18th century stays confession

Remember how I said I would post photos and tell you about my 18th century stays in progress? 

No longer. Because I tried them on and it’s all wrong; they’re too short in the body, not wore enough in the neckline, the stomacher is not big enough, and the placement of the bones at the side seams means that the stays don’t sit comfortably on the body. In fact, the made me look worse than if I’d worn no stays at all. 

I really can’t see any way of fixing these, but I’m not TOO upset. The problem is, that I used pretty much all of the pink linen so I can’t redo them. 

In any case, it means that I can work on my 1860s cage crinoline. This is something I’ve been puttin off for a while, and so either this or adding a peplum to my corset cover will be my January HSM. 

So, like I say each time, photos will come soon, but the cafe crinoline is still in progress and looks a bit tatty. 


HSM 2016

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to whatever 2016 may bring. I am. And, with a new year, comes a new set of monthly challenges from the Historical Sew Monthly.

  • JanuaryProcrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • FebruaryTucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • MarchProtection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • MayHoles – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • JuneTravel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • JulyMonochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • AugustPattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • SeptemberHistoricism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • OctoberHeroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • NovemberRed – Make something in any shade of red.
  • DecemberSpecial Occasionmake something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

So, there are the challenges. For January, I am going to finish my in-progress 18th century stays, for which progress photos are coming soon, I promise! I have been meaning to post the photos FOR EVER, but never found the time because the WordPress on my iPad is so appalling.

So, this was just a brief update to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth; I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get round to doing the previous November and December HSM 2015 Challenges (Silver Screen and Re-do respectively), although you might be able to count the stays as part of the Re-do because they were foundations, like the January 2015 challenge asked for….

What are your plans for this year’s 2016 HSM? Tell me below and get sewing!

HSM Foundations Challenge

Well, my first ever Historical Sew Anything (Fortnightly or Monthly) is finished! The photos don’t actually do the pretty colour of the fabric credit, but there we are – use your imagination to imagine a more vivid pink: dusky rose.


I haven't yet had time to iron it...

I haven’t yet had time to iron it…

The pocket hoops are underneath.

The pocket hoops are underneath.

P1100196  The ties are also all hand sewn together.

The Challenge: Foundations

Fabric: Linen

Pattern: This pattern, but adapted to suit my needs. http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/18c_petticoat.html

This is my pattern: https://teenagetailoress.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/p1090594.jpg

Year: I’m thinking late-mid 18th century, if that makes any sense.

Notions: I love, love, love it. It’s so authentic and it feels lovely to wear, as well as being pink! It is a little too wide which makes it a little tricky to get to the pocket hoop slits, but I blame my dress form for being fatter than me…

How historically accurate is it? Very, I think. It’s pure linen and completely hand sewn.

Hours to complete: Hmmm, probably about three?

First worn: 10th January, 2015

Total cost: Well, the fabric initially cost about £3. But it has been in my stash for a while now.

Overall, very satisfied! I’ve started to work on my challenge for February – Colour Challenge Blue. I will post about that later.

Merry Christmas!

This is the first moment I’ve really had to sit down and blog. Christmas is now over and I have to go back to revising :-(.

However, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and feels fulfilled and rested.

I got a rather lovely dress form from Santa. P1100020 Isn’t she nice? BUT, she is a completely different shape to me in all respects. She is wider than me everywhere and when I tried to lace her into my stays I found that it makes a huge difference if you’re squishy and thin-ner.

Those are my Plain Paniers, the ones which I have posted about. Well, they are finished, but I had to adjust them a little….

They were far too wide and they moved when a skirt was put on top, so I added ties and (I’m not really sure what these are called) rings-and-ribbons-to-stop-it-being-too-wide. I’m rather leased with them, and it was lucky I added pocket slits this time which made it possible for me to install them. I’ve seen the same technique used in grand paniers to make them flat at the front and wider, if that helps give a better picture.

P1100070 Very clever, no?

Anyway, it wasn’ just us humans who had a good Christmas; the cats did too.

P1100029 Larissa LOVED her catnip-filled hedgehog, which is not covered in her saliva after she licked it non-stop for a quarter of an hour.

P1100038Lottie, on the other hand, seemed more interested in the string on which her squeaky mouse which squeaks realistically when tapped was attached to.

P1100030 She stubbornly refused to play with her present of the squeaky mouse for half a day…

P1100039 But sometimes even the strongest of iron wills must crack…

P1100052 Embarrassed, she took refuge under my pink-perfect-petticoat-in-progress (more on this to come).

P1100055 But couldn’t resist an opportunity to look cute so emerged, dignity in tact.

P1100024 She rolled about in my spare fabric (she’s truly my cat) and generally had a lovely time being fussed over.

Happy New Year!