to be cut separately, as I discovered she was crooked – one side was different from the other. This is not unusual, but hers was particularly marked. Anyway, it worked, the crin “hoop” held out the skirt perfectly, and the large overlap prevented the petticoat from showing, and made it easy to put on.  I also made the little cap less showy – it was swamping her – and that worked too. She went off thrilled to bits, the quick linen pocket followed a couple of days later, and I have no doubt she will let me know how everything went at the preview on Monday.

Thursday turned out to be a non-sewing day, as we had shopping etc., and I had a GP appointment. Friday was not a lot better, as I had to be up at the crack of dawn for a fasting blood test. “They” think there may be yet another health problem! However, most of what I wanted to get done Saturday went well, and today will be busy too.


A good day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 18:30

Today was the last day the Scottish lady will be with me, so a lot had to be achieved. She had to go out first thing, so I machined the petticoat pleats, and overlocked the tops, so now all they need is to be pinned and stitched to the petticoat. That got the petticoat out of the way for now.

Then I tightened the corset by a fair amount, ready to try on when she got back. I also made a toile of the bodice for fitting once we’d checked the corset fit. And I found several sleeve patterns, also for the dress. The courier arrived with the first batch of silk, and as soon as she came in we had a little drool fest – It’s meant to be French grey, but has a slight green tinge in the stripe – it’s quite beautiful. The underskirt fabric – a matching plain silk – should be here shortly.

We refittedthe corset, and I say we because S has a lot of input in this project. It will be perfect once the bones are in and tighten it a little more. The toile for the bodice was a pretty good fit, merely needing a lowering of the waist, which I knew, and with a bit of juggling, the sleeve will work too.

We also adjusted the fit of the waistband of the 1620 dress I had remade for her earlier in the year. And we took photos of her wearing the shift and drawers I made for another customer, but needed a photo for someone else. All in all  a busy day!


Theatre lady’s fitting

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 19:52

All was going well, although the lining I had cut from the toile was larger than I had expected – probably I added seam allowances twice! Then the poor lady came over faint, ao I had to strip the corset off her quickly – it appeared that she couldn’t breathe properly – odd for an actress!

Anyway, we eventually continued the fitting without the corset/stays, and funnily enough, the lining fitted more evenly without them. My idea of the crin seemed to work, and we discussed the fastening of the dress  she has to put it on while wandering about the stage, and is seriously not handy, so eventually we agreed, hooks and bars, and a wrapover skirt – not exactly 18th century, but practical.

After she went, I got ready for my other lady this week – a very different prospect – my Scottish lady for an 1785 dress. She’s a good friend, so is staying with me and working on the costume with me so it saves me time, and her money. We spent some of yesterday planning the fabric – a good stripe – and today I cut and made up a pattern for the stays, from my favourite Diderot 1776 pattern. Meanwhile we puzzled over the skirt support, and decided, due to lack of the kind of cork that was used in the 18th century – in fact any kind of cork – to modify the pocket hoops pattern. I’m off to do that now, as she’s popped out to a dance class and to meet a niece, so I have some me time, and I like drafting patterns.


Back to the theatre lady

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 19:44

Today I was finishing off the theatre lady’s shift and cap. I’ll make up the petticoat later, and possibly cut the bodice and sleeve for fitting on Wednesday. I also want to get a basic set of 1770’s stays ready for my Scottish  lady, who is coming to stay again to work with me on her 18th century outfit. The inspiration for the dress is this one from the V and A , and lots of other printed cottons from various sites, thanks often to other people.


Definitely back in my comfort zone – I love the shape, style and everything, though I want to experiment with the shape of the bum roll – we don’t think we want  pocket hoops, but the shape will need *some” help.


More sewing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by sistersuzi @ 22:14

After failing miserably with Blogger. where it tells me I can’t sign in using my password (?) I am trying again with WordPress.

Today I had what should be my last fittings with the lady and gentleman who are having 1827 outfits. They are musicians, so there are some small restrictions on accuracy, but basically, they want to look as period correct as possible. The lady has drawers, a shift and petticoat based on Hunnisett patterns, a set of stays based

loosely on this pair. The back is boned, and because of the lady’s shape, there are two back hip gussets, and a tiny bit of shaping at the top of the two centre side seams. It works well to give a smooth line under the dress. The dress is based on two from “Costume in Detail”, but with slight alterations, using a Hunnisett bodice and sleeve pattern, and a draped back based on the original drawing.

There will be a bonnet based on one from the Metropolitan Museum, if whe doesn’t look silly wearing it!

The gentleman has a white shirt, based on an original I own, a pair of pale khaki/beige trowsers, with a pleated top, and cream silk double breasted waistcoat, and a bottle green wool single breasted coat, the collar of which is yet to be decided. The general look is rather like this.

Today’s fitting went well, and I simply have to do the tailoring and finishing, but they will not be back for a while, due to their schedule and mine!


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