30 August 2014

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I've managed to laze around for two weeks after my vacation, but now it's time to get serious about some sewing.  So back to the white silk gown, as painted by George Romney in Mrs Moody's portrait:




It's essentially a chemise dress, though clearly of silk, not terribly full in front, with fitted long sleeves. It's probably open all the way down the front, with little pink silk ribbon ties to hold it closed.  The ruffle at the neck is probably just the upper part of the front above the top drawstring, so it's straight and only gathered when the dress is on.  There are drawstrings at the neck, waist, and a few inches above the waist.

What I'm not so sure about is the back and the inside of the front. I want to do a fitted back. But if the front is just gathered with drawstrings, will the dress want to shift around? Was an under-lining ever done, and is it necessary?

As for the back, I'm thinking a fitted four-piece back with a deep-ish point. Like this, which may be very similar to Mrs Moody, except for the sleeves:



I did a little research, and I found very few back-of-dress pictures. Aside from the true chemise dresses - full all around - the few others are more 1790s, with a straight or raised back waist seam. Of those, some had multi-piece backs, and some were intricately pleated. Again 1790s.  So that's why I'd rather do the simple back. Thoughts?
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I've started and re-started this post at least three times. If I can finish, I'll probably know what to do - but I don't right now!

What I have:
* A cream matelasse petticoat.
* One very light blue matelasse coverlet ($5!), 83" x 85"+ (three edges are scalloped with two corners greatly rounded off).

What I need:
Some kind of cozy but fashionable 1780s-ish lounging outfit:
  - Not requiring stays.
  - But semi-supportive in the underlayer, because that's more comfortable for me.
  - Having ribbon bows down the front, because I love that look.
  - Ideally two pieces - a waistcoat type thing, and a jacket - so that I can wear either piece or both.

I have both too few choices and too many.  Most quilted/matelasse things out there from past 1760 are full sets. A full petticoat will take over half of the coverlet, and depending on the jacket design, I might not be able to do most options.  And most jackets-alone are from significantly earlier in the century - or from the 1790s, which is worse. I'd rather be old-fashioned than a time traveller. The vast majority of quilted jackets/things are from northern Europe, so I know I'm already on shakey documentary ground. My goal is something that's at least plausible, if not likely.

Option A: Simple sleeved jacket, like a waistcoat with sleeves.
Pro: Should be able to do both jacket and petticoat. Can do the bows.
Con: Any point in a separate waistcoat then? Are jumps more likely - in which case yet another garment, and almost zero info available?!

Option B:  Jacket with waistcoat front. 2, 3.
Pro: Definitely fashionable. Very cute. Can do the bows.
Con: Jumps or stays definitely necessary. Too high fashion for matelasse instead of silk.  Not sure enough material. A lot of work in patterning.

Option C: Loose jacket. 2.
Pro: Easy to pattern. Comfortable. Great over waistcoat.
Con: Possibly maternity fashion.  Doesn't look particularly 1780s.

Option D: Fitted jacket with closed front.
Pro:  More casual than B. Should work over waistcoat. Hood!
Con: Matching petticoat necessary? Can add bows?


A non-option is a true Brunswick. A true Brunswick is for traveling, not lounging, and should be worn over stays. It's also essentially a sacque, and now that I know Larkin & Smith are working on a sacque pattern, I want to wait on the Brunswick and Jesuit until it comes out.


Okay. I think I've talked myself into Option D, shaped more like the first but with the hook on the pink one - always my favorite in my Brunswick research. I'll make the jacket a more typical 1780s length instead of the Brunswick length; possibly the same as the first, but I need to research some more. I'll probably fit it over my stays, fastening with hooks, but having ribbons (and possibly functional ties) so the fit will work over a waistcoat as well. Between the jacket and waistcoat, especially with the hood, I doubt I can do the matching petticoat.

I'm undecided about the bows. Anyone have a favorite source for silk ribbons with a good weight? Most are too light for what I want. I'm not sure about color yet. White would go with the petticoat, but a bit bland.  I might do pink and go all chocolate-box-y. ;)


Waistcoat

There's a fair amount of information out there about jumps and waistcoats. And about 95% of it is best-guess extrapolation from 1-2 primary sources, or made up/romanticized "articles."  There's also a bunch of labeled pictures from museums - and we all know how reliable museum captions are, don't we! - or pictures that have no home aside from Tumblr or Pinterest.  And most examples are from early in the 18th century, although they're still referenced until the end of the century. Frustrating!

The best source is Sharon Ann Burnston's article on a particular quilted waistcoat.  The particular takeaways relevant for me are that a waistcoat (1) has basques below the waist and (2) is not supportive.  By that measure, the vast majority of things labeled "jumps" as well as waistcoats are actually waistcoats - including the ones in the Kyoto Fashion book. It's interesting that the particular item in the article fastens with ties, whereas most waistcoats out there have lacing holes instead of ties.

Jumps still remain very nebulous, though. People Who Know make references to them on blogs, but I really just can't find any real info. There's one item that shows up on the V&A Images site only, and it does look like jumps ought to be: shaped more like stays than a waistcoat (no basque or tabs), but with very basic shapes and minimal boning.


 I would like my waistcoat to be at least slightly supportive. So I'll make it snug instead of loose, and with lacing instead of tape ties. Otherwise, tension will just mean lots of buckling. Also, a little boning is indicated, just to smooth things a bit.  There's a waistcoat in Williamsburg's collection that is actually very close to what I have in mind:



It had boning in the past. The description doesn't say where, but it looks like there are channels at CB and both side backs; under the arms is also a typical place for boning on these garments. I wish I knew if there was any on the front, and where, if so!

I also rather like the blend of basque and tabs. It looks like the side tabs are separate pieces, which solves some construction questions. I'll also do tied straps, I think, because I'd like to be able to adjust them. I think I'll lace the center front, too, instead of doing linked buttons - again, for flexibility in sizing.

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nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
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