April 22, 2013


I'm just now getting around to photographing the wrapper I started two months ago, and I figured that while I was posting about an undress garment I should show you my current set of mid-Victorian underwear all together too!

A couple of months ago I volunteered to test Laughing Moon's newest wrapper pattern.

BTW, can I take a moment to say I'm in LOVE with pattern companies that actually take the time to test their patterns and correct errors before unleashing them on the public?  I've seen "completed" patterns sold where the pieces REALLY don't fit together (seriously, how is any seamstress supposed to fit a piece 4" long to a piece 2" long smoothly with edges matching, without any gathering, pleating or magic?), patterns with nonsense instructions, drawings that don't match anything, etc.  I don't expect a pattern to fit me right out of the envelope, but if I pay money for it I do expect that it is at least basically functional.  Anyways, rant over, back to pretty things...

Like I said, I got to test out LM Pattern #118.  I pretty much finished it by the end of February and sent in my feedback, but I wanted to add some trim to it before calling it completely done.  I've really been dragging my feet on handsewing the trim though, so I haven't posted about it.  Right now the black velvet ribbon is still only pinned in place, but I wanted to show the wrapper off anyways.  Perhaps posting about it will light a fire under my ass and I'll finish it.

Please note that the copy of the pattern I was sent was an in-progress work, and that there may be differences between it and the final published version.  That's the entire point of testing it!

To our modern eyes wrappers look like a day dress, but to the Victorians they were undress clothing, so they wouldn't normally have been worn out of the house.   However, that's not to say they weren't worn in public by poorer women, or pregnant ladies, or by frontier folk.  This style has a fitted back and a loose front, comes with three different sleeve and collar choices and can be worn several different ways. 

There's a separate lining that can be left loose or darted to fit.  I chose to dart mine, but I fitted it to my non-corseted measurements so that I could wear it with or without a corset, so it's still a little loose here. 

Fitted with belt
Loose with no belt

The front can also be darted to fit, or it can be left loose and fitted with a belt when needed.  If the front was left unfitted, pregnant women could easily wear this same garment for all 9 months by simply letting the belt out as they grew.  (For those who read into such things, please note that the previous sentence about pregnant women is in no way a hint about any future children.  I'll stick to dressing my future nieces and nephews, thanks)  Leaving it loose allows me to wear it with or without a corset, so that's what I chose to do.  I also decided to leave it open below the belt to reveal my petticoat.  It could be closed all the way down, but I didn't feel like sewing that many buttonholes :)

The back fits awkwardly on my mannequin, but just fine on me.  The skirt is cartridge pleated to the back waistband.

I used the standing collar from View B and the coat sleeves from View C.  One of the things I love about the Laughing Moon patterns I've used is that there's often a lot of mix-and-matching you can do. 

I picked up some beautiful black glass buttons at an antique store in Grass Valley some months ago and decided to use them here.  I've blown out the exposure here so that you can see the intricate detail each button has.  Jet was extremely popular in Victorian times, and black glass was a cheap substitute for those who couldn't afford the real thing, so these are perfect!

There's super tiny piping around the armscye.  I LOVE me some tiny piping!

All in all, I'm very much enamored with my new wrapper.  As soon as I've got the trim finished, it will become my everyday around-the-house robe (so much cooler than modern ones!) as well as something I may wear to more rustic events.  If you're in need of a wrapper, I highly recommend the LM #118 pattern.  For more examples of what wrappers can look like, check out JoAnn's Wrappers Pinterest board.

So now that I've shown you my wrapper, what all do I have under there?  Let us peel away the layers one by one...

I used Truly Victorian's free pattern for my petticoat.  I made it with cotton organdy, which gives it loads of body and floof.  It's a total PITA to iron smooth after washing though!

I'm still getting tons of use out of my custom drafted hoop skirt.  It's survived two seasons of dancing at Dickens Fair, as well as several events.  I love the perfect bell shape it has!  For instructions on how to make your own , see my post on drafting a round hoop skirt to whatever shape and dimensions you wish, as well as the post on how to sew up your custom made hoop pattern.  If you make your own, I'd love to see pictures!

And still there's more...  Under all that there's a chemise, drawers and corset.  You've seen the blue corset in previous posts, and in all honesty it looks much better on a body than on my poor mannequin, who doesn't have the shape to fill it out.  The drawers are my reproduction of an antique pair.  Don't worry, I haven't forgotten my promise to post the pattern!

The chemise is one I made up based off of a mishmash of patterns.  It has a squarish neckline, underarm gussets and lots of tiny pintucks.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't so in love with pintucks, because they're so difficult to do.

That's all the undies I have to show you today.  But not to worry, the future holds lots of bustles and late Victorian underpinnings, plus some Regency underthings as well!

April 20, 2013

Baby Got Back

Add a little junk in your trunk (or a lot!)!  Come make your own adjustable lobster tail bustle with me on May 11th!
Baby got back.  LOTS of back.
Those fabulously over the top bustle era dresses are simply gorgeous, but having the proper support structure underneath is absolutely essential.  If you've been wanting to tackle such a unique undergarment, you're in luck.  The GBACG puts on some fabulous classes and events, and they've asked me to teach their upcoming bustle workshop.  Now you won't have to wrangle that hoop wire into submission alone!

You'll make a fully adjustable lobster tail bustle that's just the right size for you from start to finish.  Along the way I'll show you lots of tips and tricks, plus fun variations to make your bustle unique.  This tail uses spring steel hoop boning and can easily stand up to heavy skirts.  When not being worn, it collapses flat so it doesn't take up space in your closet.  Space in this class is limited, so snap up your seat today!

April 15, 2013

But What Has It Got On Its Feetses?

What with injuries, work and general craziness I haven't been sewing a lot lately, but I have been planning up a storm!  I've got nearly all the pieces of Boyfriend's Regency wardrobe in progress, and most of the fabric and patterns for the basics of my wardrobe have been gathered and are waiting patiently in my sewing room for me.  Most everything, that is, except for shoes.

Trust Lauren to have perfect timing!  She's done it again with a beautiful pair of dyeable satin Regency slippers, complete with interior lacing loops so that they can be worn with ribbons.  She even recorded a fabulous little video showing how to dye them.

I own four pairs of American Duchess shoes (soon to be six!  *happydance*) and I can vouch for their comfort and quality.  Hell, my Astorias have braved mud and rough trails.  So get your preorder in now, and poke around the American Duchess store to see what else you've been missing.

Now the only question is... what color do I dye them?!?!