Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Black and Red Print Dress for the Huntingtion


Finally, another event! My last (though you couldn't necessarily tell from my blog...) was the 2020 Jane Austen Evening in Pasadena, with our traditional trip to the Huntington Gardens and Library before the dance. Clearly, I needed a new dress! I had started embroidering a dress in 2021, but it's been set aside since 2021. Even though my favorite part of costuming has always been making costumes, I'm also the type of person who needs a reason to make a dress. Taking pictures isn't enough. I've knit (mostly c 1920s sweaters), restarted knitting projects, had many false starts, two dresses for Halloween (one for work, and the other (unusually) just for pictures), and made a few small things (everything but the skirt to go with my 1919 sweater), but haven't had a true deadline since 2020. I wanted to make two dresses for the Jane Austen Evening, but had procrastinated on the 1922 sweater that I was working on and wanted to finish in 2022. I finished that minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve, but it did delay the start of this dress! I still would have had time for two, but wanted to enjoy making it. I decided that I'd rather have a new dress for the Huntington than the dance, so wore my black embroidered dress from 2018 in the evening. I'm very happy I wore an old dress since I just watched the ball instead of danced. I usually try to dance all the easy dances, but this year was different.

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Onto the dress! It's made of block print cotton from The Block Prints on Etsy. My chemissette is ramie voile from Burnley and Trowbridge. It's lined in linen and sewn by hand. This may be the first dress I've made that I didn't take pictures of while I made it, but the costruction is similar to my Regency Leia dress. Since this dress has a curved neckline and that dress has a square neckline, I sewed the shoulder strap on after the front piece. The linen flaps pin in front and the dress closes with drawstrings.

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The Huntington is beautiful, and I'm so happy we had more time to explore than usual. The bridge in the Japanese gardens was a lovely backdrop! My shawl is silk gauze edged with rayon ribbon that I dyed--both from Dharma Trading.

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Another bridge--in the Chinese gardens--made another lovely backdrop. Not everything was blooming in January, but some of the trees had the prettiest pink flowers. My skirt has no shaping--it's just straight panels. I usually make gored skirts for this style, but lost track of time. Suddenly, the event was in a few days. I really do like the shape of it though, and think it worked well with the slightly fussy bodice!

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The sleeeves on the dress are inspired by my fashion plate, which has a petal sleeve over a white puffed sleeve. After working on the sleeve for three days, I switched and made straight sleeves inspired by the puffed sleeves. They looked right, but I don't like puffed sleeves very much. The sleeve is two layers. The cotton voile has a layer of pleating applied under the slit. The black fabric was cut with a scallop and then I cut it from the scallop to the top of the sleeve and hemmed it with a narrow hem. The penguin is Arthur. His Instagram is @penguins_wear_clothes and this was his first vacation.


The fashion plate I used as inspiration. Despite not liking puffed sleeves, they (and the ruffle) drew me to the dress. When I switched to straight sleeves, I was tried to make it so it was still obvious that it was inspired by this sleeve.

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My dress for the ball--including one taken by my friend @journeyofaphotog in better light in 2018! This dress is pleated over a linen base and is basically made the same way as my diamond back 1790s dress.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

A 1920s "Two Day" Sweater...

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I made this sweater almost by accident. I bought the c. 1921 Bear Brand Blue Book on Etsy and found a few patterns in it I wanted to make. They called for Shetland Floss, so naturally I wanted to find out more about it.  I do have a sample of it from Peace Dale Yarns, which I wrote about here, but was interested to see if I could find any from Bear Brand, details about the weight, or how much yardage was on a skein.  Instead, I came across The Diane Sweater in an ad for Fleisher's Yarn in the April 1921 Ladies' Home Journal that claimed it only took a day and a half to make.  While I knew that it would take longer--it took about a month--it gave me an actual reason to make something and consistently work on it--something I haven't been able to do since all events were cancelled--as they should've been--this year. 

I took these pictures by myself with a tripod, and so look forward to when we can get together again. 

My version of the pattern can be found here. I've rewritten it and fixed a few of the errors in the original pattern. 

Making the 1920s "Two Day" Sweater

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An ad for a sweater using Fleisher Yarns, The Diane Sweater was published in The Ladies’ Home Journal in April 1921. The sweater calls for Shetland Floss, which is about a modern fingering weight. Based on similar patterns, the gauge is five stitches an inch--this isn’t what you expect from fingering weight, but I achieved it with size 8 needles when I was figuring out another pattern. I made my sweater with sport weight yarn on size 6 needles, which also gives 5 stitches an inch. The fit of the sweater counts on the stretchiness of the finished sweater--no size is given.

The sweater is knit in one T shaped piece, starting at the back with added cuffs, collar, and belt. It’s folded at the shoulder, the side seams are sewn, and the belt is sewn to the bottom front edge and tied in back. My notes and changes to the pattern are in brackets. [ ]

This post is just about construction--more pictures and details can be found on this post. I've included a copy of the pattern without pictures at the end of this post, and a PDF is available here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tintype Photography Revisited

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One of the limits you think of with tintype photography is going to the studio. Except, that doesn't have to be--the Victorian Photo Studio can take a tintype of a digital photo. All the things I love about tintypes are evident--the color shifts, the changes in emphasis, the different expressions--and are so obvious because they're copies of photos, not just the closest you can get with a camera while taking a tintype, which a group of friends and I did during our trip in 2017.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

What I Would've Worn to Costume College 2020

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So, 2020 has turned out, uh, not exactly as planned? Still, I did have plans for Costume College, and I did a photoshoot the weekend that Costume College was supposed to be with what I had done. For the gala this year, inspired by last year's gala dress, typos, and the fire fountain at Costume College, I was going to make an 1830s version of Melisandre. I still hope to--bringing in fantasy elements, beyond what 1830s fancy dress would've done--is something I'm looking forward to.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Melisandre's Glowing Necklace--For Those Who Know Nothing, A Tutorial

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I think half the reason I wanted to make a Melisandre cosplay was to make her necklace. Once my friend Loren of the Costumer's Closet--who's done a lot of interesting work with props--suggested that the necklace light up, I knew I had to make it work. I found a few other necklaces online that lit up, but none of the ideas quite worked for my necklace, so I had to come up with my own way of doing it. This is an entirely new area for me! I know nothing about electronics--especially making them so small!

And about the post title--clearly, my subconscious was at work. I didn't really mean to make the reference, but since I do know nothing about this, it was a logical title, which obviously needed to be kept. More details about my trials and false starts at the bottom of this post.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Late 1790s Bird Print Dress with a Diamond Back

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My late 1790s dress is based on examples of cotton print dresses, and a remodeled 18th century dress from An Agreeable Tyrant at the DAR Museum. It's made of a cotton print from Colonial Williamsburg, lined with linen from Burnley and Trowbridge, and worn over stays, shift, and strapped petticoat.

I made the dress for the Jane Austen Festival in Kentucky, and it was as comfortable as a dress can be there. The pictures here were taken by my friend (in much better weather!), whose photography Instagram, @journeyofaphotog, can be seen here.

Construction for the dress can be seen here