Friday, August 15, 2014

The Librarian - Corset Mock up 1

Welcome back.

This adventure isn’t complete yet, but since life is preventing me from working on my costuming as much, I thought I would share what I have.  

I’ve already completed my bloomers and chemise, which means it’s time for the corset.  

Step one was to get my measurements while wearing the under garments.  I enlisted my husband to assist in the task.  Next was to trace out the pattern using my measurements.  

I am using Truly Victorian pattern TV110 - 1880 Late Victorian Corset, which is a pattern that I had bought several years ago and just set aside, as I knew my sewing skills weren’t up to it yet.  

It’s a beautiful pattern, and the directions are very clear.  The only issue I have with it is my own common on - I am a very plus sized woman with a small bosom.  In this case, it meant that my waist and hip measurements were literally off the chart. So, I figured out what “letter” my size would be, based on the intervals between the sizes.  I should be an “O” in waist and a “P” in hips, whereas the pattern stopped at M.

I pulled out my pattern and my handy-dandy roll of wax paper, and traced out the size I needed.  It was easy enough to use the existing markings to calculate what size I needed by marking the largest size, then figuring out how many “pips” out I needed to go.  For example, in the waist, I needed to be two sizes larger, so I marked the point for the largest size, then moved that mark to the third line in (two sizes smaller than the largest), and then re-marked the largest size again.  

I cut my wax paper pattern, traced them on to some denim I had in stash, and cut out the pieces.  Next I sewed them all together using the half inch seam allowance suggested by the pattern.  One of the things I did, after having to rip out a half dozen seams, was to stick down a piece of masking tape with a line drawn a half inch in.  This gives me a guide to keep my seams in the right spot.  

I had decided on a three inch gap in the back, so I sewed a center strip four inches wide between the two center-back pieces (3 inch gap plus ½ seam allowance either side), and used an old non-stretchy ribbon I had in my stash to spiral sew up the center front.  

Here is the result.  

It wasn’t until this point that I realized I had completely mischosen the size I needed for my bust.  I had chosen size “B”, with my brain automatically thinking it was referring to B-cup.  

I also need to take the waist in 4 inches, and the hips in by 6, so I will definitely need to make a second mock up.  But that’s why we make the mock ups rather than just going ahead and cutting out our main fabric (which I still need to buy).

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Librarian - Chemise

Step two on the Librarian Costume - the Chemise.

I decided that for the chemise, I already had the perfect pattern, of a sort.

This is a pink nightgown that I wear around the house most of the summer.  It is comfortable enough to wear, while being modest enough that I don't mind stepping outside to take out the trash.  And, it is the right general shape for a Victorian chemise.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Librarian - Bloomers

Librarian costume - Bloomers.

The first step in my Librarian costume is the bloomers.  Research has shown that these are optional at this time, but if I’m going to be making an entire neo-victorian costume from the ground up, why skimp here?  

There were two styles of bloomers which were common during the Late Bustle period - open and closed.  The open style was open from above the inner leg seam to the waistband, allowing (one might assume) for ease of access when visiting the necessary.  The closed style was, of course, closed.  

Since I’ve experienced first hand the frustrations of using the restroom while wearing a corset and skirts (much less the full panoply that I’m going for here), I decided the open style might better fit my needs.  

The Librarian

I have had a deep and abiding love for costuming for as long as I could remember.  I’ve dabbled in costuming here and there, but various internal and external factors have prevented me from doing anything too elaborate and large.  However, I’ve decided to go ahead and take the plunge into full blown insanity, and make a neo-victorian costume from the skin up.  


Welcome to Lady Envy's Adventures in Time and Sewing.  

I, Lady Envy, shall be your hostess today.  How pleasant to make your acquaintance. Please, come in and have a seat.  Tea?

I hope you will find this blog both entertaining and inspiring, and preferably not in the "examples of things to avoid" manner. 

My goal in this blog is to be a running diary of my progress in sewing historically inspired outfits or costumes.  My main love in the Late Bustle era, but I am also tempted by earlier clothing styles. 

I will attempt to post on a semi-regular basis, but of course life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans, so forgive me if it is less often than one might wish. 

But for now, please sit and refresh yourself.  Biscuit?