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 .

18th century common woman - 1
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.

18th century common woman - 2
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.

18th century common woman - 3
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.

18th century common woman - 4
18th century common woman - 5
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.

18th century common woman - 6
18th century common woman - 7
18th century common woman - 8
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.

18th century common woman - 9
18th century common woman - 10
18th century common woman - 11
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.

18th century common woman - 12
18th century common woman - 13
18th century common woman - 14
18th century common woman - 15
18th century common woman - 16
18th century common woman - 17
18th century common woman - 18
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.

18th century common woman - 19
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.

18th century common woman - 20
18th century common woman - 21
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.

18th century common woman - 22
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.

18th century common woman - 23
18th century common woman - 24
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.

18th century common woman - 25
18th century common woman - 26
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.

18th century common woman - 27
18th century common woman - 28
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.

18th century common woman - 29
18th century common woman - 30
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.
18th century common woman - 31
18th century common woman - 32
18th century common woman - 33
18th century common woman - 34
18th century common woman - 35
18th century common woman - 36

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

Underbust pattern tutorial

So here it is at last, the under bust pattern tutorial! At one moment in the making of this tutorial my portable hard drive crashed and all the data for this tutorial was lost with it, I was almost done with it all it was just a matter of putting the text and the pictures together, I had a pdf version of it, on Swedish which was in one way a good thing but it was not totally finished and had a few things that needed to be fixed in the Illustrator made diagrams that were lost.

It kind of killed me to loose all my data, so I kind of gave up on it all but yesterday I had some luck with the hard drive and managed to save the files needed for this tutorial. I was beyond thrilled!

So I present to you all the under bust corset pattern tutorial!

Underbust corset pattern - striped corset

The biggest prejudices about corsets are that they are really uncomfortable to wear and that one cannot breath properly in them, this of course is all wrong. Sure there is a special feeling to wear a corset, you body is heald together in another way than most people are used to but there are no problem breathing, a corset that fits YOU well will ONLY reduce your measurements were it should, and that is the waistline. The problem with of the rack corsets are that they not necessarily fit you body type, you might have smaller hips then what the corset is made for and therefore you need to lace it more over the hips. This makes you lace your chest more tightly to be able to get the lacing as straight as it should be and that will make you feel like you cannot breathe properly. It says itself that to lace your chest tightly it is not healthy and can lead to problems. But as I said, a corset should only be reducing your waist measurement; a place where most of us have some squishy material anyway.

A lot of people fear pattern drafting, it seems hard, like there is a lot of math involved, but really it is not hard at all. All that is required is some logical thinking. There is no complicated math, no complicated techniques. It is all about drawing lines on a paper based on measurements taken from you own body.

What this text describes is how you, from measurements taken from your body makes a personal under bust corset pattern. What you will need is paper, pen, ruler and tape measure. This tutorial is based on how I make my patterns, after my personal pattern layout which is a corset in 12 pieces without side seam that will reduce more in the side and in the back. This gives a corset that is flat fronted and can if you want to have very dramatic curve in the without having any problems. Not having a side seam also means that you will not have any boning in the middle of the side. Continue reading “Underbust pattern tutorial”

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.

2009

So one is supposed to summon up the year that have passed and here comes my 2009

January
necklacesembroidered pendantsblack on black pincushionpair of stays2009-01-09 pocket hoops
I came up with a new version of my burned books necklace, did some embroidery. I started on a pair of stays and pocket hoops but it took me quite some time to finish them up.

February
casualsteam  shirt 1the finished jacket frontmy birthday cakegates print - under "construction"gray wool dress - front18th century pair of stays almost done
I made a steampunk inspired shirt, finished my striped jacket, became 21 and therefore made a cake, posted my panties tutorial, printed on fabric, made a gray wool dress and thought that I would finish the pair of stays soon. (it is not done yet ;))

March
summer dress finishednew dressbutton corset - details backPhotobucketnew necklace designblack warpcoin purses and a bow
I started march out with making a summer dress, then I made another dress to, I had a mini photo shoot all by myself on my balcony, I covered a corset in vintage buttons, I posted my “Victorian skirt” tutorial, I made more pretty necklaces, I wrote about the school I studied at and I also made some bows and purses.

April
finished rag rugcollectionre:design24 setup 5weaving damask - closeup on pattern
I made a rag rug, my sister turned 13 so I made her a cake, I was busy working with a final collection in school, I entered a competition and won my own sewing machine and I started to weave damask a technique that I totally loved.

May
button corset 2 - back
May was a bad month for me, my father passed away and that made me tired and I had no energy, to be able to keep the school work up I did not tell my teachers or classmates about it either, I had no time for being sad or being treated different since we were at the end of the term. I did some some things this month, I posted a tutorial on how I sew my corsets which is the thing that is most visited post in my entire blog and I covered a second corset with buttons.

June
swim dressfashion showorganic cotton jersey balloon dressdamask weave nr2empire waist balloon dressdamask dresscherries dresscarpetbagpanniers
This month was mostly about dresses! I made a swim dress, we had a fashion show in school, I made a organic cotton jersey dress, I started on a new damask fabric, I made a dress for my fathers funeral, I made a dress out of the damask fabric I made, I made a dress with cherries on it, I made a carpet bag and I finally got around to taking pictures of the finished panniers.

July
sewing a balloon skirtsteampunk heart - beside a pocket watch movement
I worked all of July so there was not really a creative month for me but I managed to make a tutorial on how to make a balloon skirt, drafted my first corset pattern for someone else then me and I also made steampunk hearts.

August
I did not make anything this month, but I moved and started a new school.

September
pencilskirt20simpleskirt1
This month I did not make anything either, I felt bad about it and made a tutorial on how to make a pencil skirt and a tutorial for a really simple skirt.

October
six by six -  furrosa - finishedgreen dress - onstriped corsetleatherworking - iron on transfer and d-ringsleather colour sampleswool balloon dress - mirror picturemoose apron - frontruffle skirtanother woll dress in the makingbook binding
My new school started in the end of august but I ha no time blogging about stuff until October, crazy crazy but fun fun! I tried out hands on new machines, made a leather rose, I made a green dress, I started on and almost finished a striped corset, I learned leather working techniques and how to colour leather, I made a wool balloon dress that became my definite favourite this year, I made a apron out of moose leather, I started some projects I never finished as this ruffle petticoat and this wool dress and I tried my hands on book binding.

November
scrapswool balloon dress - close up
Busy in school making stuff I had no time for blogging but I managed to post about how to turn leather scraps into useful things, I also translated my corset sewing tutorial to Swedish and made a peter pan collar drafting tutorial.

December
Xena outfit - on dollChristmas chocolateChristmas wrappingknäckcray dupion corset - lacingpaper model - straight onChristmas dress - closeupstriped corset - onmanipulation fabric - honeycomb smocksmocking leather - in progress on dollCordula B.-Morich
In December I made a lot of stuff but I have not posted about all I made yet. I did make a Xena outfit for a costume party at school, I did a lot of Christmas related stuff, chocolate, gift wrapping and “knäck”. I also made a gray dupion corset. built stuff out of cardboard, a Christmas dress, I finished the striped corset, I smocked a lot of fabric, and some leather to and then I also bought a kick ass pitcher that costed so much more then I could actually afford as a poor student.

striped corset finished

This is a corset I have wanting to make FOREVER, what girl does not need a striped corset in her closet? And I have had it going for ages, waiting for the new grommet press in school. But it never came and I needed the corset for a event so I put the grommets in by hand in stead, as I have done for all the other of my corsets. ;)
Striped corset

Construction info:
Two layers of coutil
One layer of cotton with printed stripes
Black faux external boning channels (the boning is in between the layers of coutil)
Extra wide busk
7,5mm steel bones
Two piece grommets

striped corset - modesty panel
I also made my first modesty panel, the design of it is taken from how electradesign makes her and it works really well, looks nice and makes it easy to lace yourself in without the modesty panel wrinkling.

striped corset - lacing

striped corset - on
A not so very good picture of me in the corset, the corset is not really that visible in this picture.

gray corset

gray dupion corset
I made this corset for a friend.

Construction info:
Two layers of coutil
One layer of dupion silk
Closed front
16 steel bones
Two piece grommets

cray dupion corset - lacing
I found this really nice taffeta ribbon for the lacing in the back, I did not know there were such a thing as taffeta ribbons and I thought that I had ordered ordinary satin ribbon (it is silly since I had a sample to look at and did not think about it not being satin at all). So one could say that I was happily surprised when this beautiful ribbon landed at my work desk.

gray dupion corset - flossing
I am also flossing the corset with embroidering floss that match the taffeta ribbon, I’m kind of in love with this colour combination, somehow it feels very Marie Antoinette. Don’t look at the horrible stitching on the binding, the dupion silk was a real pain in the ass.

Xena-warrior princess

The first big themed party at school had the theme series. I went as Xena.
I made all the stuff just for this event, and all the leather things except the corset is made out of vegetable tanned cowhide from Italy.
The arm braces have a tooled pattern on them, so does the shoulder piece and arm rings.

Xena outfit - arm brace before
Before tooling

Xena outfit - arm brace after
Halfway done

Xena outfit - arm brace, finished
All done

Xena outfit - on doll
All the pieces have been cut by hand and there are a LOT of rivets in that skirt.
The corset is one layer coutil and one layer of soft leather from a old jacket I had laying around.

Xena outfit - layed out
All lain out on the table

Xena outfit - shakra
I made the shakra out of paper clay which I put tinfoil on with decoupage technique.

Xena outfit - whip
I also braided a bull whip out of leftovers from my moose apron.

Xena outfit - arm brace
The arm braces are coloured, hand painted and then shaped with water to make them sit nicely around the arms.

Xena outfit - arm brace closing
Small buckles keep them on.

Xena outfit - bracelet
Arm rings.

Xena outfit - shoulder piece
Shoulder piece.

Xena outfit - shoulder piece and more
It have also been coloured, hand painted and moulded to fit the body while wet.

Xena outfit - wire bra
A iron bra made out of wire. This one I ended up not using since it fitted so badly when I got the corset on.

Sadly I do not have any pictures of it on me.

underbust pattern teaser

corset pattern scribblings
It is on the roll, it really is! I have written all the things and taken pictures so all I have to do is fix the pictures up and make the text computer written and in English (I made it in Swedish since I am going to have both languages on it this time).

I also need to make a mockup so that I see that my corset drafting tutorial actually works ;)
But stay tuned, underbust corset pattern drafting tutorial is in the making!

corset pattern
This tutorial will allow you to make your own personalized pattern, made from your own measurements and starting with a totally blank paper making the corset fit you like a glove, a very tight, nice and perfect glove.
It is based on my own pattern pieces layout without a side seam which I believe makes nicer shape and the corset reduces mostly in the sides and in the back, making a really straight front corset with flat belly.
But it is all explained in a way that is allowing you to decide were to put your seams if you don’t want them were I put mine.