Not having the internet at your beck and call suddenly makes you get on with a lot of other things (or at least it does me). In the time I’d usually spend researching and looking up things, I’ve been pondering what to make to go over my stays.
Of course, there are things I would love to make and float about in, playing dress-up. But there are also limitations, such as:
- Skill, or lack thereof!
- Ability to get hold of a decent pattern (that is both cheap and fairly easy to follow).
Money is probably the main limitation (as I should imagine it is for most stitchers!) as it has the biggest effect on what I can and cannot make – nothing with masses of fabric (francaises are instantly out!) and nothing that I can’t justify making. By which I mean that I can’t make something I’ll (probably) never wear. So, much as I want a polonaise, I don’t have an event to wear one to to justify making one (sigh!). (Well, there is an event in March, but I’m unlikely to have completed anything by then!)
So this leads me to items that could work for modern wear:
- The hooded quilted jacket in Patterns of Fashion (my version would not be quilted, but made from a grey wool, most likely).
- A chemise a la reine (although I am currently considering it likely that I’ll make a modern dress inspired by a reine, because being of the short and curvy persuasion, a full-length, froofy white dress is probably not the world’s best idea. The only changes will probably be to make it knee-length and not white, though I might go sleeveless.)
- A pierrot jacket.
At the moment, the most likely one is the pierrot jacket because it would be very much wearable for day-to-day wear as long as I make it from a suitable fabric. Plus, there is a pattern in The Cut of Women’s Clothes, which the lovely Johanna has used to make a very pretty pierrot. I got the book from the library at the weekend – free pattern? Check! I will most likely change it to a zone front, though, as I love them something rotten!
The question being – what kind of fabric would work well without being too delicate/precious to use for every day? I’m probably thinking a cotton, but I’m not sure which weight would work well – anyone? Silk would be lovely, but again we come back to expense and it not being an everyday fabric for a 21st century girl. There is a gorgeous cotton brocade that I have my eye on, but it’s so very not 1780s/90s!
Which then brings me to the question of whether I want to try a synthetic and go for the ‘look’ of accuracy, rather than actual accuracy. I could get a synthetic taffeta or duchesse satin affordably (which would also be washable), whereas either of these in silk would be out of my price range and non-washable.
Then there is another question of working out a cunning fastening method that would allow me to wear the jacket over stays in a (mostly) historically accurate way, but that would still fasten up over my un-corseted form. The problem isn’t so much any sucking in at the waist, it’s more that I have a smaller chest measurement in stays than in modern underpinnings. I’ve had a couple of ideas for how to get around this, but as this is meant to be just initial thoughts, I’ll leave that until another day. My main concern at the moment is about fabric …
I ask you, dear reader – what’s a girl to do?!