Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Victorian Chesterfield Overcoat

Last year I made my son a blue overcoat inspired by the coat worn by Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic beast and where to find them. We try to keep him engaged in our hobby by making his costume the way he wants it. Even if it means having to cheat a little on the authenticity.





When he asked for this coat, he was actually jumping the queue. As I promised my husband a Victorian overcoat years ago! I sorta had not gotten around to it as there are so many spiffy costuming projects for moi and he still hadn't not made up his mind up on what model he wanted.
This year I decided to make good on my promise. So I made him decided what model he wanted, thumbscrews had to be applied, but we got there in the end!

He wants a Chesterfield coat! Well that's nice but what exactly is a Chesterfield overcoat?
Here are some definitions:
"The chesterfield is a man’s overcoat with simple vertical seams, no side-back piece, and a velvet collar, usually in grey with black." - the Dreamstress
Who also provided me not only  with this excellent pattern from the Thornton’s Sectional System of Cutting Gentleman’s Garments (1893), book but also with the definition in it:
"The Principal Characteristics of the Chesterfield…the turns of the collar and lapels are bold in character, in keeping with the general outline of the garment, and all the details arranged in accordance with the requirements of a winter overcoat… The buttons are of horn or smoked pearl…The edges are double stitched…Sometimes the seams are strapped, a style which produces a very good effect."

The slightly fitted waist is still visible here, 
it has been lost in later models.

"...the original Chesterfield overcoat seems to have been a dark (probably black) single breasted overcoat with a velvet collar and most importantly characterized by a lack of a waist seam. Until then, all the body coats had waist seams in order to guarantee a close fit. The Chesterfield, on the other hand, was to be worn more loosely over another garment and hence did not require waist seams."- Gentleman's Gazette

They had this picture of the coat being worn by it's namesake George Stanhope 6th Earl Chesterfield.

This version doesn't have cuffs or top pockets.

"The Chesterfield has no horizontal seam or sidebodies, but can still be somewhat shaped using the side seams and darts. It can be single- or double-breasted, and has been popular in a wide variety of fabrics, typically heavier weight tweeds, or charcoal and navy, and even the camel hair classic. It has often been made with a velvet collar.These variations make it extremely versatile, so it can be worn with a city suit or even semi-formal dress, as well as casual sports jackets. It was a staple of smartly dressed men's wardrobes from the 1920s to 1960s, and has become a classic style for both men and women." - Wikipedia
Wikipedia also had several good images of a Chesterfield coats from the Victorian and Edwardian era.

Chesterfield coat on the left.

Double-breasted Chesterfield coat, 1876
worn by Major General the Hononorable James MacDonald
painting by James Tissot

Two later versions a double breasted and single breasted.
Also a view of the back!
A 1901 fashion plate of a Chesterfield overcoat,
Source: Men's Fashion Illustration form the Turn of the Century. 
Reprint by Dover Publications, 1990. 
Originally published New York : Jno Mitchell Co. 1910


With the definition of a Chesterfield a little bit more defined. It became time to decide what elements we wanted to use, what kind and what color of fabric and ultimately what pattern to buy.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Viking weekend, Archeon

The weather during our summer vacation hadn't been great. So we were really happy that we had nice and sunny weather when we where in the Archeon.

Our home away from home.


We where standing in the Roman area of the Archeon.


Our son working on his reflexes.

But he prefers to do this!
And got me infected with the virus as well.




My husband made me a quiver based on viking era finds from haithabu.

Nalebinding another pair of socks.

Finally a picture of us together!
And a really nice one to boot.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Viking summer vacation

I came here only to find out that I completly forgot to post pictures of our viking summer vacation in (Pre)Historisch Dorp Eindhoven. As I came here to share the pictures of our Viking weekend in Archeon everyone who like the early middle ages is in for a treat! And for those of you who are interested in the Victorian era, don't worry I am working on a Victorian Gents Chesterfield coat. More about that tomorrow!

Skipping stones with the daughter of friends.

This year we didn't go on a "normal" vacation
but being here for four days made us feel like we had been away 
for two weeks.

The scenery is idyllic.

The atmosphere is relaxed.

and the company wonderful.

Making fire the authentic way.


Sewing a new leather pouch.




As our later medieval group is called De Zwarte Zwaan 
(The Black Swan) it is always kinda special to meet them.



I am running out of time, so the pictures of the Archeon will have to wait
 till this evenening or maybe tomorrow.



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Chemisettes and undersleeves

The last three or four months I've been working more hours, something that makes me really happy because I love my work. I work with childeren which I think is the best job in the world(but maybe also the most tiring)! The only down side is that I have less time to work on my costumes and blog. Which is the reason why I haven't posted for so long. I have done some work on costume projects but progress is painfully slow.


I had made this cotton batiste chemisette some years ago. I had some fabric left over and decided to make a set of undersleeves to go with it. For both the chemisette and the engageantes I used Truly Victorian 104, the bustle era Collars and cuffs pattern. The set will (also) be worn with my crinoline era dress but I was too broke to buy the Truly Victorian 149, 1860's Chemisette and undersleeves pattern. Which I think is really lovely, so good chance that I will end up making another set of undersleeves for this costume one day! If I do this set will still be of good use as I have several 1880's costumes to wear them with anyway.


I also made another set of cotton chemisette and undersleeves, with the same pattern, earlier this year. I repurposed the antique/vintage lace from my very first Victorian collar and sleeves. The red flannel petticoat in the picture is also new. I don't like the drawstring, too much bulky fabric beneath the waistline of my dress, so I will change it into a petticoat with waistband and maybe add some tucks at knee level, eventually.


I also added a set of sleeves to this chemisette. Something I had been wanting to do for three years now! The sleeves still need to be overdyed with black dye to (hopefully) match the colour of the chemisette.

I still have one lovely antigue lace collar waiting to turn into a chemisette but this will have to wait. I have other costume projects which have a higher priority. Among them are making adjustments to my son his fantastic beast coat, making a Victorian coat for my husband and a red woollen pork pie hat for myself.

I had planned to make myself a Belle Epoque outfit this year but I just don't think I have the time or energy for it and my husband and son practally begged me not even to think about starting working on it this year. Something to do with a November/December without having to deal with me having costuming stress. (I actually think it's the same thing as me not wanting my son to game 24/7 when he has a school holiday. Not gonna happen!) So this means that I will have to wear the same outfit to both my Victorian events this year, can you imagine the horror! 😉

And this is what happens when you have a day of, it's nice weather and you can't decided between sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine or working on your costuming project.

Hurray for my Singer 99k from 1952!


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Day at the Park and Pentecost

This winter I was seriously considering quitting early and late medieval re-enactment. I just didn't seem to enjoy it as much as I once did. And I was more than fed up with all the stuff that comes along with it, taking over our house! The last two events, one late medieval the other early, proved me wrong. I love being in the company of the creative, funny, wierd, sweet, passsionate and authentic people that populate our re-enactment world. I love the discussion about authenticity (when both sides respect each others opinion, even when they do not agree). I love learning new things and sharing my knowledge. So I guess I am not going anywhere.

Here are the pictures to prove it! And I guess the good weather did it's part in making it wonderful events.

Dag van het Park. (Day at the Park), Capelle aan de IJssel. 28th of May 2017




Pentecost event at the Archeon. 


Repairing our son his cloak

Sharpening his arrows

I notice I have to work on my posture.






Friday, 10 March 2017

Full Circle (part 3)

This is my new crinoline cage, it was made with Truly Victorian pattern #142, the 1856 Walking Crinoline Cage.  The circumference of this pattern is 110", 16 inches smaller than my original crinoline. After experimenting with different hoop sizes, from 110 inch down to 90 inch, I decided to go with a 100 inch circumference instead of 110 inch. Unfortunately I had already sewn the bag for the bottom hoops so I couldn't alter the size of it anymore. That is why it looks like the top ring of a slightly deflated round child's swimming pool. All in all I went down a total of 26 inches from my original crinoline and do feel happier when I am wearing it. My husband refers to it as my lamp shade but the former version he called my tent... So I guess I did make some progress. 😉

I only needed to make my old top petticoat shorter. Which I did by adding a row of tucks. I always regretted not adding them in the first place but I didn't have the time the first time around. I really like how it looks now and as a bonus I can also wear it over my 1840's quilted petticoat now! That is what you call a win-win-win situation.

The skirt still needs to be hemmed and some other small things to do before it is finished but I think it is starting to look very promising. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy

A while ago I went to the 1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy exhibition at the Hermitage in Amsterdam with a friend. It's about all the factors that lead up to the Russian revolution in 1917 and gave a lot of insight into the personal live of the last Russian Tsar and Csarina and their family. From a young age I have been intrigued by their story and seeing the exhibition made quite an impression. For my own reference and hopefully your pleasure I made pictures of the costumes on display. As Amstedam looked especially charming and fairtale like in the snow I've added some pictures of the city as well.