Friday, January 26, 2018

1820's Undergarments

This technically counts towards the Historical Sew Monthly, so I guess I'll start there. It's kind of lame, so stick towards the end of the post for the real coolness.

This undergarment ensemble really needed a chemise. A basic Regency chemise is typically square necked, either high or low, with straight sleeves and a gusset in the underarm. I have one of those already, BUT I chopped the sleeves off once I decided I wanted it to be invisible under my sheer dresses. 

I've really been enjoying Cassidey Percoco's Regency Women's Fashion book. The dresses themselves aren't spectacular in my opinion, but that is what makes them so perfect as the base for whatever design you want. Just comparing to Janet Arnold, which are iconic in their own right, a lot of her dresses are designed around specific elements that you can't leave out. Anyways, a chemise pictured in their is almost EXACTLY like the ones I've drafted from the free pattern from the Sewing Academy. 

Except with a puffed sleeve. Enter a Re-do, from a chemise pulled the stash. See, I said it was lame! The holes from the original plain hem are still visible, although after a washing maybe not. 
This is the before, in its wrinkly state.

After is way cuter!

The Challenge: Mend, Re-Shape, Re-Fashion
Material: Cotton muslin
Pattern: Self-drafted using The Sewing Academy Pattern, modified to match the 1820-1840 one from Regency Women's Fashion

Year: 1820-1840
Notions: Thread
How historically accurate is it? Since almost the exact measurements are comparable to a pattern taken from an original, the shape is very good, although sewing machines weren't invented yet and it's done completely by machine. I'd give it an 80%. 
Hours to complete: 1 for the re-shape. 
First worn: For pictures, 1/26/18
Total cost: Nothing

For a complete 1820's undergarmnet wardrobe, a few things are needed:

-A chemise
-A corset, typically corded during this era, with minimal waist shaping but with a high bust and straps
-A petticoat, stiffened at the bottom with plenty of fullness to the back, and relatively smooth in front. These were made like earlier Regency petticoats, in that they need either straps or a bodice to hold the whole thing up. This is mainly due to the fact that the corsets are smooth all the way down, and without a well-defined waist it won't stay up. Whether or not these need to be layered to get the correct silhouette is yet to be determined; usually the actual dress on top was padded at the hem to hold it out, so I'm thinking I may be good with the one if I dip starch it. 

The exaggerated A-shape with the cording is very particular to the 1820's. 1830's petticoats have more of a bell shape with more fulness at least coming to the sides, and layering of petticoats to get the right amount of poof. I searched other blogger's websites for how they went about 1820's undergarments, and let me tell you folks, there ain't much. Whenever the question is thrown out about which era is the least represented, people always say, "1830's!" or "1840's!". That's because they forgot about the 1820's. So what works and what doesn't in terms of undergarments is only partially tapped territory. My thanks to Annaliese of The Young Sewphisticate and Quinn from The Quintessential Clothes Pen for providing ideas for 1820's undergarments. Per Quinn's suggestion, I decided that sleeve plumpers (AKA, croissants for your arms) aren't neccesary for 1825, as the sleeve done up in taffeta can hold it's own shape.

Mine is based on an example in the V and A; I haven't researched these extensively, mostly because this one was exactly what I was looking for! It's hard to see in the picture, but through other detail shots you can see that it has straps, and that it has 12 rows of cords, sewn at intervals. I couldn't figure out why it had that seam at knee level, although I figured it out halfway through the project. 
1820-1829 Petticoat from the V and A

The pattern was drafted using just the skirt part of another pattern in Cassidy Percoco's book. Looking back, this pattern wasn't perfect for this, just because the front panel needs a little more shaping a little closer to the front, rather than way back at the sides where the next panel joins. The person who originally wore this was at least 6'' smaller, and I didn't realize this when I first started. As a base though, it's fine. 

There are two different ways you can do cording: the sandwich method, where you sew a facing to the back and the cords in between the layers, or the tuck method, where you iron your fabric like you're sewing a tuck and then squish the cord in. Because the panels are A-shaped, I opted for the tuck method, just because I wasn't envisioning a facing on a diagonal panel. This actually ended up being really frustrating, because ironing on a curve is annoying and I just sort of stopped caring if the seams lined up. I was ironing yet another tuck when I realized: the extant petticoat was made with the cords sewn into a long rectangle of fabric, and then sewn onto the bottom of a short A-shape petticoat. This was a forehead smack moment, and I wish I had thought of it sooner. Oh well, I'm still really happy with the shape of it, and it lays nice and flat without any shirring.

This corset I've had for maybe 2 years now, and this is it's first blog appearance since it's been finished. It's not much to look at, in all it's flossed-in-two-colors laced-closed glory, but it's very comfortable and gives me the shape I want.

Stay tuned, I have a really cool announcement in the next few days!

No comments:

Post a Comment