Saturday, December 24, 2016

Laughing Moon 114 1840s-1850s Victorian round dress

Pardon any typos etc.... It is Christmas Eve and I have been hitting the hard cider. Quite possibly one of the most sneak up on you drunks ever, aside from Long Island ice tea. Nothing goes better together than drinking and blogging. Because, fun.

I had arranged a costume meet up at Fort Nisqually for their annual Christmas celebration. What a great excuse to finally make Laughing Moon #114! December is a very busy month for most people so it was just myself and the Countess representing SITU. Father Christmas was making an appearance at the fort as well and I am happy to say he is a personal friend of mine too. So needless to say the Countess and I were on our best behavior. (yeah right)

The pattern:

Victorian dress 1840-1852. Several bodice and sleeve styles. Skirt is gauged. I made view A with mancherons (small upper sleeve) over the bell sleeve.


Plaid silk voile. I believe I bought this from Fabric Mart during one of their big sales. I don't think that silk voile existed in the 1840s-50s but I am not aiming for 100% historical accuracy. Silk voile is a really wonderful fabric to work with. It has a crisper drape than cotton voile and a lovely smooth hand.

Size & alterations:

I go back and forth on LM patterns with sizing. In a corset my bust is between 42-43 inches. I have found with their Victorian styles a size 20 is a nice fit from my apex upwards. Now in Regency stays my bust is a very perky 44 inches. So I use a size 22.

Once I made the muslin I decided to make the darts smaller to add a bit more ease room across my waist and fullest part of my bust. I removed 1.5 inches from the dropped shoulder seam. This is consistent on any dress pattern with a dropped shoulder. Where I kind of screwed up was the bodice length. I made it shorter than I wanted. I was aiming for the 840s longer bodice but became over zealous and it seems more 1850s. But that's ok. I really like this dress anyway. The neckline on my muslin was too tight so I removed 1/2 an inch. I also did this with my LM wrapper. All in all the alterations were minimal.


No issues. None. Went together a charm. The neckline, armholes and waist have piping. I really, really love to make and apply piping. Hard to believe since I hate fiddly bits on projects. Piping looks so pretty, especially in a stripe or plaid. The skirt is gauged and hand stitched on. Not my favorite thing to do. However, this time it went much better and faster than my first gauged skirt. The sleeves fit beautifully too.

End notes:

Your sleeves are bias cut, don't let them stretch out. Watch your fit in the hip area. That is how my bodice wound up shorter than I wanted. The sides were hitting on my hips in the wrong spot and made the piping go wonky. I had to rip it all out and trim off the excess from the arc that curves over the hip. And in doing so trimmed too much from the front bodice. Always leave ease room for the skirt bulk, boning, petticoats.

The Fort Nisqually event was a lot of fun. I love it when the Countess goes on adventures with me because it's always a good time.

 Feeling very festive in my holiday dress!

 Some guy crashes my picture.

 Back view. Yep, drink in all that sexy.

 The lovely Countess in her festive plaid!

Bonnet selfie!

Me and Father Christmas! Plus my errant falling down bastard under sleeve. Oh well...

Have a wonderful holiday season! Even if it is not perfect (kind of like my under sleeve situation) enjoy it anyways!  There will be plenty more blogging and sewing in 2017!  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

1850s 1860s Isabella's Work Dress by Timeless Calico Designs

There was an upcoming Dickens Festival in Tacoma, Washington. For fun I decided to challenge myself to make a dress in a week. Because crazy. I bought this particular pattern early in 2016. It was designed for re-enactors to use. It makes up quickly and is a very simple design with a nice pay off. The pattern includes all the pieces for the bodice and skirt pocket. The skirt they give you the dimensions to cut. Just simple rectangles. The directions are easy to follow and include simple hand drawings.

Size and alterations:

Size L
Added .75 to each side seam
Removed 1 inch from dropped shoulder.
Shortened waist .75 (I am short waisted)

I landed in between sizes L-XL. My first muslin was the size L and it was a bit too tight across the fullest part of my bust. The fit in my upper chest/shoulders was really nice. So I decided to use the size L and add .75 to both side seams. I figured I could just take it in as needed. I also have to remember to allow for skirt bulk and petticoat bulk. Something I like to forget...a lot. Also, any design with a dropped should seam I take off about 1-1.5 inches. They are always way too low. I also shortened the waist by .75 inches. The sleeves run a bit short and tight at the cuff. FYI.

Fabric and construction:

A blend of wool, rayon and poly fabric stuff. This dress would be FABULOUS in a good quality plaid flannel! So TEMPTED! If you have 45 wide fabric you will need at least 7 yards. My fabric was 60 wide and I had 5.5 yards. I was left with a 14 inch piece of fabric when done. Because my fabric was 60 wide I only used two skirt panels instead of three.

The dress goes together easily. The bodice is underlined and the neckline and arm openings are trimmed with piping. The skirt is just gathered onto the bodice. I didn't add pockets to the skirt just to speed things up. This dress has no boning in the bodice. You could certainly add some to the sides if you wished.

Because the cuffs are tight I did not use a button hole and button. Instead I made a loop of round elastic and added a ball button on the other side. The sleeves just slide right on and I don't have to struggle with buttoning cuff buttons to get the sleeves on and off.

I machine stitched the hem for speedy finishing. I also used two lengths of navy blue gimp at the hem. One to cover the machine stitching and the other at the very edge of the hem. Helps give the skirt a little extra body. It was nice to use up some odds and ends I had floating around too.

End notes:

This is a really great little pattern. Makes up easily and quick. Perfect for theater, re-enactors and regular costumers. I will make it again. This dress is designed for ease of movement. If you think Victorian costumes are not comfortable and don't wear a corset then this a great alternative to Laughing Moon patterns or the Big 4 patterns. I honestly think once you get the bodice fitted you could make this in a day.

The Tacoma Dickens festival is always the 2nd Saturday in December. It is just a small event located in the Tacoma Stadium district and at the WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory.

 Good times with good friends!

 Shameless stealing of my friend's vintage fur stole. I mean, it's called a stole, right?
So I stole it!

 The Poinsettia God, Steve.

 Shameless selfie in the horseless carriage!

It was cold, windy and rainy outside. I made this lovely hood to keep warm. Pattern by Anna Worden Bauersmith. Available on Etsy as a PDF. Nice pattern with good instructions!

Cap--Miller's Millinery pattern 2012-1. Technically a Regency cap but I don't care. :-) A very easy make. I made it by machine and just serged the edges and narrow hemmed them. Easy Peasy. Then just put a bow on it!