Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Of Corsets, Colonial Dresses, Liberty Day, Illness and Spring

I've been terrible about blogging lately. But (as always) I have excuses. :)

1. I have a puppy. And puppies require attention. So my time for things such as sewing, singing and blogging are somewhat limited to when he sleeps.

2. I've been sick. And it wasn't just a cold. It was a terrible flu virus thing that had me on the couch without being able to get up without fainting for 10 days.

3. It is spring. And I enjoy spending time outdoors, rather than in front of a computer screen when it is 75ยบ, with a light breeze, sunny, birds singing, ducks swimming in the pond and altogether perfect weather.

Okay, so now I've got rid of those excuses, let's get down to sewing, shall we? Prepare yourself for a picture-heavy post.

Late is better than never, and I'm finally getting pictures of the 1912 corset and chemise that I made a while ago. I already told you about the corset here and here, so I won't talk too much about that. The chemise I made without a pattern, just fitting it on the dress-form. I had the basic idea of how I wanted it to look in my head, and just pinned and cut until it was what I wanted. To make it match the corset, I put the blue trim on the top and arm-cycles and added lace. I rather like it.

Apologies for the wrinkles... it's had the corset on it for the past few weeks!

The back of the chemise

It closes in the front with a hook and eye

Now for the corset pictures...

A little closer look of the front

Eyelets down the back. It's so exciting when you finish the last one and then look at your neatly hand-sewn eyelets!

Recently my friend came over for two days and we sewed a colonial dress for her. It was a really fun project, and I loved the fabric she chose. It suited her perfectly! We used this pattern, but did a  different sleeve ruffle, (no flounce and lace), and altered the bodice to fit right. She wore it to Liberty Day (the same event Patrick Henry's costume was made for), and she looked absolutely gorgeous! But what else would you expect when you put a gorgeous girl in a colonial dress?? I really need to get pictures of her *in* the dress, but for now, you'll just have to deal with only seeing it on the dress form.

Isn't the fabric darling?

  I adore ruffles on sleeves.

...and I also adore pleats.

Oh, and speaking about Liberty Day. I was rather afraid I wasn't going to be able to go to it, because I had *just* gotten over being sick. That would have been a big bummer, because my Dad was playing his violin in the evening performance and I did music arranging for it and had been looking forward to it for quite sometime. But in the end, I only missed the conference part of Thursday and Friday, but made it all day Saturday, which was loads of fun! And the music went really well! :) I don't have any pictures (my sister only came for part of the evening, and you all know by now that she is the photographer in the family), but I still have some great memories! Maybe if we get some video footage I can post some of the music for you all to hear! :) I was very thankful that my sister *did* make it for the dance at the end, because she called the Virginia Reel and if she hadn't made it *I* would have had to call, and probably wouldn't had done such a great job and she did! :)

Upcoming posts about more Titanic stuff should be coming soon.... if I would just set to work and sew Mock-Up #2. :) But I really don't get as much sewing done as I should when this adorable face wants all my attention:

Alright... that should bring you all up to date on my life. :) Now get off the computer and enjoy the beautiful spring weather!


  1. Very nice! I'm glad to see your feeling better. Also, that Colonial dress color is so pretty, and I just love all the ruffles.

    Enjoy your spring weather, we are having summer weather here in the mid 80's already!


  2. I love the photos. They are lovely. And the dog is adorable! God bless, Rose

  3. Oh, honey... "arm-cycles"... you make me laugh. :-)
    The 1912 undergarments are lovely. Too bad they have to get hidden by the dress!
    Sadly, I never really got to see the dress at Liberty Day. I guess we'll have to have her out for a photo shoot?
    Puppy = excellent photo subject.

  4. It really is a shame to have such lovely handmade articles of clothing all hidden away!! You do beautiful work. :)

  5. I recognize that dress! ;) If I hadn't have sewn it with you it wouldn't have looked even HALF as nice. You blow me away with all your ideas! :D

    I can't wait to see your Titanic dress. I can't even remember the name for that era. *sigh* Anyways, I know that your dress will be beautiful. :D

    And as for your excuses, they are perfectly valid. :D I'm SO glad that you are better. :)

    ~Me :)

  6. Such a lovely corset, I like the colored bias tape. I have a pattern to make a corset but I'm still too scared... Love the colonial dress too.

  7. Ok, so next time we dance... if you've been practically fainting the couple days before, please tell me, and I'll go slower if you want to... ok? ;-)

    It was great seeing ya'll over the weekend!

  8. Esther - Aren't ruffles great? I love them! Actually we are in the mid 80's here as well, but we just got a quick shower, so might cool off a little from that!

    Rose - Thank you so much! I agree, he is pretty adorable!

    Kathryn - I don't care that you think I made that word up. I still use it. It is a pity, but at least I can enjoy them! That's too bad you missed seeing RJ at Liberty Day. A photo shoot is certainly in order!! At least you like my puppy for one thing....

    Laura - Oh well... even though no one sees them, I still had a blast making them! Thanks so much!

    RJ - I'm soooo glad it worked out for you to come over and sew!! I had a great time with you!! I can't wait to see my Titanic dress either! The mock-up I started the other day is looking good so far! Yes, health is a wonderful thing! *hugs*

    Anna - Thank you! It isn't all that difficult to sew a corset, especially if you have a good pattern, it's just getting over the first step of sitting down and starting it! I was a little nervous my first time too!

    Emil - But if we went slower it wouldn't be as fun, would it?? (Unless it was a dance to a waltz beat) To make the Virginia Reel fun, you h
    HAVE to do some bouncing! Perhaps it wasn't the wisest decision on my part to dance at Liberty Day, but it was so much fun! :) Many thanks for asking me! It was great see ya'll too!

  9. Lol, ok, I must agree... It wouldn't be as fun, and when we have music going like they did that night, bouncing is the only way to do it, and I'm glad you enjoyed dancing... It was tons of fun!! :-)

    Thank you for accepting! :-) I'll be looking forward to the next time we're up there!

  10. I'm sorry that your were feeling so poorly! That's horrible; I hope you are blessed with good health now!

    That is very interesting that you made a corset- it must be very difficult! I love sewing historical and international clothing! It's my biggest hobby, and I spend most of my days sewing. :)
    I LOVE that red-sprigged fabric! That is a very authentic-looking and lovely Colonial gown!
    Thanks for sharing pictures!
    The dog is adorable as well. :)

  11. I just love how you can sew such lovely cloths! And your dog is the cutest puppy!

  12. Emil - :D

    Nonpareils - Yes, I'm all better now! Thanks for asking! Somehow, I don't find sewing corsets any harder than sewing a bodice - the only thing different really is putting in the boning casings, which are just sewn lines. Fitting can be difficult at times, if you don't have someone to help you. :) Isn't the fabric darling?? I just love it!

    BlackStallion97 - Thank you! I think he's the cutest too! :)

  13. I'm taking the plunge and am about to make a victorian corset (simplicity 9769) What boning did you use and where did you get it?

  14. And one more question, should I use metal grommets or hand sewn eyelets? I already have a grommet maker. It such seems easier and stronger to do the metal. It seems like over time the laces would stretch ago it the fabric. But I don't know. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  15. And one more question, why did you do hand sewn grommets instead of metal? it seems like the lacing would stretch the fabric over time, but I don't know that, just curious.

  16. Anna - YAY! That's so exciting that you're starting a corset!! For boning, I use plastic zip ties/tie wraps. They usually come in a large package at a hardware store (like Lowes, or Home Depot). Boning is so expensive at the fabric store, and it really is basically the same thing as the zip ties. If you want to go really authentic though, you can get metal boning at a corset supply store online, like Corset Making Supplies:


    As far as metal grommets or hand-sewn eyelets, hand-sewn is more period correct. It is actually very strong, and I haven't had to deal with stretching yet. The metal grommets tend to pull through the holes, fall apart, or rip through the fabric. Plus the hand-sewn eyelets look nicer. :) I have done several outfits with metal grommets, and only a few of them actually worked, and I think the grommets that worked were not intended for sewing, but for crafting with paper! :)

  17. Love your 1950's dress! Great colors! I love sewing as well. My family and me are going to Williamsburg in Feb next year. Making costumes for the whole family.



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