Saturday, June 30, 2012

Petticoat - Travel wardrobe for Jane Austen Festival...

Regency petticoat, source unknown
I need a new petticoat for Bath, I like the style on the right, it ensures the bodice of the gown has less bulk underneath.

You can read all about my wardrobe requirements for Bath in my earlier post.

This has been an easy project, I used my skirt pattern from Sense and Sensibility's Elegant Lady's Closet.

I calculated the waistband circumference by putting on my stays and taking that measurement around the bottom of the stays.

I also calculated the length of the 'braces' that hold the petticoat skirt on the body by measuring the length across the shoulders from the side front xtays, across the stays straps, to the side back stays.

Petticoat back with gathers, I created a side slit to enable me to put it on with ease

Front without gathers

Petticoat finished:
Back view with side opening

 Close up of front, my stays aren't laced as tightly as they could be on Ermentrude.

To finish it I hand stitched the hem with shell stitch while watching the Olympics and then discovered that it was too long, argh!, so I put in a two inch tuck and shell stitched its edge and it looks very pretty and I saw lots of the Olympic events as well.

Shell hemmed edges at bottom of petticoat

Friday, June 29, 2012

Spencer - Travel wardrobe for Jane Austen Festival Bath 2012

from the Danish Moden 1790-1840 book
I am creating a travelling wardrobe for this year's (21012) Jane Austen Festival in Bath and am starting with my spencer.

I am keeping to the period of 1805 - 1810, but as close to 1805 as I can. Read my first post on what I hope to create for the Festival.

The spencer I am creating is similar to the one on the left, but as my wardrobe colour is blue, whit and gold, mine is being created in white and blue silk velvet. I am using the spencer from Jeanie's Sense and Sensibility pattern as my starting base.

I wont be showing how I made it as I have done a comprehensive blog post on this pattern before, which Jennie kindly has in her Tips section of her website. So for this post,  I'm just going to show you the results and chat about some issues.

First issue, I have gained weight, le sigh, and I didn't make a toile, I know, bad, bad, sewist! I used my tried and true pattern from last year, but as you can see below, rather than being the lovely closed front, mine is straining open, though I have yet to wear it with my stays, et al so it may not be as disastrous as it could be. It does look nice I feel, strain or no.

Second problem, I somehow cut the collar too short, ... so I had to 'make-do and mend' my lapels by attaching curved pieces of blue velvet as the lining was showing at the point between the collar and the open lapel.

Thirdly, this is silk rayon from my stash and it is a right biach to sew and press! I have a Pfaff with an in-built walking foot, but still an all, it was a right pig to stitch!

Fourth and final, I used organdy as my lining and interlining but I think the velvet needed something heaver fore the collar, its rather floppy.

All that aside, I do like it and am pleased to have it in my 1805 Regency wardrobe.

Front, all hand stitching still needs to be done
Still to have ribbon decoration on the back
So, I tried the jacket on, and yes, it is too small across the bodice, damn my plump bosom!

The lapels did not work, so I am tucking them in, I intend to create an insert V to cover the gap and create two spences from one, mix and match Regency lol!

Back, trim need to be stitched down still and pins are creating puckers, the velvet collar will NOT lie flat, I will have to remove it and see what can be done, bother!

Long back view, despite the too small front, its very comfortable

Jane Austen Festival Bath 2012 - costumes for the event

I'm attending the Bath, UK, Jane Austen Festival this year in September and I am really excited, our Australian Festival in April was fabulous and I expect nothing less from Bath.

But of course my wardrobe is in need of a refresh, as, to quote Mrs Allen from Northanger Abbey
 "Bless you, my child, we neither of us have a stitch to wear!"
So, I must stitch frantically between now and September, and yes, I should have commenced earlier, but too many other things have been happening with The Tailor's Apprentice launch of the Miss Page 1940s Pattern Collection.

As we will be travelling half the world away from here, I must create a wardrobe that will cover all basis but will be easy to carry to England, sadly airlines don't take clothing trunks these days, well not in Economy! I found the following list on eBay of all places and its an excellent guide
A good regency wardrobe that will serve you for many events is as follows;

1 set Stays/Shift/Stockings
1 short-sleeved solid or tone-on-tone print gown with a wider neck-line to double as day and evening.
1 pretty print gown for day activities.
2 chemisettes (different collar styles for variety)
1 set of false sleeves
1 robe (cotton daywear) or half-robe
1 net overlay (or voile or sheer muslin)
1 evening robe in finer fabric
A spencer
A formal stovepipe bonnet, and a soft-poke bonnet
1 pair of off-white opera gloves
1 pair of daytime gloves
A fan
A shawl
A pair of short boots
A pair of neutral-toned slippers
A nice reticule.

That wardrobe can offer you a wide variety of looks with minimum stitching on your part ... 
 I already have many of the items on the above list, but I will be making:

1 petticoat as my current one is a tad sad (completed)
1 'little white gown' of the Regency (completed)

2 or 3 sleeveless spencers to 'ring the changes' with the white gowns (1 completed)
1 chemisette (different collar styles for variety)
1 set of false sleeves
1  open-robe (commenced)
1 net overlay (or voile or sheer muslin)
1 evening robe in finer fabric (commenced)
A spencer (completed)

I also have to make more Regency gentleman's clothing for my partner, she does have a number of things already but will require:

2 linen shirts (1 completed)
2 vests ( 1 completed, 1 commenced)
1 pair of silk knee breeches (completed)
1 pair long breeches (completed)
1 long coat (commenced)

... and maybe, time dependent ...
 1 frock coat (completed)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Launch! Miss Page 1940s Collection

Mouna Stone, 1940s singer at the launch
On June 6th on a cold, wet and very misty day in the Blue Mountains I launched my Miss Page 1940s pattern range, clothes worn by Australian women throughout the war years.

In The Paragon Cafe in Katoomba it was warm and cosy, music of the era filled the air, champagne flowed and trays of canapes circled throughout the crowd carried by youthful helpers.

After two long years of hard, but very enjoyable work, the launch day had arrived!

Me celebrating with champagne!
The Parragon was the perfect place for the launch as Miss Page, dressmaker in the Blue Mountains between the 20s to 70s, worked here during the war. It was here that she met Ian, formed a friendship that lasted the war years, through his capture by the Japanese and hard labour on the Thai Burma Railway and out the other side to freedom. She wrote to him every week, letters mostly returned by the Australian War Office.

Miss Page's dressmaking business collection came my way three years ago through an antique dealer friend, Peter Staton, and it is from this that my patterns were born. You can read more about Violet and Ian and what happened to them on my website, The Tailor's Apprentice and you can buy the patterns there as well.

But let's enjoy the glow of the launch with these fabulous photos taken by Over The Moon Photography, Ann and I often work together at weddings, me as Marriage Celebrant and she as photographer and she is also a fashion photographer extraordinaire! My beautiful models, all good friends, are Lillian Starr, an internationally acclaimed burlesque star, Mouna Stone, singer of early 20th century music and Sam Miller, seamstress of vintage and historical clothing and like me, a member of the Australian Costumers Guild.

Australian Land Army Overalls style 2216
Jenny Sailor Suit style 2212

Lilly Rose Day dress style 2211
Lilly Rose Day dress style 2211
Oliver O'Reilly, tinkling the ivories, brilliant playing throughout!
This simple suit is part of my online course, learn to sew like your grandmother did during the war years
Veronica Evening gown and cape style 2213
Estelle wedding gown, style 2255

And here are the splendid guests, all who dressed up for the occasion in vintage style!

That's it folks! If you have scrolled down this far, please visit The Tailor's Apprentice website where you will find all the above patterns, information about my studio and online classes, videos of me chatting about my classes and more information on Miss Violet Florence Page.