Monday, September 23, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge 18: RenFest to Regency

I'm a bit late to the game on these but I may have this be my #1 do the full set so this time next year I'll have 26 things! :D But for those who don't know, there's this thing where there's a challenge to make a historical garment of some nature every fortnight. And my historical wardrobe needs expanding so this is perfect for me.

The Challenge:
#18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion "Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning.  Turn one thing into another.  Re-fit or re-fashion an old gown into something you would wear again.  Re-trim a hat for a new outfit, or re-shape a modern hat to be a historical hat.  Re-purpose the fabric from an old garment (your own or a commercial one) into a new garment."
An old Ren Fest dress that belonged to my mother when she was my age. Also about half a yard of muslin (part of the cut of muslin I got that will also be used in the next challenge).

None, winged it.
Wide detail/band at the hem combined with detailing on the bust
Less of a train back
Three sets of hooks and eyes which I had in my stash.
How historically accurate is it?
Ehhh, the skirt portion should be more of a column pleated in the back to give that width of the hem while conforming to my under bust but I didn't want to try adding in a panel to give an illusion to that effect. Also the lace panels are CLEARLY from, like, the 1970s/early 80s. Need to take up the bust line even further too, doesn't seem quite narrow enough. :/
Hours to complete:
First worn:
Not yet!
Total cost:
Okay, so let's get into this. I wasn't sure what to do with this challenge when I first read it since I didn't think I had anything to remake (historical at least). Then I snapped recently and reorganized my stash and my costume storage and found this dress. I still remember the first time I got to wear this dress in middle school, I was so excited. My mom had worn it to every RenFest we'd gone to when I was a wee kittybot so I guess I felt grown up when I was a)able to fit into it and b) allowed to wear it.

But I don't wear it to RenFests any more so this has sat, unworn for years now. And it's a shame as I do love it. So I sat staring at it and wondering what to do since I had this challenge in mind and I loved the idea of making it into something I'd have occasion to wear again. But what to do with an off white muslin dress? I didn't want to change it too much especially since I also wanted to fit making a Regency era dress into my schedule. And then it hit me. Raise the bust and modify a few things and it could totally pretend to be kinda Regency. Maybe. Then it was off to the internet to see if there were similar garments out there that I could use as inspiration.

See, I'm not completely insane. Although admittedly the bottom one is a silk evening dress. They all may be evening dresses and I'm shooting for a day dress. Regency fashion is rather new to me. But now I had a game plan.
1) Sew a panel behind the lace up bust front and sew down the lace.
2)Take up the waist from sitting at my natural waist to the natural lower bust area.
3) Replace the lace sleeves with matching muslin sleeves and removable long sleeves.
4)Extend the lace waist band onto the back.
5) Replace zipper with more period closings
6) Adjust the hem (the dress is a bit too long).

 First was ripping the seams of the sleeves
 Taking the sleeves apart.
 Using the laces sleeves as a pattern. I cut a little smaller that the lace sleeves since I wanted the sleeves a little smaller. I wish I would have made them a bit shorter to be honest.
 Then sew the sleeves together and add a band to each.

Then I cut a strip of that extra muslin for a backing for the lace up front. I lifted the decorative lace and stitched the cluny to the backing.

 The raschel lace then got hand stitched down while I was sitting at my desk at work.
 Next was extending the waist band onto the back! I used the lace from the sleeves to do that.
 All pinned and ready to be stitched.
 I removed the ribbon and raschel from the second lace sleeve...
 ...So I could sew it to the top of the back waistband.
 Then to finish the waist band I folded the bodice up about an inch and a quarter and stitched in the raschel to hide the seam.
 See, just folded up. I wanted to make sure that if I wanted to change this back to a more normal waist I could.
Second to last was making long sleeves from my extra muslin, I basically measured my arm, cut out a slightly nipped tube and fitted one to each arm (my left arm cannot completely straighten and has scar tissue in the elbow so it has different fitting needs than my right arm). I hand stitched the long sleeves onto the dress's sleeves with an easy to remove ladder stitch to make sure this dress could be convertible. :D

Lastly was taking up the hem (and more ironing)!
And then, it was done! Had to wait to do this write up until I finished the next challenge since that was a set of stays!

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