Aug 31, 2013

Making an 1860s Garibaldi Shirt - Part 2

My Garibaldi shirt is well under way. Here are some progress shots of the first mock-up using calico. So far I've stuck to using the Very Easy Vogue pattern V8193 which can be seen in Part 1. As you can see the front bodice panels have a single dart at the waist and a pronounced drop shoulder - the drop shoulder is a key characteristic of 1860s clothes. So far the shirt is very plain, dare I say dull, but I like the way the bodice curves in at the waist.
The sleeves are a bit volumputious--volumness--fricking huge with pleats at the shoulder. And I can't tell at this early stage if the sleeves will look right until I put cuffs on them...

Garibaldi Shirt making in progress

For fans of old sewing machines may be interested that I'm sewing this shirt using my vintage Singer 15 circa 1937. Made in Scotland the machine was purchased new by my mother-laws family in Malaysia. Originally a treadle powered machine, it was converted to an electric motor in the 1970s. That means it's a little temperamental to operate - starting and stopping is a process of winding up or down. It's not a fancy machine by any standards and only has one function: straight stitching - forward - it lacks reverse.

But it gets the job done and perhaps this low-tech way gives me a slightly more authentic experience in the making of the shirt as originally they would have been hand sewn. Although mass-produced sewing machines started being sold in the 1850s, it wasn't until the late 1860s when they became a common (but expensive) household item.

Obligatory Cat-on-Fabric-photo & 1937 Singer 15

Aug 17, 2013

Aug 13, 2013

Making an 1860s "Garibaldi" Shirt - Part 1

I've been thinking about what to make next, and from the research I've done I've decided to go with a Garibaldi shirt, as it will go nicely with the skirt I already made for my 1863 outfit. The style was very popular during the early 1860s, if you want to learn more there is a really good article on 1860s clothing HERE from the University of Vermont.

Thanks to the Internet Archive, I was able to download an 1862 copy of Godey's Lady's Magazine, which has several pictures of Garibaldi shirts, I've complied them below, for your viewing pleasure.
The Garibaldi Shirt - Images complied from Godey's 1862 edition

As to drafting a Garibaldi shirt pattern, I'm playing the mad scientist and my plan is to make my own 'Frankenstein-Garibaldi' by cobbling pieces from various patterns I've bought in op-shops.

The Bishop-style sleeves in the two Vogue patterns on the left look about right to me, and the Very Easy Vogue has the drop-shoulder I'll need. The Simplicity pattern has a collar that I think will work...

[Cue the lightening and the maniacal laughter]

Aug 5, 2013

How to Make a beeswax polish to Restore Singer Bentwood case

The bentwood case that came with my Singer66 was in need of a little TLC as the wood was very dry. I researched online what was the best - easiest - cheapest method and came up with this recipe:
1 part beeswax to 4 parts olive oil

I tried it and it worked fine, but being a tinkerer I modified the recipe a tiny bit so that it would smell even better.
my polish recipe = 1 part beeswax, 1 part coconut oil, 5 parts olive oil.

Here is how I made my Beeswax Polish:

1) I chopped off about a teaspoon of wax (when balled together) from a pure beeswax candle I had.
2) In a heatproof glass, and using a double boiler, I slowly melted the wax.
NOTE: Beeswax is highly flammable - Do take care!
3) Removing the liquid wax from the heat, I poured it into a container with 4 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (I used tanning oil because that's what I had) and kept stirring with my wooden chopstick.
As the wax cooled it looked like whipped honey.
4) I applied a small blob onto a soft, clean cloth and smeared it on the side of my Singer sewing machine case. I then used the cloth to polish the wax into the wood.
The 5th picture shows the case, with the left side freshly polished, and the right side in it's original condition.

I was a bit concerned the case would feel sticky afterwards, but once applied it left the wood glossy with no apparent residue. I applied a few more coats over the next couple of days, and I'm very pleased with the result.

If you're going to try this, I suggest you apply a small amount at a time, always test on an out of the way patch of wood in case you don't like the results. And as I said before: Beeswax is highly flammable, make sure you use a double-boiler, keep away from open flames.

Have fun!

Homemade Beeswax Wood Polish