Current projects for 18th century costuming

Embroidering 18th century mitt

Doing the seed stitch filler on my first 18th century mitt. I'm still new to embroidery.

I’m trying to finish a few things for an upcoming private gathering with the 18th century costuming group.  One of them is an actual costume piece, and the other is to help with my sewing.

18th century mitts

I have been working on the pattern for 18th century mitts.  I made a mockup to check the sizing, using an old pillowcase.  It seemed to work fine, but I’m a little worried that — even cut on the bias — the final version will not fit as well.

I’m using some sort of taffeta that’s most likely not silk.  The fabric store didn’t seem to have a good selection when I was there.  I will also be using a cotton for lining.  I want the lining to add a nice contrasting effect when the flaps are turned back, and also to hide the embroidery’s back side.

Instead of just sewing up a pair really fast, I decided I just had to embroider them.

The prep work went fairly slowly, and the first part of the embroidery was also slow (something with the fabric, I suspect).  It’s starting to go much quicker now.  I still have to finish up the embroidery on the first mitt, sew it, and then prep the next mitt for embroidery and sewing.

I am noticing something I don’t like with this fabric.  On my pockets, the stem stitch on the scrolling vines was smooth.  No matter what I do to make all of the stitches smooth on this taffeta, they still have a choppiness to them.  Oh well — it will get the point across, and it’s yet another learning experience.

I do hope that they fit and everything works out nicely.  I shared the pattern with a friend, Jen Thompson, and I can’t wait to see how it works for her.  She’s much better with working out patterns and making things so awesome.  I figured it was the least I could do since she’s always been such a huge help for me.

Tape dress form

Which leads me to my next project.  A clear packing tape dress form.  I need something so I can make and fit my 18th century jackets.  Jen wanted to try this type out and see how it works compared to others.

I’ve not finished it yet.  I’ve sealed up the back, but I still need to fill it, and clean up and seal the opening edges.

If it works out nicely, I think I’d like to make one for my husband.  I think tape dress forms would be a great help getting me started on the right path, and of course doing major or final fittings on the person.  My husband isn’t always around when I’m sewing, and I’m not in the mood to have to put the stays on (I need help to put them on) every time I need to try something on.

I just wanted to update with some of the things I’m working on at the moment.  I’ll of course do full entries on each project when I finish them.

Marking out the 18th century mitt

The 18th century mitt marked out for embroidery and cutting. This will be my first pair.

Progress on the 18th century mitt

The embroidery is about half finished. The fabric caused the stitching to be a bit choppy -- nothing I did seem to fix it. I still like it, and hope the mitts fit well.

Pre-cut tape dressform

The tape dressform (over my 18th century stays), just before cutting it off. I still have a lot of work to do to finish it before I can use it.

About Cynthia Griffith

I have way too many interests and hobbies, and continually cycle through them -- paying attention to some, while others wait for when I can get around to them again. My main interests are sewing and costuming (I enjoy historical clothing, such as 18th and 19th century, as well as fantasy costumes like elves and hopefully someday even dwarves), as well as getting back to art by drawing fan art of Thorin Oakenshield and Company. My husband Christopher and I spend a lot of time together, enjoying the outdoors and shared hobbies such as juggling. This blog and website is my way to share what I'm up to with friends and family.
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6 Responses to Current projects for 18th century costuming

  1. Kaycee says:

    The mitt looks awesome!!! I am re working my last picnic dress for the wine and whist event and I may have to finally try this embroidery/mitt fantasticness!

  2. Amy says:

    Ooh, how neat! 🙂 Can’t wait to see it all finished.

  3. Well, you KNOW how much I love gray…and the white embroidery is stunning on this mitt!

    I’m looking forward to the next event so you can dress up in the fabric you were generously given at the last event and have a blast in your mitts and gown realizing how badass you–and all your friends–are 🙂

  4. Thanks, everyone! I still have some work to do on the first mitt, and prepping to do for the second mitt, but the embroidery for mitt #1 is finished. Whew! I’m still nervous, wondering if it’ll fit as well as the mockup did.

    Kaycee: If you haven’t made any mitts by the W&W night, I’d be happy to bring some mitts for you to try on as well as the pattern for you to trace and alter as needed (it will need adjustments, since I haven’t altered it to have the final changes on it yet — if I have time, I might try to make another pattern so I don’t have to remember everything I did on this one).

  5. Green Martha says:

    Your dummy piqued my interest… How do you fill it ? How strong is the end result ?

  6. Green Martha: I’m going to see about filling it with packing peanuts. Something that will fill it and help it hold its shape, but not overstuff it or make it too stiff. As far as the result, I’ve never tried any of the custom tape dressforms. You might ask Jen Thompson about it — she told me about wanting to try this, and pointed me out to the clear packing tape sculptures (try an image search) that some artists use. I’ve never seen any of those in person, so I’m not sure how sturdy they are, either. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out, because the process wasn’t as bad or as long as I thought it would be.

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