Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer is Coming

Game of Thrones Sundress 10

As I was trying on the mockup for my Game of Thrones King's Landing dress, I realized something--it would make a really cute sundress. Due to a change on my upcoming dress--I noticed the underskirts on the show didn't match so I wanted a purple underskirt instead of the matching green--I had plenty of extra fabric. I decided to make my dress a match to my planned dress--just sleeveless, without trim, squared at the top side panels, and shorter. My dress obviously isn't going to be a recreation, but is based on dresses of this style, and would hopefully fit in in King's Landing!

The locket I'm wearing is the sigil for House Caron of Nightsong--a nightingale. Given that that's my last name, it seemed appropriate!

Game of Thrones Sundress 09 Game of Thrones Sundress 07

I used my 18th century linen riding habit as a starting point for the pattern. This may seem a little strange, but it had the back neckline, side back seam, and shoulder line I wanted. I drafted out the center back seam, added a princess seam and changed the front shape to crossover.

I'm glad that I got a picture of me looking somewhat murderous. It seems appropriate!

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The dress is made of green silk taffeta, silk cotton brocade, and yellow plain silk from Pure Silks. It's lined with leftover linen from my cotehardie from William Booth Draper, and grey linen from Burnley and Trowbridge. The inner silk tie is leftover from my gold 1920s dress and is from Silky Way on eBay.

Game of Thrones Sundress 03 Game of Thrones Sundress 02

And now some pictures without wind! And 102 degree heat (summer is here--don't mind the calendar). To make the taffeta drape more softly, I washed it with a little baby shampoo. I think the dresses on the show are custom dyed silk taffeta. They have that slightly less lustrous look of washed silk taffeta.

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The dress ties at the inside waist and outside. These are the only closures. The green ties are tubes of fabric that I slip stitched shut by hand. Easier than dealing with very narrow tubes!

Game of Thrones Sundress 11

The inside of the dress. I want to finish a few more seams, but that'll just be the very Victorian hand whipping. The side panels are lined in grey linen, not white. I cut the side panels too small, using the last of the white linen. I'm quite happy that I had grey linen in a similar weight! The side panels are unlined. Since they're slightly sheer, this means I need to wear the dress over a slip. This is also useful since the front does open a bit in the wind!

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The ties are all sewn on by hand so they'll be invisible on the outside.

I plan on doing a very detailed post once I make the full version. I want to do a few things differently, and though it'll be quite a bit more elaborate, though the basic dress will remain the same.

I'm quite excited to have a version of the dress that I can wear in the real world!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

More Hemstitching!

One of my costumes for Costume College this year is a 1920s tennis dress. This would be my third tennis dress. You'd think I played instead of being one of the least athletic people on the planet!

The dress is going to be fairly straightforward. A sleeveless bodice with a squared neck, drop waist, pleated skirt and belt. It's going to be trimmed with hand hemstitching. My dress is mostly inspired by this dress at the V&A, with a little of this dress on Etsy thrown in.

Hemstitching--Size Testing

I've started the hemstitching on the dress, at the waist level. I pulled five threads since my trial run (of about two inches) in four threads was slightly narrow. I then sewed the pulled threads in sections of five. What I discovered though, as seen on the leftmost vertical bar, is that five vertical threads did not equal five horizontal threads. On the next bar, I pulled a sixth thread and kept up the square theme by sewing six threads at at time. Though the width was closer to the horizontal hemstitching, the bars were faced too far apart. I tried sewing five threads, and still a little too far. I tried again with four threads--the rightmost vertical bar--and they matched. I'm very happy that for once, I started in the least visible place. I don't mind several slightly different sized bars at the side waist, but it wouldn't have worked at the neckline!


I once again learned from my 1927 Butterick's Art of Dressmaking. Hand hemstitching really is quite simple, if not as fast as machine hemstitching! To do it, you pull threads in the shape of your design, which does limit you to straight lines. Here you can see Petal investigating my work.

Then you secure your thread at the bottom left of a row of pulled thread, and working left to right, wrap your needle around however many threads, pull them into a little bunch, and sew a stitch at the bottom right, and continue. Then go back and do it in the other direction. Or leave the other side alone, or do half a bunch at time on the other side for serpentine hemstitching, which I haven't tried yet.

You do the hemstitching on the wrong side of the work. That way the wrapping thread doesn't show as much.

And because the book can probably explain it better than I can, below the cut you can see a badly Photoshoped picture of all the information I used. I'm doing the double hemstitching which is really just sewing the bunches of threads on each side. The directions are for hemming, but you can of course pull threads anywhere for your design.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A 1920s Hoop Skirt--A Mini Tutorial

My last robe de style used pocket hoops. The robe de style I'm making for the Costume College gala this year, however, needs a hoop to support the "dramatic garland of black velvet flowers and silver berries."

My hoop is made of cotton net dyed with iDye from Dharma Trading and boned with hoop boning I bought locally. It's loosely based on this hoop and this hoop, both at the Met, and made with the shape of my skirt in mind. The first hoop was my main inspiration. It appears to be very straightforward and use straight panels, not shaped panels.

Robe de Style Hoop 1

To start, I took my roll of boning and held it around my hips to see how wide I wanted my hoop to be. Here I am holding my cut piece of boning around my hips. And that is my dress bodice!

My larger piece of boning ended up being about 64 inches around (measured as finished with the overlap in place), and the smaller piece of boning ended up being about 53 inches around. The tape ties that hold it into an oval shape are about 8 inches long on the top hoop (the smaller one) and 12 inches long on the bottom hoop. I used two widths of netting. I didn't try to make it the same size as the boning, but chose to gather it over the boning instead.

I cut the length of the netting a little longer than I needed so that I could level it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Completed Cotehardie!

Cotehardie at Faire 7 Cotehardie at Faire 5

My completed cotehardie! You can read about the construction here, about the veil here and here, and about the hose here.

I'm wearing two dresses--known as cotehardies in costuming circles. The blue dress is a supportive layer that laces up, and could be worn on its own or with an overdress. The pink overdress is cut to the same pattern (except I should've raised the neckline a bit) and closes with buttons. I'm wearing both dresses over my Regency short sleeved shift. The blue sleeves are a little too tight to be comfortable over my 18c shifts. With a little wear they would be fine. I considered making a sleeveless shift (there are extant examples), but in the end, my Regency shift worked fine.

Cotehardie Construction

I am very used to figuring out my own construction information, so making a cotehardie was a new experience in more than one way--not only was it a new period, but instead of turning to books, I turned to some rather excellent sites on the internet. The site I used most was Charlotte Johnson's By My Measure. I've been making buttonholes for years, but used Tasha Kelly's medieval buttonholes with squared off ends. I like doing them this way very much! She also has very informative articles on the dress. I used this tutorial at The Medieval tailor to make buttons. I used an EOS lip balm container for tracing the circles. It was in my sewing bag and a perfect size. Sarah Jane's cotehardie posts are interesting as well. She made hers a little differently than I did, and it's interesting to see the differences. The blue dress is made with a three loop fingerloop braid that I used this video tutorial for. For the pattern, I used my Angry Birds dress pattern, which may seem odd until you realize it's just a fitted dress with a flared skirt and no waist seam. It just needed to be fitted a bit more to get rid of the darts and cut with gores instead of a flared skirt. This in turn was based on my Grumpy Cat sundress, and I used that as a starting point for the neckline.

Both my pink and blue cotehardies are made of wool from William Booth, Draper, and the blue cotehardie is lined with linen from them as well. I used China silk from Dharma Trading for facings on the blue dress. My buttonhole twist for the eyelets and buttonholes is from Superior Threads.

The pink dress is unlined. The construction remains the same. The two dresses are made from the same pattern. The blue dress laces as it's meant as a supportive layer. The pink dress buttons and no stress is placed on the buttons. I meant to raise the neckline of the pink dress by half an inch, but forgot.

I sewed all the seams, except the armscyes, with flat felled seams.

Each dress took about three yards of fabric. The four main body pieces were cut from one width of fabric and measured shoulder to hem. The gores were cut from one width as well, and measure hip to hem. I had enough fabric leftover from the body pieces to cut the sleeves.

Cotehardie Construction 1 Cotehardie Construction 2

To cut the main body pieces, I placed the front and back pieces next to each other. I ripped the fabric at the length I needed, and cut straight down. You can see the leftover that I used for the sleeves.

Medieval Hose--Construction!

Cotehardie at Faire 9

For my cotehardie, I made a pair of bias cut wool hose from the Medieval Tailor's Assistant. They're made of lightweight worsted wool from Burnley and Trowbridge, and I'm using their wool tape as garters. My shoes are the Juliet Garden Shoes from Revival Leather Goods.

I had initially planned on making a full tutorial for these, but quickly found that would be impossible as I hopped around with muslin pinned to my calf, hoping I wasn't going to impale myself too badly, and making somewhat random cuts into that muslin in the hopes that they would somehow make sense. The short version is, take a large piece of muslin, mark the bias by drawing a line along the length, pin it tightly to your leg--the bias line on the front, the pins on the back, cut slits around the ankles for the gussets, pin in fabric to fit the gussets, and trace your foot for the sole. This method is described in the book. I do, however, have construction information!