Saturday, April 27, 2013

My First 1930's Dress

     I finished my Moon Lady dress. Yay! I'll be wearing it to the Gaskell Ball this weekend in Oakland by Lake Merritt. More yays!
     I used Decades of Style's 1930's day dress as a base pattern. I altered the heck out of it. And roughly. I'm a rookie with alterations and in costuming in general. I made a mockup, literally just cut where I wanted the neckline changed (like the U-ish shape in the back), took it apart, and used it as the final pattern. For the skirt, I just eyeballed it it terms of alterations when I was cutting it out in the final fabric. I basically just extended the length on the skirt and made it grow wider at the hem (the pattern originally had the hem fall around mid-calf, but a bit longer on me, because I'ma shrimp). The fabric it a lovely silver cotton silk, 55% silk, 45% cotton. I think. Maybe it's the other way around. Anyhow, it has the brilliant sheen to it and it drapes really nicely.
     I faced the neckline with the dame fabric and hand finished the sleeves and hem as the pattern instructed. Not too bad for my first time with that. The whole dress is hand sewn. I think I was just worried my machine would muss up the fabric, but I actually don't think that would have been an issue. The cotton content makes it great to work with, not so slippery. I used an invisible zipper, which I do not believe is period correct, but it worked okay in terms of hand sewing it in and I've decided to stick to snaps and plackets in the future with Deco-era clothes. Or not-invisible zippers.
     The pictures really don't rock my world. I was having a bad hair and face day, so that didn't help. The pics really don't do the dress justice. Maybe I'll get better ones at Gaskell.

     For a basic 1930's evening gown, I think this is a win. Nothing fancy, just simple. And that's how I like it. I'm not big on embellishments or patterns or decorations, so this baby is my cuppa tea. I think I'll make a sash with a big droopy bow in the back for it, though. Just a touch of cutesy.
     And I'm out...

My Dickens Dress

     So, I participate in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in the San Francisco Cow Palace. It's a bloody good time. This past season was my second and I had a new character, so I had to make a new costume. I was originally going for late 1830's, but it just ended up being a frickin mish-mash of eras and styles. The costume directors want us to keep our costumes to the bell-era (roughly 1842-1864). My deviating dress style kind of bothers me, but I'm proud of the learning experience and still had a great time.
     I found a decent bright red cotton sateen at Joann's and set to work. I had limited time and I hate working under pressure, but that's how it went. I got all this inspiration for the sleeves from late Regency fashion for the puff sleeves, but I wish I'd just stuck with the slopping shoulders of the mid-Victorian era. I used Laughing Moon's Early 1860's Day Dress for the bodice pattern, but altered it a lot, obviously. For the skirt-the basics. Just two panels of fabric cartridge pleated onto a waistband. I really do like cartridge pleats. I padded them a bit with just a layer of cotton folded under them. Dunno if I like the effect still. It does give me some nice hips, seeing as I lack in that department in actual anatomy.
     Through the run of Fair, I switched between wearing a weird modern crinoline-poufy-thing, a small hoop, and a corded petticoat under the skirt. The crinoline was crap, kept getting weighed down. I think my material is a little heavy, though. The hoop was nice, but I don't like how much room it takes up backstage and for sitting and such. I only got the corded petticoat done like halfway through the run, so it didn't get as much use, but I like the effect best. I didn't starch it, so it did cause my skirts to droop a little bit, but I plan to supplement that next year by making a bum pad and starching and maybe a ruffled petticoat in a stiff fabric on top of the corded. I really like the shape of skirts in the 1840's, so that's what I'll go for.
                            Enough talk, here are the photos. I decided to use this dress for my Concentration, because, what the hey, might as well. One less dress to make.

I fixed the hem shortness later.

Me want my skirt poufier...

Period-correct faux-button closure. Hooks and eyes!

What lies underneath...
                      That's all for this little dressy for now, folks. All in all, good learning experience!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Quick and Dirty Regency Dress

     I had a Regency ball I went to a while back and I, not owning a single article of Regency clothing, set out to make a quick, simple dress. I also needed another dress for my Concentration, so it all worked out. I don't particularly like Regency, but felt it was worth the learning experience.
     My mom got me these blue, synthetic taffeta-like curtains a while ago. God, I love her. So thoughtful. She thought I could make something fun out of them. I don't usually go for synthetics, but these worked perfectly! Thanks, Mom, you're the best!
     I vaguely used the pattern for the 1806-09 from Janet Arnold's book. It's a pretty good size for me (5'1'' here), but the shoulders/decolletage of the original wearer of the gown must have been very wide-set indeed. The only part of the pattern I really used was the back pieces for that classic Regency style and the gathering detail of the front.
     I used a little Romantic-era blouse I made ages ago. One of my first sort of learning pieces. The overalls style is something I've seen in a few fashion plates and period pieces, so I figured it was relatively historical. I think it's cute as hell, anyway. It's all hand-sewn, which is historical as %$*@, so that's a plus.

                                                                Ta-da! Yay! Finita!