Monday, 3 October 2011

In Which I Reveal My Scottish Pride and My Odd Affinity for Historic Clothing

With some leftover birthday money, I decided to buy myself a necklace that I've been wanting for a while.  Kevin didn't quite take the hint when I sent him the link for it last Christmas.  It is sterling silver and made using the imprint of an antique wax seal.  I ordered it from Englady on etsy.  I absolutely love it!  It's nice and heavy, and the chain is so delicate...I forgot to take a picture of the pearls that accent the clasp, but it's gorgeous.  It all came packaged in a pretty teal box with a white satin ribbon.  I am half Scottish, and I'll wear my thistle with pride!

On the other hand, I'm about to reveal perhaps a bit more than I ever have of me in my underwear...  Right, so it's 200 year old underwear.  I've always wanted to make myself a Regency-Era dress.  But never one to do anything half-way, I figured I needed the proper undergarments first.  It always bothers me that in historical dramas they don't wear period-appropriate underthings.  For example, in the 1980s version of Mansfield park, it is very obvious that Fanny Price and Mary Crawford are not wearing petticoats!  Scandalous!  Perhaps you'd expect it of Mary, but not Fanny!

I used the Sense and Sensibility Regency Underthings pattern for my Chemise and Short Stays.  The chemise is not actually finished, as I still need to finish flat-felling the side seams (it's really boring when done by hand), and then I need to hem it (also by hand, of course).  I chose to do spiral lacing for my stays, because it is more historically accurate.  Did you know that the cross-lacing we usually envision on corsets wasn't actually used until well into the Victorian era?  So any medieval costume you see with cross lacing isn't correct...unless it's decorative and probably rennaisance anyway.

I cut out size 12, which was miles too big.  I didn't want to lose any length as I would have if I had recut the pieces in a smaller size.  So I just took it in about an inch total.  I also shortened the straps about half an inch.  I think that made it about size 8, but now that it is complete, I see I should have done size 6.  I can easily lace it all the way closed, but it's supposed to have about a 2 inch gap.

You would be surprised how comfortable this is.  More so than a modern bra because it doesn't ride up or poke.  It makes me stand straighter too.  I bought zip ties for the boning, and everything else I had on hand.

interlining: canvas drop cloth fabric, left over from the roman blinds I made.  It's a little too stretchy for corsets, but it'll do for now.  If you use it, zig-zag or serge your edges!  Especially the gussets.  I had to replace two after they frayed.  Other than that, this pattern was so easy.
lining: white cotton, the same as the chemise fabric
outer fabric: some kind of synthetic that looks like dupioni silk.
drawstring and lacing: cotton, I have no idea what it is.  I'll have to ask my mom, since she gave it to me.  It's loosely-woven, yet strong.

Next up, petticoat and dress!  The petticoat will be made of the same cotton as the chemise, and will button to the stays, since I don't want yet another set of straps over my shoulders.  I may make the dress first, as I have no idea how full to make the petticoat at the moment.  My inspiration for the dress can be seen on my Pinterest board.

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