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.
So, you know that I am going to Anime Central as Ciel Phantomhive in his girl getup. my little sis wanted to go as Alois Trancy in his girl getup. I think it’s a cute idea, the both of us dressed up as boys dressing up as girls!
anyhow, I’m just about finished with her costume – just some hand-sewing finishing touches to put on. this project took much longer than it should have. I’ve been feeling crummy all week and I just did not have the motivation to get this done. but I’ve got so much other stuff I need to start on, that I had no choice!
here he is in his lovely maid outfit. there are not a lot of (reliable) good pictures of what this costume actually looks like, but it’s pretty simple. I made my version a little more period-accurate, as I did with the Ciel gown.
the bodice and skirt are made of cotton sateen – the only thing I bought for this costume besides the pattern. I used Simplicity 1558 for the bodice pattern, mainly because I won’t have a chance to fit this costume on my sis before the event and I didn’t want to fuss with drafting a pattern. instead of making the gown one-piece, I did a bodice and a skirt, which has a more period look.
I made a little petticoat so the skirt would have some volume. yes, the petticoat is cockeyed – no, I don’t care much. it doesn’t affect the look of the skirt so I’ll fix it if I have time, but otherwise, I’m not bothered. it’s made from a thrifted sheet, and it’s actually really soft and luxurious, I think it’s Egyptian cotton.
(edit: while disassembling this outfit from my dress form, I discovered that I put the petticoat on sideways. that’s why it’s cockeyed. durh!)
bodice and skirt together. I used some vintage lace from my stash on the cuffs and the collar. I haven’t put the hooks on yet; it’s pinned up the front on my dress form.
the whole shebang, front and back. (ignore all my pins; tacking the trim on the bodice is one of the three things I still have to do on this costume.) I took a little liberty with the apron for a more period look. it’s also made from a thrifted sheet that’s quite soft and sleek. I just love thrifty costumes!
and there it is! a project that should have taken me less than a day somehow took me the better part of three, but it’s done now and I’m satisfied. I have to make the little hat thingy, too, but that’s the last of the things that need to be finished. the only thing I wish was different was I should have made the apron a little longer. oh, in case anyone wonders, the total cost for this costume was less than $50, including the pattern that I bought not on sale. of course, my Ciel costume cost a bit more than I projected, because I ran out of stuff, so it balances out.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ll be going to Anime Central in May. I haven’t been to an anime convention in at least ten years, but it’s a wonderful chance to dress up and show off my costumes, so I’m going this year! I started working on my costume this week, and I’ve made pretty good progress, if I do say so myself!
I’m going with my little sister, and she was the one who picked our characters.
I’ll be going as the girl version of Ciel from Black Butler. which means I get to build a big, frilly ball gown!
I planned things out, and decided what changes I wanted to make to the original idea. the story is set in the Victorian era, in the late 1880s, so I wanted to make my costume more reflective of that period of fashion than it is in the anime. even the best-made versions of this gown I’ve seen still look… well, costumey, so I aimed to make mine look more like a real outfit from that time, a formal gown that a woman might have worn at that time. also, I wanted to change the color scheme from pink and white to pink and ivory, just out of personal preference.
I went fabric shopping this weekend… and really was disappointed, even more so than I usually am by my local fabric store. they didn’t have much in the colors I was looking for. as for fabric, I was determined to avoid satin – again out of personal preference; I don’t like shiny fabrics – and in the end I went with cotton calico, because they had both the colors and yardage I needed. it’s not as fancy as I’d have liked, but then again, this is a costume – something I’m going to be traipsing around in for hours, something that’s going to get dirty and probably stepped on.
I started working on the bodice on Sunday.
this was my first draft, which ended up fitting the best. I pinned it on my dress form with canvas, and then cut a mock-up out of a lighter weight cotton. the only alteration it needed was to cut the armhole a little smaller, so I was good to go!
the inner layer of the bodice is two layers of a heavier cotton calico that I had laying around. I put two bones at every seam and along the darts. I used cable ties for a few reasons: I had some available, for one, and I didn’t want this thing to be as heavy as a corset. the inner lining is heavy enough to keep the bodice up on its own, but the bones give it that little extra support. the shape was important to me, because a gown like this would have been worn over a corset in period, but I didn’t want to actually have to wear a corset under my costume, for reasons of comfort.
here’s the bodice with the outer layer attached. I made a mistake, and cut the fashion fabric using my first un-altered pattern, and so the arm holes were a little too deep. I didn’t realize until I had the thing put together. I left it that way because I didn’t feel like taking it apart, and because it doesn’t make a difference in how the bodice fits.
the pleated trim was just a tube of the ivory fabric turned inside out and pleated to fit. I somehow miscalculated and ended up with twice the length I needed for the top of the bodice… but no worries, because I need a mile of pleats for the underskirt, so I’m a bit ahead of the game there.
the bodice is finished! it looks bad on my dress form, but it fits me to a tee. it laces up the back with grommets. I debated a back-lacing bodice versus one that closed in the front, and went with back-lacing for two reasons: the gown in the anime does have a corset-ish black ribbon decoration up the back, and I thought it would look better than a front-closing gown with all that stuff right smack in the front. plus, I have seen a fashion plate with a back-lacing bodice on a ball gown, so I can call it period accurate 😀
I bought a grommet setter, and this project was the first time I used it. I’ve always used an awl and a hammer to set grommets in the past, but after slicing my hand open for the third time with my awl, I got frustrated, and decided to give the tool a try. I’m pleased with the way it works, after I got the hang of it! (my first few grommets came out pretty ugly, though!) I still don’t like the idea of punching holes in fabric – I think the awl is better – but it sure is quicker.
the black trim is grosgrain ribbon. the rose comes from a bouquet I deconstructed. the bow is the same ivory cotton which I painted with black fabric paint to get the stripes just right. I never thought of using fabric paint in this way before, but I’m pleased with the end result.
next week, I’ll tackle the skirts. I already have the ivory underskirt pattern made, and the skirt is finished except for needing hemming. then I have to figure out how to drape the pink overskirt, and of course I have to trim the both of them with a gajillion pleats. the pleating and the trim is going to be the worst part of the whole outfit, so if I can get it done on my next off week, I’ll be golden!
just a quick and dirty post with some quick and dirty pictures of the pelisse I made a few weeks ago. it’s inspired by the styles of capes in the mid to late 18th century, but isn’t wholly period. I was experimenting with styles and techniques.
it’s made of almost entirely thrifted materials, and was therefore wonderfully cheap. the faux fur came from a huge fur coat I picked up at a thrift store (I really mean huge; I’ve still got enough fur left for a whole other cape after this one!) and the red velvet I snagged at an estate sale a while back. it’s not really as vibrant as it appears in the photos. the cape is inner-lined in flannel from my stash, and lined with maroon cotton, which was the only thing I bought for this project.
I’m not sure I’m happy with the way the hood looks; at the time I was working on it, I was feeling too lazy to mess around with pleats and get that characteristic look of 18th century hoods. the hood is entirely lined with fur, for warmth, but it’s pretty full and pointy looking. something I may redo at some future point.
I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up a little – at least to bearable temperatures – to get some decent photos of my pretty new winter things out in the snow. but I also have another project that I’m working on this week, of which I may have some pictures soon.