Sunday, August 17, 2014

HSF '14: #15 The Great Outdoors: A Regency Spencer

I really like having the challenges posted well in advance, allowing for planning. And procrastinating. And changing my mind because I procrastinated too long. (Have you noticed a theme yet?)

Initially, I wanted to make a riding habit. But I'm not yet confident in my 18th century sewing to have tackled a habit without a pattern. I finally did make a mock-up, but the fit was just awful. I need to spend a lot more time on it, but I don't have a ton of motivation to do so right now.

Lucky for me, sometimes inspiration strikes early and then sits. Case in point: this spencer. I was taken with the idea some months ago: I simply HAD to make a blue cotton velveteen spencer. I HAD to. I found the mockup I'd made ages ago (roughly 3 years ago) and the fit was still good, so out came the pattern and the blue velveteen. In quite short order, I had a jacket. I'm not totally sold on the pale lining (but it's growing on me! A lot!), but I'd already put the sleeves in. Maybe some decorative braiding some such will help perk it up. And of course, I had it finished to the point of closures and sleeve hemming, and tossed it aside in favour of something else. (Carefully. My cat is mostly grey but his fur is banded with white and black too. It clings to and shows up on EVERYTHING.)

I really need to stop doing that.

But then it worked out that since I couldn't finish the habit without rushing, and a spencer would be worn outside, especially with long sleeves... Ta da! It got finished :) It did take a bit longer than I was hoping it to. I came home Friday with the intent to finish it that night, but instead I washed and stored a whole bunch of veggies pulled from a friend's garden (we both came home with about 6 shopping bags of produce, and there's tons more to be harvested :D) and then the next day I woke up with a plague and spent the whole day pretty much sleeping. But today I feel much better, and finished it.

I also ended up hand-stitching the outside seams in place. It was pretty much impossible to photograph (I tried) but the layers wanted to bag out and wouldn't lay flat. Perhaps a good pressing would have done the trick, but I've never had luck with pressing velveteen, even with a towel underneath to protect the pile. I didn't always manage to keep the pale thread from showing on the outside, but hopefully the pile of the velveteen will keep it hidden :) It lays MUCH flatter now.

The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors
Fabric: dark blue cotton velveteen
Pattern: Sense and Sensibility Spencer Jacket
Year: 1810s?
Notions: 4 buttons, thread
How historically accurate is it?: In shape only, most likely. Cotton velveteen might be OK, but polyester lining and plastic buttons sure aren't ;)
Hours to complete: I didn't keep track. 6 or so.
First worn: Not yet (too hot!)
Total cost: The velveteen and buttons were gifted to me, and I used maybe 1/2 metre of the cream faux-silk that I got for $2/m... so about $1.


  1. Ok, this is crazy!!! First of all, your spencer is fabulous! I love the color including the pale lining!! This is so gorgeous!! Your buttons are wonderful! Secondly, I was just looking online for costumers who have made this pattern and was getting quite discouraged with the lack of those who have made it that really wrote about it. But, since you made it and it looks beyond fabulous, I think I will go ahead and get the pattern! You so rock!! I will make mine into a pelisse...but you have inspired me!! Third, yay!!! for fresh veges!!!

    1. Ok, I have to write more!! The back is so perfect. The color is great! I soooo cannot wait to make my own now!!!

    2. Gina you are so sweet :D I hope the pattern works out as well for you as it did for me; it went together so fast and with no particular issues to note (except I sewed the collars together with too big of an allowance, and that's because I didn't read the directions very carefully lol)

  2. Oh that is good to know fast is good...I cannot wait to get started! And I hope that you share pictures of you wearing your fabulous spencer!!!

  3. Wonderful finished piece! Love the fabric and the color contrast. Also, the tucker is quite nice as well - will be looking thru the rest of your blog for notes on that as well!

    1. I haven't posted about it yet, but it's planned for the near future :D

  4. Beautiful jacket, and it goes so perfectly with the dress.

    1. Thank you :3 I'm quite taken with the whole ensemble, all I need is a hat :D

  5. It looks just perfect, Crystal. :)


Road to Costume College 2018

Gosh, where did the first half of the year go? (I know where, winter was unusually long and dark and cold, and it's effect lasted longer...