Loose threads

Various sewing projects. Mostly historical (or historically inspired) stuff. Varying levels of ambition!

Challenge 2016:10 - Heroes

Kategori: Allmänt, Historic Sew Monthly 16

The black taffeta dress
Back in the Inspiration post for the Monochrome challenge I fell, hard, for this lovely black dress:
(Anders Larsson and bride, Swedish, 1916. Bohusläns Museum, nr. UMFA53690:15391 )
After that, I basically was just looking for excuses to make it. I've always liked early 20th century stuff, and after seeing a lot of nice things in the Historical Sew Montly group by people like Leimomi (who also is a hero in that she started and kept the whole thing running, improviing lots of historical wardrobes greatly) the idea to make more of it myself grew on me. Soon enough it came, as I found myself signing up for Fairweather manor 3, the sequel to the larp for which the pin-striped dress was made. I played the same character again, and had the basics, including lovely petticoats from my great great grandmother's wardrobe.
I mean, look at them! There is no "not cute and fluffy" option. Good thing I didn't have to show them, my character was supposed to be scary.
Even if I wanted the dress, I hesitated for the longest time about starting the project since I knew I was short of time. That meant that when I finally ordered the fabric, I was not only short of sewing-days, but also of total days to the larp. As per usual. That meant; little or no time to wait for patterns. Again.  I had no pattern, just the image (and of course, I googled and browsed sites like Past Patterns to see if I could make an educated guess at the construction by looking at other, similar garments).
That meant: draping-time. I opted for a double bodice front, a less full under-part that closes in front, and one more full that doesn't , but create that lingering remnant of a pigeon-breast look.
The belt is from the re-make of the pin-striped dress and there to keep things in place.
I then picked it all apart again. As you can see, it's not symmetrical in the least. Easily solved by using only one side of the mock-up for the final cut; voilà - a symmetrical pattern.
Fashion fabric time.
I was house-sitting at the time. Not the worst surroundings for sewing.
The finished bodice. I opted for fake buttons (there are snap buttons underneath). The back of the bodice is lined, the front isn't. Here is where I cut corners - I think the HA way is to line it and overall be more "exact" in construction. I'm also not sure about the separate skirt/bodice part either, but it was the construction I sort of knew I could pull off. I didn't have time for a second try.
The skirt is a three-panel thing with box pleats. One seam in the back and one on each side/front. A waistband keeps it all in place.
The closure of the skirt is my second cut corner. I think that the HA option is hooks and eyes + snap buttons in the side/front seam on one side, and it also looks like that on the original inspiration picture. I find it hard to get the fit right with such a closure, though. My second reason for a slightly fuller skirt is that I find the original inspiration a tiiiiny bit backwards for 1916-17. Not at all unreasonable, not everyone can have the latest all times, and also my character could be more than a bit conservative, fashion-wise, but I still thought I could get away with a tiny bit more of shorter-but-fuller look of the late 1910's.
Therefore, I made the waistband about  10-15" too large, and then added hooks and eyes to an inverted box pleat (in the back, see above) and on the underside of a regular one (in front) with snap buttons to keep the pleat in place. I then added hooks to the bodice waistband and tiny loops on the inside of the waistband, to keep the two together also when I am moving about. The corset also helps a lot, but since I have a long back and not a very defined waist, blouses tend to slide upwards and skirts downwards...
To give the taffeta a tiny bit of weight, I added a strip of raw silk as an interfacing on the hem. Worked fairly well. Ideally, I'd have like to handstitch the upper edge (a visible line of "dots'" can just be made out in the photo above), but there wasn't enough time - so a machine seam it is.
A bit of pulling in the taffeta, but I decided I could live with that. Sorry about the blurry photos. My mobile phone camera hates anything but good outdoor light with a passion.
And here it is. I added loose pockets (loops on the pocket, buttons on the waistband - if the pocket is removed, the buttons looks like they're there for decoration). The blouse is a cheat, viscose modern stuff. The lovely lovely photo (c) is by John-Paul Bichard. He's on Facebook, too, there there for example are lots of more portraits and photos from FM3.
The facts:
What the item is: Silk dress/suit

Who your hero is and how the costume applies to them: Several combined. First and foremost Leimomi Oakes who started the HSM group, which has done wonders for my productivity, and secondly my great grandmother, born in 1900, (and her mother): her handicraft and dresses (and some of her mother's) are still around at my grandmother's and started my interest in both fashion and sewing, I think.

Fabric/Materials: Silk taffeta, and some raw silk for the lining.

Pattern: None, looked at photos, read descriptions of patterns and improvised.

Year: The inspiration photo is said to be from 1916, but wasn't likely the most fashionable for that year. 1910's.

Notions: Polyester threads, snap buttons, hooks and eyes and som plastic buttons for attaching the pockets (a practial cheat)

How historically accurate is it? I don't know. It looks right, but since this is not my period and I had to improvise a bit due to both practical stuff and time constraints I probably cut a few corners. Machine sewn.

Hours to complete: Too many, but not as many as it could have been. No real mistakes, made everything once!

First worn: 4th and 5th November, at the Fariweather Manor LARP

Total cost: About 100 euros for the fabric, perhaps another 10 for lining, buttons and notions. 3,5 meters of silk taffeta used.

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