Monday, October 20, 2014

HSF '14: 1880's Overskirt

This is a bit of a grumbly post.  I hate my camera.  I don't feel like this used to be a problem, but in the past year, no matter where or when I shoot, I can't get it to photograph colors well.  Especially red.  Everything just looks washed out.  Always. And I'm especially grumbly about this today, as my overskirt is a lovely brick red.

This color:

Keep that in mind when you see the photos down the line.

Plus, when I stepped back into the house I caught my skirt on my heel, and instead of the thread breaking like it's supposed to, the threads of my skirt broke instead, so now I have lovely pull lines emanating up the back of my skirt.  Grumble grumble grumble.  And I didn't take a photo of that to show you, as I hate my camera.

Shifting gears, I should probably tell you about the challenge.  The theme this fortnight was inspiration: Be inspired by previous challenge entries to make something of your own.  I originally wanted to get my 1880's Corset done for this one, as there have been some amazing corsets done in the past two years and I always want to improve my skills in corsetry.  But I'm no where near done, so I realized that I could finish my Overskirt, 90% of which I had done back in August.  The whole reason I'm making an 1880's walking ensemble is because I've seen some amazing examples through the HSF.  I fell in love with Kura Carpenter's stripey jacket and hat; Loren Dearborn made an adorable seaside outfit; and Anna Fura made an exquisitely matched plaid ensemble.  Pretty much anything mid-1880's that gets made for HSF, I want. So I figured it was high time to make my own.

The Challenge: Inspiration

Fabric: Lovely brick red cotton that did not photograph well

Pattern: TV382, but I didn't connect it to the underskirt like they suggest, in case I ever want to wear another overskirt with the underskirt.

Year: mid 1800's

Notions: bits of bias tape to encase the side edges

How historically accurate is it? Good enough.

Hours to complete: This wasn't supposed to be for an HSF challenge, so I didn't keep track, but maybe 8-10ish?

First worn: Today.

Total cost: I can't actually remember what I paid for the fabric, but no more than $15.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

HSF '14: Grey Mitts (or Muffatees)

I'm not a big poetry fan.  My tastes run towards Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.  And the only clothing reference I could think of in a poem had to so with my half-remembering a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker riding around in a boat with their night clothes on.

I was prepared to accept defeat on this one, but in Manchester, in one of the rooms at the Manchester Art Gallery, there was a book of poems compiled by students that accompanied the paintings in the room.  And there I found the following:

A Gloaming
John Everett Millais, 1836

If I could just paint the long fetch of the last light
the delicate thorns of the telegraph posts

fencing upon Sannick Hill      the sky's opalescence
mother of pearl with a slight golden flush

and clouds pale gongs   homecoming smell of parts
and smouldering straw and the moon

a gash into the light beyond with a rime of scarlet
along her prow.  My favourite neighbor

shelters where the burn falls
into white shell-sand.

And, recognising the knitting, asks
Is yun mammy's glivs? Yes

what's left of them, frail as spider-web,
and held together these seven years by a series

of scabby darns.  Our autumn's brief,
subtle and very dear:

the sky worn thin,
Quink-blue shadows on the hill.

If I could even get the ground right, a nacre
of gleaming gesso on which to begin.

Behold, I was saved!  I was so relieved that I forgot to take a photo of the painting the poem was accompanying. But I remember it was actually a Millais, with three peasant girls standing in a field of some sort, dressed very shabbily and looking tired.

I don't know how to knit, though I thought about learning for this challenge.  But life (and the 1880's corset) meant my priorities were elsewhere, so I quickly whipped up a pair of crocheted muffatees (an old fashioned word for fingerless gloves) instead.

The Challenge: Poetry in Motion

Fabric: About 50g of Katia Merino Tweed I had left over from another mitts project.

Pattern: These were loosely described in the book 'A Winter Gift for Ladies', published in 1848 and found here.

Year: mid 1800's

Notions: None

How historically accurate is it? Not very.  The stitch is fine, but the yarn is part acrylic so that's obviously not.

Hours to complete: maybe about 5.

First worn: Today.  It's cold here today!

Total cost: Free as it was leftover yarn, but I used about 1 skein so about $5.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Corset Progress

First mock-up is done.

And my notes look something like football plays.

As you can guess, I have a few changes to make.  Actually nothing major, just shortening the midsection and taking in some seams while letting out others.  Just enough that I have to change every piece in the corset minus the gussets.

Though I'm seriously doubting my choice in gussets for the bust area.  Below are some inspiration images to see what I'm going for.  And mine fits, it just looks SUPER weird.  While wearing it today I thought about changing it all but I'm not sure I know enough to do that without making another duct tape form, which I really don't want to do.

From the Chicago Historical Society
From the Met

Even in the inspiration images I can't really see how flat steel boning could go in without any twisting.  Maybe the trick is to use spring steel? But did that exist at the time?  Or maybe this style bust gusset is meant for ladies with a much higher bust to underbust measurement ratio than mine?

Any thoughts or hints would be most welcome.