Friday, December 27, 2013

A Princess Dress for the Little Princess

My entry for HSF challenge #26 is definitely not a strict historical dress, but it's historically-inspired. My niece has been asking for a pink princess dress with long, puffy sleeves ever since I made her a Merida dress a year or two ago. She's long since outgrown the Merida dress, so Christmas was the perfect excuse to get my butt in gear working on the new dress.

Between the type of sleeves my niece wanted, a huge shortage of time and some very, very vague measurements I knew that a strict historical dress was out of the question. I decided to go with a pretty common fantasy medieval type style of dress. It's got elements of a 17th century french dress with the faux robe-over-petticoat look I gave to the front. The sleeves I'm not really sure belong to any real type of historical dress but are reminisent of the long medieval sleeves of a houppelande or such. The lacing is mostly there to help with the sizing if needed and to add a little extra detail.

Anyway the Peanut ended up loving the dress. She'll definitely get a bit more wear out of this one since there's plenty of room to grow. Still I feel a little silly entering this into the HSF but I have nothing else for the challenge and no time to make anything else, so historically-inspired it is!

The Challenge: #26 Celebrate!

Fabric: Cotton

Pattern: None

Year: None

Notions: 2 yrds lace, 2 yrds gold/purple trim, 2 yrds ribbon, eyelets

How Historically Accurate is it? Not at all

Hours to Complete: Between 3 and 4

First Worn: Christmas

Total Cost: Somewhere between $15 - $20

Monday, December 16, 2013

One Meter

Getting back on track for the Historical Sew Fortnightly! My first challenge completed on time (or at all) since wayyy back in June. I'm hoping jumping back in now will make a nice smooth transition into HSF '14. A fairly straightforward entry for the one meter challenge, I made my roommate her very first corset!

The Challenge: #25 One Meter

Fabric: Cotton Twill

Pattern: Truly Victorian 110, modified to be an underbust

Year: 1880's

Notions: 2 yrds bias tape, 22 spring steel bones, busk, 26 eyelets, 5 yrds lacing

How Historically Accurate is it? Very! The pattern is definitely accurate. It's machine sewn but that's not completely out of the realm of possibility for the 1880's.

Hours to Complete: Between 3 and 4

First Worn: To a holiday party this past weekend.

Total Cost: $12 for fabric, $11 for bones, $6 for laces and bias tape, salvaged the busk from an old corset and the eyelets came from the stash so $30 all together.

She's absolutely thrilled with the corset, and it's a pretty good fit for my first try at corseting for someone other than myself. The only issue is that it might be too big for her soon! She's planning on waist training and I was able to lace it down to a 2 inch gap the very first try. I didn't expect her to reduce 4 inches the first time! the shape of the corset is great on her too, I'm thinking of making myself an underbust from the Truly Victorian pattern too!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I'm super excited that the Historical Sew Fortnightly is continuing into the new year. Having made it just barely halfway through the first year I'm thirsty for another shot at beating the challenge. Last year I found out about the challenge after it had already started and I jumped in with barely a second glance. This year I need a plan.

In the challenges I completed at the beginning of this year I feel like I made several pieces I was very proud of, but I didn't manage to make a full ensemble. My costume collection is fragmented and incomplete. This year I plan to flesh out the holes in my collection and end up with a full wearable wardrobe. In order to do this I want to lay out what I need ahead of time and find ways to fit them into the challenges.

Goal #1: Victorian Bustle Dress

Pieces I have:

Pieces I need:

Goal #2: Edwardian Ensemble

Pieces I have:

Skirt (an actual historical piece!)
Blousewaist (doesn't really match the skirt)

Pieces I need:

Corset cover
Either a skirt or blouse to match the one I have

There are already a few challenges I can fit these goals into. I really don't care too much for the color pink, at least not enough to make a full dress out of it, but some pink undergarments wouldn't bother me since I need a lot of underwear. There's also an underneath it all challenge again to help knock out the underpinnings. I believe there was a bodice challenge, so that takes care of part of the Victorian dress.

The goals above are costumes that I would get the most use of and therefore want to prioritize. The Victorian and Edwardian eras are some of my favorites and I would have the most opportunity to wear these dresses whether at conventions and events or just for fun around town.

There are other dresses and eras I really admire but don't know as much about. I don't know if I'd have any opportunities or uses for these dresses besides a one time photoshoot, but they would still be fun to make. These dresses are on my wishlist, a list I can pull from when I can't fit anything from my main goals into a challenge.

Wishlist Dress #1: Robe a la Francaise

Pieces I need:

Corset (stays?)

Wishlist Dress #2: Regency dress

Pieces I need
Corset (corselet?)

These pieces I don't know as much about so some more research might be needed to complete my lists. Needless to say I would need all the underpinnings for these dresses, I just don't know all the terms and pieces off the top of my head. I may add to the list later, but for now this should be plenty of pieces to keep me busy for the whole year!

I'm Back!

Well, I certainly didn't mean to disappear like that, but life has a way of disrupting plans. A busy summer of commissions and a dead computer made it almost impossible to keep up with the blog or the historical sewing challenges. I've finally managed to replace the computer so I have the internet once again! How I missed you old friend. I'm not showing up empty handed either, I've got a new Historical Fortnightly Challenge entry, albeit a week late.

The Challenge: # 24 Re-do

Challenge I'm re-do-ing : #13 Lace and Lacing, #14 Eastern Influence, #19 Wood, Metal, Bone

Fabric: 1 yard of what I'm pretty sure is linen that my Uncle brought me from Japan and a yard of twill for lining

Pattern: Truly Victorian 110

Year: 1880's

Notions: 24 steel bones, busk, 26 eyelets, lacing, bias tape, thread

How Historically Accurate is it? The fabric might not be 100% but the pattern is accurate, so pretty close.

Hours to Complete:  Maybe 6 or 7

First Worn: Last Thursday

Total Cost: The fabric was a gift, the busk was salvaged from an old corset and the eyelets came from the stash so I maybe spent $20 on bones, lacing, and the fabric for the bias tape.

The fabric kind of wrinkled up on me as I was sewing the boning channels, It's a little stretchier than I thought it would be. Flat lining it with something stronger might have helped, but I was excited to try out this new pattern. I'm intending to start waist training soon so I'm looking for a comfortable corset pattern. This one I don't think is strong enough for everyday wear, but it will be a nice display piece.