Monday, November 30, 2009

Productive weekend

Well this weekend I managed to stay busy but was still able to work on my new day gown. The skirt base is finished. And if I do run out of time it is pretty enough that I don't have to add a ruffle or trim.

In this picture it is just pinned to my dummy and not hemmed yet.
I had already cut and interlined my bodice pieces and so I began the darting and pinning together process. I epic failed at matching my stripes.

I wanted the nice blue stripe straight down the back. I am trying to decide if I want to recut the side pieces to match the back a bit better. That is the most likely scenario as of right now. 

Straight line in the back equals slanted lines in the front and not in a cool chevron sort of way either. The good news though is that it fits nicely over the corset and that although I may have developed an intense adversion to stripes I think I am over my bodice phobias.
I have time to mess around with it I would like to wear to Dicken's in a couple of weeks but no overshoadowing deadline and I am enjoying the process.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day Gown Progress

My pattern arrived last week for the 1861 Dress Bodice from Truly Victorian. I do have to say that I have worked with several of their patterns before and have never been dissapointed. Bodices for some reason are my cryptonite though. This is generally for two reasons: one I have absolutely no patience so I tend to leave out important steps such as mock-ups and two they just scare me for some reason so I end up putting them off for as long as possible which then leaves me rushing to finish.

This pattern however looks to be as easy as they get and in all fairness I have been able to complete a few decent Renaisssance Bodices this past year. So it was time to suck it up. I began by being a good little seamstress and I cut and sewed a mock up complete with the darts and such in order to check the fit of the pattern. Which it turns out is a really good thing since the shoulders were each off by about an inch.
Alas though my camera was nowhere to be found so no pictures of the exciting fitting of the mock up.

I have also decided that stripes are the enemy. I am incredibly OCD about plaids and stripes matching up. This bodice has darts so... stripes in the front are going to be squished. Also in order to have a nice straight stripe pattern in the back, that means the stripes in the front will either not match at the shoulders or be a bit slanted. Luckily I bought a lot of this fabric so I am doing the bodice and if I hate it, I can cut it again and try the stripes in a different way.

Today I am hand sewing the interlining to the fashion fabric. I usually machine baste it, however this was causing the fabric to pucker a little bit and I really don't want to take any risks with it that could end up making it look cruddy. I usually interline with canvas, however I opted for just the cotton on this bodice because I wanted the fabric to flow a little differently. This first go is kind of my expensive mockup, if it doesn't work out then at least I'll be learning.

I am hoping to get a lot of work on this completed this holiday weekend. No pics for this post because they're kind of boring of just fabric sitting pinned. Next one though...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1560's Florentine Gown Progress

So since the Irish Ionar has been put on hold while I scavage for needles for my dinasour sewing machine and I have not started on my new Victorian since I am waiting for my patterns to arrive. I decided to work on my Florentine Gown a little bit. This gown was actually inspired by several in Moda a Firenze. This book is full of extremely drool worthy pages of Renaissance Fashion from 1540-1580 mostly focusing on Florence. Most notably of course are the gowns of Eleanor Toledo who was responsible for a great many of the fashion changes in Florence during her time. I used the the Florentine gown from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion as a guide and resource.

This gown kind of came to life on it's own. I found the fabric at Ikea in the convenient form of velvet curtains. I was actually scoping the Blue which I had planned on using for my Tudor gown but ended up as Robert's coat for Gaskell's and rouching on my 1870's ball gown. However as I saw the green Clint, (a friend who I will mention often in this blog because he encourages me and listens to my gripes in my sewing endeavors) mentioned that the color was close to the color of patina on copper as it ages. So I bought the package just incase somthing copper came around because copper is one color one does not see much of at fair.
Not long after I happened upon some copper metalic trim. I decided to layer the trim on top of black velvet trim to achieve a deeper look.

This was also my first attempt at draping a pattern or even not using a commercial pattern.

Bodice mock up number 3 or 4 in my lovely yellow calico cotton fabric.

And this is where I had left it. I decided to leave the skirt with the option to be worn open incase I ever decided to make an underskirt and a different styled bodice. So I added hooks and eyes all the way down to keep it closed for it's Florentine look. The red is my tudor peticote peeking out. Shortly after getting this far I shifted my fair focus to my son's vauting team and spent a couple of faires with the Irish. So my poor Florentine gown was relegated to a box with other unfinished garb. Until Halloween Gaskells....

For the Oct Gaskells I had nothing to wear... no really. I had spent all of my sewing time on Robert's costume which he looked adorable in, so I had not finished my costume. So I was going to fake it and go wearing an old fairy gown from 10 years ago or so. Then my friend Maricica saw the green velvet of the bodice sticking out and suggested I wear it. So I figured it is Oct Gaskells, anything goes.

Here we are at Gaskells, I was suprised by how comfortable it was and by how many people really liked it.
So now that I have brought everything up to date what is missing from this gown are sleeves and the net or partlet.
I began the sleeves last week before my house was taken over by several dear friends from various parts of this country and Canada and to my great dismay all that was left of my green velvet was scraps.

Literally just scraps, I was able to salvage 3 pieces big enough to actually make sleeve panels and the rest I pieced together. Pieceing is completely historically accurate and yet I hate doing it. But I also could not think of any other creative way to make sleeves, a completely different fabric or color would throw the whole gown off.

I used the paned sleeve pattern from Margo Anderson, I used it on my Blue gown and really liked the results.
After I complete the sleeves I will move on to the net. Here is a pic of what I would like mine to look like.

I also intend to make the matching caul. You can also see in this portrait the general style favored by Eleanor Toledo. The single shoulder poof, solid color base with gold embroidered trim. This image also illustrates the layering effect of the period. You can see her chemise with blackwork peeking up under the gown with the net over it tucked into the gown. Notice also that unlike many of the other European fashions of the time or English fashions, the gown is fairly simple. It is the simple elegence of the Florentine fashion that drew me to wishing to make one for myself.
Here is the fabric that I bought for the net and caul. This is silk I found  quite by chance on one of our LA excursions.

Now just picture it with pearls at the crosspoints....

So that is where I am with the Florentine gown. I hope to complete it by the end of December. So more shall follow. Next post will be about my 1850's gown for Dicken's Faire, I am anxiously awaiting my patterns.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dicken's Fair is Fast Approaching

I have been so good. I have my list of unfinished projects which have all been waiting so patiently for me to complete them. I have been working on each in turn, some require hand sewing and others require new needles or other small things. Then the other day I realized that Dicken's Fair is in just a few short weeks. I don't work Dicken's Faire, however I do like to make it out at least a couple of times each year. Last year I had made plans for some ambitious projects, I really wanted a bloomers outfit. However I did not get a chance to really start anything. And now here is it the middle of November and I only have my old gown.

Here is my current gown. I've had it for about 10 years and when I got it it was already older. I did not sew it, it was given to me by my god-mother. Over all it definately does the job.

I do love the obnoxious lime green velvet trim. The picture does not really show off the Pagoda styled sleeves.
I have decided that I really would like a new 1850's ish day gown. Here are some pics that I am enjoying for inspiration.

I'm not a huge fan of the fronts of these however I do love the trim detail work.

My waist can not possibly get this small, for some reason I just like the simplicity of this one.

I really like this one. It is from the 1860's and I am finding that I like the style of sleeves on this one and the square neckline.
I do know that I will not be going with Pagoda sleeves for this project. The fabric I have chosen is striped and I am considering if I have enough to do a founced ruffle at the bottom with the stripes pointed at a diagnal. I have seen this used in several fashion plates but was unable to find them again. If I happen upon any good illustrations I will be sure to post them.

Here is the fabric I have chosen. I found this last year on my first LA trip.

This project is scheduled to be started next week since I will be out of town this weekend. I need to find and settle on a pattern atleast to give me a foundation to work from. I am liking the TrulyVictorian one here.

I will need to see how it works with the stripes. Probably alter it a bit, but it will give me a base to start with.
In the meantime Anton's hat is getting my hand sewing time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Elusive Irishman's Kit

Progress on Ash's new Irish Garb
Progress on Ash's new Irish Garb Ash started out the season with a borrowed plaid and shirt and several sharp pointy objects. After a few faires he decided that he would like an Irish outfit for himself. I come into this because Ashlin bought me my sewing machine in return for me being his sewing slave. :D
Ash's first Faire outfit. Valhalla 2008

Part one as I mentioned in a previous post is the leine or Irish shirt. These are unique from other nationalities from the time period due to their enormous sleeves. However not as enormous as they have been portrayed in recent history with huge drawstrings and such. Ash's Leine went together very easily, simple white linen and I bought the pattern from

Finished Leine, I have no idea why oh why I have no pics of him in it at Folsom Faire. He has requested a closure of sorts to be added to the front, other than that it fit the bill.
Next was the Ionar. Sigh and that is where I am temporarily stuck. We bought the fabric in LA, and he chose good wool in dark blue, coat weight wool. My poor Singer did not like 4 layers of coat weight wool and expressed this too me with broken needles. Everything is done with the exception of attaching the skirting to the body...
Here is my normal sewing maching, nothing fancy, gets the jobs done.

Couldn't do it, so we called in Big Bertha...

Let me introduce you to Big Bertha, a 1951 machine which my father and sister both swear can sew through anything, including fingers. Took half a day for my friend Clint to figure out how to work her. Now I need to find needles and give it a go. If it works then Ash will have a completed ionar to complete his Irish look, and I will have one more project marked off my list.