Sunday, 23 November 2014

HSF Challenge 23: Modern history - or going to the ball

Yes, I am really early, since the HSF:23 isn't due until December 15. This is such a good example how the HSF really has inspired me to do more historical clothing. As I've mentioned in my previous posts about the 1895 ball skirt my first plan for the the skirt was to make a simple black skirt. Sure it would probably be a bit historically inspired, but I was definitely planning on putting a zipper in and do it all on the machine. Thanks to the HSF challenges and all the inspiration you get from the other participants, when I got going I decided to make a proper late 19th century skirt, in the period way.

The ball I was going to celebrated the 375th anniversary of Västmanlands-Dala Nation at Uppsala University. The student nations at Uppsala and Lund in Sweden, and at Helsinki and Åbo in Finland are student organisations,  they provide a lot of services and entertainment for the students at the universities. They are also quite important cultural institutions, for example V-Dala nation owns and is based in one of only two houses in Sweden by the famous architect Alvar Aalto and actually has the largest private library in Sweden that actually lends out books, the king has a larger collection but he keeps them to himself. When I was a student I was very involved in the V-Dala nation, especially with the library and spex (a special kind of comedic theatre) and was elected as a senior member before leaving the student life behind, it is kind of an honorary title you get when you have been involved as a member long enough, it also means that you continue to get invitations to all the festivities and fun stuff, like the anniversary ball.

For the ball I was clear on that I wanted to use the corset and shrug that I made to wear at my sister's wedding,. and then a black skirt, the construction posts for the skirt can be found under the tag 1895 skirt. The ball started with the opening of an exhibition about the history of V-Dala at Gustavianum
which was the main university building in the 17th century and is now housing the Uppsala University museum. It also has some nice stairwells so I got a couple of photos taken of me there.

 Later on the ball continued at the V-Dala nation's house. And even if it's a big house, with 400 people in there quite a few still managed to step on the train of my skirt. I managed to dance at least the waltz without too much trouble though.

Just the facts
The Challenge: 23 Modern history
Fabric: 3 m of black silk taffeta, 3 m of cotton broadcloth for lining
Pattern: The Ladies' treasure 1895 skirt pattern, taken from Young Ladies' Journal 1895. To save some fabric I used a single, but gathered, back panel instead of two shaped ones though.
Year: 1895
Notions: regular sewing thread, 5 sets of hooks and bars, 1 m sturdy cotton tape to reinforce the waistband
How historically accurate is it? I would say that this one is pretty spot on, except that I just zig-zagged the raw edges instead of finishing them properly. I have probably done some misses in the process though so maybe 90%.
Hours to complete: 15 hours
First worn: At a ball on November 22.
Total cost: I picked up the silk in New York for $5/yard and then I had the to only by the hooks and bars and the cotton tape. The cotton for the interlining was scrounged from bits and pieces in my stash in total I would say around $40 if I calculate what the cotton would have cost to buy new.

What I learnt with this projcet
I made a placket for the first time, following these instructions It worked perfectly, eventhough I miscalcualted the width for it and the part that goes under the opening was just 0,5 cm. I also used hooks and bars for the first time, and I loved it compared to hooks and eyes or hook and eye tape. The lower sets of the skirt opening did not stay closed though, since there was no tension in the fabric there, but thanks to the placket nobody except me noticed that though.

Future plans
I actually made the waist a bit too big, so I need to take it in a bit, or maybe just change where I put the hook and bar on the waistband. I've also gotten the advice to alternate the position of the hooks and bars, so I will redo that to see if all the sets stay closed that way. I will also need to clean the train, since there are visible footprints on it, or at least grey smudging. As for using the skirt in the future. I love this skirt and I have around one meter of black fabric left that should be enough to make period correct bodice. I also have a lot of ideas on how base a steampunk outfit around this skirt. Simply put I see this as being my big, black skirt that can be just as usable as an LBD.

The corset is also a modern usage of historical clothres, since it's Truly Victorians basic TV110 late 1880's corset. The shrug is my own frankenpatterned creation though.

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