Thursday, 29 July 2010

18th Century petticoat

Now that the panniers are done I'm starting to think about the petticoat to go over it and how it might be trimmed and decorated. After much trawling through images and weighing up options this scrumptious robe a'la francaise is my favourite.

I think the proportions of this gown are lovely. I love how striking the box pleated trim is on the gown itself, I wonder if each one is padded slightly to give them a little more oomph!

The flounce that decorates the front of a petticoat is called a furbelow and for reasons of expense only covers the part of the petticoat that is visible. Women would often wear the same dress to different occasions but change the trims to create a slightly different look.

Monday, 26 July 2010

My panniers are finished!!

Yippee! They are finally done. Goodness knows where I'm going to store them, they span well over a metre at hip level. I dragged Claudia outside to get better photos and the wind kept catching her and rotating her like a windmill!

There are supposed to be tapes attached to the inside and tied off to enable the adjustment and control of the 'springyness'. I have played around, pinning tapes to the insides to see how this might work but I have decided to wait and see how the panniers behave with a petticoat over them before I sew any tapes in.

Its boned with continuous spring steel, the boning channels are simply sewn down bias tape. I have made it collapsable, the vertical steel boning is held in by tied off ribbons at each of the four corners but this can be undone and the boning removed. That said, it's still pretty bulky when collapsed. The waist is draw-string and ties on either side for easier adjustment.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

I couldn't resist.....

This fabric was just too pretty and too good value to pass up on. It was in the sale bin, calling out for me to buy it. As soon as I saw it I couldn't help but think of Marie Antoinette.

It's a lovely soft pink with a cream diamond pattern, the photos really don't do it justice. I think this fabric would be perfect for an 18th Century corset.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Of henins and veils....

I've been doing some research on fashionable headwear for ladies in the 15th Century. Keeping hair hygienic during this period of history was next to impossible, so the simplest solution was to cover it altogether. It was around this time that a greater variety of headdresses were seen, such as the caul - a netted ovaloid form on either side of the head. There were also the padded roll headdresses - tubes of fabric manipulated and curved into various shapes. Perhaps most famous is the henin, which forms the basis of the iconic 'princess hat'.

Hugo van der Goes' "Portinari triptych" (detail of Mary Portinary, right wing) 1479

This is an example of the henin, a cone shaped hat usually with a veil draped from the top.

Petrus Christus, c.1450 - Detail from Portrait of a Female Donor

There was also a cut-off version called the truncated henin, a sort of decorated fez with two wire antennae projecting off the front to the back of the head which supported the veil.

A detail from King René's tournament book.

This method of supporting a veil became increasingly dramatic leading to the butterfly henin, the antennae come from the top and are angled down, creating a scaffolding for multiple layers of veiling. The reticulated design (meaning diamond pattern) on the cone itself was very popular throughout all styles of headdresses.

There are no surviving examples of headdresses from this period so it cannot be said for sure how they made them or what they made them from. However it is quite likely that they used wires to create the antennae. As for the materials used in creating the rigid cones they may have used a form of stiffened felt or possibly bundles of reed. Certainly the Tudors are known to have used reed to bone corsets so it is not unreasonable to suggest this.

I think the henin in all its forms is inspiring and I have been inspired to make one. I have drawn up a basic pattern for a truncated henin and next I will make it up in fabric to test it out.

Victorian corset - take two!

This is the second attempt, re-drafted, re-cut and re-sewn from scratch. It's definately an improvement on it's predecessor.

There are still a few tweaks needed, i've pinned the excess out of the bust and the pattern will need to be adjusted accordingly. This is ready for a full scale attempt now.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Victorian corset mock up.

This is the first mock up to test out the pattern for this corset. There is quite a bit that needs correcting on it. Looking at it, it feels as though it's lost it's 'Victorian-ness'. The neckline needs tweaking and I need to add some fabric back in at the bust to balance it out a bit and give it back its curves. Also, I need to take out a bit of fabric on the hip on the front of the corset to flatten it against the body better. Second draft here I come........

Victorian Corset - 1892

I'm embarking on another corset, this time Victorian. I have used my trusty copy of 'The Evolution of Fashion' to get the basic style lines and silhouette. Interestingly the book suggests inserting elastic panels in various places below the waist line, which struck me as a little unusual. It's not something I have come across before and after ten minutes of Googling, I believe in late Victorian times, it was common for athletic corsets to have elastic panels for a little extra breathing room! So, I've done away with all that and redrafted ordinary panels.

Also, the bust and hip measurements were mysteriously generous so I've slimmed them down considerably. This is the final draft of the pattern and the next stage will be to make a mock up to check for mistakes.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Tudor corset is taking shape!

This is a partial toile - made up in a heavy calico. I'm not going to make it up fully, I just needed to be sure of the fit and that all the seams match. So far so good.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Tudor Corset - Pattern Cutting.

This corset's intended fate is to end up under the Mary Boleyn dress. Sometimes I agonise over how I'm going to do something for ages when really, the best thing to do is have a go...and well, make it up as you go along. In the end I used my made to measure dress blocks as a guide - ignoring the darts, knocking off a few inches on the bust and waist and marking in new style lines as required. I have drawn in tabs along the waist line and the only place I have put seam allowance is on the side seams - all the other edges will be finished by bias binding.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Panniers 1755

I have started to make a set of panniers. I cut my pattern for this with guidance from 'The Evolution of Fashion' by Margot Hamilton Hill and Peter Bucknell. They are quite hard to take a photo of because they are so huge, this is just the front! The curved dip at the top in the middle will be gathered to the waist with ties. It's hemmed and all the raw edges are finished. I am currently at the stage of sewing the tapes in place which will form the channels for the boning.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Tudor Hiproll - finished.

My finished hiproll. I stuffed it as firmly and evenly as I could - it helps to have a knitting needle handy. Then I hand sewed the end with ribbon tie in situ.

It's been a really fun and satisfying little project.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Tudor Hiproll

My 'Mary Boleyn dress' needs a moderately sized hiproll to give it the correct silhouette. After a bit of research I decided to aim for the size commonly seen around the 1560s. I cut my pattern for this by first drawing a circle with a circumference measuring the same as my waist. From here I drafted in the shape of the hiproll, it's 3.5 inches wide narrowing to 2 inches at the ends. I also flattened the circle to an oval shape to better fit my figure.

Then I traced off a copy of the pattern and added seam allowance. Once cut out it's ready to lay on fabric.

This is how it's looking so far, i've bagged out the edges leaving one end open for stuffing.