View Full Version : Women's clothing
02-24-2008, 08:09 AM
I am new to this board, so I want to let you know what I do. My name is Gail Lewis and my little sewing business is called "Pasthymes Fashions".
I work at the Ozark Folk Center in the Dress Shop on their Craft Grounds. I sew clothing that is worn by the musicians, demonstrators, crafters, etc. there. Most of my clothing styles date a little later than Civil War, but many of the styles may be suitable for the ladies and civilians in reinactment. I make simple styles---things the country folk and working class people would have worn. I have long skirts, blouses, aprons, bonnets, men's shirts, girls clothing, pantaloons, etc. My prices are very reasonable, so it would be worth your while to take a look at my website and see if there is anything that you could use. I also have made, but not posted, blouses and dresses with the lowered shoulders that was the style in the 1860's. I also make fuller skirts that was popular in those days. I can custom sew clothing for you, as long as it is in the tradition of the poor working class (I do not make elaborate ball gowns). Please check out my website and let me know if I can make something for you.
03-02-2008, 04:05 PM
I do hope you join us over at sewingacademy.org to learn more about the time periods and proper materials and techniques for the time. Than way you know you are making clothing truley of the time.
03-02-2008, 10:58 PM
Most of the clothing that I make is of the late 1800's style, but some could be used for the mid 1800's. I work at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas in the Dress Shop of the Craft Village. I have access to many, many actual articles of clothing from the mid 1800's through the early 1900's that I use for inspiration. Some of my fashions are not completely authentic because I consider ease of wear and ease of dressing. So I do serge, use elastic & zippers (I keep them hidden on most garments), etc. for comfort and durability. I strive to make my garments with the look of the old time country folk, keep it comfortable and durable, and keep it simple so that I can keep the price very low. I am open to ideas on how to improve what I do so that I can give people what they want.
Thank you for your imput. Gail
03-03-2008, 05:55 AM
I can give suggestions... I also sew and sell.. and also strive to keep costs down, so I completely understand.
What you are offering, though the styles may be accurate, adding in the serging, zippers and elastic makes them no longer accurate and you will only appeal to a certain number of folks. Those that are striving to be authentic will not even look at your clothing due to your adding those.
Serging... skip it. It is not time period accurate. If your using authentic fabrics you shouldnt have too hard of a time with unraveling. If you do get a fabric that is unraveling then do a quick stitch on it yourself, but no professional sergers or zigzags are definitely not accurate.
Zippers... put in hooks and eyes or buttons. I find both way faster than zippers. Handsew buttonholes... as you get used to doing them you will get faster.
Elastic... try drawstrings. Elastic may have been around, but it sure wasnt used in clothing.
Comfortable and durable... I sew children clothing. It has to be durable. Children are tough on clothes, regardless of what time period they are portraying.
You can sew correctly and keep your prices down. My prices mainly go for the cost of patterns (due to copyrights, if I havent drafted it myself, then the customer needs to pay for their own) and materials. I dont charge a whole lot for me to sew the garment.
I would also study on what is correct. For the 1860s... you want to make sure you have the armsceye in the correct position, waistbands where they are supposed to, and so on.
I would rather put the money into something that I knew was accurate and could take me to any event, then go cheap and be limited on my events.
03-03-2008, 06:30 AM
I see you are an early riser, too.
Yes, I agree with you on authenticity. However, most of my market is at the Folk Center and they usually want only the "look" of the times rather than the authentic clothing. When I first started working there I was undecided whether to serge, use elastic, etc. but I decided to go with what was already being used there. I am always willing to sew more authentic items if someone wants it. I am planning on sewing some draw string waist skirts, and I have some full skirts with a waistband made without zippers, although I put a pocket in them and I know they didn't have pockets in skirts in those days.
I found 2 antique dresses at the Folk Center that was made right around 1860. The armscythes are so narrow and high that I doubt the ladies of today could get their large arms into it. I pulled those dresses out of a donated box of clothing and was very excited because the lowered shoulders and high armsythes told me it was "Civil War" or earlier. When I researched the family, I found that I was correct on my dating. I also found a man's shirt (what's left of it) and some other things of that time period in that box. I am going to make a dress similar to the one I found, but I have to adjust it to modern sizing.
As for patterns, I search the 2nd hand shops for older patterns and use them as a base for sizing and basic style, then I look at pictures of period clothing or the actual clothing, and redesign the patten to fit what I want to make. I am very aware that some of my clothing is not totally authentic in style, but it is what my customers want so I accomodate them.
I tried to get to the website you mentioned, but it wasn't there.:confused:
I went to your website and I'm impressed with what you do. I really love your boy's sackcoat. I won't be making them because it is very hot here in the summer when we work at the Folk Center. I will be making vests similar to the ones you have for boys and men. In fact, men's shirts and vests are my next projects.
Keep in touch, I appreciate the advice you are giving me.
03-03-2008, 10:44 AM
Welcome to the forum! Heres the link: www.thesewingacademy.org :)
03-03-2008, 03:30 PM
First off.. thank you. I love sewing childrens clothing. Though I sew my share of adult clothing also. Just finished a huge project dress for me... way too much time into it.. but well worth it.
Im only an early riser because I have to get my kiddos off to school :) Otherwise Id love to sleep in.
I was just letting you know about doing things proper. There are some out there that will jump for zippers and the such. But the majority of people on this board are looking for more authentic. And I wanted to point that out.
Oop... thanks Chessa.. forget the "the".
03-03-2008, 04:26 PM
Oh boy!!! Thanks for letting me know about that website! That is going to be so helpful.:D
I do understand that the reinactors who visit this forum are very concerned with authenticity. I have given a lot of thought into how to make the clothing and what degree of authenticity fits the market I usually sell to. I find that I am more concerned about authenticity than the people who usually buy my clothing, so I compromised in the way I make things. I do make some things very authentic. Many of my aprons, for example, are made on the treadle machine at work--no serging--don't need to on aprons. I am aware of the styles of the period, as I work with the actual clothing at the Folk Center.
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