Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Victorian Undies and the coolest sewing tool

I've recently found myself in a position of needing new costume clothing as most of mine is now way too big.  As I'm working the Bake oven for 2 Sundays in a row upcoming and the weather is noticeably cooler, I decided to start with 1865ish stuff.   Since you need to build these costumes in layers, starting with the inside and working out, I am replacing all the Victorian undies first.

I drafted a new pattern for the drawers and while I was testing the pattern hoping to make a useable muslin, I kept the decoration fairly low key, I didn't want them completely plain.  Even if nobody else will see them, I wanting something I knew fit in with period style ornamentation.  I started these a week before a family member was schedule for surgery and I was pretty stressed.  However, the pattern came together flawlessly or so I thought, with the most even, spectacularly perfect tucks I'd ever made, which I then noticed were on the inside of the drawers.  I think it might have been faster to bin them and re-cut the pattern, but I didn't have enough fabric left.  So after tossing them in a corner for a couple of weeks, I went to pick out the stitches and found that my seam ripper didn't make it home from Fruits of Our Labours back in May.  Back in the corner they went until I could get a new seam ripper and dump the lethargy of a rapidly failing project to go at those tucks again.

The threads came out easily while the nicely pressed fold lines didn't disappear, making it a little more difficult to fold them the opposite way and resew them.   They aren't as perfect second time around, but they aren't too horrible and I can live with them as functional clothing.   The eyelet edging I had considered for the hems of the legs was all wrong.  All the extant samples I've seen use cotton laces.  While I have a significant amount of cotton lace in my stash, most of it is narrower, being bought for doll clothes and for what was really supposed to be a sample, and might not fit, I wasn't going to use the good stuff.   I did find a bit of flat cotton lace in a rumpled ball, which after a bit of a pressing, turned out to be not really expensive lace, but quite suitable.  I did have to pull a gimp thread - the thicker heading at the top to gather it. I used a machine heirloom sewing technique to sew it on.  I've used them a lot for doll clothes and other projects which don't take any stress or wear and tear.  I hope it has the strength to stand up to actual wearing.

The two tucks are functional tucks, meaning they are put in after the legs are sewn together and they can be let down if more length is needed in case for some reason I suddenly grow 2 inches taller or damage the bottom edge and need to length them to keep using them.
They are constructed with flat-felled seams and facings to reduce chafing possibilities.  I dragged them out to a guild meeting last night where I finished the hand stitching although they still need a button and button hole on the front waist band.

Today I drafted out a pattern for a new Victorian chemise and had the fun of using my pattern notcher.  I have a couple of cool tools but this one never fails to amuse me and make me happy.  It makes the sweetest, most perfect little notches in patterns which work so much better than any I've put in with just nipping with scissors.  It's a solid feeling little tool which works perfectly every time and is just fun to use.  I'll have to admit it was a gift and something I'd probably have never purchased for myself but definitely adds enjoyment and makes patterns look much more professional!

1 comment:

Woolly Bits said...

I am quite glad that I don't do period things - I am usually to warm in my normal gear, never mind adding layers of undies to a costume:) but that pattern notcher - I've never even heard of a tool like this, I just snip triangles into the paper... happy sewing!
Bettina (from ireland, where we have a truly rainy day today!)