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...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ball gown progress pics

Here's some pictures of the dress so far, the silk underskirt is just pinned to Miss Ella so I can see how it will look.

The back will either button or hook closed.  Haven't decided yet.
A close up of the sequins and beads on the net
After looking through more fashion plates (thanks nuranar!) I've realized that my dress could still be kind of 1812, which is what the ball is supposed to be.  It's probably going to be somewhere between 12-14 so maybe I'm just super fashionable! :)  In 1812 the skirts were very narrow and columnular.  By 1815 they were starting to get more of the triangle shape, but still not as full as they'd get by the 20's.  Check out this progression:

Ball gown from 1812.  Skirt is ankle length and not very full except in the back.  I like the sleeves in this one too!
This is from 1813.  Hard to see the shape of the skirt since she's dancing, but it still seems pretty straight.  Also love these sleeves!
From 1814, this one has a net overlay!  And pink underdress!  But it's more triangular than the 1812.  Also the skirt is shorter than the last two.
This is from 1815.  I really like these sleeves.  And again shorter more a-line skirt with an overlay!
From 1816.  Are these all starting to look the same to you too?  Shorter a-line skirt as well.  Maybe the waist line is really what's changing most?
So who knows, maybe I can give my dress an 1812 date after all.  The bodice on that one is a bit longer than the others, as is mine (really, I can't achieve that high of a bust line, even in period underwear). My skirt is going to be just a tad shorter probably, more like the later ones, I had to conserve fabric...

As for the sleeves, I've gotten some good ideas and it seems like they don't have to be super full, so I think they're doable, which is good!  I may do a super short sleeve that's gathered up in the center, which would nicely echo the bodice, plus I could still use the scallop border without having it look lame.  The idea in my head will look pretty, it's just a matter of whether or not I can execute it!  I may leave the undersleeve off entirely and just keep them net, we'll have to see.  That would be nice because then I could add some extra volume to the bottom of the skirt!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Regency Accessories - Shoes

So I've had Regency on the brain a lot lately.  And one thing I've needed for a long time is some appropriate shoes, for both every day wear and for dances.  And I've found both!

First, I have been looking into jazz boots for a while now as a "half boot" substitute.  Half boots were the outdoor and walking shoe of choice in the Regency period.  At least for young ladies of leisure!  Most were kid leather but other materials were used (more info in the article link below).  The jazz boots I've been sourcing come in canvas (in multiple colors) or in leather (in black or white).  I've been waffling back and forth between leather or canvas and then colors for forever!  It's too hard a choice!  I kind of want them all.  But since I'm not sure they'll actually work, I decided I'd start with the less expensive canvas and then if I really liked them, I'd get a leather pair eventually down the road.

But once again I was faced with what color to get.  I'd found black, white, red and tan (or nude as they call it).  So I started to do some research in fashion plates and through extant boots to see what might have been most popular.  I found that in a lot of fashion plates they have either white or colored shoes, but most of them don't look like half boots.  But finally I found a reference to "Nankeen" boots being a very popular choice.  Here's a pair from an article about Regency shoes (I can't find the proper source for the actual boots, anyone?).
How sweet is that rosette?  Dresses up a more utilitarian shoe. :)

And it just happens I found some that look surprisingly similar to this pair!  All I need is to change the laces and add a little rosette to the front!  (Plus, the free 2-day shipping, free returns and super reasonable price from the website above made it seem like a no brainer.)

Nankeen was a yellowish cotton that was produced in China.  It's described as being pale yellow or buff.  I figure the tan is pretty close.  I also debated for a while about the white canvas and the possibility of dying them myself to some fun color, but I didn't want to risk the heel and sole leather.  And I think the tan is a pretty versatile color, it could go with a lot of things, and will match the pelisse I already have!

There's one drawback to these shoes.  They have a split leather sole.  It would be easy for a cobbler to add a sole to it, but I think I will wear them as is for now and see how they feel.  I bought them 2 sizes bigger than my regular size since as dance shoes, they are meant to be very snug.  I want to be able to wear a nice cotton sock with them and maybe even insert an insole that would add more support.  I'll report back on how they do once I get the shoes!

The other pair I am going to order for the ball I'm attending in February are also dance shoes.  These are ballet shoes, that are much more substantial than regular ballet slippers though.  They are sometimes called recital shoes or award shoes.  They have more substantial soles (still a nice suede leather!) as well as sides.  They too can be dyed, but I think I'll keep mine a nice white/ivory to guarantee they go with any dress I might make in the future.  I found them through the same source as the other shoes, here!  They actually have quite a few different kinds of these shoes that could work, all at different price range and sturdiness.  Some look more like regular ballet slippers.  I like the idea of just a bit more support though.  And these are pretty close to the extant ones below!
Just add ribbons!

From the Bata Shoe Museum - 1812

Anyway, I'm excited for my Regency shoes!  The other option that I'll mention since I want her to continue making historical footwear, is that American Duchess is coming out with a new Regency shoe, the Pemberly!  They are all leather and have a small heel.  They look very nice, but are a little out of my budget for now, so I'm going to go with these and see how they do!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beginings of a ball gown

I actually did some sewing this weekend!  On Friday I made TONS of plans about the events and projects I have coming up through next summer and it's lit a fire under me, so I'm taking advantage of the motivation and getting stuff done!

I'll add another post here in a bit about all those plans... lots of fun!

So lately I've been wanting to work on a Regency ball gown even though I don't really need it until February (there's an 1812 ball in Salem that's going to be great!), but like I said... taking advantage of the motivation while I can!  And it actually worked because the bodice is almost done!

I'm using a pretty peachy-pink silk that I bought a couple of yards of randomly at Sewfisticated with a really pretty embroidered pearl beaded white net overlay.  I think it was some kind of bridal fabric, and while it's not 100% accurate (it has some clear sequins under many of the pearls, but they aren't very obvious and just adds a bit more sparkle) it's certainly is very pretty!  The silk has a very slight slub, but as it's an underlay it doesn't matter since it doesn't even show! :)

I draped the pattern for the bodice a few weeks ago.  It has a square-ish neck that dips center front because of gathering down the bodice.  It will button (or maybe hook) in back.  I flat lined the net to the silk.  Originally I was going to use a flimsier fabric for the underdress and make them separately, but I realized what a pain the net was going to be to sew with and this is actually working really well.  Because it's a "stiffer" dress and because I don't have a *ton* of fabric (only two yards of each fabric, really cutting it close, but it's actually going to work, just barely!) I'm going for a more 1815's date, with an a-line skirt with no gathering in the front.  I think I might even slightly pad them of the underdress to help hold it out a bit.

The two things I haven't figured out are sleeves and whether to use a waist band or not.  Sewing a waistband with this fabric would just be a little crazy, unless it was huge, so I may forgo that.  For the sleeves I'm worried about how much fabric I have.  Most 1815 sleeves are pretty puffy, as far as I can remember, but I'd like to use the scallop border of the net along the bottom of the sleeve and that means, straight (plus less fabric).  Guess I'm going to have to do a little more research first!

For now, it's cutting the skirt pannels and seaming them together.  The two skirts are going to be seperate, or that was my plan until just now when I realized what a pain that will be.  But it will hang so much prettier!  The net is pretty heavy from all the beading so it would move around the dress nicely if it was free to move!

To complete the outfit I need to get satin ballet slippers/flats, there are some on eBay that I've been eyeing forever and I'll probably wear my elbow length leather gloves, though they are very tight.  Too bad I don't have anything to make a pretty evening cloak with.  Guess I'll just have to wear my tan pelisse and use my huge fur muff! :)

So that's what I'm working on for now.  When that's done, I'll have to figure out what I'm motivated most to work on next!  Pictures soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Once again...

It's been too long!  Sorry for being a bad blogger!  Especially as I've attended a few events in the last couple months.  So, I'm going to play catch up again.  I'll probably split each event or outfit into separate posts just for future ease which means that they won't be very long.  Sorry!  Once I get all that updated I'll be sure to share my current plans and project list!

For now, my favorite holiday of the year has passed and I hope you've all had as great a Halloween as I have!  Lucky me, I had the opportunity for not just one, but three different costumes this year!  Lots of parties to attend.

First was a Pride & Prejudice Zombie
I've been wanting to do this forever and I'm glad I did, but most people didn't know what was going on.  They'd never heard of the book, horrors of horrors!  They were still quite freaked out by it though! :)

With my roommate who are (from l to r) An 80's prom date, a goddess, and pregnant Beyonce with Jay-Z. :)
For our own party we had an Alice in Wonderland theme and since I recently dyed my hair red I was the Queen of Hearts (rather than Alice which would have been my original choice).  Not my favorite costume of all time, but the party was really fun!  I found a red prom or bridesmaid dress at a thrift store and altered it, and I made a little crown that's attached to a headband.

And then Monday night I wore my Steampunk costume to another party just for fun!  Didn't get a picture of that though, but you can see it under my "for fun" costumes.  Everyone loved that one as well, though most people don't know what Steampunk is... I was duly impressed by those who did.

As I was getting ready for the P&P Zombie look, I realized that a hairpiece I bought last year that didn't match my hair before (but that I couldn't send back) was now a perfect match!  So I used that with all three costumes and it actually worked so great!  People thought it was my real hair, plus it only took like 5 minutes to do each night.  My hair has been fading though, so who knows how long it will continue to match... I might have to re-dye it again soon.  It really made a great Regency hair-do, lots and lots of curls.

Anyway, I hope you all had a Happy Halloween too!  More costume updates to come soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moar shoes!!

It's finally here, the leather version of American Duchess' Gerogiana shoes, the Devonshires!

So pretty!  I want mine in pink please!
The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s.  They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments.

Pre-Order the Devonshires through August 10, and get the special $100 price.  We're only making 200 of these shoes, so don't miss the chance to own one of only a couple hundred pair on the planet!  Visit to order.

So what are you waiting for?  Go get your pair! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We have sleeves!

Though I spent most of last night hanging out with friends, I was able to finish putting the sleeves on my jacket which I'd started on Monday night.  I actually didn't have too much trouble with these, which was nice!  I decided to do more bias ruffles in the stripe for the sleeve ruffle instead of just white.  Since the ruffle on the back of the tail is striped too, I figured it would go more.  I also decided to not do a zone front.  Instead I altered the bottom to be flat.  So now all that's left to do is finishing the center fronts, since I'll be pinning it closed.  I do need to do some fixing there.  I cut the stripe with a much bigger seam allowance for the CF and the lining is too short now for where the closure should go.  This is because I draped the pattern over my yellow stays and my new linen stays are not quite as confining.  Which also means more comfortable!  But I'm getting wrinkles because it also means they are more curvy.  Anyway, it's close to done, so that's good!

I need to finish up the fichu but I draped it over everything last night and I like the look of it.  I need to figure out how I'm going to close it.  I need a little corsage of flowers or a bow or something.  Those longer ends will be trimmed off, I'm just worried about making a mistake...

Other than finishing up minor details the only thing left to really worry about is the hat!  Still don't know what I want to do about that.  But here's what I have so far, pinned into place, set on top of Miss Ella to see the effect of the whole ensemble (although admittedly the hat is hard to see in this pic).  I may change the ribbons on the hat and use the same red stripe as the sash.  Not sure.  Or I may scrap the whole hat idea and just do a turban or finish my cap or something!  Though my cap is not at all close to the "fashionable" size of the time, it's way too small! :)  Sorry for the crappy iphone pictures, apparently the light in the room is very yellow... 

Monday, July 18, 2011

So much to share!

Wow, I have a lot to write about.  Trying to decide whether to break it down into smaller posts or just spill it all out here.  Well, one at least will need it's own post, so for now I'll stick to the updates about my French Revolution outfit.

The petticoat is assembled, it just needs a hem and closure (I attached it to a waistband instead of ties, I find it's less bulky).  I'm still trying to decide what length I want it to be.  I could keep it longer if I wanted, so that may be what happens, all the fashion plates I've been looking at are longer.

I also colored my shoes black this weekend!  I ended up using acrylic paint instead of buying dye.  We had colored bridesmaid shoes for my sisters wedding this way and so I knew it would work, plus, I use this technique at work all the time to match cloth for repairs all the time.  It also has the added benefit of being waterproof!  If they get wet, they won't bleed, compared to dying them, and as I'm planning on wearing these outside, I figured that was a good idea.  I wouldn't try this with lighter colors though, you need a few coats to cover the brush marks and so with the black it was perfect.  I just kept adding layers until it was uniform and dark!

I also made cute little ribbon bows with my new buckles for the front.  Since I ripped off the old decoration on the front, I'll always need something there because I couldn't get all the glue off.  This hides it nicely and looks cute to boot! :)  I didn't have any black ribbon, so I used green, which actually was a symbolic color as well during the revolution.

I finished my fichu as well.  Well, I finished embroidering it on my machine, and then spent a couple of nights picking off all the tear away stabilizer from the back, ugh.  And of course I find out now that there's a soluble stabilizer that's thicker and stiffer.  I could only find a saran-wrap weight at Jo-Ann's so I used that on the front and the tear away on the back.  It's not perfect, but I'm pleased with how it's turned out so far.  This one will not be able to wrap around, but that's ok.  Now I just need to cut it into shape and hem the front edge.  The back will be left raw as I'll follow the satin stitch scallops on the bottom.

The other thing I worked on was trying to figure out a hat.  I have yet another straw hat from Michael's that I think I'll decorate.  And I thought I might use the vintage millinery supplies I got in the LA Garment District last year.  They are a pinkish red ribbon and a lot of yellow ribbons, flowers and trimmings.  I didn't know if it would look good with my outfit though over all.  To change it up, instead of having another straw hat, I covered the crown.  I pleated a length of starched white cotton and wrapped it around the brim, as it seems I've seen things like this a lot in fashion plates.  But what I'm realizing is that most of the outrageous hats I like are from 1787, not 89.  So I may change my mind.   Right now everything is just pinned on, litterally, I just threw it on there.  What do you think?  The red ribbon matches the red stripe ribbon I'll use on my jacket pretty well.  And the yellow ribbon around the brim will be completely sewn down, not puffed like that.  I just wasn't sure of the yellow and black.  Oh yeah, I'm thinking of putting some black feathers on it too.  In one of the books I was reading about the French Revolution, yellow and black actually had some meaning for the opposition.  The way the information was worded in the book I couldn't tell if they meant the revolutionists or the opposition to the revolution.  But most of the royalists used white as their color, or black.  The revolutionists used red, white, blue, green and apparently also yellow and black.  Anyway, do you think it will go?  Is the hat too much?

You really can't even see the straw anymore.
I also haven't decided what's the front and what's the back.

I found this great fashion plate that is actually very close to what my jacket looks like (in the back at least).  So now I'm thinking I might turn the front into a zone with the red stripe ribbons going across a gathered white stomacher.  What do you think?  I was already planning to do elbow length sleeves with white ruffled cuffs at the bottom.  And now I'm thinking I need a simpler hat.  Maybe just some bows and the feathers?

So this week it's finishing the jacket, hemming the skirt and putting together a hat!  I think it's doable!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Done! For now...

So the pink linen stays are done for now!  I finished binding the top of them last night, added grommets for the straps and tea dyed the lacing cord so it wasn't so blindingly white compared to the pink and natural stays.  I also tried them on again, the first time with all the boning, and I'm happier with them than I was before.  If I don't tighten the top so much I do get more of the bow front, plus, they are pretty comfortable!  So that's good!  Of course, now the jacket doesn't fit as well in the front as it did.  I draped it over my older stays, so I'll either have to figure out a way to fix it or live with a bit of wrinkling.  The front is cut on the bias so I don't know why it's wrinkling so much.  Maybe I need to pin it tighter.  Anyway, I'll figure that out.

The light was pretty yellow, so it's not quite true to color... oh well.  And this was before putting in the shoulder grommets.
Last night I also made up a little crochet headband that I had seen online (anyone else use Pinterest?  it's great... let me know if you want an invite).  It's "queen anne's lace" pattern, and while I might not wear it all that often, it is pretty cute and was super fast.  I did it in about 40 minutes of watching "So You Think You Can Dance" on hulu.  I'm trying to catch up and didn't feel like whipped gathers (my cap is close to done but I'm losing steam...).

Made with a pretty turquoise bamboo yarn.
 Tonight I'm going to start working on my fichu.  I may start with a smaller size just because I have a piece of voile that is already cut, from my skirt, and it's not quite big enough to wrap around and tie in back, but I'd hate to have to cut a new one and it would be kind of a waste of fabric.  So I'll start with this one and if I want a bigger size, I can do that later.

Still need to figure out a hat.  I can't find my pink pouffy hat right now.  I have no idea what I did with it in my move upstairs.  It's not with my other hats and it's not in my costume boxes, so that's a problem.  Guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed I find something useful at the flea market this weekend!

And I should probably finish my petticoat and sleeves soon, otherwise, I won't have anything to wear these accessories with! :P

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sometimes I forget...

Sometimes I forget that I've only been doing this historic costume thing for under two years still.  I've been interested in it for so long, and I feel like I have good hand skills, so when I can't get something to work how I want or if I don't know everything about an era or if it's not perfect I get really hard on myself.  This is a reminder to myself to chill the heck out.  I feel like I've come a long way in just those two short years.  Sometimes looking at things I made just starting out I can really see my progress and it makes me happy to know that I can only get better from here, right?

I finished boning and started binding my new stays last night.  They are looking pretty cute if I do say so myself! :)  I'll have to snap a picture of them soon.  I forgot to do that last night.

Just so it's not a picture-less post I'll share a pic of the lovely pile of ribbons I bought on my trip to Utah just a few weeks ago.  There is a great pharmacy actually that sells lots of nick-knacks and clothes, and also, randomly, super pretty, super cheap ribbon.  Even silk ribbon!  So I went a little crazy.  But I need more hats! :)  So now the question is, what to use first...

As for my French Revolution hat I think I'm going to look for something at the thrift store and the antique show I'm going to this weekend that I can use as a base.  I don't feel like starting from scratch.  I always have my big pink pouffy hat from the picnic last year that I can wear.  It was common to mix pink and red together, so I'm not worried about it "going".

Oh, also good news, my Georgiana shoes are on their way to me!  Yay!  That means I'll have them in time!  The question is now, should I try to dye them before?  I was thinking of dying them pink since I feel like that will just go with everything.  The dresses I already have will all match pink, plus I already have a pair of ivory shoes, so keeping them that color isn't necessary.  My other question is whether to do this myself (following the Dreamstresses instructions) or to take them somewhere.  I'm worried about time in the case of the latter, but I could always wear them and then get them dyed.  I am mortally afraid of ruining them.  It is an outdoor event, so I guess we'll see.  This of course is going to make me want the Devonshires too, the leather version.  And all this is dependant on whether they actually fit when I get them... :P  Anyway, something to look forward to!

I also spent part of last night looking through the books I checked out.  I feel ok about doing a crossed and tied in back fichu, which makes me happy.  I got an embroidery card that will be perfect for whitework on a fichu, so I'm going to get started on that soon as well.  I'm also close to being done with my cap, so that will give me an option if I don't want to wear my wig or really do my hair.  I think caps under hats look super cute.

Anyway, that's the update so far!  I won't have much time for working on things tonight or later this week (hooray for Harry Potter!!) but I think I'll still be able to get everything done in time.  Especially if I'm not such a freaking perfectionist!

Monday, July 11, 2011

New pink linen stays

So this weekend I started and have almost finished a new pair of stays.    I realized that my only pair of 18c stays are more 1770's shape and I needed late 1780's early 90's for my French Revolution jacket ensemble.  So I drafted a pair based on the 1790 brown jean pair in Jill Salen's book.  I made them front and back lacing, just to make fiting a bit easier, cause I'm lazy like that.  They are also meant to be very light weight and cool, as I don't love wearing tons of layers in the middle of summer.  Plus, I've realized I don't need a ton of shaping. :P

They are made from three layers of linen, two are a natural medium weight and the outter layer is very light weight light pink.  I sewed them with the seam allowances on the outside and then clipped and covered them with bias tape.  All of the boning is light weight cable ties and I was even lazy enough to use metal grommets for the lacing.  There was no way I was going to handsew all those eyelets by next weekend and finish an entire outfit.  I just didn't care enough this time.  But I'm glad I didn't because I don't love the fit.  I was going more for the "prow front" shape and I didn't really get that.  Maybe it's because my chest is almost non-existent?  That could have a lot to do with it, but I also may not have made the curve on the front piece big/dramatic enough.  I feel like it gives me about the same results as my old pair.  Though they are much lighter!  And perhaps more comfortable.  They are shorter waisted and also a bit lower in the bust.  So there are some differences.  I may re-do the neckline of my jacket, as they were wide and low at this time period.   I don't want to make it *really* low, though I will be filling it in with a fichu.  Anyway, all that's left to do on the stays is to get some more cable ties (only one side is fully boned), bind everything (I have yet to ever finish binding a pair of stays, so we'll see when this ever happens, the top gets done but not the tabs) and figure out what I want to do for straps.  I thought at first I wouldn't do straps, but they sit wrong without them, they slip down in back.  So for now I'm using ribbons pinned from the back.  I like how easy that option is so I may just add some grommets and use ribbons!  I could always make straps that tie on with ribbons later if I didn't like just the ribbons...

Lots of things left that I'm still trying to figure out.  I really want big fichu that will wrap around and tie in back, but from what I've been able to find, that wasn't necessarily the style then?  It certainly comes in after in the 1790's. And might also be before?  I guess I should say, my outfit is aimed at 1789.  I might just do what I want though and not care.  At this point I just want to be able to get it all done and have something to wear!  I've been on hold with the skirt because I'm not sure walking length was popular then either, but I don't want it longer, though if my new shoes don't get here in time I won't have good shoes to go with it.  I don't know what I want to do for accessories and I don't really like the hair options either.  I'm much more partial to the 1790's, transition to the empire fashions.  The late 1780's all seem to have this straight piece hanging down in the back, I am not a fan of it really.  I will probably just wear my blonde wig.  It will look good enough, but that's going to be so hot!  Also, what should I do for a hat?  So many questions!

I checked out some books from the library at lunch today about fashion in the revolution and so we'll see what I can find there if it helps me figure out what I'm doing.  Anyone have any opinions?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Patriotic sewing

So, while I didn't have any super exciting plans for the 4th this year, I still made it a patriotic weekend!  We've planned out events for the rest of the year for our little costuming group and it's got me all excited to get going on them.

First up, I've decided to have a Bastille Day Celebration Picnic!  I was jealous of the fun Philly events that were going on for that so decided to throw my own!  So of course I need something to wear that is appropriately patriotic.  And isn't it convenient that the French and American colors are the same? :)  So I started a little blue and white striped jacket and a new froofy white petticoat.  I have some red and white striped ribbon that I will wear around my waist and of course I need to figure out some other accessories, like a crazy hat and a big fichu.

I matched the striped in center back! :)
 Here's what I have so far.  The bodice is assembled except for the sleeves (and strap) and center front closure (I need to try it on first).  The peplum was a curved rectangle shape that I attached bias cut ruffles to and then just box pleated to fit the back.  I'm pleased with how it's turned out so far!

You can also see the pink batiste curtains I hung this weekend.  It adds some much needed color to the sewing area.
I also realized I needed a bigger and better bum pad.  While my other one is fine, I wanted a much more exaggerated "shelf" look in the back.  So I created a giant petal shaped one.  It went together very quickly and I'm pretty pleased with the effect!

Does this make my butt look big?  Yes?  Good!

I started the petticoat as well (not the one shown in the picture).  It's 5 58" panels of very sheer batiste, two for the front and three for the back.  I thought about putting a big ruffle on the bottom, but then when I looked through more fashion plates I didn't find many examples of that, so I'm just leaving it plain.  I'm hoping someday to do some machine embroidery on it.

So, I'm close to done with that, but guess what?  I've decided I want proper 1780's stays.  Mine are much more 1770's.  I thought I would never be that person, to feel the need to make new underwear for every little change in an era, but there's something else motivating this need.  I don't want to be too hot!  And I can make the new pair out of just two layers of linen and only lightly bone them!  The jacket is already very lightweight, which I'm happy about, but my yellow silk stays are so hot, so I think this would really help.  I have some really nice linen in the stash and I think it could be a fairly quick project.  Especially as I never manage to actually finish my stays, I hate binding them!  The other plus is they might not show as much through the fabric (you can see my yellow ones a bit under the bodice, which I didn't notice until I took the picture), the linen I have is cream, so on me, basically flesh colored! :)  So I'm going to try to get those done before I finish up the jacket, especially the center front.

I also worked on handsewing an 18th century cap while watching the History Channel's documentary series about the Revolution on Netflix which made me feel very patriotic.  I'm about half way done.  I won't be wearing this with the Revolution outfit though.  This is for later this summer!

Anyway, that's it so far.  I'll leave you with one of the images inspiring me:
From Dames a la Mode. Very patriotic, non?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The weekend update

I promised photos of my pioneer outfit. Unfortunately I forgot that I didn't have my SD card in my camera, so I had to take pics with my phone. So they aren't the best quality! Sorry!

The BBQ and celebration was a lot of fun, especially as I was able to catch up with my fellow costumer, Alexandra. We've made lots of fun plans for our costume group for the rest of this year! I'm excited which I'll talk more about later!
With sleeves rolled up.

With Dara and Alexandra.

My skirt doesn't look that full, but trust me, without the (semi-)corded petti it would look awful.

So here's the dress.  It's a printed brown and pink cotton. The lining is fitted and boned with the cotton print gathered over it. I'm mad about what I did with the back. I thought to macth the gathering from the front and so I added more to the center back, but I don't like how puffy it turned out. But I didn't have the fabric, time or inclination to do anything about it, so there it is. This was seriously a quick project. From start (draping it) to finish it took me about 4 nights. I piped all the seams on the bodice as well as the waistband. Because I was too lazy to really figure out how to make a dog-leg closure work, I make it a sort of "round gown". The sleeves are literally half widths of my fabric with no shaping. I gathered them to fit the armscye and a wrist band that buttons. I'm wearing it over bloomers, my corded petticoat, another basic petticoat and my 18th century pocket actually. I needed something to carry all my stuff in! :) For the neckerchief I just cut a piece of white cotton in an enlarged diamond shape and tied it around my neck. I didn't even hem it. Most of it is cut on the bias so it doesn't matter. The apron was super simple but I'm glad I used as much fabric as I did, I like how full it is! I also wore my cream boots (these work for so much!) and a straw hat that I cut slits in for some ribbon to hold it on my head.

Anyway, I'm glad to be done with that! It was a fun event, the kids seemed to have had a really good time and while they weren't authentic looking, it was still fun to see everyone in their "pioneer" garb! :)

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