Let them eat {tea} cakes! HSM January Challenge


Finally after years of following various costume bloggers through the annual Historical Sew Fortnightly (now Monthly) challenges I’ve decided to dive head on into my first challenge, no longer content with just watching the fun from the sidelines. My first challenge entry needed to be something that I could do relatively quickly and something pretty that I could wear for a fun social outing with the other Ohio Historic Costumers. I decided a jacket and petticoat would be an easy project to whip up instead of tackling a full gown this time around, especially when January is still a little crazy from the holidays. The challenge was “Mend, Reshape, Refashion” and while perusing Pinterest for ideas I stumbled upon a pretty pink late 1780s Pierrot jacket and just knew it’d be the perfect quick project for our tea. I love jackets, LOVE them. I don’t know why but there’s just something about a saucy little tail and a well fitted jacket that just screams high fashion to me.
So the basic concept was decided, jacket totally easy and requires little fabric. I knew I wanted to stick to minimal costs after just coming out of the holiday season and still needing to purchase things for the real Season. I turned to my stash and was disappointed by the lack of pretty stuff, bleh linen. I began looking at more unconventional means of fabric yardage, I’ve been on a big minimalist kick with getting rid of clothes and stuff we just don’t need or use anymore, part of said purge revealed a pretty cotton candy pink silk slip from a vintage 1930s evening gown. The gown itself was in too fragile of a state for anything other than being stored in a box which rendered the slip pretty much useless. I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers by confessing this but I talked myself into making this once loved antique into something that could serve a greater purpose than taking up valuable closet space. I took my shears and began cutting into it.
I finished my jacket and quilted petticoat ensemble the week of the event. I then decided the night before that I really needed a muff and short cloak, because why not? Crazy right? So I whipped up the fur muff I had been working on from the new American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking and then kind of just winged the short cloak. I’m happy with the results for the most part. The only thing I wish would have turned out better were the fan pleats on the hood, I think the faux fur lining was just a little too bulky so you don’t get that same full effect of a fan. Even though that little bit didn’t turn out quite right the hood covered all of my hair and the cloak managed to keep me dry so that’s a success in my book!

So more about the fun stuff, the tea party! This was my first event ever doing something fun and for my own enjoyment. Not that I don’t enjoy being an interpreter but going to an event and being asked fifty times a day if that’s “real fire” just isn’t the same as wearing pretty clothes and nerding out on costume discussions. Plus pretty things! I got to wear pretty things, like all of them at the same time! Annnd I was waited on and served in my pretty things which is a breath of fresh air from the usual experiences.
So Hayley and I arrived fashionably late, as usual, because of stuff and things. Being flatlanders from the country we kind of forgot about the whole limited parking situation and wound up wasting even more time, but we did get to see some cool shops while hoofing it to the Asterisk Supper Club. So we make a grand entrance, squeeze into some seats and find ourselves comfortably at ease with these new found friends from the Ohio Historic Costumers group, this was in fact our first time attending any sort of in person get together. And it was great! Who knew so many other awesome like-minded people lived within a short jog from each other? Seriously. It was great.


So we spent the rest of the day sipping tea, mmm cardamom, snacking on tiny sandwiches (thank you Earl of Sandwich), and gabbing about hair, fabrics, patterns, and my favorite: how to keep the girls up without the use of Regency stays, hello bodiced petticoat!


After we left and said our goodbyes we decided to pop in an antique shop before heading home. No sooner had we entered the door than a gentleman photog stopped in behind us intrigued by our unusual apparel. We chatted and he followed us through the store snapping photos of us, kind of a strange time warp photo session but it was way cool. It felt like we had our very own paparazzi, and I mean we did look like quite fashionable ladies it’s no wonder!

The Wayback Machine
Photo Copyright 2018 Gary Gardiner. Not to be used without written permission detailing exact usage. Photos from Gary Gardiner, may not be redistributed, resold, or displayed by any publication or person without written permission. Photo is copyright Gary Gardiner who owns all usage rights to the image.

So there you have it folks! Our cupcake gown outing was a blast and we both finished up our first Historical Sew Monthly challenge. Down below you’ll find the details on my project and shortly I’ll get an inspo post going for February’s challenge.
Annnnnd we haven’t forgotten about the Thrifty Reenactress series, although I know it seems like it. Our next post on bed gowns will get posted this week, promise. Colds and life just kind of got in the way of things this month.

The Challenge: Mend, Reshape, Refashion – Mend or re-shape one of your previously made historical clothing items, or refashion a new one out of something not originally intended as sewing fabric.
Material: Jacket is made from an original 1930s pink silk slip, lined in a pink linen and trimmed with white and green silk ribbon. The quilted petticoat is made from a vintage silk satin coverlet, lined in pink linen with natural linen ties at the waist.
Pattern: The jacket is mostly self drafted using the Larkin & Smith fashionable gown pattern as a base for the cutaway bodice style with the jacket skirts and back being self drafted based on extant garments and fashion plates.
Year: Late 1780s through the early 1790s
Notions: Natural linen tape for the petticoat waistbands from Wm. Booth, Draper, and a few yards of silk ribbon in green and white.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty HA I’d say! The fit, fabric, and style are all completely period appropriate. The pastel shades of pink and green were very fashionable as well as the abundance of trim. Both garments are completely sewn by hand using period construction techniques and close using straight pins and ties.
Hours to complete: I didn’t keep track of my hours very well but it was a lot for certain. The petticoat was easily finished in about 4 hours while the jacket itself was probably closer to 12 hours. The trim probably added another 4-6 hours for cutting and sewing it on.
First worn: Just this past Saturday at the Ohio Historic Costumers High Tea event.
Total cost: The slip and the bed coverlet as well as the linen lining, white silk for trim, and linen tape were already in my stash. I had maybe $30 wrapped up in green ribbon and then another $15 wrapped up in a faux fur muff and short cloak I made to go with it.


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