|Sleeveless spencer from the met.|
I was inspired by Natalie over at A Frolic Through Time http://zipzipinkspot.blogspot.com .
She has been doing research and working on a lovely embroidered sleeveless spencer.
I found a sleeveless spencer to be the ideal garment for the Kentucky heat in July. It hardly adds any weight or bulk to my white dress and was quick and cheap to make! Perfect !
Mine is quite a bit simpler than Natalie's, no amazing hand embroidery, just some rushing and a spiffy cut steel buckle to dress up an otherwise plain garment.
|"bodies" in a 1799 London fashion print|
|What seems to be a sleeveless spencer worn on the left, in this 1817 print|
I finally decided on a crossover styile somewhat like this pretty 1790's one ...
|Detail of a print from Luxus und der Moden, April 1796|
To be thrifty I used up the magenta sari silk that I had leftover from my Edwardian evening gown. It was just enough for the spencer and the color is nice and bright.
|Magenta/purple sari silk|
As a pattern base I used the crossover bodice top from the sense and sensebility elegant ladies closet pattern. http://sensibility.com/
|Pattern cover the crossover bodice I used as a base is on the left|
I had to cut it down quite a bit since these patterns are designed to be modest, and well I'm German I'm not modest.... but other than cutting down the neckline and adding a belt I did not have to change the pattern much. I cut a mock up from a old sheet to check the fit.
|Bad picture good mock up.|
The mock up fit just fine so I went ahead and cut the silk for the upper and some of the semi sheer batiste I also used for the christening gown I made a while back for the a lining. Both fabrics are very light and semi sheer making a very thin and breathable garmnet, a must when one spends the entire day outside as a vendor in 95 degree heat!
Once I had the basic piece put together I contemplated what to do to spiff it up a bit, I considered making braid from some of the silk but decided on making some self fabric rushing after a friend pointed me to this period print of a crossover spencer with rushed trim.
|Cook from Dresden Germany, early 19th Century|
The trim was easy enough to make, just long narrow strips of silk sewn into a tube and then tightly gathered . I tacked it on to the neckline by hand and voila it really dresses up the garment!
Then I added a simple belt, stiffened with a strip of coarse cotton duct. And as a highlight a vintage French cut steel buckle that I bough at Dress U!
|Vintage cut steel buckle|
The buckle is purely decorative and the jacket simply pins in place, though I might add some hooks and eyes later if I feel like it. This was a fast, cheap and easy project and I really like the way it turned out. Can't wait to show it off at Jane Fest!
|The sleeveless spencer in all it's glory!|
|I don't like this hat on me but it's hiding a bad hair day...|
|The fabric pulls a bit in the back which is due to the fact that it's a very flimsy material.|