Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get Your Trek On

I helped a neighbor girl get her skirt and apron ready. It took about four hours. She did a good job:

Evan and I had to dress up for a fireside, so I made Evan a cravat so he'd look a little more official. I don't know if it's right, but I worked with what I had (70ish inches long by 2" wide). The fabric is, of course, not right because it's cotton and not starched; I don't know if royal blue is an option. He's not actually wearing the shirt, vest, or cravat on trek, but I hoped by wearing it to the fireside we'd inspire some to get a bit more creative with their clothes. People were shocked that one might actually wear something similar to this in 1856. They thought it was really loud, but so is Evan.

When you make the pic black and white, it doesn't look too bad.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Skirt Lifters

I've been wondering how to not totally ruin my hem on trek this summer. I thought maybe I'd just hem my dress up, but on the Civilian Civil War Closet Facebook page tonight, I noticed something about "skirt lifters." I haven't researched it yet myself, but apparently they were appropriate in foul weather and dirty working situations. I'd say trek qualifies for that, right? I'm happy to have a more authentic way to shorten my dress!

Jennifer Green shared some pictures as to what they look like from the inside and out:

Jennifer said I could find out more about them on Liz Clark's site, but summarized:
  • petticoats should not show, even if the skirt is tied up, so you need to compensate when tying. Unless you have a work skirt (the skirt of an old dress made into a petticoat. Possibly wool, printed, but not a plain white petticoat).
  • the twill tapes and stitches hide in the folds of your skirt, so when the ties are undone, no one will know they are there.
  • There should be pairs in each seam, and then again in the center of each panel.
  • And Terre Lawson added: made of twill tape. The top set is installed at about the height of my fingertips in the seam lines all the way around inside. The second set is 8 inches down. Then you reach and tie each pair together and it shortens the skirt.
Thank you Jennifer and the CCWC!

Update 5/20/14: I took a minute to check out the topic of skirt lifters at The Sewing Academy, here are Carolann Schmitt's instructions on how to make them:

. . . There is this very nifty period device called a skirt lifter. It costs about $2.00 and takes about 30 minutes to make. 

Turn your skirt inside out. 
* Mark each seam allowance 9"-12" from the bottom edge. 
* Place a second mark 9"-12" above each of the first marks.
* If your skirt panels are 45" wide, put corresponding marks in the center of each panel. If the fabric is heavy, divide each panel vertically into thirds and put two sets of marks on each panel.
* If your skirt panels are 60" wide, put two or three sets of corresponding marks in each panel.
* Cut a piece of 1/4"-1/2" wide cotton or linen twill tape into 12"-15" lengths. You'll need one piece of tape for each mark.
* Sew one end of each piece of tape to each mark. Use a stacked backstitch (one stitch on top of the next) for the marks in the centers of the skirt panels. The little 'dot' of stitching will disappear in the folds of the skirt.
* To shorten skirt, tie the ends of each pair of tapes together. This will allow you to shorten the skirt from 4"-10", and will create a pretty draped effect on the skirt.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Buttons - More than you ever wanted to know!

There is a discussion going on at the Civilian Civil War Closet Facebook group right now about buttons. I didn't know buttons could be so, well, specific.  The graphic is from the Button Baron, I put the comments off to the side.

DD=Debra DiFranco, she said she'd share more at her Pinterest, Construction Details Page
CS=Carolann Schmidt
RJ=Rachel Jeschke

Below from Debra DiFranco

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Past Patterns 007 Men's Shirt, View A

Today I FINALLY finished my Past Patterns 007 Men's Shirt, View A.  I'm telling you, this shirt took as long as a making a dress, but I'm really pleased and definitely like it better than View B!  I did parts of it by hand (more than normal), and parts by machine.  With all the effort it took, I'm not sure I want my husband to actually wear it on trek!  I can't wait to make the cravat, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to do that.

I'm not sure if I did the detachable collar correctly, but it seems to work.

I did both of my gussets correctly this time.

Hand stitching on the inside (did not line).

My next project is to recreate the man's shirt from The Workwoman's Guide!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Past Patterns 007/011 View B Men's Shirt

I just (nearly) finished the Past Patterns 007 View B Men's Shirt in size 40. Fairly recently Saundra Ros Altman, the designer, has split out the two shirts originally in 007, added some larger sizing and is now selling the two shirts separately as patterns  010 & 011.  Under the new packaging, this view B is 011 (1840-1870).  I did shorten the shirt a bit.

Made up, it looks good on the hanger, but lays kinda funny on my husband, but that may be due to his posture?

I used a cotton sateen so it is very soft.  I incorrectly machine stitched everything, even more than I normally do, because I didn't want to spend the time hand sewing.  However, I guess to make up for it, I did the gussets by hand (guess there's no other way to do those than by hand anyway), and I even did all 5 of my buttonholes, which is a first for me!  I did a few practice buttonholes, got a few tips from Liz Clark on how to do them better, and I think they turned out okay!  I think I gained some confidence in doing them when Liz said you need to do about 100 to get them right.  I did tons of hand sewing/embroidery when I was a kid, so I figured that had to count for something, and I think it really helped.

I'm really excited to try View A because it's more like the shirts in The Workwoman's Guide which I hope to also figure out later and put up as a tutorial.  But first, I need to make a Christmas stocking for the baby (she didn't even get one last year!) and make a baptism dress for our daughter.  After that, I think I'll hit men's shirts again.

See how the pleats don't lay flat up by his collarbones? Does it need to be bigger?

Hand sewn buttonholes.  Not too shabby.  I ordered some shell buttons on E-Bay and was really excited about them.  Originally I thought wood was the way to go being a natural product, but no, shell and China are authentic.

Gussets.  Actually, I put the other one in backwards, but I think I'll leave it incorrect. You know, make it like those Amish quilts with a mistake?  It won't be too hard to fix if it starts to bug me.

And yes, the biggest mistake.  Because I shortened the shirt, somehow I did not shorten the front and back to the same length! So instead of buying new fabric, I just pieced.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Pennsylvania Sun Bonnet

Ann D. shared this bonnet that she found in Pennsylvania on The Civilian Civil War Closet Facebook page, and I asked if I could share/save it.  I was DELIGHTED to see that I seem to be making more authentic looking bonnets!  I love being able to see the detail of this one, especially on the inside!  It reminds me of the Godey's 1857 bonnet.  Ann is looking forward to sharing more living history/clothing construction at her blog, Household 6 Diva soon!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Man's Vest

In addition to the pants pattern, I borrowed this vest pattern from TITP.  It had no instructions, but luckily I've made enough vests now to know basically what to do.  When I got stuck I had the Simplicity 5037 instructions to refer to, which I'd also borrowed.

I didn't just do fake front pockets, but real ones! That took most of the time. 

I'm really not loving the back.  It looks kinda girly to me -- like those collars we used to wear in the early '90s.  I'm guessing I just need a better pattern?

I'm not sure what I'll do for buttons, maybe self fabric?

I got my inspiration from these:


Because I didn't love the collar I posted this at The Civilian Civil War Closet on Facebook for some advice.  Here's what some of the "experts" said.

  • This looks more like 1830s style vests.
  • A shawl collar would come further down in the front.
  • The back of the collar needs more shape, more tailoring.  
  • 1860s collars should hug the neck, not fall away from it.
  • The Past Patterns vest has very good instructions and turns out well.
  • Laughing Moon, Martha McCain (Simplicity 5037), and Galla Rock patterns are also good.  (Although, the 5037 looks earlier to me???).
  • Pre-1875 vests had 3 pockets: the two lower ones, and one upper one likely at an angle on the left garment side.


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