Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New American Duchess Shoes Ordered!

     Recent news: I ordered my own pair of American Duchess "Hartfield" Regency boots!!!! So cute!
I got the brown leather pair. (The ivory ones are dyeable, by the way). Part of the Pre-order (reduced price of $148 instead of $168). They should arrive in November-ish. Yay! I'll be able to wear them for at least a portion of Dickens Fair.
     As well as wearing them for Regency costume, I can imagine the style working for plenty of other eras...later Victorian, Edwardian, some places in the 20th century...not to mention for contemporary wear! Really excited Own your pair today at American Duchess.

Now for the pretty...

Hartfield promo banner copyright American Duchess

Hartfields in brown leather copyright American Duchess

     I loved Am-Duch's photo shoot for the boots. Very classy and well-styled. Really reminds me of an Austen heroine (Lizzie Bennet for sure). 

That's all for now, folks!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Single Pocket

     I decided I needed at least one pocket for my Dicken's Fair dress this year. I was tired of having to shove everything in my silly little reticule. This was my first go at pockets and it was an interesting experience. I basically just fudged the whole thing. I'd seen 18th century pockets and then listened to my friend describing her pocket method. I just made it up from there. There's probably an easier way to do it/ more effective.

     The pocket shape. I had some fun red-polka-dotty printed cotton left over from another project. I freely cut this shape (2 of them) and sewed them together on the outside and cutting a slit about halfway down the middle of one of the two pocket panels. Then, I stitched the slits into the right side seam of my skirt, which I had hacked open for a couple of inches at pocket-height.
     The result was an almost-invisible pocket in the right side seam of my red Dickens skirt. It is fairly deep, so I've found I can store quite a bit in there comfortably, like pencils and cell phones. I found this out while sketching at PEERS Pre-Raphaelite Picnic in Alameda a couple weekends ago. I also got to model for the sketching!
     I was playing the part of Effie Ruskin (as asked by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who was running the sketching and is part of Dickens Fair) a muse of the PRB painter John Everett Millais. She was married to the Victorian art critic John Ruskin when she was 19 years old and he was far older. This was later annulled, because their marriage had never been consummated and she went on to marry Millais, after modelling for him for several years.

Effie Gray
painted by Thomas Richmond

     There actually will be a movie coming out about her, which I am quite excited for! Starring Dakota Fanning.

Screenshot from Effie. Scheduled for release in October of 2013.

Friday, August 9, 2013

1827-29 Dress

     Here's an introduction to a project that I have no particular deadline for. It's mostly just musing about a historical dress that has caught my interest. Not quite sure what the final outcome will be, but, without further ado...
     When looking at Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860, you will find the 1827-9 Gloucester Museum wedding dress. Before I had ever laid my eyes on the book, I had had the fantasy of Marie sleeves on a Romantic Era dress swimming around in my mind. Then I saw this dress and was like...DAMN. That is one fine lady. I knew we would have to become friends.

My baby.

     My dad, the fabulous father he is, offered to enlarge pattern page to full scale for me on construction plans-sized paper. Awesome. Now, this was a while back, but I am now finally getting to cutting out the pattern pieces with the added 5/8'' seam allowance.

The pattern, with my little pin cushion.
     I'm not going to bother messing around with the neck yoke and ruffles and skirt gather-decoration-things for now, but I will be using the bodice and sleeve patterns for certain. I hope to fiddle around with them enough to make them normal-people-sized. I've estimated that the sleeves will fit at least my lower arms pretty well. I'm fairly petite, but the bodice will still need some adjusting, seeing as my rib cage is not nearly as tiny as the lucky bride for whom the original dress was made. 
    There is a dress from the BBC series Wives & Daughters that I have lusted over since I first saw the series several years ago. It's the purple tartan one that Molly Gibson wears to dinner. I have heard several negative opinions of the gown, but I BLOODY LOVE IT! The bright tartan, the colors, the cut, the sleeves, the piping, all of it. That being said, the structure of the dress it quite similar to the Gloucester one. Mainly just minus the extra froof (collar, sleeve, and skirt adornments). 

     By the way, in case you haven't guessed, I ADORE the Romantic Era. Yes, the sleeves are huge, the hair is poufy and often resembles bunny ears, and the froof can be crazy...but I love it.

     Keeping that all in mind, I continue on my little project....