Monday, September 8, 2008

18th century trim: Rosettes

A rosette is a strip of fabric or ribbon gathered or pleated into a round shape. It can be single or layered with other rosettes or trims, like beads, lace, silk flowers, jewels, etc. Rosettes were accessories that could be worn on almost any garment.

There are several kinds of rosettes, and a lot of them were used on 18th century clothes, hats and shoes. You can see one on a French Revolution hat here, I think it's ribbon, but it could be a metal medallion made to look like a rosette.

You can use ribbons, lace or fabric strips to make these. Ribbons work the best, and striped grosgrain ribbon works the best of all. In fact, any striped material will totally rock with this trim.

The first type is a round fabric rosette. Cut a length of fabric (the wider the strip, the longer you will need). I used about 10" of fabric to make a 3" rosette (1.5" strip). You need to have enough fabric to go around the outside of the circle without curling in, and enough to turn over at the ends. You will need more if you want a frillier rosette.

Finish the ends of your strip however you want, I rolled a small hem for this one.

Depending on the material, you can do one of 2 things.

1. Tie your thread at one end, make a running stitch along the "inside" edge, then pull the thread tight. The fabric or ribbon will make a nice neat circle and you can stitch the center closed from the bottom. Leave the ends of the thread if you are going to sew it onto a garment, cut them if you are attaching it to a pin or clip.
This works well for lightweight fabric or ribbon.

2. Anchor your thread at one end, make a very small pleat and overcast stitch it in place. Make the next pleat with a slight curve toward the center. Stitch in place again. Repeat. You may have to make several stitches to keep the pleats in place, but don't panic if they slip around a bit.
This works well for thicker fabrics or large rosettes. You will have to finish the inside with a button hole stitch, or put a smaller rosette (or bead) on top to cover the hole.

The next kind is a folded ribbon rosette, which I'm too tired to make tonight, but you can see a great video of it here. She's a bit sloppy, (because it's modern), but the first one she makes is one of the more commonly worn types of the 18th century. If your edges and folds are a bit neater, it's perfect. The cut bit she gets into is more along the lines of silk flowers rather than true rosettes, and is more 19th century than 18th.

18th century trim: Chain Puffs

I'm sure there is a correct name for these things, but I haven't come across it, so I'm calling them Chain Puffs. This is a really nice trim, it's easy and takes a lot less fabric than ruffles or ruching. It was very common on gowns and petticoats in the 18th century.

It can be cut on the straight or the bias, but I think straight is easier.

Step 1: Cut or rip fabric strips. These can be self-fabric or a contrasting fabric. Lightweight fabric (silk, taffeta, cotton, etc.) works well and 3" is a good width to start with. You can use heavier fabrics, but plan on covering the ends with something else... like a rosette!
Step 2: Sew all strips together (see comment on Ruching post)
Step 3: Sew strips into a tube and turn. DO NOT press. Leave it puffy. If you use sheer fabric, you can stuff the tube with a smaller tube at this point.
Step 4: measure & mark the intervals you want the puffs to be. I marked every 2" on this garment and it looks great. You could do shorter with lighter fabric, or longer if you used a wider tube.
Step 5: Gather the fabric into a W shape by pinching up the center then pulling up the edges at your marks. Make a small stitch in the center or at the bottom. Do not overcast onto the top side, you don't want your stitches to show. Tie your thread off and repeat until you've pinched the length of the tube. At this point your puffs will be a bit sloppy, don't panic you'll finish them later. Bury the ends of your threads or cut them very short.
Step 6: Arrange the chain on your garment and pin each puff. Don't stretch them sideways too far or they will pull on the fabric. Make sure there is a little give length-wise so there is room for more "puff".
Step 7: Cut a comfortable length of hand-stitching thread and stitch the ends under the first puff or plan on covering the raw edge.
Tack each side down and then tighten the pinch with several passes through the center near the top of the pinch. Tack the pinch to the garment.
Try to keep your stitches small, and make sure you don't pull too tight. Keep the threads between the fabric & lining, or inside the puffs so it doesn't show. Keep your stitches small and hidden. The blue line shows the easiest thread path.
Step 8: Tuck the raw end under the last puff or cover it with another bit of trim.

Here's a close-up of the finished chain puffs.
Sorry it's dark, I'm on my husband's computer and he doesn't have an image-editing program.

This chain was made with a heavy cotton, and is very heavy. It's the look I wanted, but I won't be using something that thick again. You could actually iron these things and they wouldn't flatten much.

Use lightweight fabric if you decide to do this.

18th century trim: Ruching

I've looked for a nice site that tells how to make trim for 18th century garments, but the closest thing to helpful that I've found are sites on modern ribbon crafts or quilt applique.

The first trim I want to show is Ruching.
This is a ribbon or fabric strip that is gathered and stitched down.
The most common place this was seen in the 18th century was on Sack-back gowns or Brunswicks like this one.

This is Lady Mary Fox, and I want this Brunswick... without the dog.

If you are using self-fabric, (the same fabric the dress is mad out of), which was the most common thing to do in the 18th century, you have to decide if you are cutting on the bias or the straight grain. Each looks different, so try it out and see what you like. (If you are doing lots of curves, cut on the bias). This takes up quite a bit of fabric, so plan on buying at least 2 yds for trim.
Sew all your strips together end to end... make sure all your seams are on the same side.
Next you need to finish the edges. Sometimes it was turned over, pinked, or a decorative stitch was added. I've seen some paintings where it looks like there is separate trim of the same color. This could be dyed lace, or a crocheted edge... I'm not sure.

There are many variations in the stitch, here are 2 basics.
The first is a straight running stitch that is gathered. Make sure to gather and then backstitch every 10 stitches if you are using one thread.
You can do 2 running stitches side-by-side and gather the material all at once.
Modern sewing machines do a great job if you are making doll clothes, costumes or are in a rush.
To make even gathers, measure every 3" and gather into 1", or something like that.

There is no substitute for hand stitching historic garments.

The next looks best on finished edges, wide trim 3" or more, or ribbon. It doesn't work well with pinked edges... which I'm using anyway.

Mark your trim at even intervals. Sew a running stitch from point to point, looping over the edges. Pull the thread straight and you get a squiggly looking ruche.

A nice variation is a curved line rather than a triangle, it's very historic.

These are the 2 finished ruching styles. They can be edged, stitched down once or several times, paired with beads, lace, other trims, etc. Just look at some paintings or historic garments.

The fabric I used here was cut on the bias and is a very narrow scrap, about 3/4". Use wider stuff unless you are making doll clothes or sleeve trim.

A nice combination is stitched pleats with ruched edges. This was done by sewing gathering stitches on the straight fabric, stitching down the pleated center and then pulling the threads tight on the outside. You can see this in several sack back gowns from the mid 1700's.

Here is a doll dress I made as a test garment for a sack-back gown from one of Diderot's illustrations. This was more to figure out the lining than anything else, but it's a nice doll dress... to bad I still have to make the doll to go with it. The ruching isn't perfect, but it's a nice example.

I will eventually make a sack-back gown for myself and it will have loads of ruching on the gown and the petticoat. First I need paniers and fabric... then I need some serious time.

Why, oh why do I want a dress that will make my hips look even bigger???