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18th Century Gentleman and 18th Century riding habit

Costumes, hats and props made by me
Photo by Jack Herzberg

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These Breeches are made of fairly heavey brown linen and lined in parts with various linens. I drafted the pattern myself.* Adn yes, that's me wearing them. I'll be the first to tell you that breeches look rediculous on a girl, they just wern't made for hips, but I'll still pretty pound of these.

The style is that of the later half of the 18th century with a fall front. They are *supposed* to come to just below the knee and be tight to the leg. thses aren't quite tight enough if you ask me, but they are comfortable enough.

The bottoms are fastened with brass repro buckles (the most expensive part of the breeches at $25 ) and all the buttons are hand made covered buttons made of self-fabric.

These breeches have three pockets, two at the sides and a watch pocket worked into the waistband. At the back the breeches lace through four eyelets to allow for ajustablity. this does mean that they have to be worn with an long 18th century shirt though, otherwise they show a bit too much...

*Ok so I think this is pretty cool, I layed out my capris pattern and then shapped and changed it a bit untill it looked like the pictures of breeches patterns in Costume Close-up. Then I did a fitting muslin and voila!
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I made three of these baroque-style dresses for a client in 2008: Evil Pawn Jewelry; they were used in a promotional photoshoot.

This one is full length like the others, but I posted a close-up shot for the detail. Those ruffles took FOREVER. They are cut on the bias and unfinished, which I believe is historically accurate. Those court ladies weren't expecting to wear a dress more than once or twice, anyway. The rest of the dress is not particularly historical. My goal here was close-enough silhouette combined with ease of wear--in as much as can be achieved with all those bulky skirts.

Two piece dress: bodice with attached overskirt, worn over separate but matching petticoat. Small pillows for panniers at the hips. Bodice is flat-lined with steel bones for structure, and laces up the back. Self-fabric trim, all hand-made. Those bows on the bodice were great fun.

Ruby acetate taffeta. Adapted from two or more Butterick costume patterns.

Custom orders like this one are available through my online shop: [link]
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Rose linen 1770's linen Robe a l'anglaise worn polenaise style over shift, stays, bum roll and three petticoats with accesories.

I started work on the pattern for the gown the day after christmas and have finished it on the 13th of january. I put somewhere between 25 and 50 hours into it not counting research. It is entirely hand sewn in linen thread and I have attemped to use period construction techniques. It closes in front by means of pins. The back bodice and skirt are a continuous piece of fabric as can be seen in the back shots.

My main sources of information for this were:
Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion
Linda Baumgarten's Costume Close-up
Sharron Ann Burnston's Fitting and Proper
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Dressed in the uniform of 18th Century (Finnish-)Swedish army, posing VERY nicely with cannon and rifles...

Taken just before the arrival ceremony of the East India Man Götheborg in Helsinki June 8th 2008 (Cannon!Fire)

More to come when I scam through hundreds of pictures... This I had to share NOW for obvious reasons ;)
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This is an 18th Century Jacket and Hat I threw together in a couple of weeks for Pirate Fest.

This was totally an unplanned project! We have Ren Faire and then Pirate Fest every year here, but I've never devoted any time to make historical costumes for it, mostly because I've never found proper shoes. I actually bought 1 yard of fabric with the intention of just making a new crappy ren faire bodice, but that bothered me and it morphed into a crazy 2-week project. I had bought historical replica shoes (from and had them dyed yellow to match both a Padme costume and a petticoat from my first 18th century project.

The jacket I have to say is based on historical lines but I can't vouch for it's accuracy. Since I threw this together in a couple weeks, I simply took the pattern I made for my first dress bodice and altered it, refering to general jacket lines in my source materials. I have a corset, but it is fully boned in metal and I can't drive in that, so I added some boning to this bodice to replicate the look. Behind the stomacher are laces for strength, and the stomacher closes by hook-and-eyes, the buttons beind only decorative. The fabric is from JoAnn's home dec section, and is lined in black linen. The flounces I decided to add at 1 in the morning the night before the event, I simply took cotton lawn and did a scallop stitch on my machine.

The hat is one I bought last year at faire, I box-pleated yellow ribbon to go with the petticoat hem, and put a black velvet ribbon around it to tie in with the bodice color. The flowers are from Michael's craft store and I have no clue what type of flowers they are suppose to be other than the black rose.
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This is the first dress I can add to my stitcher portfolio.

This dress was made for Opera Theater St. Louis for the Opera "The Ghosts of Versaille".

The weird thing about being a theater stitcher is you never do anything from start to finish yourself. The costume designer for this play, James Schuette, handed our draper this ( [link] ) portrait of Marie Antoinette and some gorgeous fabrics and said 'make it'. The draper, Lee Viliesis, made the pattern.

With the exception of last-minute alterations, I constructed the dress. The dress has an underlayer of a pale gray silk. The overlayer I am not positive but I suspect if it wasn't all silk it was cotton with silk stripes. You can't see it, but the gray sash continues into a bow in the back. I had fun making it :) I'm tempted to make myself one but I'm so tiny I don't think I could pull it off.

Photo: Opera Theater St. Louis
Model: Erin Holland ("Woman with Hat")

Note: Don't use as stock, not my photo, so I'm not sure it's allowed to be used in anything other than my portfolio
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Please Read
I am not an expert at archery; I don't claim to be; et cetera. I'm just interested in making functioning artisan crafts. If you are a serious archer, and would like high-performance bowstrings, I suggest you find another source. This bowstring *will* work for you and it *will* have a long life and it *will* give you powerful shots, but it will *not* own up to the expectancy of an expert.

Questions You May Have
~ What is this bowstring material? The string you see in this tutorial is Dacron B-50.
~ Are there other types out there? Yes, there are - Fastflight, Kelvar, et cetera.
~ Why Dacron? Personally, I find Dacron works well for my purposes. Based off of what I've used, Dacron is the most forgiving on the wood, which is something I need when making home-bows, because I don't use wood-planks, I use tree limbs, and they aren't always the best wood.
~ Can I use other types? Sure, it's only personal preference. I'm just making a suggestion.
~ Can I use Dacron as serving string? Yes, I did, because there was no serving string in the colors I needed for this project. The only difference between serving string and bowstring is the material, and that serving string is generally not waxed.
~ Don't you need to wax bowstrings? Yes, you do. If you get your string from [link] then it will be pre-waxed, but I don't know about other places.
~ Why do you wax string? To protect it from the elements.
~ How long will the string last? Well, it depends. If you have a bow that has *never* been strung, and you string it, it will probably bend a tad more and the string will be less taut, which is fine, but if it bugs you as it does me, then you'll want to make another string. The string also stretches after a little while, and there's no cure for this. Finally, you need to replace the serving when it gets worn, to protect the string underneath that matters. And, of course, from time to time strings snap, and then obviously you need a new one.
~ How did you learn all of this? Trial and error, the help of many people, spending hours on Google, the library, et cetera.
~ Your nails look dirty. That's not a question. *glares* This is because when I made this, I had just de-barked the stave of wood I was making a bow out of, and all this brown green gunk got under my fingernails. It's dirty work, and I cut myself a few times, but you do what you have to.
~ Question not here? Leave it below and I'll answer it.

Materials/Supplies Needed
~ Bowstring Material
~ Serving String (if you prefer - again, I used another color of bowstring material)
~ Nails
~ Hammer
~ An old plank of wood
~ Scissors
~ Patience

Let's get started, shall we?
~ First, you're going to want to take that plank of wood we talked about. Measure from knock to knock on your bow/stave of wood - how long is it? Mine *was* 30" knock to knock (this string is was for [link] ). Good. Hammer a nail 1/4 of the way into the wood. Measure 28" or 28.5" from the nail, and place another one 1/8 of the way into the wood (you'll need to remove it later, and the further in it is, the harder it is to remove).

Step One
~ Before we start. How many pounds will your bow be? It doesn't have to be exact, just a guestimate, because the number of strands you use depends on this. For a 20# bow, the suggested amount is 8. This is what I use, 8 strands. For 30#, it is 10. For 40#, it is 12. Get the pattern? I highly doubt you want to pull anything more than 25# though. I also wouldn't suggest making anything less than 8 strands, because it just looks funny and it may snap on you. I'm also not going to bother explaining bow poundage and draw length and stuff like that here, if you really need to know, Google it, or pop me a message below.

1A. Take your string, and wrap it 4 times around the nails. This gives you 8 strands. Adjust this accordingly.
1B. Tie a knot here, a simple knot, but make sure it stays. Then, adjust the string so that the knot is over one of the nails.

Step Two
2A. Take your second color/serving string. Tie another simple knot, but make sure it stays.
2B. Begin wrapping the yellow string around the red string, and you'll want to make sure it covers your knot in the *red* string. Does this make sense? Make sure the yellow string is tight and closely wound. You'll want to make this about 10" long, or twice as long as you'd like the loop at the end to be. You can check this every so often by stopping and pulling the red string around the nail so that the yellow ends are matched, and you can see how long the loop will be. When you are satisfied with the loop size...

Step Three
3. Begin wrapping around *both* strings, so that it makes a loop. Be sure to cover your temporary knot. By now, *both* temporary knots should be covered.

Step Four
4A. Go to your spool of string, and cut another piece about 5" long. Make a loop (fold it in half and hold the two ends) and place it on the string. Begin to wrap your yellow string (the one wrapped around the red string) around your 5" piece, so that the 5" piece is securely wrapped. *Make sure you have enough space on both ends so that you can still see the loop it made and the tail ends*.
4B. Place the tail end of your yellow string into the loop of the 5" string. This works best if your yellow string is around the loop, and ends near the loop part, not the tail part. Again, do you understand? I may have to clarify this...
4C. Pull the tail ends of the 5" string...
4D. It may be a little hard, but that's okay, and pull the tail ends until your loop comes free out the other side. Your yellow string is now secure without an ugly knot. Cut any excess string off.

Doing the other loop...
~ Basically, you need to follow the instructions above, although this is much harder because you can't adjust the string to work around the nail. So, you need to take the nail out, wrap the yellow around the red, and continue on your way. When you've made the two yellow ends even, place the string back around the nail, and make your loop.

Doing the center serving...
~ Again, same thing, only, you want to include *all 8 strands* when you wrap the yellow around the red. Make your temporary knot, wrap, and on the other end, do the pull through. Now, you have two options:
~ Did you wrap over your temporary knot? I suppose this is fine, it just may look funny.
~ Is your temporary knot still sticking out? Okay, go back, remove your knot, and do the little loop-deal with it. You may need to unwind a few inches of the yellow so that you're able to have yellow to wrap around your 5" loop doo-hickey, but again, that's okay.

Step Five
Hopefully you turned out okay, and it looks like this! If not, that's fine too! It takes a lot of practice, trying to figure out the ends, and how much string you'll need and how big your loops need to be an so forth.

If this was confusing, ask me about what confused you, and I can try and explain it better. The reason you see nothing about the center serving in the photos is because it would have been a massive tutorial, and I didn't take that many photos, anyway.

So. Yeah, any questions, ask them, and I'll answer! Good luck!

Additional information:
~ Depending on how long your strings are, the spool of Dacron will last you a good 15 strings (for 50" bows), or so I've heard. I've made several strings so far, and I still have at least half a spool.
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Here's my 18th Century Gown again, with a prettier picture at done-up hair! I know my glasses aren't period, but they had them back then so who cares. My mother spent 2 nights trying to devise a hairstyle that would work with my hair and it turned out awesome. My hair's thin and I couldn't get a pompador :p

Again, all silk, hand-pleated trim, over a fully boned corset and pocket-hoops. I will be adding a fichu, embroidered lawn ruffles, and hat soon, and hopefully shoes.

Picture taken at Dragon*Con 2009 before the Friday Night Costume Contest. Sorry the pic isn't bigger. Thanks to ~hellostrawberry for pointing the pic out to me :)
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