Tuesday 27 May 2014

The top is bound!

I so love the clean look that suddenly emerges from the mess of making here.

I think I'm particularly pleased with the trimmed down shoulder straps. They were always meant to be like this. I just kept the seam allowances on until I was really finishing the edges, to prevent it from the inevitable effects of fraying during the making. I got so used to the chunky look that this final version amazes me in its elegance.
I basted the ends together, for the eyelets and to outline the curve. The rest could be left as it was.

The same with the corners where the sraps tie.

I also used basting elsewhere during the process (like down the centre front). It's very useful.

I still have to make and attach the busk pocket (including eyelets), to make and sew the lace-tying cord on the bottom and finally to bind the bottom. Oh, and to wash it before wearing, because there's a lot of pencil markings on the inside that I really don't want transferred onto my chemise. :-)
(The good thing about this type of stays / corset is that you can wash them. You probably do not want to do it very often, but there's essentially nothing in the construction that should prevent it. I wash my corded brassiere regularly and the washing and ironing actually helps it get back into shape after it gets stretched with prolonged wearing.)

It will still fall neatly within the requirements for finishing ("not more than six weeks before") for the Shape and Support challenge in the Historical Sew Fortnightly. So I can still enter it into a challenge, and actually one that's meant exactly for this type of garment!

I have an idea (already partially realised) for the upcoming Art challenge, too, but we'll see about that. At the moment, I think the Politics challenge takes precedence...

Sunday 25 May 2014

Binding the stays & the laces - HSF 9: Black and White

I started binding the stays, even though I still have one piece of cord to insert on the other side. I was fed up with the cording, which, considering the cording was probably my favourite part of it, is quite a feat. But with such lovely aqua binding lying around, it's not such a wonder. It's so perfect. It finishes the stays (by now rather Frankensteined and getting on my nerves) into something once again perfectly mine.

It's one of the bias bindings I got from my aunt.

Coloured binding is historical, honest, although I don't recall seeing any blue bindings. It's probably not completely accurate for the super-neoclassical period of all white sheer dresses, but I don't plan on any sheer white dresses at this point and if I ever venture there, I guess I can just as well go the whole way, start from scratch and make myself one of those more period-correct stays Sabine discovered. It's what I'm going to make my sister - I'm sure she'll be tickled to have stays based on a Dutch example. ;-)

As you can see on the above photo, there is a piece of cord sewn in next to the lacing eyelets. That's what I'm tying my lace to. I'm not sure anymore where I got the idea from, but it's something I came across in my research into spiral lacing.

The laces, as well as that piece of cord, are made by me, too.

Because I'm still working on the stays, I entered the laces into the Black and White challenge (a bit late, but it makes me feel good to have something up). Because I made them myself, too, it's more or less a separate item, and they're white. Ish. You know, the colour linen is when it's basically white.

What the item is: Stay laces
The Challenge: Black & White
Fabric: none, see notions
Pattern: none - I was inspired by this blog post by Stephanie Ann; but because my cord is thicker, I cast only two stitches - it's basically like a lucet cord made on knitting needles.
Year: early 19th century
Notions: linen cord (of a baker's twine variety)
How historically accurate is it? I don't have any documentation for my time period, but I think it's at least 100% plausible
Hours to finish: I lost count - it wasn't much, but it was an on and off project
First worn: Only for tryouts so far
Total cost: I don't remember anymore, but I think the cord was about 30 CZK, not more.

I'm still contemplating whether I will go the same route with tying the shoulder straps or if I will pretty it up and use ribbons. :D But I don't have any period accurate(ish) ribbons and I'm cheap, so I guess knitted cords it is...

It's a fun technique. I like that I'm able to do it on knitting needles, because it's faster and tighter than when I try it lucet-like (more specifically, I've tried it as spool knitting). I could make myself shoe laces as well.

Friday 23 May 2014

Buchlovice chateau, Part 1

There are several chateaus with similar names in Moravia, beginning with B and ending with -ovice. The original idea was to visit them all and then completely confound you with a series of posts about them all. But that plan fell through because we did not visit Boskovice last year, and we will never visit the fourth one (the name of which I can never remember), because it turns out it's actually not open to public.

So you got the post about the beautiful cheateau in Bučovice, and now, much later, you get posts about Buchlovice (there must be more of them, because there was so much to see and photograph). And you may get Boskovice even later. (It's an Empire / Neoclassical / Regency-style chateau, so we've been saving that for when I have my Regency dress. So hopefully this year.)

Buchlovice are further to the north of Moravia than Bučovice. There are hills (quite steep at places) and there is also a castle nearby, Buchlov. But we did not go there, so we had a lot of time and spent a very pleasant carefree July day roaming the surroundings of the chateau. It turned out to be a good choice, because there's a large park with various hidden statues and buildings. And beside this, there is also a little zoo - actually a sanctuary for injured wild animals, whatever those are called in English - and every summer, a fuchsia exhibition. So we had a lot to see, and I'm actually still not sure if we managed to find everything that is to be found in the park!

You can read all about the history and so on on the webpage - I'd just pull it from there anyway. :-) Suffice to say, the chateau was built in 1701 and it's an Italian Baroque style of building, I believe one of the first so lightly designed, "summer" chateaus in the country, a type that later became very popular (some of the most famous Czech chateaus - like Lednice and Hluboká - are summer residences, although those two are both from the 19th century). It actually consists of two very similar buildings facing each other symmetrically, one on a terrace above the other. The upper one used to be stables and now houses all the offices, toilets and an exhibition room. The lower building is the chateau itself where the guided tour takes place.

I think I knew I would love the place the moment we entered the ladies' toilets and saw this, just sitting there utilitarianly (is that even a word?):

Even the view from the window was nice.

I have a thing for old buildings with thick walls and paneled windows and doors...

Monday 12 May 2014

1848 Jacket Sewalong: Construction tips and ideas

The introductory post on the history of the garment and my plans
The post with the pattern

What happened to the sewalong, you wonder? I promised in a comment I would put this up on Friday or Saturday. I didn't. I got caught up in sewing the cording in my Regency stays. It takes a lot of time, particularly with handsewing, but thankfully, I quite enjoy the process, maybe precisely because of the slow handsewing. Anyway, immersed in that, I kind of kept forgetting about this.

And because of all that, I'm also going to be honest up front and share the decision I've made: to skimp a bit on historical accuracy with the kacabajka and sew the bulk of seams on the machine. If I want to finish it this year and not four years later, I've got to. I'm making it primarily for fun and style, not any kind of reenactment, so it's not such a problem for me, just for the unrealistic historical geek in me. The construction method will still hopefully be basically historical, and all the finishing handsewn.

* * *

Here's a different photo of the kacabajka, from Národní oděv roku 1848 by Mirjam Moravcová - it's the same frontal view, but it offers a better view of the sleeve braiding (if you're ambitious enough for that; I'm not) and also of the inside of the sleeve. That inside makes me wonder, but more on that later...

* * *

So, what is the construction method? My preliminary research (read: asking people who know better) tells me the jacket would be flatlined. Flatlining is a method that sounds very fancy and isn't really fancy at all. It is, actually, a very simple matter of cutting the lining exactly the same as the outer fabric and then treating them as one (so you could also see a similar method referred to as interlining or underlining these days).
  • Here's an exhaustive yet simple explanation and tutorial from The Dreamstress - including how to treat darts, which applies to our pattern.

Thursday 1 May 2014

It is finished!

My sister's kathak skirt, and right on time. It had to be. (Although here she is getting ready for a Persian dance, so it's not exactly the way she dresses for kathak.)