Tag Archives: costumes

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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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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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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Steampunk fashion show again

I got myself into it again, but this year it’s going to be a lot more work.  I’m doing the Steampunk fashion show at the Steampunk convention again in July.  This time the show is Friday night and has bands, a contortionist, 2 aerial silks performers, a teaser for the burlesque on Sunday, and 2 or 3 other fashion designers besides me.  It’s also the only thing to do at the con during that time slot so a lot of people will be there.  I have 8 models and am also making a vest for the M.C./host.  (Last year, I had 6 models.  2 of them wore my costumes and 1 wore a costume I had already made for her.  This is why I say it’s going to be a lot more work.)

So far I have everything ready to sew for the M.C. and all the models except one model.  I still have to design and pattern her top and skirt (which, thank God, are going to be simple) but she is wearing a sort of belt/cincher/obi that just needs boning put into it, ribbon sewn over the top, and the sash attached.  I have everything done for another model (see the previous entry about the cravat).  Today I got the vest for one of the models around 3/4 of the way finished and got his cravat all done.  Yesterday I cut out a pair of pantaloons for another model.  Pretty good considering I was sick Sunday morning and spent Sunday and Monday recovering.

Here are photos of the fabrics I’m using.  It was really nice of Ceegee and Katie to give me some fabrics and of some of my models to buy their fabrics.

These fabrics are for Heidi's costume.  The dupioni silk on the left is the under skirt and the striped fabric on the right is a bodice and over skirt, very early 1880's.

These fabrics are for Heidi’s costume. The dupioni silk on the left is the under skirt and the striped fabric on the right is a bodice and over skirt, very early 1880’s.  They’re both blue, even though they look more gray.

The cream with gold linen blend fabric on top is for Kim's chemise and pantaloons.  The pink fabric in the middle is a synthetic sari that's going to be her belt and over skirt.  The blue on the bottom is a synthetic sari that is Sabrina's bodice and over skirt.  Her under skirt is a very flat texture polyester in the navy blue of the sari.

The cream with gold linen blend fabric on top is for Kim’s chemise and pantaloons. The pink fabric in the middle is a synthetic sari that’s going to be her belt and over skirt. The blue on the bottom is a synthetic sari that is Sabrina’s bodice and over skirt. Her under skirt is a very flat texture polyester in the navy blue of the sari.

The cream/purple/gold upholstery brocade on the left and the purple lining above it are for the M.C.'s vest.  He is going to wear a navy blue suit with it, which is supposed to look black on stage.  The fabrics on the right are for Fredrick's vest, the one that's nearly done.  The bottom fabric is a drapery brocade and is the front and side back of the vest.  The middle fabric is the outside of the back and is a wool blend.  The top fabric is also a drapery brocade but I cut out that motif and appliqued it to the back.

The cream/purple/gold upholstery brocade on the left and the purple lining above it are for the M.C.’s vest. He is going to wear a navy blue suit with it, which is supposed to look black on stage. The fabrics on the right are for Fredrick’s vest, the one that’s nearly done. The bottom fabric is a drapery brocade and is the front and side back of the vest. The middle fabric is the outside of the back and is a wool blend. The top fabric is also a drapery brocade but I cut out that motif and appliqued it to the back.

Not shown are the vest Landon is going to wear (already finished and from 2 years ago), the fabric for Etta’s costume, the cincher/belt for Mari, and the other fabrics for Mari (haven’t chosen those yet).  Sorry that my phone doesn’t take great photos plus I didn’t bother to (yet) edit them on my computer.

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Early 1880s pouf over skirt

When many people look at fashions from other eras, especially the Elizabethan and Victorian eras, their comments are often something to do with how complicated that costume is or that it would be hard to make.  Many gowns have many pieces and are covered with yards and yards of trim.  If you look at the actual patterns (collected in some of the books on my Links and Books page), you can see that the shapes themselves aren’t very complex.  There often was either a lot of trim or draping and pleating to give a desired shape and look.

In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s, many over skirts had a fairly short sort of apron in the front which went from the front to the side back (if you stand with your hands on your waist, to around where the tips of your thumbs touch your waist).  Sometimes there was a longer apron under the first one.  The back was a longer pouf that was mostly a rectangle pleated around its edges and the resulting poufs in the middle tacked at various spots.  After making the front apron and the back pouf and adding as much trim as you want, sew one side of the one to the side of the other.  Sew to a waistband.  On the other side, add snaps or hooks and eyes to keep it closed.  Usually the bodice and the over skirt were in the same fabric, while the under skirt was in a different color or texture.

First take a large rectangular piece of fabric you can play with and pin the pleats.  Once you know if that piece is too large, too small, or just right, you can cut it out of the fabric you want plus enough to hem it all around.

Here are photos so you can see what I’m talking about.  I used 3 different fabrics: floppy antique satin, quilt cotton, and regular apparel polyester matte satin.

Floppy antique satin with the top pleated

Floppy antique satin with the top pleated.  Pleat the bottom, too.

 

Close up of the top pleats

Close up of the top pleats

 

Pleat the sides like this, further apart than the top and bottom.

Pleat the sides like this, further apart than the top and bottom.

 

The top, bottom, and sides have been pleated, leaving some floppy puffiness in the middle and making the rectangle smaller than its original size.

The top, bottom, and sides have been pleated, leaving some floppy puffiness in the middle and making the rectangle smaller than its original size.  The bottom almost always folds under, as seen (rather, not seen) here.

Various spots of the pouf have been pinned.  Play with it until you get it looking how you want it to and just tack down with a few machine stitches (or several by hand).  Many over skirts were not symmetrical.  Have fun with it.

Various spots of the pouf have been pinned. Play with it until you get it looking how you want it to and just tack down with a few machine stitches (or several by hand). Many over skirts were not symmetrical. Have fun with it.

Here is a piece of cotton with the top pleated.

Here is a piece of cotton with the top pleated.

The bottom and sides have been pleated, leaving a pouf in the  middle as above, but as this cotton is less floppy than the antique satin, it stands up better and has a different look than the antique satin.

The bottom and sides have been pleated, leaving a pouf in the middle as above, but as this cotton is less floppy than the antique satin, it stands up better and has a different look than the antique satin.

Poufs have been pinned

Poufs have been pinned

Pleats on the polyester satin

Pleats on the polyester satin

Pleats again

Pleats again.  Don’t forget to pleat the bottom.

Here, it's all pleated and waiting to have those puffs and poufs pinned.

Here, it’s all pleated and the puffs and poufs are pinned.

Another view

Another view, pinned

As you can see, different fabrics give a slightly different result.  It’s up to you which fabric you choose and if you want to go with solid, something with a pattern, or stripes, which would look really interesting.

Here is a photo of what the apron part should look like.

Front apron.  This will be worn on your waist (actual smallest part of your torso, not where you wear your pants) so measure your waist.  The top curve of the apron is your waist minus the width of the back pouf plus 1/4 to 1/2 inch ease plus enough to over lap and be able to close.  The sides will be pleated, how much is up to you.  The lower curve can be trimmed.  The length is how ever long you want it to hang at the center.

Front apron. This will be worn on your waist (actual smallest part of your torso, not where you wear your pants) so measure your waist. The top curve of the apron is your waist minus the width of the back pouf plus 1/4 to 1/2 inch ease plus enough to over lap and be able to close. The sides will be pleated, how much is up to you. The lower curve can be trimmed. The length is how ever long you want it to hang at the center, which will be a bit shorter when it’s worn because the side pleats will cause it to drape a bit and pull up.  Cut it a bit longer than you actually want it to be.

Let me know if anything here doesn’t make sense and if you have any questions.

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