Category Archives: Garments

18th Century Style Jabot or Cravat

The Purim schpiel was based on Hamilton, and the costumes Joe and I altered/reused/repurposed/added to were 18th Century style, more specifically Revolutionary War style.  From scratch I made several jabots or cravats that I copied from one I found that buttons on to a blouse.  They aren’t 100% authentic by far, but if you need that quick final touch on a men’s Revulutionary War or French court or basically 1740s to 1780 costume, below are photos and instructions.

You’ll need some white or ivory lace or eyelet lace trim that’s already gathered up (as opposed to the totally flat kind, 1 3/4″ to 2 1/4″ wide, and probably only about 60″ of it, as well as less than a yard of white or ivory cotton, quilting weight or lighter, matching thread, and either some velcro or snaps.

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Here is the jabot from the original blouse.

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They sewed a ruffle to a rectangular base of the same fabric.

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The back, where you can see it was sewn in a zigzag pattern.

First cut a neck band 5 or 6″ wide and the wearer’s neck measurement long plus 2 1/2″ for overlap and so it isn’t skin tight (people’s necks are from 13 or 14″ to 17 or 18″). Cut a base for the lace 7″ wide and 8″ tall.

Make a narrow hem on all 4 sides of the neck band.  Fold the base in half lengthwise, stitch around the bottom and long side, trim corners, turn right side out, and press.

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Starting at the bottom of the base, sew the lace trim in a diagonal pattern all the way across the base and work your way up to the top.  Fold extra under at the bottom so the raw edge doesn’t stick out.  I didn’t finish my edge, but it’ll look nicer folded under.  At the top go straight across with a bit folded under.  Use the very top because that’s the seam allowance for when you attach it to the neck band.

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Tack the top fold of lace to the base because it will want to flip up when it’s worn.

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Here are some photos of the finished lace base part.

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And the kinds of trim you can use (also regular lace trim).

Gather the ends of the neck band and two places between the ends.  When you look at paintings and fashion plates of men’s costume of the time, the part around their necks usually looks like a scarf that’s wider than their necks are tall.  Sew the velcro or snaps to the ends, overlapping the ends.  Then sew the lace and base piece to the center of the bottom long side of the neck band.

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How wide the trim is affects how much you’ll need.  Wider trim uses less, narrower trim uses more.

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While not perfectly authentic, it will work if you’re in a hurry.  I think it took me less than 30 minutes to cut and sew one.

Comments, questions, suggestions?  Yes, please!  Thanks for reading!

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Straight Skirt with Vent, Welt Pockets, and Contoured Waistband

After too long of not posting anything, I have something to finally post.  I was in a rear ending car accident at the end of October (right before Halloween so I didn’t even get to dress up), and couldn’t do much of anything anyway.  I still can only do so much per day.

In this post, I walk you through how to sew a straight skirt that’s just below the knee.  It has a contoured waistband, meaning it’s made from curved pieces, not just a long rectangle, welt pockets in the back (I don’t know why because I’ll probably never use them), and a vent at the center back hem, like a blazer would have and I think is also called a kick pleat.  Or maybe those are similar but distinct things.

I made the skirt out of burgundy woven 100% cotton, the kind from the quilting section of the fabric store.

Pieces are skirt front, skirt back x 2 (left and right), welt x 2, under welt x 2, welt side pocket bag x 2, under welt side pocket back x 2, front waistband, back waistband x 2 (left and right), front waistband facing, back waistband facing x 2 (left and right).  Plus interfacing for the welts, under welts, waistband pieces and waistband facing pieces, and two 1″ x 7″ pieces to go on the back of the skirt where the pockets will be.

Regarding the pattern: I made my own pattern from my own sloper with one dart in front and one in back (as opposed to two, so really the skirt has 4 darts total instead of 8), the pockets, contoured waistband, and vent at the hem.  You can use your own pattern or buy one.  If your pattern doesn’t have welt pockets, you can make the pieces for them.  They’re all just rectangles.  The welt is 7″ wide by 3″ high, the under welt is 7 x 2 1/2″, the pocket bag pieces are 7″ x however deep you want the pocket to be, with the under welt side being half an inch shorter.  The welt and under welt interfacing pieces can be the same size as the welt and under welt, but are generally 1/8″ smaller all the way around (6 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ and 6 3/4″ x 2 1/4″).

Sewing:

First fuse or sew your interfacing to the corresponding fabric pieces.

Sew the darts on the skirt front, press, and set aside.  I always pattern and press my darts to center front if they’re vertical darts and downward if they’re diagonal or horizontal.

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Sew the center back seam from where the bottom of the zipper will be to the end of the diagonal part of the vent and sew the darts.  Press.

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Finish the edges of the vent, the vertical center back part, press to one side (I think I pressed mine so it’d be to the right as worn), and top stitch the diagonal part through all layers of fabric.  (Because of the amount of fabric I had, I had to make part of the vent a separate piece.)

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Finish the center back seam, if you haven’t already.  Insert the zipper at the top of the center back seam.  Even after sewing for 30 years, I still can’t get the last step of top stitching the zipper to turn out smooth and even.  Go figure.

Now it’s time to put in the pockets.  I demonstrated this in my posts How to Make a Nice Men’s Vest but here it is again.

Mark on the wrong side of the skirt back where the pockets will be, which will be over where you put the 1″ x 7″ pieces of interfacing (if you’re using sew-in interfacing, you will have basted the interfacing in and you can remove the stitches later).  From the right side, put a pin on each end of the pocket opening (5″ apart so there is one inch on each end of the interfacing).

Press the welt pieces as shown.  (The pressing jig is made from a Manila file folder and its base is 1″ wide and more than 7″ long.  The flap is slightly less than 1″ wide.)

Mark on each welt piece 1″ from each end.  Fold one of the welts and pin it to the right side of the skirt back.  Stitch 1/4″ from the fold from 1″ mark to 1″ mark.

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Fold that part up out of the way and fold up the other pressed fold.  Stitch that between the markers 1/4″ from the fold.  Check to make sure your stitching lines are the same length and add to one end or another of either line to make them the same.  Then, holding the welt edges out of the way, cut through the welt and skirt back between the stitching lines.  1/2″ to 3/4″ from the ends of the lines, cut diagonally to the stitching but not through it.

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Turn the welt to the wrong side through where you just cut it.  Press.  Yes, you will have folded bits at the ends.  They’re supposed to be there.  Then stitch the welt side pocket bag piece to the long side of the welt that’s toward the hem.  Sew the under welts and the under welt side pocket bags to each other along a long side and press the seams toward the pocket bag.

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Through all layers except the skirt back itself, stitch the triangle ends you cut.

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Lay the under welt/pocket bag pieces on the welt/pocket bag sections.  Pin and stitch all the way around, keeping the skirt back out of the way, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Start on the bottom of a side so you stitch the bottom of the pocket bag last.  You might have to trim off a bit of the pocket bag at the bottom like silly me had to do because I accidentally sewed the under welt side to the welt and the welt side to the under welt.  Press then tack the top of the welt/under welt layers to the dart intake.

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Once the pockets are done, you can sew the skirt front to the skirt back at the side seams and sew the waistband front and backs and the waistband facing front and backs together at the side seams.

Finish the skirt side seams.  Press them and the waistband and waistband facing seams.  Stitch the long edge of the waistband to the top of the skirt, right sides together, including top of zipper tape.  Clip curves.  Press waistband and seam allowances upward.

Stitch the short edge of the waistband facing to the short edge of the waistband, pivoting at ends and stitching down to long edge.  Clip corners and curves.  Turn to inside and press so that the facing goes down, covering the waistband and seam allowances.  Press the long edge of the facing under and stitch to the waistband.  Press. 

Make a buttonhole and sew on a button at center back or use hooks and eyes.

Press and sew the hem.

I don’t know why I don’t have photos of all that.  When I get them I’ll post because I cut out two other skirts.

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The finished front and back.

Please leave comments, questions, and suggestions.  Thanks for reading!

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Early 1860’s Civil War Era Chemise

My friends have been working on getting me into Civil War reenactment.  My friend Kay of Lavender’s Green Historical Costume loaned me her daughter’s costumes–chemise, drawers, corset, hoopskirt, petticoat, jacket, 3 dresses.  I just made another chemise because when you’re out in the heat and you’re wearing something right next to your skin, it can get damp and stinky, even with deodorant.  TMI?  Sorry!  It was very easy to make and I traced the original chemise…didn’t use a pattern.  I used white cotton (or cotton blend, not sure what it was) like the original and overlocked the seams instead of using a French seam or whatever they would have used back then.  I’d rather the outer layer look authentic then spend way too many hours hand sewing, which I’m slow at.

I carefully cut the fabric, taking into account that the front and back tucks made the chemise narrower, so I made sure to compensate for that.

Then I pressed where the tucks go.

The tucks don't go all the way down, so I pressed only the 7 inches that the original chemise has.

The tucks don’t go all the way down, so I pressed only the 7 inches that the original chemise has.

The back tucks are further apart, longer (10 inches), and wider (3/8" as opposed to 1/4").

The back tucks are further apart, longer (10 inches), and wider (3/8″ as opposed to 1/4″).

Here the tucks are stitched and pressed.

Here the tucks are stitched and pressed.

Next I attached the sleeves and sewed the side/underarm seams.

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Hemming the sleeves and the bottom of the chemise was next.  The sleeves have a narrow hem.  The bottom was around 1 1/4 inches.

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The neckband was next.  It was just a strip of on-grain fabric around 2 inches wide, not on the bias like I would have expected.

I sewed on the neckband and pressed it upward.

I sewed on the neckband and pressed it upward.

Then I pressed under the other edge and sewed the neckband down.

Then I pressed under the other edge and sewed the neckband down.

Here are photos of the finished chemise, front and back.

Front

Front

Back

Back

No, it isn’t very long, only to just around my knees.

Kay also showed me some trim on one of her antique garments from the Victorian era.  It looks scalloped, but the way to do it is make gathering stitches on a strip of fabric, but instead of straight along the whole strip, you go diagonally from edge to edge, like a giant zigzag.  When you pull in the gathers, it looks scalloped.

Stitch the gathers.

Stitch the gathers.

Pull the thread into a ruffle.

Pull the thread into a ruffle.

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Regency era vest

[Edit 7/26/15: New photos!]

Here is another post about vests.  I do hope you aren’t tired of seeing posts about vests.  The silver one has a higher neckline than the previous ones, but is constructed in pretty much the same way.  The white one is a bit different from previous entries, as it’s a bit of a different style.  It is double-breasted and has a collar.  I made them for my friend Orange (he did the buttons and buttonholes because my machine needs to be serviced).

Front of silver dupioni silk vest with high neck and welt pockets with flaps

Front of silver dupioni silk vest with high neck and welt pockets with flaps

Back of silver dupioni silk vest, showing panels with eyelets and lacing for a better fit

Back of silver dupioni silk vest, showing panels with eyelets and lacing for a better fit

Front of white cotton damask vest with high neck and wide collar (Regency era style), double-breasted front, and welt pockets

Front of white cotton damask vest with high neck and wide collar (Regency era style), double-breasted front, and welt pockets

Another shot of the front of the white vest

Another shot of the front of the white vest

3/4 view of the white vest

3/4 view of the white vest

Back of the white damask vest with panels and lacing

Back of the white damask vest with panels and lacing

Detail of the welt pocket on the white vest

Detail of the welt pocket on the white vest

The difference in the pattern compared to ones that aren’t double breasted is that there is a larger extension out from center front, away from the rest of the front, which creates a greater overlap.  Instead of a basically V-shaped neckline, the neckline goes all the way to the wearer’s neck and a collar is sewn then inserted between the body and the facing.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take step-by-step photos of the sewing process of this vest and the silver one.  (But do see my vest entries, part one, part two, part three, as the majority of sewing is the same.)

The collar of this vest will stand up when the vest is buttoned all the way.  You will want to make a mock up/fitting muslin, of course, so you can fit the vest to the wearer.  The collar is a wide (2 or 3 inches) rectangle that is very slightly curved from about the shoulder seam to the center front and is one piece.  You might need to experiment and see if you’ll have to make it out of 3 pieces (back and each front) because you might need some curving in at the sides.

When you have gotten to the point where you’ll sew on the facing is the time to add the collar.  It gets sandwiched between the facing and the fronts (but just sewn to the back, not the back lining, which will cover the seam up later).  The collar and under collar both need to be interfaced.  So you’ll want to make sure the collar piece(s) and under collar piece(s) are sewn together first (any seams of collar and under collar, then collar to under collar, then clip corners and curves, understitch the long upper edge that is away from the neckline, and press the whole thing flat and right side out).  Make sure you pin the collar to the neckline so that the understitched under collar side will end up being on the inside of the vest.  Proceed with sewing the facing.  When the back lining piece gets sewn in, the collar is sandwiched between it and the back piece.  Proceed with the rest of the sewing, up to doing the buttons and buttonholes.

The buttonholes will be along the edge of the left front.  You can add one at the top and one at the bottom of the right front if the underlap will sag and show.  The buttons on the right front will correspond to the buttonholes on the left, and the ones for the underlap, and also sew non-functional buttons on the left front, as shown in the photos.

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Vespertine Winter Ball Gown

The Vespertine Winter Ball was held on 20 December 2014.  It’s a ball celebrating winter and the solstice.  It was held in the same ballroom and produced by the same woman as The Vampire’s Masquerade Ball (vampireballpdx.com), which is a gothic ball held every March.  Instead of a gothic theme, the Vespertine Ball is wintery decorations and costumes in white, silver and blue.

I made an 18th Century style vest and knee-length pants for my friend Orange (I hope to have pix soon, as well as GEARcon fashion show pix) out of (not metallic) silver duppioni silk.  He did the buttonholes and buttons because my machine needs to be serviced–everything else on it works fine.  He also made some alterations to a silver Chinese brocade knee-length coat.  He gave me a white wedding dress, which I covered with peacock blue/turquoise synthetic organza, blue and metallic silver lace, and winter white tulle that has nearly clear sequins on it.  This took a LOT of work, as I had to do a ton of hand sewing.  I normally don’t do a lot of hand sewing and my lower arm right by my elbow hurt for days.  Photos of me in this gown are below.

This is my sister on the left and I'm on the right.

This is my sister on the left and I’m on the right. Photo by Orange.

Another view, but I should  have turned the other way.

Another view, but I should have turned the other way. Photo by Orange.

A close up of the front.  Photo by M.H.

A close up of the front. Photo by M.H.

The process of creating this covering for this dress was this: I draped an upper front piece over the bust and sewed it and sleeves on.  For the back of the skirt, I just sewed a couple widths of organza together and gathered them at the top then sewed this to the back of the waist under the part where the corset top overlaps the skirt (they made the dress look like it was a separate corset and a separate skirt).  Then I draped fabric on the back of the bodice and sewed that by hand.  The back doesn’t look very fancy.  Then, for the front, since I was copying a dress from the book Style and Splendour: The Wardrobe of Queen Maud of Norway by Anne Kjellberg and Susan North, which has photos of what Queen Maud wore from around 1901 to 1938–I copied the style of one of her evening dresses from 1908, I pinned narrow ribbon to make the line for the asymmetrical overlapping front.  The book’s ISBN is 1-85177-454-8.  Then I draped the smaller front underlapping side then the larger front overlapping side.  Before I hand stitched the fronts to the dress, I sewed the blue and silver lace onto the organza.  Then more hand stitching.  It was simple but took a long time and I had to make sure I draped it right so that when I put it on, nothing was too tight or too loose.  Below is the photo from the book.  I copied the green one in the middle.

Book's caption is Three evening gowns, 1907-9, centre gown by LaFerriere, Paris.  I really would love to make a better version of it, it's so beautiful.

Book’s caption is Three evening gowns, 1907-9, centre gown by LaFerriere, Paris. I really would love to make a better version of it, it’s so beautiful.

As always, I welcome comments, questions, suggestions and constructive criticism.  If my explanations aren’t clear, please let me know so I can simplify them.

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Time Travelers’ Ball Gown

Dear readers, yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  I’m still working on getting photos for the costumes my models modeled for me at GEARcon in July (new photos, not photos from the original photographer).  In the meantime, here are photos of me in the gown I made for the Time Travelers’ Ball on October 18, 2014.  One or two of the photos are by my dear friend Orange (who also helped me do some of the sewing) and the rest are by this guy whose name I can’t remember who was taking pix for free.  This gown is the same pattern as one I’ve previously done. It’s made from synthetic-fiber Chinese brocade and dupioni silk.  I didn’t have enough brocade to make the whole gown; fortunately I had enough silk in the matching color.  I already had the lace, so all I had to buy was the ribbon and gold trim.  The skirt was made from some polyester-nylon taffeta left over from another project.

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Photos from the fashion shows at GEARcon 2012 and 2013

Here are photos from the fashion shows at GEARcon 2012 and 2013, Portland’s Steampunk convention.

2012:

These are backstage.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Amberly in cotton print jacket, bodice, skirt; Sock Dreams socks and arm warmers; my boots and jewelry

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Amberly in cotton print jacket, bodice, skirt; Sock Dreams socks and arm warmers; my boots and jewelry

Here are photos I took of the above costume on my dress form:

The back of the bodice and skirt

The back of the bodice and skirt

The bodice and the skirt

The bodice and the skirt

The back of the jacket

The back of the jacket

The rest of the photos from backstage:

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Rob in his vest; his own shirt, pants, watch; hat by Ramon.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Rob in his vest; his own shirt, pants, watch; hat by Ramon.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Greg in duppioni silk vest with contrasting cotton velveteen collar; his own shirt and tie.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Greg in duppioni silk vest with contrasting cotton velveteen collar; his own shirt and tie.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Michell helping Greg

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Michell helping Greg

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Michell in duppioni silk and cotton velveteen 1882 polonaise bodice and synthetic taffeta skirt; her own jewelry and borrowed parasol.

GEARcon 2012, backstage at fashion show, photo by me: Michell in duppioni silk and cotton velveteen 1882 polonaise bodice and synthetic taffeta skirt; her own jewelry and borrowed parasol.

Same as above but with flash.

Same as above but with flash.

Michell and Greg on the runway…I don’t have pix of the other 2 models.

Photo by Nellie of Your Essence Photography.

Photo by Nellie of Your Essence Photography.

Photo by Nellie of Your Essence Photography.

Photo by Nellie of Your Essence Photography.

2013

Sage is wearing a plum upholstery velvet day jacket, a striped cotton vest, and black satin pantaloons.  Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery.  She wasn't the original model and is taller.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Sage is wearing a plum upholstery velvet day jacket, a striped cotton vest, and black satin pantaloons. Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery. She wasn’t the original model and is taller. Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Jack Allen.

I will have to get a photo of the back of this costume.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Christelle in my cotton print 1882 polonaise bodice (with a very long attached skirt) and solid cotton under skirt.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Christelle in my cotton print 1882 polonaise bodice (with a very long attached skirt) and solid cotton under skirt. Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Rob in his own pants, shirt, and hat; I made the cotton print with contrasting cotton velvet collar vest and black silk cravat.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Rob in his own pants, shirt, boots, and hat; I made the cotton print with contrasting cotton velvet collar vest and black silk cravat. Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

Back of the vest.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Back of the vest. Photo by Jack Allen.

Gwyn in my duppioni silk 1880's costume and gloves.  Hat by Avery Mileu Millinery.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Gwyn in my duppioni silk 1880’s costume, jewelry, and gloves. Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery. Photo by Jack Allen.

The back of Gwyn.  Photo by Jack Allen.

The back of Gwyn. Photo by Jack Allen.

Sheralyn in the costume I had previously made for her out of poly-nylon taffeta.  Her own accessories.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Sheralyn in the costume I had previously made for her out of poly-nylon taffeta. Her own accessories. Photo by Jack Allen.

Sheralyn's back.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Sheralyn’s back. The criss-crossed ribbon came on the fabric already.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Kim in an 1882 polonaise bodice and skirt made from duppioni silk and embroidered lace.  Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery.  Photo by Jack Allen.

Kim in an 1882 polonaise bodice and skirt made from duppioni silk and embroidered lace. Hat by Avery Milieu Millinery. Photo by Jack Allen.

You can see part of the back.  Photo by Jack Allen.

You can see part of the back. Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Jack Allen.

Photo by Craig Solomon.

For those who are at this level of sewing (even if you aren’t), Kim is really curvy and was wearing a corset.  You can see the vertical darts and the horizontal bust darts.  I had to do several darts to be able to fit it correctly.  It wasn’t the easiest task.  Photo by Craig Solomon.

 

Links to the photographers:

Concierge Photography by Craig Solomon and here

Hotshot Imagery by Jack Allen

Your Essence Photography by Nellie Blye Davis

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