HSM #5 – Practicality: “Stuck on You” – is Finished!

"Stuck on You" - pinner apron for HSM #5

“Stuck on You” – pinner apron for HSM #5

HSM #5 – The Challenge: Practicality. Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.

The Project: Pinner Apron

The Title: “Stuck on You”

Fabric: 100% cotton homespun (machine-made)

Pattern: Adapted from World Turn’d Upside Down – Civil War Era Apron Pattern

Year: I intend to this for 1850’s and 1860’s events. The style is appropriate for a wide range – pinner aprons were worn in the 18th century and well into the 19th century.

Notions: cotton thread, heavy Pellon

How historically accurate is it? Very, but not 100% – mostly hand sewn (about 95% – I did the waistband by machine) and based on research of images and notes from the era.  I have historically accurate fibula pins for the bib. However…I did use a heavy, sew-in Pellon for the waistband, instead of historically accurate buckram or stiff muslin, because it’s what I had on hand.

Hours to complete: About ten

First worn: Not yet worn

Total cost: $12.48 USD for the fabric, all notions came from the stash

Notes and photos:

I have absolutely loved working with this homespun. It is compliant, doesn’t fuss or fight, needles easily and presses like a dream. I see more of it in my future. The indigo homespun has woven-in flaws that add to the look (probably the only time I’ve been delighted to have bought flawed fabric) so I didn’t cut around them or try to hide them. This first photo shows the true color of the fabric.

Weaving error - the third stripe at the bottom is missing.

Weaving error – the third stripe at the bottom is missing.

A blob in the spun thread disrupts the woven plaid.

A blob in the spun thread disrupts the woven plaid.

It is a simple and straightforward project so it came together easily. I had planned on using the selvage for the edges of the apron, but it was distractingly colorful so off it went.

I had planned on using the selvage for the edges of the apron, but it was distractingly colorful so off it went.

The finished bib is self-lined and gathered into a band at the top.

2007-01-20 01.08.55

Then the bib is gathered at the bottom and the waistband is applied and turned.

2007-01-20 21.02.29

The apron is hemmed on three sides…

2007-01-20 22.00.42

then gathered, set into the waistband and the inside waistband finished.

2007-01-22 01.44.29

Et voilà! Here it is, shown over a chemise, corset and two petticoats. It fits perfectly and I love it.

 *********************

But wait, you ask…what about HSM #4 – The Case of the Contraband Crinoline? Last Monday I went to Seattle, tripped on some massively uneven sidewalk and fell. Nothing serious – however, amongst other bruises and scrapes, I had to dig a chunk of sidewalk out of the palm of my hand. It left a bit of a divot and when I apply much pressure to it, such as that which results from squeezing wire cutters into hoop wire, it hurts. Not as much as it did last week, but it hurts. The good news is it’s itching like crazy, which means it’s healing up just fine. So I went ahead and did this month’s challenge while my hand finishes putting itself back together. Never a dull moment!

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The Finer Points of Fibula Pins

Nearly all of the information I was able to read about pinner aprons included some variation on the statement that the bibs were held in place with straight pins. This makes sense, since straight pins are simple, cheap and have been around for ever. But they also fall out and I couldn’t imagine an active woman carrying around replacement pins for her apron, just in case.

Then I ran across a reference to fibula pins. I’d never heard of them before so, of course, I had to know more. It turns out they too have been around for just about ever and make a safer yet still historically accurate alternative to straight pins.

So, what are they and why are they named after a leg bone?

Meet Your Fibula:

image from pilatestoflexme.com

image from pilatestoflexme.com

The two bones that run from the knee to the ankle are the tibia and the fibula. The tibia is the thicker, heftier bone – it’s commonly called the shin bone. It runs down the center of the lower leg. It’s more delicate neighbor is the fibula, which runs down along the tibia on the outside edge of the leg (the side your little toe is on).

Meet the Fibula Pin (historical information – and liberal use of the passive voice – from Wikipedia):

Fibula (/ˈfɪbjʊlə/, plural fibulae /ˈfɪbjʊli/) (plural Fibulae): a brooch, or a pin for fastening garments. The fibula developed in a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. The fibula form was invented by the Myceaneans between the 13th and 14th Century BC, and is considered an early precursor to a safety pin since they were used in a similar manner. However, it had major flaw. It had no clasp or spring at the end to help put it in place.

Unlike most modern brooches, fibulae were not only decorative; they originally served a practical function: to fasten clothing, such as cloaks. Fibulae replaced straight pins that were used to fasten clothing in the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. In turn, fibulae were replaced as clothing fasteners by buttons in the Middle Ages. Their descendant, the modern safety pin, remains in use today. In ancient Rome and other places where Latin was used, the same word denoted both a brooch and the fibula bone because a popular form for brooches and the shape of the bone were thought to resemble one another.

There are hundreds of different types of fibulae. They are usually divided into families that are based upon historical periods, geography, and/or cultures. Fibulae are also divided into classes that are based upon their general forms. [Given the fact that fibulae have been around for so many centuries, I’ll spare you the details.]

OK, you ask, so what brings the bone and the pin together? Their shape. When you compare an x-ray of the lower leg with a “violin-bow” fibula pin, it’s easy to understand why archaeologists mentally connected one with the other.

The body of a fibula pin is known as either the bow or the plate, depending on the basic form. A bow is generally long and narrow, and often arched.  The head is the end of the fibula with the spring or hinge. The foot is the end of the fibula where the pin closes. Depending on the type of fibula, and the culture in question, the head of the fibula could be worn facing up, down or to the side. The degree of bend in the bow and/or the angle of the hinge also varied by time and culture.

These are the fibula pins I purchased to secure my pinner apron. They are handmade and the tip of the pin is not sharpened to a point. With the coarse weave of the homespun that’s not a problem, but a point would be good for anything more substantial.

One can wear them with the bow either up or down.

Overall, I really like the look.

2007-01-21 22.23.31

The apron is on the home stretch, so stay tuned…

Info on the Ageless Patterns™ Dress Mentioned in the Previous Post

Harper's Bazar, 1877

Harper’s Bazar, 1877

I neglected to give any information about my Ageless Patterns purchase, made whilst in the grip of quasi-delusional determination to give it a try. The front is a bit odd – what’s up with those pleated pocket-looking things over the boobs? – but I fell for the back with its draping, ruffles and pleats. It may well be the most complicated gown I tackle, but abject fear (and lack of common sense) has never stopped me before. No good reason to change that now.

The pattern, copyrighted and sold as Ageless Patterns™ # 1614, is described thusly: This dress or polonaise was made of plain pale pink zephyr wool, pink and dark gray striped zephyr wool and trimmed with side pleated ruffles. I love how those six little words “and trimmed with side pleated ruffles” skim over the hours and hours of work behind them.

Note: Zephyr cloth, also referred to as zephyr wool, is a thin kind of cashmere made in Belgium. Cashmere was historically known as “cassimere” and “kerseymere.” There are a number of definitions for this fabric – here are a few:

  1. a thin, lightweight, twilled woolen fabric,
  2. a heavily fulled, twill-weave woolen cloth finished with a fine nap,
  3. a fine soft woollen cloth of twill weave,
  4. an inexpensive version of this fabric, made with a cotton warp and a wool weft.

As is the case with most Ageless Patterns, it comes in only one size: 34-inch bust and 20-inch waist. Needless to say, there will be a considerable amount of re-sizing and many, many muslins until I get the fit right.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Ageless Patterns come with a reproduction of the original pattern and a copy of the original sewing instructions. These instructions were written for experienced dressmakers of the time who already knew the basics of Natural Form construction and didn’t need step-by-step instructions. (Fortunately, the pattern pieces have 5/8-inch seam allowances added, avoiding at least one potential error from the start.)

There is no hand-holding and the patterns are not for the beginner or the faint of heart. Yet there is sits in my pattern box, awaiting its chance for fame and glory unenviable notoriety. Optimism or insanity? We’ll find out eventually.

HSM Challenge #3 – Stashbusting: Sing a Song for the Sontag

1827 portrait of Henriette Sonntag by Franz Xaver Stöber (Albertina - Wien Austria)

1827 portrait of Henriette Sonntag by Franz Xaver Stöber

Henriette Gertrude Walpurgis Sontag (or Sonntag), Countess Rossi (3 January 1806 – 17 June 1854), was a beautiful German operatic coloratura soprano of international renown. The sontag is alledgedly named after Henriette, who is said to have brought this style of a shallow, front-crossing shawl to the attention of fashionable Victorians.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines a “Sontag” as “a type of knitted or crocheted jacket or cape, with long ends which are crossed in front of the body and tied behind, worn by women in the second half of the Nineteenth Century.” Oddly, although there are a great many portraits of Countess Rossi, there are no portraits or photographs of her wearing such a garment (and I looked).

(My personal conjecture? Perhaps a garment like this was part of a stage costume she wore, devised by a creative costume mistress, in an especially outstanding performance which inspired women to emulate the style. It’s a notion full of flaws, but I like to imagine an opera company’s costume mistress as the unsung heroine of a long-lasting fashion movement.)

Instructions (“receipts”) for sontags (also called “cache coeurs”, or “bosom friends”) are found in many women’s magazines from the 1860s onwards. In fact, they are one of the first styles of shawl to be written up in modern pattern form.

Sontags are very good at keeping the upper body – especially the bosom – warm. As a result they are often worn by re-enactors and living historians. I’ve been wanting to make one, but kept coming up with the same pattern or two that “everyone” uses. Being me, of course, I wanted something different. Something to keep both my back and my front warm. Something that had instructions I could understand.

Then, a while back, I stumbled upon this.

1860 pattern for knitted sontag

1860 pattern for knitted sontag

Colleen Formby took this original 1860 pattern and “translated” it into modern knitting instructions, complete with yarn and needle equivalents, photographs and directions on how to make the “ermine” spots on the edging. Ms. Formby holds the copyright, but it’s licensed for individual use.

I love the checkerboard knitting pattern and the addition of the faux ermine spots. I like the way the back is completely covered. I also like that the ties wrap around the waist completely and tie in front, instead of tying in back.

And the best part is I can use it for the HSM Challenge #3, since I already have everything needed to make it in my stash, including period-correct colors in period-correct yarn (both content and weight) with period-correct (i.e., wooden) needles. It’s also a project I can do whilst packing/unpacking, since it doesn’t demand a lot of space – if there’s a chair/bench/stool/pillow where I can sit, I’m good.

Here’s a link to pictures of the same pattern done by an Australian historical sewer/knitter. As you can see, her sontag turned out looking very nice indeed. (Love the Dorset button!)

It’s getting easier and easier these days to find reproductions of extant patterns, which is good, but most of them are only copies of those originals and have sparse or confusing instructions, which is not so good. So I was thrilled when I come across a vintage pattern that is in contemporary terminology – not changed in any way, just translated into something understandable. Thank you, Ms. Formby, where ever you are.

Sadly, Henriette, Countess Rossi, only lived to the age of 46. She died from cholera in 1854 while on tour in Mexico. Every time I wear this sontag I’ll think of her – the woman with the beautiful voice who lent her name to such a practical garment, yet died so young.

Warning – Another Gown ID Error on the Loose!

Stunning 1860-1870s dress, 3 pieces with soutache braid and eyelet trim, back bustle.

“Stunning 1860-1870s dress, 3 pieces with soutache braid and eyelet trim, back bustle.”

This beautiful dress has been making the rounds lately. I fell head-over-heels with the soutache work and the overall design. So much so that I was planning to feature it on a Weekend Wow, even though the “1860-1870s” time frame is rubbish (since it’s early 1870’s style and absolutely not 1860’s). Anyway, it’s a good thing I hadn’t gotten there yet, because I just discovered…

it’s a doll’s dress (made to fit a 17-inch doll). The craftsmanship is pretty darned amazing, but it’s not an extant garment. I get pretty irked when this happens to me, so I’m passing the information along in the hope it won’t happen to you.

So you won’t see it on any Wow whatsoever. Which is too bad because I think it’s beautiful. Now I need to wade through my Pinterest board, ’cause I think it may be in there somewhere. Sigh. But better to know than not.

A Need to Re-Think My 2015 Plans. Or Not.

(original source unknown)

(original source unknown)

DELUSION n. A belief that is unsupported by the facts. SYN. illusion, mirage, self-deception, misconception, fantasy, “pipe dream”, figment of the imagination.

Now that I know there are twice as many HSM challenges as I thought there would be, I need to take a step back and look at that project list again. Or find a better pharmacy. Or both.

Although it would be tons of fun and I’d learn a lot, the single most expensive item, by far, is Costume College 2015. Airfare. Dog sitter/ boarding kennel. Hotel room, even if I share with someone else. Food and beverages. Four complete costumes. And I won’t kid myself, I know I’ll come home with additional goodies from those fabulous vendors…they’re right there – at my fingertips.

I started the 18th century outfit and I want to finish it…there’s not much left to do and it’s all easy.

I’m going to finish a Regency/Georgian outfit, as I’ve already said, if it kills me.

I’m also doing the HSM, at least as many challenges as I can.

I also want to finish the Victorian dress. It needs a finished overskirt, which is half done, and it needs a bodice, which is a lot like the first Victorian bodice I made.

And for reasons I can’t explain, other than a mild moderate complete break from reality, I am drawn to the 17th century challenge. Totally new territory for me, which is part of the appeal (and, I can bet on it, the source of many a difficulty). But we are given an entire year to complete one costume and I’m going with a servant’s outfit, so no over-the-top mountains of silk, Cavalier sleeves, neck ruffs, heavy jewelry, exposed cleavage, metallic embroidery and eternal miles of lace.

(original source unknown)

(original source unknown)

I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for this. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it anyway.

Leaving out Coco and the Victorian bustle dress, here’s how the math looks:

18th century:

  • need overskirt, bedgown, apron, fichu and cap
  • only need fabric for overskirt or apron, depending on which ends up where
  • total number of items to make = 5

Regency:

  • need gown, cap, fichu and spencer (or cloak)
  • already have the fabric and patterns
  • total number of items to make = 4

HSM 2015:

  • I only know what the first challenge is
  • already have the pattern and fabric for it
  • total number of items to make = 12

17th century:

  • still deciding on which painting to use for the reproduction, but going servant
  • need the lot – cap, fichu/kerchief, chemise, jacket/top, apron and 2-3 petticoats
  • have pattern and fabric for the cap, fichu/kerchief and under-petticoat
  • total number of items to make = 6 (can re-use the fichu and 2 petticoats

That’s 27 pieces of clothing, not counting Victorian (2) and CoCo (a lot). Impossible, at least for me. Fortunately, the 17th and 18th century items are neither fussy nor difficult. (Rationalization? You bet!)

Prioritizing the projects:

  • Let go of CoCo for next year. As much as I want to go, it’s just not practical financially, even if I got a college scholarship.
  • The Regency/Georgian (whatever I end up with) can wait until later in the year, but want to be done in time for Jane Austen’s birthday celebration on December 16th. (The year was 1775.)
  • Do the hand sewing (the caps, fichus and all the hemming) at night, while watching the tube.
  • Get going on HSM #1 (due January 31st).
  • Make 18th century top petticoat, bedgown and apron. Not at all difficult, so get them done NOW.
  • Work on the 17th century things throughout the year (and yes, that does mean I can expect a mad scramble at the end).
  • Keep an eye on HSM – pick my battles.
  • March is Victorian Heritage Festival time. Can I finish the dress in time? We’ll see how it shakes out.
  • Stay open-minded and flexible – change whatever as needed.

As you can see, the only thing I’ve actually removed from the list is CoCo 2015 and all of those costumes. (If I’m going, I’m going with costumes.) That still leaves way too many.

My decision: I’m going to head into this adventure expecting the obvious inability to get everything done. Then whatever I do manage to complete will be its own little celebration. So I’m just going to start and work my way through as much as I can. Piece by piece, costume by costume, era by era.

(destination360.com)

(destination360.com)

2015 – Looking Ahead

antiqueclockandwatch.blogspot.com

Since it’s nearly time to start closing out 2014, sewing-wise at least, it seems right to look ahead to 2015 and see just how much trouble I can get myself into make some plans.

2014 has been a year of learning – a LOT of learning. One of the most often repeated lessons was that my eyes are bigger than my cutting table, so to speak. I want to try just about everything, but the reality is there’s only so much I can accomplish in a single year. (Funny how that one keeps coming up year after year…almost as if it’s a pattern…) This blog’s tag line has “over enthusiastic” in it for a reason. My interests and appreciations are wide-spread and far-flung through time: I can’t pick just one or two.

Which is why I have a lot of unfinished projects and as-of-yet-unused fabric and patterns lying about.

So. What would I like to accomplish in 2015?

2015-Calendar

  • Make all the costumes for CoCo 2015: a Georgian/Regency morning dress, a 1930’s dress (have pattern and fabric), my blue early bustle era dress (partially done), and a Legendary Lady dress (finally decided which way to go),
  • Participate in the Historical Sew Not-Going-To-Be-Fortnightly-Anymore Challenge for 2015: now one project will be due every two months for a total of six for the year – first one is “Foundations” due January 31st (have pattern and fabric),
  • Participate in the Isis’ Wardrobe 17th Century Challenge (one year to reproduce an entire outfit from a painting or colored drawing),
  • Manage to finally make a Georgian/Regency dress that fits (don’t get me started),
  • Finish up the 18th Century costume,
  • Participate in the town’s Victorian Heritage celebrations in a dress that I’ve made (not a purchased outfit), and
  • Participate in each of SITU-Seattle’s four seasonal events, each of which “occurs” in a different era and the first one is mid-February.

I’m sure you can see my problem. The list not ambitious…it’s insane. One year, 15+ projects (potentially) – that’s more than one every month. And that is so not going to happen.

On one hand, I don’t know what all of the projects are. I only know the first of the six HS(not)F challenges. I only know the era of dress for the first of the four SITU-Seattle events. And I’m still not sure I can afford to go to CoCo 2015 – but I’m gonna try (fingers crossed).

On the other hand, fortunately, I already know there is some overlap. The blue bustle dress can double for the Victorian Heritage Festival. The Regency dress can double for the SITU-Seattle February event. The 17th Century Challenge is for just one outfit, I’m allowed an entire year to make it, and I’m choosing something relatively easy (i.e., no fussy gowns). The HS(not)F January challenge will give me the last corset style I need to wear anyone of the list above, since I already have Victorian and Regency done.

But that still leave a huge list. At this time really I want to do the following:

  • CoCo 2015,
  • one danged Georgian/Regency dress,
  • the Historical Sew Not-Going-To-Be-Fortnightly-Anymore Challenge for 2015, and
  • the Isis’ Wardrobe 17th Century Challenge.
  • (Who am I kidding? I still really want to do them all.)

Yes, it’s way too much, so we’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m pretending Theoretically I should have more time to sew in the upcoming year. Theoretically, I had a lot of time this year but life handed out a couple of whoppers that slowed me down and, I can almost guarantee, 2015 will likely offer its fair share of lumps and bumps, as well.

At least there’s one thing I know for sure: by this time next year, I’ll know exactly how much I’ll be able to accomplish in 2015.

A Revelation About Late 18th Century Dress

I’m still looking at the late 18th century for an ensemble. I wanted to go with common dress, not the upper class stuff. But the colors I kept finding for the very low classes were so…blah. Then, last night – a breakthrough!

After finding the cotton twill tape I want on Amazon.com (I’m getting a 55-yd roll at a great price – yay!), I Goggled “images of 18th century dress” and nearly fell over when I saw this:

1770s - 18th century - woman's outfit with mixed print fabrics (jacket, skirt, and apron are each a different floral pattern)

1770s – 18th century – woman’s outfit with mixed print fabrics

Prints! Colors! Nothing blah about it! Where has this been hiding? It’s from “An album containing 90 fine water color paintings of costumes.” Turin : [s.n.] , [ca.1775], in the collection of the Bunka Fashion College in Japan.

I realize they are Italian, not American. But I love them. They speak to me. So I’m going with ’em. My rationale? Italians were living in colonial America and had been for a few decades before the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of Italians fought alongside the colonists, too.

And then there’s this bit of trivia:

“The official seal of the state of Maryland reads Fatti, Maschii, Parola Femine, which is Italian for “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” It is the only state motto written in Italian, and Maryland also was the only state that was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was of Italian heritage.” http://www.examiner.com/article/italians-america-william-paca-and-the-american-revolution

So I’m feeling good about deciding to go this way. I know I’ll be much happier with the outfit when it’s done and more comfortable wearing it, too.

Even better, I already have fabric that will work for either the jacket or the petticoat (skirt). It’s 100% cotton with a woven-in design and a nice mid-weight that drapes nicely.

2014-12-10 14.29.23

back of fabric

back of fabric

In the meantime, it’s probably going to take a while for the Amazon order to get here, what with all the mountains of holiday mail, so I’m going to cut out my Regency day cap and see if I can get some more hand sewing done.

Baffled by a Dress

flapper reading a bookWhen looking through photos or fashion plates of antique clothing, it usually only takes a few seconds for me to decide whether I like something or not. There is, however, a dress that has had me sitting on the fence for a long time…a late bustle era dress that confounds my eye.

I don’t know what to make of it.

For me it’s kinda like the proverbial horrible accident with lots of badly wounded casualties and you want to respect their privacy and/or avoid the gruesomeness of it all and you don’t want to look…but you can’t help yourself and then you wish you’d kept your eyes closed and you swear to yourself that you won’t look the next time, but you know you will.

“Two piece day ensemble in beige, pale green, and purple, ca. 1882-1885, This day outfit, from the late bustle era, was worn by Kate Morris Cone, a student in the first graduating class of Smith College in 1879. The fawn wool bodice is cut in a ‘tailor-made’ style, tightly fitted with an obvious CF [center front] button closure, long cuffed sleeves and an elaborate tail, all to suggest a man’s tail coat.”

Two-piece day ensemble in beige, pale green, & purple, North American, ca. 1882-85. Cotton, wool, silk.

Two piece day ensemble in beige, pale green, and purple, ca. 1882-1885 3

First off – it’s not displayed on a correct late era (i.e., humongous) bustle, so it’s impossible to see the actual shape and drape. Another part of it is the color: the green and purple are fine, but I do not like it with the beige – that beige kills the colors…yellow-toned beige versus blue-toned colors.

I’m normally pretty big-bow phobic, but the three on the side are oddly compelling – I don’t think I like them, but I’m drawn to them nonetheless.

The other thing I find odd are the two bits of gathered purple fabric as the end of the “elaborate tail.” The side bows are big and puffy, while these look flat and smashed…as if they’d been sat upon, popped like a balloon and deflated.

But, by far, the worst of it all is I can see “potential” (the word that will kill me one day, I swear). The overall design has some merit. It’s certainly unusual, and I like unusual.

So I look at it and my brain starts revving its creativity cells:

If I ditch the beige and use a nice color instead, keep the diagonal plaid thing going in a color that works with the bodice, get rid of the piping at the bodice front and use a flat inlay instead, and get rid of the dead balloon at the back…well…it could be a pretty dress.

And in the end, this is what happens:

I see a nice winter dress for our Victorian Holidays up here. Done in a light-weight wool. The bodice in a deep blue, red, green or brown. A tartan-like plaid on the bias instead of the floral green. And a second solid (for the bows and bottom ruffle) that picks up a color in the tartan. Maybe change the bows to a flatter style, but maybe not.

See what I mean? Potential = Pandora’s Box.

Fortunately for me, while I do have the pattern necessary to re-create the look I don’t have the skills. Yet. Thank heavens for that.

PS:

  • The 18th century pockets are done and I’ll be picking up more twill tape (I’d used it all) tomorrow so another “action shot” is coming soon.
  • Still messing around with the sleeve cap re-do…having trouble deciding which way to go and am vacillating between two variations. Sewing circle is on Saturday, so they just might end up being subjected to a group vote.

Eureka! (Maybe) + Hooray! (Definitely)

The Eureka

The comments about the previous post got my mental juices flowing again…must the sleeve cap be a single piece or were there alternate styles? So I went back to Google and Pinterest, searched for images of 1795 round gowns, again, and I think I may have found a solution. (Note to the befuddled,  like me – never give up, the answer’s out there somewhere.)

1795 round gowns.

1795 round gowns.

Dress (round gown)c. 1795-Italy. White silk taffeta brocade one-piece dress; green silk and gold embroidery and sequins; pin-tucks at top of front; fly fringe and tassel ornamentation.

Dress (round gown)c. 1795-Italy. White silk taffeta brocade one-piece dress; green silk and gold embroidery and sequins; pin-tucks at top of front; fly fringe and tassel ornamentation.

Looking at these extant garments, it appears that I can put a cap over the cap (don’t you love it when I get all technical?). Which means I could add some volume back onto the sleeve cap and hide it with the extra piece on top, so it would essentially end up looking like a removable sleeve without actually being one. And that would be a heck of a lot simpler than going through any more gyrations (she says now). So I’m gonna give it a go and see what happens. If nothing else, it will be desperately exasperating fun and instructive.

Thank you Val (#1) for taking a swing with your idea…I don’t know if I would have stumbled upon this without your help.

The Hooray

(photo copyright American Duchess)

(photo copyright American Duchess)

This morning, whilst lurking around  in blog-land, I discovered that American Duchess is having a sale. I’ve been hankering for a pair of her buff-colored Regency Nankeen boots since she introduced them and they’re on sale!!! So HoHoHo and Happy Holidays to me…I have a pair on Easy Pay layaway. Even better, they are dye-able. I have my eye on a lovely, soft lilac or perhaps a yummy rosy-coral. Or I  may like the buff and leave them be.

In any case, they’re mine as of the first of February and the SITU-Seattle Winter event (“Victory over the British”, 1815 attire – celebrating the end of the War of 1812) isn’t until February 22, 2015, so they’ll get here in plenty of time to be dyed and waxed. WooHoo!