Friday, August 12, 2016

Thoroughly Modern Stacy... By the Seaside

It should come as no surprise by now that I love most historical clothing much more than I love almost anything modern. So, when I heard that the cricket club I'm in was going to have a beach match in modern swimwear, I was momentarily upset. I don't really like most modern swimwear, and I really didn't like the idea of playing a sport while wearing a swimsuit. But then, I had a realization! I finally had an excuse to sew a historical beach outfit!

Since going to the seaside in special clothing has been gaining in popularity over time, I decided to step out of the 18th century, and into the modern world of the Victorian Era. Other than a few 1950's dresses and a couple 21st century things, this would be the most modern historical outfit I had ever sewn! I made the decision early on to let myself have fun with this project, and so I didn't obsess over every historical detail.

First, I found some examples of swimwear from the 1890's-1920's that I really liked, and started figuring out how I would roughly draft a pattern. I selected a style that had both a dress and bloomers, with the intention of wearing just the dress around town sometimes as well. I chose to heavily base my final design off of a knitted cotton outfit from 1915, although I believe the original featured a wrap skirt instead of a full dress.

I estimated that I would need about 3 yards of knit cotton fabric, and I just barely had enough! (If you want to make this yourself, it's very easy and straightforward, but please buy at least 3.5 yards - you'll thank me when you have to arrange your pattern pieces and cut it out!) I also bought white bias tape to trim the neck and hem, and I purchased white piping to accentuate the waist.

I took measurements of myself and drafted a simple pattern. I learned that I don't really have a good grasp on my true size - I overestimated everything - and later got to take the dress in quite a bit. The only thing I didn't draft myself were the sleeves, for which I used one of my trusted patterns, Simplicity 4055. However, I simply pinned those in starting at the bottom, and then gathered the five inches at the top, while leaving the bottoms of the sleeves ungathered and unbound, with just a simple hem.

My sketches and original estimations for the outfit

The body, legs, and waist band pieces (this is not how they were placed for cutting)

The dress went together very easily, and the pants were done in less than an hour. Overall, I would say this project took about 5 to 7 hours, most of which was spent drafting and remeasuring myself.

Adding piping...

...adding more piping...

...and adding more piping!
This was over some gathers I made to fit the bodice a bit better.

The dress before sleeves and hemming (with flash to show how blue it is)

The back with buttons

The first time I wore my new bathing costume was to the cricket match, which turned out to be more of an excuse to talk about history on the beach - aka a perfect evening. I even skipped a stone properly for the first time in my life!

At the beach!

Enjoying the water

Properly wading into the water


Monday, August 1, 2016

A Jacket and a Holiday

I posted a bit ago and mentioned that I bought new fabrics during a sale at Mary Dickinson's. Well, I have already made a new jacket with one of the fabrics that I bought!

I wanted to make a swallowtail jacket, so I used the JP Ryan jacket patterns and did view D with a modified front that pins closed like view A.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the construction, because I sewed the entire jacket in one day during work, and therefore couldn't take my phone out to snap any documentation. I cut out the fabric the night before, and after leaving work the next day I put on the recently finished jacket and wore it to a cricket match.

Then, on the Fourth of July, I paired my new blue and white jacket with a red petticoat, a white apron, and a red silk market bonnet that I whipped up that morning and trimmed with a white ribbon for a most patriotic look. Even though I had the day off, I went into work to compete in the annual Independence Day tug-of-war. I was on the Patriot's side, and we won two out of three times!

I'll try to do another post on market bonnets soon, hopefully with all of the documentation that they deserve - they seem to be coming into fashion in the reenactment community, and I want to have one easy reference to send anyone with questions to! I have been sewing a lot of market bonnets recently, both for myself and as commissioned work, so if anyone is interested in buying one, please feel free to contact me! (I've been charging about half of the going rate on Etsy, so it's a good deal, and they're entirely hand sewn!)