Sewing · Victorian

Oops, I Did It Again Part II

This post was supposed to go up a couple of weeks ago but then, in true Miss Temby fashion (I’ve got to stop doing this), I was sewing right up until the night I packed for my trip for Easter. So, better late than never, right?

You would have seen from my last post that I was busy stash-busting and expanding my 1890s wardrobe.

Along with making a new skirt with the plum taffeta leftover from Mum’s 1890s outfit, I wanted to make an evening bodice. The plan originated when the plans for Easter still included a dance so I was in need of something to wear. Even when the dance had to be called off, I wanted to finish the bodice and was able to wear it for one evening.

I frankenpatterned the Truly Victorian Cuirass Bodice and 1890s Bodice pattern because I didn’t have the energy to attempt drafting anything myself (work stresses and all that). The bodice is a combination of the two patterns and the sleeves were a hybrid of both pattern’s puffed sleeves since the 1890s puffs seemed like they might be a bit extreme to use as is.

After completing the bodice I felt that there was something lacking. It needed some sort of trim or embellishment, but I didn’t want to overdo it (and didn’t have the time to go super fancy). After I found some braided trim for my cape, I realised that I had enough leftover and could add that to the neckline.

The completed bodice
Wearing the bodice for the first time at Easter

Also in my stash was a few metres of a corduroy that I bought last year and never used. I had more than enough to create a new cape, not to mention, the right amount of broadcloth to flatline it with. Of course, with my plans of making a new muff, I wanted to have some sort of cohesion between them and decided to try to trim the cape with the same faux fur as the muff.

I found a dusty pink faux fur at Spotlight that had black tips. I hesitated when looking at the faux furs available because I didn’t know whether dyed fur was a thing in the 1890s or not but the other, natural colours just didn’t seem to work with the colour of the corduroy as well. In the end, I decided to choose the dusty pink regardless.

I added some cotton organdy to the lining piece of the cape to give it a bit more support when the fur was attached. I wasn’t sure how much extra weight the fur would add, and I didn’t want to end up spoiling the way it sat if it was too heavy.

The lining with the organdy facing

It wasn’t until I was ready to cut out the fur for the bottom of the cape that I realised I had miscalculated and had to cut two pieces and stitch them together so that they would curve all the way around. I also cut a piece for the collar and to border the front edges.

Yeah… I didn’t think this through at all…

I made the cape up, adding the fur to the collar before attaching it to the main part. Then came the fun and tricky part of stitching the fur to the main part of the cape. I had to decide whether or not to do it all by hand or to use machine stitching as well. I soon discovered that the option of machine stitching was out of the question and so stitched all of the fur on by hand.

It took a while to do – at least a whole season of Gotham, in fact – but, if you’ve seen my previous cape then you’ll know I am a sucker for punishment when it comes to overly ambitious, time consuming projects. I wasn’t happy with leaving the top of the fur as it was – it didn’t look properly finished. I found some braided trim at Spotlight (the same as I used in the bodice above) and stitched that on top – fortunately that was possible with some wrangling on my sewing machine.

Visible (and uneven) stitches…
With the braided trim giving it a much more polished/finished look
The only picture of me wearing it so far…

Making the muff afterwards was a walk in the park after that.

The other project I worked on was a bodice to utilise some of the left over corduroy and eggplant taffeta. I used the Truly Victorian 1890s bodice pattern and altered it slightly so that I could close it with buttons instead of hooks and eyes.

I flatlined the upper portion of the sleeves with organdy, hoping that the sleeves would have a nice puff at the top once set in to the bodice. Unfortunately, I should have used a different sleeve pattern because there wasn’t enough volume in these ones.

I wasn’t happy with what I had ended up with but time was getting on and I had to start packing for my Easter trip. Fortunately, I do have my Aubergine Bodice that I could pack instead but still, I had put the time into it so that stubborn part of my brain wanted to make it work.

I was trying to put my finger on what was bugging me so much about it and it was the sleeves. Two days before I left I decided to chance it and take off the sleeves. I made up some small sleeve puffs, added them to the sleeves and reattached them.

Finished. But… not finished…
Now it’s finished

Much better. Not perfect, but it was an improvement and I was happy to put it in my suitcase and wear it on Easter Sunday while at Ferrymead Heritage Park. I also had made up a corselet from some of the corduroy which I wore with it (you can sort of see it in the picture below) and a matching reticule.

Now that these garments are done and out of the way, my stash is a little smaller. I can now turn my focus towards my Big Project – my 1870s Pink and Blue dress – and my upcoming holiday to visit family and friends later this month.

My post about Easter is coming – it should be up in a week or two.

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