Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Drop Front Gown

So, I uploaded pics and thought I'd share.  They're not the best since they are obviously backlit, but this is my new sewing space!  Hooray for not having everything crammed into my room anymore!   I used the pattern from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion, I think it's the 1805 dress?  Can't remember, it's the only drop-front one though. 
The fabric is a blue swiss dot on white.

It's going to have a bit of a train!

You can't see it, but there are tiny hand stitches on those curved seams... :)

This was draping the Spencer over the dress.

I decided not to redo the bib because although I don't like how wide I made the binding around the edges, I've decided to make dorset buttons to attach it to the dress and they're a little bigger so I need more space for a button hole.  I don't know why I decided to do that since I have lots of lovely vintage buttons that I am sure would work.  So I'll share a pic of the button too.
With my pointer finger -my nail polish is totally chipped, so you get this side... :)
The back!

I started the second, but it's looking dingy (since I continued with the same piece of thread) and it's not centered so I'm going to redo it.  I used this tutorial to figure out how to make them.  It actually wasn't that hard, though it did take me about 40 minutes to make one button... o_O  It was my first though, so I'm sure I'd get faster the more I did it.

Still need to get sleeves on this thing!!  *sigh*  So much to do!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crossing things off the list - the Aqua Spencer!

I made myself be super productive this weekend.  Only two weeks before Costume Con!

By Friday night I had my corset pretty much done.  All that's left is shaping the top and bottom a bit, binding it and adding lace and flossing (which may have to wait...) so that's good!  I need to have the article done by Friday, which means that needs to be my focus this week.

But I couldn't resist getting started on my Regency Spencer!  I so wanted to have this done.  So I did a lot of it by machine which is too bad, but some of it has to be hand finished, so that will at least add the look to it a bit.  I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.  I decided to make a copy of Lizzy's Blue Spencer after all.  The sleeves were so cute and I liked how it curved up in the back!  Saturday was spent draping and cutting and assembling the bodice.  The sleeves took forever to work out and I'm still not 100% pleased, but I was pulling out my hair, so they'll do.  I was also trying to pattern sleeves for the drop-front dress this will be worn over but had absolutely no luck!  Talk about sleevil!!  It's because of the small back pannel.  The armscye comes in really far in the back, so everything I tried was pulling.  I need to figure out to account for that still.

Anyway, here are pics of the Spencer!  I took pics of the dress but with my camera, not my phone, so of course I haven't uploaded those.  No time!

First, my inspiration:
See more here.

Still needs buttons...

Showing the zig-zag sleeve detail...

See the back curves up a bit? The gathering of my skirt will flow perfectly from under there!
And I managed to get the entire thing out of one yard of fabric!!  With all these scraps left over!  So that means more projects with the aqua silk! :)
Talk about conserving fabric! :)

All that's left to do is finish one side of the zig-zag sleeve (just turning it up - the edge is fray checked - and pick stitching it) bind both of the gathered sleeves and then hem the long sleeves, make buttons and do button holes.  These unfortunately will probably have to be done by machine.  There's just no time!

I am kind of sad I didn't make it short sleeved.  I got these fabulous white leather gloves (NOS that are actually "washable" though I'm not going to try that out) that I thought would look perfect with the dress!  So summery!  Oh well, I can still wear them maybe...

You can see the tag that says it's washable.

So many little details still left to work on though!  Three hats, hems and petticoats!  Not to mention finishing the Francaise!  I think I'm going to have to do hems on the machine as well.  I'm not going to add a placket to my Tudor gown though, maybe just a little hook and eye.  I got "The Tudor Tailor" and it said they didn't use plackets, so that saves some time!  I've also decided there probably won't be time to add more trim down the front of my jumper, but that's ok too.  I wore it as is already and it was fine.  Plus I'm worried that since the trim is lightly wired that it will make the skirt wonky if I sit down, then stand up.  So that cuts down the list a bit at least!

Ok, back to work!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The List

So....  I thought I'd make a list of everything I have to do related to Costume Con so that when I can get back to all of that I'll remember and get going on it! :P

  • Finish drop-front Regency gown (sleeves, hem, re-do bib)
  • Make Aqua Spencer (possibly now short sleeved with long sleeves to baste in! Win Win!)
  • Make Striped Regency Bonnet
  • Make red Regency bonnet to go with Jumper/Pelisse ensemble
  • Add placket to Tudor kirtle
  • See about adding cable tie boning to kirtle bodice to reduce horizontal lines
  • Finish gold snood with pearls
  • Make velvet flat cap
  • Possibly lengthen doublet/jacket just a bit by taking down the seam allowance a bit
  • Finish Floral Francaise which includes hem, petticoat, sleeve flounces, trimmings around neckline
  • Alter short stays and attach petticoat to them
  • Make bigger 18th c pockets (very quick n dirty job ok)
  • Fix blonde wig
  • Figure out hairpieces for other costumes (make braids and curls and things with hair I have)
So OK.  It sounded like a lot to do, and it is, but now reading over everything I think it's totally doable!  I just need to stay busy busy busy and multi-task, like making all the hats/bonnets at once, taking things to work on at lunch (doing the snood right now), etc.  The only question mark is the Spencer, that could take some time.  I guess I won't be hand sewing it.  And I may save the long sleeves for another time (I have some elbow length gloves coming that I think will be perfect with this outfit!).

Anyway, am I crazy? Wait.  Don't answer that...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Update

I am really glad this weekend is over.  I have had to put sewing on hold pretty much all this week (though not planning as is evidenced by my last post...) so that I could get a bunch of prep work done for my church responsibility as Pioneer Trek Clothing Committee Chair.  Did I explain this already?  We're doing a three day pioneer hike pulling handcarts this summer with the youth of our church and I'm in charge of making sure everyone is dressed "appropriately".  This of course does not mean historically accurately.  Unfortunately.  But you really can't expect that of around 100 kids from tons of different backgrounds.   Anyway, I've compiled a lot of information and had to present it tonight to all the youth leaders.  If you guys are interested, check out the web pages I made with lots of info about Mormon Pioneers and what they wore as well as what we'll be wearing on our trek.  I didn't write all of the information I've posted, but have gleaned and filtered lots of things from internetland.  And created the "bloomers" tutorial myself. :)

Now that that's out of the way it's on to the corset!!  And then finish the Francaise (I decided not to stress about getting that done for this weekend, but Costume Con instead) and then FINALLY on to the Regency plans.  And a million other little things, hats, wigs, etc.  But I have three weeks!  I think I can get it done!

But now you know why I haven't been posting much.  I'll try to be better!

Regency Musings

So, I'll need to put up pictures soon of the bib front Regency dress I started a couple months ago (first I need to actually take some!).  It was going to be for a Regency ball, but I ended up going to a Steampunk event that weekend instead, so I didn't finish it.  But I'm going to finish it for Costume Con and I have lots of scheming plans for it as well.

A few months ago, my favorite store for silks (Sewfisticated) had this gorgeous aqua silk.  Now, remember how I'd made a New Year's Resolution not to buy any fabric?  Well, I had been good and resisted the silk a couple weeks before, but when I went back and it was still there I had to buy just a yard.  I had to!  Turquoise and aqua are my colors!  It was screaming my name.  I couldn't resist the siren song.  So, I didn't know what I'd do with it at first, but I think when I got home I realized how perfectly it matched the tiny blue dots in my Regency dress.  So I thought, bonnet!  But then, I had an even better idea, last week.  I was already planning a couple of other bonnets, so why use this glorious fabric on just that?
The stripe is for the gathered crown of my bonnet! :)

So instead I'm going to make a little spencer!  The original plan was for short sleeves, but then I went and bought another yard (they still had it at the store!) and I'm thinking something like Lizzy Bennett's blue spencer from the good P&P.  It's either that or something like Jane's short sleeved one from that same movie.

I've found a few fashion plates with short sleeved spencers, but not in the exact style that I wanted, but I am totally drawn to these late 1790's plates.  I think I may take some of my cues from them.

1796 from here
labeled: a short-sleeved black bodice with black lace trim

1795 - its the one in the middle labeled:
Robe of coquelicot-coloured Irish poplin

from here
eta: I had the description wrong originally.  Since I can't see the back I'm not sure if this is more like a full open robe or just a short jacket.  Kinda interesting though!

So what do you guys think?  Short or long sleeved spencer?

All that's left to do on the dress is the sleeves and hem, but now I'm not totally happy with the bib front so I think I will redo that just a bit.  I think that will be pretty easy.  For sleeves I'm going to do a straight elbow length with the short puff sleeve spencer on top.

The other thing I need to do is create a better petticoat or bodiced petticoat and/or fix my short stays.  While I'm happy with how my long Regency stays turned out they are actually not the most comfortable thing to wear.  I made a short pair years ago from the Sense & Sensibility Simplicity pattern and they actually worked pretty well, but now they are far too big.  If I fix them I may just baste a "petticoat" to the bottom of them to make a little bodiced petti, we'll have to see.

All of this is time dependent.  I am so so busy it's not even funny.  I have so much to do and it's stressing me out.  Another problem is that I stay up until midnight getting stuff done and then when I try to go to sleep I can't shut my brain off worrying about getting everything done and so miss about an hour or so sleep at night.  It would be no use to try to be productive instead though.  *Sigh*  I just need to tell myself like I did while on study abroad in London that I can sleep in May.  Most of this stress will be over in May, let's not dwell on the fact that I'll have new deadlines at that point though...

Anyway, back to Regency plans!  I'm excited for how this ensemble is looking in my head at least!  Hopefully that will be realized in real life. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A bodice!

I've made some good progress! The side seams are done, the lining has been attached and the neck line has all been finished. I've finished one side of the bottom edge and pleated both sides of the back skirt. All that's left is to finish the other side of the bottom edge and finish the center front opening with hooks and eyes.

I spent last night mocking-up sleeves, which although they took a while, I got them perfect so now I have a pattern I can use for all my 18th c stuff!  I also was able to cut the skirt fronts and pleat the sides up tonight.  I just need to attach that and sew up the side seams and I'll be close to done. All that will be left is to set the sleeves in! And trimming! And hemming! And a petticoat! :) But it's taking shape. I tried it on over my silk petticoat just to get an idea of how it was looking before I'd added the front panels.
This just has the back skirt tucked into the
front to see what it would look like.  :)

I tried to match up part of the pattern on the front but because the print isn't symmetrical it doesn't match exactly, but that's ok. I think it looks ok.

Also, I've finally gotten all the packages I've been waiting for! And my wigs came! I'm not too pleased with one, and though the other didn't seem right at first either, it's definitely growing on me. Definite potential. I'll have to play around with it soon and see if I can get it do what I want. For now, here's a little teaser pic. It's the "showgirl" wig from Lacey in blonde. Heh.
Actually looks pretty 1790's already! :)

Also, I'm sure most of you know, but this is really exciting. American Duchess has finally finished prototyping 18th century silk shoes for costuming! They went on pre-sale on Friday, and she's already sold 100!  Which is what she needed to guarantee they would be made.   I'm so excited!  I love the shape, and the best thing is they are dyable! I just don't know how I'm going to decide what color I want mine to be... and I only wish I'd have them in time to wear with my Francaise to Costume Con! Oh well, my 80's bridal shoes will have to do for now... :P

ETA: I started writing this earlier this week updated it a couple times and am finally getting around to posting it.  So I've actually finished a bit more today on the Francaise.  I hemmed the front skirt edges and attached them to the bodice.  Tomorrow I'll sew up the side seams and start working on the hem probably.  Or the sleeves.  Or actually I should do the CF closure... that way I could actually try it on! :P

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