Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Challenge: Make do and Mend
Fabric: Cotton Coutil
Pattern: None
Notions: Cotton thread
How historically accurate is it? As much as can be managed.
Hours to complete: 2 (done at extremely leisurely pace!)
First worn: About 5 years ago. Will be worn again soon!
Total cost: $0 (fabric from stash)

What better way to start the new year, but with repairing and healing something broken?! So, for this challenge I thought I would do a long put-off, but necessary repair. For this challenge, I choose to repair my busted cage crinoline.

But first, a little background!

What is a cage crinoline? Basically, it is a support garment made of wire wrapped in buckram and suspended on a system of tape ties attached to a waistband. Wikipedia says the following: 
 "The first hoop skirt in the US is from 1846, patent number 4,584 of David Hough, Jr. In 1858, IRJ Mann's US patent number 20,681 was the first latticework of strings and hoops.

In 1858, the American W.S. Thomson greatly facilitated the development of the cage crinoline by developing an eyelet fastener to connect the steel crinoline hoops with the vertical tapes descending from a band around the wearer's waist. The invention was patented in the United States (patent US21581), France (patent FR41193) and Britain (patent GB1204/1859). This facilitated the fashionable silhouette's development from a cone shape to a dome...

The cage crinoline was adopted with enthusiasm: the numerous petticoats, even the stiffened or hooped ones, were heavy, bulky and generally uncomfortable. It was light — it only required one or two petticoats worn over the top to prevent the steel bands appearing as ridges in the skirt — and freed the wearer's legs from tangling petticoats.”
After a few years of happy use, my trusty hoop skirt started popping rivets! A good rivet on the front of a crinoline should look like this:
 Sadly, mine looked like this: (splitting and held together with tape)
The front of my crinoline was held together with athletic tape. Cloth tape, sure. But hardly historically accurate! So, coutil patches to the rescue!

So, I started by measuring the length of the break. I then cut a piece of coutil (a heavy cotton cloth with a tight herringbone weave frequently used in corset construction due to it's sturdiness and durability.) about 2.5” deep x the length of the break/repair plus .5” seam allowance on either side to create the “patch”.

The next step was to use heavy starch and an iron to press the bottom and two sides of the fabric leaving the top end open. 
I then wrapped the patch around the break in the hoop starting with the exposed edge and ending with the finished/folded edge on the bottom of the hoop.

Then, using a simple buttonhole (or a whip stitch would work too!) I encased the break! All there was to do after that was to repeat 6 more times!

A little bulky, but done and finally period correct again!

Stay tuned in a few weeks for the next challenge: INNOVATION!

Here's a sneak peek.
Next Week Hopefully This:

Will turn into one of these!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome 2014!

With the new year comes new challenges and goals.

This year, I hope to do more sewing projects for myself. It is my dream that this will help me to continue to grow as an historian and as a seamstress!

In an attempt to fulfill this wish I have joined the wonderful community of "The Historical Sew Fortnightly" and will be following along as many of their challenges as possible! If you'd like to follow along yourself it can be done here:

The Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014
Look for new posts in the coming weeks!

First up: Make Do & Mend
Make Do and Mend Challenge