Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#2: Current Projects

I have a couple projects going on at once.

This late Victorian corset has been fun; this is my first attempt at roll-pinning, so we'll see how that goes. I'm basing the boning pattern off of one from the ROM. There was a LOT of hand-basting involved.

Last year, I made a Regency evening gown (still no good pictures, sorry!). I ran out of time before the ball to truly reproduce the original sleeves I was basing it on and instead did a plain puff sleeve.  I pulled it out recently to replace them with the more interesting ones. The lower half cuffs are really interesting!

My computer is being finicky and now the picture is get the idea. The cording is done by lining the cuff, then laying the cord between the layers. Instead of flat-sewing them into a channel, I sewed the curve that I wanted, then squished the cording up against it, then rolled the cord over the stitching line and did another row of stitches The result is that the cord is encased in only the outer layer, and the stitching is hidden beneath the cord. On the underside, there are two rows of stitches almost on top of each other. 

Which leads me to my next project, and the reason I ever revisited it in the first place. I was wanting something to wear over it, because it was rather boring, especially since I pin up the train for dancing. Open robes are automatically out, because they ALWAYS have a train in originals. I've seen costumers simply cut it floor length, but considering that we don't see any extants like that...that isn't the way to go about it. So the only parameters I was looking for were a colored garment of some kind that did not have a train.

Originally I thought a little sleeveless bodice, BUT....since you now know that I love research, I started researching designs. The white under-dress is appropriate for 1797-1802, so I tried to find a fashion plate within those dates. While going through several 1798-99 magazines, I found a few designs that showed what was called a half-robe. After looking through dozens of various half-robes and sleeveless bodices, I picked this one, because of the Neoclassicism; the Grecian lines are my favorite!
1799 Ladies Monthly Musuem

Janet Arnold has a pattern for a half-robe, but she states that they were only worn over a dress or petticoat for morning wear. However, the fashion plates and advice from 1799 clearly show a few that are intended for evening, or full Dress. A half-robe and half-dress are very different; a half-robe is a short robe, while half-dress refers to the level or formality of dress, being sort of half-formal.
Here is a 1799 half-robe for half-dress.....

...and a 1799 half robe for full dress! The image on the right is also a good example of the trained open robe I was referring to.

Since I love to be different, I decided that a half-robe it is! Especially since I haven't really seen one done accurately for formal wear. The Simplicity 4055 pattern (which I have successfully used several times) is an example of how most modern people interpret that look, by having the outer layer and overskirt sewn as one to the dress. Historically, the half-robe was a distinct look created by wearing a basic dress or petticoat, and then another dress over the top. This makes it easier to have many looks in one by simply swapping out the over dress, rather sewing them together.

So here is the draped half robe on my dress form. I was merely going for the overall shape and fullness ratio, obviously it will be a bit longer. I also wanted something that was easy, so essentially it is 2 rectangles with one corner cut off, sewn up the long edges only up to the waist edge. It will close with a drawstring around the waist, and some sort of clasp or pin on the shoulder. The original description says it should be a diamond clasp...however, I'm on a budget and cannot afford a diamond clasp.

I don't have the fabric for the half-robe yet, and I don't have the hardware for the corset yet. Funds are low, so I'm waiting to be paid in August to order supplies.


  1. Interesting! I look forward to seeing how this progresses

  2. The half robe looks intriguing. I am looking forward to seeing your progress. And oops, now I am in love with the red capelet in the first plate... :)