Monday, January 19, 2015

HSM'15: #1: Foundations: A Corded Petticoat

I'm not really sure why I decided to make a corded petticoat. Three or four weeks ago, I might have been able to articulate it, but now, I don't remember. I guess I'd seen a few around the internet, and I loved the shape they give, so soft and lovely. And really, easier to store than a set of hoops.

So, after a bunch of research, I pulled out some fabric and random acrylic yarn and got to work. I would have preferred cotton yarn, but I'm still trying to sort my finances out after purchasing the car, and non-essential purchases are pretty much off the table for now (this will also make this session of belly dance classes very interesting since we're doing prop-work :D). But that's exciting in its own way, using only things I have on hand. We'll see how creative I manage to get with what I have :D

Front, over the 18th century bum roll.

At any rate, I had my heart set on a corded petticoat for the first HSM challenge this year. I googled "corded petticoat", which brings up lots of images, a few originals and lots of reproductions. There's a guide on, and I was completely inspired by Gina's lovely example, and it served as the basis of my "pattern".

Back, over the bum roll.

The petticoat is just two widths of fabric sewn together at the selvedges. I measured it to a finished length of about 30", with the length of the corded panel about 18". Some of the panel length was lost to off-grain fabric and of course the cording itself. The final length of the cording is 14.5", and there are 39 rows.

I debated for a couple of hours about whether to add another panel to keep cording, but then I found a list on Jennifer Rosburgh's old site with a chart of extant petticoats and the various lengths, widths, and rows of cording. I decided that 39 rows in 14.5" was plenty, and I could attach the waistband. I can always add the extra panel and more cording in the future if I decide to.

I'd also decided that I would starch the petticoat if I needed to. It was hard to judge how well the acrylic yarn would work out when the petticoat was a giant flat panel, but once I had the waistband on and could see how it looked, I was both startled and thrilled. It looked AWESOME! The cording providing so much stiffness and floof. I currently only have other time periods for undergarments, so it's shown here over an 18th century bum roll, an 1880s petticoat and an 1870s skirt.

Front, with bum roll, 1880s petticoat, and 1870s underskirt.

Back, with bum roll, 1880s petticoat, and 1870s underskirt.

I currently have it on Josephine (the dress mannequin) without the bum roll, but still in the skirts, which have a lovely A-line shape. I am just thrilled that it's done and how wonderful it looks, even without extra floof and no starching. Thrilled!

The Challenge: #1 Foundations
Fabric: poly-cotton broadcloth, acrylic yarn
Pattern: gleaned from the internet
Year: mid-1800s
Notions: a looooot of thread (I went through three bobbins-full)
How historically accurate is it?: The shape is wonderful! The materials are not accurate at all.
Hours to complete: SOOOOO MANY. Each row took 10 minutes, x39 rows... probably 8 hours of straight work.
First worn: Not yet.
Total cost: Free-to-me (all stash and also gifted items), but new materials would run in the $25 range

Sunday, January 18, 2015

HSF '14: #21: Re-Do: Tri-colour Knitted Sontag

I kind of really love the Re-Do challenges. They give me a chance to look back on what I've done and be re-inspired by previous challenges. Sometimes, quite literally.

I decided to Re-Do the Inspiration challenge -- Or rather, I started making something, and then realized that it was perfect for the Inspiration challenge, because the item I was making was inspired by another participant's item.

I'd never heard of a sontag (or bosom-friend) before, but it was so intriguing when Danielle of Stepping Into History posted hers for the HSF '13: Outerwear challenge. What a strange and interesting item! The pattern seemed easy enough, but I hadn't given it much serious thought until this past month or so. My cousin and I want to meet up some time soon and flounce around the mountains of British Columbia in Civil War-era gowns, and since I live in a place where winter can last 6 months and the air sometimes hurts my face, a torso wrap seemed like an awfully good idea. So when I finished my Christmas knitting, I started on the sontag.

I hadn't planned on submitting it as a challenge item at first, of course, until I remembered the moment when I first saw one. I don't think I ever would have made one without that inspiration, so it's only fitting that I should do so anyway. So I've Re-Do(ne) the Inspiration challenge: A knitted sontag.

I mashed up a couple of patterns, using the majority of instructions from this Peterson's 1862 Magazine as the basis. And for one of the first times ever, I kept detailed notes from when I started, partially because the instructions seemed awfully vague. These historic patterns were of course written in a time of different language patterns and when a person might reasonably be expected to know what the directions meant.

I started with 232 grams (including the bag and wrapper) of a 454 gram ball of Red Heart Comfort acrylic worsted-weight yarn. I used 5mm (US Size 8) needles, partly because that's what I have multiple needles, especially cabled needles, of, and thus that's what I had in my knitting bag the day I started. Now I'm going to get a bit confusing in measurements -- I also used about 4oz of copper worsted acrylic yarn. It was easier to read the ounces weight on my scale, whereas I weighed the blue on a postal meter, and the copper at home (lol). I also had roughly half of a 50g skein of white acrylic worsted yarn. I went with a dual-colour edging because the three colours are the same as the local hockey team's official colours (ahem, why no, I haven't been a fan since Gretzky played with them in the 80s... And also, the blue is not the same shade, but no one but us needs to know that, right?) I ended up with 51 grams of blue, and the leftovers of the white and copper barely weighed 4 grams together.

I did start with the Peterson's instructions, casting on 31 stitches. They go on to tell you to "widen and narrow" for one row, which the best approximation I could find was a Ravelry post that the poster took to mean yarn over and then knit 2 together, which would create a series of holes along the bottom. I quite like this design element as it leave a space for the waist cord to be threaded through. Doing this somehow created an extra stitch too, which made a great base for the pattern. I did like the row of purling every fifth row, sometimes I needed it to remember where I was in the pattern.

Perhaps a different weight of yarn and smaller needles would change the size somewhat, but I went with the Godey's instructions of widening the body every row until I had 18 blocks before separating one side, binding off the middle, and continuing with the other side. I went back to the Peterson's instructions then, narrowing every other row when I started the row on the inside edge. At first I worried this wouldn't narrow the "wings" fast enough, but they turned out fine. You need fairly long wings to wrap over the shoulder and around the body anyway. I went with a crocheted border instead of a knitted one, and then made some twisted ties and tassels. The result is a delightfully warm bosom friend :)

The Challenge: #21 Re-do (re-did #19 Inspiration)
Fabric: 100% Acrylic yarn
Pattern: A mash-up of Peterson's and Godey's magazines
Year: 1860-1862
Notions: a button for the back (not attached yet)
How historically accurate is it?: Pattern is 100% authentic! Acrylic yarn most certainly is not.
Hours to complete: 30 or so
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: new yarn would run $8-$16, but it all came from stash, so free-to-me

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HSF (now M) 15: Another Year of Fun!

There was some uncertainty regarding the future of the HSF. If organizing a world-wide sewing challenge is anything like trying to organize a world-wide writing challenge, I can defintely appreciate the amount of time and work that goes into it! I've never organized a world-wide anything, but the writing challenge I have done on a local scale, and it's honestly exhausting, even with helpers. While I love participating, I would wholeheartedly support whatever decision was made.

So I was super happy when it was announced that the challenge would continue, but much scaled-back to monthly challenges. Perfect! My very first thought after "yay!" was "maybe I will actually finish all of the challenges this year, AND all the ones I missed for the last two years".

I do so love making things hard on myself by being ambitious.

I have piles of plans for the last two years, and the upcoming challenges are starting to take form too. So, here is my current list of Things To Do!


January: Underthings: A corded petticoat. I've already started it :D
February: Colour Challenge: Blue: Unplanned, but a good 50% of my stash is blue so this should be easy
March: Stashbusting: While I don't have a lot of trims, I have LOTS of stashed items. Another easy challenge.
April: War & Peace: This one will require some thought...
May: Practicality: Right now I'm wanting some nice around-the-house items, like a skirt and bedgown, or maybe a house-dress.
June: Out of Your Comfort Zone: Maybe something 1830s? Those huge sleeves sure are intimidating!
July: Accessorize: Currently planning to start a knitted sontag/bosom buddy in the very near future. I might have it done by July lol
August: Heirlooms & Heritage: Not sure yet.
September: Colour Challenge: Brown: the other half of my stash is brown. Yay!
October: Sewing Secrets: planning either a false-fronted Victorian bodice, and/or a watch pocket. Yay!
November: Silver Screen: Can we say "proper 1893 Doctor Who"? I think we can.
December: Re-Do


#8: UFOs & PHDs: I... didn't do this one? I have an entire box for UFOs...
#10: Art: make that black hat, fichu, apron and mitts, and trim my gown.
#11: Politics of Fashion: Finish that chemise a la reine!
#17: Yellow: Finish the riding habit vest
#18: Poetry in Motion: A green kirtle inspired by Tam Lin
#20: Alternate Universe: I can't remember if I even had a plan for this one.
#21: Re-Do: AHAHA Oh so many choices!
#22: Fortnightlier's Choice: Gentlemen: A habit-shirt.
#24: All That Glitters: I don't have a plan at all!


#0: Starting Simple: Maybe a reticule?
#1: Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial: A 1913 corset
#4: Embellish: I'd like to try my hand at embroidery :D
#5: Peasants & Pioneers: I still think I'd like to do a simple Victorian-era outfit for the pioneers that settled around here mid-century
#8: By the Sea: Still planning that fabulous Edwardian gown
#9: Flora and Fauna: my curtain-along gown! It is awaiting sleeves and hemming :D
#11: Squares, Rectangles & Triangles: Options, options...
#12: Pretty Pretty Princesses: This one is really special to me still. I'm thinking a ballgown in a lovely shade of blue.
#13: Lace and Lacing: Moar corsetry! (Perhaps some half-boned or late 18th-century stays)
#14: Eastern Influence: Options, options...
#15: Colour Challenge White: Regency gown made from IKEA curtains.
#16: Separates: Still want to make a bodice to mis-match a skirt I already have :)
#17: Robes & Robings: Let's make this extra challenging and do a robe a transformation :D
#18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion: Need to decide what to do with the dress I took apart for this challenge.
#19: Wood, Metal, Bone: Still no idea D:
#20: Outerwear: A Victorian coat!
#21: Colour Challenge Green: an 18th century jacket
#22: Masquerade: No idea :(
#26: Celebrate: Also no idea :(((

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...