Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Regency Shift/Chemise

Over the weekend I made the first piece of my regency wardrobe, the chemise! I didn't have a pattern but it was fairly easy to make with just the visual references I found online. The most time consuming part was all of the flat felled seams that I folded and ironed by hand. However time consuming, they made the garment look exceptionally neat and professional. Right now I am working on making a pattern for short stays. This is taking a lot longer than the chemise because it is obviously more fitted and has those annoying princess seams (which I have to stitch by hand)! Never the less, I will get it done and I am sure the end result will be stupendous.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Polish Pottery - Folk Art At Its Finest

If you are fan of folk art, or are going for the eclectic shabby chic look, I would definitely suggest checking out There you will find the most beautiful hand stamped pottery straight from Boleslawiec, Poland. All of the pieces incorporate a similar blue hue and traditional design but from there they vary greatly. Some designs are more simple and geometrical while others exhibit an array of colors and floral patterns.
I have to say the the online prices are pretty high, but the beautiful yet durable piece you get is far worth the hit to your bank account. I suggest going to the warehouse outlet because there you can get a lot more bang for your buck. They don't advertise the warehouse prices but you can find pieces marked 25 to 75 percent less than online.
I think the best part about this pottery is the fact that you don't have to stick to one motif, all of the pieces look beautiful together. I spent a good two hours in their warehouse trying to deciding what piece and what pattern I wanted. I finally decided on a surprisingly practical brewing mug that came with a sauce,r lid, and infuser. With tax it cost me around 21 dollars,but that is a far cry from the 45 dollars they are asking online. I can wait to add to my collection in the years to come!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Planning A Regency Wardrobe

I have to decided to start my historical wardrobe in the regency era. I'm starting there not without reason, of course. Firstly, in order to start in the Victorian or Edwardian era I would need to buy more supplies, supplies I can only find online! Secondly, Regency era fabrics, namely muslin, are a lot cheaper and easier to come by. Thirdly, regency dresses and undergarments are a lot simpler to design and the patterns are a lot simpler to work with. Because of the high waistline, the only fitted part of the dress is the bust area, compared to the elaborate bodices of the Victorian era. There also aren't any bustles, crinolines, bum rolls, or cages of any kind that have to be factored into the equation. Yay!

So, a regency wardrobe it is! My plans so far consist of a chemise, short stays, a bodiced petticoat, and then a thin linen, batiste, or muslin dress. Depending on how see-through and thick the fabrics turn out to be, I might have to add a second petticoat that either falls right under the bust or at the waist.

Now, the only regency patterns I have have are Simplicity 4055 (based off the Sense and Sensibility pattern), and Butterick 6630 (which is very costumey and historically inaccurate). I also have simplicity 9769 and 2890 (which are Civil War era underthings) that I will use for the basis of my chemise. I plan on making the bodiced petticoat by following the sense and sensibility pattern provided by the website ( which employs the simplicity dress pattern 4055. Similarly, I plan on using the 4055 bodice pattern to make the short stays, which I will base off of the simplicity 4052 boned short stays (which are also based off a Sense and Sensibility pattern).

Grated, if I do follow through with this plan effectively, I will have to add other pieces to my ensemble, such as a bonnet, stockings, shoes, perhaps a spencer and maybe even a fichu. But, until then, lets see how far I get.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Giovanni Boldini - Images of late 19th century and early 20th century fashions

I recently stumbled upon some portraits by Italian painter Giovanni Bouldini and instantly fell in love. The images contain a movement that you don't see in standard portrait painting. I accredit this to the whispy paint strokes that fade the subject and there clothing into the background. It seems that the paintings are also focused less on the actual person and more on the clothing (which in most cases is a beautiful flowing gown) and the movement of the pose. These two components combined with the medium and brush technique create a fluidity that bring his paintings to life. They are not so much portraits as moments in time,windows into a world long gone.

Visit to find out more about him and his works.

Corsetery - Why is it so hard to find supplies?

I know we are now in the 21st century, but who would have thought it was so hard get your hands on some steel busks and boning! It's not like I live in the the middle of Montana either,where costume making supplies or specialty fabric stores might not be readily available. I live in Orlando Florida, surrounded by parks that employ costumes regularly, and one of the few cities in America that everyone recognizes by name.Despite this, it is impossible to find any supplies to make a corset, crinoline, or anything with boning. Sure, you can find mediocre patterns for some of these things at Joann Fabrics, but good luck making them without the notions that are listed. Maybe I should contact Joann Fabrics and inform them that they could have a one up on every other store in America if they would only stock a few busks. Sure, there are like five whole sites on all of the internet that sell some supplies, but paying 25 bucks plus shipping for a mystery busk that for all I know is made out of aluminum cans, does not sound appealing to me.

I did manage to get my hands on a 1/4 inch spring steel drain cleaner at the hardware store. It was pretty cheap and about the closest thing to authentic boning you can get without ordering it online from a specialty store. Granted I will have to cut the pieces to size and file them, but it will make my project that much more authentic.So, I have boning and a pattern but the list ends there. I still need fabric (preferably coutil), caps for the ends of the boning,a busk, and good laces. It looks like I have no choice but to order some supplies online, but that will have to wait until I have an extra 100 bucks to blow. Until then all I can do is stare in awe at other sewing aficionados completed works, longing for the day I can make my own.