Monday, November 30, 2015

Burgundy quilted silk Empire muff - April HSM (LATE) Challenge 'War & Peace'

First, this is a LATE finish of April's HSM Challenge (finished at the end of November) - life got in the way, and I missed three months of sewing and HSM Challenges (April, May & June) so I am planning on catching these up (albeit late) - I did the June challenge already, and now it's time for the April challenge in December!

Quilted silk Empire muff:
Empire quilted silk muff by TheLadyDetalle
For my late April War & Peace challenge, I created a burgundy quilted silk muff from the Empire period: during the early parts of the 19th century French fashion was greatly influenced by the blockades and embargoes during the Empire period (1800-1820).

Thus, it was very patriotic (and practical) to use local material, in this case, French silk (from Lyon, etc.). My War & Peace challenge takes into consideration the difficult acquiring materials during the First French Empire or the Napoleonic period, with the crowning in 1804 and the height of the period round about 1812.

The luxury silk markets in Tours and Lyon, France, were in existence for centuries before the Empire period, from about the 15th century. Unfortunately the upheaval of the French Revolution in the late 18th century, severely damaged the then-thriving silk industries in France (including weaving, spinning, dying) and the luxurious and complex designs and expensive product, were largely overtaken and discarded by the results of this conflict and the corresponding desire for more simple garments and dress styles. Many textile artisans were put out of work during this time and the industry has never recovered. However, when Napoleon ruled for a time in the early 19th century, his desire for the luxurious and his investment in the re-decorations of his imperial residences, led to a minor revival in the French silk textile production. The effects of war were largely seen in French silk production and are the object of my late April War & Peace challenge: French silk use was revival-ed and patriotic for French people during the Empire period.

In progress pics:
Front View
Back View

Historical Sew Monthly (Late) APRIL challenge:

The Challenge: War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace. - LATE

Fabric: Both from stash. Burgundy quilted silk dupioni (very low slub) from Jomar (just a piece, the rest went to a non-costuming project). Bias binding is a matching burgundy silk dupioni (very low slub) from silk sale earlier this year by GoldenSilks.

Pattern: TheLadyDetalle muff pattern (my pattern)

Year: Empire (1804-1812 about)

Notions: Silk ribbon ties

How historically accurate is it? It's pretty close: silk dupioni is not the weave they had at the time (they had a tighter, more luxurious weave closer to our modern silk taffeta) as well as other silk weaves. This high quality, low slub silk dupioni easily passes the look test: it looks period accurate. It was sewn by hand, which is period accurate. The shape and size were historically appropriate for 1804-1812).

Hours to complete: 1+ hour to cut bias binding and pin, 2 hours to sew it on, 2 hours to sew on the binding channels, sew it together and add the ties!

First worn: Not yet: I'm planning this for  Regency 12th Night Ball in January!

Total cost: All the fabrics and ribbon were from the stash, so nothing.

Though the quilted silk from Jomar was $5.99/yd and I used a small piece and the burgundy silk dupioni for bias binding was $8.99/yd and I used 3 strips 2 1/2" wide and about 54" long (the selvedge but cut on bias so not quite). The ties were $7.50 for 3 yards and I used less than a yard. I'm guessing $3-4 total cost.
Quilted silk muff - Empire
I'm happy to get this HSM challenge done, although very late, *sigh*...on to the next one!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sense & Sensibility Regency Apron - November HSM Challenge 'Silver Screen'

November – Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

For November's  Silver Screen challenge, I created an early 19th century or Regency apron. 

For many years I have been a fan of Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson's version began it all), and have long planned to make this practical and useful garment: I decided to use this month's Silver Screen challenge as an opportunity to make it happen finally! This was a quick and easy project, where I turned a curtain panel into a Regency apron that ties around the waist (at the back) and the top part is pinned up in two places. 

First, the finished apron:
Regency cotton apron by TheLadyDetalle
The apron is pictured over my 'Strawberry Picking' dress. The apron fits around the waist (high Regency waist) and ties at the back with twill tape ties. The top of the apron pins onto the bodice. 

First, here is my original inspiration picture from Emma Thompson's 'Sense & Sensibility.

I took a curtain panel that my mom gave me, cut it down to the size and shape I wanted, pressed and pinned seam allowances, hand sewed the side seams, (left the bottom seam as is), ironed and pinned the top part together, hand sewed the seams, pressed everything open. Then I pinned and sewed the top portion of the apron onto the bottom (finding the middles first), then hand sewed thin twill tape ties on, securing it all the way across, then it was done! 

Historical Sew Monthly NOVEMBER challenge:

The Challenge: Silver ScreenBe inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

An early 19th century Regency apron inspired by 'Sense & Sensibility' and the apron worn by Emma Thompson. 

Fabric: a curtain panel given to me by my Mom, who had been given the curtain panel from someone else. 100% white embroidered cotton.

Pattern: None: I estimated what the 'Sense & Sensibility' movie apron size and style that Emma Thompson wore on screen would be and then created it.

Year: About 1800

Notions: A bit of white twill tape for the ties.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good I think.

Hours to complete: About an hour to figure out the size/shape, cut it down and pin it. Then 2+ hours to hand sew the seam allowances, sew the top together, sew the top and bottom together and sew on the twill ties.

First worn: Not yet! No specific outing in mind yet, but my idea for a future 'Regency strawberry picking' outing would be a good outing for this!

Total cost: Nothing. Curtain panel was a gift, thread is thread, and the twill tape was bought long ago. So all gifted/stash, so this Silver Screen challenge cost nothing!

I love how quickly it all came together, I can't believe it took me this long to make one, when it was so quick and easy!

Top portion of my Regency apron
Next up is December - Re-Do

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blue silk 'designer' set of pillows for the sewing room - super quick project

Quick project - 'designer' blue silk pillows for the sewing room:
Blue silk 'designer' set of pillows by TheLadyDetalle
While doing Pumpkin Tea prep recently, I was sorting through my fabric stash (looking for some more fabric to de-stash and list in my Etsy store), when I stumbled across two lovely pieces of blue drapery fabric (fabric content unknown, but luxurious feeling and heavy) that are the right shape for two pillow fronts: bingo!

There wasn't enough for backs, but that's ok, I have stash fabric I can use for that! I've been meaning to re-cover some striped gold brown silk dupioni pillows I bought at BB&B about a decade ago (wear and tear of the pillow cover was high, and the pillow inside in good shape with 95% feathers 5% down). When I saw these drapery pieces in the stash, I was like, 'YES!'. So I decided to just go for it on the spot!
The old pillow covers (gold brown silk dupioni)
So first I cut into and pulled off the old pillow covers (see photo above): used that for a generic shape pattern (size plus a bit of seam allowance - but pillows are forgiving within an inch or so), finagled my drapery fashion front pieces a bit since they were slightly longer and not quite as wide as I needed (but within an inch), cut out two back panels to go with my two designer fashion fabric front panels from some icy blue silk dupioni from the stash, pinned, and quickly machined sewed the 3 sides together, insert pillows, pinned shut the last sides (1 side times 2 pillows)...all that remained was to hand sew them shut!
Machine-sewn & pinned - in progress
My husband saw them sitting on the bed that evening and thought I had bought them: he said they looked designer high end: sweet! That's an awesome compliment for decade old pillows who just got new quick covers sewn together on a whim while I was de-stashing.

Last step, I hand-sewed the 4th sides together (using invisible stitch) and voila! A set of pillows for the the sewing room!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Regency 'fichu' - October (late) HSM Challenge 'Sewing Secrets'

For October's (late) Sewing Secrets challenge, 

I'm a bit late with October's HSM, because I needed to spend my recent sewing time getting my  house reading for my annual Regency Pumpkin Tea last weekend. It's the 9th annual this year, and since we moved early summer, there was still a LOT to do to get ready in time: organizing, unpacking, building furniture, hanging curtains. For that reason, I finished 90% of my HSM by Oct 31st (including the secret pocket) but the final 2 sides of black marabou trim didn't get completely sewn on until mid Nov, thus a bit late on this one.
HSM 'Sewing Secrets' - Regency fichu with hidden innner pocket
First, the finished early 19th century Regency 'fichu' - it's sewing secret is a small pocket sewn on the inside so that you can hide a love note, a secret, or more.
My 'Sewing Secrets' - Inner silk pocket for hiding a love note
How I put it together: I decided to take my draped Regency pelerine as a basis of this 'fichu', and draft up a new pattern: it took about an hour and quite a bit of trimming and pinning muslin to get the shaping right.

Here is my original inspiration fashion plate that I am basing this Regency fichu on:

Here are a few in-progress pics:
Cutting the silk fabric

Hand sewn silk 'fichu'

Silk fabric & lining - 'fichu'

Historical Sew Monthly OCTOBER challenge:

The Challenge: Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

For this challenge, I hid a small pocket on the back of an early 19th century Regency silk marabou trimeed 'fichu' for a love note or secret letter! 

Fabric: Rusty red burgundy silk taffeta (fabric), medium blue silk dupioni (lining), burgundy silk dupioni (bias binding)

Pattern: none. Draped/drafted by me, based on my draped Regency pelerine.

Year: early 19th century

Notions: black marabou trim

How historically accurate is it? It's based on an early 19th century fashion plate, hand sewn and made from similar materials available at the time: pretty accurate (but not perfectly accurate).

Hours to complete: 1 hour to drape it, 1 hour to cut the fabric & lining, 2 hours to sew bias binding to finish edges, about 8 hours to sew on marabou trim. Gah, sewing on marabou takes forever!

First worn: not yet!

Total cost: All fabric and trim from the stash - I used very little silk taffeta, silk dupioni & marabou - probably about $15-20 total

It looks a bit bright in this flash picture, the silk is more rust red burgundy.

Next up is November - Silver Screen

Regency silk 'fichu' with marabou by theLadyDetalle

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Black silk black marabou hooded cape - Part Two

Finally, here is the finished black silk and black marabou hooded cape: I'm happy with how it turned out:
Black marabou silk hooded cape by TheLadyDetalle
Materials: I used an excellent quality black silk taffeta (bought a few years back in the L.A. Fashion District), with self bias binding trim, lined in black linen (bought from 96th District Fabrics at Fort Fred this past spring for this purpose), and trimmed in black marabou feather boas (bought from JoAnn's).

I followed the same tutorial I used here and here, in creating my pink silk hooded cape, only I changed how far down the front the hood is attached (lowering it a few inches in the front), and also attached the hood to the cape base before adding the bias binding to finish. I trimmed it in black marabou from JoAnn's, following this method, and viola!

This style is popular and modeled after the late 18th century, based on one in 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' by Norah Waugh, but I've been researching capes, mantles, mantlets, capelets, cloaks and related outerwear for a few months now. I have found that the terms are sometimes interchangeable (but not always) and that the shapes and terms changed over the decades, the general shape, wear and use often was similar across decades, so this late 18th century hooded cape is very similar in some cases to Victorian capes. I've also found that things are likely mis-labeled at times and that I'm sure, adds to the confusion.

Here is what I've learned in my research so far (these are generalities and open to future update with more research): Cloaks are long, almost the length of a garment. Capes are generally waist length and lack sleeves (their purpose is to keep the wearer's back warm, and as the garment is so short, sleeves are not needed). Pelerines are waist length like capes, but are longer in the front (almost to the floor in some cases I've seen) and have pointed (or rounded) edges, and were popular across many decades. Pelisses are full length and have sleeves in the Regency, but in the Georgian period, they appear to be mid way between waist length and full length and have sleeves. Mantle is a term that seems to be synonymous with capes; I have founded waist length garments without sleeves described both as capes and as mantles, and I have found waist length garments with sleeves described only as mantles or pelisses. But a few described as a cape. Fichus are generally very small and cover only the top portion of the chest/neck. Capelets and Mantlets appear to be smaller or mini versions of Capes and Mantles respectively.

Whew, it's enough to make one's head spin! Here is a link to my Pinterest board with some of my research, if you want to check it out! So definitely something that requires further research, but this is why I'm calling it a hooded cape for now!

Here is the page from 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' defining this as a "hooded cape."
Page from 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' by Norah Waugh
A few in-progress pictures:
Pleating both sides of the neckline
The big hood (meant to fit over high hairstyles)
Pleating the neckline
And my prior entry: 'Black Silk Marabou Cape - Part One'.

Thanks for reading!

Regency Pumpkin Tea shoes - painting my American Duchess 'Pemberley' shoes mini tutorial

Earlier this year (mid summer) I painted my American Duchess 'Pemberley' Regency flats, and while I plan on adding more to these before they are 'final', I wanted to share a bit about the progress:

The In-progress shoes:
The 'finished' painted shoes!
I decided to be a bit practical and choose to make these shoes for an event that I always have every year: my Regency Pumpkin Tea in November!

So I read through American Duchess shoe painting tutorial here, ordered my supplies (leather paint from and also from, and petersham ribbon from The Sewing Place), as well as a pair of imperfect 'Pemberley' shoes on sale, and got to work. I had originally planned to make these as a second part to my July HSM Accessorize challenge this summer, but I ran out of time in July to get these done, and also opted not to make shoes for my late 1790's open gown, but instead to make them for Pumpkin Tea. I went all crazy mixing up and painting them with a muted, autumn-y shade of ORANGE, yay!

First, I cleaned my shoes with leather cleaner/preparer (to remove factory finish following American Duchess tutorial), lightly wiping them with paper towel.
Imperfect American Duchess 'Pemberley' shoes - ready to paint
I used blue painters tape to protect the leather bottoms from paint.
Taping up the bottom first
Taping the Inside of the shoes
Then I painted on the first, light layer of paint, a custom orange color I mixed: the first coat ended up being very light indeed!
Painting the first layer
Once I moved on to the second, third, fourth, fifth, and on until the seventh coat, when it finally looked solid and pretty (and you could no longer see the shoe underneath) - making sure to allow enough time for the shoes to dry for a few minutes in between paint coats - probably could let each coat  dry even longer and ended up with less coats for overall coverage, but I wanted to get going with it, lol.

In progress painting
I ended up mixing a custom autumn based orange using: orange, mustard, brown and burgundy.

In future, I'm planning on adding some petersham ribbon trim, and also a protective coat, so I'll post more when they are complete:

I'm really excited about the somewhat finished shoes: I wore them this past Saturday for the 9th Annual Pumpkin Tea, and I loved the way they went with my outfit!

Monday, November 16, 2015

9th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea - November 14, 2015

My 9th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea was this past Saturday: it's a time for afternoon tea with friends, a celebration of fall, tea and all things Regency! This was the first year of Pumpkin Tea in our new house since we moved this past Spring, and it was a lot of work to get everything ready in the house, but my honey was a huge help and it all came together in time!
Mom, Kat & I [photo courtesy of Gloria]
This year the event started on Friday, with Kat and Judy coming down on Friday to help with prep, hang out and enjoy a ladies evening. Judy had some last minute sewing on her spencer, I took the time to make a little progress on my (late) HSM for Sewing Secrets, and a lot of chatting and fun was had! Saturday morning went by quickly in tea food prep (a BIG thank you to Kat & Judy for all your help that morning!), and then ladies began to arrive...

I wore my 'Strawberry Picking' Regency cotton dress I made a few years ago, a turban wrapped by Judy (it kept falling down all day, but I told Judy it was my hair's fault, as turban's never seem to stay on my head), my chemisette, my painted American Duchess 'Pemberley' shoes, [and my P&P spencer for photo time].
Taylor and I having fun during photo time! [photo courtesy of Gloria]
Shoe shot! I'm wearing my painted (orange) American Duchess 'Pemberley' shoes!
On a completely serious side, the weekend was overshadowed by some sad events leading up to it: on Thursday evening, news that a costumer friend from Williamsburg had passed, leaving a husband and two small children, and many, many friends in mourning. She was an absolute sweetheart, well loved by everyone that knew her well: she touched many lives with her warmth and welcoming heart and will be greatly missed. That news was soon followed by the unfolding tragedy in France. It was difficult to set aside the sadness and tragedy for a time.

At the tea there was a lovely group of ladies this year, and as always, we had a yummy table of tea food: thank you to everyone for bringing such delicious dishes! There were a few little blips on the way to the fun besides the above (a burnt finger, 'onion eyes', bad traffic for a guest, a stressful morning for another). I myself had a bit of a rough night on Thursday, and some stressful and not so fun work events leading up to and right before the tea. It was nice though, to try to forget about all that for a time, and to focus on catching up and enjoying each other's company, and I think it all came together when everyone sat down to enjoy tea together!
Yummy tea food!
We did two fun number draws this year: the first for a HUGE fabric de-stash, where quite a few of the guests brought fabric (and trim and a few hats) and each person had 3 minutes to choose a fabric before the next person went. Thanks everyone for bringing fabric to de-stash, especially Isabella, who contributed the bulk of the de-stash!! Everyone came away with some fabric goodies and ideas of things to make with them, and the remaining de-stash fabric will be donated this week to a local charity.
Gloria looking through the massive de-stash pile
The second number draw was for a little gift draw, where I wrapped things I had purged from my own collection that costumers would be interested in (CDs, DVDs, books, fabric, cards, knick-knacks, feathers, hankies, etc.) and everyone picked a random gift and unwrapped it: I purposely wrapped a few extra gifts so there was some swapping at the end - it was great fun, hopefully everyone enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed seeing these things go to good homes!

The tea itself was SUCH fun: I was able to fit one long table into our family bonus room space (by putting two Costco tables together) and it was great that we could all enjoy tea at one table and catch up on what was going on with everyone, life, houses, jobs, families, events, etc. As always, there was some scheming and ideas for future events, which is always fun to discuss and plan, and lots and lots of good fun and tea. I served Cream Earl Grey, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Chocolate Vanilla Mint (no caffeine) at the tea, and kept refilling the Cream Earl Grey teapot especially!

After a time we all went outside (and inside) to get some photos:
Maggie, Jean & Linda [photo courtesy of Gloria]
My mother & I at Pumpkin Tea [photo courtesy of Gloria]
Taylor & I (Stephanie) shenanigans!
Everybody looked AH-MAZING, and there were a few new dresses, and re-wear of some lovely ones (it was all I could do not to steal Kat's French military inspired spencer). A huge THANK YOU to Gloria, of InTheLongRunDesigns, for setting up her tripod and taking these lovely group photos below! It was a touch too cold, so we didn't spend too long outside, just some pictures and then back inside for more fun.
Group photo [courtesy of Gloria]
Wedgie shot [courtesy of Gloria]
Even with the sadness leading up to the event, it was an absolutely lovely Pumpkin Tea, and I very much enjoyed it! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came, who brought food, helped with prep, brought fabric for de-stash and who made this year's Pumpkin Tea a time of joy and friendship amidst times of pain and sorrow. It was a truly wonderful time with friends this year, that I will never, ever forget!

I look forward to welcoming you back (and others) next year for the 10th Annual Pumpkin Tea: for such a big anniversary, I'm going to plan something fun, so stay tuned for more!

All of my 9th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea photos here!