Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dames a la Mode Jewelry

     Dames a la Mode is having a giveaway and it reminded me that I should mention how IN LOVE I am with her jewelry. I was first introduced to the lovely owner/jewelry maker at Costume College 2015, when I purchased some big, sparkly ruby earrings.

Hard to see, but I am wearing the earrings
to match my sash!
Photo by Vivien L.

     She is very kind and has wonderful prices for wonderful jewelry. My friend Laurie actually lent me a set of pink earrings and matching Collet necklace by Dames a la Mode to wear as a lady in waiting to Queen Victoria at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. They made me feel like a princess!

That's me in the plaid!
Photo by Tavan Photography.
     These are a pair of her earrings that I want....

Fuschia Pink Rhinestone Earrings

 Check the shop out! It's addictive. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

1915 Pearl Ball Gown

     Yes, I have tons to catch up on (Costume College and tons of other projects). For now, here's my 1915 "Pearl" ball gown that I made to wear over my 1910s corset and to the 2015 Costume College Gala.

Photo credit to Vivien Lee!
     Thank you, Vivien, for the lovely photo! I think you were the only one that snagged a shot of me. Please check out Vivien's blog. She has awesome photos from CoCo:
     I really should get more views of it. I've realized that it really limits the perception of garments (naturally a 3D form) when I don't show all sides of it. 
     There's a little story behind this dress. The first time I wore it, it was for a ball in April and it was not finished! It looked pretty awful... But I still had a good time. 

Grainy photo taken by sweet Boyfriend.

Our little themed group!

     It was a bit of a mess at first wearing. Here are the making details: 
Inspiration Images: 

     My materials were silk chiffon, silk organza, cotton sateen, cotton muslin, and silk (I think) shantung. All in varying shades of ivory. I tea and coffee dyed some of the fabrics that were too white. 
     I used the underbodice pattern from the Laughing Moon 1909-1913 dress pattern. I hacked it up a bit and put on straps of silk to replace the sleeves in the pattern. It is made from silk shantung and flatlined with cotton sateen. The back fastens with large hooks and bars. It is unboned. 

     I gathered and sewed a cotton underskirt that was about 3.5 yards wide onto a twill tape waistband. Then, I sewed 1 gathered yard of silk organza onto the front of the waistband to serve as the "under apron". The top skirt layer was the silk shantung, which was left open in the front to reveal the organza "under apron". 

     Then, I hand sewed the skirt to the bodice. You can see the bare bones of the dress below. 

     At this point, I draped some silk chiffon over the should straps and gathered them over the shoulder point. Then, I free-form pleated them over the bodice and tacked them down by hand. Below shows the unfinished-but-wearable state that I first wore the dress. It looks...unfinished. I hope to never do that again. 

     Now, to finishing this sucker! I fixed some of the chiffon overlay and tacked some vintage lace to the neckline. Then, I added a proper placket to the back of the skirt and began draping the shantung layer of the bodice. I was very inspired by the drapery in this image: 

     And here is my drapery. It still needed to be ironed down. I hand-tacked everything down. 

     I worked the drapery all the way around to the back and managed to conceal the underbodice hook and bar closure by making the drapery partly detachable in the back and cover the opening. I was proud of the little thread loop I made to daintily fasten the drapery. I'll post proper photos of that later.

     Then, I started beading the bodice. I don't know anything about beading, so I was really just sewing pearls onto fabric. I chose small and large natural pearls. I think there's something sexy about 
the ridges and forms of pearls that have not yet been polished into spheres.

     I sewed pearls following the lines of the shantung drapery. The photo above shows them only on one half of the bodice, but I put them on both sides. I love the effect so much that I think I want to add even more! 
     I don't have any more photos, but I promise to post more when I get good and proper photos of all angles of the dress.
Over and out.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I went to Europe!

     I went to Europe! I hopped between London, Paris, and Berlin. Berlin was just spur-of-the-moment and totally awesome. I will go into detail later, but here are some quick snaps for now. Not all in chronological order. 


Inside the Victoria & Albert Museum

The V&A costume collection.

A dress I have been lusting over for years.

The British Museum.

A 1940's swing party I went to.

My last night in London.


Boat ride on the Seine.

Some weird tower. ;)

The d'Orsay Museum.

Self-portrait of Vincent Van Gough.


Hanging out by the Brandenburg Gate.

Outdoor swing dancing by the Spree River.

I had a wonderful time and so many important experiences, but I am glad to be home now!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1910s Corset Complete!

     Playing some catch-up here. I finished my art school finals and only now have some time to sit down and blog. Here's my experience with my 1910s corset.
     I've realized that I have SO much to learn about corsetry, but I still had a fun time with this corset.
Progress pics:

My busk put in.

Sewing the bone channels. Even though I basted the
channels, I missed parts of the edges as I machine-
sewed them. Grr...

Boning channels and waist tape in. I now wish
I had used petersham or grosgrain ribbon
instead of twill tape for the waist. 

Putting in some eyelets.

Still eyelet-ting.

     Once I finished the eyelets, I shoved some steel bones in their casings (some were too short, but oh well) and stitched the ends up to prevent them from sliding to the bottom of the casings. I tried it on to make sure things were going okay. 

     Not too bad for my second corset EVER. Next, I bound the top and bottom edges in bias tape. 

That's a lot of pins...

     Then, I put some antique lace around the top edge and assembled the garters. Once those were stitched on, it was time to lace the corset up over some pizza and watching Firefly with Boyfriend. 

Yep. I put it on my legs.
Actually, a great way to lace corsets when they're not on a body.

Yeah. It's awful lighting, but I was just so
excited to have it done.
     There are definitely many things I wish I had done better/differently and mistakes made. Yet, I am very proud of myself. 
     In terms of historical accuracy, the bust is cut a little high, at the mid-bust, which is verging on not a historically-accurate shape. Most corsets of the this time period were either underbust or almost underbust, providing very little breast support. There are a few original 1910s corsets out there, like the one below, that have an uncommonly high top edge. 

     This mid-bust height is a much earlier style, as seen in Victorian corsets. I am assuming that the wearer of this extant corset decided to adopt the long-line hips, but wanted actual bust support, so decided to ignore the fashion for the slightly droopy bust shape left over from the "pigeon breast" fad of the 1900s. 
That's just my guess for the styling of this corset. 
     So, inspired by the stylings of this corset, I opted for a slightly raised and better-supported breast, even though I did sacrifice the desired silhouette of the period.  
     Later, I found this 1910s-era photo of a lady and felt that her bust looked a bit more supported and angular than those I had seen in other photographs of the time. What do you think? Sorta? Maybe her posture is just super good.

     Anyways, I'm already thinking of changes for my next 1910s corset. First, more waist reduction and roomier hips. Then, still a supported bust, but I more rounded shape akin to those of the early Victorian era when corsets were just intended to support the breasts in a natural position. And now I'm rambling...

Over and out.