Monday, December 1, 2014

1785 Swallowtail Jacket

I first fell in love with this jacket two years ago.  I probably found it on Pinterest, and followed it back to the V&A website.

Victoria & Albert Museum
 I zoomed in as far as I could on the front and back images and drew lines along the seam and fold lines:

Black lines are seams, blue lines are folds
This helped me see how the grain lines lay on each piece.  I drafted my own pattern, using the swallowtail jacket pattern I used for my Green Swallowtail Jacket as a guide.  I added a seam to the back to make it two pieces with an extra pleat to the tail.  I also lengthened the center points of the tail.  

On the right is the original back pattern piece, on the left are my newly-drafted back pieces.
The sleeve was the hardest part to draft, but I don't have pictures of that.  The original sleeve was in one piece and elbow-length, with just a dart at the back to give the curve at the elbow.  I used that dart to indicate the direction I needed to extend it in to make it two pieces and wrist-length.  

Once I had all my pieces, I tested the layout on the white cotton muslin I was planning to print to make sure that it would be enough.  I needed enough extra to make the ruffle around the neck (which I have yet to add).  

At this point I printed the fabric.  But before I cut it out, I used more plain cotton muslin to make a mockup:

(So I tried it on Anna the dress form with the stays, and tried it on myself without them - not sure why.  I was probably too lazy to bother with taking them off the dress form and putting them on myself.  :p)

The fit was pretty spot-on, but I did make some minor adjustments to the center front.  I ended up using the mockup as the lining, as well.  Then I cut out my printed fabric!

I adjusted the layout to avoid some of the flaws in the printing, but didn't bother with trying to match up the designs at the seams.  I knew my printing was not nearly accurate enough to make that work, and I would just drive myself crazy trying.

Once I had the lining in the sleeves, I had to adjust the fit a couple times.  First they were too loose and baggy, but then I took in the seams too much and they were too tight.  Finally I had to settle for them looking (to me) a little too big at the elbows in favor of comfort.  After all, my shift sleeves have to fit in there, too.  I kept a 4" slit open at the bottom of both sleeves so my hands could fit through.

I stitched the lining to the fashion fabric all around the bottom and front edges, leaving the neckline open to turn it right side out.  I also hemmed the sleeves by sewing the lining and fashion fabric edges right sides together with the bottom edge of the sleeve linings cut 1/2" shorter.  With a 1/4" seam allowance, this turns up the hem of the fashion fabric 1/4" on the inside, and makes a really neat finished edge.  Then I stitched the edges of the slits at the regular seam allowance.

After I finalized the fit, I stay-stitched the neckline edges together, then added a bias tape channel to the inside for the finished edge.  I threaded a drawstring through this channel so I could tighten up the neckline a little to prevent gappage.  I also put a couple of narrow reed bones in the front.

One of the details I loved about this jacket was the little buttons at the wrists:

I made my buttons with wooden button molds from Burnley & Trowbridge, covered with scraps of my printed fabric.

These pictures are from Halloween, after I wore the ensemble to work all day:

And in case you haven't seen the pics of me wearing the jacket at Colonial Williamsburg, they can be found in my previous post and on facebook.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Project Blog - My Wedding Dress!

Want to watch me build my wedding gown?

This is totally what it will look like.  Except not pink.  
Well you're in luck!  I am starting a new, private blog where I will be chronicling the entire project!  I am setting it up so only people with permission will be able to view the blog, so as to keep the design details secret until the big day.  Want permission?  Just send me an email at and I'll add you to the list and send you a link to the private blog.  You'll need to sign in with a google account to view it.

After the wedding, I will make the blog public so everyone can see.  This is just a special preview.  :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Autumn in 1785

I finished a new 18th Century ensemble!  Remember my block-printed fabric?  This is what I made with it:  

 I was attempting to recreate this jacket, which I fell in love with years ago:

Woman's Linen Jacket, by Unknown Maker, 1785-90  Victoria & Albert Museum

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Renaissance Festival Bridal Bash

Speaking of Renaissance...

Over Labor Day weekend I traveled home to Iowa for a bridal shower, fabric shopping, and a day trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival!  Three of my bridesmaids (two of which are my sisters) and my parents joined me.  Us girls all got dressed up in pretty costumes, and my dad took pictures of us. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Renaissance Shoes

American Duchess is doing another giveaway!  This one is for the new Renaissance shoe, Virginia:

The pre-order is open now through November 3, with a discount or free stockings available with purchase.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Epic Nerdiness

Today Brian the Engineer and I attended Tidewater Comicon at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  I wore my Amy Pond Kiss-o-Gram costume again, which was incredibly fun.  I got pictures with several other Doctor Who characters, including three Fourth Doctors:

 Two Tenth Doctors:

Eight Eleventh Doctors:

(The kids were my favorites!)

Look at the cute little Dalek!  *squee*

And one other Amy Pond:

I counted a total of nine TARDIS dresses, but I only got pictures with a couple:

This one was by far the coolest!

We got a lot more pictures, which I have posted on Facebook.

I meant to do more with the costume this time around, like add pockets to the vest and embroider the big "POLICE" on the back, but I didn't take the time.  My only additions were the button on the hat (which is supposed to be silver, but I couldn't find one I liked) and the red nail polish.

It's amazing how much more I felt like Amy Pond with this small detail.  :p

Monday, October 13, 2014

We Party Like It's 1805

The Regency Society put on a fantastic Trafalgar Day Ball on October  4!  Brian the Engineer and I attended, with new duds which I'll blog about soon:  

There was much dancing.

And festive decor:

"England expects that every man will do his duty"
I helped put together baskets of items donated by fellow RSV members, which we raffled off as prizes.

Our talented musicians

And there was a polar bear, of course.

All of the ball planning committee members who were in attendance were given special recognition:

And, naturally, posed with the polar bear.

I wore my new Green Sari Open Robe over my White Apron-Front Gown, and my new aquamarine collet necklace and earrings from Dames a la Mode.

Brian wore his new Black Wool Tailcoat with the Trousers I made just in time for the duel, and the white shirt and Green Brocade Waistcoat he's worn previously.  I still need to blog about all of his clothing items.  His shoes and buckles are also new, from Burnley & Trowbridge.

And we had fun playing around with the sonic screwdriver and the polar bear.  :p

As usual, there are more photos on Facebook.