Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pelisse in-progress

Did I mention I'm making a pelisse? I can't remember.

Well hey, guess what? I'm making a pelisse!

I decided I wanted one when I saw the first trailer for the new War & Peace (before the one-shouldered David's Bridal monstrosity appeared on the scene and all my excitement fizzled out). As such, I'm calling it a War & Peace pelisse (it rhymes! hurr), despite it being a little later in date than most of the story.

(Since the current series seems to have imported at least one of its characters' wardrobes from 1923, I won't quibble with a pelisse from 1815ish rather than 1805-13.)

And despite the particular shade of green I'm using being maybe a little too vivid for that early in the century. But that would be some serious picking of nits! And it's rather delicious fabric.

Anyway! The materials:
Green/bronze shot silk taffeta, to be trimmed in Russian (possibly?) squirrel, aka a vintage coat I found for absurdly cheap on ebay. I took that as a sign I definitely should make this pelisse, and snapped it up.
It's hand sewn, mostly using spaced backstitch, with silk thread. The bodice is interlined with tropical weight wool, and both bodice and skirt (and sleeves, when I get to them) are lined with brown silk shantung.
It's a bodice!
It's half a skirt laid out with no lining put in the back yet!
Since there isn't actually a whole lot out there about original Regency dress construction, I generally use either 18th century, Victorian (or "normal", with the two right sides put together when sewing a seam), or some weird combination of the two. This one's turning out to be in the "weird combination" category, haha. For the basic construction, I've sewn three of the four layers together, ironed the seam open, ironed the seam allowances all toward the side with lining, so I could fold the raw edges of the remaining piece of lining under, and tack it down. Which is in fact very 18th century, but I haven't left the edges free to turn in toward each other, as I would usually do for an 18thc something. Mainly because most of the edges are going to get fur trim, so I'll just do a very rough turn-over hem.

And since I realize that made sense to probably nobody, I did take pictures!
Plain old seam, joining two green skirt panels and the one side of lining.
Seam pressed open, then toward the side without lining.
And the lining for the other side sewn into place. Easy peasy!
Yes, it does require going back and sewing all your seams twice, but the second pass doesn't have to be very small or neat, and it's an excellent way to make sure all your seams are enclosed, if you're fussy about that. I am, in fact, not fussy about that at all (and historically speaking, most seamstresses weren't, either), but the shantung is quite ravelly, and no one likes silk strings everywhere when you're trying to wear things.

And what it looks like so far overall:


  1. Oh, really pretty! This color is lovely.

    1. Thank you! A nice jewel-tone green is one of my favorite colors!