Monday, June 10, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #12: Pretty, Pretty Princess: Jane's White, Georgian Era Gown - and - A Picnic at Waveland

Another Historical Sew Fortnightly event, hosted by The Dreamstress... this time, it's Challenge #12, Pretty, Pretty, Princess.  I am far from the Princess type of girl(although I wouldn't turn down the wealth of a princess), so I let me daughter rescue me from this one.  My pretty princess Jane outgrew the previous Georgian/Regency era dress I made her about a year and a half ago.  She was begging for another one. 

Portrait of Caroline Lalive de la Briche, by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, 1786

The portrait above was the original inspiration for Jane's gown.  There are several gowns out there in the portrait world that would have worked equally as well for Jane's inspiration gown.  Of course, white gowns were all the rage for little girls (and some adults) for at least 40 years, spanning from about 1780-1820.

The Woolsey Family, by William Berczy, 1809

  For the first 30 years, little girls dresses changed very minimally.  As you can see from the portrait above, the little girl on the right is wearing a gown that could pass almost exactly for the one in the Vigee-Lebrun portrait.  The only difference, the sleeve are a little shorter, and the sash is worn higher.  But look at the dates...They are 23 years apart.

Front View. 

This gown, although not white, is a good example of how I constructed Jane's dress.  

 Back View.

I put a drawstring along the neck line, and in the back along the waste, but not in the front waste area.

Here's a slightly later example that shows the same front construction.  Its made of one long piece of fabric, gathered only at the top.  The wide teal ribbon/sash around Jane's waste is what pulls in the dress.

Now, about princesses sporting a similar style as Jane...

 Portrait de la princessse Sophia, agée de 5 ans, by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782.

To be honest, it wasn't hard to find young princesses in white gowns.  They were everywhere.  So, here are a few that really captured my attention. I adore little princess Sophia!  She's my favorite.

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales as a young girl, by Marie Anne Bourlier, published by Edward Harding, after Sir Thomas Lawrence
stipple engraving,
published 19 May 1806

Here's a young Charlotte wearing a white, gathered gown.

Yet another painting of Princess Charlotte Augusta, by Maxim Gauci, 1810.

And a slightly older (and more revealing) Charlotte, still sporting a white gown.

 Prinzessin Maria Elisabeth Wilhemine von Baden, by Unknown, c. 1800.

And finally, a young Princess Maria looks pure and simply beautiful in her shear, white, gathered frock.

There you have it...princess in white gowns.

Jane's gown is completely hand sewn, using period techniques. Looking at this picture though, I probably should have used a wider front panel of fabric, to give the gown more of a gathered look.

Jane is certainly not a demure princess.  I have a feeling this white gown won't be white for very long.

Her gown takes on a slightly pinkish hue because of the Turkish-red petticoat underneath.  I worked in a couple of tucks at the bottom of the gown to give her room to grow.

Just the Facts

The Challenge: Pretty, Pretty Princess: Jane's white, Georgian/Regency era gown.

Fabric:  White cotton voille.

Pattern: None, drafted myself.

Year: Anywhere between 1780-1820

Notions: Thread, 1/4 inch twill tape.

How historically accurate is it?  I would say 100%.  Handsewn, appropriate materials and construction.

Hours to complete:  This is the part that always gets me...I never remember.  A guess...7 or 8.

First worn:  Last weekend for a picnic.

Total cost:  Free, sort of...I got the fabric from remnants in my stash...but I'm sure I paid for it somewhere down the line.

And now for the Picnic.

The pretty, pretty princess recently had the chance to show off her new gown as we picnicked with a few friends at the Waveland Historical Estate.  As picnics go it was a peaceful one, with weather that was quite mild for June. Even though the Waveland home was built a little post Federal period, it still retains neo-classical architectural features.

We didn't get the chance to tour the inside of the home, so I am sorry to say I have only exterior photos for your viewing pleasure.  But, there are a few interior pictures on the Waveland website that I linked to in the above paragraph.  This house was made for all types of weather.  There is another two story porch just like this one on the opposite side of the house.

These were the slave quarters, and the kitchen.

One of the gorgeous little gardens.  I would love to model my own garden after this one.

Three of my companions of the day admiring the flora.

Jane found a home just her size.

Complete with it's own mini- fireplace.

Of course, a picnic wouldn't be a picnic, without good food and drink (scrumptious tea!)

I made another Onion Pye.  Someone made a very yummy Chicken Pudding.  Another person brought fresh strawberries and cherries.

Natalie made a DELICIOUS Salmagundy.  I'm not sure where she got her recipe (I would love to have it, by the way Natalie), but there is one found here that makes it with fish, instead of chicken.

To finish it off, one person brought a to-die-for Lavender Cheese Cake!  And Natalie made a heavenly Syllabub (similar to this one.)

Even the little princess found it hard to put her fork down.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #11: Squares, Rectangles and Triangles: Jane's Trousers(pantalettes)

Unfortunately, I had to miss The Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #11, due to the busyness of the last couple weeks of school.  It is summer break now, and I had high hopes of catching up on my sewing projects.  BUT...a few days ago I nearly guillotined the pointer and middle finger off of my right hand when trying to open a window.  It was a very bad injury, and since my dominant hand is the one injured, it's nearly impossible to do almost anything (typing included...slow going with only the left hand and right hand pinky finger and thumb.)  Alas, it looks like any hand sewing will be off the table for several weeks.  I might be able to do a little machine sewing, we'll see.  

Anyway, I did manage to complete most of the things you can make with squares, rectangles and triangles: Challenge #11 before the injury.  

I've been wanting to make Jane a pair of Georgian era pantalettes for quite a while now.  She isn't the...umm...most lady-like when she plays in her gowns...these will most assuredly save her and me embarrassment.  I adore the ones in the 1809 fashion plate above, with the ruffles and tucks.  Before the finger injury, I was planning on adding in three rows of tucks to Jane's pantalettes...but that will have to wait please excuse their long length.

Isn't the above painting of a brother and sister, by Adam Buck, c.1810, adorable!  Usually, I lean more toward the early Georgian/Regency era when I create clothing for Jane and me.  So, I'll admit that I'm stretching it a bit by making Jane a pair of pantalettes, because from the research I did, pantalettes didn't seem to be quite as popular in the early Georgian/Regency era as they were in the later years.  By the time the Victorian age came along, they were positively required.

Sorry about the poor quality of the image above.  I don't even know who the artist was, or who the family is(Thanks to Sarah W. I now know that this is a portrait of the Jewish Nathanson family, living in Denmark, in 1818, by C.W. Eckersberg)....but I can tell from the fashion that the era is later Georgian/Reagency.  Notice the Pantalettes on the three young girls in the front.

This is a  Portrait of Napoleona Elisa Baciocchi, 1810, by Marie Guilhelmine Benoist.  Pantalettes with ruffles, and possibly lace.

And isn't this the cutest little girl EVER!  She's  Ekaterina Dmitrievna Obreskova, c. 1820 (so much later than I would have liked) but I'm not sure who the artist is.  Again, tucks and lace.  I adore her bonnet and little red shoes!


Now let's talk construction.  These Linen Pantalettes from MFA Boston show what I suspect was probably the norm for construction...two tubes of linen, one worn on each leg and tied together around the waist (thanks to a couple of ladies from the Facebook HSF event, I now know that these didn't tie around the waist, but around each leg...many pantalettes were lost because of this.)  I considered this, when beginning my project...after all, they are made with rectangles...but in the end, I altered how I made Jane's pantalettes because, (a: no one would see the top of her pantalattes under her who would know, and (b: I wanted easy access for her when she needed to go to the bathroom.  I know that the tape around the waist would have been too complicated for her, and she would have put up a big fuss about peeing between the gap in the pants.  In this case, historical accuracy just wasn't worth it to me.

Here you can see the length of the pantalettes...three rows of tucks should ensure a proper length and room to grow for a few more years.  Jane wasn't to thrilled about having her picture taken in her Regency underwear.  I could barely coax a smile out of her.

The ruffles...pulled off of the floor so you can get a proper look at them.  Just little gathered rectangles.

Each pant leg is made from two rectangles, but I had to piece them, so the seam isn't on the side as it should be.  I'm not bothered by it, because they are only children's pantalettes, and piecing is period correct.  I stitched two channels in the waist band, and used some left over bias tape to create drawstrings.  They almost remind me of gentleman's boxing pants (or modern pajama pants.)  Jane says they are very comfortable.

Just the Facts
The Challenge: Squares, Rectangles and Triangles: Jane's Georgian/Regency Pantalettes

Fabric:  Cotton muslin

Pattern: None, drafted using only rectangles

Year: Later half of the Georgian/Regency era (c.1809-1820)

Notions:  White thread, bias tape

How historically accurate is it?'s hand sewn, proper materials, and based off of paintings and fashion plates of the time.  Being used for a slightly earlier date than typical, and construction was modified from original garments.

Hours to complete:  4 or 5, maybe.

First worn:  only for try-on.

Total cost:  Free...used scraps and pieced.