Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Making A Shift

If you’ve found All American Antoinette there is a great chance you know what a shift (or chemise) is. But just in case, it’s a long shirt worn as the innermost layer of clothing, the style of which changed very little from the 16th till early 20th century.  
My chemise was my first try at making a garment, let alone HA and completely hand stitched. And while I love it… I can’t say it’s perfect. For starters it came from Simplicity sewing pattern 3635.
Go ahead and snicker... I'll wait
Nope, never drafted a pattern in my life so this was where I began. The final shift is a marriage based on A and C
… and maybe just a bit from Marie Antoinette (2006)
…which I justified because it’s 100% hand sewn, made with historically correct fabric and notions, and also it’s under all my clothes to be seen by no one. That and I’m short, so very short. So short, that when I cut the fabric for the side panels, the shift became less structured and seemed to swallow me.
Living in a tiny apartment my kitchen table serves as my sewing room

This is how you're supposed to do it right? Right?

Moments away from discovering what a sleevil is...

It takes a village to sew a seam
 Ultimately my pattern came out like this:
Please ignore the stays- that's a story for another time
Just in case you’re a purest who can’t be bothered altering patterns without historical precedent, (or using ::gasp:: Simplicity) there are countless blog posts that tell you how to construct a shift (great examples can be found here and here ).
What was your experience like with your first shift? Did you hand sew, buy, use machine? Tell us in the comments below!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Exhibition Review: “An Agreeable Tyrant”: Fashion after the Revolution

         For their latest exhibition Dar wanted to “consider how Americans fashioned a new identity through costume” after the revolution. Clothing from 1780-1825 was displayed in various rooms throughout the museum.
My first disappointment was the difficulty determining where in the museum the clothes were displayed. One main hall would have been easier than the many dead ends (and private offices?) I stumbled into. My second let down was the pittance of earlier clothing. It’s partially my fault- I heard “revolution” and assumed I’d be seeing clothing from the late 18th century, not mainly the early 1800s.
Regardless- let’s take a look at the clothing shall we?
These were all the 18th century gowns I could find

Reader correction! This fichu is noBurnley & Trowbridge but rather an original mull muslin embroidered shawl used as a kerchief

My two favorite dresses from the era- also those jewels are Dames A La Mode

            My Washington DC trip did have some lovely surprises. Who knew the Air and Space museum featured stomacher jewelry depicting the early days of balloon travel? 
And the National Gallery of Art had some paintings of both Madame du Barry and Madame de Pompadour!
Madame 'One thing about girls from the gutter- they know their diamonds' du Barry

Madame de Pompadour- love the hair

Do you know of 18th century treasures in the D.C. museums? Comment below!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Moment When.....

The moment when you're sitting in the audience at Hamilton and your HA costuming senses tingle... OMG the Schuyler sisters costumes are based on the painting of the three eldest daughters of George II!!!