Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Completed 16th Century Stays

I really wanted to document the making of this, however moving and then losing my camera made that difficult. So, here it is. Silk outer and bias binding, Linen lining, canvas interlining, plastic boning, wooden busk.
These came together very well. I even hand sewed the eyelets. I wish I had gone ahead and followed the pattern for the tabs, because they are more far apart than I would like. But overall it was a good and useful experience.
I intend to make 18th century stays with the same fabrics, only the lighter as the body, and the trim and stomacher out of the darker.
Now that I have a work room and am mostly settled in the new house I can make more and post more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Camera = New Posts on the way

In February I went to Florida on a business trip and ended up sacrificing my digital camera to the Atlantic Ocean. After that I moved and have not really worked on anything sewing related. However, I have now bought a new digital camera and am anxiously awaiting its arrival this Friday so that I can begin to show my new work room, new scary industrial sewing machine, and projects of course. So, stay tuned, I am hoping to have an actual sewing related post up this weekend. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pulp Fashion at the Legion of Honor -Review-

This past weekend I was able to get together with a few of my fellow costumer friends and view the
 "Pulp Fashion" Exhibit at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco. We were not permitted to take pictures of the exhibit, so I am only posting a couple of pictures from their publicity photos.
Here is the link to the exhibit for any who are interested in seeing it.

On to the review:

This exhibit was interesting and wonderful. First, all of the fashion is made of paper. My first thought at seeing the various gowns represented was "wow, I can't even do this with fabric..." The textiles are painted and even the lace was made of thin wispy paper and there were ruffs cut from cardboard. Layers of paint were used  to achieve depth and to create the patterns on some of the painted textiles. There were some pieces where we all huddled closely to the gown and had to examine parts to make sure it was really paper.

Second, there was a huge variety of time periods represented. Most of the gowns represented are fairly well known gowns that I've only been able to experience through portraits, fashion plates, and in some cases pretty pictures from other collections. Some of my absolute favorites from both 16th century and 19th century were there looking splendid. Being able to see a 3-D representation of the gowns in life size was really interesting even not being made of actual fabric they still brought inspiration and ideas for how to create some of the styles. There were also accessories including hats, shoes, hair pieces, and jewelry all made from paper.
Granted of course being made of paper there are aspects that were not brought to life and some of the ensembles had carefully crafted jewels of paper and some just had jewels painted on. The same can be said for some of the trims, some were carefully constructed out of separate pieces and some were more like cut out pictures added to the gown. As a lovely extra treat, on the walls were some authentic textile samples as well as a few pieces of 16 century lace which added some flavor and additional interest to the rest of the exhibit 
Overall it made for a lovely outing, the Legion of Honor itself is amazing even the cafe had good food. If you have the time I would recommend a day trip to San Francisco and The Legion of Honor.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fabric for the 16th Century Stays

I realized this weekend while I finished up on patterning the stays that I really did not have any decent linen for lining. I thought about lining them with silk but I just have a nasty feeling that they might be a bit slidy and besides, I really like linen for lining. So while I wait for my order of "ginger" colored linen to come in I figured I could at least show the wonderful fabric I am working with.

The fabric on the left is a lovely shot silk taffeta and I will use it for binding.

I will most likely have the pattern upside down from this.
So now I wait for the linen and then I cut into this lovely silk and hope for the best.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day One 16th Century Stays

Having chosen Simplicity pattern 2621 for my first attempt at new stays I proceeded to measure myself and cut out the appropriate size. I always trace my patterns onto painters plastic first thing. I do this extra step for a couple of reasons, one the plastic is much more durable than paper so I can pin it and fold it without destroying it. Also because then I can just make my size without actually cutting into the pattern which allows me to use the pattern later or loan it to friends.

Traced pieces that are difficult to see, but here it is. The pattern itself is fairly basic, only 3 pieces. Front cut on a fold, side and back, then the tabs. This is where I had to veer from the pattern itself. The pattern has you cut the tabs separately then attach at the waist. I really debated with myself on this because I wanted to be faithful to the pattern but I know that to hold the weight of the skirt I will be making, the tabs will need to be strong and a seam line right at the waist sounds very uncomfortable. And so I used my trusty plastic and sharpy and redrew the tabs so they are part of the pattern pieces as a whole.

Next I cut the mock up out of canvas.
Here is the front view.

Back view with the boning guides transferred to the fabric. I extended them down into the tabs. Obviously there will be a lot more boning, these are just the guides to get one started.
So far it seems that this will give the appropriate shape for the rest of the outfit, the fit is good, taking into consideration that boning will change the way it fits. Next I will complete the mock up, make any changes that I need to the pattern and then start cutting into some fantastic silk.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New 16th Century Garb

First, the polonaise is still coming along, I have gotten to the tedious slow part of sewing in the boning to the bodice and then I will finish the back with a couple bows, once that is completed I will post pictures. I took my time on the project and enjoyed it greatly I had no event in mind to wear it to so it has been my "go-to" project. I will most likely wear it to the Old Sacramento Easter Bonnet Promenade this upcoming April. Of course that means I need a truly fantastic hat to go with it. So, we'll see.

So onto a new project.

I have had a 16th century doublet gown in mind for well almost 10 years now. Ever since my mom bought me several yards of dark green velvet that was on sale at a fabric store in Reno. The design has been there in my mind and then changed a bit once I got my hands on Moda a Firenze 1540-1580. This book is full of lovely portraits and lodes of inspiration for the lover of renaissance fashion. Here are a couple of examples  of 16th century doublets that I am using for inspiration.
The riding habit from Shakespeare in Love. Though not a historical outfit, I do really like the doublet in general. I plan to have my skirt be a yellow tapestry fabric that took me forever to find. So this image Gives an idea of having the doublet different from the skirt.
 Portrait of a Noblewoman
Lavinia Fontanai, 1580
I enjoy the gold embroidery on this one. I do not plan to have my front in the open style however this portrait is one that I find myself coming back to over and over again.

So, why the new gown? Does a costumer need a reason. Sometimes we do, especially when we lack time to do all the things that we would love to do. I have a dear friend who is getting married in April. Since I mainly spend my time at Faire playing Irish I have not been able to justify putting together another nobles outfit. This wedding is going to be themed and garb is appreciated so Bingo I now have an excuse/reason to spend time on a new gown that will not get a lot of wearing but one that I would like to have anyway.

I have decided to start with a new set of stays/corset. I have decided to use a commercial pattern and review it as I sew it. I started this past weekend and will upload the pictures and first part of the pattern review on my next post which I promise will not take months for me to do. The pattern is the Simplicity 2621 and I am going to do my best to not alter it too much. If I find that the pattern does not give me the desired shape and fit that I would like then I am prepared to make the effigy stays as well.

It occurred to me that many of the people that I talk to don't have the first idea how to make a pattern or find a pattern for historical garb. So I figure if I use a commercial pattern that anyone can find and buy, maybe I can provide a few tips so it wont be so intimidating to get the foundations for your 16th century garb more accurate.