Friday, July 10, 2015

J.P. Ryan Robe a l' Anglaise or English Nightgown

So the first thing I had to learn about the 18th century is when they refer to a petticoat they mean a skirt. Then you have "under" petticoats. The extras that add fluff under your petticoat "skirt". Yeah, I know...

This is the J.P. Ryan Robe a l' Anglaise or English Nightgown. There are two views, one is a la polonaise and the other is a round gown (skirt is closed in front) with an apron front. Also you have the choice of making the easy one (the back of the bodice is not pleated) or the labor of love one (all the pleats on the back bodice are hand sewn). You can guess which one I chose.

Easy! So I chose the size 42 and started on a muslin. I knew there would be some alterations but surprisingly not many. The only thing I needed to do was shorten the shoulder/upper chest area. The designer provides extra room along the front seams to make final adjustments before adding the boning and sewing on the hooks and eyes.

Once I had my adjustments done I was able to cut out my fashion fabric and bodice lining. The bodice is fully lined, including the sleeves. It closes at the center front with hooks and eyes. In all honesty I think it would be easier to skip that and just pin it closed like they did in the 18th century. I am always worried my hooks and eyes are gonna pop open at a bad time. You also need to put boning along both front seams. I again chose German plastic boning for convenience. I managed to get the whole bodice sewn together and the sleeves set in a short amount of time. The sleeves run a bit tight, so check for fit with a muslin.

The skirt is open in the front and closed in the back. The envelope shows it pulled up in the back a la' polonaise. On my version I chose not to pull it up. The linen was single sided and the wrong side showed when I put it up. The skirt is pleated to the bodice starting at the back and ending about 2 inches from the front. The pleating is free form so you just pleat until it all fits. Which sometimes means you pleat and have to start over because there is too much fabric left at the end... The left side was finished quickly but the right side had to be redone several times to get all the fabric squeezed in there. Now, in a perfect world all fabric would be 58/60 inches wide. Mine was 54 so my skirt is not as full, but it is really not something you would notice. You use the WOF as your skirt width and the yardage as your length. That way when you sew up the side seams your selvedges are your finished edges. It works really well.

Once I had the skirt attached I just needed to try it on and see where the front folds would be. Then sew on the hook and eye tape and insert the boning. The hook and eye tape was tedious because it had to be sewn on by hand. But less tedious than sewing on individual hooks and eyes.

Final fit. I was pleased with the end result. There is a bit more room in the upper bust area, but that can be filled in with my fichu. The fit across the back it great. This dress is meant to be worn over false hips. I made a pair of stuffed hips to go under it. I also made the petticoat and an under petticoat.  I still felt like I could see the outline of the hip pads so I made the mythical costume unicorn called the "ugly puffer" Completely non historical, but it does the job. The ugly puffer is an under petticoat made of pre quilted fabric. I bought some 100% cotton pre quilted fabric and pleated it to a waistband. I then added a ruffle of white cotton organdy. Hey, it's ugly but it does the job.

 ^The ugly puffer. No pattern in existence, just pure magic.
False hips Pattern by Wingeo
Chemise pattern by the Mantua Maker
Stays and cap, purchased on Etsy
Sexy stockings OTK stripe by Sock it to Me
Shoes by Fugawee

J. P. Ryan 18th Century Jackets

This is a great little 18th century pattern with lots of options. I felt it ran about one size smaller than the Robe a l' Anglaise I made. I ordered the size bust 42-44. Size 42 is the one I made which is the same size I made in the Robe a l' Anglaise. However on the the Robe I had to take a bit out of the front seam for it to fit. For my jacket (view D), since I had already cut out the size 42......Of course! Why trace the damn thing off when you can just cut it. Impatient Mimi is impatient....

I made the stomacher wider on the sides by 1 inch and used a smaller seam allowance along the front seam. The fit is good but close. Also the sleeves are pretty fitted. So if you have larger arms you will want to check to make sure they are not too tight. This jacket is fairly quick to make up until you get to the lacing eyelets. Yeah.....those have to be all sewn by hand. I am pretty sure view A would be the quickest to make.

The stomacher is boned down both sides and the center. My stomacher sandwich consisted of 1 layer of each, fashion fabric, down proof ticking, cotton duck and plain white cotton. I also used pre made boning tape instead of sewing the channels directly onto the stomacher. That way I am guaranteed an exact 1/4 inch boning channel. I decided to use German plastic boning instead of steel. German plastic is nice quality and a hell of lot less work than cutting and tipping the steels. This all came together really nicely.

 My fabric is a floral cotton (not quite chintz) that I bought at Farmhouse Fabrics. I made my petticoat (skirt) out of a nice green linen. The only thing I will be changing is my lacing ribbon. The shiny cream stuff is the only 1/4 inch ribbon I could locate in my stash. Oh sweet irony. I have loads of ribbon, just none in the right width.

Decades of Style Hazel's Frock

Decades of Style Hazel's frock. Please excuse my hat, I haven't had time to make one to match the dress. But I needed something to cover my frizzy mess. This is a nice easy pattern and goes together pretty quickly until you get to the bias drapes. They really need a rolled hem and I am too lazy to do that. I tried scraps on my serger but it looked like crap. I fussed with my rolled hem attachment on my other machine and it still looked like crap. I was not about to do that many rolled hems by hand. Nope and nope. So I just pressed a narrow hem, sewed it and used lots of fray check. I did not need to make any alterations to the fit. I cut size C-42. It is a loose comfortable fit. I like the french darts. The sleeves I made elbow length. I also added a collar/neck tie and a band at the hips. I left off the shoulder drape. I bought the fabric from Mood. It is a (yikes sheer) silk voile with gold metallic threads. All in all a nice 20s style pattern.