Making an early Mantua 1690-1700

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I have been wanting to have a go at the early mantua for quite some time – but since the end of the 17th century is relatively underrepresented here in the UK, with no events at which to wear it, the project was just simmering on the edges of inspiration. Then, out of the blue, we were asked to provide accessories for a shoot inspired by the famous, (or rather infamous) “La Maupin” – this was a lingerie shoot for Kiss Me Deadly, in a lavish London location – and we were told that we could come and shoot some historical stuff there too. Well, that was enough to get me going…. ( and the post on the shoot itself is here)

Fabrics were bought, research conducted and ideas considered – and we were ready to go.

The items I needed to make were – a petticoat, mantua and fontage headdress

Inspiration board – http://www.pinterest.com/priorattire/1670-1700-dress-more-or-less-/

Petticoat 

Fabrics:

Grosgrain silk (gold on top, olive on the other side) – 5m; gold lace – 8m, bullion fringe – 5m, button. ( pic.1)

1. colour scheme for the petticoat

1. colour scheme for the petticoat

 

Pattern – my own, based on the instructions in the Nora Waugh book – a very simple affair, a rectangle of fabric, with the grain going horizontally.

Method.

Again, a very simple construction – Cut the rectangle of fabric (the original petticoat is 124”, mine is 130”), the front length will depend on your height and shoes. The back can be trained slightly (as it is in the original, or cut to an even length.  I adjusted the length on the waist, so that the bottom hem has the grain running horizontally all around.

Sew the ends together, leaving an opening at the top – about 3-4 inches. Finish the seam (hand stich, securing the edges and press)

2. deep hem of the petticoat

deep hem of the petticoat

 

Hem the skirt and apply any planned decoration as wished – in my case this was a band of the same fabric but with the olive side showing, framed by the metallic lace and, at the very hem, the bullion fringe.

3.sewing the decoration on

sewing the decoration on

 

Cut out the waistband to the desired length, and pleat the skirt to fit it – the original has 13 pleats on each side, and I aimed for the same number.

4.pleating the skirt

pleating the skirt

 

Attach the pleated skirt to the waistband. Finish the waistband, add a button and work a button hole – and the petticoat is ready.

5.finishing the waistband, enclosing the raw edges of the pleated skirt

.finishing the waistband, enclosing the raw edges of the pleated skirt

 

6.petticoat finished

7.detail of the hem

 Mantua.

 Fabric:

8m of silk taffeta,

20m of wide metallic lace,

10m of narrow metallic braid,

Hooks for the train,

Pins for the stomacher

Linen (0.5-1m) and reeds for the stomacher.

If you are lining your mantua, you will need the same amount of lining as the top fabric…. Some mantuas are lined, some unlined, if you have a fabric that has a different shade on the other side (like my petticoat), that would work very well too.

For sewing I used silk thread.

Pattern

Again, Norah Waugh’s pattern – I even used the same measurements on all the pieces.

8. getting the measurements from the book

getting the measurements from the book

 

Cut out all the pieces in silk.  Put the sleeves, revers and neck pieces aside for the time being and deal with the main parts of the gown first.

Back piece – sew the skirts together at the CB (unless you cut on fold) and mark the pleating lines. Fold the fabric in the recommended direction on every pleat and pin.  Experiment with the depths of pins until the back measurement of the gown matches your own – the easiest way to do so is to use your block, or to try to pin on a mannequin of your size.

9. checking the pleats at the bck on a dummy

checking the pleats at the bck on a dummy

10. full view of the back pleats

full view of the back pleats

 

Once you are satisfied with the pleats, secure them with hand stitching

11. securing the pleats

securing the pleats

11a. back piece pleated, inside view-just the seam needs finishing-)

back piece pleated, inside view-just the seam needs finishing-)

 

Repeat the same process on the front pieces – experiment with the pleats on a dummy, or on yourself if you have help. Make sure to wear the undergarments that you will be wearing – in my case it was fully boned stays.  Without the foundation provided by the stays, the pleating  will not only result in the wrong silhouette, but will also be much more difficult – remember that a modern bra will give bust a natural round shape, very different from the flat, straight lines created by rigid stays of the era.

13. and then adjusting the pleats on a dummy for a more shape - the last stage is to try the thing on your stays and give it the final tweak then

adjusting the pleats on a dummy for a more shape – the last stage is to try the thing on your stays and give it the final tweak then

Again, once you have tweaked your pleats, secure them with hand stitching.

Prepare your revers – sew in the dart, sew lining (I used the same fabric) and pin onto the front. Again, experiment with the exact positioning and the shape of the front edge, and once happy with it, stitch together.

14. front piece pleated and revers attached

front piece pleated and revers attached

 

 

That’s the most difficult and fiddly part done, really. Yes, there will be a lot of hemming and hand stitching later, but the crucial fitting is mostly over

Next step – connect the front parts with the back –at the shoulders and the sides.  Follow the directions in the book – part of the side seams are stitched wrong-sides together so that they won’t show too much when the train is hooked up in the back!  Stitch, secure, and press.

15. treatment of the inside seams in the mantua,here shown before pressing

treatment of the inside seams in the mantua,here shown before pressing

 

Prepare the sleeves – work the seam, secure the raw edges, add the cuff. Pleat the top, if applicable, and insert into the armscythe.

16. cuff ready

cuff ready

 

17. sleeve inserted,

sleeve inserted, before securing the seam

 

Hem the thing…. This will take quite some time as the train is very long, but if you plan to show it, do it by hand. If you plan to stitch decoration over, then a machine finish will be fine.

18.hemming the mantua

hemming the mantua

 

Neck pieces next. Tidy and secure the back neck edge, then attach the neck pieces, matching the centre back seam. Stitch carefully

19.working on the back neck pieces

working on the back neck pieces

 

20. neck pieces pinned

neck pieces pinned

 

21. stitching the pieces in place

stitching the pieces in place

 

22. back neck ready

back neck ready

 

. Your mantua is now ready to be decorated.

23. all ready, awaiting decoration

all ready, awaiting decoration

 

Decoration time. I used a fine metallic lace and applied it, well, everywhere really… On the cuffs and all around the gown. The inside of the skirts sports a narrow metallic braid, which finishes it nicely once the skirts are arranged.

24. lace on cuffs

lace on cuffs

25. lace on revers

lace on revers

26. braid on the underside of the skirts

braid on the underside of the skirts

 

. For arranging the train – attach hooks as indicated on the pattern. They simply hook up to the belt at the back

27. braid and lace showing once the train is arranged

braid and lace showing once the train is arranged

 

Stomacher next – I made mine out of 2 layers of linen buckram, fully boned in reed, then covered in the taffeta and lined it.

28.stomacher

stomacher

 

Your mantua is now ready!

To finish the look however, I need a headdress – the famous “fontage”. After some brief research I stumbled upon this little tutorial – and followed it more or less directly:
http://pyracy.com/index.php/topic/15155-how-to-make-a-late-17th-century-fontangefontage/

I tried it first in calico, as a mock-up

29. fontage mock up in calico

Once I was happy with the size and shape, I cut it in linen, hemmed the crescents, applied lace and pleated it. I then pressed and starched it and inserted the boning (reed), then stitched the pleats closed at the back.

30. linen crescent ready for hemming

linen crescent ready for hemming

31. lace applied to the crescents

lace applied to the crescents

32. pleating!

pleating!

33. pleated and with lace decoration

pleated and with lace decoration

34. stitching the pleats close once the boning is inserted

stitching the pleats close once the boning is inserted

 
Next, the bag was attached, (a simple circle gathered onto a band), and the long wide lace lappets finished the look

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On the day of the shoot, I wore the following items:

Silk stockings (American Duchess) and C17th shoes

Linen chemise with lace cuffs,

Fully boned stays

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trying the headgear without the hair… weird…

 

Silk petticoat (in red)

Decorated petticoat with the fringe

Mantua,

Fontage (worn over my own hair and curly hairpieces)

Jewellery by Gemmeus

 

I was surprised to notice that the stomacher needed only a very, very basic pinning at the top –  as once the train is hooked up to the belt (here a length of wide metallic braid) at the back, the tension keeps the belt taunt, and stomacher in place. The whole outfit looked far better that I had ever hoped – as, let’s face it, a fontage is a bit of a silly thing to wear on your head! But once everything was on, it all fell into place, and it all felt not only comfortable, but also correct and entirely in keeping in with the environs. Needless to say, I felt great – and didn’t want to take the thing off…..

We arrived on the location in a good time and managed to shoot our stuff way before we were overcome by glamorously bewigged girls in sexy lingerie, brandishing swords, fans and rapiers….  More information on the shoot can be found here: https://adamselindisdress.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/early-mantua-and-la-maupin-style-shoot/

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http://www.priorattire.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabrics for historical costuming

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We all know that very often it is the fabric that makes The Dress. A wisely chosen set of materials will bring out the beauty of the design, will enhance the tailoring – or even hide some dressmaking mistakes.  A less than perfectly sewn dress will look amazing if the fabric is right – and a fantastically well stitched creation can be badly marred by a poor fabric choice.

Naturally what fabrics we chose differs – all depends on the purpose of the garment. If it is a one off frock cobbled together for a friend’s fancy dress party,  you may not want to spend a lot on expensive silks; however if you are planning  a creation that you are going to wear a lot, or if you strive for authenticity, the correct fabric choice is essential.

In this post I shall mostly concentrate on the historical accuracy and will try to provide a basic reference on which fabrics to use in which period. The list is aimed at providing a very general overview, so I won’t be getting into details like which weight for which garment in which century – would take ages and would make for a very, very long post indeed!  I have learnt a lot over the last 20 or so years in the field – but am not omniscient, so if you know of an article or a reference that would be helpful with researching which fabrics were used  when, please post in a  comment and I will add it onto the article –  it would be very much appreciated!

I will also get a list of providers of the fabrics I use most often.

So, there we go!

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Medieval.

Linen:  for undergarments, shirts, basic tunics, lining, gambesons, etc. Bleached linen for the unmentionables for the wealthy, unbleached, natural one for the less fortunate. Other colours ( reds, blues, browns, pinks etc were used for tunics, kirtles, linings etc. Different weights were used for different  garments.

Wool –  different weights and types were used – including   patterns – herringbone and diamond were apparently quite popular in the dark ages and Viking era for example; fulled wools tend to become popular from 9-10 century, whereas plain weaves were generally available throughout the period. napped and sheared wool start to appear in the 14th century too ( broadcloth, wool satins etc)

Silk –  plain weaves and some patterns are used from mid medieval period in the north of Europe,  earlier in the south – proximity to Byzantium and the silk route.  Available only for the wealthiest, really – and even then was used sparingly considering its great value. Plain weave, early taffetas ( 13-14th century), basic brocades and damasks were used. Silk velvet starts to appear in the end of 13th century, if I remember well, and by 15th has evolved into several styles ( cut, uncut patterns etc).

Raw silk was probably used more by the steppe tribes, and duponi was not used much either, apparently.

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14th century dress in wool, lined with linen

Cotton – although there are some references to cotton imported from India, they are very rare – fustian was used however (cotton/linen blend) and there were several fustian manufactures established on the continent.  In England cotton as a name is used in the 16th century and most likely refers to woolen cloth!

Great article on the use of cotton in the medieval, Elizabethan and Stuart era – here 

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silk/linen brocade, fleur de lys pattern

16-17th century

 Linen – different weights any types ( cambric, lawn, Holland, buckram etc) – for undergarments, linings, ruffs, coifs, interlining, aprons, doublets, waistcoats etc

Wool – lots of varieties by that time, including blends with linen and silk; looks for broadcloth, scarlet, kersey, worsted, stammel, russet, cotton etc ); also, as mocado ( velvet using wool pile instead of silk)

Silk – again, lots of silk types used, in a variety of weights, patterns, blends ( cloth of gold, cloth of silver, tinsel) and grades. Look for satins, damask, velvets,grosgrain, sarcenet, taffets) Different types and patterns were popular in different decades. A good link showing some types- here 

Don’t be tempted by duponis ( existed, but very rare as second rate fabrics – contrary to today, slubs were frowned upon apparently), noil, stretch or crushed velvets…. Not period….

(Duponi lovers, do not despair, modern powerwoven duponi has hardly any slubs at all may be used as an alternative to taffeta. just avoid the slubby stuff where it shows…)

Cotton – see medieval note

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Tudor gown in cloth of silver

 18th century

Linen – underwear,  waistcoats, breeches, also dresses in the second half of the century ( especial pattern or printed) – polonaises, jackets etc

Wool – breeches, waistcoats, coats, capes, cloaks, riding habits, travelling outfits, uniforms etc

Cotton – at last! Getting more and more popular – and cheaper (cotton from the West Indies and America) and with the Industral Revolution on its way, the invention of the Spinning Jenny and more advanced mechanical looms  meant being ablt to make cotton cloth in Englad too (  1774 saw the lift of the heavy tas levied on  brit produced cotton – it was established in the beginning of the century to protect native textile industry, and its revoking opened the marked for locally made cotton cloth :-); I believe the first cotton velvet is mentioned in 1790 or thereabouts – there is an extant male waistcoat made in cotton velvet in the States.

Silk –  taffetas, brocades, damasks, velvets –plain or very specific patterns –famous Spitalfields silks ; used for dresses, petticoats, coats, breeches, waistcoats, frockcoats etc

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striped silk for a polonaise

19th century

Linen, as before

Cotton – including muslin, lawn, voile and plain cottons for dresses, pelisses, breeches, linings etc also undergarments including corsetry

Wool – coats, habits, suits, cloaks, dresses, uniforms,  – everything goes! A variety of types and weights are used, broadcloth, superfine, shallon, worsted etc

Silks – velvets ( still mostly silks, cotton velvets or plushes used as furnishing fabrics too), tafettas, grosgrain, damasks, brocades, twills, satins etc – a great range of fabrics of different weights, weave and patterns used

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more stripes , wool this time, made into a Victorian bodice

 A few generic notes

*avoid man-made, artificial fibres whenever you can. Polyester taffetas may be cheap – and not only do they looks so, but they are a nightmare to work with too.

*Sometimes (well, almost always!) quality will hit your pocket hard – but in the long run, it is worth it.  Don’t go for plastic embroidered duponis etc – save up  for a month or two and get plain silk taffeta; if you cannot afford a dress in silk velvet, use a cheaper silk, or blend – or wool – a very period thing to do, plus it is easier to clean.

*Hunt for bargains –  I have searches set up on ebay looking for  different silk fabrics and sending me reports every week – some of the listings are useless, but sometimes you can  stumble upon real treasures! Go to sales at silk mills, fabric stores etc.

*If possible,  do not skimp on fabric. True, sometimes you get  a fantastic end of roll silk –  and there is only so much of it – then piece the panels up and of course use it – but if you are at liberty to  get the proper amount of the fabric for the project, do so.

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Silk brocade, Victorian

Trims and embellishment.

More or less similar things apply – avoid artificial stuff!  Elastic plastic lace will spoil any Victorian outfit, rayon guipure  lace will clash with proper Elizabethan fabrics. Also mark that different type of lace or braids were used in different periods – putting a cluny lace onto a 12th century bliaud instead of tablet woven braid will not do you any favours.

Again, please mark all those notes are for historical attire – if you are making fantasy, bridal, steampunk, etc garments, you have  much more freedom with the fabrics and embellishment choice – I  love experimenting with the alternative bridal styles or Steampunk looks as my imagination can run wild and I can go for the trims and interesting fabrics that I cannot use for historical gear!

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steampunk wedding gown using poly taffeta and satin – looks ok, but was an absolute nightmare to work with!

 Suppliers, in no particular order

Historical textiles – great quality  broadcloth, superfine and other

Hainsworths – wool

Whaleys – cotton, linen, silk

Bernie the Bolt – wool, linen, cotton – frequents UK and Europen markets – no website:-(

 Herts Fabrics – wool, linen –

 Renaissance fabrics – wool, linen, silks – lovely stuff!

Sew curvy – corsetry fabrics ( coutil, broche, drill)

 James Hare – lovely silks,  great lace,- you will need a trader’s account

 Silk Baron – silk velvet ( 80/20%), taffetas, duponi

Quartermasterie – lovely silks, also stunning silk velvet on cotton backing  – no website though! frequents UK markets

Harrington Fabrics – lace, silks, lovely brocades  – trader’s account needed

Watts&Co – church fabrics, absolutely gorgeous but very pricey ( looking at   £100 – £250 per metre, many fabrics made to order only)

Sartor – – historical textiles –  – great fabrics, do check the fibre composition information, as many of the stunning historical patterns are made in blends – half silk, half viscose:-(! some are 100% silk though and are a great find.

MacCulloch and Wallis – cloth, lace, haberdashery

Duran textiles AB – lovely silks and cotton prints, suitable for 18th and 19th century

Tudor Tailor – lovely wools suitable for Tudor and later costuming, plus linen and calico

Wm.Booth Draper –  great fabrics especially for 18th and 19th century

Happy shopping!

 

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Hot summer 1914

Edwardian Outfits July 2014-20

 

After the  WWI event at Hereford one thing became apparent – I  cannot wear my original mourning outfit in these temperatures! it was only silk, but black, and having it drenched with sweat was just a crime. So for the next WWI event, in St. Neots, I decided to  whiz something simple and more appropriate – a light cotton summer dress.

I had only 1 day to do just that – recent house move meant I  had to finish some commissions early and catch up with others after the move – but I managed to save up 1 day to get the frock sorted. I had a lovely cotton with embroidered border in stock (  to make one of the stock item dresses…) and decided to use that. my inspiration came from a few fashion plates picturing a skirt and a bodice/jacket combination – you can see the board here.

The whole thing turned out to be a bit more complex than I had originally imagined. The top needed a sitted waist ( underbodice) with the looser , longer layer being mounted directly on it. I did not have time to make a late Edwardian corset in lighter fabric, and my black one showed through the layers – so I had to use my early Edwardian corset – shorter and without suspenders, but it turned out to work just fine. I also added some vintage lace to the borders of the jacket…

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fitted waist under the looser layer…

The only pair of shoes I had, were my new Gibsons from American Duchess – and so to match them I found a scrap of beige silk in the scrap box and made a belt  to compliment the shoes – whatever as left of the silk went on the hat…

And so, the layers were –  The stockings, drawers and the chemise with a corset on top….

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then the petticoat in light cotton and lace…

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Camisole  and the skirt next…

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And then the jacket. It can be worn in 2 ways – as a cross over…

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or open in front, revealing more of the decorative waist…

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back view…

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 The hat was an original item, restyled just a bit – added silk bow, velvet ribbon , some bling and ivory and brown feathers.

 On the day I forgot my gloves – and felt half naked wondering around town looking for a shop that would sell anything suitable… Fortunately, lovely ladies in Beales found s the last few pairs of net gloves somewhere in the stock room – and they were perfect!

  Here am leaving for a day’s work on the second day – this time with a parasol as sun was merciless!

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The event itself, ran by St. Neot’s museum  and Black Knight Historical, was great – we chatted to the public, recruited nurses, encouraged young lads to join up – and talking about the impact the great War had on the history and everyday life…

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– and in between all that we sat at a nearby vintage cafe, enjoying amazing scones, tea and lemonade… If you ever are in St. Neot’s this place is well worth a visit –  Betty Bumbless Vintage tea Rooms.

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 I also spent some time making sketches  – to be used by one of the local artists –  and it turned out to be a real magnet for the public, and inspired a few very interesting discussions about the war fashions….

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At the end of the day we indulged in a little photoshoot session in the cafe – their first floor turned out to be a time machine – styling was mostly WWII, but generic enough for us to have a go at a few pictures…

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  Lastly, we paid our respects at the local monument…

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  All through the weekend the temperatures were scorching – and the new dress worked well – it was light, breathed well and I felt much cooler than in the black silk – success. in fact, it proved so popular that I got some more of the fabric to make another one, this time for sale:-). Considering the fact that in the next 4 years we will be doing quite a lot of the WWI events, I suspect I will be making a few more summer dresses, day dresses and walking suits… a few of them are already done, available in our shop! ore to come over the next few months….

 Credits:

 Photography – as always, huge thanks to Pitcheresque Imagery

 Shoes – American Duchess,

 Clothes ( my dress, Blue silk dress, and Lucas’ breeches (  try as I might, I simply couldn’t get out of making theses…) – Prior Attire

 gloves – Beales

Heritage Festival Peterborough 2014

Peterborough Heritage

 

You have seen the gown and how it was made ( and how much it cost..) in the previous post ( for those who missed it – it is here), and as promised, we have some pictures from the event for you:__ The festival  weekend brought  interpreters and reenacors  ranging from Bronze Age to WWI; there were markets stalls with merchandise, parades, shows, displays, royal audiences etc – a few pictures snatched by Lucas below . Many thanks to the organizers – Stuart Orme from Vivacity – and Ian Pycroft from Black Knight Historical who provided a good few touches too!

enjoy!

 

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and a couple of lovely images from John Grant!

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looking forward to the next year’s! 🙂

The Widow and the Bride – 1910 corset and a modern sheer

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Well, since I had the 1914 mourning dress sorted, I also needed proper underwear. I have never been particularly fond of the WWI fashions, but since we are getting more and more bookings for that period for the summer,  it makes sense to be prepared. Also, since the current WWI interest is going to last for another 4 years or so due to the centenary,  we are bound to be either booked for shows, or to make clothing from that era. And so,  I bought a pattern and decided to have a go at it next time I was due for our monthly Stitch and Bitch session at Sew Curvy.

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on my way to Sew Curvy – Cuckoo Lane in its spring glory!

PatternNehalenia patterns, 1910 corset – earlier than the WWI, but this type of corset was worn generally till at least mid decade if not longer – a quick look at other sources confirmed it, and so  the decision was made.  I adapted size 12 – with the bust from size 16, as specified by my measurements.

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materials – bits of cotton broche, black – remnants form other projects. Alas, it  turned out that they cane from different batches and one piece was darker than the other – but the difference in hue would hardly matter on an underwear corset.

boning –  flat and spiral steels enclosed in channels made with herringbone tape.

All components,apart from the lace came from Sew Curvy shop.

 

mock up first…

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mock up cut in calico…

 

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mock up boned using masking tape – stupidly I didn’t notice at that point that bones do not go all the way down, so had to trim them later… Irritating…

 

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mock up on! not too bad, just minor adaptations 🙂

 

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it felt surprisingly comfortable, and gave a much better silhouette than I had envisaged! loving the smooth fit over the hips.

 

Once I saw how flattering the corset can be, I set to making the real thing with renewed enthusiasm…

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pieces cut!

 

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and stitched together…

 

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seam detail on the outside…

 

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and on the inside… after the first trials the flat felled seams were a joy to make! the trick is to pre-press the seam allowance on the folding over piece – makes stitching it much , much easier!

 

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the innards…

then  eyelets were inserted…

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and then the boning:-)

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the whole thing was bound in cotton binding

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and it was time to try it on…. 🙂

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not too shabby!

 

very pleased with the fit – just need some nice lace to put on top, and the make and attach suspenders:-)

And while I was having fun with the  kit for my mourning kit, Julia was working on a sweet bridal sheer – a few taster pictures below, official photos not disclosed yet! 🙂

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sheer mesh, silk satin and lace – divine combo!

 

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it is progressing well 🙂

 

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getting there…..

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and done!

If you like the look of the sheer corset, check out Sew Curvy courses –  the was a recent course on sheer corsetry, but i believe the dates for the next one will be announced soon!

 

once back home I sorted out the suspenders…

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trying to puzzle them out was a bit of a challenge at first, but it is not rocket science!

 

and then added lace and a velvet ribbon, flossed the bones for that extra security and fashionable look  –  and the corset was ready.  Here worn over my late Edwardian chemisette and drawers, the stockings and shoes from American Duchess

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you can see the differences in the different hues of the broche quite clearly here…

 

Altogether, I am very well pleased with the thing – it is comfortable, gives a much better silhouette than I had expected, and above all, serves its primary function – this type of corsets did not aim a waist reduction ( though there is some!), but at streamlining the body, so that the loose, close fitting garments of the era ( hobble skirts especially) looked smooth, flowing down the body in a relatively undisturbed fashion.

In fact, I liked them so much I made 5 others, in different sizes, as a trial batch for our online shop ( news on that shortly) – we will be offering them as off the peg items alongside other corsetry items (  Regency, mid Victorian, late Victorian, early Edwardian) in standard sizes 10-18 🙂

The ones I made as a trial  were photographed one weekend in a WWI undergarment shoot  with Pitcheresque Imagery– a picture-full report on that here – and the teaser below:-)

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Middle class, middle century – 1650-60 bodice and Blickling Hall Spring Faire

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 Another event and and yet again  I had to refresh my wardrobe – this time just augmenting my mid 17th century stuff. We were hired to provide interpreting services at a multi-period event at Blickling Hall – again, organized by Black Knight Historical. I was portraying  a lacemaker, whereas Lucas was delving into the realm of the alchemy, astrology and early science. The event was to be a 3 days one, so although I had some of my old kit, I though that getting another bodice would  not go amiss, especially if the temperatures are high…

 I set my hear on a bodice based on the pattern in Norah Waugh book.  materials were olive wool and mustard linen lining, with plain linen foundation.

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the innards, boned with reed

 

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‘have time to completely hand stitch the thing, but at least managed to finish the insides 😉

 

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sewing on the ribbon…

 

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foundation and top layer ready, now the lining

 

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lining in, finishing touches – eyelets n the cuffs, worked with a silk thread

 

Altogether I was very please with how the pattern worked – and it was relatively easy to put the things together – the most troublesome part was getting all the layers in the armhole working correctly – there are 4 layers: sleeve, oversleeve, the wing, and the bodice – so rather a lot!

I wore the bodice without stays, but found it was not boned sufficiently to support my bosom or my back ( 7 hours sitting  and making lace does make your back ache,…), but when worn over a bodiced petticoat, it  worked great!

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getting ready – lacing the bodiced petti

I even had time to make a matching skirt ( a simple affair- rectangular piece of fabric cartridge pleated to the waistband). With the  existing items, i found it was fun to mix and match the set so it was different every day:-)

day 1 – just my old set…  petticoat, a wool skirt, linen apron, and a woolen bodice

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day 2 –  the new bodice, on unbodiced petticoat, laced with green silk ribbon

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 and day 3 – bodiced petticoat,  2 wool skirt – but a different skirt on top 🙂 bodice laced with black this time, and I added plain linen cuffs

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mixing and matching was great fun – I also need to get a few more collars, neckerchiefs and cuffs as they will change the look of the outfit  too 🙂

 The hat was from Mike the Hat, btw :-), i simply added an antique silk ribbon to it, and a buckle. The cuffs, neckerchief, the coif, forecloth etc were all made according to Janet Arnold book ( Patterns of fashion 4)

 The event in itself was very interesting – we tested  our tent for the first time after the fire – we had to get bits replaced, including all the poles and the structure held – and didn’t  leak over the first rainy night and the thunderstorm on saturday…

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 outside was wet – but inside we spent 3 lovely nights, dry and warm on our wooden bed with fur and wool covers, listening to either the rain or the hooting of very active owls:-)

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after the wet beginning, the weather was fine – warm, sunny and  perfect for being outside, enjoying the fantastic surroundings, during the day we were both busy ( we were told there was on average over a 1000 people visiting each day!),  but even from our tent we could see the falconry display, shows, arming the knight and equestrian shows. after the public was gone, we took photos – and walked around  the grounds – a truly fantastic place!

a few pictures from the event:

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Lucas by day, drafting astrology charts, advising his patients and educating the young …

 

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and being dashing after hours…

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hard at work…

 

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Eve was telling the future using her magical crystal ball in her dark mysterious tent – but we managed to lure her out into the sun for a few photos – here she is wearing a Prior Attire outfit too 🙂

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Tudor kitchen was feeding the participant lavish meals…

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Eleanor looks like setting up a shop to flog the armour…

 

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horses were provided by Steamhorse

 

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the organizer, praying up for some smashing weather no doubt – successfully so too!

 

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Graham looking a bit scary….

 

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 and that’s all folks! more photos on Lucas’ photography page – Pitcheresque Imagery.

 and if you ever are in Norfolk, do visit the hall – it is well worth it! Blickling Hall

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Hanseatic King’s Lynn festivities

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1475 – The Hanse House in King’s Lynn is build, following the treaty of Utrecht granting Die Hanse privilages and making King’s Lynn one of the Hanseatic trade towns. To celebrate the event,  we teamed up with a variety of folks, all brought together by Black Knight Historical – and spent  a day participating in the festivities and talking about 15th century life in the town.

 

I used to do a lot of 15th century living history, but not recently – so most of my kit was old – or too posh for the role I was going to play – a hanseatic merchant/apothecary’s wife. Danzig-bred wife to be more precise – and since I spent most of my youth in Danzig ( Gdansk), it was a most appropriate role. It called for a suitable garment –  wealthy, but not over the top, a bit behind the high fashions, but practical and stating my status clearly. A decision was made and I settled for a version of Rogier van der Weyden style frock – wool, lined with linen, very, very full, trimmed with fur.

the inspiration board on Pinterest –  here

The frock took 7 metres of fabric – and the same amount of lining – the hem circumference is over 6m… It was relatively easy to make – it as the veil that was more problematic.  I set my heart on making a frilled veil you can see in the portraits – I and making the frill ( 14m of linen was frilled…), hemming it and hemming the veil took almost as long as making the frock… not particularly happy with it, so will look for other ways to achieve the look I think. Still, it looked ok  for some pics.

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It was very warm, so I wore the frock only for the procession and riding (and pictures), and while at the stall, I was a bit cooler in my kirtle:-)

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very happy with the new garment – and love the way the wool drapes – a few pictures below…

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Was also happy with my new belt from  Bayley Heritage Castings, and shoes and pattens from NP Historical Shoes

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Lucas spent most of the day at the stall as well, chatting about late 15th century medical lore…

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His services were sought out by the nobility  as well…

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But before we finished, he quickly changed an assumed his other role – that of a photographer, and captured  some of the people at the event…

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Eleanor in her Duchess Cecily Neville role…sporting a gown  I made for her last year

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On Sunday we stayed long enough to take part in the parade…

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and shoot some product pictures of jewellery for Gemmeus… which, by the way was the easiest robbery ever – it was enough to say we are having a photoshoot and  the rings and pendants were safely deposited in my purse in no time at all. it robbery was somehow hindered by the fact that Nicky from Gemmeus knew  where I live – so alas, had to return all that lovely bling after the shoot…. 😦

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And take some good photos of my posh frock –  Memlinc brocade, lined with silk, silk velvet trim – all handstitched on holiday a few years ago….

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All together , a great weekend was had by all – hoping we will be back next year!

 

Credits:

Photography – Pitcheresque Imagery – more pictures form the event here

frocks – Prior Attire 

Jewellery – Gemmeus

Belt and a ring – Bayley Heritage Castings

Shoes and pattens – NP HIstorical Shoes

event organization – Black Knight HIstorical

Horse s& team – Steamhorse