Thursday, May 12, 2016

Robe a la Francaise: Petticoat and skirt

Cotton Petticoat

Using Buttericks 4484 pattern I made the petticoat. This is a simple petticoat made of unbleached cotton twill. This won't be visible, but adds an extra layer to hide the bones of the pannier.

I first tried cartridge pleats, but I didn't really like the look of it. So I just made the boxpleats the pattern instructs. 

I added an extra panel (since I made extra wide panniers, but this wasn't necessary. I had to remove it again. It added to much bulk at the waistband.


After the petticoat I could start on the skirt. I used Simplicity 3637 for the petticoat. Most petticoat patterns are like the cotton petticoat. I however really liked the petticoat I made a few years back using the Simplicity pattern. So after buying this out of print pattern on Ebay I started making the pattern. First in the golden silk as the basis: 

 After ironing and finishing the hem I pinned the lace on it. I wanted the lace to be one piece, so I couldn't just cut it out. I had to pin the lace from the hem to the waistband in place. Time consuming work and after that I had to put everything flat on the floor and straighten it out.

Luckily I only had to do one side, since the back will be just a plain yellow cotton. Historically accurate and cost effective. After the lace was attached I could finish the skirt.

The opening on the sides.This will allow me to reach through the layers into my pockets.  

And the closing. This is the front (that closes in the back :P) The back closes the same way (but in the front).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Robe a la Francaise: Grand Pannier

Since I wanted to make my Robe a la Francaise extra wide I needed to alter the patterns I had.

First I used J.P. Ryan's Pocket hoops. This is an excellent pattern, but not suitable for widening. At least not as much as I wanted to. The pocket hoops would be unstable and swing either in front of me or to the back of me. So after making 1 side I decided to not go with that plan.

What I did use was Simplicity's 3635 pattern. This consists of pockets, stays and the grand pannier. All I had to do was add an extra panel in the front and back.

I used unbleached cotton. This was sturdy enough. White double wide bias tape was used for the boning channels.

After putting in all the boning my pannier kept collapsing when I tried to tie the inner ties. I tried to redo the first boning channel, but still it collapsed. I found a blog where the girl had the same problem and asked what she did to solve it. It was so simple I could hit myself. The boning were too long. I shortened them and this was perfect!


They are about 38" wide at the top and 60" at the bottom. 
With the petticoat from my previous Robe a la Francaise. I will use the pattern from the petticoat for the underskirt. But a petticoat will be added, since the boning will be visible otherwise as you can see.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Robe a la Francaise: Stays

One of the many problems I had with my previous Robe a la Francaise was the fact that I didn't wear stays underneath. No, I wore modern push up bra's combined with a modern corset that was 2 sizes too big (and the reason I felt compelled to wear a bra). Totally wrong silhouette and my bra kept being pushed up by the corset to the point of being visible above my neckline.

Since then I learned that the no. 1 rule of historical costuming is getting proper undergarments to achieve the proper silhouette. So I debated various stays.

You had 2 options:

Fully boned (left) - which was very strong, pushed everything in the right place and has good weight distribution

Half boned (right) - which offers more flexibility and is lighter.

After debating endlessly I decided to go for the fully boned one. I like the look of that more, also since I have bad posture the extra support doesn't hurt.

So I decided to use J.P. Ryan's strapless stays. Which are fully boned, but doesn't have the shoulder straps for more arm movement.

As for fabrics I used mostly stuff that I had in my stash. Gold silk and canvas. I didn't buy anything for these stays except the boning. I also might want to replace the ribbon I used for lacing, but this is a worry for another time.

You can see on the picture below a cotton canvas base I once tried to turn into panniers until I dropped that project. I could use it now for the interlining of my stays. Here you can see the pattern pieces ready for cutting

After cutting the pieces in canvas I also cut the pieces out of silk and flatlined these to the canvas parts. This would be the outer layer. An extra canvas layer would be used as interlining so the bones would be between 2 layers of canvas.

So I sewed everything together, only to find out that I needed to sew the boning channels first. However it was a good time for a small fitting. So I fit the stays before disassembling it again.

It was now time to sew the boning channels. I waited until the boning arrived, so I could check the width before sewing. Luckily I could use my sewing foot as a marker. By following the line of the first channel (or the 'future' seamline).
 I could then sew it back up and put the boning in. I used reed boning for the large part, but metal boning next to seamlines for extra support.  As you can see in the picture below this is a little visible, since the reed boning is curved on one side and the metal isn't. I looks like the metal is slightly bigger. Only a nitpicker like me sees this and most people won't even see the stays, since it will be under the dress. 

It was then time to make the lacing holes.I usually use metal grommets, since I'm always afraid I'll tear my fabric apart. However I like the look of hand sewn eyelets. So I compromised and used metal grommets and with metallic gold thread handsewn over it.  Really a lot of work. It was also the first time I used the smaller grommets. On the picture below you can see a few covered grommets and a naked one. 

After this I fit the corset again and could properly lace it in, or at least with help I could. Confirming it still fit I tried to fit the lining in. This was difficult and I decided: ' Why bother?'  and just left the lining and used bias binding to finish my raw edges. This was a second time for me and the first time I've done it properly.

I like the binding. I wanted to use blue satin ribbon, but this moved around too much. I did have some black cotton twill bias which I used. It's not as need as I could have made it, but who cares. At that point I just wanted the stays to be finished.


The stays in all it's glory!

Robe a la Francaise, but extra wide.

I've made a Robe a la Francaise once before. However I didn't really wore it that much. The bodice was too big, the panniers I made broke on the first day and I never did any research. Just bought a pattern that I liked, with fabric that I liked the colour of. With bad lining and even worse thread tension.

Since my love for Rococo fashion hasn't abated I'm going to try again. However I'm going to mix the normal Robe a la Francaise (left) with a Robe de Cour (right). I love the big hips of the Robe de Cour, but the back pleats of the Robe a la Francaise is to die for!


For the stays I'm using J.P. Ryan's stays. The fully boned, strapless pattern.

For the panniers I will use (after a failed experiment) Simplicity's 3635.

For the petticoat I will use the pattern from Simplicity's 3637

However. Since the rest of the dress is not that great I will use J.P. Ryan's Robe a la Francaise pattern. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Belle: Skirt finished. Bodice progress


I finished the skirt last week. It has 4 layers of fabric.
The basis is a cotton layer, covered with an identical chiffon layer.
The overskirt is cotton flatlined with organza and trimmed with polyester.

 Above: Detail shot of all the layers with the pleats.

Above: Overview of the complete dress. It's a little crooked since the crinoline was crooked. Only saw it when uploading the pictures. Also the test bodice which I altered on 1 side, by cutting off the shoulder. Didn't like it. So I'm not going to do that.


I started on the bodice. Right now I only need to put in the grommets and sew on the bertha. I decided not to do the bertha as it should be on the pattern, but do it my own way. Which is shown on below picture. 

Above: Picture when I was testing the bertha I wanted to do. Still no lining or any finishing. It was just to test the bertha.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Belle Dress: Starting

A childhood dream comes true. I'm going to dress up as Belle! From Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
I'm going to change the dress somewhat to suit my own style.


This will be somewhat what I intend. A base skirt with an shiny pleated overskirt.

The patterns I'm going to use will be from Truly Victorian.

For the skirt I'm using TV240 1860's Ball Gown Skirt. This skirt has a underskirt with a box-pleated ruffle. I will make this underskirt with a chiffon layer for the prettiness and an cotton base layer for the modesty. Sheer fabric's are pretty, but I don't want to show everyone my butt.  The overskirt is Organza which is flatlined with the cotton to create a small color difference between the chiffon.

The bodice will be a TV442 1860's Ballgown Bodice. This bodice has the off shoulder look and the Bertha (the neckline/sleeve frubble thingie). I will probally modify the Bertha a bit, since I don't like how it looks in the back. I will use a damask jaquard for the base and the organza for the Bertha.

Current progress

I've already started on the skirt. The cotton underskirt and the chiffon underskirt are sewed. When the overskirt is finished (which is partly finished).  I can pleat the layers to the waistband.
I just need to trim the overskirt, but my trims haven't arrived yet, so I'm forced to take a little break, before I can finish the overskirt.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Victorian Winter Dress: Finished

My dear readers,

I've been neglecting this blog. I've updated my facebook Click here to see it and neglected this blog. Please forgive me. I will try to remember to also post progress on this blog.

I've finished the Victorian Winter Dress. Here's a picture of the finished dress.

Some pictures of the skirt:
Back and a detail shot.

I haven't made any detail shots of the bodice yet, since I ran out of time with the bodice and only finished it the night before the event.

The next project will be Disney's Belle.