Some years ago I made this spencer. This particular photo was after I had altered once. This is one of those projects that I was never completely satisfied with. The spencer always had fitting issues around the neck and the sleeves never quite fit right. Not to mention as soon as I hit 27, certain areas in the chestal region decided to expand, joys! So, I started taking this piece apart about 2 years ago with plans to fix it and change it into something else.
Ahh, the early days… please ignore Aaron’s boots, and the ill fitting frock coat… and.. well… pretty much everything he is wearing. Eeek! We all have skeletons in our reenacting closets, right! (Ok, I’m hard on myself, but I’m a perfectionist who is always trying to learn more and hone the craft.)
Anywhoo… back to the point of all of this.
About six months ago I found this lovely miniature. I decided my old, worn out, seen better days, ill fitting spencer might be able to have new life.
Here’s the starting point, well the semi starting point, after removing the sleeves. As you may be able to see in the picture, the arms eye sits too far back and digs into my arm. I HATE it when clothing digs into me, especially when I try to move my arms forward. So, that had to be fixed. The other issues was the wrinkling of the bodice when I would close the front. The darts did not sit in the right spot and somehow needed to be moved. So, I sat and thought for a day or so, and looked at it. Yup, I need my sit, think, and stare time.
During my sit and think time, I made my way to one of our local antique stores and found this lovely trim. It was perfect for this project and it’s vintage silver!
After fussing with things for a few hours, I decided to add a side piece under each arm. I somehow forgot to get a picture, but it’s really not that exciting. Anyway, that did the trick! It put everything in the correct spot. I also added boning to the front of the bodice on both sides and metal eyes on the inner edge to lace the bodice closed, like the painting shows.
After a day, or so, of mounting the trim, we now have a finished bodice.
Again, not the best of pictures, but at least you get the idea of the fit. I’m much, much happier with this incarnation of the spencer. The fitting issues are fixed and I love the result!