January 12, 2015

1820s Mad for Plaid: Accessorizing

I've been stitching like mad to stay on schedule; however, the ever-present C.A.D.D. (Costume Attention Deficit Disorder) has been stealing away sewing time!  I'm finding planning more projects (like an 1770s spring outfit) and picking out the fabrics & trim a whole lot more exciting than working out all of the problems with this 1820s outfit...

1820s Mad for Plaid:  Cold Weather Accessories 

Anyways, I thought I should at least post some progress, then it's back to sewing the dress and new undergarments this week & finishing accessories over the weekend.

First up, a muff of enormous size:  Quite a fitting accessory I would say for winter as Upstate New York, along with most of the country, at the moment is under a deep freeze!  Though, my muff is no where near as roomy as this Regency lady's...

1798 Parisien Costume
I've seen quite a few fashion plates sporting larger than life muffs,
but none as large as this one...got muff?
(Fashion plate via: http://bygoneyears.tumblr.com/post/347776740/1798-parisian-fashion-got-muff)

My inspiration came from various fashion plates, extant examples as well as other fabulous costumers' muffs.  Specifically, the ribbons and pompoms idea came from the 1890s muff featured in Peterson's Magazine on Festive Attyre (plus Jen's lovely fur muff!).

To make my muff, I used Katherine's wonderful tutorials at A Fashionable Past!  First, following Part I, I made my muff base from black cotton broadcloth and polyfill (thrifted from a pillow).  

Then, to make my faux fur muff cover, I followed Part II of the tutorial, but with a few deviations.  Because of the thickness of the fur, I stitched grosgrain ribbon (stitched right sides together with the fur, turned under and then whip stitched in place) to become the channel for the ribbons.  

To finish, I trimmed my new muff with gold ribbons (to tie the cover over the base) and added fur pompoms onto the ends!  Each pompom was cut from a 4" circle for a 2" diameter, hand gathered and stuffed with polyfill.

Materials: faux fur remnant, black cotton broadcloth, 2" grosgrain ribbon, gold satin ribbon
Total cost: $20
Verdict:  Love it!

My tips & tricks for working with faux fur: 
  1. Comb the fur first.  This way, you won't have the hairs going in every direction imaginable when you go to cut the fur.  
  2. Trace your pattern pieces or cut lines onto the backing of the fur before cutting.  Trust me, this will make the job so much easier!
  3. Best tip: Cut only through the backing of the fabric so that the fur will pull away neatly and cleanly.  I used small, sharp embroidery scissors.  Otherwise, you will have a mess of chopped hairs to clean up (all over your carpet, just like me the first time!)
  4. Best tip: Hand baste all of the seams before machine stitching.  This is the only way to make sure those edges match up exactly and to ensure that nothing will slip under the pressure.  Plus, it will make your life a whole lot easier!
  5. Fur stuck in the seams?  No problem.  Just free the hairs using a pin, which also makes for a better finished, seamless appearance.  Score!

A Regency Reticule:  Or the period correct method for stashing all of your stuff!  The inspiration for the shape came from various fashion plates.  The hexagon shape seemed to be very common.

A simple and straightforward project to construct, or so I thought...I cut the outer pieces from black taffeta, stitched tassels in the corner and cut the plaid lining from the dress trim fabric.  Then, I stitched the pieces together like a regular drawstring bag.  After unpicking a few stitches at the top to hand stitch a line of running stitches to form the casing, I spent way too long trying to insert the drawstring. Only to find out, I forgot to leave an opening on both sides, oops.

Materials:  black taffeta, plaid cotton fabric, satin cord
Total cost: estimated $5, pulled from stash
Verdict:  Still unhappy with the failed drawstring, but I'll know the next time!  I may make another reticule to replace this one, or just use it for pictures.  I sure am glad that I didn't put any more time into decorating it with those gold embroidered flowers as planned.  

Last, but not least, a dress belt:  Another straightforward piece to construct using a combination of machine and hand stitching.  A little wider than 2" by just under 35" long for a nice overlap, the belt is made with a plaid cotton outer layer, interfacing inner layer and black cotton broadcloth lining.  The piping is made from burgundy cotton bias strips with black yarn for cording.  

Helpful Links Referenced: 


  1. Oh how I adore your hand muff!!! The pom poms are so wonderful! Your reticule is very beautifully made as well! Can't wait to see the dress! Squeeeee!!!

    1. Thank you, Gina! The muff is definitely one of my new favorite accessories & I'm hard at work on the dress! Stay tuned for a dress post, hopefully, by the end of this weekend! Anneliese :)