I tackled the old UFO pile!* I thought about starting with the floral 1810 daydress and modify it to fit with my new stays, but as I was trying it on and writing down the changes needed I realized – I basically had to unpick every stitch, re-cut all pieces, and re-do every seam. I’m not going to be able to devote my full attention to anything until late April, which means anything more elaborate than “long seams and pretty trims” is out of the question. I moved on to another project – an easier one.
This is how it’s described on the UFO post: “A 1900s walking suit in brown and black checks – also an unfortunate fabric choice, but the shape is quite spot-on. TBH I’m not sure what the fabric is? I’m thinking it could be some wool/poli blend, but the draping is weird. I’d need to add skirt closures and make a blouse. I remember cutting some black cotton for that, but come on. Anyways, this is a nice, simple project that could help me get back onto the saddle.”
A ‘meh’ basic Edwardian walking suit.
No blouse, no undergarments nor underskirts – this mannequin lives dangerously!
Using the HSF structure here isn’t all that meaningful, given I started this suit five years ago and many details have been lost to time, but let’s try it for consistency:
Pattern: the skirt is self-drafted (it’s a basic half-circle skirt with a high front to show off a pair of pretty boots and a back teardrop lowering the hemline for flair and drama), the jacket was made from a now-missing and slightly modified commercial pattern, and I based the purse on a… Regency reticule tutorial. What!?
Fabric & notions: I’ve been informed by a reliable party the main fabric is nailshead wool meant for a male off-season suit. I still keep my doubts, but to myself – I don’t know enough about fabrics to contradict an expert’s word! Anyways, there should be about 4m of that, then ~1m of black cotton, a strip of white canvas, ~5m bias cotton tape in black, ~2m black crochet trim, 2 skirt closures, 3 wooden black balls, and 5 self-fabric buttons.
How historically accurate is it? 50%. The patterns are okay, I think, and the techniques used aren’t quite wrong for the era, but there are too many ‘off’ points to raise its mark.
Also my private fabric doubts.
Hours to complete: n/a.
Five years, give or take?
First worn: n/a
Total cost: n/a
There was more to do than I thought (but isn’t that always the case?). The original design had a flat front and a pleated back, but I’ve been finding that silhouette a bit too bustle-y for this simpler design. I unstitched the waistband and built in two small box pleats at the front. The spare fabric was gathered right at the back placket.
A weird back view.
No petticoats make for very limp skirts.
Also, should have considered light sources before taking this pic…
Before adding closures to the skirt I stabilized the waistband with a strip of canvas fabric, as it was bunching up something awful. I also unpicked the buttons from their original front placement and moved them further apart, to emphasize the new pleats.
I’ve insterted a spare length of cord into the bias at the bottom of the skirt, to help with weight and shape. I debated between doing that and properly facing the hem, then I went down the easiest path. It actually works better than facing would have, I think, as it adds more weight to the wool’s drape.
The skirt is unlined; the jacket is lined in thick black cotton. The front was originally meant to close with frog clasps in black trim, but my changed measurements make that an impossibility. I thought about fixing that with a strip of black cotton and fix the bag lining while I was at it, but then it would have lost its right shape. It’s okay, I think – it looks just okay when open.
A closer view.
This one showcases the actual colors better than any other pic here.
The cuffs needed finishing. I’ve simply turned the ends in and topstitched them in place. I’ve also added some extra trim, as I still have two full packages left.
It was originally machine-sewn, but as I haven’t had my Singer taken out yet all the modifications have been made by hand. All inner seams are finished – the long back seam in the skirt is frenched, ugh!
Buttons! Many-sized matching buttons everywhere!
I bought so many packages of these back when I lived in Tokyo…
but they were like, 100yen the set, and that’s less than a tenth of their cost here!
I didn’t touch anything on the purse, this time around. TBH were I to tackle this project from the start I wouldn’t add it in. It’s quite out of place. Back then I made reticules for every other event – they were fast to sew, matched whatever I was wearing, and made good use of scraps. I followed this simple but effective pattern & tutorial so many times. But! It’s 100 years too early for this era! Also but! It’s already finished and it matches the suit! It may stay. Temporarily.
*This makes it my second project taken off the pile, as the half-made 1912 linen dress is now a bunch of cleaning rags. Neat!