31 December 2014

Late 1700's Panniers

Don't you hate it when you spend hours making something you're not even going to use?

Well, I don't hate these panniers, but they're going to be sitting in my closet for a long time. Before I really knew what style dress I was going to make, I decided that I needed panniers. One major reason was that they seemed to be a staple undergarment for most of the 1700's, and they seemed really fun to make.

late 1700's paniers

After doing more research, I decided a bumroll was going to work best with the robe à l'Anglaise retroussée that I wanted to make. I fretted over this for quite a while, as my skirt supports would influence the way all my petticoats would be made. 

panier back veiw

I followed The Dreamstress's amazing Pannier-Along (link at the bottom of the post) and handsewed everything. This was the first thing i'd sewn entirely by hand, which was a small achievement for me.

panier stitching hand sewn

I picked up some lovely oatmeal coloured cotton that looked very pannier-esque. When I got around to adding the reed, however, I realized that the weave was far too loose and was prone to warping. Lesson learnt. Luckily everything held in place, and I added some extra reinforcement in places where the reeds could poke through. 

panier side veiw

The reed was ordered off Fishpond.co.nz of all places. They were the only New Zealand supplier that I could find who had basket weaving supplies, and the price worked out about the same as shipping it from American based stores. If anybody knows of a New Zealand store that sells coils of reed, i'd love to know!

I'm pleased with how they've turned out, and they give a very nice shape that requires me to walk sideways through doors. Now I just need to make a dress to fit them!

Click the image to be taken to the Pannier-Along homepage:


24 December 2014

1780's Embroidered Stays

After i'd covered my last eyelet, I put on my stays and grabbed my boyfriend to do a little photoshoot!

The stays fit almost perfectly, just as the mockup did. I had a little trouble with the straps slipping, but that was most likely due to the oversized ribbon ties and me not knowing how tight to tie them.

The neckline of my chemise is rounded, but threaded with a ribbon to gather it. This meant I could adjust the neckline to match the stays. I was pretty please with how the neckline and  my decolletage looked.

There was some wrinkling around the sides of the stays, but the front and back both sit nicely. The lacing on the back isn't parallel all the way down, unfortunately. I wore them again later on and still couldn't get the lacing quite parallel over my hips. It's not ideal, but it's not major.

When I tried the stays on to fit the arm straps I accidentally broke a reed, and noticed it just in time to replace it before I completed the binding. I'm terrified of breaking another reed, but I could probably get a more conical shape with the tabs flared out more if I tried. Maybe after the stays have adjusted to my body i'll lace tighter.

Facts and figures:

Outer fabric - 1m Cotton broadcloth
Middle fabric -  1m Cotton duck
Lining - 1m Cotton quilting fabric

Thread - A mix of cotton and polyester
Boning - #6 (4.5mm) Round Reed
Binding - Polyester
Ribbons - Polyester grosgrain and double satin

How historically accurate are they?

The reed boning is authentic, although whalebone would have been a better choice for a higher class pair of stays. The pattern from Corsets and Crinolines is based on an extant garment.

The fabric and thread would have been linen however, and there would have been no polyester. Also, the majority of the stitching was done by machine. I haven't yet found any existing stays with embroidery on them. The outer fabric is sometimes richly patterned silk, but no outright embroidery.
The metal eyelets are definitely not period, even if they are hidden! 

Maybe 50% accurate if i'm being generous?

I learnt so much making these, if I was to make another pair they would turn out radically different. Some parts were fun, particularly the embroidery and working with the reed, but i'm so glad they're finished.

17 December 2014

1780's Embroidered Stays - Construction Part Six

The stays are done!

This post contains the last few steps I went through to finish them off, although there wasn't much to show.

The binding for the tabs was tedious, and not the neatest thing in the world. As I went on I got a little neater, but i'm still not happy with most of the binding.

Bias binding the tab 1
I decided the polyester satin I used was too shiny and cheap looking, but I didn't want to unpick everything i'd done so far. The width of the binding was just less than two inches, which was far too wide. It would have been easier to bind and looked neater with thinner bias binding.

Bias binding the tab 2

After the bottom binding was done, I added in the lacing holes. Before I could bind the top of the stays, I needed to know how long the arm straps were going to be, so I had to try it on. I decided to use metal eyelets for speed and strength, then covered them in thread to achieve a slightly more period look.

metal eyelets covered embroidery thread

I actually really like the look of covered eyelets compared to hand done eyelets, even if it is twice the work.

With great difficulty I laced myself into the stays (my usual helper was at work) and was relived to see that they still fit me. It had been five months since I tried on my mockup, and I didn't trust my body to have stayed exactly the same shape.

1780's stays fitting shoulder strap

Originally I had cut long, as I left lots of room 'just in case'. When I quickly tried the unfinished stays against my body a few months ago, I thought i'd made them way too long. When I actually laced them up properly and had a chance to fit them on a nearly completed garment, I was glad I left in all the length.

If i'd cut them down to the length on the original pattern they would have been far too short. With the straps measured I cut them, rounded the ends and trimmed down the width. The binding on the top was done, and the last few eyelets on the straps put in and covered.

1780's stays finished front

The big pink bows on the shoulder straps are just for show, i'll trim them down for when I actually wear these under a dress.

1780's stays finished back

1780's stays finished detail embroidery

Next week i'll be posting some pictures of me actually wearing them, but for now i'm just happy that I can move on to the rest of the outfit!