Hot summer 1914

Edwardian Outfits July 2014-20

 

After the  WWI event at Hereford one thing became apparent – I  cannot wear my original mourning outfit in these temperatures! it was only silk, but black, and having it drenched with sweat was just a crime. So for the next WWI event, in St. Neots, I decided to  whiz something simple and more appropriate – a light cotton summer dress.

I had only 1 day to do just that – recent house move meant I  had to finish some commissions early and catch up with others after the move – but I managed to save up 1 day to get the frock sorted. I had a lovely cotton with embroidered border in stock (  to make one of the stock item dresses…) and decided to use that. my inspiration came from a few fashion plates picturing a skirt and a bodice/jacket combination – you can see the board here.

The whole thing turned out to be a bit more complex than I had originally imagined. The top needed a sitted waist ( underbodice) with the looser , longer layer being mounted directly on it. I did not have time to make a late Edwardian corset in lighter fabric, and my black one showed through the layers – so I had to use my early Edwardian corset – shorter and without suspenders, but it turned out to work just fine. I also added some vintage lace to the borders of the jacket…

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fitted waist under the looser layer…

The only pair of shoes I had, were my new Gibsons from American Duchess – and so to match them I found a scrap of beige silk in the scrap box and made a belt  to compliment the shoes – whatever as left of the silk went on the hat…

And so, the layers were –  The stockings, drawers and the chemise with a corset on top….

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then the petticoat in light cotton and lace…

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Camisole  and the skirt next…

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And then the jacket. It can be worn in 2 ways – as a cross over…

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or open in front, revealing more of the decorative waist…

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back view…

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 The hat was an original item, restyled just a bit – added silk bow, velvet ribbon , some bling and ivory and brown feathers.

 On the day I forgot my gloves – and felt half naked wondering around town looking for a shop that would sell anything suitable… Fortunately, lovely ladies in Beales found s the last few pairs of net gloves somewhere in the stock room – and they were perfect!

  Here am leaving for a day’s work on the second day – this time with a parasol as sun was merciless!

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The event itself, ran by St. Neot’s museum  and Black Knight Historical, was great – we chatted to the public, recruited nurses, encouraged young lads to join up – and talking about the impact the great War had on the history and everyday life…

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– and in between all that we sat at a nearby vintage cafe, enjoying amazing scones, tea and lemonade… If you ever are in St. Neot’s this place is well worth a visit –  Betty Bumbless Vintage tea Rooms.

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 I also spent some time making sketches  – to be used by one of the local artists –  and it turned out to be a real magnet for the public, and inspired a few very interesting discussions about the war fashions….

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At the end of the day we indulged in a little photoshoot session in the cafe – their first floor turned out to be a time machine – styling was mostly WWII, but generic enough for us to have a go at a few pictures…

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  Lastly, we paid our respects at the local monument…

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  All through the weekend the temperatures were scorching – and the new dress worked well – it was light, breathed well and I felt much cooler than in the black silk – success. in fact, it proved so popular that I got some more of the fabric to make another one, this time for sale:-). Considering the fact that in the next 4 years we will be doing quite a lot of the WWI events, I suspect I will be making a few more summer dresses, day dresses and walking suits… a few of them are already done, available in our shop! ore to come over the next few months….

 Credits:

 Photography – as always, huge thanks to Pitcheresque Imagery

 Shoes – American Duchess,

 Clothes ( my dress, Blue silk dress, and Lucas’ breeches (  try as I might, I simply couldn’t get out of making theses…) – Prior Attire

 gloves – Beales

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So we have got a new website – and it comes with a shop! Online shoo for some essentials has been on my to do list for quite some time,  and so I decided to go ahead with it. And your products need to be photographed, right? Well,  since we were moving house, we decided to get as many pictures sorted before we do so – and 2 long sessions have been set aside and done!

The first was a fun session with Miss Lilian Love – featuring our modern corsets – the elegant sheer…

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and a cyberpunk/sci fy underbust – in a few looks!

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Lady Darth Vader….

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then a week later we had Anett, and Adrianne..

preparations…

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and a few outtakes from the shoot…

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after the shoot the girls went to bed…. 😉

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The  next day  Helen joined us for more fun..

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and then Lizzie  got to model some more stuff too 🙂

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even I got to model one of our stock items!

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and after all the shooting was done, it was editing time – photos, of course, by Pitcheresque Imagery

All the items here ( and many more) are  already available in the shop – but will get a proper post on the shop at some point too!

Many thanks to all our models  for their hard work, creativity and simply being great company!

 

 

The Widow and the Bride – 1910 corset and a modern sheer

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Well, since I had the 1914 mourning dress sorted, I also needed proper underwear. I have never been particularly fond of the WWI fashions, but since we are getting more and more bookings for that period for the summer,  it makes sense to be prepared. Also, since the current WWI interest is going to last for another 4 years or so due to the centenary,  we are bound to be either booked for shows, or to make clothing from that era. And so,  I bought a pattern and decided to have a go at it next time I was due for our monthly Stitch and Bitch session at Sew Curvy.

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on my way to Sew Curvy – Cuckoo Lane in its spring glory!

PatternNehalenia patterns, 1910 corset – earlier than the WWI, but this type of corset was worn generally till at least mid decade if not longer – a quick look at other sources confirmed it, and so  the decision was made.  I adapted size 12 – with the bust from size 16, as specified by my measurements.

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materials – bits of cotton broche, black – remnants form other projects. Alas, it  turned out that they cane from different batches and one piece was darker than the other – but the difference in hue would hardly matter on an underwear corset.

boning –  flat and spiral steels enclosed in channels made with herringbone tape.

All components,apart from the lace came from Sew Curvy shop.

 

mock up first…

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mock up cut in calico…

 

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mock up boned using masking tape – stupidly I didn’t notice at that point that bones do not go all the way down, so had to trim them later… Irritating…

 

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mock up on! not too bad, just minor adaptations 🙂

 

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it felt surprisingly comfortable, and gave a much better silhouette than I had envisaged! loving the smooth fit over the hips.

 

Once I saw how flattering the corset can be, I set to making the real thing with renewed enthusiasm…

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pieces cut!

 

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and stitched together…

 

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seam detail on the outside…

 

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and on the inside… after the first trials the flat felled seams were a joy to make! the trick is to pre-press the seam allowance on the folding over piece – makes stitching it much , much easier!

 

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the innards…

then  eyelets were inserted…

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and then the boning:-)

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the whole thing was bound in cotton binding

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and it was time to try it on…. 🙂

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not too shabby!

 

very pleased with the fit – just need some nice lace to put on top, and the make and attach suspenders:-)

And while I was having fun with the  kit for my mourning kit, Julia was working on a sweet bridal sheer – a few taster pictures below, official photos not disclosed yet! 🙂

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sheer mesh, silk satin and lace – divine combo!

 

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it is progressing well 🙂

 

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getting there…..

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and done!

If you like the look of the sheer corset, check out Sew Curvy courses –  the was a recent course on sheer corsetry, but i believe the dates for the next one will be announced soon!

 

once back home I sorted out the suspenders…

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trying to puzzle them out was a bit of a challenge at first, but it is not rocket science!

 

and then added lace and a velvet ribbon, flossed the bones for that extra security and fashionable look  –  and the corset was ready.  Here worn over my late Edwardian chemisette and drawers, the stockings and shoes from American Duchess

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you can see the differences in the different hues of the broche quite clearly here…

 

Altogether, I am very well pleased with the thing – it is comfortable, gives a much better silhouette than I had expected, and above all, serves its primary function – this type of corsets did not aim a waist reduction ( though there is some!), but at streamlining the body, so that the loose, close fitting garments of the era ( hobble skirts especially) looked smooth, flowing down the body in a relatively undisturbed fashion.

In fact, I liked them so much I made 5 others, in different sizes, as a trial batch for our online shop ( news on that shortly) – we will be offering them as off the peg items alongside other corsetry items (  Regency, mid Victorian, late Victorian, early Edwardian) in standard sizes 10-18 🙂

The ones I made as a trial  were photographed one weekend in a WWI undergarment shoot  with Pitcheresque Imagery– a picture-full report on that here – and the teaser below:-)

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Suiting up – WWI style

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 Well, I must say that once we hit the Teens, I start to get bored with the clothes.  But, being in  business means that sometimes you have to stretch beyond your comfort zone – and this suit was just such an exercise….  I am not a tailor – and not particularly eager to become one, so I usually leave the tailoring bits  to those who are trained accordingly. On this occasion, however, since it was a friend who asked, I relented and tried my  hand at a tailored suit  1910-14 style.

 Eleanor knew my attitude to suits so  to make it easier we agreed on a commercial pattern to be used, and we got absolutely stunning check wool and soft linen for lining. The undergarments were made,  measurements taken – it was time to unpack the pattern ( Reconstructing History, 1052) and get down to it – make a mock up.

 And that’s when it started….

 The pattern….. though I usually make my own patterns, I have used commercial patterns before – and  as with everything in life, some are better and some are worse; most require some fiddling with the mock up – there are no miracles after all and nobody is the ideal size.

 Well, this one required the most fiddling I have ever experienced….

 The skirt:   Pattern was simple – but the pieces were marked in a weird way – some upside down….

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    if you look carefully, you will see the waist darts at the right side. but the description is reversed on one piece

Not a major thing, though confusing. However, here  the size was the issue. We cut out the required size – only to realize that for some reason it was almost 10 inches too big at the waist… So it needed re-cutting and darts needed re-positioning. again, not a big deal, but a nuisance.

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fitting the skirt…. not at least the size is right, fiddling with the darts and hem here

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the back

 The jacket.

 Well,   mock up was cut out ( 1 fronts 2 side fronts and 2 backs), and put together – and it became apparent straight away that there are several issues:

* front – the front, princess seam needed re- positioning over the bust curve…

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the seam is the original, as pattern shows – had to be moved by 2 inches, making the piece bigger

* the back –  the back was simply cut in 2 big pieces – and they hanged loosely, not fitting at all looking at the picture on the pattern, you sort of see the side back seam, splitting the back piece into two –  alas, the pattern piece did not acknowledge the fact, merging the 2 pieces together….

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mark the position of the front seam – and the drawing of the back. the side back seam is not reflected in the pattern – you can add it to the piece as on the drawing, or continue the line from the front, as I did

so a back piece had to be split, and since the front piece had a seam, we decided to continue the seam over the shoulder, splitting the back into two, and providing a better fit over the back and size… the correction is marked on the pattern now.

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new seam marked on the pattern

 Once we seam was in place, the whole thing looked much, much better – here on the stand, interlined wool turned outsize, ready for another fitting

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and on Eleanor…

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back looking much better. mark the asymmetric shoulders – a bit tricky!

 Sleeves were next –  the ones cut according to the pattern were HUGE! looked like elephant’s legs:_)

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surplus…..

The second fitting sorted the little kinks out – and I was able to proceed with finishing the thing, lining with linen, adding velvet cuffs and collar, and velvet covered buttons.

The hat was next – and here huge was the target size:-) we had black-watch silk tartan, ostrich feathers, peacock feathers and velvet to decorate it…

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 The base is made in buckram, wired, covered in calico and then covered with silk, with edges bound in the silk bias binding,

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ready! the bird was optional, in the end we decided to go without it….

Altogether, as far as the pattern was concerned – it is not a beginners thing. If you are  familiar with working with toiles,  you will work your suit out of it, but be prepared for quite a lot of fiddling.

To me it seemed that some of the issues we experienced  were due to a few factor – the size – I suppose a size 10 small chested lass may have the princess seams spot on – but on a curvier sizes it simply didn’t work. Also, i suspect the pattern may have been drawn on a dummy  or a model who was not wearing period correct underwear – and we are still in corsets at that time! Admittedly, long line corsets, mid or underbust too, with bust improvers or not – but the position of the bust is changed nevertheless.

In conclusion – workable pattern, but in the future will another draft my own or experiment with another one. It may work for a more experienced tailor – maybe the issues we had wee also due to the fact that I am no such! 🙂

Still, very pleased with how it turned out in the end –   we did a small shoot in the park on a beautiful spring day and Eleanor looked resplendent in the suit:-) Her layers are – chemise, corset,  princess petticoat, blouse, suit, vintage furs, vintage bag and jewellery. shoes by American Duchess 

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jacket off….

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The inspiration for the finishing touches and hats –  taken from out pinterest board!

The black dress I am wearing – well,  that is another post altogether! Soon!

photos by Pitcheresque Imagery