Monday, April 14, 2014

Violent Violet: More Progress

     This little dress has been lots of fun for me so far! The colors and shape make me so happy. Since my last post on this dress, I finished the sleeves, replaced the plastic back bones with steel bones, and pleated and attached the skirt.

     For the skirt, I had to futz around a lot to get the shape I was looking for. I'm dating my dress vaguely between 1827-1831. It's when the skirt and sleeves are still a bit small (well, small for the Romantic era). It's flat in the front and full in the back. I couldn't find many sources on this style. I found many fashion plates from the time frame I am aiming for.

     I also referred back to the PoF 1827-1829 dress, but I didn't think I had the patience for the shaped panels or the pleating style. But it did give me the idea of the knife pleats point in towards the skirt front and the cartridge pleats in the back. 

     I found Jennifer Rosbrugh's 1830's "Slytherin" Dress. She had the right idea. Leave a few inches at the center front of the skirt just flat, knife pleat to the sides of the skirt, and then cartridge pleat the back of it. I think it looks great. I was anticipating having to shape some of my skirt panels, but I like this method (much easier).
     Here's my process. For the front panel, I played around with knife pleats, figuring out how many I needed and how deep to make them. I ended up with 4, 1-inch deep pleats on each side of a 6-inch flat front.

In progress pleats.

Pleats pinned to bodice.

     To add some support and structure, I padded the pleats with purple cotton. I sewed the front panel to the two back panels. Then, I cartridge pleated the back, also padded with purple cotton. To prevent the skirt from pulling on the delicate lower edge of the bodice, I used twill tape as a waistband that I later tacked to to the sturdier innards of the bodice.

The pleats turned out a little too tight for my taste, but
I made it work. 

     All of that brought us to where we are now! The hem is just pinned up right now, but will be faced with more cotton for support later. Now, I just need to finish the hem, make and sew on the trim, and make another petticoat and teeny bum pad.

Over and out.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lady Sybil Harem Pant Outfit: Complete!

     A bit of catch-up here. I was "cast" as Lady Sybil Crawley for the PEERS Downton Abbey Ball this past weekend. The ball was being set from about 1916-1920ish. I LOVE Downton Abbey and was so excited to get to play my favorite character. Some people have told me I look very much like her. Hope so!

     I decided to make her iconic Turkish/Harem pant outfit. 19-teens is an era I am not familiar with and there are very little resources on this particular style. I had to figure out a lot by myself. The patterning and construction involved A LOT of fudging and futzing. It wasn't easy trying to reproduce this costume!

 Working on bodice:

     Materials were silk dupioni, silk chiffon, cotton, metallic gold stuff, beaded trim, sequined appliques, metalic-y ribbon, and gold tassels.
     For patterns, I used the Laughing Moon 104 (1909-1913 dress) for the bodice and sleeves. I made a mock-up of the boned underbodice and started slicing it up and altering it until I had what I was aiming for. I did the same thing with the sleeves. The bodice is boned with zip ties (historical accuracy snobs: don't judge me). The back fastens with those wide skirt closure hooks and bars so that I can actually dress myself. The appliques are all hand-stitched on.
     The sleeves and neckline are made from this textured metallic fabric and the sleeves are lined in chiffon.
The pants are a lengthened version of super basic Victorian split-crotch bloomers with the crotch seam closed. I just extended the light pant leg to make the overlap in front. Both legs are lined with light blue cotton. Cuffs fasten with the same hooks as the bodice. The sash ties in a bow in the back with tassels on the ends.
     I also made Sybil's headband. It's not screen-accurate, but it's intended to give a similar look. It's olive stretch velvet with little sequined patch that I beaded over with glass and silver beads. The center blue piece was done by my grandmother years and years ago.


     Now, a couple shots from the ball...

Kaila and I did a Sybil-twinning! It was great to coordinate
 with someone and get their ideas. I wish I'd made my
bodice shorter to match hers, though!
photo copyright Kathy L.
      I wore my American Duchess "23 Skidoo" Spectator shoes to the ball! Love them.
Also, check out our Pinterest research board:
And here's Kaila's blog:

The Crawley sisters! And cousin Rose!
photo copyright Christopher K.
     If more photos come out, I will post them! It was a good night. Lots of great Ragtime/Deco music and lots of great costumes.
     As for my outfit, I have a few things I'd like to fix, but I'm still pretty happy with it. I had fun. And that's the point.