The next step on my path to mid-1860’s costuming is a big ol’ fluffy petticoat. I had an exact picture in my mind of what I wanted to create – a full, gathered petticoat with three tiers of ruffles – and this project turned out just about perfectly in my opinion.
I wanted to buckle down and get started on some serious sewing this week. Well, yesterday I laid in bed all day, but today I followed through! (I’ve been sick, though, so my excuse is that I need at least a day of rest a week.)
I wanted to continue my sewing streak from last week and get started on my convention costumes right away yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anywhere to begin underneath the piles of UFOs I’ve got laying around – so I devoted two days to finishing up some almost-done but for some reason not-done projects I had on the table.
Last time I posted about this gown, I mistakenly called it taffeta? I’m not sure why I did that, but it is in fact satin. And while normally I avoid satin like the plague (I have a dislike of shiny fabrics) I had picked this dark navy blue satin up because it was on super-clearance and honestly, the shine was not too bad. That is, it doesn’t scream “costume satin!!” to me.
Anyhow, at last check, the gown was finished and just in need of trimming. It also, I found upon examination now two months later, was in need of hemming and some minor alterations about the sleeves. I whipped all that out yesterday.
I bought a bunch of rolls of this blue organza ribbon at the same time as I bought my fabric – also on clearance; 50 cents a roll! Unfortunately, I only got two rolls of the 2″ wide ribbon and have yet to be able to find more, and I used it all up on the neckline and front of the bodice. I intended to have trim also on the sleeves and more on the bodice, but when I ran out of the 2″ and started using 1″, it just didn’t look right to me. So I scrapped that and left the gown a little under trimmed – for now.
The lace is just tacked into the sleeve for effect; I intend to make some sleeve flounces also, since I have a good amount of the blue satin left.
A hat! I spent this morning making the hat, which I meant to do (and think I posted about doing) ages ago. It’s a straw hat from Michael’s with the crown cut down to a more shallow size. It’s covered with blue satin and the brim is lined with black silk moire (which I picked up nearly a whole yard remnant of at Hobby Lobby a while back – I’m always surprised at what I stumble across at Hobby Lobby!) The crown is trimmed with a strip of ruched and pinked blue satin, and I added a bow of ivory silk dupioni because I love bows. I adored the big silk bow on the hat that went with my Ciel ball gown, so I went with it again! I also had just enough of the ivory silk left to make a nice, long sash to tie around my waist, to bring the outfit together.
I took some white ostrich feathers I had laying around and gave them a nice tea bath in my favorite Lady Gray to make them more ivory-colored, and they’re just drying now so that I can throw them on this hat. And then it will be done! Excepting the sleeve flounces, this project is finished!
I still have lots and lots to do, but it’s nice to get one UFO off my list, especially since my list keeps growing with more and more things I’m finding I need for the convention. I want to try and go out this weekend to take some pictures in this costume, but we’ll see if there’s time. Also, it’s hella cold out right now, so I might have to save the wearing of this gown for a warmer time of year.
It occurs to me that I never posted any photos of me actually wearing my Borgias-inspired gown from last Halloween. That was mainly because the few photos I did get were really pretty bad. Since I’ve now got two of these gowns to choose from (and my favorite new hairpiece, the half-wig), I threw them on today and did an impromptu photo shoot.
We just went to a nearby small park for some not-really-fancy nature pics.
This is my favorite photo, for some reason. I think I was trying to show off my shoes. I wore my new red velvet 18th century heels, which aren’t even close to period accurate but I wanted to break them in a little. I look super washed-out in this pic.
This gown needs some definite reworking. I was in a hurry when I made it because I think it was like four days to Halloween, so I didn’t rework any of the original problems with the fit, which are mainly in the bodice. It’s too long and too wide, for one, and there’s no structure to it. I think putting an entirely new bodice on this dress would make it pretty amazing, but we’ll see if I ever get to it.
My “Halloween Borgias” gown. I’m really in love with this gown, despite its still not being quite finished. It fits better than the other, for one. That’s because I drafted the pattern better and structured it with canvas and boning. I’ll cover that some more in the construction post for this gown, eventually.
Some different views of the dress, and me showing off my shoes again – they match!
And here’s me sitting on a step. Hmm don’t I look excited.
There’s almost nothing I’m dissatisfied with about this gown – the only thing is the upper sleeves, which I think could have been constructed better in a different way. It needs some more bedazzling (I never did get around to those pearls and trim I mentioned) but even if I don’t finish it, I like it the way it is.
In other news: I did finish my red Camellia petticoat today, as I hoped! I need to take pictures and then I’ll have that in a post, and I’m starting on the dresses tomorrow. Also, I’m currently (finally) in the process of getting some of my costumes up in my Etsy store, to clear up some space in my closet.
I don’t know why Halloween makes me long for Renaissance fashion. I did a Borgias-inspired gown last year, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it – for one thing, it wasn’t very Halloween-y; it was pink and blue. I tried really hard to resist temptation to even make a Halloween costume this year, because I’m really behind on other projects as it is, but I gave in and started on one this week. Here are some preemptive pics of the almost-finished product.
I’ll cover the construction in the next post, but it basically went the same as my costume from last year. The first two pics are before the sleeves went on, and I threw on my Ever After chemise underneath just to see how it looked (it was a tight squeeze, too.) I’ve got some finishing touches to get done tonight – more trim and more pearls on the sleeves – but it’s essentially finished! Not bad for ~3 days of work.
A few pictures to prove that the costume that I’ve mentioned twice now and have not yet posted about actually does exist!
I began this project earlier in the summer and was actually nearly finished with it before I got distracted with other things. my mum wanted to undertake her first 18th century gown and the best way I know to teach is to show, so I made one as well.
and a few mirror shots of the first fully-constructed fitting I did:
the construction was a little peculiar because my mum wanted to be able to wear her gown without stays or all the underpinnings of that era… the solution to that is, build the stays into the gown, a la the previous century. I did it in mine as well even though I have a few pairs of stays. I’m actually really pleased with the fit and the way it looks. it laces up the front and has a placket to hide the lacing. you can see that the underneath peeks out a little; if adding the trim doesn’t help to cover that, I’ll have to put some hooks there.
the bodice is made of two layers of heavy canvas with partial boning; the outer layer is blue taffeta (polyester, but it was on sale for $1.50 a yard, what was I to do?!) and lined in cotton from my mum’s stash with the most adorable pattern of teacups and teapots. not quite period but certainly cute! the skirt is essentially a separate piece and is tacked into the bodice at the waistline to make it “round gown-ish” but I’m not sure exactly what this style of gown would properly be called.
in my next post I’ll cover the trimming, which I’m working on at this moment, and I’ll maybe have some more pictures of the construction because I’m certain I took a bunch, I just can’t figure out which of my devices they’re on.
I think I mentioned a while back that I was working on a pattern for a 1780’s-style pierrot jacket. I did develop the pattern a couple months ago, and I was just waiting for the right fabric to drop into my lap to start on the real thing – and here it is:
I scored this floor-length half-circle skirt at a thrift store for about two bucks. It’s something like a heavy taffeta – the tag in the skirt declared that it is 50% poly, 20% nylon (what’s the other 30%? no idea!) and also that it retailed for $158 at wherever it was bought – huh! the color is just lovely, and ranges from bright teal to dark teal with flashes of hot pink and purple. I had no choice but to dub it peacock!
I generally don’t sew during my work week, but I really felt like starting on this project, so I’ve just been working for fifteen minutes or a half hour each day on it. you’d be surprised how quickly something comes together with just that much sewing.
this was my rough pattern.
cutting the pieces of the lining, which is a medium-weight white cotton with a striped pattern. I know it’s hard to see what’s going on in this pictures, but there are five pieces to the pattern – bodice back, bodice front, zone front piece, shoulder strap, and collar.
I cut all my pieces out except the bodice back, which I wanted to pleat on my dress form. I studied a few different looks and had decided that the one I wanted for my jacket was back pleats going into a little ruffled tail, as opposed to the tail being a separate pattern piece. I pleated it the same way I did my emerald gown way back, only a little less crookedly!
stitching down pleats. I took my time doing this – sewed one or two pleats at a time, over the course of about three days.
all my pleats!
I pinned my back lining over the pleated back piece to make sure they were all lined up properly before cutting the back into shape. there is no lining piece for the tail because I planned on just hemming it; I thought the weight of a lining might disrupt the nice ruffled look of it.
next, I lined the zone front pieces. I pinned these to the bodice fronts and from there on, treated the two pieces as one.
the bodice stitched together. it’s starting to look like an actual thing, right?
at this point, I threw on my stays to do a fit check of the bodice… only to find it was quite a bit too big. so I had to take it apart at the sides, and move the bodice fronts in about an inch, as well as cut away about an inch from the neckline because it was too high. I always seem to overestimate how much room I need in the chest… I blame this on the fact that I had to spend years always adding inches to the chest area whenever I sewed.
as of right now, the lining has been assembled and is ready to be attached. then I have to draft a sleeve pattern, attach sleeves and the collar, and then finish the front of the bodice, which will close with hooks and eyes but have buttons going down the front. my next post will (hopefully) cover all that, providing I can keep up the pace I’ve been working at.