Monday, August 17, 2015

A Pair of Undersleeves

Just because I love handsewing, I chose to make a pair of undersleeves. Do I need a pair of undersleeves? Absolutely not! One day, maybe. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to procrastinate on my corset. It was a nice little project. If you're confused about what kind of undersleeves I'm talking about, here are a couple pictures. They would have been work with any type of sleeves that were open, and possibly shorter.

I pulled out leftover fabric from my dotted swiss dress. I thought I only had maybe a yard and a half. Man, it was more like 3! I've got a lot to work with. It's going to be like the dotted swiss that never dies. I love working with it, though; it irons really nicely, and just feels like a good quality. Just to recap, I bought it at Hancocks. The below originals are kind of textured, but not exactly dotted swiss.

All in all, they took about 4 hours of handsewing, or, in other words, 4 episodes of P+P. It cracks me up how much my sister loves that show.

From what I've seen, there are several different ways to do undersleeves. They can be completely detached, with either a drawstring or elastic at the top (yes, elastic!), or made longer and basted to the armscye of the dress itself. The undersleeve that doesn't attach is best worn with dresses whose sleeves are more tailored (as in the 1860s), vs. some of the 1850's open pagoda sleeves were occassionally slashed up very high, in which case a detached sleeve could potentially be too short.

Bonus: I had all the supplies already. Technically, I could have entered this into the Heirlooms and Heritage challenge, because I used buttons from my Great Great Grandma's stash (the same excuse as my lame drawers), but I chose not to. Hopefully, the mother-of-pearl doesn't look to dingy against the bright white fabric.

This may need to go into my pile of to-do tutorials, if I can revise it to basic squares.

Monday, August 10, 2015

HSM #8: Heirlooms and Heritage

This has to be the lamest thing I've ever entered in the Historical Sew Monthly challenges. I had such fantastic plans that involved so much family history; what happened?

It turns out my embroidery skills are severely lacking. Plus, 18th century pockets are not at the top of the list of things I need before a certain event coming up. *Cries* I wanted to make them so badly, but embroidery is not my forte. I've tried it. It's okay.

So, here are my lame split drawers, using a bone button from my stash that came from great great Grandma.

There is a more period correct way to do laundry markings, but I am personally not picky about something like laundry markings.

I had planned on doing 3 tucks, but....something happened.

What the item is: Split drawers

The Challenge: Heirlooms and Heritage

Fabric: 1 1/2 yards muslin

Pattern: from the Sewing Academy

Year: 1860's, ish.

Notions: Bone button, thread

How historically accurate is it? 80%, just a random number, but close enough to originals and definitely passes the "original cast recognizable".

Hours to complete: Around 6. More than it should have, but I handsewed a lot of it, just so I could watch North and South at the same time. :)

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: Under $5

Coming Up: Dog Leg Closure Tutorial, the easy way.

Upcoming, Updated Projects

Here are how the voices in my head sound:

(Practical me) "I'm going to have to rip apart my old corset and start over."

(Sentimental me) "Nooooooooooooo!"

"Oh, you mean that old thing that has stretched into non-existence?"

"What do you mean, that old thing? It took me a hundred hours of fitting and was finished 6 months ago!"

I can't even wear it anymore, but letting it go was pretty sad. And now it lays in pieces on the table.

Not to worry, the Frankencorset's legacy lives on. The ripped apart pieces became a mock-up for little baby Frankencorset, which may get renamed into something nicer if the finished project turns out. (Frankencorset is not my own terminology, but I thought it was pretty darn creative!)

Here is the original list of problems which must be solved:

-A longer busk, as the first cut right into my gut and caused horrible stomach-aches straight after eating.
-One side modified, as two of the same side makes it sit crooked on my back.
-More taken in at the hips, so that the spring in the back is straight up and down.
-A more durable fabric, as one layer of twill wasn't enough.
-More boning in the front, and more flare in the angle they are sewn in. Straight up and down causes the boning to not sit right.

In my first stages of making it, I could never have forseen how it would not hold up. I thought it would at least last a year, but now it is basically able to lace closed.

I cut apart the old corset, and traced the outline into a pattern, and did as much flat-drafting as I felt comfortable with. I actually did make two of the same sides, even though that was on my list of things to do, because I thought that somewhere along the way, I might have taken in one side and not the other.

Not so.

However, the length on my first mockup is just right, and the shaping from the old one (which I love) is still the same. Overall, it's pretty big and can basically be laced closed, but for a first mockup, I'm pretty excited! The next step will be to take it in, and figure out where to adjust the one side for overall evenness.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Change of Plans

Even after making a long list of ideas for the August Heirlooms and Heritage challenge, I found something pretty cool. I took the Longfellow poem about my family's inn, and how he talk's about the landlord of the inn, who is a distant uncle of some sort.

'But first the Landlord will I trace;
Grave of aspect and attire;
A man of ancient pedigree,
A Justice of the peace was he,
Know in all Sudbuy as "The Squire."

Proud was he of his name and race,
Of old Sir William and Sir Hugh,
And in the parlor, full in view,
His coat of arms, well framed and glazed,
Upoon the wall in colors blazed;
He beareth gules upon his shield,
A chevron argent in the field,
with three wolf's heads, and for the crest
a Wyvern part-per-pale addressed
Upon a helmet barred; below
The scroll reads, 'By the name of Howe."
And over this, no longer bright,
Though glimmering with a latent light,
was hung the sword his grandsire bore
In the rebellious days of yore,
Down there at Concord in the fight.'

I had known nothing of a coat-of-arms, and using what he mentions in the poem, I found it! Just so you know, "gules" is an old English term for red. Chevron argent (a chevron, argent another word for silver); and I had no idea what a wyvern was! Of course, my fantasy-oriented sister knew; it's kind of like a dragon, but with only two legs and a barbed tail.
Just Googling Howe coat-of-arms brings up all kinds of things, but none matched the description. Except for this one:

Notice the Wyvern, with the barbed tail, the red crest, the three wolves, and the silver chevron. Bingo! By the by, the scroll at the bottom says Howe.

Apparently, in 1871, some ancestry geek wanted to have a Howe get-together, celebrating the Howes. There is actually a book available that he wrote about the entire gathering. The only reason I say he was a ancestry geek is because he wrote a song. Come on, no one writes a song unless they're obsessed. The first verse is as follows:

You meet today to celebrate with fillial heart and brow,
as children of one family, the dear old name of Howe.
Brothers and sisters by that name you hold in reverence dear,
how fitting you should set apart, this day for friendly cheer!

No joke.

I got it into my head that I wanted to put this family crest on something, and the only item I could come up with is a pair of 18th century pockets; the type that tie around your waist. Like this:

The main reason being, it's one of the few garments that is basically always embroidered. Flowers seem to be the most common, but I'm okay with taking a few liberties. I already have the pattern from Patterns of Fashion 1, and some heavy mystery cotton that might be canvas, or duck. 

The only problem is: I'm not really into embroidery. My sister is, but I can't make up my mind if I want to push through and do it. I would love to have something with the coat-of-arms, but it's kind of a big undertaking for someone who isn't in love with embroidery. I don't know. I may just skip this challenge, or revisit it for the do-over challenge in December.