Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Finished 1840 Ball Gown :)

I've been putting off posting pictures since I don't have very good pictures, but since I won't have a chance to take better pictures until Costume College if plans don't change, I thought I may as well!

Before I wear it again, I'm going to make it into a day version--detatchable long sleeves and a big collar cape thing--and put new buttons on my petticoats so they'll sit lower on my waist. The corset I wear with this dress is properly long waisted, but I didn't take into consideration that my petticoats would still sit at my natural waist. Oops. I did get a little length wrinkling because of that. There was also a little bias wrinkling that I may or may not deal with (I really wish I had cut this on the straight--I know many bodices were cut on the bias, which is why I did it, but this wouldn't have been an issue). It was barely noticeable in person, but in some pictures? It was rather, um, frightening. In spite of that (and quickly falling out hair), I don't think I've ever felt quite so pretty in a dress! This one was just so delicate and simple. Unfortunately, balls just aren't the best place for pictures--it's dark when you go, and you're so busy once you're there!

So enough of that, pictures, right?

Smocked Sleeve

I just love the sleeves (I normally don't like to gush about my own work, but I can't help it with these sleeves!). Instead of doing pleating like my inspiration dress, I just let the smocking loose and sewed the base to the lining (which is peeking out in this picture). Then I sewed a band around. I got the idea from the pleats on this dress.

The lace around the neckline I bought in probably 2002 at JoAnn for my first chemise. I dipped it in coffee for a bit to make it less polyester white, but even if it is polyester, it's a very pretty lace and reminds me of the lace around the neckline of my original c. 1840 bodice.

I used this excellent honeycomb smocking tutorial. I found that the smocking wasn't deep enough with a half inch square dot grid though. On the skirt, I put the horizontal dots one inch apart, and on the sleeves, I put them three-quarters of an inch apart. The vertical distance was still half an inch. Basically, I drew my grid as rectangles instead of squares.

1840 Ball Gown 1840 Ball Gown

I'm wearing it over my underhoop petticoat, corded petticoat, and a plain petticoat, my Regency chemise and Past Patterns 1840-1880 corset. The corset does open in front with the style busk that was patented in the 1850s, but apparently there was one front opening busk patented earlier, even if it didn't catch on. That, and mentioning the 1830s fashion plate that shows this style is all the documentation I'll give for that (if I were less lazy, I'd try to find where I read about the busk and a copy of the fashion plate, but I'm lucky I'm just posting!). I did think about my 1820s corset, since that style was still in use in the 40s, but with the straps and very little support, I just didn't see it working under this dress!

And a picture at the ball--a much better angle than the ironing board as tripod angle :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Sneak Peek!

I've been busy lately as I have a ball coming up this weekend. So exciting! Minutes ago, I finished my ball gown, and I thought I'd share a sneak peek of it. Full pictures and details to come soon!

Sneak Peek

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1860s Yellow Print Dress!

Yesterday was the annual local reenactment. It's quite small, but quite fun. And we still haven't made it to see the battle! Oh well. I can quite honestly say I'm not a reenactor, but a costumer who wants to make things as accurate as possible and wear them whenever there's a chance.

With that, my yellow print dress! I'm wearing it with the embroidered collar I made ages ago, cuffs that are just rectangles of fabric tacked into place, and over my Eugenie dress underthings--same petticoat, hoop, corset, etc. I wore my green Regency boots because not only did I think they'd be pretty with it, but because they were sitting next to my desk and I didn't need to find them in my costume closet :)

The bonnet is the Eliza Corettta circle from Timely Tresses. More pictures below!

My Yellow Print Dress :) My Yellow Print Dress :) My Yellow Print Dress :) 1860s Yellow Print

Pictures at the reenactment and Starbucks, before the reenactment. That one is the only picture I have without a bonnet--and the best of the tucks. And cameras pointing up? Never a good angle!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Triangle Trim Tutorial!

As it's been a while since I posted, I looked at my journal for a tutorial to post. And here it is--the triangle trim for my robe de style! It's rather versatile trim as well. Lauren of Wearing History also used this on her 1820s blue silk ball gown. I was lucky enough to see her dress in person--it was quite lovely!

It was very easy to do. I figured out how to do it one day at work--I was playing with the fabric belt on my dress, and all of a sudden, triangle pleats! I was quite relieved, as making about 9,000 little triangles was far from appealing!

So, here it is, how to make triangle pleated trim!

First, iron down the edges of the fabric. Just a little--it's too thick if you fold it to the middle like bias tape.

Iron so it meets in the middle. This can of course be skipped with ribbon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Checking In!

It's been a horribly long time since I posted, and even longer since I've posted anything costume related. However, there is a very good reason for that--I teach 6th grade, and school started three weeks ago. I'm rather dead to the world. I have a much harder time adjusting to the school year than I should because I essentially work the same hours that I slept in the summer. Really. In the summer I usually sleep from about 4 something in the morning to about 1 in the afternoon, and during the school year, I work from 7 something in the morning to 2 something in the afternoon, and then there's the lovely thing known as grading.

Anyway, enough of that! Since a costume blog post is nothing without pictures, I thought I might as well post a picture of a project that I'm working on. Though working might be too strong a word at the moment. Since work started again, I've done about 18 inches of straight stitch embroidery :)

1925  Bathing Suit

It's a 1925 bathing suit that's at the Met, is patterned in Women's Wear of the 1920s (can you tell I love this book? A friend calls it the Pink Book of Awesome, and it's a totally perfect name for it), and was patented in 1925. How incredible is that to have SO much information about one suit?

So work goes on on that. I have some absolutely beautiful Appleton crewel wool to embroider it. I'm also planning on making a hat and bathing shoes. Making the shoes? Should be interesting!

It will be a bit before I get that finished, most likely. It's planned for a day at the beach prior to Costume College 2012.

In what I'm working on and need next news, my Regency Renaissance faire costume is done, so the event after that is a Civil War reenactment-lette. I'm making a dress with a very bright yellow cotton print for that. It'll be a yoked bodice, box pleated skirt, bishop sleeves with pleats sewn down at the top. I'll keep the blog posted! Right now, only a pocket is done, and that I sewed the print upside down. Um, oops? But it doesn't show! It is my ease back into doing things project, and as such, it will be completely hand sewn as that's so much easier for me than lugging out the machine.

So, I'm just posting to say yes, I do still exist! Though I'm not completely sure I feel like I do this time of year :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Brownie No. 2 Model E Camera!

This is a little different than my normal posts, though this is still costume related! I hope to use this for costume photography. How fun to take a picture of costume with a period camera! This is the second one I bought--the first was a model with bellows which were full of light leaks.

The camera

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Spotty Bodice--Construction! Part Five--the Cuffs and Belt :)

First, a note about the overskirt. I took almost no pictures, actually, I don't think I took any until I was done. I'll briefly summarize. The front piece is a rounded trapezoid, and the back a long rectangle. I pleated the edges of the trapezoid and sewed them to the long rectangle, leaving a the seam open on the left side for a placket. The rectangle is faced with spotty silk, since both sides show. The whole thing is lined with Egyptian cotton. The closure is hidden in a side seam pleat. The back is gathered and cotton tapes pull it up into puffs. Not terribly helpful, I'm afraid!

11 April 2011--In which I finish the spotty bodice, and breathe a huge sigh of relief :) My cuffs are a little different than the original. I believe the original was doubled. Mine isn't. Why? One more inch of fabric and I couldn't do the evening bodice the way I wanted to :)

Ok, I still have the belt, but the bodice is DONE!!!

My cuffs are obviously to a different scale. That can be so hard copying. But I like them, and they're very, very, very securely sewn on and I'm out of fabric (if I want to do my evening bodice as planned). So there. Most importantly, I like them :)

The Spotty Bodice--Construction! Part Four--the Organdy Collar :)

From 6 April--I used my pleated organdy for this, of course, seen in this post. My first attempt made a pretty collar that looked awful on me. The next post shows how I fixed that. You can see the difference in the dressform pictures! The last line of this post includes the epiphany from staring at it too long :)

The Spotty Bodice--Construction! Part Three--the Plastron :)

The series continued!

From 3 April--The construction of the plastron here is basically the same way I make 18th century stomachers. I didn't include any comments, as once again, I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The spotty stomacher is done and sewn in one side. Now just hooks and eyes. Unfortunately, I pressed the pleats a little flatter than I wanted to, but it's ok :)

The Spotty Bodice--Construction! Part Two--Lapels and Collar :)

The continued construction. Once again, I'm just copying my original posts with minor edits, the date, and a brief commentary after each date.

From 2 April 2011--For the lapels, we used an antique bodice that I own as a guide. The pictures are commentless--I think they speak for themselves!

The Spotty Bodice--Construction!

And now, at last, bodice construction! I'm just going to give a slightly edited version of what I posted when I was making it. It is a highly odd bodice, as there is no visible front opening. We managed this by having a center front closure in the lining, a layer that closed over that, but didn't close center front, and a plastron to fill in the center.

This dress at the Met was invaluable in figuring out what to do, as was information about a dress Kat had seen and shared with us.

So here are the entries, not really polished. I think it's interesting to revisit what I was thinking at the time, anyway! I put a little summary after each date to hopefully clear things up a bit :)

From 15 March--This is the first time I tried the finished bodice on, after adjusting pieces of my existing 1860s muslin to give the right look.

Since I had the corset on, I figured I might as well pin in the darts, right?

Remember that part in the skirt muslin where I said imagination is necessary? Well, it's needed here too. Yes, it's the "finished" piece, but trust me, all my bodices look this terrifying in the darting stage!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jane Austen Fairy Wings--A Tutorial :)

A little backstory--last year the Renaissance faire was miserably hot at about 100 degrees. So Twila and I decided on something a little cooler to wear--Regency! With fairy wings. At Costume College I mentioned this plan to Loren, who suggested pages from Jane Austen novels, and an idea was born!

Completed Wings!

On to making the wings!

You'll need:
Galvanized wire
Cardstock--brown for the "leather" binding and a light color for the title pages
Printed paper
A gold pen
Glue (I used Elmer's wood glue, simply because that's what I found lurking in my dye basket)
Needle and thread

Saturday, August 6, 2011

1929 Silk Print Dress

For a group project at Costume College 2011, we decided to make 1920s dresses and campaign to repeal the 18th Amendment. Or be pro temperance, as was the case for one of my friends. I went through many decisions (and even made one dress that really needed a side opening--I got stuck in it and haven't had the heart to add a placket yet) before I found this dress at Vintage Textile and knew I had to have it. And the results!

1929 Dress 1929 Dress

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1920s Underthings!

A slight change of pace!

I recently completed a new 1920s dress for Costume College. This one is smooth over the hips, unlike the last two 20s dresses I've made, so I needed new underthings.

In addition, I made a dressing gown out of a wonderful pink and green nouveau-ish chiffon that I bought years back to made a 1920s kimono.

All patterns are from Women's Wear of the 1920's. I used silk crepe that I bought in the garment district in LA last year (I love Fabrics and Fabrics!) for another project, but the pink was too dark for that. I trimmed the bandeau and tap pants with lace I bought on eBay ages ago.

Dressing Gown Dressing Gown

The pattern(c. 1920) is actually the same thing as an 18th century shortgown--one piece folded over and open in front. For patterning purposes though, I used my suffragette dress pattern. Using the above mentioned book as a guide, of course! The suffragette dress has the same fold over kimono sleeve thing happening, but the fit of it was closer than my shortgown patterns. Plus, I found that pattern first. Always helpful :)

I was going to trim it with pink chiffon ruffles and tie it with a green satin tie, but I liked the lightness of it so much that I decided that would be too heavy. Instead, I dyed some white ribbon I had with the remnants of an ancient bottle of Rit rose pink dye.

Everything is sewn by hand as I didn't want to use heavy machine stitches on such light fabric.

Bandeau and Tap Pants

And now the bandeau (the 1929 pattern) and tap pants (1930 pattern)!

Again, it's all sewn by hand. The bandeau with back stitches and the tap pants with a combination stitch. I topstitched the darts on the bandeau as well, since the fabric pulled at the seams.

Bandeau with Very Clever Elastic

And my favorite part of the bandeau, the back! The original had 1/4" pieces of elastic doubled with loops for buttons at the ends. My elastic is 1/2", but I wasn't driving across town for a 1/4" difference. Not surprisingly, this gives the bandeau a much better fit than just fabric. I've never had any luck with something not stretchy staying down on me. Most stretchy is still iffy, for that matter :)

I reinforced the back with a bit of cotton ribbon. I also used this for the straps. I dyed it pink using the same ancient Rit dye, then covered the straps with lace so the difference in pinks wouldn't be obvious.


And the garters--just tubes of elastic covered with fabric and a little lace. Easy and cute :)

I will be wearing the dressing gown on Sunday morning at Costume College, so there will be pictures of it on. The fit is very different than on my dressform. I always find it very odd how those work. It's actually set below my measurements and I had to pin up the straps two inches for the bandeau to fit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spotty Dress Construction, Part 4--The Skirt

From 15 March. The flounces on the back are just that, flounces. They're hemmed top and bottom and pleated to the skirt. And after much work, the completed skirt!

Coming soon, what in the world is going on with that bodice? You can't see any closures!


And in corset news, I used artificial whalebone. Or German plastic boning. And the bloody stuff won't curve out! I've ironed it, it's been on my dressform for days, but no, the tops MUST curve in and feel stupid. Argh. I think I'm going to make the bust on my dressform as big as possible and steam the thing within an inch of its life.

But skirt! Squee!

Spotty Dress Construction, Part 3--The Skirt

Originally posted 27 February 2011

That was a lot more work than I expected it to be!

Anyway, the spotty ruffle is started. I think doubling the fabric was a good idea, and I think the ideas from my last post will work.

From the pictures, it seemed like the ruffles were just below knee length, so that's what I aimed for with mine. I hope I got it right! It looks so bare up top, but there's no overskirt which really affects things :)

Preparing the fabric. It's about double what I want it to be and the ends are folded in.

Then the long box pleating process. Notice how puffy they are? That must be dealt with!

I just eyeballed the pleats since theirs were obviously eyeballed as well.

So once I was sure they were reasonably straight, I smoothed them out.

And this was the result. I'll baste it where the pins are, and then put the other ruffle on top.

Once it's basted, I'll lightly press the pleats. I don't think they'll need any stitching in the middle, but they might need some sacque back like reinforcements. I don't think so though, and I really hope not! (ETA: They didn't! So much easier!)

27 February 2011

I was about to cut the flounces for the back of the skirt out. Typical bias cut flounces to be exact. Then I thought, better look at the picture first, especially as this skirt is a fabric hog and I can't afford any mistakes.

I'm glad I did. Except for that scary moment that I thought there were four ruffles--which wouldn't make sense as even numbers look weird--I think I like what I see. One, I think the flounces are on the straight, not the bias as is more common. If you notice, they're sort of just hanging there, not all nice and perky the way bias flounces tend to be. There's a heaviness to them. And also, look at the top flounce. It's smocked. Or something weird. I really like how it looks, but total whimper to doing it. (ETA: We ended up pleating these and found that gave the closest look). It looks like the sort of thing you want to do on the straight of grain though. Hooray for not cutting bias flounces! Of course, second opinions wished for :)

Here we have the top of the ruffle gathered and pinned into place.

A close up of that. It's seriously not attractive, but it gets covered by the little ruffle, so all is good. Gathering pleats out is weird to do.

Pressed pleats!

Now flashless. This fabric doesn't like to be photographed :)

3 March 2011

Preparing the ruffle. The fold is 2 1/2 inches long. The ironed fold is 2 inches deep. That's for the first line of gathering. Each line below is 3/4 inch lower.

Pinned into place.

The same, with flash.

The ruffle folded down.

The same, no flash.

Close up folded up. The gathering lines will be machine sewed down.

Spotty Dress Construction, Part 2--The Skirt

After much staring, it was time to start the skirt. Now, I have pictures of putting the skirt itself together. The construction method I used was mainly from an overskirt I own. For those of you familiar with 18c construction techniques, I used the sew outer fabric and one layer of the lining, then whipstitch the next layer of the lining to it method. However, I haven't written that part up, so I'm going to start with my analysis of the ruffle--mainly an explanation of why I did it the way I did. Then, actual ruffle construction in the next post.

Originally written on 25 February 2011.

As I'm fast approaching base skirt completion--2/3 a hem binding through the hem!--I'm considering skirt decoration. And here are my obsessive ramblings.

Here we have the pleated, gathered, puffed, up ruffle of doom and questionable tastefulness.

Now, look at the bottom of the ruffle. Especially on Marie's dress (left), you can see that at the bottom of the ruffle, the lines of the folds follow the lines of the folds on the large pleated part. It's not so much that way on top, but I have a theory to explain that away.

So, here's what I'm planning on doing. I'm going to take a piece of blue silk twice or so as wide as I need it to be. Then fold it like bias tape with the ends in towards the center. Then pleat and baste it in place. I'll start it where I want it to stop then just pleat around--no measuring!

This will be fine for the bottom--it just has to hang. But the top will flop. So, run a gathering line through it and baste it there. Sewing the pleats down would be too pleaty, which isn't an issue if they're hanging, so, a gathering line.

Next, the ruche-y bits. This is the same as the Halloween dress. Take strips the same length as the pleats and gather them as needed. Leave the top edge raw and fold the outer edge down so the edge is caught in the last row of gathers--essentially a deep hem.

Then, place it right side to right side on top of the pleats, sew it down. Flip it up, machine sew through the lines of gathering stitches, and voila! Pleats and gathers and prettiness! Oh, and questionable taste :)

The doubled silk will be very good as it is a thinnish taffeta. It's really a super pretty one though. I'm surprised how nice it looks in use.

After that, standard bias ruffles on the back. (ETA: After much staring, we later decided these ruffles were on the straight of grain. Very lucky, as we both nearly ran out of fabric) Why after that? It's easier to play with the height of those than it is to play with the height of the doom-y ruffle :)

Also, I just noticed that Marie's doom-y ruffle is taller than Alexandra's. Neat!

Spotty Dress Construction, Part 1--The Skirt

Well, hasn't it been ages since I've posted? Let's, uh, blame Costume College! Anyway, ages ago, I promised spotty dress construction, so I thought, might as well begin, especially as I have several posts already written. Therefore, I am slightly cheating :)

So here's a repost of a post originally made on 8 February 2011 on my Live Journal and was just for a small number of people who provided that much needed encouragement and advice. As a masquerade costume, it needed to be kept rather secret!

So here we go, patterning the spotty skirt!

I actually made a skirt muslin! I'm sure this is amusing to no one but me, but it's very much out of character.

Now, my muslins aren't other people's muslins. They require imagination. But I think I like the skirt shape I came up with.

I didn't sew it (let's not get crazy here). It's just pinned.

I used the pattern for the Halloween dress skirt--the 1874-1877 skirt on page 32 of Janet Arnold. I noticed that the Halloween dress had a similar straight shape in front. The back wasn't quite right, but easy enough.

I ended up taking an inch of flare out of the bottom of the center piece and side piece. Repinning a skirt while wearing it isn't fun! I jammed my left middle finger with a pin quite nicely...

It doesn't look as straight as their skirts do, however, once it's in silk lined with cotton and trimmed, I think it will be. The Halloween skirt is much straighter.

The side picture below also makes the skirt look a little wider than this picture does. It seems a little more natural there, so I think it looks a little narrower here do to intense train fluffing.

Also, ignore the too short thing. It had to clear the floor for the fitting! And again, ignore the badly pinned side pleats. They're enough to get the idea!

To change the back, I used a full width of muslin and didn't pouf it up. I think it'd be helped by using a full width of silk--I think it's still a little narrow--but I'm lazy when it comes to muslins and, well, imagination! Having someone to fluff the skirt out and all the flounces to stiffen it will help too.

Also, I didn't bother with the back yoke--these dresses don't need a flat spot there, so no yoke nonsense.

The skirt is very badly pinned to some other thing that's around my waist. Probably the petticoat. I just hope I don't rip anything taking them out :)

Anyway, to get the train to flop over the front, I concentrated the fullness more towards the side back piece than the center back. That took a bit of futzing to come up with. Also, the skirt does "tie" in back. Why the quotes? I have some badly pinned in pieces of muslin imitating the ties.

The back is also just large pleats. Gathering will give it a softer look, more like the original.

I'm wearing it over my new bustle and corset and my old bustle petticoat. The corset looks way prettier when you can see the whole thing. I have nice waist definition, but I always think just the top part of my looks way off balance in a corset because I have to make them so short since I have zero chest. Trust me, it's a super pretty little corset :)