Friday, March 2, 2012

On to the 20th century!

So I need to start focusing on my 1912 plans next.  I started the corset but had to recut and redo a panel (stupid mistake - that is why people tell you to label your pattern pieces).  Now I'm working on boning channels.  Still a lot to do before it's done, but once it is I think I'll move on to the aqua day dress.  I have been thinking that maybe I won't keep 100% to my original inspiration gown.  I want a more interesting skirt and although I've finally found brocade to use on the top, figuring out what to do for the lace has been harder.  So that may get tweaked some.

I found a period guide to making battenburg lace, and my sweet aunt has even offered to do it for me if I make a pattern for her.  She learned how to do it in Italy recently! :)  But, like I said, I may tweak things a bit.  Maybe not use lace, or maybe a different kind.

Here are pictures of the inspiration dress!

Simple and elegant.  And something one of my ancestors could have worn since it was made in Salt Lake City.

But with a pretty bodice.

From the side.  The skirt wraps around.  I couldn't get a good picture of the back though.

Though it did have these weird swirly things on the back.  I'm going to leave those off...

First, finding any brocade like this has been impossible.  If you know of something that could work, please let me know!  Also, aren't those sleeves cute?  You can see a couple more pictures if you click on any of them.  Should take you to my flikr.

I also recently bought some black and white checked wool with thoughts to make a simple skirt and shirt waist.  This is something I've been wanting for a while as I have an adorable vintage hat that I want to wear.

Then it will be on to the evening dress.  Which has also changed in design a little bit!  I may still stick to the original plan, but I found some gorgeous sequined net that would make it a much more interesting (and sparkly!) dress.  But I'm not sure if it's too modern looking or even if it would look right with my other fabrics.

I'm not going to bother making a chemise, I think modern garments can come close enough to the real thing, that would mean just finding a slip to go under the corset.  I hope I can find a pretty one!  And anyway this plan may change as I may need a bust improver... :P  And I think I might need a princess slip, this would go over the corset/undergarments combo to smooth the line of the dress.

I'm also itching to make some 20's garments, though I have absolutely nowhere to wear them!  I may make a 20's bathing suit though.  I just think they're the cutest!  So new plans, in a new century! :)

Medieval Times

This post is long overdue.  And was written/edited multiple times in the past so forgive the random jumble of info, especially at the end.

This year for our annual trip to the Renaissance Faire I decided I wanted to try out something from the Medieval world.  I did quite a bit of research which you can read more about in the dress diary below, but first I'll just share pictures and basic descriptions.

I made a 14th Century linen kirtle out of beautiful drape-y navy linen.  I don't have a picture of just the kirtle unfortunately.  My friend helped me fit it to perfection.  Thanks Jenni! :)
At the last minute I decided to make something warmer to wear over it.  It was October and pretty chilly, but actually on the day we went it wasn't super cold, just windy.  The layers and the fur did their job!  This was a very last minute, slap and dash project unfortunately, so I'm not entirely happy with it.  It's an orange wool surcote with a vintage fur collar I had tacked on to it.  I didn't have very much fabric for the surcote so it's not the perfect shape or perhaps totally accurate.  But it did the job of keeping me warm!  The fur is also not the right size at all but it used to be on my old roommate's mother's coat or something, and I figured it may come in handy for something else someday, so didn't want to cut it up.  Plus, last minute sewing!  You know how it goes.  
I also made some accessories.  A veil (pictured below because of the wind), headband, a hip belt out of metal medallions and a purse based on historic ones but not at all accurate in any other way than shape. :P  But I needed something to carry my stuff in!

The dress was a little long but I think it lent more to the historical accuracy. :)  I had to lift it up and carry it around most of the time.  Makes carrying food to the joust a little tricky! 


My shoes are modern ones I bought a couple years ago because I hoped they would work with a costume like this someday.  You can also see more of the handmade buttons on my sleeves.  Unfortunately I don't have a better picture but they are historically accurate!  Basically they are circles of linen that I gathered into a ball and attached.

Here it is with the veil which I couldn't wear most of the time because of the wind!  It's just a circle of silk organdy (or organza? I never know the difference, it's not super stiff, but not super soft).  My hair didn't come out.  I wanted side ear braids but my hair is just too thin.  I opted for a long braid over my shoulder instead.

Our group at the Faire.  I am the odd man out, the rest are in Tudor/Elizabethan, including, you might recognize, my outfit from last year on my friend Quinn! :)  I loved how Jenni's kirtle came out!  And it was so fun getting to know our newest member Carrie.

I loved wearing this outfit.  Though the surcote wasn't exactly what I wanted and the collar too big, I felt very pretty prancing around the faire!  And the linen kirtle might be the most comfortable thing ever!

So I had started a post as I was working on things, so I'll include that here, just as a kind of "dress diary".  This gets long so follow the jump if you want to read more!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peach Beaded Ball Gown

A couple of weekends ago I attended an 1812 ball in Salem's Old Town Hall that was put on by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers.  It was a fabulous ball!  The venue was great.  There were so many people, and pretty much everyone was dressed for the period.  I got there a little late (so hard to find parking in Salem!) so only danced 4 sets, but they were very fun.  There was an intermission with refreshments that was also lovely.  I met up with a friend there and made a few new ones as well!  So on to the stuff you're really here for, the pictures!



I was so pleased with my dress and how it came out!  There's just a couple little things that bother me, but I'm going to try to ignore them.  It's based on quite a few different fashion plates from around 1812.  It's a peachy pink silk shantung underdress with a beaded (and sequined) net overlay.  The net is not historically accurate, it has clear opalescent sequins on some of the flowers, but that made it sparkle so nicely!  It's covered with embroidery and there are round and marquis shaped pearls all over, one on each flower and around the scalloped hem border.  I think it's probably bridal fabric but it was just too pretty to pass up.  I had a very limited amount (I think 2 or 2.5 yards) and about the same of the silk, so I had to be very careful with it.  And I used up pretty much every bit of it!  I flatlined the net to the silk on the bodice and sleeves.  The skirt is left separate.  The underdress skirt is just a triangular shaped, no gathers skirt.  For the overlay I used a wide panel that I curved slightly in the middle.  I then pleated the rest of it in the back.  There are a few little tucks on the front and sides to help it lay better.  The one thing I'm disappointed about is that the net seemed to stretch with wear.  I had originally hemmed the pink silk skirt to hang about 1.5 inches below the "top" of the scalloped hem.  But I noticed by the end of the night they were basically the same length.  Which is a bummer as it's not like I can take the hem up.  I can let the silk hem down but I wanted it to be ankle length, especially as this makes it much easier to dance in.

I have a posture problem...  Photo courtesy of Quinn.

Don't mind the crooked back, my roommate had to mark it so it's a little off.  I couldn't tell in the mirror at the time.  Will be fixing that for sure.

With my friends at the ball.  Photo courtesy of Quinn.
I was pretty pleased with my accessories too!  I got to wear my new tiara to help camouflage the hair piece I was wearing.  I felt like a pretty princess!  I also wore my vintage kid leather elbow length gloves.  I found the perfect shoes at a dance store in Burlington.  And got them for a steal! I'd been looking at these ones online for forever and debating whether to buy them or not.  I put it off so long that it was only a few days from the ball and I didn't know what I'd wear for shoes.  I had some not so great options but I really wanted satin dancing slippers.  The dance store had these back in storage and I guess they'd been there forever because they told me "eh, ten dollars" when I asked their price.  They didn't have my exact size so I'd been debating between half size up or half size down but when I heard that I said, I'll take them both!  I wore the smaller ones to the ball but they definitely hurt by the end of the night.  I'm glad I bought two pairs as well because I have "elf toes" which totally put holes in shoes right over my big toe.  This is already happening on the smaller pair!  I'm glad that I'll still have some when that eventually goes all the way through.

Last but not least, my favorite accessory, and a totally last minute thing, my fan.  I will do a post about these soon.  I am so so excited that they've been working out.  It's actually almost totally period correct!  I will have to share the secret on that soon.  I mounted it literally 2 hours before the ball.  Luckily it dried quickly and I could use it by the time I got there.  It got a lot of compliments and I'm thinking maybe I need to teach a class or do a tutorial or something.  I've thought of selling them but they do take some time to make.  Anyway, like I said, more on that to come!

Thanks to Quinn for the picture!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1797 Open Robe

This was a very last minute project, but so quick and easy!  I attended at Twelfth Night Ball in Sudburry at the Wayside Inn in January.  This was an event put on by Rev War reenactors.  So yes, I was very out of date (futuristic I guess) but I didn't care.  I didn't want to wear my zone front again and couldn't wear my Francaise because I had lent my hoops to a friend.   So instead I whipped this up to wear over my drawstring dress which I made for our Holiday Tea in December.

I didn't get many good pictures unfortunately.  The lighting was really low (it's a historic inn!) and I was tired when I got home.  Maybe I'll have to get more on my dress form.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I couldn't get any sleeves to work that I liked so decided to leave it sleeveless in the end.  I used leftover silk from my Civil War ball gown and had just enough to eek this out.  I based it off the open robe from Janet Arnold but made the bodice separate, so there's a waist join.  There are three box pleats that line up with the three back seams so it has the same feel as the JA one.  I also had this gorgeous gold trim that I had been waiting to use on something pretty and it was perfect with this!  I covered the three back seams and all along the bodice neckline, tabs and sleeves.

I wore my hairpiece in the large curly style of the 1790's and wrapped a turban around it made from an unhemmed strip of chiffon I had lying around.  I also added my great-grandmothers jet bead necklace to add some bling to it.

Topping off the accessories were leather gloves and a silk fan I made.  Which I will post about soon as this is definitely a project I want to share!

The robe has a train which wasn't great for dancing (or walking in a crowded room) but I really had fun wearing this dress.  I don't know when I'll be able to wear it again but I'm very happy with it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What I made in 2011

It's time I finally do a post about what I was able to accomplish in 2011.  At first I wasn't sure I had done that much, but then putting this list together, I'd say it's not a bad effort!  The end of the year certainly slowed down, but I got a lot done at the beginning! (And maybe that's why I slowed down, I did get a little burned out, especially after the wedding dress!)

Picture-less post unfortunately for now.  I know I have a lot I need to post, but those pics are not uploaded to the internet yet.  So a list will have to do!  Check out the tags on the side for more information on specific projects.

Started in 2010, finished in Jan of 2011:
Grey wool cloak (actually this still needs a hook and eye...)
Silk petticoat for my zone front gown

Started and Finished in 2011:
MA Floral Francaise and flat cap with ruffled panniers.  Dress was entirely hand sewn.
Blue Dot Regency Drop Front Dress.  Also hand sewn but technicially never finished cause I hate the sleeves and didn't hem them.
Steampunk spats
2 1868 corsets from Madame Foy patent (and two articles for FR - which I'll be posting here and on my blog soon! :) )
Laced Lime Rickey Civil War Ballgown
Turquoise Silk Elizabeth Bennett Spencer
Marianne Dashwood hat and matching reticule
Flat cap for Elizabethan dress
Elizabeth Bennett bonnet for Regency Jumper
Pioneer dress with a corded petticoat, apron and bonnet (and hat), and a bunch of extra skirts and aprons.
Wedding Dress! (which I'm never doing again!!)
New 1780's stays
New and improved bum pad
French Revolution jacket and petti with embroidered fichu and 18thc shoe redo
Handsewn 18th c organdy cap
Medieval kirtle & surcote with bag, veil and circlet
Queen of Hearts Halloween Costume
Lining for Wedding Dress Shrug for a friend
White Regency Drawstring Dress

Started but not finished:
18thc Green Stripe Round Gown (hand sewn)
Quilted silk petticoat
Drafted 1912 corset
Pink Beaded Regency Ballgown
Swansdown Pelisse

I need to post pictures! I'm so bad, I haven't reported on anything since, who knows when. I might not have time to do that before next weekend though.  But I will do it!

And now let's make a list of what's next!

What I'm planning for 2012!
Red Stripe Open Robe to wear over white drawstring dress (for next weekend) haven't started this yet, but I think I can do it!
Regency Ballgown (either finish the one I started or make a new one with the sari I ordered over Christmas)
1912 Corset & brassier
1912 Aqua Day Dress
1912 Evening Gown
1912 simple skirt and shirt waist (with hat)
1870 Purple Striped Day Dress
1920's things: a bathing suit, a dress and underwear.
Northanger Abbey outfit finally!!
Something 18th century... but I'm not sure what. I have silk for the dusty blue jacket from the Kyoto book (the one with all the embroidery!) so I may get to that, if I can figure out how to do the embroidery, whether by hand or machine if I can find or make something that works.
Archery dress?
Finish the other things I started last year.

So once again, busy at the start of the year, and who knows what the summer and fall will hold!  Stay tuned! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

CADD strikes again!

So you know how I had that big long list of things I was going to make? Yeah, I'm already straying from it. I went to Montreal with my Mom for Thanksgiving and we of course had to check out the fabric stores! :) And I found some pretty mauve cotton velvet that I thought would be perfect for a pelisse trimmed in white swans down (aka marabou feather trim). So that's what I'm making now for the holiday tea instead of the NA riding outfit.  That gets pushed down the list once again.  Oh well!  I want to hand sew that spencer anyway, and at this point, I don't think I'm going to have time to hand sew something completely.  And at least part of it will get done!  I'm still doing the white dress...

Where might you ask did this idea come from?  Well, other than the fabric.  I recently saw Kleidung um 1800's beautiful winter ensemble, trimmed in silk velvet that I thought was just lovely!  Perfect for cold weather!  And, my friend Antonia has been posting pictures and information about swans down.  I don't know about you, but to me, white swansdown says winter to me.  And then, I'll have a somewhat nicer coat to wear over my ball gown in February!  They will clash pretty terribly, but that's ok.  You'll see one, and then you'll see the other.

I already have my basic regency patterns ready to go, so I'm just going to go for it!  All I really need to figure out is how exactly I want to close it and how I'm actually going to attach these feathers...  I'm using white marabou feather boas (hopefully 5 will be enough?) and I guess I can just do a wide whip stitch, right?  Kind of a combo between basting stitches and whip stitches?

I've been looking at fashion plates from 1811 - 1813 for inspiration and here's a few that have struck me that I'm going to meld together.  I'm trying to stick with an 1812 theme... that way I'll have an actual wardrobe, plus, next year is the bicentenial!

This is the main look I think I'm going for.
I love the braid closures and the swooping back hem.
This was the inspiration for this reproduction.  SO pretty!
And look, here's my colors!  Perfect!
Not the same thing I'm going for, but I do love her little hat.
I also love the ones that have little hoods! Still deciding whether to do that or just a standing collar.
From 1813 I think.  So pretty though!

I love the fur around the sleeve head!
  I'll need a little hat too.  I'm thinking a soft hat from a purple silk I have in the stash that will go nicely with the mauve. Though this yellow hat is pretty fun!

The yellow hat in this one is cute too!
More progress reports to come soon!

Thanks again to nuranar and her fashion plate photo sets where I found all this great inspiration and more to feed my Costume Attention Deficit Disorder! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Schedule

So, mostly for my own benefit, I'm going to list here my upcoming events and what I plan to wear to them, and thus, what I need to work on and in what order! :P

December: Our annual Regency Holiday Tea
     I don't need to wear something new to this, I could wear the Aqua Regency ensemble which I've only worn once, but it's not super warm as the spencer is only one layer.  Plus, I've been wanting to get on the Northanger Abbey Riding outfit for a while now.  That means:
      White drawstring dress with small train
      Blue velvet spencer
      Necktie/Jabot (is that the right term?)
      My black top hat with black tulle around it.

January - Twelfth Night Ball
      Once again, don't necessarily need anything new, but I have this really pretty red striped silk...  Don't know what I want to do with it though.  So I may just wear my Floral Francaise or my Zone front and focus on making two new accessories.  A small muff and an accurate fan!

February - 1812 Ball!
   Already started on the beaded ball dress I'll wear!

March - Returning Heroes Ball
   I may not go this year, but if I do I'm not making anything new, I'll just finish adding the loops of lace to the green ball gown skirt.

April - Titanic Weekend
   So excited for this.  Am planning three outfits, two day, one evening, but first I need to start with underwear.  Here's the list:
   1912 corset
   bust enhancer (brassier with ruffles)
   corset cover
   Simple wool skirt and cotton waist combination
   Aqua day dress (see inspiration below)
   Blue and Silver Evening Dress (see insipiration below)
This is an original I saw in Utah earlier this year.  It was on display for the centennial of the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake which was built in 1910, I think.  The dress didn't have a date (or any information about it really), but I think it definitely looks around the right time!  Plus, it may have been worn by a Mormon, so I'll be especially historically accurate! :)  Finding the Battenburg lace is proving difficult...
This is what I'm recreating for my evening dress.  I will be using grey silk charmuese and chiffon with a blue silk velvet.  It's going to be pretty!  If I can actually pull it off! :P

May - nothing, whew, take a break!  And get ready for...

June - Dress U!
   Wear everything I've made over the last few months! :)

So it's a pretty fun list!  I'm excited about everything really!  So I guess next up is the white drawstring dress and the velvet spencer.  Luckily I've already make a version of this jacket, so I kind of know what I'm doing.  I still need to find the other fabric for the lapels and buttons though...

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