Monday, December 12, 2022

Catching up with Fall makes

 Oh yikes, the year continues to get away from me! Here's a few projects I managed from late summer to fall... I know only a few people are still reading this (and I love you for it) but I think blogging is really valuable for cataloging one's own projects and for self-reflection... I use it very differently from the (increasingly undesirable) Instagram.

The release of the Burnley & Trowbridge wrapping gown pattern was exciting to me, so around the 4th of July I pulled out a firecracker red taffeta from my stash and cut into it.

Very proud of how my stitching has changed over the past 10 years... When I first started, I'd have never managed to make teeny tiny nearly-invisible stitches like this.

While I'll probably never end up at a 'Banyan Party' in some remote French chateau (one can dream) at least I'd be prepared! It may come in handy some day for a dressing demonstration or a historic sleepover. Very simple project, and it came together gratifyingly quickly.
Since I'm spending a LOT more time down at Fort de Chartres, manning their Trading Post some weekends, I was getting tired of my usual rotation of just a couple different caps, so I pulled together a new one from the Virgil's Fine Goods "Bess" pattern. I think it's so cute and flattering (and great for hiding uncooperative hair).

In a lot of ways I'm still a sewing amateur, completely self-taught, so this was my first time doing gathered whip-stitches and I must say, once I wrapped my head around it, the technique was a game changer. 
Then I had a bit of a fail when it came to a long-desired project... it ended up being one of those dream projects that you just sit and mull over for too long, are bored while doing it, and then dissatisfied with the end result, haha.
I've always liked this portrait of Marie Antoinette; you almost never see her in green (and come to think of it, there's not a lot of 18thc portraits of women in dark green gowns, I'm not sure why). But I had spotted the perfect taffeta for it, a very changeable shot silk of dark green with a pink undertone. Perfect, I thought, I even have the lace!

But by time I got it assembled (I turned it into a jacket/petticoat ensemble for more versatility, since you can't see below the waist in the portrait)  I was just kind of over it. Probably photographing late at night, with hair I was already annoyed with, didn't help.

When I ran it through a 'painting' app I could see there were ways I could have edited it to make it more similar, like adding more paper flowers in a more uniform, closely-spaced pattern, but it all just felt too frilly and annoying at this point. So far I've taken all the lace and flowers off, and I'll be doing a nice self-trim with my leftover fabric. I'm still in love with the taffeta, probably one of the prettiest I've ever seen in person, so it won't go to waste. 
Next up in the project list was editing a very poorly-made shortgown from years ago. For one thing, I can't document any shortgowns in this part of New France... I keep reading that they were a predominantly New England garment. Jackets, on the other hand, are quite believable. So I picked apart the shortgown, scrounged up whatever scraps I had of the fabric (from the infamous 'Waverly Felicite curtain-along' projects of blogging yesteryear), ironed it all, and my helpful patternweight assisted me in playing grownup pattern Tetris.
(Do we have enough, or don't we? Always a worrying moment)

I also quickly discovered that there are still panels of this available on Amazon for $20 so I picked one up, but lo and behold, it's a slightly less beige, more ivory colorway! I wasn't about to waste the opportunity though, so the panel became a petticoat.

I had enough left from the panel leftovers to make robings and cuffs for the little jacket, but there is a definite color difference that you can spot if you know about it....I kind of like it, since piecing and reuse was so prevalent in the Georgian era. I'm betting with successive washings, the color difference will end up being less noticeable with fabric fade.
(quite obvious from the back, for sure)

Less obvious with the distraction of accessories like my new black silk apron and satin mitts!

Overall I think it'll be a very serviceable addition to my rotation of outfits for the Fort. Printed 'Indienne' cottons were frequently listed in our 18thc inventories, so I love celebrating that local bit of riotous color. 

There, now I think I'm caught up with most of my recent projects, but I have two more posts to make before the end of the year: one on the 18thc textiles and garments from a recent museum exhibition specifically featuring stunning printed fabrics from India, and some local historical holiday excursions with a new friend!

If you stuck with it this far, thanks for reading :)




  1. It's great to hear an update and see what you're up to! :) Happy holidays!


    1. Thanks so much, Quinn! I hope you have a wonderful next few weeks as well!

  2. Such pretty garments you've made since summertime! The shot green jacket and petticoat combination looks quite nice to me. Yes, the paper flowers are a fussy element, but they go well with the green...and few people have attempted that look. It's refreshing. Perhaps you'll rework it...

    Have enjoyed your blog for some time and glad that you had a chance to post. Am having a similar last post was in July amd I've a pair of unexpected stays stays and a spencer to record.
    Very best,
    Natalie in KY

    1. Thanks Natalie! I actually have re-trimmed the green jacket and hopefully will be wearing it this weekend to a local dance! It looks quite a bit more my style now with the self-trim and no lace! I really appreciate you commenting, it's nice to know these don't just go totally out into the void.


  3. Right there with you on the "very behind on blogging" and "I do this for myself more than anything" things!
    That said, I enjoy reading your posts when you share and I'm completely in love with the wrapping gown and the jacket and petticoat set in this post! The black silk apron completes that ensemble perfectly!

    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa! I loved yours and your sister's bustle gowns... definitely need to get going in that era soon!