18th Century

Very tiny hems

I’m working on my 18th century cap, which calls for 1/8″ hems. 

It’s a lot of work, but I am really looking forward to having it done. 

Now, if I could just figure out the hair! 

18th Century

1770-1780’s shift

I started on my shift last week and I’ve been sewing a couple of hours here and there. I’ve decided to do my 18th century sewing by hand (aside from the aforementioned stays that were machined). 

I’m working from pattern A at http://www.marquise.de/en/1700/howto/frauen/18chemise.shtml.  

Because my shift pieces didn’t quite work out the way they show on the diagram, I ended up figuring out my own size for the under arm gussets. They ended up being 15cmx15cm. 

I ordered my linen from  http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com and it is amazing!  It is so much softer than the IL019 from fabric-store. 

All seams are flat-felled. 

This is where the shoulder seam  and the underarm gusset meet, right side of fabric.   

I honestly have no idea how period correct this is, but since I’m working in the years between the really full shift sleeves of the early 18th century and the very narrow sleeve of the 1790’s, I’ve made mine with just a few gathers at the upper middle. 


Some of them went a bit wonky so they’re not exactly stroke gathers.  I’m still working out what size to make the stitches for the sleeve edge. They’ll be gathered into a cuff and closed with ribbon. 

I also still have to cutout my neckline, which will be its own post. I’m hoping to get to it this week. 

18th Century

18th century stays, part 3

they’re almost done!

I’ve finished adding the boning and stitched the binding down. 

They are wearable as is, so I’m taking a break from them and have started on my shift (which will have its own post). 

In a week or so I’ll cut out the lining pieces and whip stitch them in! 

18th Century

18th century stays, part 2

today I finished seeing the boning channels and started inserting the boning. 

The boning comes coiled, I’ve read something about soaking them and pressing them under heavy books to straighten them. 

So far, I’m using the pieces that curl inwards, since I’m using 2, the pressure keeps them straight. Eventually I’ll have to do the soaking for the pieces that curl backwards. 

After measuring the pieces and cutting them, I’m using an emory board to round the edges. 

Tons of work, I hope it’s worth it!

18th Century

18th century stays

dh and I were planning on taking a belated honeymoon this year. We threw around a whole bunch of ideas from London, to New England, to a cruise, to Williamsburg and New York. The lat one is the one that we ended up settling on, and through some stuff that I cannot remember, I discovered that colonial Williamsburg encourages guests to come dressed up. What more do I need?  In the end we won’t be going to CW this year, but we’ll get there eventually and making things up while Dh is deployed keeps me entertained. 

So I started doing some research, and as usual, I’m starting with the foundations.  When I made my regency short stays I found that the front edge of the straps cut into my arms (probably an easy fix, but not something I want to tackle right now) and so I decided to avoid any other stays that have straps, at least for now. I also need to be able to move my arms, my children are not always willing to behave well enough to where I don’t need a full range of motion. 

I am using JP Ryan’s full-boned stays pattern. Since this is my first foray into the 18th century I got a kit making kit from the silly sisters. They were extremely helpful in answering my myriad questions. 

I made myself wait to start on them until after I finished our things for the civil war weekend, and with that over, I finally started on them today. 

Awhile back I made a cardboard ‘muslin’ since a few blogs suggested it.  


It seemed to work well, smooshed my bosom and widened my waist, sounds about right!

And then I waited, it’s been around 2 months since I made the mockup. 


The outer is linen, the interfacing is linen canvas. I went with a more neutral color since I really don’t know what I’ll be wearing over them. 


Because I’m lazy, and this is my first go, I am machine sewing them.  At least until I get to the binding.  I am using linen thread (35/2). 

  Everything seamed together.  And the seam allowance pressed open. 


Next up are the boning channels. I’m using 1/4″ reed, doubled, and skipping the metal bones. I can always add them later if I find that I need them.