18th century common woman

I got invited to a 18th century event with the question “I’m sure you have some 18th century clothing”, my answer was “No actually not, but the event is one month away and I am sure that I can make something”.

I have liked the 18th century for years, started a outfit years ago but it never got any further then a par of stays, a chemise, a pocket, bumroll and a half finished jacket. So it was not really a hard thing to start up with again. Last time I wanted the big silk dress, but now I had acquired the taste for lower class. The “undressed” is so nice, very forgiveable and a god place to start. It can easily be made on a budget as you can wear miss matched skirts and jackets; perfect for thrift shop fabrics.

I asked for a Swedish 18th century artist to Google and was told that Per Hilleström was the way to go and I quickly decided on this picture.  He paints a good amount of more common Swedish people an around a time that I like. The picture of the women and the fish is dated to 1775, a period that I like shape wise and I really like the shape of her jacket, simple but nice.

I looked around some more and added my findings to a album on my pinterest .

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My old stays was way to small, so I made a new one. The pattern is the 1776 stays from “Corsets and crinolines” by Norah Waugh. I decide to not hand stitch the stays as I had only a month for this project. So therefore I choose to use coutil for the base fabric and also steel boning, I will make a more correct one when I have the time for it. The top fabric is a old linen table cloth that was mangled into shine by some old lady making it look almost silk like, I thrifted it for almost no money at all.

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I choose to sew the middle section by hand, if it decided to peek out under by bows or if I needed to undo the jacket for some reason, faking it until you make it.

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The stays are bound with red wool, leftover from my medieval hose making. Wool is a very nice material to bind with as it can be steamed and pressed flat after binding and have some natural stretch even if I actually did cut it on bias as well. when binding tabs, you want all the help you can get. The binding was machine stitched thee first way around and then stitched down on the back by hand. Making it very neat and nice on the outside.
I choose to make the lacing holes by hand, I as I am crazy and actually love button hole stitching I stitched them with button hole silk thread from Gütermann.

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I really like the finished result of the stays, they are nice to wear and does no compress anything, as stays are not made for tight lacing but to only give the correct shape, something that my soft body very easily does. I would say that stays are on the hole more comfortable to wear then other types of corsets, as there are no reduction. The measurements of my waist and bust of me in stays and without are the same, or to be honest my waist is slightly bigger in the stays. But the tabs makes by hips look even more huge then they are, perfect for the 18th century silhouette.

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In the pictures of me in my stays, you can see my old hand stitched chemise, I used it almost as it was, but I added a small ruffle of a finer linen around the neckline, inspired by this extant chemise. I also swapped the green string in the drawstring neckline into a pink faux silk taffeta ribbon.

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My next dilemma was the shoes, I had no budget at all to buy finished shoes and I had no shoes at home that might work. SO I turned to my local second hand shops. I wear a size 42 (US size 11) and had no real hopes about finding shoes, my local second hand shops are not that good. So I was very surprised to actually find a pair of never worn size 41 shoes in real leather and with a heel that might actually pass as nearly right for under 10 USD. They were a bit frumpy and in a boring colour, but I instantly knew that I could make these work. And we have a shoe stretcher at work, so that they were one size to small was not an issue.

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I did some creative cutting, gluing, and then binding it all with a thin leather I had at home already, adding a tongue and buckles made out of other buckles. To make it all into one shoe again, I slapped some black leather paint on them and; Tada! Passable as 18th century shoes! The stockings I bought from American Duchess ages ago, I was very happy that I had them just laying around.

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Next up was the jacket. I already decided that I wanted a 1770:ish jacket with bows in the front. So I turned to the very good book called “Kvinnligt mode under två sekel” by Britta Hammar and Pernilla Rasmussen.” (Female fashion over two centuries). A very in depth book using Swedish extant garments, looking at everything from the fabrics to the way the sleeves were set and the seems where sewn.
I choose a silk jacket in the book for the simplicity of the cut, and the short sleeves and bows as in the painting that I was inspired by. Using my stays pattern a base I made the pattern for the jacket looking at pictures of the pattern for the silk jacket. I made two toilles to make sure that the shape was right, the gores put in at the right height and the skirt of the jacket wide enough. Also testing the sleeves and length.

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The fabric for the jacket is a brown wool that I found at a thrift shop for around two USD and the lining as a end of the bolt fine natural linen with sun bleached edges that I got for five USD at a fabric shop. Both in very nice qualities. The jacket was hand stitched together and fully lined of course. I got brown silk ribbon of ebay to put in the front and the sleeve ruffles are made in thin linen fabric.
I wanted t have the not so fancy embroidered sleeve ruffles, as also can be found in both pictures and extant examples. For one, I do not embroider that well, I did not have the time and also, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to keep the silk ribbons and silk socking the most fancy thing in this outfit.

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I knew I needed something on my head, and I opted for the small linen cap with ruffles or lace edges, the ribbon in the back was inspired by this painting also by Hilleström. Still keeping it simple without lace but adding a matching ribbon.

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One of the other things I already had was the embroidered pocket, inspired by extant pockets of forest and deer but with a very modern twist. I made this for several years ago and it is actually taken from a mug made by my all time favourite designer Klaus Haapaniemi. The mug was part of the summer collection Satumetsä he made for the Finnish company Iittala that I adore. The pocket is made in linen with linen embroidery, so not very historically accurate.

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I also had a bum roll, but it was quite big so I deflated it a bit by opening it up and removing more then half the stuffing. I already have so mush hips, and for a common persons outfit you don’t need that much oopmf in the back. But as the stays gave me superhips I looked almost flat in the back and it looked kind of off, so the bum roll only took the sharp edge of the flatness.

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The fabric for the skirt is the only fabric that I bought specificity for this outfit, it is a woad blue wool from my favourite shop “Medeltidsmode”. I made the skirt the “apron way”, with the back part tying in the front and the front tying in the back, giving you natural pockets slits in the sides. In many of the skirts from the book “Kvinnligt mode under två sekel” the front part had a wider waistband then the back so I made my skirt according to this fashion as well, it is very simply pleated to the waistband.

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I am very pleased with my outfit, but the only thing that I am no all that happy with is my bangs, They are to short for me to try and hide in a hairdo so I simply left them out this time, perhaps I need to get myself a good wig in stead so I don’t have to bother with my hair, wigs are period correct after all.

Now follows a bunch of pictures I took by some 18th century cottages that are situated only a short walk from my apartment, I feel so spoiled to live in Sweden sometimes, we have so much history that is just around the corner from where we live.
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The event I attended was awesome, very cosy in a 18th century cabin in the woods in Stockholm, filled to the brim with nice people in awesome outfits. If you want to see pictures from the event, check out these facebook albums

I took a deep breath and dived down once again

Into the 18th century!
the stolen kiss 1787-89

So I have been quiet for some time, school starting again and a new year to, this new years resolution, sew and wear more dresses the same as last years.

So what is all this about 18th century, well but yes, I had that grand plan about the green Madame Pompadour dress last winter, but it was to much money for the silk, not the right colour was anywhere to be found and it all ran out in the sand.
But an internet friend showed of her new pink robe a la francaise and I totally fell down into the deep sea of 18th century clothing. Last plan was a robe a la francaise, this time I’m going with a robe à l’anglaise with zone front and different coloured skirt (and zone front to) this way I don’t need to buy all the silk at the same time, smart thing right :P
robe à l'anglaise

So first I needed to finish my pair of stays I started February last year but never finished. The only thing left was to deal with the shoulder straps and bind the top. The shoulder straps did not work with my body and the issue seemed hard to deal with at that time, I was just to lazy. So yesterday I researched the internet for a while looking for sources for pair of stays without the straps, since I have seen people do them before so I hoped that there were some historical sources to support that. I found a bunch of drawings and over at http://www.laracorsets.com I found that her two oldest corsets both had no straps.

pair of stays
So I just chopped my of to! It took about 1 hour to take out the steel boning and trim them to new lengths, cut of the straps and some of the back and then bind it.

And then I needed a pattern for the dress.
I had gotten a new book this Christmas it was “A History of Costume” by Carl Köhler and it actually had a diagram over exactly what I needed, the diagram was easy to follow and it was easy to draw a pattern from, I just needed to fix it to my size but that was easy to. After one mock up I had a nice bodice to work from.

robe à l'anglaise - with bumroll
Then I made a makeshift bum roll out of scrap fabric and pleated some fabric to see how much I might need for the “over dress” part.

robe à l'anglaise - pleating
I am making the dress “en fourreau” so ignore the incorrect shape of the “tail”, It will also have more seams in the back but since they are not shaping anything I ignored them in the mock up.

Panniers

These were finished for soooooo long ago, but silly me had forgotten them and I found them under a pile of fabric. But here they are!

panniers

Sewn in what I think is a linen fabric, but it could be cotton to, but it feels more like linen. The pattern is from Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh It went together really easy and for the boning channels I have a simple cotton ribbon.

panniers - pleating

All the raw edges are folded in and sewn together by hand.

panniers - detail

All the visible seams except for the boning channels are sewn by hand with flax waxed with beeswax.

panniers - pocket slits

what is hapening atm

Oh my, have I been busy, yes. But well I am ALWAYS busy. I’m doing a damask weave right now, and there is a lot of preparing work involved in the process. And I have also finished my “Six little black dresses” a project we were given in our design class. “Make a collection of 4-5 garments” was the assignment.

collection

I kind of took it to overkill since I made six dresses, and also made 1:4 of life size mannequins and dresses. I also tried my hand on bookbinding for the first time making a book. If you wish to see the full collection please visit my “bilddagbok” (picture diary, it is in Swedish, but there is not a whole lot of text anyway) I am really pleased with it all, it all turned out as I wished.

lace

I have found some really nice lace to use for the robe a la Francaise, and it was for free! We were at a underwear company with school this Wednesday, and there the nice lady who were showing us all the nice machines and materials they used said “do you want some materials” Yes! we all said and the lady picked out a BIG box with lace and other materials that were leftover from their production. When we got back to school our teacher said “take stuff when you need it”.
So I took some lace since I knew that I will be using it later.

It is not really what I wanted, it is synthetic, but it is quite high quality so it does not look all that horrible and to find cotton lace that looks like this seems to be impossible. I like the lace on the last picture least, but it is ok and It will be the flounce that is under the other ones.
lace for my robe a la Francaise
lace for my robe a la Francaise
lace for my robe a la Francaise

I don’t know if I have mentioned that I will be making a replica of pompadours green dress, and look at the flounces of lace, I think that my lace will fit perfectly.
Photobucket

flowers

the robe a la francaise project is still not on the move, the problem of finding a nice fabric have landed it on the waiting list, and I need to take care of the corset issue first. But now I have gotten the stuff from VenaCavaDesign that I needed so I can finish the mock-up and then move on to the real thing. The pocket hoops are finished and I will take some pictures of them perhaps this Tuesday.

But now on to what the title says, flowers! My dress will have about 200 pink flowers on it, and fabric roses does not look that authentic as I would wish them to look, so I goggled fabric roses for some hours last night and found not fabric roses but how to make flowers out of coffee filters on the Martha Stewart site. They look truly awesome and real. Check it out here!

This youtube clip shows the technique to, I had trouble making the Martha Stewart video to load.

I tried my hand on one this morning, it was dead easy but I had the wrong kind of tape so it was a bit tricky. But it turned out nice anyway, I only had brown filters at home so I have not painted it at all, I can Imagen that some paint will make it come alive some more.
coffee filter rose

18th century pair of stays

To my Robe a la Francaise I need a pair of stays, I found the pattern in “Corsets and crinolines” by Norah Waugh and used the same technique as I did with my pocket hoops I scaled the pattern using a overhead projector on the wall and then putting up some paper and draw the pattern on it, to make it fit my measurements I just moved the over head projector further back or nearer the paper to make the pattern on the wall bigger or smaller, and then I measured the bust measurement on the pattern on the wall and made sure that it was the same as mine – 10cm (approximately – 4 inches)

pair of stays
the top boning channel is kind of messed up, without thinking I sewed the other channels shut, when I should have done as I did with the channel under it, I have fixed that now.

So now I am making a mock up corset, to make sure that it actually fit me before I cut into the coutil and silk. But I am sewing it as a real corset, with boning, strength fabric (non stretchy twill) and nice binding. If it fit me I have a functional pair of stays that perhaps is not as strong as my silk one will be, but that works. If it is to big or to small, I can sell it without feeling bad about it.