I have a list of projects I'm still working on for Costume Con, and even on pain days (it seems silly to call them "sick days", since I'm not actually sick, just hurty) home from work, I don't really have much choice, but to sew. So yesterday, I got the late Victorian (1880s or so) blouse done.
It's amazing how much faster work goes when you're using a machine, and cotton. I managed to get it done in two days of work, even with the delay when my iron (which I now realize is cracked, and the reservoir is probably leaking into a non-essential part of the body) blorped rusty water all over one of the arms.
(I'm going to claim it's blood if anyone points it out.)
(Y'all will also excuse me if I'm a bit vague on the dates of my Victorian outfits; I realize the era covers about 60 years, but it's not my main era, and I'm just a dabbler. When I say "Victorian", read it as anywhere between 1875 and 1890. I like the silhouettes and styles from then.)
I'm actually quite please with how I'm doing on the Victorian stuff, considering how little I really know about advanced machine sewing techniques. I managed to make a reasonably well-fitted coat with turned back lapels, and the blouse looks almost real (i.e., barely costume-ey at all), which is better than I expected, to tell you the truth.
So not my period.
All of my stuff so far (except for the jabot for the blouse) has been made from stash materials, and I think I'm pleased-est (not a word, for those of you playing along at home) with that. Even the buttons for the garments are vintage/antique ones from my button collection, and the blouse is trimmed with lace that I got in a jar of vintage sewing bits from an antique store years ago. The lace seems to have been destined for this project, since I got to trim all the bits I intended to trim, without cutting corners, and had a bare 1/4 yard of lace left over at the end.
I'm rarely that close on my estimates when I buy the darned stuff.
Deciding on the buttons has been great fun - I have a real penchant for buying those (sometimes ridiculously overpriced) jars of buttons that everyone seems to sell these days. I've got a pretty good eye for the difference between the jars of cheap plastic buttons, and a jar of vintage/mother of pearl buttons, and I've rarely been disappointed in a haul. There's a particular kind of button I collect, so I've been known to spend a little bit more for a jar that has one or two of those, but I've also got some really fine carved MoP buttons, some awesome 1950s/'60s plastic and celluloid buttons, and some enchanting Victorian jet, glass, and steel-cut ones.
...and a ton of jars all over the house. Bob is terribly patient.
It pays off when I have projects like this, though. I have gorgeous large MoP buttons for the coat, perfect grooved MoP buttons for the back of the blouse, and the teeniest little buttons for the camisole.
Making Victorian outfits is a little like making a trousseau - there's a ton of small bits, and they're all covered with lace.
I may be cheating on the corsets and using the cheesy Frederick's corsets I already have, just because I'm running out of time (that whole being unable to work for a good month or so did not help). I refuse to feel too ashamed, since it's not a period I do that often. But I may break down and actually make one.
Once the rest of the list is done.
It's a long list.