Monday, December 23, 2013

Violent Romantic-Era Plaids!

      I finished up all my Dickens sewing, including the Fusiliers bodice. No pictures yet. I'm still not satisfied with it.
     But, on to other things! My passion: the Romantic era. The last post I did was all about inspro pics, but I keep changing what I want to do for my Hopeless Romantics April Gaskell dress! Right now, I'm really into big, bright, bold, PLAIDS! Here are my musings.

   I could just eat them all up!

     I have been drawn to Molly Gibson's purple tartan dress (from BBC's Wives & Daughters) for a number of years now. I very much want my own version of it. Here she is (again).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fusiliers Bodice Mock-Up

     Got the mock-up done! Fitting has always been stressful for me, but I think this one went okay.
My base pattern was Laughing Moon's Early 1860's Day Dress. The bodice portion with coat sleeves.

via Laughing Moon
     I made the armscyes bigger (they were digging in under my arms), narrowed the sleeves, widened the neck, and took in the waist about a 1/2 inch. I also lengthened the bottom edges a little. I decided that I may want to extend the bodice into the little skirt thing. If I leave a little extra room at the bottom, I will have the proper seam allowance to add that piece below the waist. Hmm... Maybe this shows what I'm trying to say: 

     This is Queen Victoria's riding habit. (Looks a lot like what I'm going for!) See the part where it flares out from the waist? That's what I might aim for. On the men's tunics, it's a separate piece sewn to the waist. Dunno what it's called...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Romantic Dress April 2014 Musings

     The third annual A-Bunch-Of-Crazy-Costumers-Make-Historical-Dresses-From-Certain-Time-Period-Gaskell-Ball is in April. The theme this year is the Romantic Era. It's one of my favorite eras!!! We each shall create an evening ensemble ranging between the late 1820s and about 1840.
     I have too many dresses I want to make for the occasion, so here's just a look at the inspiration pictures I've been drooling over .

     I purchased my silk already. A very nice ivory silk. I think it's shantung or taffeta, but can't tell the difference. I am leaning towards the last three designs as my main inspiration. Late 1830's. Simple cut and details. And I love the strawberries on the bertha on the last one! Very exciting....

Friday, November 8, 2013

Smooth Sailing Trousers Mock-Up

     Well, still no pictures of completed Wearing History's Smooth Sailing denim trousers, but here's the mock-up! Yeah, not super good quality pictures....

Only one leg hemmed and no waistband. The real pair
hist a bit higher on my waist. 

Blurry picture, but you can sorta see the way the darts
fit over my behind. Pretty smooth fit!

More photos next time. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wearing History's Smooth Sailing Trousers

     Recently, I purchased Wearing History's "Smooth Sailing" trousers E-pattern.

This is for the blouse, too, but I only bought the
trouser pattern.

     Wearing History is a small historical pattern company with patterns from about the 1870's through the 1940's. Great stuff. Check out the website and blog.
     I have never made pants before (unless you count PJ bottoms as pants) and I wanted to give it a go. I bought the E-pattern to try out that method, since I had heard good reviews. It printed out just fine and I began to assemble. Pretty easy business. I cut out out the pieces and set to work on my mock-up. It went together very fast and the fit was perfect.
     I am petite with slight curves and a high waist (which can often cause fitting issues), but the only modification I had to make was taking about 6 inches off the trouser length (which is a common adjustment for me). With that taken care of, the fit was perfect and super comfortable!
     For my not-mock-up (the real thing) I chose a jean fabric so I could wear the pants out casually. That went together just as well. So fast, that I got them done last night in just a few hours. In fact, I got to wear them today! They remained really comfortable and I got some nice compliments.
     I really recommend the pattern and have heard great things about the other patterns on the website.

     I will post pictures soon! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Victorian Military-Inspired Bodice

     Some time ago, I decided I needed a Victorian Military-inspired outfit to wear at Dickens Fair. Women's military-inspired clothing is popular throughout fashion history. Often seen in riding habits or outerwear, but also in everyday wear.

     My inspiration was a dress I saw backstage on an elegant lady at Dickens Fair of 2012. It turned out the lady was Cait of Curse Words and Crinolines! (I'm a big fan!) 
     She styled the dress after the 13th Hussars tunics (the Hussars are a British regiment). She explains it all on her blog. Check it out!
     I decided I must have one. I covet the red tunics of the Fusiliers. Partly because I wear red at Dickens and I'm now really into red Victorian dresses, but mostly because lovely, lovely Boyfriend wears that regiment at Fair!

The British are coming! The British are coming!
There he is, left front.
copyright Laurie T.

     My Dickens skirt is already roughly the color of the tunic, so that will represent the bottom part. But not my old bodice nor the new one I just finished will cut it for the top part. So, NEW BODICE! Yay!
     I need find the proper shade of red wool to match Boyfriend's tunic. He has already allowed me extensive observation of the garment and gifted my proper regimental buttons, lace, and collar grenades. (Oh, my goodness, I love that boy!) 
     I have decided to stop the garment at the waist, straight in front and a little point in back. This is a feature seen in mess jackets. Look at this picture of Captain Haselemere dancing with the Queen. 

See that little point in the back? That's what I'm going for.
copyright Christopher M. 

     I will be using a heavily modified Laughing Moon Early 1860's Day Dress bodice pattern as a base. The coat sleeves provided in the pattern are a good shape, but a bit big, so I will narrow them a bit. The button placket will be piped with white piping. A little navy wool collar will be added and matching cuffs. The gold lace will go on the collar and cuffs. The buttons and grenades go on last. Here are some photos I got of the tunic for reference:

     It's an original, so it's very old. We think about the 1880's. The wool on these old tunics can survive pretty well if taken care of, but the thread will just rot over time. The thread must be replaced. Boyfriend has done it on his a few times. 
     Oh! I'm excited! I do hope to finish it for Dickens! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Anna Karenina

     So, I finally got my @$$ around to seeing Anna Karenina (the 2011 version with Keira Knightly and Jude Law). EVERY SELF-RESPECTING COSTUMER AND FASHION FANATIC MUST SEE THIS MOVIE. It's porn!! Juicy, fabulous eye candy....
     The movie is done pretty well, too, which is a very nice plus to any costume drama. The costumes are not just beautiful, but they express the characters, story, setting, and development of said plot and characters (weather it was historically-correct or not). In my opinion, it's one of the main aspects that makes or breaks a costume(s). Oh, yes, and of course it won an Oscar for Best Costume. Well deserved.
     I could run through what I loved about each of the costumes individually, but I instead will turn your attention to one particular dress. A very simple, yet striking gown (well, simple compared to the other gowns in the movie). A gown worn by a woman whose attire I and many others are quite used to coveting already.
It is the lavender-periwinkle ballgown wore by none other than Michelle Dockery.
     The chick who play Lady Mary from Downton Abbey. Just in case you need reference.

Lady Mary

     Dockery's character is one of the fine ladies that hangs out in "society" and looks pretty with Anna and all the other rich ladies. Her name is Princess Myagkaya, I believe. But now, the dress...

     Try as I might, it was hard to find a decent shot of the full front of the dress, but I found some fun tumblr gifs.

     I just love the dress. Looks very well made, great silk, great color, great fit, great details. And I love the accessories. Unlike many of Anna's gowns, this one is more historically accurate. You can see the curved seams on the back of the bodice, the hook-and-eye hidden closure, the neckline, the little peplum in the back, and the way skirts are drawn up (most likely attached to ribbons underneath). Also notice the way the bodice is set at the natural waist and the straight front bottom edge . Perfect for the super late 1860's and the first 4 or so years of the 1870's. I also love it, because it gives the illusion that your legs are much longer (which is fun for me, because I'm so short and have little legs!).
     Oooh....makes me want one for myself. And I do want a Bustle Era gown....ahh... The bodice would have to be detachable so I could makes a matching day bodice! PREEETY!!!
     Of Anna's costumes, I did love many of them, especially the ones she wears earlier in the film. Dark, but elegant and very fun. This was one of my favorites...

Costume sketch.

     Love it. But, if you haven't, go see it for yourself. It's a good movie. And for me...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Petti Project Continued

     I did actually do some work on my ruffled and corded petticoat. The cord is just some stuff from Joann's that is super cheap and gets the job done. Nothing fancy.


Close-up of cord.

Pinning cords above a ruffle. Another ruffle went over these cords.
     I got a few ruffles and cords done, but have since decided I will be changing around my design. First, I need more cording rows and more ruffles. Second, a yoked waist. I drew the waistband up with a strong lace at first. I discovered that this left far too much gathered fabric at the waist. All bulky. Ew.
     I will cut up the top part of the petticoat to resemble the method of Truly Victorian's Free Petticoat Diagram. It's still gathered up at the waist, but with less fabric than the bottom, to avoid the bulky top. It also gives more froof to the bell shape we're trying to create with that era of skirts.