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!

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