Shoes for Mr. Elton!

We have shoes! Or rather opera pumps – correct footwear with full dress. Mrs Elton was about to order new ball slippers from her supplier in the UK: Evans. They happen to sell shoes for the longer and wider foot, so I decided to join her in ordering black “ballerina pumps”, size 8. Only £19 and quick delivery! I removed the frivolous flowers and replaced them with masculine grosgrain ribbons. (I also found a pair of brass buckles in our stash and they could´ve worked but they actually made the shoes look more ladylike and store bought.) Perfect for elegant dancing! Read more about footwear during the Regency period here and here. Stockings: I ordered white cotton stockings from an online shop for traditional folk wear: Hemslöjden in Linköping. SEK130 (or £11) for one pair. Very comfortable but they have an unfortunate, striped effect. Might not use them if I find alternatives.

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Breeches, part 2

The breeches are finished! Entirely handstiched (but one seam), so it took some time. There were so many small details: cover buttons, stich buttonholes, inset a gusset at the back, etc. I needed to focus in order to achieve a perfect fit at the front. Fashionably tight fit over the thighs and knees but a loose seat to enable dancing. The breeches turned out rather well, if I may say so. (But don´t look too closely at the crooked stiches on the lining and at the back….)

Breeches, part 1

As you know from my last post, I decided to make my breeches out of black silk. This is not a detailed tutorial, but a summary of my process.

First, I found a pattern in Norah Waugh´s The cut of gentlemen´s clothes 1600-1900. Buy the book or go to the library. There are many commercial patterns available online, but I wanted to give this a chance. It has side seams and one seam centre front to centre back. No inner leg seam. The back section is cut on the bias, which gives it some elasticity. I took my measurements and made a rough sketch on paper. I used this as a guideline when cutting the two pieces for the toile. I basted the toile, and tried it on. (3) I want rather tight fitting breeches, not baggy ones, so I needed to take in the side seams. Needed also to add some extra centimetres to the top of the front. (The pinned section on image 4). Take care with the side seams, they are supposed to be vertical. The toile is my final pattern. I took it apart, and used it when cutting the black silk. (4) Started to sew the pieces together on our machine, but the needle turned out to be too thick, so I finished the seams by hand. Took longer time, but hey – it´s more period.

I took some time to make a welt pocket in the waistband. (5, 6, 7) There is an excellent tutorial here. Not so difficult as it seems, and so worth the effort, in order to be able to carry a fob watch. Gathered the back piece before attaching it to the waistband. The waistband is lined with linen (green, only because that´s what I found in our stash) and cut in two pieces in the back to make it adjustable. Then fiddled around with the buttons, to determine the size on the fall front. (8, 10) Ended up with about 17 x 17 cm (7×7″). Then I cut the fall front. (9) The silk is really difficult to photograph. It´s much nicer irl!

Next: Lining the fall front, sewing buttons, button holes, finishing the knees.

Getting started

Getting startedIt is time to start sewing! Since my latest post I have made a decision regarding the ensemble. I think. A ball requires formal wear or “full dress” in regency terms. Read more about full dress here and here. This is what I´ve got to work with. I have a vintage tailcoat of very good quality. I like the unconstructed style of early regency coats but this will have to do. I don´t have the skills nor energy to make a coat from scratch. (At least not this time.) This is more 1810-20´s and will match Mrs Elton´s finery. The lapels are silk, and should perhaps be velvet. Slightly too wide over the shoulders. Oh well. If there is time I´ll change the buttons (temporarily) for larger ones. Continue reading