Apr 16, 2014

HSF challenge #7 - In which it's awesome to have a head

Which came first? The head or the hat?
1880s inspired ladies Tall Hat - front and side views

Leaving classic philosophical debates to one side, here's my entry for the Historical Sewing Fortnight 2014 challenge #7 "Tops and Toes" an 1880s inspired Tall hat, which was created to accompany my 1888 costume here.

'before' photo

This is my third attempt at millinery, having made 2 spoon bonnets last year, here and here.

I made this one by taking apart a store bought sunhat (pictured to the left).

I will post a tutorial about how I made this 1880s tall hat soon.


'all done' photo
just the facts:
The Challenge: #7 'Tops and toes'

Fabric: the material is...whatever sunhats are made from. Er.. some kind of thick plastic threads (looks a bit like fishing line) which has been woven into strips.

Pattern: self-drafted

Year: 1880s
Notions: thread and self-made ribbons

How historically accurate is it? not very, this is def. an 'inspired by' design

Hours to complete: About two days

First worn: 28 March 2014

Total cost: under $7

Women having tea outside the house of William and Lydia Williams in Napier, New Zealand. Dated between 1888-1899

The above photo (original source here) from the late 1880s is my favorite inspiration for my Tall Hat design, but you can see more sources by following my Hats or Victorian 1880s boards on Pinterest.

Apr 6, 2014

Sewing Milestone - Creating an 1880s outfit

A year ago as a novice sewer my historical costuming adventures began with my first Victorian Costuming Project, an 1860s Spoon Bonnet, followed by an 1863 outfit to mark the Dunedin Botanical Gardens 150th celebrations.

They were simple projects for a more simple time, chosen to help build up my sewing skills so one day in the distance future I might sew something from my fav decade, the 1880s.

Two months ago I knew I needed a complete outfit for an Images of Past Dunedin event by the end of March and like an American Idol contestant I wasn't going to let dubious skills stop me any longer so I took the 1880s plunge.

Here's what I came up with:

Olden-time posing under the Peasgoode Nonesuch apple tree

As making this outfit coincided [sort-of] with the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge #5 'Bodice' today I'll talk about the main part of the outfit, the jacket.

My inspiration for the chevron back came from the extant garment below, full details HERE at Bonhams.
Extant 1880s dress with chevron back detail - Source = Bonhams

Details for Historical Sew Fortnightly
The Challenge:  #5 'Bodice'
Fabric: dark blue synthetic outer, poly-cotton inner

I chose 'Ladies Costume' from the 1888 National Garment Cutter,

By the way, the 1888 National Garment Cutter is available FREE from the Library of Congress, aka the Internet Archive HERE

Pattern printed and back sections cut

I drafted the jacket using Adobe Illustrator, plotting out the Nat. Garment pattern exactly as stated and then merging it with my measurements in the form of a sloper  - drafted for me by a very kind friend, and without which I could not have made the jacket at all. Thank you S.W!!!

Year: 1888
Notions: thread, hook and eyes

How historically accurate is it? 
I give this 8 out of 10 for historicalness. Excluding the fabric's synthetic content, the pattern is 100% authentic, the construction is flat-lined, and sewn entirely on my 1937 Singer No15 which only does straight stitch - no reverse!

The Cat being helpful and my 1937 Singer
Jacket is flat-lined
1880s jacket in construction

Hours to complete: Many! Spread over two months I loss count. I really don't want to think about the time it took least it prove I'm crazy for doing things like this.

Problems encountered: Aside from the masses of time this took, I only had one major hiccup, it turns out I totally have one shoulder lower than the other! Who knew?

1880s Jacket - back not fitting quite right due to 'purse shoulder'...see the wrinkles on left shoulder
Argh - Fitting fail, had to adjust the left shoulder several times...but got there in the end :)

First worn: 28 March 2014, Toitu Museum

I really like this jacket, there's something quite severe about it that appeals to my odd sense of humour. I feel I should be standing outside the Sally Army banging a tambourine and haranguing people about the perils of drink! Hmmm, who can loan me a tamborine?

First worn at Toitu Museum
Total cost: jacket under $20
Fun Times Achieved: Hell yes.

I say, I do love a good silhouette, but does this make my bum look big enough??