Thursday, July 17, 2014

1830s Undies

I seem to have managed to shake off my sewing rut, and have dived head first into making my undies for my 1830s mourning gown. First, I started on my stays, getting the pattern drafted out. I used the Regency long stays pattern from Corsets & Crinolines. The proportions on this corset were really, really weird when I sized the pattern up.

The front length was nearly 18", and would have hit right at the top of my crotch! Ridiculous. So, I started slashing and spreading, and ended up with a much shorter, fatter set of pattern pieces. XP Once that was done, I needed to redo the cording lines, so I started sketching. I came up with a slightly different pattern than the ones on the original pattern, but they are very close.

I cut out my sateen, drill interlining, and muslin lining from the new pattern, and things are just waiting to be stitched now. I just... haven't gotten to it yet. ^^;  Instead, I started working on my petticoats.

I've been wanting a good corded petticoat for a while, and I'm finally getting around to putting it together. Thankfully, Joann's had a bunch of good coupons come out, so I picked up a 25 yard bolt of muslin to make some more undies. The first thing I cut from it was a few panels for this project. Since the fabric is only 36" wide, I decided to use three panels. The hem may be a bit too large (108" is a large petticoat!), but with the way the cording folds and drapes, I don't think it will end up being too much volume.

After my experiments with a rope-stiffened farthingale (I'll post about that later), I was really impressed with the stiffening power of natural rope. It's a great thing to use for cording petticoats, and it's much cheaper than cording you buy at the fabric store. This is what I bought for the 1830s petticoat:

It's 1/4" natural sisal rope. It's available in several different lengths. I bought the 100-foot roll (roughly 33 yards), which cost around $7. If you bought cording from the fabric store at $0.50/yard, you'd pay around twice that, so it's definitely a good deal!

Then I started cording. I decided to do the cording in tucks method, which is the quickest way to make a corded petticoat, but still takes bloody forever. XP Thankfully, I had a Certified Fabric Cat to help me.

I did 10 rows of cording 1.5" inches apart, and was intending to do the rest of the rows toward the waistline 3" apart, but I ran out of rope. XP So, I have to pick up another coil after work sometime soon and finish it up. But, I'm super excited about how it already looks.

So, I started on a flounced petticoat to go over the corded one. I had some wide embroidered eyelet trim left over from another project some time ago, and it turned out to be just enough for four flounces. I started it this morning, and managed to get about half the skirt finished before I had to go in to work today.

So, that's where I am right now. Things are going together rather quickly, and I should have a finished set of undies fairly soon. I still need to make a bum pad, a pair of bloomers, and some sleeve supports, but those should all go together really quickly.

I rediscovered some grey plaid fabric that I bought 300 years ago in the LA garment district, and I think I'm going to use part of it (I have 10 yards) to make an 1830s day dress, just to get me acquainted with the shapes of the era. It will also give me something new to wear to the Candelight event at Heritage Park in December. Whatever's left, I'm going to use to make a nice warm Regency dress for an event in January. ^^


  1. Oooh I'm excited to see how your stays come out! I'm working on the same pattern right now and had the same problem with scaling. It's practically a mini-dress when sized up!

    1. It was! It was completely silly. lol I'm glad I didn't tackle this pattern before I was more comfortable with drafting, I might have given up on it. XP