Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dirndl Daydreams

Doesn't we all daydream about sewing? About dreamy fabrics and shiny new patterns, about silk and linen and wool, about trimmings and drafting and tailoring and, most importantly, dreaming up an endless list of things we would like to make and wear - like yesterday.

Lately, I have been daydreaming about sewing the perfect dirndl.

I think it started when Gertie posted about her new obsession with the garment, planting a seed in my sub-consciousness. Then my boyfriend started talking about going to Vienna for New Years Eve. Burda had a full-on dirndl feature in the september magazine. Suddenly, I found myself looking through entire pinterest boards full of beautiful dirndls by Lena Hoschek, Julia Trentini and Gössl. Octoberfest came and went, filling Instagram with pictures of beautiful dirndls. Then late one evening, in a moment of weakness, I purchased a pdf version of Burda 7057:

Then I spend an entire evening pulling fabrics from my stash, and came up with these combinations:

In the end, I have settled on the orange/plum color combination (the big picture, top left), as it feels more grown-up and winter appropriate to me than pink, and uses fabric from deeper stash layers. I plan on using the orange linen for the body, the plaid for the full skirt with the beautiful scalloped edge as the hem and the plum taffeta as the apron. The purple linen will become part of the pretty neckline trim and perhaps some matching accessories.

This dirndl has a similar feel and color scheme:
So far, I have printed and taped the pattern together and have cut and sewn the first muslin in my usual size 38. I have a good feeling about this one!

Are you sewing any special occasion dresses for the holiday season?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Feeling Fancy: HSM "Blue"

So... I finished these stays back in february in good time for the HSM challenge, got some decent photos and then promptly forgot about the blogging part. I thought about blogging them this summer after their first official outing, but that obviously didn't happen. Then my historical sewing "club" started talking about stays, and I remembered to write this post.

Long story short, let me show you my finished stays:

I love them. They give me the fashionable 18th century shape while still being deceptively comfortable and undeniably cute to look at.

The outer fabric is a heavy cotton upholstery brocade I found as a remnant at Videbæk Stof-Sycenter (my favorite fabric shop). It is a beautiful periwinkle blue with small tulip-like flowers in dusty pink and pale green woven into it (see picture below). It is still available at Historicum for anyone interested. I used about a half meter. This particular length was bought for me by my boyfriend as part of a swap.

It is interlined in a heavy tan linen/viscose blend from my stash. I made the coordinating pink binding with half a meter of cotton broadcloth from Stof&Stil in the color "antique rose". I used 25 mm binding for covering the inside seam allowances in lieu of a separate lining, the 18 mm for binding the edges and the 12 mm for decorating/highlighting the seam lines on the outside.

The pattern is Butterick 4254 view B. I had to make a few modifications, mainly due to the weird big-4 sizing and the pattern being very short-waisted. I had the size 12-14-16 packet, but the recommended size (14) was WAY to big for me. The 12 was a little better, but not ideal. I ended up taking it in a couple of cm at each center back edge, lower the back neckline, moved the front strap toward center front, adding height to the front neckline and narrowing the straps.
I also changed the boning layout a bit to allow me to do spiral lacing.

The boning is made up of 98 separate pieces of zip-ties, all cut and filed down by hand with a nail file. Each zip-tie was only 0,5 cm wide, so I put 2 ties in every boning channel marked on the pattern. Only the channels and main seam are sewn by machine, as all binding, lacing holes and finishing is done by hand. I LOVE my thimble!

Needless to say, these stays were a labor of love, and OMG I love them! They are so "me", and ohh so nice to wear. In fact, I wore them for 3 full days at the 18th century fair in June, and loved every minute of it. Never will I ever have cut marks on my waist from wearing 3+ heavy skirts all day again!

As this is my official entry for the HSM, here are the specs:

The Challenge: Blue (February 2015)

Item: Half-boned mid-to-late 18th century stays
Fabric: Blue cotton upholstery brocade with woven flower motif for the outer layer. Heavy tan linen/viscose for interlining. Dusty pink cotton broadcloth for coordinating binding. 
Pattern: Butterick 4254 view B, size 12,  modified for fit
Year: 1750-1780-ish
Notions: 98 pieces of "plastic whalebone" (aka zip ties), coordinating pink 12 mm, 18 mm & 25 mm single fold cotton non-bias binding tape and coordinating pink poly satin ribbon.
How historically accurate is it?  50-80 %? The pattern pieces and boning layout looks decent compared to historical garments, despite being laced both in the front and back. The zip ties are also a good approximation to whalebone, and the spiral lacing is spot on!
Hours to complete: Mockup: 2 hours. Machine sewing: 4 hours. Hand sewing, hardware & finishing: 20-40 hours? 
First worn: For pictures and singing practice at home and at the Oceanos festival in Frederikshavn, DK in June 2015. 
Total cost: 
- Blue fabric: a swap with my boyfriend ~ free!
- pink fabric for contrast: 10 dkk
- pink thread: 16 dkk
- zip ties ~ 10 dkk
- pink ribbon: 30 dkk
- Linen lining:  from stash ~ free!

Total ~ 66 dkk or just under 10 USD

Final thoughts:
Did I mention that I love them? I do. I really, really do. The colors, the fit, everything!