A Heartfelt Thank You

I want to send out heartfelt thanks to reader Elisabeth, who pointed me in the direction of Sharon Ann Burnston’s article on 18th century chemises. I think she just may have saved me from myself.

As my lovely linen was washing yesterday, I pulled out my pattern to review the instructions and realized that it calls for 3 1/2 yards of fabric however I’d only ordered 2 1/2. Oops.

But 2 1/2 yards of 54″ wide fabric seems like it should be enough. I’m not 54 inches wide, after all. I don’t want full sleeves with cuffs and ruffles. And if it’s a bit on the short-ish side I can live with it. But there was no way I was going to get the chemise I wanted out of the pattern I had without that extra yard.

Enter Plan B – Sharon Ann Burnston’s article. I need to measure and draft it out on my pattern material (conveniently printed in a one-inch grid) but I think it will work.

So many thanks, Elisabeth – looks like I might be able to bail myself out of this one without having to buy more fabric.


Just Things

Spring is considering its options at last.

Spring is finally here at last.

I haven’t written for a while and I thought I’d best let you know what’s been happening.

On Thursday last week I awoke to find my best friend knocking on my door. Her mother had a huge stroke early in the morning and she had to leave town ASAP. Would I fill in as an emergency pet and house sitter? Of course! She ran off for the airport and I decamped to her house a short distance outside of town. Her mother passed away two days later and she has been out-of-state with her family picking up the pieces of a very complicated estate. She hopes to be back on Saturday, but things remain flexible. I’m so glad that I don’t have any hard-set conflicting commitments so that I can do this for her.

The only wrinkle in the works for me is not having access to my sewing space and fabric and tools, etc. I thought about hauling it all back and forth, but it’s just too much of a pain and I don’t want to go there. As a result, my historical sewing projects, which were already a bit behind, are a little more behind. But they are only things, and things can wait. This is where they stand, in no particular order.

Thing #1: the 1870’s Bustle Hat

Bias trim finish for edge of brim

Bias trim finish for edge of brim

The crown and brim are completely covered in fabric. The bias trim is pinned to the outer edge of the brim and I want to get it sewn on today, if possible. Right now it looks like a Saint Catherine’s Wheel of opportunity for bloodshed, but we’ll see. The class is officially over, but the course materials, videos and Facebook group are available until the 30th, so I have time. Wish me luck.

Thing #2: the 1870 Bustle Dress

overskirt front pinned to left side drape

overskirt front pinned to left side drape

Not much has happened since I set it aside. I did hem the ruffle and it is ready to be placed and sewn on. When I get back home the skirt is going back on the dress form. Now that there’s no 4-alarm urgency to finish I’m happy to have the time to work on it methodically.

Thing #3: the Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF has really taken a back seat. Challenge #5 was for a bodice, which was going to be the bodice for the 1870’s Bustle Dress, which fell behind. I’d already planned to skip challenge #6 (Fairytale), so there is a slim chance I just might succeed.

Challenge #7 is Tops and Toes – Create an accessory that goes on your head, or on your feet. It’s due on April 15th and my 1870’s Bustle Hat should be finished by then.

Challenge #8, UFO’s and PHD’s, is due May 1st – Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through. Do I hear a second chance for the Bustle Dress skirt and bodice? Absolutely!

Thing #4: the Victorian Corset Class

My first Victorian corset - 2011

My first Victorian corset – 2011

Lesson #2 came out two days ago and I still haven’t gone through it. I took my measurements, determined my size and got all the pieces sorted and marked before the knock on the door. The fabrics are ready to go. The mock-up needs to be laid out and cut, then sewn and checked for fit. If my friend gets back on Saturday as planned I’ll have enough time to catch up on Sunday.

So, things are fine. I’ll see how far I get with the hat today and tomorrow. After that…well, we’ll just see.


Small Sacrifices

(Original source unknown. Please let me know if it is yours.)

(Original source unknown. Please let me know if it is yours.)

I have a friend with a ginormous problem on her hands. I can’t go into details, but she’s been staying with me for many days and is living in my dining alcove, which is also my sewing space. It’s a small sacrifice for a friend who is truly in need.

It means deferring my machine sewing but, as you may have guessed, it’s not like I don’t have anything else to do.

Tonight I’ll finish HSF 2014’s first challenge: Make Do and Mend. The two Edwardian flannel petticoats are finished (reinforce waistband stitching, mend a tear, replace deteriorated and crumbling elastic (invented in 1820, so entirely kosher in these vintage garments) at the waist, and steam out the deformed waistband that resulted from torqued and crumbling elastic.

The final huzzah is finishing up the Victorian petticoat: tears, split, some pretty dodgy vintage mending, and some holes. Some areas are requiring large patches, but that’s what would have been done.

Here are some ‘befores” –

And here are the finished flannel petticoats –

HSF Challenge #1 will be done, and on time no less, in about an hour. (Only 25 more to go! I feel tired already.)

Challenge #2 is Innovation, due Sat 1 Feb. “To celebrate the way inventions, introductions and discoveries have impacted fashion, make an item that reflects the newest innovations in your era.” I like a few different eras, and this one is proving to be a toughie. Initial research hasn’t yet sparked a flame, but I’ll keep searching.