Saturday, November 22, 2014

A New Style of Winter Bonnet

I made a new style of bonnet this week, copied from a mid 19th century bonnet made in what looks like plaid silk. For mine, I used some plaid wool.

The brim was cut as a rectangle with shaped ends. I piped round the edges and lined it with pale yellow cotton. It is interlined with cotton batting and hand quilted along lines of the plaid. Simple, but effective.

The crown was pleated to fit, and a rectangular curtain hand gathered and whip stitched to the piped neckline edge.

I didn't quilt the crown and the curtain is lined only with cotton. No batting, as I feared that would make it too bulky.

And an inside shot:

I also made another bonnet using the winter hood pattern I made and posted years ago. This version is made in black velveteen and blue silk with trimming of purple velvet ribbon.

It's lined with black sateen and interlined with cotton batting.

I wasn't sure if I'd like the purple with the black and blue, but now that its done I quite like it!

I finished the 1860's dress this past week also. It will soon be on its way to its new home.






Love,
Sarah

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Random Things in November

I awoke early this morning and went downstairs to put the tea kettle on.When I opened the blinds I was greeted by the sight of softly falling snow. Already enough had fallen to dust the ground like powdered sugar on a cake. It made me happy. Christmas is coming!

The boys are preparing mysterious programs at school that they gleefully tell me are "secrets". There is much whispering and giggling. Sometimes I will catch Judah singing the Chipmunk Christmas song and when he sees that I've noticed, he turns red and clamps his mouth shut. Apparently all will be revealed later this month at a special event at the school but until then, parents are to be kept in the dark.

This school year has been a bit rough for little David so far. He is a boy who deeply needs routine and predictability. His teacher took a leave of absence soon after school began and David had a very hard time dealing with that. Throughout the fall, several reports were sent hone about his acting out. Once he was sent home from school. He lost bus privileges for a few weeks because he was so out of control. I felt so guilty. David has always been " different". One on one he does excellently but he has delayed social skills and being in a group is difficult for him as he doesn't know how to interact as part of a group. On one hand, pulling him out of school and homeschooling him again seemed like the best option. At home with me he could learn and behave himself and would be able to pursue his own interests. But on the other hand, he *must* learn to interact with his peers, respond to authority figures other than myself and develop the social skills he needs to function as an independent adult.

I had no idea what to do. Then the school psychologist requested permission to do an autism spectrum study on David. I agreed, and earlier this week was able to meet with 9 people who work with and for David to discuss the results. It was determined he is high functioning autistic. Immediately an educational plan was outlined and submitted for my approval. It was a very long meeting, and I was overwhelmed and humbled by the depth of care and concern Davids teachers and other professionals have for him. They are committed to helping him in all his problem areas (mostly social) while also ensuring his education progresses normally. I am so blessed and thankful! The past few weeks David has done wonderfully in school and I was so proud of him when his bus driver pulled up next to my van a few days ago to tell me how well David has been behaving on the bus lately.

While the boys are in school, Anne is busy being a two year old. Above is a picture of her in her Halloween costume. She loves dressing up as a "Prin-thess" and then playing with cars, tractors and trains while thus femininely attired. She has a very large family of babies that she attends with adoring passion. She likes to think she can cook so whenever she manages to get it into the cupboards she mixes things in bowls. Her latest creation involved chili seasoning, marshmallows, a banana, half a bag of sugar, a lot of apple juice and the peel of a clementine. (She ate the clementine).

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving. Its such a lovely time of year!

Current Project: 1860's Dress


Looking forward to the last Hobbit movie! Maybe this time I will actually make a costume for it. I'm not counting on it, though.

Love,
Sarah

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finished Open Robe

I finished the robe but the petticoat took me a bit longer to make. Finally, earlier this week, I was able to complete it!

I am pleased with how it came out, although it is a bit large for me. Since I draped the pattern on the dress form and designed it to be able to fit several sizes, I would certainly tailor it more to my specific shape for next time.

The skirt panels are two 45" panels seamed down the center back, tightly pleated at the back with two pleats at side front skirts. This gives a pleasing flow to the skirts. The skirts move very gracefully, although I think for casual wear a round gown is much better.

The drawstrings do a good job of closing the front. On the form, they tie shut at a 40" bustline.

I am smaller, and uncorseted in these photos, but by drawing up the strings more the robe fit well enough. (Excuse the weird facial expression. Seems my young photographer enjoys taking candid shots, and soon lost interest in a serious endeavor).

I made the petticoat using the same bodice pattern, but with the opening moved to center back and the neckline and armscyes cut down a bit.

The back was pleated, with a few side front pleats.

I used a yellow cotton for the petticoat. For "work" wear a darker petticoat would be much better.

I need to work more on a better regency hairstyle. Due to an unfortunate string of events involving unintentional black chemical hair dye in the spring of 2013, subsequent black hair dye to keep roots from showing, eventual detestation of the dull synthetic black, experimentation with hair bleach to get out the black (yet not all the 3+ years worth of henna) I ended up with dark blonde/light brown hair whose color was actually similar to my natural color. However, it was so damaged and weakened I had to cut about 5" off and after a few egg and mayo protein treatments I dyed it with my beloved henna and an equal amount of indigo. It is already so much better feeling and thicker, but now quite short, alas.

OK, so the open robe is done. Now to start thinking about a Christmas dress for Anne Victoria and to see how I can turn this pattern into a short gown.

Love!

Sarah

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Open Robe Progress

My very first open robe is nearly done! Amidst the extreme chaos that a two year old girl brings to a household (the boys have nothing, NOTHING, on their sister - I'm so glad I have just one girl) I've been able to find odd minutes here and there to work on it. (Did I mention Anne is a holy terror? She has pure and innocent motives in all she does, but MY GOODNESS.)

I decided to use the bodice lining as the front bodice for this robe. The 1790-1800 open robe in Costume in Detail is cut similarly. The bodice is lined in white linen.

The Costume in Detail robe closes with drawstrings at the center front. Once my channels are sewn I'll run tape strings through.

All that's left at this point is handwork. Basically - a crap load of hemming. Then I'll need to make a petticoat.

I had just enough scrap left to piece a long strip for a possible neckline ruching. Not sure yet if I will add it or not. The neckline is quite low, so a ruffle may help raise it up a bit. A neckerchief could work just as well. We will see.

Love,
Sarah

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Versatile Bodice

I recently draped a new pattern for a "basic" late 18th/early 19th century bodice. I had a few ideas for gowns and needed a starting point. So, this pattern resulted. It is copied in style from several originals and depictions in Costume In Detail and Patterns of Fashion 1.

It has a fitted back with a drawstring front that has a low cut inner front bodice that pins shut under the bustline. I've found this feature to be pretty darn useful. It smooths the silhouette at the bustline, anchors the garment to the figure and, in some instances, works well as light support for "undress" when you don't feel like wiggling into stays. Currently nursing in a D cup these offer enough support to make me feel comfortable and supported, though its certain it is not a fashionably supported shape.

To test out my last version of the draped pattern, I made a little drawstring bodice or jacket. I had 1 yard of fabric and it was *just* enough for this, including fitted elbow length sleeves. Close cutting, but it worked!

To make sure the back covered the waistline of the dress its displayed over, I added a tiny pleated peplum.

A drawstring at neck and underbust closes the whole thing. Very simple really! I can't wait to adapt it to make other garments.

I must confess, the main reason I made this is because I have long planned to sew an open robe, and needed a bodice pattern like this to do so. That's up next.

Forgive my taped and crappily rigged up mannequin. She has seen better days and has spent most of her life being loaned out. She will be respectfully disposed of as soon as I can afford a replacement. Until then, I won't judge her.

Autumn always puts me in a regency-esque mood. Not sure why. But it does, and I feel the need to re read all Jane Austen's novels.

Love,
Sarah

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Children

I have been in a Christmasy mood lately and once the cheap costumes and buckets of candy from Halloween are gone, I plan to start decorating for the holidays. I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to set up the tree, but, there's no rule that says I *have* to wait, right?
I wanted to get a headstart on Christmas cards. I do not send out a ton but I do like to send a photo card of the children to old friends and extended family. It is fun to see how they grow and change from year to year.

I tried to take a few photos the other night, as it has been an unusually pretty autumn and the dying grasses and evening sky made a nice background. Of course, pictures of five little children never come out quite as I envision. Grass stains, food smears and unruly hair. But thats okay, because that's how kids are.

Maybe we will try again a different day. However, I get the feeling that these are as good as I'll get! At least until they are older!

Happy Autumn from all of us! It is a beautiful time to be alive.

Love,
Sarah

Thursday, October 16, 2014

8 Years Old!

My little man is 8! Happy Birthday David!

You are a beautiful boy, David. You have a beautiful soul.

You are artistic, detail oriented and musically talented. You hear songs in everything. The leaves falling to the ground, water over rocks in the creek bed, wind in the grass.

You are a good reader and writer, and someday you will be a doctor, you say. To help those who hurt, because, you say, everyone needs to know there's someone who wants to help them feel better.

You are a gracious young man, always curious and always thoughtful and pondering. I love you! I'm so glad I've had you for 8 years, and hope to have you for eighty eight more!