Posted on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 at 8:41 pm
Posted in Haley's Regency Dress, How Stuff Works | 9 Comments »
Regency corsets, I’ve decided, are shockingly complexticated little beasties. I mean, they look all simple and they represent a time when, officially, corsets were somewhat démodé (except for how pretty much everyone was still wearing them). The pattern is easy enough. The construction is easy enough. There’s one central wooden busk and all of 14 pieces of bone in this thing. And yet…. I do believe that this is the most subtle and sophisticated setup of light-weight stiffening techniques I’ve ever seen. I’m a little in awe…. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 pm
Just another Sewing InstructionsSkill Level: Advanced
So, I’m making up a Regency style corset and it has gussets at the bust and hip to give it shape. I’m lining the corset, but I’d like to do the gussets as single-layer pieces. If you find yourself doing something equally silly, here’s how to slam a gusset in between the two layers in one go. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 9:51 pm
Just another Sewing InstructionsSkill Level: Intermediate
Sometimes, you need to sew a chemise and you don’t really want to spend a lot of time on it. Either you’re out of time, or the thought of sewing just one more chemise in your life inspires a sense of soul-crushing despair. Anyway, I’ve worked out a couple tricks over the years to get the stupid things sewn as quickly as possible, with a bare minimum of hand work, so that they still come out looking decent.
Warning: I’m about to go through a lot of things that are simply not best practices. (That’s why it’s called cheating.) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2009 at 1:52 pm
Posted in Demos | 1 Comment »
Sometimes, you need a knicker, or some other relatively non-denominational short, slightly poofy pantlet with a cuff at the bottom, and you don’t have time to make it from scratch. (Perhaps, for example, you have a cast of 37, and 9 or 11 of them are kids in Fagin’s gang and most of them are too short for proper long pants… Hey, it can happen!) Here’s the cheater’s method: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 11:56 am
Posted in Costumes, Experiments, Research | 9 Comments »
File this one under “possibly useful to some one, at some time, somehow”: this is a series of pictures of corsets I’ve made over the last several years. Each one shows me standing in profile, next to my dress dummy. This makes the changes in my shape imposed by each corset fairly obvious, and the pictures all together give you a pretty good idea what different types of boning and styles of corset can do for a girl. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 at 2:46 pm
Posted in Experiments | No Comments »
This was the official “test dress”. The design and patterning are based on a pattern for a german dress on page 252 of Karl Kohler’s History of Costume. The bodice and skirt front are cut as one, but the pleated skirt sides and back are cut separately and sewn in. The actual point of this dress was to test some theories on padded pleats and stiffened hems. I was hoping these two techniques would be able to make lighter weight or shifty fabrics behave like the heavy brodaces and stiff fabrics that we think we see in portraits. The dress is made out of a wool twill (decidedly shifty and slinky) and lined with plain muslin. The cartridge pleats are padded out with about a 1/4″ thick strip of cotton quilt batting. The strip is about 3″ wide, and runs the lengthof the pleats. The idea was to give the pleats enough body and stiffness of their own that support underneath them would not be necessary. The bottom of the skirt has a line of 3/8″ cotton upholstery cord embedded in the hem. This was to provide extra stiffness and stability to a fabric that is neither stiff nor stable.
Results and Notes:The padded pleats do keep their form nicely, and stay in very smooth rolls, even though there is only one line of stitching in them. I have found, however, that they only stand out like they are meant to when the fabric supporting them is pulled very taut. The dress mysteriously does not fit me the way it fits my dress dummy, and “pulled taut” is not an easy option. The upholstery cord in the hem works well to hold the dress out and make it look stiffer – too well, in fact, as it sticks out so well on it’s own that it looks mildly ridiculous over the corded petticoat. I have since added a line of stitch that goes straight through the coring around the bottom, and this makes it a little less unwieldy. I have started padding all of my cartridge pleats out with batting or felted wool now, as this worked so well. I’m not as satisfied with the dress pattern, which constantly wants to bunch at the waist. I think it would work better out of a heavy cotton, rather than a slinky wool.
Would I do it again?: Yes. Would and have actually.
My venetian courtesean dress incorporates wool felt in the skirt pleats as
pleat padding, as have several other skirts since. I’ve been working on documenting the historical accuracy of the padded pleats.