Sunday, January 28, 2018

Federal Work Clothes

It's never too late to blog, right? (Right?!) I finally got around to making a decent Federal working outfit last fall to wear in the kitchen at Locust Grove. I did all of the stitching on the short gown and petticoat by hand. 

For the short gown, I used the Fig Leaf Patterns 219. This was another bit from my Jane Austen Festival haul last summer.

Like a lot of Mackenzie's patterns, this one actually comes with a couple of variations, both of which were part of the DAR Fashionable Tyrant exhibit. Since this outfit was designed for getting really dirty and sweaty in the kitchen, I went for the simpler, unlined option (the other one is a bit fancier and more substantial with a collar). 

I did add about an inch to the bottom. The original from the DAR exhibit had a VERY short skirt, which I did not think would be flattering on me. However looking around it seems like these came in a variety of lengths. You can see one example from St. Louis by Anna Maria Von Phul here 

As well as this rather interesting Danish example here

Brian had apparently been hauling this striped cotton around for years, just looking for its purpose. And this was it! 

Brian sketched the line for the drawstring casing on me with a fabric marking pen. (The pattern does come with lines you can use if you don't want to DIY it).

 I used 1 inch twill tape to create the casing on the inside. 

The reinforcing piece on the neck will look strange when you cut it out, but when you go to put it together it actually will fit into place fine. 

**I accidentally inverted the pleat here. It worked out fine, but don't work off this image for it.

Petticoat- Past Patterns 037

For the petticoat, I relied on the research in  Past Patterns 037 High-Waisted Petticoat pattern.  This is based on an original from the period. As with all of Saundra Altman's patterns, this comes with a wonderful booklet full of her research and observations. I didn't actually need the pattern to cut it out, but just reading Sandra's research is VERY helpful.

I made this out of some wool suiting from Fashion Fabrics Club. I chose wool because it is more flame retardant than cotton, and I am often wearing this near the fire in the kitchen at Locust Grove. The weave is open enough that it breathes pretty well in cool to moderately warm weather. We will see how it does in the summer, but then again past a certain point there's not a lot that can keep you perfectly comfortable next to a fire in a Kentucky July.

For petticoat straps, I used more 1 inch twill tape from William Booth, Draper. I have found the best thing is cut them pretty long, then pin them in place to try it on. From there, you want to readjust the front and back on each side of your body. Between shoulders and bust, most women have at least some asymmetry, and you want to be sure that these are fit well so that you can move with ease, but they wont' come off your shoulders. I frequently find that they end up at an angle in the front.

All topped off with a cap I designed myself, and a pair of boots from Taylor Rose Historical Outfitters. This has been a very comfortable outfit, which allows me to move and work with ease in the kitchen!

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