V310: Progress on the 1740s Snowshill Habit

I *have* been sewing – deadlines and reasons to rush and all that.  I’ve made a little progress on the 1740s Habit I planned for some time ago, but it’s slow going.

Pinned in place, just to see how it might look

I think I am reluctant on this project because I don’t really understand proper tailoring – which facings to use where, when, and why.  I’ve purchased several books on tailoring, so I should sit down and read them and acquire a grasp of it, at least.

Meanwhile, I ordered the taffeta for the skirt and jacket lining.  My inspiration piece is this costume from Marie Antoinette:

I made a guess on the color – no time for swatching, and though I doubt it will match, maybe it will be close.  (The blue in my photo is bluer than the velveteen appears in real life; and I suspect the color of the taffeta in the store’s photo is not all that indicative either).



  • Rachel

    November 9, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Ooooh! I was wondering when you'd finally get started on this! Very exciting. Maybe you could try whipping up some jackets for everyday use to get an idea of tailoring and how it works? 1940s fashion has some GREAT jackets.

    The book 'Tailoring' is pretty awesome. I'm getting ready to delve into jacket territory with Colette's Anise pattern as my first. I tend to do sewing skills in stages. Start with something easier that is still something I'd love to wear, and then move into more and more difficult territory.

    I'm also excited to see what you whip up with that silk brocade. You've got some very exciting projects going on that will be fun to follow.

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM

      Hi Rachel – I totally agree about doing some more modern blazers to practice the tailoring. I have a pattern for a 1940s, and the fabric even, and I think it will all make more sense if I just start at point A and go all the way through it, with the interfacings and the roll lines and the pad-stitched collar, rather than trying to pick which parts to use on an 18th century piece, without really understanding the effect each technique will have.

      The silk brocade has been back-ordered for now, but that gives me time to sort out a toile for the sacque back..maybe a blessing in disguise, hehe.

      Thanks for following!

  • Beth

    November 9, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    I'm guessing this is the book that Rachel is talking about – it's REALLY great. Excellent step-by-step photographs, and it talks about the plusses and minuses of 3 kinds of tailoring – by hand (traditional), by machine, and fusible. I have the older version but the reviews say the content is the same.


    Since your riding habit doesn't have lapels and a roll line, you don't have to worry about those tricky parts of tailoring. So don't be intimidated! 🙂

  • AuntieNan

    November 9, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Tailoring with a good guide and a 1940s pattern is just great, and if you are used to hand-stitching anything, the hand tailoring will not be a problem! (Judging from photos you've posted of your work on those awesome 18th C garments, it should be a walk in the park!) I suggest you get some nice soft wool to make your first try at a jacket, and don't skimp on the wool interfacing. Wool is such a great "forgiving" fabric to hand-tailor, and using a steam iron and a good tailor's ham (or even just a rolled kitchen towel) you can get a nice sweep to a collar or lapel. Once you use the hand method you'll kick that fusible to the curb!

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      A couple other lovely ladies have suggested a good 1940s tailored jacket pattern. I have one! I even bought fabric for it, but haven't made it yet. I guess I now know what's next on the list of sewing-to-do 🙂

  • Rowenna

    November 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Is the taffeta fabric from Pure Silks? Because I nearly ordered the same stuff for a sacque! Love it!

    Just wanted to say I'm enjoying watching your methods with the tailoring because this is an area in which I am so clueless–thanks for sharing your process!

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 19, 2012 at 1:19 AM

      Hi Rowenna – the taffeta in that photo is from Puresilks.us, yes. It didn't arrive in time for me to use it on the habit, and it was totally the wrong color anyway! BUT…oh, it's GORGEOUS. It is super lightweight and crispy, and such a beautiful finish and color. It's the first silk taffeta I've ordered from anywhere, and I'm really impressed with the huge selection they have on the website. The shipping isn't quick, but well worth the wait. I can't wait see what the brocade I ordered looks like, but it was back-ordered 45 days, so…eventually, lol.

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