13 July 2014

A completely documentable early 19th century hat for about $5, or a Cheap head dress one can wear with confidence

Mrs. C - that long title is for you. : ) 

The August 2nd Salem Maritime Festival is approaching a little too quickly and, thanks to competing commitments, I haven't trimmed as many bonnets as I'd like for the millinery shop that Kitty and I are creating. However I put together this little hat, which took less than two hours and cost about $5. Yes that's right, $5.

It's not the cutest thing in the world. But it's completely documentable for the early 19th century as you can see in the detail from this Ackerman print...

The description for this head dress reads: The hamlet hat of straw or chip, tied under the chin with white ribbon, and ornamented with two curled ostrich feathers, waving towards one side. This headdress belongs to the morning or walking costume.

My hat kind of looks like this one too!

This print comes from Fashion in the Era of Jane Austen by Jody Gayle. It's full of Ackerman prints dating from 1809-1820 and includes helpful descriptions. (Many thanks to Miss R. for this great gift!!)

I used a white plume, measuring 28 inches from end to tip, which was about $2 from a fabric store last fall...
 I ended up not using the little bow that's seen here.

...some vintage cotton/rayon grosgrain ribbon that hardly cost anything...

...and the 14 inch Ashland Straw Hat from Micheal's craft store. With a coupon, it was less than $3.

There isn't much noteworthy about its construction. I used the ribbon to hide the metal grommets.

 I tacked the feather in two places: at the tip...
...and the base.

 I tried to make sure the end of the feather dangles off the back...
...but because I only had one feather mine dangles less than the June 1811 example.

Looking at it from the front it's rather, well, fluffy. But you can see why it would be nice to wear on a breezy morning walk. Plus this meets the requirements for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #13: Something Under $10, making it the first time I can participate. Yea!

05 July 2014

c.1808 Girl's Frock

My sweet pea is quite fond of the little "history dress" she modeled in my last post--as am I since I'm finally making progress with her a little wardrobe. Given the busy summer ahead, I didn't want to fuss with pattern drafting and fitting since she grows like a dandelion, so I used the Kannik's Corner Girl's Frock pattern.

The construction is super simple. It's based on directions from the 1808 The Lady's Economical Assistant or The art of cutting out and making the most useful articles of wearing apparel without waste explained by the clearest directions, and numerous engravings, of appropriate and tasteful patterns. I used the pattern as a guide for cutting, but I didn't closely follow the directions during the construction process because I find directions hard to follow. Here's how this gown came together...

I choose a printed cotton from my stash that I think has a nice early 19th century look... 
...and reminds me of a swatch from Old Sturbridge Village.

I followed the pattern for cutting... 

... but I found that the gown's shape seemed too big and boxy 
so I chopped off several inches from the back.

Since the gown is essentially a rectangle, the sideseam under the arm has a little box pleat which adds shape.
As you can kind of see above, the pleat is stitched in place with prick stitches, 
much like the pleating on an 18th century English gown.
There were two options for the little sleeves: making them with a drawstring, as the original directions call for, or making a puffy sleeve.

 Because I didn't want to fuss with retying a little drawstrings that I think would become easily untied, I opted for poofy sleeves which I modeled after the sleeves on my 1812 ballgown.

 Like many 19th century gowns, the drawstring is unavoidable. There's a drawstring around the waist...
...which I made with self fabric.
And two drawstrings around the neckline. They're anchored at the top of shoulder: one ties in the center front and the other ties in back. Though this created an extra step I thought it would make adjusting the gown on a wiggly body a little easier.
 A view of the inside bodice, which is unlined.

The waist is set pretty high, but this seems in keeping with portraits from that era like like example below.

A c.1810 English portrait miniature of a young child, probably by James Leakey (1775-1865). Earle Vandekar of Knightsbridge

 The gown has two growth pleats along the skirt's hem...

 ...but the gown seems too short for this era. I need to let them out and add another panel to maintain the look. 

 Overall it's a good start to building a little wardrobe. To see a similar frock with stunning stitching, check out One Stitch Wonder from the blog Two Threads Back.

28 June 2014

Early 19th Century Girl's Gown

I finished my first toddler-sized "history dress" this past week. It's an early 19th century gown for the 1812 event in Saleem later this summer. To make sure it fits OK, my little one very proudly modeled it during a mini photo shoot for you all.

The photos were taken outside of the 1699 Great Friends Meeting House in Newport, RI. The building's exterior reflects its early 19th century appearance, making it a good location for early 19th century attire. To learn more about the GFMH, click here

FYI - this is an image heavy post. I'll share construction details and research in my next update.

 The three year-old standard silly pose.
 You can kind of see the drawstrings at the back of the gown.
 Showing off her colonial courtesy.

 A little hip hop stank.

 "Looking very far away."

 My favorite photo from the day.
A pretend surprise face.