Wednesday, January 15, 2014

HSF - Challenge #1 Make do and Mend

Challenge - Make Do and Mend

Fabric - Cotton broadcloth and grosgrain ribbon

Pattern - Truly Victorian Walking Cage Crinoline (TV142) 

Year: Pattern says 1856, I use it for the 1850s to early 1860s

Notions: Pre-made bias tape

Hours to complete - I don't remember how much I spent when I originally made it, but the alterations/finishing touches I made to prep the channels then sew them closed took about 6 hours total.

First Worn: May 2012, most recently was September 2013

Total Cost - $2 for the bias tape used to close off the channels

How accurate is it?
Heather at Truly Victorian bases most of her patterns off originals. In terms of the methods I used for encasing the boning in the hoop, probably not so accurate. A lot of the crinoline hoops I've found in my research are enclosed completely in fabric or the wire is held within the vertical tapes via metal rivets(?).

1856 Walking Cage Crinoline

*          *          *

I never made any type of official announcement, but I decided last fall to participate in The Historical Sew Fortnightly put together by The Dreamstress. Since is my first time doing the challenge, I decided to start with the half marathon, especially since I work full time outside of the house.

The first challenge was to make do and mend. What a great opportunity because I have a lot of almost finished projects laying around. The one I ultimately decided to tackle was my late 1850s crinoline hoop skirt. Put together in 2012, I had to immediately wear it to several events and ran out of time to finish off the boning channels. Since they were never finished, the metal boning would pop out of place at regular intervals which made for a lot of riffling through petticoats to adjust the boning.
Exposed boning in unfinished channels
Once I sat down to finish the crinoline hoop a couple weeks ago, the first problem I faced was trying to figure how to connect the cloth boning channels together since you can't really run an overlock stitch over the loose threads (it would seal the channel and the wire would break my machine). I looked up other methods that people had used but wasn't entirely satisfied with the methods I was finding or just didn't work with the type of hoop I had made.

In a moment of insanity, I only fray checked the edges and then sewed the edges together by hand, pulling them in close with just large stitches. It's hard to explain completely without a picture.

Yes it looks horrible but based on the direction I saw this going, it was only temporary and would be covered anyway.

Next step was figuring out how to cover this mess. Initial ideas including going with wide grosgrain ribbon to match the vertical tapes the hoop is made of. However, each of the gapes in the channels were different widths and even the largest width wouldn't cover the one gap I had. Instead, I went out and bought double fold bias tape and used 4"-5" lengths to cover these gaps. The ends were folded under 1/2" then hand stitched in place. Although the bias tape is a little larger than the channels, I like the fact that if I ever run into a problem with the boning, the covers are easily removable.

Bias tape covering the pulled ends and threads on channels
I started off pretty basic and for the next challenge I'm hoping to step it up a bit and pull something together new and a little more advanced (just not sure what yet!).


  1. excellent solution to covering the gaps. :)

  2. Nice hoops! I really need to bite the bullet and completely rebuild mine. They're ghastly. Your waistband: closes by lacing?

    1. Yes, it's nice because it lays much flatter than a regular waistband underneath everything and there's some extra boning to keep from rolling.