The Great 1840s Madness, and Some 18th c. Toile-ing

It feels fantastic to be sewing again, and to be sewing on a tight deadline. I believe in the power of tight deadlines to keep us excited about a project, make us (or at least me) do some of our best work, and to benefit from the full effect of finishing something and getting to wear it with pride immediately. I find that if a project is finished and sits on the dress form for too long, it gets stale, and my mind goes off to other things before I’ve had a chance to wear my *new* creation.

All that being said, it’s been a flurry of stitching excitement over here. I’ve cut James’ :ubersexlich patterns and have done toiles for two of the three pieces – the waistcoat and the frock coat. In the world of blogging, this is really not that exciting – we want to see colors and trims and pretty stitching! – but I’m VERY pleased with how the suit is coming along! It’s impossible to tell anything about it on my boob-tastic dress form. James is obviously not shaped this way. I’m looking forward to the fitting in about a week, though I have a couple other things to do before then – one is finding silver trim-of-win, the other is toile-ing the breeches, which will take quite a bit more time than both the frock coat and the waistcoat.

I’m happy to say, however, that everything is coming off quickly and in good measure. I leapt into the 1840s day bodice, and am pleased to report a garment that FITS, despite its “organic” creation. Instead of doing a gathered front, I went with pleats – the gathered front looked wonky and would have required quite a lot of hand-tacking to keep everything in place for what would essentially be a frumptastic bodice. The pleats worked really well to “take up the slack,” and now I get to do fun things with buttons, yay!

I dug out these taffetta covered buttons from The Stash, but I think they are a bit oversized. What say you, o’ women of the web? I have 14 uncovered “wedding sized” buttons that I think will work much better, and I plan to carry them up the center front and on the sides, but not past the bust. We’ll see how that looks…


  • Robin's Egg Bleu

    December 10, 2009 at 8:17 PM

    I like the bigger buttons! I think the small wedding sized might get 'lost' in the plaid.

    Since you have pleats instead of gathers, I think the big buttons really give the bodice pizzaz.

  • Jenny

    December 10, 2009 at 9:16 PM

    The buttons are good. I think once you get the trim and collar etc. on, I will like them even more. lol I was shopping at Joann and saw your fabric in the homespuns, and it feels and looks wonderful. And yeah, hooks and eyes sound right, the bareness is fine. 😀

  • Angela

    December 10, 2009 at 11:27 PM

    You go girl! Wow! I actually like the larger buttons. The smaller would more 'period' and keeping with the dainty gothic look of the 40's but as some of your guests above said, the smaller buttons would get lost. Also who is to say that a woman didn't put larger buttons? Just because we don't have a deco to see it doesn't mean it couldn't happen, right? I think a descret hook and eye center front would be great and not detract from the buttons! Can't wait to see the end result. After 1780's, and 1880's 1840's is my favorite…oh, then there is Regency…Well, so many fun periods so little time! Angela

  • The Dreamstress

    December 11, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    I love it! It's beautifully shaped. The big buttons look gorgeous, but the effect they give is too 18th century for me.

    For an evening look, how about doing a 'Boston' dress with a lace overskirt? Even if you didn't, I think there are plenty of not quite so well off women who would have worn evening dresses with skirts like that.

  • Duchesse

    December 11, 2009 at 11:00 PM

    I assume anonumous is James? – fall-front breeches is the only way to go, so that's what you get! They're apparently indestructable too, woo!

    Dreamstress – I like the 1830s-40s Kyoto dress with the three sets of buttons on the front. They are the smaller buttons, which is why I thought I might like that option better. The big ones are rather obnoxious, in a good way – might make up for my lack of tall feather?

    I think for the ballgown bodice I'm going to whip together one using the pattern I used for the pink/cream striped dress. Then hit it with some fringe or dangles or something appropriate for the bertha-that-isn't. We shall see. It's all very organic right now…it's sortof just happening the way it wants to happen, hahaha.

    Another update coming soon!

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