Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jane Fest 2017 Regency riding habit and an open robe hack

I've been quiet lately. After such a busy summer I had a nice lull in costume activities. I've still been sewing though.

Jane Fest 2017 took place at the University of Washington this past weekend. This is the first but hopefully not the last Jane Fest. The turn out was really great! There was also a ball and those tickets sold out in about 5 minutes. There is a definite desire in our region for Jane but also for Regency costume events. The Washington Regency Society (WRS) and JASNA both had informational booths at the event. We are alway looking for new members and there was so much interest from the public that our booth was jumpin! I also participated in the fashion show. It was very well received, and wow there were a lot of people in the audience! Needless to say for such an attention whore I do get very nervous during fashion shows and the like. I'm sure it shows, but I am also trying to step out of my introvert zone and live a little. I figure if I can inspire even one person to follow their creative passion then my work has purpose. Now, on to sewing!

Regency Riding habit:

I have wanted to make a riding habit for quite awhile. Practicality had been holding me back. However when the fashion show line up arrived in my email I was tagged to wear a riding habit. I easily had 2 months to make it so I jumped right in. The real trick was finding wool in a bearable color and at a good price. Not as easy as one would think. Luckily I ran across some dark brown 100% wool suiting for a sweet price. One of my fantasy garments has been a brown wool hooded cloak lined with rich lavender duchess satin. It is one of my favorite color combinations. Once I purchased my wool I set about looking for lavender velveteen. Again, not an easy task because I was really looking for a particular shade. After looking around I discovered the perfect shade of lavender velveteen at Wm. Booth, Draper. I knew I would be using it as trim on my spencer and for my top hat only. I happily purchased two yards.

Patterns used:

Laughing Moon #137 Regency pelisse and spencer. View C with view B collar.
Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress.
Lynn McMasters top hat pattern.

Laughing Moon #137

A new release pattern. I normally wear a size 22 in LM so I decided to go that route. It made up easily and I had no issues with the instructions. I feel like this spencer runs a bit large. The bust is roomy (even for me). I used the non overlapping center closure and I can actually still overlap mine quite a bit. I left off the belt because my velveteen was pretty bulky for piping and though it did work on the spencer body for a small belt it looked wrong. I thought about making my belt out of the velveteen but then realized I didn't want a horizontal line of lavender cutting me off. On my frame (chubby) a continuous unbroken column of color looks more flattering. My advice on this pattern is choose your normal size and one size down and make a muslin of both. I think if I make this spencer or pelisse again I will give size 20 a try.

Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress: S&SDD

AKA my favorite! I am pretty much in love with this dress. It is easy to make and size adjustable. I have made 4 drawstring dresses since summer. You can make one in about 6 hours. The sleeves are a bit fussy but once you figure out the fussy bit they go right in. Since this was a riding habit I made a sleeveless jumper out of S&SDD. I added length and width to the skirt. My train is very short because trains suck in general. The pattern only talks about adding extra width to the skirt for the crossover bodice view. However I find that the skirt looks better on the drawstring dress if you just cut the panels the whole width of your fabric. It adds a bit more oomph to the finished product. On my first drawstring dress my skirt feels so skimpy.

Lynn McMasters top hat/riding hat pattern:

Who doesn't want a lavender velveteen top hat! Since I like fashion drama I used the men's stovepipe crown and the Victorian women's riding hat brim. I knew I wanted a hella tall hat with a small brim. This is not a beginner pattern, more intermediate. It goes together nicely. I did have to finesse the tip and crown to fit together. This caused me to even/smooth those areas out with extra mull. It was worth the extra effort. Since the pattern is unisex sized and no measurements are given I went with size large. My head is 23.25 inches so I did have to take some bulk out of the head opening. She does cover how to do that in the instructions. The hat is a perfect fit.

Open robe hack using Laughing Moon 126 Bib front gown: TNT (tried and true)

I decided to use my TNT laughing Moon 126 as my open robe. I had bought a beautiful sari and was dying to make an open robe but didn't feel like fitting a new pattern. Hacking this was simple. I used the front lining pieces that you tie together under the bib front. I traced off the piece and just re-drafted the neckline to my preference.  Then I added to the front for the closure. I used 2 hooks and eyes to close my robe. The back of the gown stayed the same except I didn't pleat the skirt fabric I just gathered it.

 The original piece is above my traced off and altered version.

Here is the original piece laid over my altered  bodice fabric. 

Since I had run out of fabric for my under gown I had to add sleeves to my open robe. I just used the sleeve from the LM pattern. The under gown was made from thrifted fabric. It is white cotton with a gold metallic stripe. There were some stains on the fabric I had to fussy cut around but it all worked out. I used my Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress as my under gown and just finished the arm openings with bias tape. Easy peasy.

A most fun time! Here are some additional pictures of our long but fantastic day.

 My green silk spencer and matching hat!

The lovely Countess and I before the fashion show.

 The Countess having a chat with Flat Jane.

 Flat Jane saying something scandalous!

 Or funny!

 Flat Jane selfie!

 The Countess, Lady Rebecca and yours truly.

 Always fun with the Countess!

 Dancing at the ball!

I did enjoy four dances even though my feet were killing me! It was a super long day but so worth it. There were a lot of people dressed up for the main event and the ball. My only words of advice ladies, leave the trains off for the ball. I noticed a few young ladies struggling with their trains and it was painful to watch. You don't want your pretty dress stepped on and torn, trust Madame Mimi on this. ;-)

Final Notes:

My turban was made using the Wingeo turban pattern as my base and then I just draped the rest and added some beads and feathers. My pearl jewelry was purchased from inthelongrun on Esty.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress and Washington Regency Society's Tall Ship sail

It was that time of year again! Time for a fabulous picnic and lovely sail on The Lady Washington. Taking place in picturesque Port Ludlow, Washington.

We decided to make a weekend of it and reserve a hotel room in Port Townsend at Manresa Castle. Saturday was the picnic and sail and Sunday was for shopping in Port Townsend. I have been trying to build a nice Regency wardrobe so I have choices for events. I made two new dresses, one new spencer and a silk bag hat.

For the sailing day I made Laughing Moon's drop front gown (again) in a paisley print cotton shirting. I have a total love affair with this pattern going on. It makes such a pretty dress! I had been looking at Regency fashion plates to get some ideas for an easy spencer to make. I noticed some really cute open front spencers. I decided to hack my Laughing Moon spencer pattern and create my own open front pointy spencer. I used a pretty navy blue linen from Since I knew this was going to be hanging open I bought enough linen to line the front bodice pieces. The rest of my lining was some basic black cotton. I used some scraps of checkered silk taffeta and broke out Butterick 6397 Making History hat pattern. I used view A the Edwardian bag hat pattern. It went together easily.

On to Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress pattern!


The Elegant Lady's closet. Drawstring dress AKA round gown. Several sleeve options. Sizing is somewhat flexible. Also included is a crossover bodice pattern.

Fabric, size and alterations:

This was basically going to be a wearable muslin. I had some ok quality pink striped shirting in my stash. This dress is hard to muslin because of it's flexible sizing in the front, but he back is fitted so that's what makes it a bit tricky. I went by my bust measurement and made the size 22.

I did zero alterations. NONE. Yeah...... how often does that happen. The only thing I will do differently is lengthen the skirt. Oddly it runs a bit short even for me (5ft 4in).


I was a little baffled by the front only lining pieces (flaps). Not sure their purpose so I asked around. They help hold the front of the gown in place. Mine are just pinned closed. And yes, they really do help hold the gown in place.

I chose the 3/4 sleeve. It is nicely fitted without being super tight. If you normally have to do a full sleeve adjustment I would make a muslin of the sleeve and check for fit. I have average middle aged lady arms and didn't need one.

Setting in those sleeves.....I normally don't have sleevil issues. I do ok with them. This pattern has sleeves that go farther back onto the shoulder area. There is a weird little angle in the back shoulder area that you have to finesse. Now S&S does warn you in the instructions about the sleeves since this is based on a period dress. So I finessed the hell out of them. There were a few ripped seams and minor frustrations but I did get them sewn on. I still feel they are not perfect but I do not find them awkward or uncomfortable.

Final thoughts:

I like my dress! I didn't have any problems with the instructions. Other than the sleeves I found this dress easy and quick to make. You may have less finessing in the sleeve area if you go with the short puffy version. Gathers can cover a multitude of sins. ;-) You will really want the back of the dress to fit correctly. If it doesn't it may not be comfortable to wear. This pattern is in the running for a ballgown. It's got some competition with another pattern but.......I haven't made a choice yet. I will muslin the other gown first. This would also be a great dress to use under a open robe. If I did make a ballgown out of it I would also make an open robe. Just to gussy to up a bit. I highly recommend this lovely little pattern!

On to the pictures!

 Saturday Sail! Laughing Moon 126 gown and 129 spencer (hacked)

 The lovely Countess!

 Adventure selfie!!

 On the lady Washington for the evening sail.

 The Hawaiian Chieftain in the distance.

 Exploring Port Townsend wearing the Sense and Sensibility gown.

 At the end of the day I asked the Countess to take some pics in front of Manresa Castle. S&S dress with my hacked LM 129. 

Well summer events have wrapped up and now we move on to fall! My boys are back in school and the house seems too quiet. There will be some more Regency sewing on the way and also planning for VicFest 2018. Time flies by so quickly! Thanks again for stopping by and reading my little blog!

Instagram multi shots!!! ;-)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Colonial Festival and JP Ryans Caraco jacket!

It's that time of year again! Colonial Festival in Port Angeles, Washington! You must understand that out here on the west coast we don't get a lot of Colonial action. So it's nice to have one event that embraces that time in our history. I don't know if I will ever get to Williamsburg so this makes a great learning and dress up opportunity.

The George Washington Inn, Port Angeles, WA

I need more 18th century practical clothing. I thought about making another English Nightgown but I didn't want to deal with the pleating on the skirt part. I went through my stash and dug out JP Ryan's Caraco pattern.

Size and alterations:

What sucked is I ordered the wrong size and never noticed it until I finally got ready to use the pattern. It was one size smaller than I needed. I bought the 14-16 when I really needed an 18. But I knew I was going to muslin it so if it wouldn't work then I would find another pattern. I whipped up a quick muslin and decided to add an inch to each front edge of the stomacher. I also carved out a bit on the front of the arm opening since they were pretty tight. I removed about an inch of the back length from neck to waist. It feels a bit short so I will not be so aggressive with my next one. For reference my back of neck to waist is 15.5 inches.

 The other thing that runs tight is the sleeves. I have average middle aged lady arms and they were snug. I did decide to try a different sleeve altering method just for fun. If you don't have Joi Mahon's Create the Perfect Fit book I highly recommend you buy it. She goes above and beyond the most common fitting methods. After creating my sleeve muslin I noted that the only room I needed was in the upper part of the sleeve and cap.
So I did this:

This gave me the extra room needed in both the sleeve cap and it added a bit of extra room along the length of the sleeve. I'm pretty damn happy with it! I didn't have any issues easing the sleeve into the arm opening either. Joi's book is pretty involved but it really breaks down all the fitting and makes it easier to understand. Instead of just throwing a full bust adjustment or full arm adjustment etc etc at everything as a fix all. Just like one size doesn't fit all, one alteration doesn't fit all either.

Fabric and construction:

I bought this decor weight cotton from Fashionable Frolic on Etsy. It was nice to work with and make for a sturdy but comfortable jacket. 

The pattern instructions didn't give me any issues. My only warning is be careful when pressing the center back seam open. It's cut on the bias and gets stretched easily. I wasn't careful so I have a bit of a pucker along my CB seam. Once I had the gown put together I finalized my fitting of the stomacher and sewed on my hooks and bars. The pattern wants you to sew hooks and eyes and have the two front edges butting together. I no no like that. So I decided to use hooks and bars and have a 1/4 inch overlap on the front edge. Because of the overlap I only used a single length of boning on the hook side of my stomacher. 

I highly recommend this pattern! I most certainly will make another in the future.

I didn't take a lot of pictures but The Countess is always happy to indulge my need for blogging my sewing experiences.

 Eve reaching for the apple.....Actually not an apple but that was my first thought.

 The polonaise effect with ribbon and buttons.

 Looking like a proper 18th century matron.

 The British are coming!!! must have been time for tea and pastries.

 Lovely ladies, The Countess and Lady J.

 The Countess wearing her smashing ensemble! I was quite covetous of her very dramatic winged cuffs and quilted petticoat, that HUSSY! ;-)

 Up close! And yes, it is a quilted coverlet made into an 18th century petticoat.

Our dainty tea! We visited with our old friend Dr. Franklin; as well as Martha and George Washington. It was a very enjoyable day

Oops! I almost forgot! Here is my bum pad that I am wearing under my gown. It is from the Simplicity/American Duchess cosplay patterns. The fabric is completely historically accurate and by historically accurate I mean Daisy Kingdom cotton circa 1994. Daisy Kingdom in the 1980s-90s via Simplicity had a coordinating fabrics/patterns thing going on. There were two color ways for this particular fabric. YES! Yes, I have both color ways. It's freaking crazy quilt pre printed fabric! I love a good crazy quilt, even a faux one. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Still gettin down with the frumpy 1920s and Butterick 6399!

Ah, I am learning to love the 20s frump. It sort of grows on you. I you have been anywhere near the Pacific Northwest in the last week you know we have been hot hot hot. Bear in mind most of us PacNW peeps don't have AC in our homes so when the temps soar we get bitchy. Even with hot weather there were two events on Saturday that needed to be attended. Now initially I was thinking of trying to wimp out. However, my tough as nails friend The Countess, inspires me to "just do it" so off I went on our Saturday adventure. I was planning on dressing 1911ish but I was not feeling the corset love with the possibility of temps in the 90s. This is why the 1920s are the costumers friend.

How Butterick 6399 came to be:
I started B6399 for the New Deal Picnic. Actually it was almost done the week before that event and I hated it. It just looked Laura Ashley circa 1985 to me. The sash and big bow were just too much. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be an evening dress. I think the sash/big bow would work fine for the evening dress look; but for a cotton lawn dress it was too over the top.

Size/Alterations/Design Changes:

I am sort of smack between size 20/22 in pattern land. Seeing that this was going to be loose fitting (even the under slip which is described as close fitted) is still somewhat loose fitted. I decided on a size 20. For my 20s dresses I choose to wear a "leisure bra". Like I have ever worn a bra that made me feel like laying upon a fainting couch, eating bonbons and reading a novel full of long winded prose. Nope. However, they make good 20s bras. Ok here we go!

I shortened the skirt on the slip and dress by a couple inches. That sucker would have been a bit past ankle length on me. That is all I did.

Design changes:
This is where I got confused by the yardage requirements on the back of the envelope and had to read through the instructions to understand.

Costume Fabric:
This is for the underdress/slip.

Contrast 1:
Sheer fabric, like chiffon.

Contrast 2:
Scalloped lace.

So once I figured out what the chiffon was for I knew I wasn't going to be needing it. My under dress/slip has a cotton bodice and a China silk skirt. I would have like to make the whole thing of China silk fabric but I didn't have enough. I used petersham ribbon for the straps.

Double edged scalloped cotton lawn fabric with a micro black polka dot. The overdress has a very time consuming closure on the back scallops of snaps. Lots of little snaps to sew on. I skipped all that and made the overdress a pullover. The back neckline is finished with self fabric bias and my arm openings are just narrow hemmed. On my dress front the center panel is a rectangle of scalloped fabric sewn into the V shaped front opening. Then I trimmed it into a V shape after it was sewn in. The model dress on the envelope doesn't have a center piece in the V, that is the slip/underdress you are seeing (teal fabric).

Sash and big ass bow:
I didn't have any fancy fabric for the sash so I used a black cotton sateen. It went together fine but was just too heavy for a day dress. I made a narrow waist tie and added 2 belt carriers at the side seams. Works fine and keeps with the light airy look of my day dress. My belt could be a bit wider but I was in a hurry.

End Notes:
If you skip all the extras; like snappy closures, you can make this fairly quickly. I wound up liking this dress once I left off the sash and added the center front panel. It was super comfy to wear on a hot day. I will wear this one again for sure. If you have a really large chest and small frame I am not sure this could be a slip over. I have a large chest but the rest of me is fairly proportionate to it. If you make a muslin first you will know for sure. If I need a 20s style evening dress I would use this pattern again.

What events?!
Our morning started out with the Kent Historical Society's home tours. Then it was off to be costume judges for a SASS (single action shooting society) event in Renton. I don't normally take pictures at the SASS event because I am busy looking for good costumes. Also there is tremendous gun fire going on and it is a bit jarring. In spite of being spooked by gun fire like a skittish Shetland pony I did have a great time.

 A modern straw sun hat with a tacked on wide taffeta ribbon.

 All along the offset scallop seam is where the back closure is supposed to be.
 Enjoying the Japanese Mimosa tree.

 The Countess being surprised at her strumpet like behavior in her 1890s swim dress.

There was a little horseback riding at the SASS event. The Countess was the only one wearing bloomers for astride riding. ;-) 

Sash and bow. Meh on a day dress.

Under dress/slip. It closes in the back with 2 hooks and eyes.

In spite of my being completely ladylike The Countess awarded me with the best "soiled dove" certificate. She knows me so well.....;-) We didn't have any contestants for this category so I won by default. So you see, the frumpy 1920s is totally the sexy!