Friday, August 5, 2011

New Devonshire 18th Century Shoes

The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s.  They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments.

Pre-Order the Devonshires through August 10, and get the special $100 price.  We're only making 200 of these shoes, so don't miss the chance to own one of only a couple hundred pair on the planet!  Visit to order.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Riding Habit Day 1

I've been needing something warm to wear for my reenactment outfit (it gets cold where we go). For the last long time I've been layering lightweight jackets/shortgowns/shawls/blankets/etc. and keeping pretty warm, but I want something like a COAT that I can just put on when I get cold. Cloaks were amazingly popular for ladies during the Revolutionary and Colonial era and I even purchased a pattern for one. Then I wore my sister's cloak for a couple of days and decided that the sleeveless cloak with all its bulk was not practical for a mom who had to be cooking, cleaning, etc. at camp. So my other popular rendezvous attire option was a capote. These are coats made from blankets that are fantastically warm, bulky, and primarily worn by mountain man types or Native Americans, neither of which fit with my upper middle class city girl persona. So after years of hunting and research, I think I know what I want. It is a Riding Habit, also called a riding coat or a redingote. I don't like the true colonial style all that much (of course there's a pattern for that one), and am not wanting the empire waist 1800-1820 style either (also a pattern available). No, my favorite period is LATE Colonial 1780-90ish, and all I can find for riding habits in that period are these drawings:
Almost historically accurate as it appears the drawing is of a double breasted jacket which would not have been "in" for another 50 years or so.Not sure if I'm digging all the buttons down the front. I'll probably just make mine open/overlap front.
Again, double breasted look. Tsk tsk. But the basic cut and silhouette is correct.
So of course there's no pattern for this particular style of riding habit, so I'm going to attempt to make my own. To do this I'm starting with a pattern that has most of the components I want for the bodice piece--the JP Ryan Ladies Jacket pattern. I want my riding habit to fit a bit more loosely so it can go over my hundred layers of clothes, plus the neckline needs adjusted and I'll need to add for button overlap. I put the jacket on and measured approximate changes I'd need to make to the pieces.I made a sketch and made note of all the measurements I wanted to change.
Then I got all my pattern pieces from the jacket pattern and laid them out on my pattern paper (aka butcher paper) and adjusted where I wanted to add.
Voila! New pattern pieces!I cut it out of nappy scrappy fabric that I don't know what else to do with and the back worked fine, but the front lapel shape was way off, so I re-measured, drew and cut a new front pattern piece, took the old front pieces off my mock up and put the new ones on. It's closer. The final jacket will have seam allowances taken off all the edges because it will be lined and will also have a collar and capes and sleeves, but no more time to work on it yet, so here's what I ended up with at the end of the sewing session:
A vest with lapels.

I might mess with the lapel shape again--it's not bad though, especially since it will be a bit smaller due to the lining being stitched to it. I also can't change it too drastically because I'm secretly going to put a button loop on one side and a button under my collar so I can close the neck area when it gets real cold so the lapel shape has to be functional (not exactly period correct--they just stuffed the open neck with frou frou, but I'd rather be warm than fashionable). Then on to the mock up sleeves.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Free ePattern from Sense and Sensibility

A cute homeschooled gal is having a giveaway for a free ePattern from Sense and Sensibility patterns here. I love these patterns! I have used the little girls Spencer and Pelisse pattern to make an adorable Spencer jacket for my youngest when she was 14 months old and it went together perfectly and FAST. The pattern actually worked right out of the package (almost unheard of in the pattern world!). This giveaway is for an ePattern which is downloaded and then you print it and tape the pieces together. I'm okay with that--it's a free pattern! Check the link here for the giveaway!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Little Girls Colonial Dress

I made a couple of these dresses for my daughters this last summer. This one is my older girl. The fabric is reproduction cotton, lined with muslin and white linen sleeve flounces. Cotton and lace cap. This dress was slightly modified from Rocking Horse Farm's Small Girls 18th Century Gown pattern. Closed in the back with trouser hooks and eyes since when I got it done there was not enough overlap for anything else other than lacing which I did not want to do.She loves this dress--still wears it to church and even wore it for school pictures this year.
Little black "ballet slipper" type shoes from Walmart that I stitched a piece of elastic across the arch so they'd stay on.

Late Colonial Ladies' Jacket

Here's the first jacket I made from JP Ryan's jacket pattern. It is size 8 and I halved the seam allowances so I got just a little more room in it. Reproduction cotton print fabric. I'll have to get more pictures close up at some point . . . I did the late century sleeves and pin closed front. I've since put trouser hooks and eyes on the front to make it easier to get on and off. Off white linen handkerchief. Sorry no cap or hat at this point. Also the petticoat is made from heavy cotton damask and is the first one I made for myself with an actual waistband instead of the drawstring. I love it! I had to put 2 buttons on it (you know, some days are skinnier than others), but the overlap on the side is enough that it doesn't matter which button I use.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Son's Revolutionary Regimental Coat

Here's a boy's regimental coat I worked up about a year and a half ago from the Smoke/Fire Regimental Coat Pattern. Since there weren't boys in the regimental army, I had to size the pattern down to fit a boy size 8-ish. Navy Blue wool, fully lined with tea dyed heavy cotton, metal buttons. I made matching knee breeches when I made it and he was George Washington for Halloween that year. Here's some fun pics. I did not get the hook/eyes put on the flaps to pin them back for marching, so he just wears it down. I also did not hand work the buttonholes--I was in a hurry to get it done for Halloween, so machine buttonholes had to suffice (there were only 32 buttonholes . . . ).

Back:Wearing it on Halloween:And actually buttoned up shooting in the rain at CSMLA Rocky Mountain College Rendezvous:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Caraco Jacket

Here's a Caraco Jacket I made for me last spring from a JP Ryan pattern. A knee length jacket popular in late colonial/revolutionary era--1780's-ish. I almost love it. If I had a bigger bust it would fit perfectly, however as I have almost nothing, it kind of falls off my shoulders. I love the fabric--it is made from curtains, and is so versatile with maroon, blue, green, tan in it--it matches almost all my petticoats. I have 2 more curtain panels, so will probably make myself another caraco with some revisions so I will like the fit better, then ebay this one. It is old fashioned size 8 (approx 3-4 nowadays), 100% cotton, lined and has the covered buttons and polonaise loops so it can be worn down or polonaised. Worn over shift and stays. Very elegant.
First picture I am dressed proper, caraco polonaised with my linen handkerchief (neckerchief in modern terms). (I really don't like most pictures of me, so most times you'll just get pics of the clothes.)
Same view, no handkerchief and not polonaised.
Back views, first two polonaised, third not.And finally a front view in the not polonaised style. It needs one more hook/eye at the bottom of the false stomacher that I just didn't get around to sewing on yet . . .