Friday, May 13, 2011

New sleeves from old

I am so lucky with what comes across my cutting table. I have mentioned the War of 1812 Bicentennial is coming up and now I am creating two 1812 ballgowns for Fort Wellington. One is a vision in blue silk and the other a vision in mauve silk. I'd had a couple of fittings on the corsets and the dress, now it was time to create some detail.

I have had a close look at an original 1812 dress, which is lovely in cream fabric. It has a fabulous sleeve which we wanted to duplicate. Lucky me, I found a picture of something similar in Jean Hunnisett's book.

Pretty close! It even came with a pattern1 So I drew it out and made a mock up in cotton and taffeta. It turned out much too full in the underarm area. Not a spot I personally want a pile of fabric. So, I had to modify it. Trial #2 proved there was not enough height in the sleeve.

So then, I re-drew the cuffs and the sleeves. On the right track this time.

It actually took 3 versions to get something that worked and gave the look. I have now sewn the sleeve in the mauve silk taffeta with vintage lace for the cuff. This meant modifying the cuff more, to fit the width of the lace.  It had to be constructed entirely by hand, just the way the original was done. After all, there were no sewing machines in 1812!

If you've ever made this sleeve, please let me know!


Sue said...

I never knew a sleeve this beautiful existed! i love the fashions of the early 1800's. Hope we get to see more of the finished gown(s)!

Edwina Sutherland said...

You will see more! I have another gown with interesting sleeves underway!