January 14, 2020

Double the Ruffles, Double the Fun

Readers, you know me, when it comes to caps - double the ruffles, double the fun!  This post is all about a quick, little, and utilitarian project, which was trimmed with a large bow of a vintage, blue moire ribbon for the previous photo shoot, here: To Walk Is by a Thought to Go - 1810s Photoshoot

A Regency Era cap with double the ruffles for double the fun!

Usually, I'm all about the ribbons and frills, but for this Regency Era cap, I decided to take a "less-is-more" approach and let the two, little ruffles be the stars.  Though, I do think the big, blue bow added just the right finishing touch. 

Per usual, I chose a fine cotton lawn for the material.  I followed the period construction method of finishing each of the pieces - caul, band and ruffles - separately, then joining them together with whip stitches.  The cap is entirely hand-stitched using narrow, 1/16" rolled hems and whipped rolled gathers.

The cap on its side.

From the inside - constructed in the period methods,
each of the pieces are finished separately,
then joined together with whip stitches.

Completed Project Shots

Front view.

3/4 side view.

Side view.

Other side view.

Detail shot of the ruffles with 1/16" rolled hems.

Bonus: just for fun, here are a few shots of the cap in action!  This was back in June, I think, during one of my first days solo weaving at the Humphrey House.  I was actually working in the Dressmaker Shop for a special fashion program, but they were in need of a weaver, so I was happy to make the switch.

Weaving at the Humphrey House.

One of the summer projects I worked on -
A wool shawl, 2/2 twill weave.

My friend Rhonda, the dressmaker, has an adorable, little, double-ruffle cap that she copied from an original in the Susan Greene Costume Collection.  She calls it her "whip cream cap," and I've admired it for years.  It just perfectly frames her face, and the ruffles look so pretty peaking out from beneath a bonnet.  (And Rhonda has quite the bonnet collection!)  

If I ever get my Regency act together, we'll have to plan an outing (or at least an excuse for pictures).  I haven't seen her in a long time, and I miss her...anyways, I might start calling this my whip cream cap in honor of hers:

January 7, 2020

To Walk Is by a Thought to Go - 1810s Photoshoot

To walk abroad is, not with eyes,
But thoughts, the fields to see and prize;
Else may the silent feet,
Like logs of wood,
Move up and down, and see no good
Nor joy nor glory meet.
- "Walking" by Thomas Traherne 

One of my favorite makes of 2019 was a little, striped, Regency Era half robe or short gown.  It was a seemingly simple project with straightforward construction, yet oh so comfortable and convenient to wear.  I like to think of the early-19th century "short gown" as comparable to today's t-shirt -- a throw-on-and-go staple in a living historian's working class wardrobe.  Plus, the opportunities to pattern mix-n-match and accessorize can't be beat!

In this blog post, I'll be sharing both the details of the garment's construction, as well as the completed project photographs that my sister graciously took last July - thank you, Maria!  So, without further ado, let's get started...

Construction Details

The story begins two years ago when I found the perfect, reproduction print fabric at Regency Revisited during GCV's 1812 weekend.  Readers, believe me when I say it was love at first site - my friends and co-workers can attest to this haha!  Unfortunately, there was only about two yards left, but I couldn't resist the indigo stripes and so it came home with me:

The fabric - a historical reproduction printed cotton.

Fast forward to July of 2019, I finally had a project in mind for the fabric!  I wanted a new half robe or short gown, something with maximum arm-movement (i.e. being able to raise my arms above my head, which those who wear mid-19th century clothing with those low-dropped armscyes can relate to), especially necessary while I was weaving.  After a quick mock-up (though the sleeves took two tries), I was ready to cut - and Jack, my best friend's mischievous, one-eyed cat was equally ready to assist:

Jack, always ready to assist!

Special thanks goes to Judy, not only for hosting the sewing day (and for her resident helper), but for the continued encouragement.  Had she not been asking for daily updates, the project might still be languishing in a u.f.o. (unfinished object) bin somewhere...sewing friends to keep you accountable make all the difference!

As for putting it all together, I think it took three or four days of working on and off to finish.  I assembled the fronts, 4-piece back (including the skirt), and lining separately, then seamed them at the shoulders and sides.  I stitched the long seams (and set the sleeves in) by machine to save time, but anything visible from the outside was done by hand.  I did also top stitch the shoulders down by hand though as it's a pretty and period appropriate detail.  

Only the fronts have turned down edges along the top and narrow pieces of bias tape at the underbust for drawstring casings, while the back is fitted with curved seams and pleats for the skirting.  Both the set-in, elbow length sleeves and skirt were finished with bias cut facings, and I turned under or overcast any exposed seam allowances to prevent future unraveling.  

Here's a picture of the interior, which hopefully helps to illustrate the process better:

Interior view.
Please excuse all of the wrinkles.

And here's the finished short gown:  

Full front view.

Side view.

Other side view -
I might try to reduce the height at the cap
for a smoother sleeve set-in next time...

Back view -
featuring directional knife pleats at the side
with an inverted box pleat at the center.

Completed Project Shots

Once again, the beautiful gardens at the George Eastman Museum and historic mansion were chosen for the location of our summer photo shoot.  Maria, my sister and photographer, did her usual, outstanding job of documenting my latest sewing project - and I'm so grateful for her time and talents!

In the following pictures, the short gown is worn with period stockings and pointed tie-shoes, a shift, long stays, strapped cotton petticoat, and linen petticoat.  A beribboned cap and hand-rolled checked kerchief complete the quick and comfy look.  

*All photographs courtesy of Maria M.*   

To walk is by a thought to go;
To move in spirit to and fro;
To mind the good we see;
To taste the sweet;
Observing all the things we meet
How choice and rich they be.

A little child these well perceives,
Who, tumbling in green grass and leaves,
May rich as kings be thought,
But there’s a sight
Which perfect manhood may delight,
To which we shall be brought.

While in those pleasant paths we talk,
’Tis that tow’rds which at last we walk;
For we may by degrees
Wisely proceed
Pleasures of love and praise to heed,
From viewing herbs and trees.

Poem is "Walking" by Thomas Traherne - stanzas 1, 4, 8, and 9.  Follow the link to find the full poem.  Thanks for stopping by! 

January 1, 2020

Year In Review: Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

"Another fresh New Year is here...
Another year to live! 
To banish worry, doubt and fear, 
To love, and laugh and give!"
- William Arthur Ward 

Happy New Year!
T. Corbella Postcard from the 1920s.
(Image via: Tumblr: Anything Goes - Celebrating the 20s)

Enter the roaring 20-20s - and another, new decade begins!  But before we say goodbye to the 20-teens, I'd like to reflect upon the past year's accomplishments, and forward to another twelve months of sewing, weaving, living history, and (hopefully a little more) blogging.

This past year, I struggled to keep up on all of the social platforms - our Facebook page, Instagram, and here on Blogger - and sometimes it's hard to remember that I am learning, making, and mostly succeeding, especially when the day-to-day progress seems slow.  With full-time college and work at the museum, weaving and sewing every day in #artschool or for the occasional personal project, traveling, and other life adventures - 2019 was as busy a year as ever!  So, for this year in review post, here is a list of my favorite happenings:

Year in Review: 2019 Highlights

Sewing Projects:

Mid-19th Century, Blue Print Day Dress

  • Period Draping (2 semesters) 
    • In a years time, I learned to drape from pictures and research images of both extant garments and designer renderings from the 18th through 20th centuries.  I gained so much confidence in my flat patterning and cutting skills, and my sewing accuracy and ability to envision (and execute) the step-by-step construction process improved as well. 
    • Gaining speed and reigning in the perfectionism are my two areas to work on, as well as continued draping/flat patterning practice.
    • Favorite drapes: (1) my first 18th century dress! (draped over me-made stays); (2) my first Bustle Era ensemble, which included a jacket, vest, skirt, and bustle drapery

Historical sewing: 

Mid-19th Century, Pink Striped Sheer Dress

  • 18th Century 
    • linen bedgown 
    • linen cap
  • Early-19th Century 
    • Striped half-robe 
    • Double-ruffle Regency cap

    • Blue day dress
    • Pink striped sheer 
    • Various accessories (hairpieces, bows, silk belts, etc.) 
  • Modern 
    • Spooky novelty skirt
    • Spooky hat 

Weaving Projects:

Project 1 in Advanced Studio

I completed four more textile courses to round out my dual concentrations in both costume construction and textile arts.  
  • Color & Weave (Spring 2019)
  • Blossom Art Intensive (Summer 2019)
  • Dimensional Textiles (Fall 2019)
  • Advanced Studio (Fall 2019) - an independent study of overshot pattern design and weaving techniques + graduate seminar

Living History Events

Cheyney of Not Your Momma's History & me
at the Citizen's Forum of the 1860s

Travels:  I'd love to attend all three of these events again!

  • Ohio Regimental Military Ball in Canton, OH (February) 
  • Citizen's Forum of the 1860s in Maumee, OH (March)
  • Remembrance Weekend at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI (May)

Season #6 at the Genesee Country Village & Museum:

  • Inventions Week - I set up shop as the dressmaker! (July)
  • Civil War Weekend (July)
  • Summer Gathering Series: Getting Dressed in the 1830s (August)
    • This was my second collaboration with Brandon (@L_Aspect_Ancien) at the John L. Wehle Gallery!
    • Watch our afternoon performance here, courtesy of Facebook live: 

  • Domestic Symposium (November)
  • Roc Holiday Village: a day of ice skating & caroling with friends! (December) 

Social Media Milestones

  • I think I finally doubled the posts over on Instagram @youngsewphisticate, where we have an amazing 1300+ following!  Check out our 2019 Top Nine post collage above!
  • We made it to 400 "likes" on our Facebook page - here at: The Young Sewphisticate

And that concludes this year-in-review post!  I'd like to thank everyone - most dearly, sincerely, and across all of the social platforms - for your overwhelming support of my studies and adventures in sewing, weaving, and living history.  Look forward to new content (and hopefully some filling in of the gaps in sewing projects listed above) coming your way in 2020...May your needle always be sharp, your shuttle fast, and your fabric stash overflowing! 

Ice Skating at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park

Cheers 2020, and may we make every minute count!

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