Sunday, June 19, 2016

Victorian Bathing Suit!

A couple of months ago, I wrote on some common myths about Victorian and Edwardian bathing suits.  While doing the research, I fell in love with one of the bathing suits I came across:

I adore the short sleeved bathing suit from 1870.  Since I had a Victorian seaside party to go to, I thought what is essentially to the modern eye capris and a short sleeved bolero with a button up vest is far more practical than making a silk bustle dress (I have some lovely orange silk and white silk brocade.  One year, I will make the orangesicle dress!).

Since the theme for this month in the Historical Sew Monthly is travel, I realized that a Victorian Bathing suit would be perfect.   After all, even then, if you were traveling to the beach to take in the vapors (or get away from them) you needed your bathing suit.

My first thought for making my own bathing suit was to use white and red wool - as these were popular colors- and then I thought "but what if it really gets wet?" and struck that idea out.  White fabrics and water tend to make the white fabrics see through.

I ended up doing black and hot pink mainly because that was what was in the stash (but also because it matches my hair now!)

Like most first wearings, I do know I need to edit it a bit.  I made the front too low cut - it was easy to deal with with a chemise top underneath and I had seen chemises poking through in some later Edwardian photographs.

The skirt isn't quite the right shape and is too long - it's actually a pretty simple recut since all I did is take a rectangle of fabric, line it, and pleat it to a waistband.

Better buttons on the knees - one popped.  Whoops!

Still, I'm pretty happy with it and the way it came out.

This was the initial try on over my pj's.  I was just pleased it fit...particularly as this was midnight and I had to wear it when I woke up.  :-)

The Challenge: 
June – Travel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
Lightweight black wool and lightweight pink wool twill
A couple of different ones with some edits of my own. For the bloomers, Butterick B4861. I've used the long version many times for work pants. The short version (View B) looks like Victorian bicycling pants so I used that as is with only a minor addition: on the legs, you have to add an 1" width to the front and back at the inside from the crotch down.  They made the pattern without enough in the seat for most people.
For the jacket, I used Butterick B5232. I've used it before and know it's a bit on the loose side for what I wanted this time around.

So, after cutting it out, I checked it over the corset on the dress dummy to make it more fitted. The faux vest front and the skirt are both my own patterns and additions.

Buttons! Hooks and Eyes! Ribbon! I used jet buttons for the vest front and the knees of the bloomers. I used mother of pearl looking buttons for the skirt. Hooks and eyes everywhere else. The ribbon was used to make loops for the buttons on the front of the vest.

How historically accurate is it?
They had sewing machines! The ribbon isn't a period material but the rest of the outfit is pretty close to what would have been worn.

Hours to complete:
About six or seven

First worn:
June 18, 2016

Total cost:
The pink was left over from my pink wool Italian dress from three years ago. The black I *think* I got at the thrift store but I really do not remember. The buttons were thrift store purchases - I bought a huge bag full for $1. Since it was all either left overs or stash, this probably wasn't more than $5 (I'm trying to remember how much the black wool was! Most of the thrift store fabrics are under $5).

In the end, I'm glad I wore this.  It was comfortable (it's capris and a short sleeved top so...yeah.  It's a bit too similar to what I normally wear.  :-) ) and I loved not worrying about getting it messed up (it's mostly black and wool - it can handle dirt).  With some minor changes, I will be wearing it again.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mostly Done Late 16th Century Italian Dress


1570's (?) Italian Peasant

1560's Italian

After figuring out how small I had originally cut the bodice for the green linen dress, I used the scrap to piece together another bodice. The trim lines hide a lot of the piecing pretty well. The dress is half machine sewn, half hand sewn. I still need to do the eyelets which is why it's only mostly done.

The last picture, the one of the close up front of the bodice, is the most true to color. It's a bright green but not neon. The purple is a true purple. I hope to wear the dress in a couple of weeks. I used the same mccalls pattern as last time but, this time, I made sure I measured each piece before cutting it out. The front is pieced under the outer trim and the back is pieced both directly in the back and under the arms. Luckily, piecing is period!