Historical Sew Fortnightly or Monthly #1

Hey there,

It’s been a little while but I have my next HSF project done. This fortnight’s challenge was #1:Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sew/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial-Sew something from __13. So I chose to sew the Lucile Nightdress from 1913.

Nightdress Lucille made 1913 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As I said in a previous post, I am going through the 2013 challenges which is why I went for 1913 rather than 1917. The night dress is made of silk georgette and chiffon and trimmed with machine lace.

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I started with going through my own stash to try and use what I have but sadly I had no silk georgette or chiffon. I don’t really use light weight fabrics often so this was going to be challenging. I opted to buy white chiffon and a kind of faux white silk that kind of resembled the silk georgette of the night dress (without the square pin tucks). The pink fabric is from my stash that I got many years ago from my best friend’s grandmother who was a seamstress. Its a kind of crepe satin. The light pink was perfect to recreate the bows on the dress. I also pulled some lace trim from my stash that I got from the fabric store. It was lightly gathered so I cut the gathers out so I could have a flat lace ribbon. I didn’t end up using the small bows or the crinoline to stiffen the bows.

I started by using some nylon tricot to drape the bodice shape. I planned to add extra inches all around to make the nightdress more loose and flowy but sadly I did not add enough inches when cutting so the dress is a bit more fitted than I would like.

I used the drape to cut out all the pieces of the bodice and the sleeve. I also cut two lengths of chiffon for the skirt part. Two big rectangles the width of the fabric didn’t need to be draped. And from here everything was sewn together quite unceremoniously.

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The nightdress top made sense to me how it was sewn together so I just did it. Looking back, I realize that sewing with chiffon is not as bad as you would think. I am usually not a fan of light weight fabrics because they are hard to work with but if you use the correct needle, take your time and go slow, it is really not that bad. And even seeing this small piece together made me all a flutter with how delicate and feminine it looked.

Here is the sleeve being constructed. A lot of the this dress had the lace between seems and parts of the garment. Which I can’t deny is just lovely. Chiffon, silk and lace have a beauty that is beyond compare , you just have to treat them well in order to get the look you want. The only thing I missed doing was I should have used french seams and narrow hems and flat felled seams instead of just doing right sides together and top stitching. Now there are a ton of raw edges on the inside and chiffon frays like crazy. Total rookie move. I will remember for next time.

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The bows came together very easily. A lot of straight seems, fold over and stitch and voila a bow. I love my handmade bows a lot better than the ribbon bows to be honest. A touch more work but worth it.

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And finally, complete! I love it. As I said before it is a bit too fitted at the bust but this is on my dress form that is sized to me when I am wearing a bra. Without a bra, this is the flowly dream I was hoping for. I won’t model that here for obvious reasons but here are more pictures of the dress.

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Sans bows.

Overall I adore this nightdress and will probably pick many a night to wear it…most likely in the hot summer.

And now for the challenge stats…

The Challenge: #1:Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sew/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial-Sew something from __13.

 The Project: 1913 Lucille NightDress

 Fabric: Chiffon ($5 per yard-used 3), Silk like Chiffon ($4 per yard-used 1), Pink silk crepe (from stash), Lace trim ($3.99 per roll-used 2)

 Pattern: My own drape

 Year: 1913

 Notions: Needle and thread

How historically accurate is it?: Pretty darn. I basically recreated the nightdress from the photo by V&A Museum. The only thing I didn’t have was silk georgette so that would knock off some historical accuracy points.

Hours to complete: 7 hours  (6hours of i\them was done in one day and that was sewing it together)

 First worn: 2/13/17 ( no photos as it shows A LOT)

 Total cost: $26.98

I am looking forward to feeling like an Edwardian lady retiring to her bedroom.

❤ Sarania

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