Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random update on stays, shifts, etc.

I may have been neglecting blogging this last week, but I have not been neglecting sewing! I have all of this week off for spring break and I have big plans for myself.

Instead of posting a new post for each thing, I've just decided to update all in one fell swoop.

Cheater stays- almost to the finish line! It is somewhat tedious soaking, shaving, sanding, and shaping all of that oak splint to fit, but I'm about halfway there. Then I just have to cut the last few center and center back bones out of metal to give a little extra support, lop off the excess with a chisel, and let loose the binding/lining.

I'm also working on a couple of shifts for myself and a dear friend. I'll be making one for each of us suitable to the 1770's, then another one for myself to fit my 1812/Regency wear. She came down and visited Sunday so that we could make a muslin to test the fit of the neckline and check the cut of the shift (while a loose and not really tailored garment to begin with, I like to verify before cutting into linen- especially the neckline!)

We had a blast and got her shift pattern satisfactorily made up so that she can make more of them when the fancy strikes later.

I've used a combination of sources for the drafting of this shift. I've been heavily influenced by Sharon Burnston's article on shifts, but have also utilized Mara Riley's instructions. Now add in searching collections with shifts that I am able to view online (no museums nearby with suitable pieces for study and no time to attempt a quick trip!) and my own personal library of costume history literature.

Here's a glimpse of the patterning stage: (I usually just measure directly on the fabric, but wanted to have a paper pattern to make neckline alterations on so that I could send it home with my friend so she could use it for as many shifts as she wants!)

I'll have more details on construction method and choices (always seems to be some compromise when you're adapting modern materials to historical garments- particularly with shifts...) but for now.... back to shaving oak splint!

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I would sincerely love to hear your thoughts on all this, so please feel welcome to comment here :-)