Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT - Faux Florentine and Faux Venetian

Another Thursday, another Throwback. As I mentioned last week, my interest in historical costuming started with the renn faire, so my early things were all renn wear. Both of these dresses were inspired by Jen Thompson of Festive Attyre, though they are pale imitations of her amazing work.

The first one is a Florentine dress of sorts made for my sister in late 2004. I thought I was all sorts of authentic, but again with the questionable construction choices. The fabric itself is 100% dead dinosaur and the guards are velvet polyester ribbon. Why? I don't even know.

Anyway, here are some in progress pictures of attaching the guards.

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These pieces were then attached to the hemp boned lining, making this dress super hot. Literally, it's very toasty to wear.

I made two sets of sleeves to be tied on, one bell shaped and one fitted. They were intended to be worn together, but I don't think my sister ever did because of the aforementioned heat issue. They were pretty cool though.

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I also made a camicia out of cheap muslin from Joanns with red embroidery at the neckline. All machine sewn because that's how I used to roll.

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Anyway, here are finished pictures of dubious quality.

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The dress by itself

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On my sister

Oh, and I made a necklace!

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Finally, in 2005, I whipped up this Venetian dress for my sister's friend so that she and my sister could attend the faire together as Italian "cousins." I made it so quickly there are no construction pictures - I literally made it in two days from discount brocade and quilting cotton purchased from Joanns. Yay?

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And the two together

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I learned a lot about fitting and construction between making the Cranach and these two gowns, but seriously, what did I have against natural fibers? Also, it took a long time to get over my bag lining thing. Anyway, happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Raspberry Truffle

My eldest child started middle school today so to distract myself from feeling old, I'm posting about old fashioned clothing. It makes sense in my head. Let's round out my 1850s obsession with the Raspberry Truffle.

I don't have in-progress pictures of this dress because it was made between January 3, 2011 and January 14, 2011. I posted a question on LiveJournal about what fabric to use for this dress on the 3rd and flew out to the event on the 14th. For those of you keeping track at home, that's 11 days from idea to completion. Oh, and to complicate things, it was the end of the first semester at school so I was up to my ears in grading. I am insane.

The event was a Victoriana tea and even though I already had dresses to wear, I just had to have something new. This was my inspiration:

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I didn't really have anything in my stash to make a full dress, so I decided an early 1850s jacket and petticoat was the way to go. The jacket was a brown 100% wool suiting I had in my stash from a lucky Joanns find and was lined with a reproduction red and white cotton print. The petticoat was a length of red silk taffeta my friends had bought for me in the fabric district in 2008. The only thing I bought specifically for this project was some braided trim. Go me!

 The bodice was modified from the Laughing Moon Ladies Round Gown pattern, which I'd previously used for a cotton day dress. I added the skirts to it by extending the bodice down into triangular pieces, making a mock up, and futzing with it on my dress form. There is a vertical dart that runs close to the center front and a horizontal dart at the waist. Despite the waist dart, I still got a wacky wrinkle in the skirt. Clearly I didn't have time to fix it for the original event, but I did for Costume College 2011.

The petticoat is just three lengths of fabric pleated to a waistband. I faced the hem with white muslin, but otherwise there's nothing exciting about the petticoat at all.

Since this dress was made in such a hurry, I continued the time honored tradition of sewing at the event. Actually, I fixed some terrible cartridge pleats for Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale while she finished sewing down binding/hems on mine.

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Why is my hair always questionable? Picture from JennyLaFleur

I wore the dress over my chemisette and undersleeves from the Fringed Fabulosity.

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Sewing trim down before putting the jacket on. Again, photo from JennyLaFleur

I really do love the way this dress came together and the way it looked when my hair was corralled into something fairly decent.

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After the tea party, we went exploring in the woods. I just love this picture of the dress in action:

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And this one:

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Both photos courtesy of Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Fringed Fabulosity

I have the tendency to look at costume inspiration sources and pick the most ridiculous dress imaginable to make. This is why things like The Portrait Dress and my bloomer dress exist. I love being silly in costume so when Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale found a ridiculous 1840s fashion plate, I knew I had to be the buttoned up matron to her slutty French cousin. Thus, today's post is about the Fringed Fabulosity.

The fashion plate that started it all:

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Aubry wanted the one on the left, and I was consumed with lust for the ridiculous fringed one on the right. I had to have it!

The dress is something like 8 yards of green silk taffeta with a million yards, give or take a few, of cream fringe. I bought it in bulk from Cheap Trims because of the million yards issue. The skirt is just a rectangle with 12 rows of fringe sewn on. That sucker's heavy, let me tell you.

I marked the lines the same way I did for the Striped Monstrosity, pinned it, and prayed. In two days, I went from this:

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To this:

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I swear I do clean my sewing room sometimes.

Feeling good about my life, I went on to bodice mock ups. And abruptly slammed into a brick wall of utter frustration.

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Boo! Hiss!

I don't have pictures of the final mock up, but I do know that after about five tries, I threw up my hands and moved on. That collar was the bane of my existence. I made the dang thing anyway, though you can tell by my initial try on, I was less than pleased.

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In retrospect, I really should have lined the collar with something that would give it a bit more body, but I knew nothing about tailoring and had never attempted a shawl collar. It could have been much worse, really. I finished the bodice with bias tape made from the green silk and a bunch of vintage mother-of-pearl buttons that I'd bought at Costume College the previous year.

The dress itself is worn over my corded petticoat, a three-flounced petticoat, and a single flounced petticoat. It gave a subtle bell shape, but it really could have had more umph to it. I have determined that fashion plates lied about the shape of 1840s skirts.

So yeah, I didn't make the dumb little cap thing, but I did make a new chemisette and undersleeves from a floaty cotton lawn. When I wore the whole thing put together at Costume College, I fell in love with it and decided I loved it, flaws and all. Aubry and I carried around the fashion plate and perfected the pose so we were pretty much insufferable the whole day. It was awesome!

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Photos courtesy of JennyLaFleur

A close-up of the bodice, chemisette, and my hair:

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Photo courtesy of Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale

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This dress was heavy, man. Seriously.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fall 2014 Costume Plans

While I'm enjoying writing blog posts about old projects - honestly, who knew I put so much work into the Striped Monstrosity - I do have a couple of new projects on the horizon. Since all the cool kids are doing it, I'll chat about what I have planned. First up? The Rad Redingote.

The fabric:

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I bought this blue/cream shot silk taffeta in the fabric district during Costume College for a steal and I absolutely love it. The only problem is I only have a bit under 4 yards of it since I bought all that was left on the bolt.

The plan:


I want the redingote on the right in the picture above. I'm thinking that I will either have to piece or simplify the collar a bit because of how little fabric I have. Either way, I already have a sheer petticoat to wear with it and some of the silk gauze from Burnley and Trowbridge for the neck-handkerchief.

The best part? I've commissioned the lovely Amy of Creative Chaos to make death's head buttons for me! Forget the rest of the dress - buttons are where it's at.

My deadline is October 16th. Time to go pull out my trusty 18th century block.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Striped Monstrosity

In case you haven't noticed, I'm posting about my older costumes in 100% random order. I will happily take suggestions for what to feature next. I'm saving all my really embarrassing things for Throwback Thursdays and Ghetto Fridays though! Anyway, today's post is about the Striped Monstrosity.

Aw, 2010. The year of my intense 1850s obsession. I blame this dress, but more specifically, I blame this fabric and Katherine of The Fashionable Past. This fabric is the fabric dreams are made of. If this fabric was a person, I'd take it to Vegas and marry it. It's a light blue silk taffeta with gold satin stripes and Katherine made me buy it in the fabric district in 2009. It cried out to be a fluffy cupcake dress.

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Seriously cutting into this felt like a betrayal.

My main inspiration for the skirt was this fashion plate, with sleeves and bodice from an extant dress in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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I made a foundational skirt out of plain blue taffeta and marked where I wanted my flounces using tailor's chalk. I then cut along the stripes to make three flounces. Each of those flounces is hemmed by hand, as is the foundational skirt even though NO ONE would ever see that hem. I feel that this dress alone redeems all my Ghetto Friday projects.

I also ran a channel with a cord (by hand!) along the top of the bottom two flounces to gather up to fit the foundational skirt. Luckily, my friends talked me out of attaching the flounces to the skirt by hand, though it was a close thing. The top flounce was cartridge pleated with the top of the skirt onto the waistband.

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The trial run and the final flounce. Picture on the right by JennyLaFleur

It took two tries to get the bodice right because I was being uncharacteristically fussy about it. The first draft was from an aborted attempt at the Huge Pink Ballgown and was terrible because that dress is cursed.

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Gross.

After a few tweaks, I got this:

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Aw yiss! Look at that barely restrained smirk at the perfection of my fit.

So of course I had to obsessively place my pattern pieces in order to deliberately place my stripes. Because I went temporarily insane. I blame Katherine, because it was clearly her influence.

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What even is this madness? Photos courtesy of JennyLaFleur

That piping on the bodice? Hand made from the skirt taffeta and yarn. No big deal. Of course, I went to Costume College without finishing the eyelets, so this was a thing that happened.

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Whatevs. It got done. Guess where this picture comes from. Yep, JennyLaFleur

To tie the whole thing together, I bought a headdress from Mela Hoyt-Heydon in the marketplace. I was very excited about it.

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A wild Mint Chip is spotted

So there you have it. The Striped Monstrosity was my giant cupcake dress and I love it still. Someday I will find another place to wear it.

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Bonus: Aubry scolding me at the Gala for trying to hand sew on my flounces

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Ghetto Friday - The 60s Mod Snow White

I'm starting a new thing to follow Throwback Thursday - Ghetto Friday! I am the undisputed queen of last minute ghetto fabulous projects so I'm going to highlight them on Fridays. First up is the 60s Mod Snow White.

In 2012, there was a group of people making Disney costumes for the Costume College Ice Cream Social and I wanted in on that action. Originally, I wanted to make this dress:

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But soon ran out of time for that business. In the course of researching that gown though, I came across fan art of a 60s Mod version of Snow White. I haven't been able to find it since, but the idea stuck in my mind.

With this inspiration, I put this dress together in no time at all from 100% polyester satin from Joanns. Behold!

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Both pictures courtesy of Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale

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Aurora and Snow White
Picture courtesy of Amy of Creative Chaos

So ghetto. So fabulous. It's what I do best. Happy Friday!