Thursday, January 29, 2015

What am I even doing?

I love group projects almost as much as I adore sewing.  You know, that hobby that has made me seriously consider renaming my blog "The Swearing Seamstress" and which causes me to post pictures of actual (minor) bleeding injuries on Instagram.  The hobby that led me to name my last major project "That Stupid Dress."  The hobby that I've not pursued for the past couple of years with the intensity I used to because the only things MORE stressful than that hobby are things like maintaining a long distance relationship over a 4,000 mile distance, planning a wedding overseas, going abroad to get married, filling out immigration paperwork, and, oh yeah, the first year of marriage that everyone says is "tough" but nobody warns you is occasionally also rather hellish.

Oh yes, that hobby.

So you can see how much I enjoy group projects.  Right?

So what, you may ask, in the ever-loving HELL am I thinking, joining the Historical Sew Monthly bandwagon?

Ugh, I don't know.  I'm insane.  Don't ask me.

Well, that, and I actually really, really need all new reenacting clothes and so does Rich.  Because while I loathe sewing with the fire of a thousand suns, I do love reenacting and all my reenacting friends with equal enthusiasm.  So for me, it's the end result.  In this case, in order to get to a favorable end result--that is, attending events while attired in appropriate clothing, with my husband also attired in appropriate clothing--I need to knuckle down and sew.  A LOT.  You know what makes me sew A LOT?

DEADLINES.  Oh yes, my friends.  Deadlines.  However, having one deadline and six projects all "due" at the same time is a recipe for disaster (and more swearing), so the monthly challenges are a good framework for getting my rear in gear on things ahead of when I'll actually need to wear them.  For example, the January challenge--Foundations.

Chemise and drawers?
Ain't nobody got time for that!
Do you know what losing 60lbs in one year will do for you?  In addition to having a lot more energy and fewer aches and pains, you will also need to overhaul all your historical underpinnings.  Because being able to fit both arms down the sides of your corset isn't really a period appropriate look.

For my January challenge fill, I started and completed the corset from Simplicity 7215, an out of print Martha McCain Civil War pattern.  I cut it as-drawn in size 18, and then totally disregarded the instructions that called for a double layer corset.  Instead, I made it in one layer of cotton coutil and applied boning tape to the inside, which was kind of a pain in the ass but less so than trying to make two supposedly-identical layers play nicely together.

Why am I taking crappy mirror shots when Rich is right there to help!?

There are things I like and things I don't like about it, but I do think it will work just fine for the upcoming season, and is small enough that I won't have to immediately make another as I continue to lose weight.  If I use this pattern again, I will likely modify how the bust fits, and perhaps raise the top edge a little.  The hips are also very flared in comparison to my natural waist-to-hip ration, but not to the extent that the bust is.

That's a freckle, not a zit.
As you can see, the top is laced more tightly than the bottom, in an attempt to offer more support for the bust.  I think in my next iteration, I'll probably shorten and perhaps even narrow the bust gussets a bit for firmer support.  In any case, it's done and will suffice for now!

And, I guess if I'm doing this monthly challenge thing, I'm supposed to break down my projects thusly:

The Challenge:  January--Foundations
Fabric:  Domestic cotton coutil
Pattern: Simplicity 7215
Year: 1860s
Notions:  Cotton thread, perle cotton, boning tape, cotton twill tape, spring and spiral steel boning, 14" separating busk.
How historically accurate is it?  This question is extremely subjective and it bothers me.
Hours to complete:  Too many...but I started last Friday and was done in less than a week, so less than 40.
First worn:  In my pajamas so I could take shitty mirror pictures and post them on the internet, as you do.
Total cost:  My invoice from was something around $80, but that included an all new grommet setting kit, extra boning tape, and more than enough coutil for another corset, so ehhhh...$40.  Less than it would cost to pay someone else to do this for me, anyway!


  1. Very impressive that you can bust a corset out in a week! I also have not gotten around to making a chemise and drawers for the dress I made oh, last year. Priorities yo.

    1. Thank you! I do have a chemise and drawers somewhere, but they're pretty well-worn and digging them out sounded like no fun at all...and they're kind of manky. So not really what I want for pictures!

  2. I've missed your posts, snark and all. :)

    1. And I've missed blogging! I think partly why it's been so hard is that I try not to write like "myself" too much here because most bloggers seem so nice and I'm so I'm giving crotchety a try. :)

  3. Your Swearing Seamstress comment made me laugh! Thanks for being real and good luck on all your upcoming projects!