Thursday, March 5, 2015

Nehelenia Patterns: 1790s Redingote Pattern

This outfit was made using Nehelenia Patterns 1790s Redingote pattern, Wingeo #126 for hip and butt additions and a modified cloak pattern (I only had enough excess fabric after making the redingote to sort of cobble together a cloak; so I don't feel comfortable enough to review the cloak pattern itself).

A few friends and I got together for a spa weekend at Colonial Williamsburg and I needed something warm to wear to a Saturday night dinner at a tavern in town. I didn't own any winter 18th century outfits prior to making this, and I get cold. Easily. And given the sort of winter we've been having I wanted to be prepared for the cold. Many people recommended just wearing a wool cloak over a pre existing outfit but I didn't think that would be sufficient for me. I cannot stress this enough: I get really really REALLY cold. So if you reel in horror at the weight of the fabric I used to line my redingote just know: I get really really REALLY cold. The weight of my fabric might be all wrong for the style/era but I apologize for nothing.

My good friend Kat was kind enough to lend me her hat.
It later tried to eat me.

TIME: 15 hours. On the whole, this took me a lot less time than I had expected it too. I think a major part of this is I now have a dedicated workspace for sewing. I don't have to put one thing away to work on something else. Nor do I have to pack everything up when the time comes to have dinner (it was that, or eat dinner on a sewing project at the apartment. Never seemed worth the risk). And with years and consistent projects I am getting just a wee bit faster at this.

Things that added time to this project were having to go back and trim down the seams on the lining wool (to eliminate the huge bumps and bulges it caused in certain areas) and making my own fringe (I made fringe!). I really liked the idea of having some black fringe detail, and what I saw in the store just didn't look right. The wool has a wooly(?) look to it, and premade stuff just looked too crisp and modern to me for this project. It was very easy to make the fringe, and if anyone needs I can explain it.

Here's the thickness of the wool I used as fashion fabric and the wool I used to line the bodice. The fashion fabric is "suiting" wool and the lining "coating" wool.

The coating wool made huge lumps near the seams.

I have to go back and make my petticoat smaller. I did a major screw up when calculating my pleats for the petticoat, and it was far too big on me. I had to safety pin it to my stays to keep it frolm falling off. OPPS!

ALTERATIONS: The sleeves were very tight, so I had to add to the side of them to accommodate the thicker fabric I was using. Something that I did not realize when beginning is the pattern does not start out to be a double breasted coat. I was fine with a single row of buttons, but it's something to keep in mind when making it. The illustration on the pattern shows it as double, so I either made it up wrong and it somehow worked or they assume you know how to do this, or I missed instructions on how to.

EASE OF INSTRUCTIONS: I would not suggest this pattern for a beginner. It would have overwhelmed me. Some things were not  marked on the pattern pieces itself, and there are no illustrations with the pattern. I always prefer some drawings in the event that I just cannot figure out what the pattern is telling me to do.

I have to say that even though I had to add to the sleeves so they fit, those puppies went in INSANELY well. It took only one try with each sleeve (both with the lining and fashion fabric). I'll usually get one right and it takes ten thousand attempts on the other. But these sleeves are golden, which is even more amazing when you realize they aren't gathered at all (gathered sleeves always being the easier type of sleeve for me to handle).

WINGEO #216 - The three support items that make up this pattern are both fast and easy. I have made all three, and with machine sewing they all go together in less than an hour each. The Nehelenia Pattern called for "hip pads also known as a bum roll". Since the pattern shows a bum roll, hip pads and a rump all as separate items, I made up all three. The bum roll did not work at all. It added volume in the front where the bodice and petticoat need to lay flat. I think that piece would work better for a chemise a la reine. The false rump didn't give me enough voulme on the side. By process of elimination I went with the hip pads.