To begin today’s post, I present you with one of Google’s more questionable associations… So that happened! Also, I found a perfectly-sized basket to carry with my 18th century outfit! Someone was getting rid of it on my block and it was just sitting out on the stoop. I picked it up on the way to work and carried it around with me for the rest of the day. I couldn’t figure out why I was getting weird looks, but apparently casual basket-carrying is not common outside of Colonial Williamsburg… Anyway…
After working on my super awesome red shoes, I was so excited to get started working on the rest of this outfit. I immediately started working on a shift, which I figured wouldn’t take me more than two or three days…but it ended up taking about a week and a half. I did a lot more of it by hand than I originally intended to – because speed is of the essence on this project, I am trying to work as much on the machine as possible without any machine finishing being visible on the outside of garments – and as much hand sewing as I do, I am not very quick at it. So it took forever, but the shift has hand-finished seams and hems, which look quite nice! I used this tiny rolled hem tutorial for the neckline. I’m probably going to press it flat, but it made it very easy to sew a teeny tiny hem! I did the sleeve buttonholes by machine because I wanted a chance to try out this super cool buttonholer that a friend found for me last year. My machine is from 1964, and it was a huge coincidence that she found this attachment that fits it. It came in its own plastic seafoam green pod (so ’60s!), and the branding matches my machine’s exactly. I was a little worried that because of all of the stroke gathers caught up inside the cuff the buttonholer wouldn’t handle all of that thickness too well, but the buttonholes came out lovely. (I have since ordered real sleeve buttons, but until they get here I’m using these doofy little plastic star buttons attached with a small safety pin because I like stars.)
I also made a pocket, a false rump, and petticoat – and THOSE each only took me an evening, thank goodness. (actually, I made the pocket and false rump in the same evening)
To make a pattern for the pocket, I found a picture of a pocket with a shape I liked (I can’t find it again now, of course) and sized it up on the computer to be the dimensions I wanted. Most real 18th century pockets are about 18″ long and hang down to the middle of your thigh, but I decided a smaller one might be more convenient. My pocket is 12″ long by about 11″ wide (about the size of the pocket I wore when I worked at Colonial Williamsburg), which is a good size to hold onto my flame stitch wallet, phone, and other small modern essentials. It’s made of cotton ticking with a linen canvas lining and bound with twill tape. I’m thinking about using the same ticking on the outside of my stays. But I’m not there yet!
The inspiration for the false rump came from this awesome project from Démodé – they tested a variety of different shapes for 18th century skirt supports on both larger and smaller figures, with awesome super useful results. I chose the false rump recreated based on The Bum Shop – a short, crescent-shaped pad with vertical sections quilted into it. I made the pattern the worst possible way – I measured from hip point to hip point around my back, cut a rectangle that wide, then pinned it to me and stuck some pins in it into a shape I thought might look okay. (Don’t try this at home kids!) I threw some vertical lines into it, dividing it into roughly five vertical sections, stuffed it with polyfill (then took out some of the polyfill, then put some of it back in, then took some of it out…), and bound the top edge with twill tape. The petticoat is made of a lovely olive linen that has an excellent drape to it, which I am very pleased about. The petticoat is a VERY simple shape – it’s two fabric-width panels sewn selvage to selvage, hemmed, and pleated. There are 24 3/4″ pleats on each the front and the back – the front pleats are straight on the grain, the back pleats I draped over the false rump so the hem doesn’t rise in the back.
I’m moving onto stays this week, and hopefully those will go quickly enough for me to finish the caraco in time afterwards. I can do it! I know I can!!!
Bonus: Enjoy my Elizabethan duck face as I practice my Tudor Tailor-style headrail!