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Category Archives: 18th Century

1770s Robe à l’Anglaise Retroussée Using Ikea’s Ljusöga Fabric

At Costume College I wore my finished robe à l’Anglaise retroussée, previously debuted in an unfinished form at the Pirate Festival.  I don’t have all my formal portraits yet, but Andrew Schmidt, the official CoCo photographer, put up this picture as one of the preview shots.

18th century elegance by Andy Schmidt

Photo by Andrew Schmidt

The dress is made from one king-sized Ikea duvet cover! And I still have plenty of fabric left over for another project, such as a jacket. The bodice is lined with linen and I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat pattern. (I highly recommend this pattern. It was simple to follow, relatively quick to put together, and I had to make very little adjustment to the fit).IMG_8771

(I am wearing red Kensingtons with paste buckles and clocked silk stockings, all from American Duchess). The back of the dress can be worn down as a regular Anglaise, or retroussée by looping the two twisted rayon cords around the fabric-covered buttons.IMG_8772

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I would like to get a bigger hat (this one goes with a different outfit) but ran out of time. I also attempted hair buckles, but that was a disaster, so I  just put my hair up in a high bump over a rat, then put flowers in the back.IMG_8774IMG_8776

 

The sleeves also have a little loop of rayon cord and a slightly smaller fabric-covered button.IMG_8982

Unlike the previous time I wore this dress, this time I am wearing the correct stays. Here’s a silly selfie in the hotel bathroom while still in PJs and messy hair. Now you know what I look like in the mornings! (Well, except for the stays).IMG_8731

Project costs:

  • Ikea king-sized duvet cover: ~$30
  • Linen lining: $0, leftover from another project
  • Period Impressions pattern: $13.95 + $4.85 shipping from Etsy
  • Buttons: from stash
  • Rayon cord: ~$5 from Britex

Total: ~$53.80

Way under budget! I got to splurge a little on the accessories. 😉 Onsite I happened to hear about Dames a la Mode’s trunk sale, and bought this lovely set that I wore with my dress.IMG_8973

Matching “LJUSÖGA” 18th Century Dresses at the NorCal Pirate Festival

Recently a group of us noticed that Ikea has some “LJUSÖGA” duvet covers in an pretty floral print with a pattern, scale, and colors appropriate for 18th century cotton dresses.

We each bought a king size set, which included a duvet cover and 2 pillow cases, to make matching dresses with. We estimate there’s about 11 yards of 40 inch fabric, which is an incredible bargain for $30! (The price has now gone up to $40 on the website).

I decided to make an anglaise, and originally planned to start on it after Costume College, but just a few weeks ago we decided to go to the Pirate Festival together, and having nice cotton dresses would be perfect for the weather. (There will be more of us at the next event; some ladies are still working on their dresses).

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Due to the short time frame my dress is not quite finished, but was wearable, with some things I’d like to improve for next time:

  • I did not have time to put a flounce on my petticoat; it’s a bit shorter than I intended (although it shows off my American Duchess stockings and shoes!)
  • The neckline and front of the bodice has ruffled trim instead of box pleats to save time. Now that it’s on I might be too lazy to replace it, but it was originally meant to be temporary.
  • My sleeves are untrimmed. I would like to add some ruffling or pleating and some button detail.
  • My fichu should be pinned down. I just tied it with a ribbon and it kept riding up until it looked more like a bandana than a fichu.
  • I didn’t have time to get a new plain bergere hat to trim, so I reused the small one I wore with my silk francaise.
  • My hair is not done in a historically accurate style; I just curled it, made a bun, and then hid the mess with flowers.
  • And scandalously, I am not wearing stays(!), so there is a little wrinkling in the bodice. I do own stays, but the festival was outdoors in 90 degree heat, so I decided one less layer was preferable.

Since this is still a work in progress I will do a full post with detail photos, construction notes, and cost breakdown another time, but meanwhile here are a few pictures. The dress consists of a bodice with a front closure, trimmed with ruffles, attached to a pleated overskirt. The petticoat is made of matching fabric. I am wearing those over a bum pad and another petticoat, along with two pockets.

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The back of the skirt can be lifted with cords and looped around covered buttons to be worn as a robe à l’Anglaise retroussée. I’m still thinking about adjusting the length of the cords or the distribution of the fabric because this wasn’t quite the look I was aiming for.

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I did have a mishap with the buttons. I couldn’t locate my button-covering kit so the night before the festival I just wrapped some fabric around some domed plastic buttons until I could buy more of the right buttons. After I laundered the skirt the dye from the black plastic buttons actually bled through two layers of fabric and onto other parts of my skirt!IMG_8262

After several rounds of OxiClean, and a final careful swabbing of diluted bleach, I have the stains out and I’ve learned my lesson about mystery buttons from the stash. I will stick to my usual metal buttons, like this redcoat who was wearing lots of shiny buttons.

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18th Century at the OT-Tea Party

Back in September I attended a fancy tea event called the OT-Tea Party. (It is a reference to OTT, meaning “over the top”). It was held in the gorgeous French Parlour at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Recently I received the official photographs from the event. (Pictures below are by KV Photography, with editing by Nicole Keane).

I wore a silk dress inspired by both 18th century gowns and Japanese lolita fashion. The dress is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, and I’ve worn it to Costume College, Gaskells and PEERS balls, each time with a little change in the trimming or accessories.

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I am wearing a pearl necklace and earrings, and a straw bergere I trimmed. My shoes are by American Duchess (the very first run of Georgianas!)23748249499_6142597493_o

I wish my hair had behaved a little better that day, but I had a wonderful time, and ate lots of delightful sandwiches and desserts.24089779936_50bef4e720_o

Here is the whole group together. There were so many amazing outfits and I hope the tea becomes an annual tradition!23488213444_df2dc8fd16_o

 

Retrimming an 18th Century Bergere Hat

This weekend I am going to a fancy tea party, so I decided to retrim a small straw bergere hat I have. I was originally going to use silk ribbon and make little puffs, but realized I didn’t have enough to trim the hat and also have matching ribbon ties. Instead I used the leftover ribbons and ribbon roses from a dress I made. My other idea was the cover the hat completely in silk, but I decided to skip that for now.

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Previously, the hat was trimmed to match another outfit that consisted of a navy blue skirt and red and blue jacket. This is what the hat looked like before:

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I am considering trimming a pair of gloves to match, but that may be a little too over the top. =)

18th Century at the Pelican Inn

Last weekend a group of friends decided to gather at the Pelican Inn in Muir Beach to have dinner and take photos. The Inn is a very charming building, and we thought it would be nice to go there wearing 18th century outfits, and also visit the beach just down the road. I also finished my hedgehog wig, and so it was the perfect opportunity to take daylight pictures of my sheer striped silk organza chemise a la reine!

DSCN1524 DSCN1525I also wore my red hooded mantle when it got cooler in the evening on the beach. It matched perfectly with my red American Duchess Kensingtons!

DSCN1557I made the wig the day before, so it was a little rushed and not perfect, but I think a little more careful trimming will make it into something quite nice. I used the instructions in Kendra’s 18th Century Hair book, and I highly recommend it. There are wonderful step-by-step instructions and lots of color photographs. The overall steps were:

  1. Comb out a portion in the back that will remain straight.
  2. Put the rest of the hair in curlers.
  3. Boil the wig to set the curls.
  4. Tease the curls, except for 2 large side curls.
  5. Trim off the extra length.

We had a delightful time at the Inn, and it is a nice place for a small gathering.

DSCN1598Although you must be on the lookout for highwaymen!

DSCN1532But fear not, you may be rescued!

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DSCN1572For more fun photos see my Flickr album.

18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 5): How to Do Eyelets

My old wrist injury is acting up, so I have to take a little break from hand-sewing, but since I have a few of the eyelets done, I thought this would be a good time to show how I do them.

This is not necessarily the historically correct way, but the method I find to be sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.

Punching a hole through the fabric weakens it, so I use an awl to poke a small hole, which I widen with a pointed chopstick. I then insert an eyelet through the widened hole, and then use a table-top eyelet/grommet press to set it in place. Finally, I sew over the eyelet with a button hole stitch to make it pretty.

The picture below, from right to left shows:

  1. Mark the hole with a pencil.
  2. Poke the hole with an awl.
  3. Widen the hole with a chopstick.
  4. Insert the eyelet from the wrong side (explained below).
  5. The eyelet set in by the eyelet press.IMG_4422

The eyelet is inserted from the lining side, with the flange remaining inside the stays. This results in the outside having a smaller surface area for you to wrap with thread. (If you are making a corset where the metal eyelets will show, you will insert the eyelet in the opposite direction, from the fashion fabric side).

Here is a view from the other side. From left to right you have the widened hole, the eyelet inserted, and the eyelet after being pressed. (There is some puckering in my fabric because I sewed the channels a little too tight for the double reed boning).

IMG_4424I use a Homepro eyelet setter with a size 6 die. It is quite heavy, and very easy to use. I have trouble applying enough pressure with hand-held eyelet pliers, and find using a hammer awkward, so this is a handy thing to have.

IMG_4426Use a tight blanket stitch over the eyelet to give it a finished appearance. You can use embroidery thread, or sewing thread. I used the latter, folding over a length of thread before threading the needle, resulting in a cluster of 4 threads each time. You can also just cast over with your thread, which is faster than using a blanket stitch, but I prefer the look of the latter.

IMG_4450See parts 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.

18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 4)

This is a quick post to show I haven’t forgotten about the stays!

I finished altering the channel placement in the tabs and put in the boning. I had to redo the linen lining because the stays “shrank” once the boning was completed.

It is hard to get a good picture right now because the stays won’t lie flat anymore due to the curved fabric pieces and boning.

IMG_4414The lining is sewn in with some large stitches to hold it in place while I do the binding. IMG_4418I have some vintage rayon petersham to use as binding. It coordinates with the blue thread I used to stitch the channels. I plan to find some blue cord for lacing to make everything match!

IMG_4419See parts 1 and 2 and 3.