I was so ready to make this skirt. After the (albeit welcome) challenges of the bodice and sleeves, I knew the skirt would be a breeze. Past Patterns replicates Mary Gregg’s original skirt, which comprises four rectangular panels. The panels aren’t symmetrically placed or evenly sized, probably because—like many women of her time—Gregg was trying to be economical with her fabric and didn’t have the luxury of cutting even panels. If you wish, you can cut your own panels to be more symmetrical.Continue reading “Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress Part 3: Skirt”
Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress Part 2: Sleeves
There is something whimsical about 1830s sleeve patterns, the way they fan out like giant crenelated mushrooms, only to then fold into something as functional as a sleeve.Continue reading “Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress Part 2: Sleeves”
Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress Part 1: Bodice
After making so. many. foundation garments. for the Lowell Mills Dress, I was excited to finally get to work on the dress itself. Past Patterns’ instruction booklet copies Mary Gregg’s original dress exactly, so I knew I could learn a lot from this project.Continue reading “Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress Part 1: Bodice”
The 1830s Project and the Lowell Mills Dress: Notes on Style, Pattern, and Fabric
The 1830s Project:
- Redthreaded 1830’s stays
- Laughing Moon chemise
- corded petticoat
- tucked petticoat
- whitework embroidered day cap
- Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress bodice
- Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress sleeves
- Past Patterns’ Lowell Mills Dress skirt
Every so often, we are treated to an era of utterly outside-the-box fashion exuberance that later leaves us asking “What were we thinking?” I’m sure plenty of folks in the 1840s looked at their own high necklines and sensibly narrow sleeves, and breathed a sigh of relief as they thought back to the whims of the 1830s: The pineapple shaped hairdos! The scandalously visible ankles! The dresses with gigot sleeves so big you could hide babies inside them! Not that anyone did, but you get my point.Continue reading “The 1830s Project and the Lowell Mills Dress: Notes on Style, Pattern, and Fabric”
A Few Notes on 19th Century Split Drawers
Everyone in the 18th century went commando. During the Regency period and the 1820s, some people wore drawers and some people didn’t, and we’re frankly not that sure what the percentage breakdown was.
By the late 1830s, though, drawers were standard. The Workwoman’s Guide of 1838 states:Continue reading “A Few Notes on 19th Century Split Drawers”
1830s Tucked Petticoat
Gosh, I love a perfect union of form and function such as the tucked petticoat. Tucks are so crisp! So elegant! And they can be added or let out to alter a garment’s length, which made them especially popular for children’s and teens’ clothing. I would also guess that as the ankle length skirts of the 1830s gave way to the floor length gowns of the 1840s, plenty of women removed tucks from their petticoats or tacked decorative borders onto the bottoms.Continue reading “1830s Tucked Petticoat”
Whitework Embroidered Romantic or Early Victorian Day Cap
TV and film would have us believe that nobody in the 19th century wore a cap aside from maids. Which is a lot of people, but they’re not the ones getting screen time, sadly.
I get it. By today’s standards, caps are frumpy and unsexy. Directors don’t want to hide actors’ faces, and costume designers don’t want to ruin the effect of an elegant gown by plopping something that looks like half a chef’s hat on top.Continue reading “Whitework Embroidered Romantic or Early Victorian Day Cap”
How to Sew a Tidy Mitered Corner
This entry doesn’t need a lot of words! I’ll mostly just post the pictures and let them do the talking.
After pressing your seam allowances, here’s what happens:Continue reading “How to Sew a Tidy Mitered Corner”
Sewing an 1830s Corded Petticoat
Do you want to look like a human handbell? That’s the fashionable silhouette of the 1830s, and the corded petticoat is here to make it happen.Continue reading “Sewing an 1830s Corded Petticoat”
How to Set Small Grommets Without a Grommet Tool
Maybe you went to the hardware store and they had grommets but no setters. Or perhaps you have a few spare grommets in your craft kit and want to make something NOW, whether you have the right tool or not. Maybe, like me, you ordered a corset making kit that came with grommets…but no grommet tool.
I waffled on ordering a tool, but didn’t want to spend the money for one that handled varying grommet sizes, and my local JoAnn didn’t have those handy little grommet-and-setter kits in the right size. Also, I was impatient. The internet turned up any number of videos suggesting that I use a ball bearing or a marble, but I found that those didn’t work well for me.
This is the process I worked out through trial and error. It will result in a beautiful front on your grommet, and a back that is less than ideal looking, but completely solid and functional.Continue reading “How to Set Small Grommets Without a Grommet Tool”