Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring - The Season of Sewing

I just love early spring weather! It promotes promise and excitement. It's inspirational, rejuvenating and kind (not freezing or burning hot). Despite the occasional allergy issues, Spring is wonderful!

And as soon as it starts to appear, so does my longing for those unfinished or simply imagined costumes. Every idea starts to swirl around my head: new 18th C. stays; that upper class Civil War day dress in a bright color, complete with new bonnet; the 1890s inspired Steampunk outfit to go with my fur-lined goggles received as a Christmas gift from my mom; a new Civil War shirt for my husband; the embroidered white 1845 ball gown; the 1862 ball gown; a 1916 dinner gown for a summer party; and the Regency everything.

And I do mean everything for Regency. I absolutely LOVE the fashions of that era. But since I can't make it ALL right now, I have a few select pieces on the docket.

You may have heard that I am a special guest speaker at the West Coast's first annual Jane Austen Festival, hosted by JASNA, on May 8th in Fresno, California. I will be presenting a "Dressing A Lady" lecture. Now, I'm not actually the one getting dressed; but I do need to be fabulously attired in new garments for the occasion. (But of course!)

My thought is a new day dress with elbow-length sleeves. Perhaps a chemisette for the day which will be removed for the evening ball. And I'll need to sew up my first pelisse. My model will have a Spencer jacket, so I want to have a pelisse available as a second example of outerwear. (Below is a silk pelisse from the Museum of Costume, Bath, UK.)

But before that I'm tossing around the idea of making period stays. My current early 19th C. corset is fine, but the bust gussets are a bit too small. (A point I discovered is EASY to do when fitting this type of corset. Don't take in the gussets too much to compress the bust. It should be gently cupped and not firmly held like later Victorian corset shapes.)
I'm considering the Past Patterns transition Stays but am unsure about the bust gussets for a full-busted woman. I may just make it up anyway and add a good amount of fabric support in that area along with a strong drawstring around the top.

And before the month is out I want to re-duct tape myself for a new, more accurate dressform. I made Jennibeth in 1998.

I think it's long past time for a new one. Then I can actually drape a new Regency dress. I SO want to have a period one with a tiny back and wide-set sleeves. Draping is the best way to accomplish this; and fitting oneself on the body just takes way too many attempts to get it right. I'll keep you posted on the dressform re-make.

So enjoy this new season. Be inspired. Be creative. Look to nature's new wardrobe colors for how to add them to your own historical closet.

Happy Sewing!


Rosie said...

I love the dresses in your post about the JASNA in Fresno. I too will be going to a Jane Austen Festival in Canberra - Australia. I will have already made two regency dresses and decorated a bonnet. This year I am teaching a day bonnet cap workshop. I hope you will have a good time and post some lovely photos.

Jennifer said...

Thanks Rosie! I've known about the Australia JA Festival for a couple of years. Have fun teaching and enjoy your time!

Time Traveling in Costume said...

I love the white w/ red trim pelisse, since I'm kind of partial to red right now. But the trim is beautiful. I wish it would stay colder around here longer to get good use from one.