Friday, December 20, 2013

1883 winter accessories


So what's a girl to do when there's a Victorian holiday event coming up, but you only have a boring old dress to wear and no time to make a new one?  Why, you whip up a few new accessories, of course!  I already had a fabulous fur muff that I made for the Historical Sew Fortnightly "re-do" assignment, so I decided to make a matching fur cape, cuffs, and winter bonnet for the HSF "celebrate" challenge.  I couldn't be happier with my festive new accessories, and it really made my old dress feel new and fun again for the holidays.
Winters in Texas are never very cold, but I knew it was going to be in the low 40's on the night of our event, so I needed something to help keep me warm.  I decided that a capelet would be the easiest option to make in a short amount of time, and I've always loved the little fur capes from the early 1880's that tightly hug the shoulders, such as this beauty that I stumbled across on a fabulous blog known as The Cabinet Card Gallery.  Luckily, I had just enough faux fur left over to make this style of cape, so I was really pleased that my last few scraps could be put to a good use.

The pattern for my cape came from the accessories section of Fashions of the Gilded Age, Vol. 2.  I tried out several of the cape patterns in that book, but I finally picked the "cashmere and satin hood" because it had such a great shape and it made up easily.  I enlarged the cape part of the pattern by 110% since the original was really small across my shoulders, and I rounded off the bottom edge to be smooth vs. notched.  Instead of including the hood, I added a simple rectangular standing collar.  The cape is lined with a silky brocade, and I used 3 coat hooks to close it in front.

I also made up a set of fur cuffs to add to my jacket sleeves, similar to the look that you see in this fashion plate of a woman with a matching cape and cuffs (and the worlds smallest muff!  OMG - what happened to her hands!?!?)  The cuffs are detachable and just basted onto the jacket so I can take them back off when I want to wear it in the summer.  I also bought a new pair of leather gloves and wore a pair of gold bangles over them, which seemed to be a popular fashion... although somewhat inconvenient if you need to take your gloves off and on frequently to check your cell phone.


I also wanted a more wintery hat to wear with my outfit since the only bonnet that I have from this period is straw and more appropriate for summer.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a bonnet pattern on hand, and I was too short on time to order one, so I used my Lynn McMasters seaside bonnet pattern to get me started.  I cut down the width of the brim and drafted a new crown to make the shape more appropriate for the late natural form years.   It isn't meant to be an exact copy of any one bonnet, but you can find a wide variety hats in a similar style in my 1883 Peterson's magazine, such as the ones on the left.   
I used a remnant of maroon cotton velvet to cover the bonnet, and it has a gathered lining of terra cotta colored silk.  The hat is entirely hand-sewn, and everything except the $.50 sprig of berries came from my stash.   It is a bit hard to see the shape once all the frippery is on it, so here's a picture of the base before it was decorated.  Below, you can see the finished version from various angles.  
I didn't get very many good pictures of me from the Candlelight event, but I decided to dress up again for a morning stroll through the woods so I could take some more pictures just for fun.  Here are a few of my favorites (and more on flickr), and I'll be back soon for one little photoshoot postscript.  I also want to write up a year-end recap of my experience with the Historical Sew Fortnightly project.  Now that I survived a year's worth of challenges, it's time to celebrate!








17 comments:

Fiorina said...

I love the contrast between the marroon-red hat and the dress, it just says "late autumn and winterwalks" :-) Very lovely!

Gina said...

Oh my goodness Jen! How utterly adorable you look! I love the capelette, muff and cuff set and your hat!!! Your hat is fabulous! The colors you chose are totally perfect to go with your ensemble! Yeah!!!

Blessings!
Gina

Ms. Nelly said...

I loved it! Fantastic hat and muff :)

Sarah said...

How gorgeous!

Kleidung um 1800 said...

Yes, as Fiorina said: a wonderful colour combination! You have a wonderful sense for matching colours and fabrics (textures), that's why your garments look so real!
The photos and the setting are fantastic, too! It's such a delight to be treated with a ray of sunshine and perfect clothes on these cold days :)

Sabine

Cathy Raymond said...

Truly lovely! You not only have skill in making accessories, you have excellent taste.

Milin said...

What I wouldn't give to take a peek inside your closet!...and sewing room!! :)

fixitfaerie said...

You do such amazing work. Love this look with the cape and hat.

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Beautiful as always, Jen. The hat and the cape are adorable.
Val

Siri Andersen said...

Utterly gorgeous!!!

Lauren Stowell said...

Lovely! You look perfect, as always. I love your hat. I just love everything, actually. EVERYTHING! You are amazing.

Izabela Pitcher said...

lovely silhouette. love the hat especially.

Loren Dearborn said...

They turned out so well and the whole ensemble is just so fetching on you. They are charming photos too.

Caroline said...

I love it! You look darling!

Aubry said...

I love these accessories! They look so perfectly period!

Crystal said...

I really loved all of these, and then I was looking at fashion plates today for something else and came across this image. It looked a little familiar ;) http://s4.hubimg.com/u/4366247_f260.jpg

Black Tulip said...

You look fabulous. I'm sooo impressed with the hat; I wouldn't know where to start on a project like that.

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