Monday, 13 November 2017

Colette Lady Grey summer coat

Pattern: Lady Grey by Colette, modified
Fabric: blue canvas-like fabric
Haberdasheries: two snap fasteners, grey fusible interfacing

Mid-November… Interesting time to post a summer (or inbetween seasons) coat. Actually, this coat has been finished for weeks and I’ve worn it lots of times already, but I didn’t get around to blogging lately. We had a 17th century event in Groenlo in late October and I was busy making lots of things for that, and also we just got a kitten!

I found this pattern on the Colette website when I was looking to buy the Ceylon dress, and since there was a sale going on, I got both. They were a more reasonable price than usually, although having to print the pattern (78 pages…) and stick all the pages together is a task I could do well without. Having done this a couple of times now, I think I will actually save myself the trouble get myself more printed patterns in future!

I love the design of this coat, with the large collar and tie belt, although I hate the 3/4 length, wide sleeves – I can’t believe most people actually make them like that, rather than modifying them. I have absolutely no use for a coat without full-length sleeves in winter, but I also don’t want one in summer, as I wear a coat for warmth. And I’m not going to bother with gloves in summer, either. So I made the sleeves quite a bit narrower, and full length. And while I was about it, I decided to add cuffs as well, with the same height as the belt.

Other alterations I made are taking off about 3 cm at the pointy bits of the collar, because I think it was a bit too wide and thought it looked strange, and lengthening the coat by 20 cm. I had been wanting elegant, longer coats for a long time, but as usually, fashion did not comply, so I had to do it myself again.

I used large snap fasteners rather than buttons and buttonholes, because I thought it likely that the buttons would just be visible besides the tie belt, and we can’t have that!


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Women’s Land Army dungarees

Just a warning – here comes the sexiest garment I’ve ever made! :P

Last year I made a Women’s Land Army hat, and now I’ve added khaki drill dungarees to my WLA wardrobe. I thought it would be nice to also have the less formal WLA uniform, besides the corduroy breeches.

I had been wanting to make these for a while, but the hardest part was finding the right fabric! It had to be cotton, but with a coarse twill weave and not the standard canvas one. And also, it had to be a very particular colour. Eventually an almost perfect fabric became available on eBay, and at only 3 euros a metre, including shipping! XD

I used an improvised pattern, and based all the stitching details on photos of original dungarees. The construction of the overlapping shoulder straps at the back is also based on existing dungarees – otherwise I would never have sewn them in such a way! This construction method, and also the less than neat stitching on the originals, clearly shows that these trousers were mass produced!
The original dungarees I used as an example had flat felled seams on both sides. They were baggy enough for this (it isn’t possible on tighter legs), but it was still a hassle to sew!

I tried to make the dungarees baggy enough to look the part, but with the right fit – they shouldn’t be all too baggy at the waist and bust. Call me delusional, but worn with a belt, I don’t actually think they’re too unflattering!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

World War I QAIMNS nurse hat

In 2014 I made a World War I QAIMNS nurse uniform, and I’ve worn it a lot since, at several memorable World War I events. My group has, for instance, portrayed a hospital stationed inside a country house, at Museum Huis Doorn.

Now, we’ve added the ‘walking out’ or parade version of the uniform to our repertoire. This means: no apron, no cuffs, a hat instead of a veil, and white gloves.

The hats, naturally, we had to fashion ourselves. Here’s a QAIMNS hat from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, which I used as my main example:

We ordered a number of grey wool felt hats, but they had a pretty weird shape, with a round rather than an oval crown. This made it hard for me to get the hat to fit properly, because the brim would get wavy when I put it on, but some steam pressing did improve it.

Unfortunately we could not buy the same ribbon that was used at the time. We could have had some made, but only by the roll of 200 metres or so, and we needed about 10. But as the colours were similar to Iron Cross ribbon, we used that, and sewed grey ribbon onto it.
To make the ribbon fit around the crown without all too much puckering, I eased the different ribbons onto each other. First I eased the Iron Cross ribbon onto the top grey ribbon, and then I did the opposite, easing the bottom grey ribbon onto the Iron Cross ribbon. It’s quite amazing how big an effect this had on the shape of the ribbon, as you can see below (the left part of the ribbon was sewn normally, without easing on).

I made the flat bow out of three different pieces of ribbon, since actually tying the ribbon into a bow would have made it bulkier than the bow on the IWM hat.

And here’s the hat sewn up:

We first wore the walking out uniform at the recent Passchendaele event at Zonnebeke in Belgium. It was particularly suitable to wear to the remembrance church service.

Even our hairstyles were uniform here! =)

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A 17th century men’s shirt

Pattern: based on the 1659 shirt worn by Claes Bielkenstierna in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4
Fabric: fine white linen
Haberdasheries: 50 cm narrow white tape, two hooks

My husband is ‘chief commander’ of the commemorative battle for the siege of Grol (het beleg van Grol, in Dutch) at Groenlo, meaning he coordinates the battle, and as such, I decided he could no longer do without a proper 17th century shirt. Even though no one sees what he wears underneath his suit.

As I want to be able to attach different styles of collars and cuffs to the shirt, I wanted a very basic shirt, without lace ruffles and the like. So I decided to use pattern 15 from the excellent Patterns of Fashion 4, a ca. 1659 shirt worn by Claes Bielkenstierna. This had the typical characteristics of shirts from the period (also the earlier period, which was necessary as the siege of Grol took place in 1627) but no frills. 
I measured the pattern and found that the circumference of the shirt was 2 metres! I know shirts were very wide in the past, unlike the jackets that went over them, but as my husband’s build is very slim, and pictures of Bielkenstierna showed he was rather rotund, I reckoned I could make my version of the shirt a little narrower. Otherwise I mostly did as the pattern description said. These were the pieces of linen I cut (the photos in this post are pretty terrible; somehow my camera seemed to have trouble with the bright white!):

Dimensions (incl. seam allowances):

1: Body: 85 x 200 cm (cut 1)
2: Sleeves: 60 x 59 cm (cut 2)
3: Sleeve gussets: 14.5 x 14.5 cm (cut 2)
4: Collar: 9 x 43.25 cm (cut 1)
5: Shoulder piece for reinforcement: 7,5 x 20,5 (should have gotten narrower to 4,5 cm at the neck; cut 2)
6: Cuffs: 7 x 23 (cut 2)
7: Bottom side seam gussets: 5 x 5 cm triangles + seam allowance (cut 2)
8: Extra shoulder reinforcement pieces; unused

This is the shirt before I gathered the neckline. The shoulder seam on shirts like these tended to hang off the shoulder, but without gathers, she shoulders would have been very wide!

And after gathering the neckline and attaching the collar and tapes:

I worked a bar reinforcement at the bottom of the front opening. The original shirt had a ‘spider’ reinforcement, which I tried before on an underdress I made for myself, but this is another style that was also used in the period.

The shirt was sewn by machine, with all hemming, topstitching, and the above reinforcement, done by hand.

Through modern eyes, a shirt like this is almost a dress! But the shirt would have been wrapped between the legs before putting on trousers, and used instead of underpants.

The original shirt had tapes at the cuffs as well as at the collar. But I replaced the cuff tapes by hooks and thread loops, because it seemed very inconvenient for my hubby to not be able to close his own cuffs.

I embroidered my hubby’s initials, and a 4 for the fact that this is the fourth shirt I’ve made for him.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Zebra skater dress and shirt

Pattern: Lady Skater dress by Kitschy Coo
Fabric: 2.3 m zebra patterned knit and black cotton knit
Haberdasheries: none!

How many Lady Skater dresses is too many? I don’t know, but I do know the answer isn’t four! So here’s my fifth one! (See my other four)

It is getting quite boring to use the same pattern, and cut the same pieces, again and again, but I like these dresses so much and they are so easy to combine, that I really want more of them! And on the plus side, at least I can just get started and don’t need to make a toile. This time, it was even more of the same, because the zebra fabric I found was very thin and needed another layer of fabric underneath it, so basically I had to cut two dresses to make one. But I’m happy with the result. I like bright coloured animal prints :).

The skirt is the original length, as in the pattern. Once again, I made elbow length sleeves, my favourite sleeve length for Skater dresses, and a low neckline at the back. And as the zebra fabric, which I got on Etsy, came in a fixed length which was enough to make a shirt as well, I did!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Wool Regency jacket with patchwork lining

Pattern: improvised
Fabric: Purple wool, lots of scraps for lining
Haberdasheries: 2,5 m narrow tape for drawstrings

A few years ago I made my first working class or camp follower’s Regency outfit, including a wool jacket, but I was never quite happy with how the jacket turned out. Now I’ve made a few alterations to it, and also added lining in the way it would have been done in the day – that is, using leftover pieces of fabric.

Three examples of patchwork lining from the period:

And here's my patchwork lining:

Some of the ‘scraps’ I bought especially for this purpose, but I also used the leftovers of my patterned fichu, pockets and a knitting huswife. So I was limited by the size and shape of the fabric, and it was actually quite a puzzle to put all the pattern pieces together.

A nice detail, I think, is that you can see a different lining fabric inside each sleeve when I wear the jacket.

Because I wanted this jacket to be warm, I initially made the neckline quite high. But besides not looking particularly elegant (and even as a camp follower, one can strive to look elegant!), a high neckline is just not typical for the Regency period. So I lowered the neckline by about 4 cm, and took some fabric out of the back panel to make the sleeves start neatly on the shoulders, rather than hanging off them a bit (the only downside to this is that the sleeves, which were very long, another typical Regency thing, are now a bit shorter). I also added different drawstrings at the neckline and at the waist, using the Katia Tahiti knitting yarn that I bought for the previous campfollower’s jacket I posted. It matches these lining fabrics nicely.

And worn with an apron.

This earlier picture is just one example of this typical manner of wearing the apron, crossing the straps at the back and tying them at the front. This was probably done because working class women didn’t have a maid to tie the straps at the back!