As Always, please click the images to see larger versions.
I would imagine that Jenni and Polly might say the same. See what Jenni has been doing over at Living with Jane and you will see what I mean. From very good fake Regency men's boots to an entirely handsewn straw capote (!) and mitts she has done it all. Hats, off, Jenni, you take my breath away.
Polly has been almost as busy, finishing the skirts to the bodiced petticoat bodice I made for her...and this week, undertaking a hand-drafted buckram base for a hat based on a 1790s Heideloff fashion plate. I am to cover and trim it. Polly is an extraordinarily talented milliner so it will be really, really neat so see how she takes a fashion plate and runs with it. Did I say really twice? Meant to repeat it thrice.
A Strapped Petticoat
Here is all we did, girls and boys. It's not hard and can be undertaken sans pattern and sans experience. All you need, really, is fabric, needle and thread, and a measuring tape or string, and some 1" and 1/8" twill tape.
Make the skirt tube:
- Measured her from below the bust to the floor.
- Cut two lengths of muslin to this measuremant plus an inch for hem allowance and seam allowance at the waist.
- Caroline seamed them together into a tube. Each seam is about a 1/4", made with combination stitch...a needleful of running stitches followed by a backstitch, repeated to the end of the seam.
- Then we held the skirt up to her to check the fit and since she is very slender, we did not need to cut the front at the waist into a dip or do anything else to level the skirt hem on her body. Notice that we are leveling the skirt at the waistline, not at the floor! So much easier to do a skirt this way.
Photo: Caroline in her strapped petticoat at the second fitting. I have just set the straps and we are about to create two tucks at the skirt hem.
- She hemmed the skirt bottom with a 1/2" hem (turned twice), with running stitch. Stitches were set towards the top of the hem.
- I made a 9" deep slit at the center of one panel to serve as a placket.
- Caroline made a 1/8" double-turned hem to each side of the slit with conbination stitch.
- I measured her chest below the bust but not right below, consistent with the mid-1790s waistline height, and cut a two-inch wide strip of muslin for a waistband to this measurement plus 1" for allowances.
- We folded the waistband in half.
- Caroline ran a single row of gethering stitches a scant 1/2" below the waistline seam. Each stitch was about 1/8" or a little more long. Normally we would have done two rows plus stroking, but we chose a simple route.
- Now, I learned from The Historical Sewing Blog (thank you) that the best look was achieved in this era by moderately gathering or pleating the front, minimally gathering or pleating the sides, and heavily gathering or pleating the back. This mode would produce the slenderest silhouette from the front.
- So, I set the waistband on Caroline, and on each side, marked it at the front of her side and the back of her side, if that makes sense -- that is, marked out the thickness of her body front to back -- with chalk.
- We then gathered the skirt to the waistband marks, and completed the waistband just the same as I had last fall for my stroked gathered mid-century petticoat. The process and stitches, so far as I can see from Costume Close-Up, are pretty much the same. We did not add a button for closure.
- Look carefully at the photos and examine the waistband. You will see that the front is somewhat gathered, the sides barely so and the back very so and the result on Caroline is lovely. She carries herself so well that she could wear a barrel and still be chic, but still, I think you see what I am getting at.
- Caroline tried on the skirt. I cut two pieces of 1" wide twill tape and set them over her shoulders out towards the arm joint. Pinned them in place in front and back and marked them with chalk. Sewed them to the inside of the waistband with backstitches, sewing a little square shape at top and bottom of the waistband and each edge of the tape.
- At the same try-on, I set a 1/2" tuck some six-eight inches above the hem to take the skirt up off the floor, and Caroline sewed the tuck with running stitch while I sewed the straps...we were both working at the same time at either end of the skirt! :}
- Then we set a second 1/2" tuck below it, leaving about 3/4" space between the tucks so that if the petticoat is seen both tucks will appear as separate pretty shadows. Caroline then sewed that tuck. The two 1/2" tucks eat a total of 2", setting the skirt the right height above the floor for the period. If it proves a little long, another tuck remedies the issue.
- The last step is to attach two 1/8" wide tapes to each placket end so she can tie the skirt closed.