Saturday, January 29, 2011

Finished Long Stays

As I mentioned previously, my mother was in need of stays for the upcoming season at Fort McHenry. I have made several pairs of short stays for different people but decided that long stays would be best for her. I had the Past Patterns long stays pattern on hand but if I would have had the Mantua Maker pattern, I would have used that. I purchased the Past Patterns long stays pattern on accident thinking that it said 1810-1820 and when I got it, I realized it said 1830-1840. The gussets and over all shape is quite similar so I'm not sweating it but I would still like to try the Mantua Maker pattern in the future just to see the differences. The instructions talk about the straps being this way and the gussets being that way to get the Early Victorian look. I would like to make up the Mantua Maker one to see if there is a huge difference in the finished silhouettes.

I used View A called the wedding stay. There are all sorts of fun pretty things that you can add so I assume that is why it is called that. This is to be a very utilitarian sort of garment so I did not take the time to do any of those fun things. I chose View A because it shows more boning than View B, the Corded Stay. Cording takes lots of time and boning is faster so that was my thought process behind choosing View A. If I were to do it again, I would do View B and just put more boning where cording is recommended. The over all shape of View B looks more practical to me so I would like to try it and compare the two further.

My mom was one size in the waist/hips and another in the bust so I just followed the lines where appropriate depending on what part of the corset it was. After the mock up, I also realized I had to shorten it quite a bit so I just hacked off about 4 inches so she would be able to sit down in it comfortably. With taking off quite a bit of the length, I also had to modify the hip gussets to allow for the shortened length and still get the full width to allow for the hips. Hopefully you can get an idea of those changes in the picture below. All of this was figured out on the mock up. Remember lesson number 1? Always make a mock up!

I debated with myself on whether to do hand done eyelets are not. I have a grommet setter and what seems like millions of metal grommets on hand so I could have done them quite easily. In the end though, isn't it nice to have the entire thing be white? I think metal grommets would have ruined the look. After I was finished, I figured out I can do 10 eyelets in 1 hour so it really did not set me back that much. It was good practice too.

Yes, that is polyester ribbon. I promise to get something better eventually ;-)

The way the bust gussets are shaped, you have to have a drawstring at the top of the stays or pre-gather the fabric and then bind it. Other wise the fabric sits away from the body making a very unflattering sort of shape. The pattern shows 3 ways to do control the fabric this way which I thought was super interesting. I chose the variation that just put another binding on top of the binding that was already put on. Ribbons are inside and stitched so they will not come undone near the straps. Eyelets are then worked on the inside to draw it up however much is necessary. I made the binding out of the same twill fabric used for the body. The rest of the corset is bound in this matching fabric so I thought it would be fine but it is just too thick. When gathered, it is rather bulky. If I did it again, I would use a thinner fabric.

I used a paint stick for the busk. It was free. What can I say! The instructions include information on making your own but I know nothing about wood working so I was so not going to go there. My dad made the paint stick the right length and it seems to be fairly sturdy so far.

More eyelets at the bottom with a ribbon keep the busk in. If the stays need to be washed, it comes out quite easily. I thought that was smart :)

ETA: I forgot to add previously that I did alter the angle of the straps. This is the seam where the strap attaches in the back shoulder area. While sewn like this, the strap goes more on the outside of the shoulder than over it. With the lines of Regency dresses and the fact that my mom needs to be able to do more active things while wearing these stays, I wanted to change the straps to make them go over the shoulder, not around.

She put the stays on for me to figure out how the angle should be and then I just pinned it to know where to sew. Top-stitching works fine! I was not going to take out that seam if top-stitching would look neat and tidy. ;)

If I would do it again, I would add more cording or quilting vertically between the hip gussets. It just seems to need it but at least the lines of Federal Era dresses are rather forgiving.

By the way, whenever I do posts like this, I try to include *everything* I did, didn't do, wish I had done and information on the pattern too. This is for me because there is no way I will remember all this stuff when I go back and need to use the pattern again. I also do it for other people so that when they used the pattern, they will kind of know what to expect. If there is anything that you think I forgot and should include, please let me know. Feed back is always good when it is fresh in my mind so I can answer questions better.

Bethany Lynn

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When I wish I didn't have to sleep

Katherine makes me wish I didn't have to sleep. Especially when I see her 2009 costuming year in review........ and then her 2010 year in review. I would post some pictures here but you'll just have to go over there and see for yourself ;)

All I can say is that everyone should have someone who makes them reach for the sky. Who makes you reach for the sky?

I'm working on a pair of these for my mom. When I finish them, I'll update again.

Till then,
Bethany Lynn

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Giveaway fun and thoughts on Sewing

I received a package in the mail a couple of weeks ago and could not for the life of me figure out who it was from until I opened it! I won the giveaway from the Opulent Poppy! I saw the announcement on there of course, but it was like a surprise all over again! Thanks, Eva Girl!

I already have plans for the fabric and the apron pattern is super cute! I am really looking forward to using it once I size it up ;) Becca really wants to make a hat from the other pattern too. Thanks again!

Also, I just have to link to this article. Janel says everything I want to say but in a more eloquent and organized manner than I ever could. I have received several comments on here from some dear ladies that would like to sew or know how to sew better but just are not sure where to start or are overwhelmed. I would say just what Janel says, Just Start! It really is not rocket science and won't hurt anyone! Sewing is just a skill. Nothing more. I would go so far to say that it does not require any talent, just diligence but I know not everyone would agree with me on that. I started sewing when I was fairly young but I wasn't 2 either. I did not really have an interest until I was 13 or 14 and I had nobody to show me how. The internet is really great :) There was a learning curve.... but I learned a lot through the mistakes. Just start and you won't regret it!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In a few words, our work space needed some work so we worked on it right after New Years to make it more functional. With Becca sewing more, she needed space for her machine to be set up all the time and yet I still wanted room to cut things out on the table. We certainly could not have both all the time with the way it was not to mention the stuff that was absolutely *everywhere*.

If you had asked me, I would have said there was absolutely no way we could fit a 6 foot table in there..... but we did and it is great! With the 6 foot table at the same height as the white table that was already in there, we have 9 feet of cutting space. That means we can cut out anything that is up to three yards long! That might not be exciting to most people but most garments are under three yards and every time we wanted to cut something out, we either had to clear off the table or cut things out on the floor in the living room. Of course then we would have to vacuum too with the threads that go everywhere with that. Anyways, it is nice. I love it.

Before I forget, those two posters on either side of the tables, on the wall, are from England. They are supposed to be wrapping paper but they are way to pretty for that! I bought them at Harrod's Fortnum and Mason's and 16 year old me rolled them up and carried them on the plane all the way back here. What was I thinking?! No need to answer that. I sure do like them though :) Fashion plates certainly do fit in. You have to give me that.

I think having the skirt around the table was my mom's idea. It is attached with velcro and just great! We can store all kinds of things under there and not have stuff out in the open. That was a big problem previously. Oh, and those are bed sheets! I pulled them out of a HUGE pile at an opp shop and I think I paid 50 cents........ I love it when that happens.

That shelf thing on the left in the picture stores all of the UFOs (unfinished objects). Believe it or not, but I actually got rid of some that I knew I was just not going to finish. Someday I will get to them. Or maybe Becca will feel like finishing them sometime ;)

It's nice to see fabrics all lined up in a row. It's cheery. It also makes one remember how much fabric one has and one is reminded to not buy anymore. I have a New Years resolution going here.

For the record, I did not make that uniform! But I do have the opportunity to mend it. :yawn:

Becca made me that sewing machine cover for Christmas! I really like it. She also had the picture of Betsy Ross sewing the flag so we added that too. She's certainly an inspirational person to have in a sewing room. :)

There is Robin (the dressform) in the corner. She's nice company to have around. Real chatty.

And this is my mom's scrapbooking corner. Lots of lovely things come out of that space :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This is what I worked on when I didn't have ice packs on my face ;) I had never made pillow covers before that zipped on and off but it sure was fun! I would definitely do it again. They were easy and yet they add so much to a room.

Here they are on our couch at home just so you can see them all together......

And at my friend's house who asked me to make them for her. Isn't that chair great?!

They are very cuddly! I think the pillow forms were stuffed with down feathers..... I should know considering the little feathers went all over the craft room!

I put in way easy lapped zippers on the back of each pillow. The hardest part of the whole project was the piping but look at that stuff! It's huge! Piece of cake compared to piping on mid-19th century garments.

Easy on, easy off!

The End!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

~Wool Regency Apron

First of all, thank you to all of you who have been praying for me. My sister mentioned it on her blog, and yes, I did have my wisdom teeth out yesterday. I am doing well considering and have a very nice nurse who takes care of me :) She brought me my computer and the camera to upload these pictures and makes sure I get my medicine and am never hungry. We watched movies all day (or what seemed like all day..... I can't remember exactly) yesterday and she brings me smoothies as promised. I am in good hands :)

Earlier this week I was able to get these picture with Becca taking them. Since I am foregoing the medicine that will take me into la la land, I am also getting more done than I thought I would although I sort of feel like I have a glimpse of what it is like to be on bed rest......

Anyways, enough chit chat, I started the research for this project nearly a year ago. You can see it all in one post here and I myself referred to it often. All I did was follow the instructions from the Across the Ages website. To get the look I wanted for the bib, I did not measure from shoulder to shoulder as the instructions say. I just measured across myself to see how wide I wanted the top of the bib to be. It was a few inches short of my front shoulder to shoulder measurement. If I had used my front shoulder to shoulder measurement, it would have ended up much wider than I wanted at the top of the bib. I do confess that I used this picture as a bit of a guide to the look I wanted. I love the aprons in the Sense and Sensibility movie with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.

Other than that top bib measurement, I sewed it nearly all by hand with just a few seams in the bib being machine since they were the only ones that did not show. I can't remember if the instructions say to gather the bottom of the bib under the best, but that is what I did on mine as it was simply more flattering.

This fabric was leftover from another project which I have yet to post about so I was working with very little. I only have a few small scraps left actually! As you can see in the pictures, the skirt of the apron is just flat. I did not have enough to make it gathered as in the instructions but would have if I had enough fabric. It is wool tricotene (oh horrors!) which would not be the most accurate weave for wools during the time period. My only reason is that I am into using what I have and also have a goal of not buying any fabric this year unless it is ordered by a client.

I am so happy to check this project off my list! I do not really need it until the Fort McHenry seasons starts in the Spring but I need to make an entire 1812 outfit for my mom between now and then too. I am excited but know there is absolutely no use in procrastinating! I have learned it is a good idea to experiment on oneself before another person also. Working out the kinks is always good!

The pattern I used for the dress is the original Sense and Sensibility gown pattern with a fan front bodice (move the gathers to the middle of the bust instead of having the fullness on each side). The fabric is voile and fully lined. I think I need to iron those sleeves ;) I wear it with stays made from the Sense and Sensibility Underthings pattern. Normally, I have a neckerchief that I tuck into the neckline but I could not find it when I needed it as usual :).

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Saturday, January 8, 2011

~1860's cotton dress

I mentioned this dress way too long ago and promised pictures in this post. I am finally getting to it now! This dress was finished for my friend in time for the 4th of July. I'm not sure if she likes it more or if I do :) Here she is at a Christmas social.

I ordered the fabric from on one of their sales. When I ordered it, my computer showed that it was a white fabric with the blue pattern but when it got here, it obviously was not! I tried to return it but guess what! They gave me a refund and told me to keep it instead! How nice is that?! Hooray for free fabric!

If I remember correctly, we used Past Patterns #702 as a base. It is a darted bodice so all I did was use that pattern for the lining and then I added fullness to the pattern for the main fabric front. To do that, you just slit up the darts to right above the bustline (or all the way up to the shoulder if you want the gathers to go that high) and spread the pattern piece out. Tape it down to another piece of paper, trace around it and use this larger piece to make a gathered front bodice. Make a mock up of course and you are all set. If that makes no sense at all, just ask. Elizabeth Stewart Clark's dressmaker's guide book is also the best resource I have found.

The skirts are gauged and I followed ESC's instructions their too. The sleeves are just bishops and again, I highly recommend ESC's dressmaker's guide.

To me covered buttons are the best thing since sliced bread (except I actually prefer my mom's homemade bread :P). I use plastic buttons all the time and just cover them to make them look period correct.

Collars are as easy as pie once you get the hang of them. I used batiste for this one (I think 1 yard will make at least 10 collars!) and Martha Pullen's website is absolutely wonderful if you are looking for all cotton lace. Just look for "edging" that is under a half inch. It really is not that expensive per yard. I had fun once and bought 5 or 6 1-yard lengths and have already used them all up on collars! Someday I will make matching white cuffs :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Colonial Breeches

These were my dad's Christmas present. I would have liked to have had them done for some events back in the Fall but at least I know they are ready for this upcoming Fall season :)

I used a pattern from Mill Farm that I purchased when I was in Colonial Williamsburg. Unfortunately, I could not find a website for them but William Booth Draper does sell the pattern. I thought about using the J.P. Ryan pattern instead but I came across so many other seamstresses who had a hard time with that one. So when I found this one from Mill Farm on vacation, I went with it :)

The pattern went together so well, and while it does not have any pictures in the instructions (!!!), I was pleasantly surprised at how simple the instructions were to follow. I think it would make it hard for a beginner but the instructions are very descriptive and practically form a picture in themselves when read. The pattern pieces also have a lot of markings to help the construction process also. I found those to be really helpful. I was honestly, dreading making them so I put it off for sometime but now that they are finished, I realize how much I enjoyed it and how simple the pattern was! I would do it again AND use this pattern :)

Believe it or not but these were actually supposed to be a mock up. I used one of those canvas curtains that seem to be so common at second hand shops these days. (maybe they were a fad 10 years ago?!). It took up maybe half of one so it was practically free! The buttons on the other hand, were WAY expensive. I am not sure why. All I can figure is that they make them in such small quantities and that makes the price go up. I would really love to know about a cheaper option in place of these metal buttons. Thoughts anyone?

The only thing I did not like about the pattern is that it only comes in one size. That can be annoying if you need to make more than one pair for people who are different sizes. I am only sewing for my dad so no issues their :)

As Always,
Bethany Lynn

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Posy Circle Skirt

This fabric was seen ages ago at Joanns and Miss Becca here knew she just had to have it. Or was it me who saw it and insisted she buy it so that I could make her a skirt? I can't remember. All I know is that she loves it now and I enjoyed making it. I want to say it is polyester but I can't remember that either. It is definitely one of those slipper fabrics that can be annoying to sew with :)
I do remember that I used McCalls 5811. It was simple to use considering it is a Big Four pattern. I also remember that it was supposed to be significantly longer but when I hung it up over night, the next morning the hem was rather.... wonky. Then I think I cut off too much. Life happens. Tights are great.

Invisble zipper and cute button left over from another project... And it is finished!

As Always,
Bethany Lynn