It seemed like it took a while for me to complete the 18th century pocket hoops, but I had some other things to do first and waiting for supplies to arrive. Actually, the pocket hoops went quicker than I expected when you consider how I made them.
I decided to save money again and just used the Corsets and Crinolines book by Norah Waugh. The pattern went together beautifully, and I really didn’t have to do anything special.
For the bottom part of the pocket hoop, I made the piece bigger than needed and pinned it carefully to the edges for a perfect fit. I thought it would be better to pin and stitch to fit, then trim off excess fabric rather than realize I might have cut the fabric too small.
Supplies, fabrics, stitches, etc
I used the leftover cotton I’ve been using on most of my garments so far. I used something similar for my bustle, so I knew it would work out okay for my first pair.
I also used store-bought bias tape for binding a few edges, as well as the boning channels. All edges are either finished or bound. I hope this will keep the pocket hoops sturdy and make them last for a long time.
The boning is hoop steel that I cut from a roll. It was one of the last things I added. I sewed the whole thing inside out (the boning channels are on the inside), then turned it rightside out and worked the hoop steel through the channels. I’m leaving the channel ends open so I can remove the steel if I ever need to clean the fabric.
I need to replace the temporary ribbon I’m using as the drawstring with something sturdier like twill tape. I’m hoping it will help hold the pocket hoops in place without any sagging. I was debating for a while about how to finish the waistband section. I almost went for a different closure since there will be so many tied garments around the waist for proper layering.
The biggest thing I did differently on this garment was that I didn’t go anywhere near my sewing machine. It’s all sewn with hand stitches. I just didn’t feel like moving furniture around and having to deal with the machine.
Some thoughts on hand sewing
Except for initial things like prepping the pattern and cutting out the fabric, I found that I was more willing to just sit down and sew (and for long periods of time) since I didn’t have to set up the sewing machine.
I have all of my sewing stuff gathered in a box and can carry it around easily, and that’s helped a lot as well. In fact, on Thanksgiving I did some work both at home and at my mother-in-law’s. I wanted to test my ability to work in a different environment, while talking with people and having distractions I’m not used to when I sew. Now I’m really looking forward to attending sewing meets, and I feel confident I’ll be able to work comfortably and easily. Not to mention, easier transport!
Again, I really felt like I had a lot of control over the stitches and where they went. There were a few sections that might have been annoying to deal with on a machine, but weren’t even an issue with hand sewing.
I also love the look of the hand sewn stitches. They really add a lot of character to the garment, and seem to be sturdy enough.
I’m hoping to finalize the embroidery design for my hanging pockets, transfer the pattern, and get started. I’ll have two of those to do, and I want to take my time on them.
I might make an under petticoat to wear if I have enough leftover cotton fabric. This would be the petticoat that goes over the shift and under the stays.
I’m definitely looking forward to making the layers of petticoats that go over the pocket hoops, as well as the outer petticoat and outer garment. Still not 100% sure which type of gown I’ll be making first, but it might be the original picnic/garden gown I had planned.