lauantai 22. maaliskuuta 2014

1809 riding habit in the style of Königin Luise von Preußen

This riding habit was heavily influenced by the two portraits Wilhelm Ternite painted of Queen Louise of Prussia in 1808-1810. I followed the portraits closely but once again didn't set out to do an exact copy. The original is in a museum and, having seen photos of it, I knew it was closer in color to the second of those portraits but I loved the way it looked in the darker portrait so I chose an almost navy blue wool. It's lined with white silk taffeta and trimmed in Hussar fashion with gold military lace, vintage buttons and two different widths of russia braid. Interlining consists of linen canvas and horse hair. Every stitch is hand sewn with linen and silk threads. 

I'm wearing it over my shift and stays, a chemisette and a high waisted petticoat. Accessories include my riding gloves and a ready made wool top hat I trimmed with a tussle I made from ostrich feathers. Shoes and stockings (not visible) are purchased.

Clothing layers:

With only the spencer removed. The wool skirt has shoulder straps to keep it in place.

The cotton petticoat.

The chemisette.


The skirt is patterned after the 1795-1810 riding habit skirt in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion but instead of leaving it long all the way round, I cut the hem floor length in front and left a little train. That seemed to be common with riding habits in fashion plates from around 1810.

I drafted the pattern for the spencer using the portrait and photos of museum spencers as guide. 

Friedrich Wilhelm Ternite, Königin Luise, 1808/09

I sewed the spencer and it's lining together separately. I pad stitched the fronts and collar with two layers of linen canvas with horsehair interlining in between. I needed it to be extra stiff to hold the braiding and the buttons. I braided the spencer before joining it with the lining.

The spencer ready for the lining.

The lining in place.

I'm very grateful to Sabine for sharing all details from her 1806 Paradeuniformkleid Königin Luise -project because otherwise I would have most likely assumed she would have worn a high collar shirt underneath her spencer. Following her example I was able to do a quick and simple version of my own.

There is a base of sturdier cotton.

Which I covered with gathered a layer of sheer cotton.

torstai 20. maaliskuuta 2014

Shift and stays for 1810

The stays are hand sewn from cotton twill and cotton sateen with linen thread. They are bound with cotton tape and have a wooden busk and spiral steel center back bones. They are made using J.S. Bernhardt's Schnürleib Fig.C -diagram in Sabine's excellent 'Short Stays' Studies.

The shift is made from handkerchief weight linen and hand sewn with linen thread.

I had made the shift in 2009 during my (then) short lived desire to make a regency outfit. I had made the sleeves accidentally too tight and I had to figure out a quick fix to that problem. My solution was slashing open the underarm gusset and inserting a gore.

Stays details:

The neckline has a drawstring to adjust the fit.

Busk is held in place by lacing it through two eyelets on the bottom of the busk pocket.


Why you should always make a mock-up:

Making these stays wasn't my brightest moment in this hobby. I was under a tight schedule and because the pattern is so simple, I thought I could get away with just measuring everything carefully to determine the right size for the gores. I took 2 cm off of both sides at the CF edge (4 cm in total) to prevent it being too loose and trusting my math, begun sewing it together. The finished stays fit in their own way but the shape was completely wrong for 1810.

I tried to fix it by adding two more gussets on both sides of the original bust gussets and changing the shape of them all to more U-shaped. Then I was able to wear it higher and tighten the shoulder straps more to keep it there. Because of that, the waist of the stays doesn't hit my natural waist anymore meaning the hip gores are now cut too high. And I'm not perfectly happy with the shape of the neckline now either. But they do provide the necessary support and worked well under my new riding habit. So even if they are not as pretty as they could have been, they are perfectly functional and that's the main thing.

keskiviikko 19. maaliskuuta 2014

C. 1800 robe à l'Athénienne

Although neoclassical styles were a norm during the Directory and Consulate eras, the dresses that took the classical ideal to the extreme was a fashion phenomena among only very few privileged French ladies. As I'm not tied to any re-enactment group or persona, I felt curious about experimenting with that extreme. To those not very familiar with the high waisted era, I'd like to emphasize that this would not be a suitable outfit for most historic events, like a Jane Austen Ball for example. And if you are not sure about the dress code, I would strongly recommend wearing a shift, stays, stockings and shoes with the rest of your outfit. But if you are not bound by any dress code, this style will make up as a most delightfully comfortable little white dress. 

The dress is made of thin cotton muslin. The lining is made of linen and it's completely hand sewn with linen thread. I'm wearing it over only a high waisted cotton lawn petticoat with shoulder straps, also hand sewn with linen. It's accessorized with greek style leather sandals and a shawl with painted borders at both ends. I achieved the length by joining two shawls like Jen did in her regency shawl post.

The dress without the shawl.


I looked through a bunch of portraits of ladies dressed in the Merveilleuse style when I was deciding the design. Eventually this portrait became the main inspiration for the bodice and sleeves:

David, Jacques-Louis, Portrait of a Young Woman in White c. 1798

And Juliette Récamier the inspiration for a slimmer skirt.

François Pascal Simon Gérard, Portrait of Madame Récamier, 1802

For patterning, I used the c. 1798-1805 morning dress in Patterns of Fashion as main source. I sewed the bodice lining together first and then mounted corresponding cotton pieces on top and back stitched them down from the right side.

The skirts seams were sewn together leaving them open from the top to allow the bib front to fall open. The center back is cartridge pleated and then the skirts whip stitched to the bodice and to a waist tape in front. 

Then I made the v-neck front piece and attached it to the waist tape as well. The bodice closes with hooks and eyes and then the bib front is pinned to the shoulder straps after the waist tape ends are tied together in front.