RSS

Search results for ‘draped velvet dress’

Draped Velvet Dress, Photos

As promised, here are the worn photos of this years Christmas Costume!

These were taken at a Christmas tree farm. This was our fourth years photographing a costume there, and I think this year was the most successful. The lighting was on our side for once, and it’s easier to focus on a red dress than a white one. It’s also a really easy dress to lay out and walk around in since there isn’t a petticoat.

The only downside was it being a bit muddy and really cold. It isn’t a practical dress for December. But I think it looked lovely in this environment, so I’m glad that I didn’t let that stop me.

Construction notes on this dress can be found here. And making of videos are posted here.

x-mas-2016-10

x-mas-2016-11

x-mas-2016-9

x-mas-2016-12

x-mas-2016-13

x-mas-2016-14

x-mas-2016

x-mas-201-2

christmas-2016-edit

And that’s it! I think I have one more post going up before Christmas, but incase I forget: I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, or Holiday, or if you don’t celebrate, then a really great week in general. Thanks for reading!

 

 
15 Comments

Posted by on December 18, 2016 in Completed Costumes, Fashion & Fantasy

 

Tags: , , , ,

Making a Draped Velvet Dress

It’s that time of the year again! The time where I make a holiday inspired dress out of festively colored fabrics! In the past these have been elaborate gowns, and usually some of my favorite costumes that I make in a year. This years doesn’t rank that highly on my list, since it’s lacking the ruffles and beaded details that I gravitate towards, but I do like how it turned out! Especially considering that inspiration was tough to come by for this piece.

really wanted to make an elaborate 1950’s style evening gown, but I didn’t have the materials for it. The next idea I had and felt enthusiastic about was more appropriate for a snowy winter backdrop, which we won’t get until January or February. So I settled on this design: A “simple” draped gown made from red velvet.

Though this looks easier than my previous Christmas costumes it took longer than last years to put together. I’m far more comfortable with making structured, or ruffly gowns. Doing something sleek and draped requires skills I’ve never had to develop.

But I think I managed to do an okay job! Since the dress was lacking drama I paired it with some home made accessories with hopes it would dress the ensemble up. I think it worked out quite nicely, though it still isn’t my favorite project of the year.

christmas-2016-edit

The first step was playing around with velvet and pinning it to my dress form until I had a shape I liked. I really liked how it looked with the center gathered, a deep neckline, and off the shoulder draped straps (sleeves?) so I decided to go with that. Then I pinned cotton onto the other side of my dress form until I achieved a similar shape.

xmas2016-0983

xmas2016-0984

I transferred that onto paper and added seam allowances. Now I had a pattern to use for the base. Even though this dress looks loose and (hopefully) effortless, it has a stiff base layer that supports the shape and keeps everything in place. This is especially important for this project since velvet is heavy – keeping it up takes work!

xmas2016-0993

I debated about making a mock up but since the boning determines the fit, and boning is a pain to sew into mock ups I decided to make the real thing right away. But I was willing to restart if it was really off.

Luckily it fit perfectly! I decided to deepen the neckline, and make it more of a “V” than the sweetheart shape it originally had, but everything else seemed fine.

The base layer was cut from a cheap, stiff, quilting cotton. I cut each piece out four times, so the base is two layers of quilting cotton thick. This makes it more supportive and means I could insert the boning in between the layers of fabric rather than having to sew external boning channels.

xmas2016-0996

After adding the boning (all 1/4″ plastic bones) I turned the neckline inward.

In this picture the left is turned inward more than the right side to create the V effect I wanted. After deciding I preferred this I repeated the process on the other side

. Since the base layer will be hidden by velvet I sewed all these edges by machine.

xmas2016-0998

I sewed facings to the arm openings…then realized I forgot to support the highest points of the bodice, which also happen to be where the straps mount. This meant there would be nothing to support the straps, and they would flop outward.

So I sewed external boning channels made from ribbon on either side of the arm openings.

xmas2016-1009

I also turned the bottom and back edges inward.

xmas2016-1008

The final step for the base layer were the sleeve supports – which are just pieces of ribbon sewn to the high points of the bodice.

xmas2016-1011

Here it is on the dress form. The ugly side faces outward, since that will be the side covered by velvet.

xmas2016-1012

While it was on my dress form I draped velvet overtop and used basting stitches to mark the points where the velvet should be gathered or turn inward.

xmas2016-1013

xmas2016-1014

Once I took it off my dress form I smoothed out the edges, then used it as a guide for cutting out a piece of velvet for the other side.

xmas2016-1138

These pieces were sewn together across the front edge with a one inch seam allowance. Then I used pins to mark the gathering line at the front.

xmas2016-1140

It was gathered down by hand with running stitches. Something about gathering velvet is super satisfying, it’s thick enough to form cartridge-pleat-like gathers but has a wide enough weave that it’s easy to sew through. Every other part of working with velvet sucks, but it gathers beautifully.

xmas2016-1142

I roughly turned the edges inward and pinned the front panel onto the base layer.

xmas2016-1143

Then I pinned that onto my dress form and draped the skirt panel for the back of the dress.

xmas2016-1144

And I used that as a guide for cutting out the panel for the other side.

xmas2016-1147

The top edge was gathered down so there is more volume at the back of the skirt.

xmas2016-1150

Then it was sewn onto the bodice portion of the back panel, which was cut from the same pattern as the base layer.

The side seams were sewn up too, with a one inch seam allowance. I sewed all the seams in this normally – no french seams for once! Velvet is really prone to shifting and sewing the pieces together once was enough of a headache, so I just pinked the edges and decided to let them be.

xmas2016-1152

To make the neckline a little less extreme (and to incorporate a color I plan on using for next years project) I cut four inch wide strips of mesh. I folded the mesh in half so it was more opaque, then sewed it onto the neckline of the bodice in such a way that it extends three quarters of an inch past the base layer.

xmas2016-1163

Then I pinned the dress onto the base layer. I started at the waistline, then moved upward.

xmas2016-1167

I sewed the waistline of the velvet layer to the base by hand with whip stitches.

xmas2016-1172

I tried the bodice on at this point and the result was disappointing. The waistline looked fine, but the velvet was really droopy in the bust area and I couldn’t see how to fix it. I didn’t think the bodice fit my dress form well enough to adjust the draping there, and the dress didn’t have closures yet, so I couldn’t wear it while adjusting it.

After a few days of procrastinating I tried pinning it to my dress form and that worked amazingly well. In ten minutes and with a bit of pinning I had fixed the droopiness. I’m glad I found an easy solution, but I sure wish I had tried it a few days earlier!

xmas2016-1173

After smoothing out the edges a bit more I took the dress off my dress form, then sewed around all the edges with slip stitches so they are secured to the base layer.

xmas2016-1175

I also folded the bottom edge of the straps inward, and the material at the back of the bodice. The photo of it finished is a bit blurry, but you get the idea!

xmas2016-1182

Then I sewed closures in, which are eyelets embroidered with matching thread.

xmas2016-1188

At this point I decided to finish the dress in two days so I could photograph it that weekend (made more difficult by the limited hours I could work on it and have good enough lighting to film the process) so photographing my progress fell to the wayside. Sorry about that, I’ll try to explain everything I forgot to photograph!

After a fitting I realized the bodice was a bit big – it stayed in place when worn, but wasn’t as flattering as I wanted. I ended up taking it in near the side seams with darts.

I also realized that the straps looked pretty pathetic, which I was expecting. They were really narrow and lacking the draped effect I wanted. So I cut out two rectangles, hemmed the edges with a cross stitch, and gathered the short edges down to approximately two inches. These were pinned just underneath the existing straps. I sewed the gathered edges to the base layer, with the top edge secured to the bottom of the ribbon sleeve support.

xmas2016-1195

I sewed up the back seam with a one inch allowance and left the top ten inches open. I folded the edges of the unsewed portion inward, then sewed them down by hand. Three snaps were sewn to the opening to keep it closed. Then I sewed a velvet modesty panel to the back, it’s mostly to prevent skin from showing through the eyelets, but I extended to past the opening left in the skirt, since snaps aren’t super reliable.

The hem is a half inch rolled hem sewn by hand. It might be my least favorite hem I’ve ever done – the sewing is fine, but it’s SO uneven. I leveled it while the dress was on my dress form and though it looks perfect when worn, I swear there are four inch discrepancies between each side. I have no clue what happened.

After a fitting I noticed the dress was gaping away from my shoulders. It fit the bust fit fine, but the weight of the velvet I added to the straps made the high points of the bodice fold outward. So I sadly had to add over the shoulder straps, which did not go with the design I planned. But it meant I got to use some of the glittery velvet ribbon I’ve been hoarding since last Christmas, which was nice.

In future I would shorten these straps – I sewed them on the night before wearing it, and did not do a fit check. They stay up but only if I stand very straight, which is kind of annoying.

The final touch were a few velvet poinsettias and sprigs of pine that I glued on.

xmas2016-1744

I was worried these would take away from the simple elegance of the dress, but I think they add a lot to it. It makes it more interesting it and ties the dress and the accessories together.

xmas2016-1747

Only thing I regret is placing one pine sprig in such a way that it digs into my armpit. That was a bad decision.

xmas2016-1748

Speaking of accessories – this dress has three! The first is the headpiece I made last year, which you can see a tutorial of here.

The other two are new additions – a staff, and a necklace. I thought the dress was a bit boring on it’s own, and these made it more exciting and costume-y. They were also really easy to make.

For the necklace I used two strands of red glass beads I got from Jo-anns, plus a crystal pendent. These were threaded onto some 6lb fireline with a clasp at the back. Then I used some thread to tie a piece of chain to the clasp, which hangs closer to the throat. I also tied three smaller crystal beads onto it. The whole thing isn’t very sturdy, I really should have bought a heavier thread, and chain that was meant for beading, not for sewing onto garments, but it’s pretty!

xmas2016-1749

xmas2016-1752

The staff took longer to make, but it wasn’t very challenging either. My dad and I went hunting for appropriate sticks in our backyard and eventually found a small pine tree that had been cut down a few years prior. We broke off the branches and he cut off the bottom twelve inches so it would fit in the car.

Then I decorated it. Since the bark was spiky I glued ribbon around the point I planned on grasping it. I also glued on glittery pine cones, fake glittery pine branches, and velvet poinsettias to make it more exciting. There is a strand of lights on it took, which unfortunately don’t show up well in photos.

I was worried I didn’t get enough to decorate it (I was too cheap to buy the garlands – the ones I liked would have been thirty bucks). In total I spent fifteen dollars to decorate it and I have a ton of flowers leftover.

christmas-2016-edit

And that’s it! As I said, it isn’t my favorite Christmas costume, but I like how it turned out. Especially with all the accessories – I think they really bring it together.

I’m also glad I pushed myself a bit, maybe I’ll do more things with draped details in the future.

Thanks for reading! A post with photos will follow this one! And if you want to see videos of me constructing then click here!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on December 18, 2016 in Fashion & Fantasy, The Making Of

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Plaid, Pleats, and Piping – Making an 1830’s Dress, Part One

Plaid, Pleats, and Piping – Making an 1830’s Dress, Part One

This weeks post is about another new project, but this time i’m venturing into an era I haven’t sewn from in a while – the 1830’s! I went through a phase a couple years ago where I made three dresses inspired by this period, and I had so much fun making them. But for some reason I never revisited the period until now.

For Christmas I got Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century*, and looking at the silly 1830’s dresses featured in it reminded me how much I love the period. The dresses make me so happy, with the bold prints, large skirts, ridiculous sleeves, and delicate accessories. I still can’t get on board with the crazy headpieces, but I love everything else.

So when I was in Pennsylvania and came across a bright cotton plaid I knew it was time to make a boldly printed ridiculous 1830’s dress. This is the material was four dollars a yard, and I bought seven yards.

plaid-8655

I’m going to pair it with the orange taffeta leftover from my 1890’s Dress, and some berry colored velvet I got in NYC a while back.

When it comes to design I was a little bit conflicted. I originally wanted to make something based on this kooky dress, but the neckline and sleeves are quite similar to a dress I made in the past so that seemed kind of boring. And most of the other dresses I found were better suited for a less busy fabric.

I ended up mixing the dress linked above with the bodice design of this dress – I really like the piping, basque waist, the neckline, and the more elaborate sleeves. All those things make it more time consuming to make, but you know how much I love time consuming projects…

Here is my weird sketch which I didn’t really end up following (oops)
plaid-8660

I draped the pattern on my dress form, then transferred it to paper. The bodice is made up of 8 pieces, with an additional 4 pieces for the collar.

In the past when doing pleated collars I’ve pleated a rectangle of fabric, then cut it down to the shape I want. This time around I cut it down to the right size before pleating – which was kind of scary, since I was sure it would turn out the wrong shape. But it totally worked and made the process a lot easier, so i’m definitely doing it this way from now on!

I marked the pleat pattern onto the collar with chalk.
plaid-8685

Then used my iron to crease the tops of the pleats.

plaid-8686

Then actually pleated them and pinned everything in place! This is the front.

plaid-8687

And this is the back.

plaid-8688

The front panels were carefully pinned, then sewn together. It was unintentional, but the horizontal pattern ended up being almost symmetrical on these panels. They didn’t match up the first time I sewed it, but they were so close that I ripped the seam out and redid it so they match!

plaid-8697

The shoulder of the collar pieces were done up with piping sewn into the seam. The bottom edge was hemmed by eye, and the top edge was turned inward by a half inch. Then I hand stitched some piping around the neckline.

plaid-8706

To keep the pleats in place I loosely tacked them down from the underside. This was trickier to do than I was expecting. Since the fabric is so thin I couldn’t feel how many layers I was stitching through, and I ended up sewing through the front of the fabric a few times. Those stitches are pretty obvious since I used dark purple thread, which doesn’t match 80% of the colors in the bodice.

Luckily the crazy print also works to my benefit  – your eye skips over the visible stitches and assumes it’s part of the chaos that is this fabric!

plaid-8705

With the collar done the bodice assembly began! I made this more difficult by adding piping to every seam (something I’ve never done before). And I chose to use yarn as piping cord, which was way too thin and looked flat after being ironed. Not my best decision, but I kind of made it work!

These are the front panels…

plaid-8691

More front panels.

plaid-8692

And the back panels!

plaid-8693

The arm openings were finished with facings.

plaid-8704

And then the collar was sewn on! This was done by hand to avoid any visible topstitching.

After a quick fitting to check the length I hemmed the bottom edge and trimmed it with more piping.

plaid-8710

And now it was time for lining! This was assembled completely by machine and is made from muslin.

plaid-8711

It took me ages to get it pinned in properly – somehow the lining was too short, so it kept causing the front layer of fabric to bunch up. But I managed eventually, and sewed it in place by hand.

plaid-8712

I finished one of the back edges with bias tape (leftover from my 1890’s dress), then finished the other edge with a strip of bias tape that was turned inward and sewn down so it isn’t visible from the outside.

plaid-8916

The back closure consists of hooks and loops, which were sewn to the strips of taffeta.

plaid-8923

Unfortunately the print on the back of the bodice doesn’t line up perfectly, but it’s close-ish!

plaid-8922

Here is the front.

plaid-8920

And a close up of the pretty pleats! So far i’m happy with how this looks, though i’m second guessing my decision to go for a more complicated design. I think it might be a bit too busy – but the 1830’s were famous for being crazy, so maybe it works?

plaid-8921

That’s it for today! The next post will be about sleeves. I’m not sure if it will be about my 1890’s dress or this one, but it will definitely involve sleeves haha!

Thanks for reading!

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on September 9, 2016 in 19th century, Historically Inspired

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Dewdrop Series – Making a Ivory Dress

Sorry for the lack of updates!

My last project ended horribly, and after finishing it my fingers were too sore to finish up the set of stays I have in progress. I was slightly down on confidence after that and took a few days off, then I spent a whole week designing a series of dresses for something exciting which I can’t talk about just yet.

Before I knew it, three weeks had passed without me posting a single thing. I’m so upset with myself because I had pretty consistent twice weekly updates going for a little while.

But now i’m determined to get back on track! I’ve got a few tutorials planned and a couple projects in progress, so I no longer have any excuses.

My newest project consists of a giant ivory demask print dress, with a green velvet cloak worn over top. It’s named Dewdrop after the green and white forest flowers.

tumblr_n6mbph2GZG1qlijqyo2_1280

tumblr_n6mbph2GZG1qlijqyo1_1280

I’ve had this idea in mind ever since I got these materials, which I posted photos of in a recent haul but didn’t decide to pursue it until now. The recent weather has been quite warm and rainy, the flowers and grass are loving it and our yard is greener then it has been in months. I wanted to make something that matched the greenery, and this project came to mind!

 I was inspired a lot by 18th century fashion, with big hips and conical bodices. I also fell in love with this painting and thought making a butterfly crown would be a unique touch.

In total this costume has taken five yards of 118″ wide polyester ivory demask (this stuff is designed for curtains and tablecloths), five yards of green stretch velvet, a half yard of ivory chiffon, and one pack of large feather butterflies. Of course that’s only the stuff you can see.

Inside the garment I used one half yard of linen for lining (recycled from a failed project), one half yard of interfacing, one yard of lightweight quilt batting, three yards of hooping wire, eight yards of metal boning, one half yard of twill, two hooks/eyes, and a half yard of lightweight cotton sateen.

DSC_6820

As per usual this project will be broken up into several parts: Bodice, Skirt, Sleeves, Cloak, and Crown. Should be a fun series!

To start out I draped the pattern on a dress form – I’m actually in the process of writing a more detailed explanation of how I do this, hopefully that post will be up next week.

DSC_6822

I took it off the dress form and it looked like this – don’t you love the fabric I used?

DSC_6827

I cleaned that up, added seam allowances, and turned it into a paper pattern.

I’m also going to be doing a more detailed write up on how I do this, so stay tuned!

DSC_6828

I made my mock up and was pleasantly surprised – it was too tight, but that was okay since the final bodice would be heavily boned. The waist was a little long on me, and the shoulders were slightly too big, but those were the only things I had to fix.

DSC_6829

After fixing my pattern I immediately got to work on the bodice base.

Since this bodice is going to be intensely boned I needed to use four layers of fabric. The first layer is my fashion fabric, which will be visible from the outside. My second and third layers are the “base” which are stiffer, non stretch, and tightly woven. The boning will get sandwiched and sewn in between these layers. The final layer is the lining, which should be soft and nice feeling against the skin.

But for now I only needed to work on the base. I went ahead and drew out all the boning channels onto my base material, then sewed over all the lines.

DSC_6847

Once that was done the pieces needed to be boned. Though I have quite a bit of experience with adding boning to garments I have never tried to cut and tip my own steel boning, so this was quite the adventure!

Over a year ago when I made my Royal Milk Tea corset I neglected to tip the boning at all, and I still have scars from where it burst through the fabric and dug into my flesh. Needless to say, that isn’t something I want to repeat ever again.

To start out I cut all the bones from a large coil. I used tin snips for this.

DSC_6873

Then I got a lesson on how to use a dremel tool from my brother and spent two hours using that to round off all the sharp edges. I’m not fond of this process, since you’re filing metal at high speeds there are a lot of sparks involved which I find really stressful!

After that I managed to find some medical tape and an expired bottle of nail polish. I covered the ends of each bone with the tape and trimmed the edges. Then I dipped each end in nail polish, let it drip off, then set it on a plastic cover to dry.

The whole process seemed to work really well, and should be super long lasting.

DSC_6875

The bones were all inserted, then the channels were sewn closed and I assembled the base layer of the bodice.

DSC_6876

I assembled the top layer of the bodice too.

DSC_6877

Then I hand basted them together with large half inch running stitch.

DSC_6878

I went through and painfully turned over each edge – the top layer of fabric frays so much that it basically disintegrated anywhere I touched it. I really should have planned ahead and left a one inch seam allowance around the top and bottom edges, that way even if it frayed away a half inch of fabric, I would still have enough room to turn over the edge. Oh well. You live and you learn!

DSC_6880

 The fabric continued to fray horribly, even after the edges were turned. So I used strips of a lightweight interfacing to slow the process.

DSC_6882

I stitched together my lining and pinned that in place. The fraying was still such and issue that I had to sew the lining very close to the edge – so close that it’s slightly visible in some places from the front.

DSC_6883Lastly I sewed in eyelets – and that was it!

DSC_6898

DSC_6899

Overall i’m pretty happy with it. There are things I wish I could change, but I think it came out well! Now it just needs sleeves and a skirt, but information on those will have to wait until next time.

Thanks for reading!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Fashion & Fantasy, The Making Of

 

Tags: , ,

Black and Grey Dress – Part Two

Happy Monday everyone! I think most people hate Monday’s, but over the past year they have grown on me. It’s a brand new start to the week, which I find really refreshing – especially when the week prior was pretty crappy.

Last week was a tough one both emotionally and when it came to sewing, so i’m happy to start anew, and i’m hopeful that this week will go much better. I’m also going to attempt to kick my blogging butt into gear and start posting three times a week – I definitely have enough stuff to write about, I just have to, you know, write it.

Here is the second the-making-of post on my Black and Grey dress. A few weeks ago I blogged about making the simple, but fluffy grey dress, and this time I will be talking about the black dress that is worn overtop it.

Fair warning – I was awful about photographing this project, so it’s not as well documented as usual.

(I’ll make up for this next week when I bore you guys with one thousand words and thirty photos on making a set of sleeves – no, i’m not even exaggerating)

This dress is made entirely from black velvet (around 1.5 yards), some cotton broadcloth for lining, five yards of lace (from this store), a bit of grey chiffon, and a few dozen grey pearls.

I started by draping my pattern. This went surprisingly well, I got the shape I wanted right away!

(These pictures make me miss draping, my last few projects haven’t required it and i’m itching to do something that involves this process again very soon)

DSC_3487

When it was taken off the form I made some minor adjustments before cutting the mock up.

DSC_3488

My mock up ended up looking like this, and I made a few rough marks where I thought boning should go.

DSC_3492

When tried on it looked like this – I had to take it in at the shoulders, but it was pretty much perfect!

DSC_3489

I got the bodice pieces cut, then they were reinforced with a really light fusible interfacing so the pieces wouldn’t stretch. Assembly involved a lot of pins to avoid the fabric slipping around – have I mentioned I don’t like velvet?

DSC_3497

I sewed in the lining and stitched around the neckline to make sure it wouldn’t slip around. I pinned everything for a test fitting – which went well – then moved on to the sleeves.

DSC_3505

DSC_3501

I started with a doodle for how I wanted them to look. Since the bodice is strangely pieced, the pattern was much different then any sleeves I had made before.

DSC_3502

I flat drafted it and was pleasantly surprised with the results!

DSC_3503I got them cut out, and sewed on the lace.

DSC_3510

Then they were carefully sewn in place.

DSC_3513And they look just the way I had hoped!

DSC_3514

I made cuffs for the sleeves out of rectangles of folded velvet, then I made little bows out of velvet on top of them. I gathered the sleeve by hand, then sewed them to the cuffs. Of course I was lazy and didn’t take any photos throughout this process, oops!

Then I started on making the trim. The trim was made from a 3/8th of an inch strip of velvet ribbon which has strips of chiffon that were gathered every 3/4 inch tacked on to it.

DSC_4539I sewed my home made trim onto the bodice, then I stitched on 6mm pearls over each ugly gathered bits.

(please ignore the massive amount of lint!)

tumblr_n2jsiyjCsj1qlijqyo1_1280

The last step was making and sewing on the skirt panels. I draped these on my dress form to get the length I wanted, cut them once from the lining and again from velvet.

DSC_3524

Once that was finished I sewed lace onto each panel, attached them to the bodice, added a zipper and the dress was done!

Overall a pretty easy project, but it took ages since I didn’t give it much attention and spent time on other projects instead of this one. I am happy with how it came out, though it’s quite unflattering and not as classy as I would have liked – I think it’s really cute.

DSC_4585

It looks so much better in real life, and even better when worn.  I’m hoping to get some photos of it within the next week, and I’ll share those as soon as I have them.

Thanks for reading!

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

A look back at 2016

This post is long overdue. I’ve attempted writing it at least a dozen times, and I never get past the first paragraph. But I was determined to get it up before the end of the month, and I managed to make that deadline!

If you hadn’t guessed by the title, this post is an end of the year wrap up where I go through all the projects I made in 2016. I share my thoughts on each one, my thoughts on the year in general, and goals I have for the year to come.

I’ve written posts like this before, both in 2014, and 2015. Those posts were some of my favorite to write because it made me realize all I’d accomplished and gave me motivation moving forward. But I didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked in 2016, and looking back on it has made me more frustrated than inspired.

It isn’t that the number of costumes I made that I find lacking or upsetting, it’s the amount of time I wasted. There were weeks that passed where I didn’t sew at all because I wasn’t feeling inspired. It made me realize how much I depend on motivation, and how lost I am without it.

As much as it sucks to look back on a year that I wasted a lot of, I learned a lot in 2016, and it’s made me realize ways I can improve in 2017. So it was worth something – and I like a lot of the things I made – it just wasn’t a good year for me.

Now onward with the costumes! I kept a list this year of things I completed, so this should be a bit more accurate than usual.

Then first project I finished got an honorary mention in my 2015 wrap up, since it was mostly finished then. But I put the final touches on it and declared it complete in January. It’s an 18th century riding ensemble, that consists of a skirt, bodice, embellished jacket, and hat.

The dress has some issues that make it unwearable without the jacket (they are fixable, I just spent so long on this project that I can’t bring myself to revisit it and fix it, even though it would only take a day or two) which is a bummer. But I love the jacket, and the hat, and how it works together in the finished ensemble.

angela-clayton_-riding-coat_-3

In the same month I also made a set of 1890’s foundation garments, including a petticoat, corset, chemise, and combination set. This is also when I began work on my purple taffeta dress, which I majorly blame for my lack of motivation in the months that followed.

To avoid working on the purple dress, I took on a week long break and made a women’s cotehardie, which was meant to coordinate with the mens cotehardie I made in 2015. The timeline on this dress was tight since I wanted to finish it before we got snow. I think I spent a solid four days working on it before declaring it complete.

I like how it looks visually – the brocade against the blue velvet, the buttons, and the large sequin embellishments. However the rush job shows in the fit of the shoulders and sleeves, which I’m not thrilled about.

cotehardie_angela_clayton_1

After completing that I was still avoiding my purple taffeta dress. However I had put so much work into the foundation garments for it that I decided to put them to good use and make something from the same era. That something was a turn of the century walking ensemble made from red plaid.

This costume really tested my patience (so much hand basting), but also proved to be a fun challenge (the plaid matching). I learned a lot about construction from this costume (collars!), and even tried a new hand sewing technique with the soutache designs on the collar and back. I stepped outside my comfort zone even further by decorating a home made hat with the wings of a bird.

Even though I struggled with this project at times, I don’t think it shows in the finished costume. And it’s by far my favorite thing I made that year, I really love it.

dsc_4588

Next I finally (after several months) finished the purple taffeta dress. The only thing I like about this costume is the hat. The rest, as far as I’m concerned is scrap material. It’s too tight and short in the bodice, and too long in the hem. The shoulders aren’t wide enough and the waistband is too wide. It’s a mess.

Working on this really sucked all the fun out of sewing and I regret forcing myself to finish it.

dsc_6191resize

My next costume was much simpler and a refreshing change. It’s a grecian costume that consists of a chiton, skirt, crown, and belt.

This was a costume I had been planning for ages and I was thrilled to finally make it a reality. The dress portion of this was very simple, but I invested a good twenty hours in the belt and crown. They were embroidered and embellished by hand, which took longer than I had expected. But I’m very pleased with the end result – the only thing I want to change is the chiton length, which won’t take more than an hour or two.

angela-clayton-grecian-2

It was around this time that I destroyed my neck while making a massive petticoat for my 1860’s evening gown. I regret pushing myself so hard on that one, and making a petticoat instead of a hoop skirt in the first place! This lead to another downfall in motivation, and I didn’t get much done for almost two months.

I split what little time I spent sewing between my civil war era evening gown, a cycling costume, and an 1860’s day ensemble. The day ensemble was the first to be finished…but I use the term finished loosely. It was supposed to consist of a blouse, skirt, and hat, but the skirt didn’t really work out and I didn’t have enough material to fix it. Which is why I only have waist up photos of this ensemble.

The skirt is a shame, but I do like the parts of this project I finished.

dsc_7055

I took on a quick hand sewing project after that and made a horned headpiece. This took a week or so, and was incredibly fun to work on. I love the variety of materials that can be used in these, and the challenge of bringing the shape to life. It isn’t historically accurate at all, but I think it looks quite believable in a way.

horned-headpiece-anglea-clayton-2

The ball gown was finished next. This was one of my dream dresses. I worked on it for months and questioned whether I would ever complete it several times. I usually break elaborate projects down into pieces or steps so I don’t get overwhelmed while working on them. I did that with this project too, but there were so many pieces and each one was so time consuming to make that it felt like it would never end.

But eventually I did finish it, and I’m very proud of it. Especially the bodice – I think it’s lovely and it fits perfectly. The skirt doesn’t have quite the right shape, but the amount of hand sewing and work that went into each tier was insane, I’m so pleased I accomplished it. I like the headpiece too, I think it ties all of it together!

1860s-evening-gown-angela-clayton-7872

After finishing that I wanted to make something simple that didn’t require an inch of lace. So I followed a pattern from The Cut of Women’s Clothes* and made a 1790’s round robe. This project wasn’t as simple as I had hoped, since I had to remake the bodice and figure out how it was supposed to go together without any instructions.

But I did appreciate the break from frills and lace, and I think the finished dress is quite lovely (though not particularly flattering). I altered a hat to match, and stuck a quilted petticoat under it. The dress was easy to get into and very comfy, which I appreciated!

yellow-dress-resize-2

Around this time I made a pair of stays – which, like my previous pair of stays, fit horribly. And an 1880’s corset, which looks lovely, but has issues with the busk being out of alignment. Both took far longer to make than I would care to admit, and probably need to be remade in the future. But they did make good bases for things I worked on in the next few months.

I also finished my cycling costume, which had been in progress for weeks before it was complete. I blame the fact this had so many pieces. Including a hat, tie, jacket, shirtwaist, bloomers, shoes, and stockings.

Though it took a while to complete everything, I really like how this turned out. My only peeve is the collar on the shirtwaist. But I find the fit and proportions of this costume quite charming – and once again, it’s super comfy and easy to get into, which is a total bonus.

It was also my first time buying shoes to go with a historical costume, which made such a huge difference in how I felt wearing the costume. It was pretty amazing!

angela-clayton-cycling-costume-resize-6603

Next up was my reattempt at an 1890’s day dress. My purple taffeta dress (attempt number one) turned out horribly, and I wanted to redeem myself. So I made a few design changes (which made it look a lot more like the dress that originally inspired me, from Crimson Peak), bought a better fabric, and focused more on the fit. I also referenced historical pattern books and used those as a guide which lead to a way better silhouette.

I like this dress so much more than my first attempt. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite thing I made this year, but it’s up there. I consider it quite striking.

1890-orange-9780

I also put together a few dresses for my youtube channel (and posted 40 videos throughout the year, which I’m pretty proud of). My favorite of these is a blue dotted dress inspired by the 1950’s. Researching dresses from this period made me feel excited towards making my own clothes (not just costumes) and potentially creating more 1950’s inspired pieces. Though it isn’t somethings I’ve pursued yet, I’d like to venture into it more in 2017.

1950-resize-2

I followed that up with a spur of the moment Donwton Abbey inspired costume made from things I had in my stash. This isn’t the best costume I’ve ever made construction wise, since I have little patience when working with chiffon. But I really enjoy the end result.

It was quite different for me, with the large harem pants and fitted sleeves. The bodice is loosely boned and heavily embellished. Though a lot of work went into it, the whole thing was finished in a week!

sybil-inspired-costume-9147resize11

My next costume was a commission, which was quite a big step outside my comfort zone. I was asked to make a light up ball gown for the Scottsdale Princess hotel. This proved to be a challenge, since I had to find Christmas decorations at the start of October, and only had 10 days to construct it. But I got it done, and I managed to correct a lot of the “mistakes” I made when making this dress for myself two years ago.

I’m especially happy with how the bodice of this turned out – I love the sleeves! And I think it’s given me the confidence to potentially take on commissions in 2017.

(the dress isn’t complete in the photo below, but it’s the final photo I took of it on my dress form)

dsc_9427-copy

The next costume is a fun 1830’s ensemble, which consists of a bonnet, top, and skirt. I really enjoyed making this. As much as I like ruffles and lace, it’s nice to focus on the construction and fabric manipulation, which this project requited a lot of. Between the plaid matching, pleats, gathers, and piping, it was a lot of work!

1830s_finished_resize-0522

In October I revisited an 18th century Robe a la Turque I started on much earlier in the year.  It was a very hand sewing heavy project that included home made trim, hand beaded fringe, and a lot of sequins. The project has a vest like dress with a train, a skirt that is visible from the front, and a turban inspired headpiece.

My feelings on this are..mixed. I love the materials and a lot of the details. But the patterning in the bodice could be a lot better. It also needed boning, or some sort of support in the bodice which I didn’t add since I didn’t do a lot of research before starting.

I’ve come a long way since I first started on that project, but a lot of the issues were unfixable by the time I revisited it. So it’s frustrating to see those faults in something I recently completed, since I know I’m better than that.

But from a distance, I think it looks pretty great!

dsc_2356resize

Another 18th century project I finished is inspired by one worn in The Duchess. I made something inspired by it in 2014 and it was bad. Like really, really, bad. I’ve wanted to reattempt it for a while now, and when I saw this striped silk I new it was time.

There are a few issues with the fit of this dress – It’s a bit tight, and the waistline is too high. I also need to take the underskirt in, it’s got so much volume it flairs over the over skirt, which is a no-no. But I love the trim on this, the stripe matching, and the mobility I have in it. I really learned my lesson from my previous few 18th century attempts. This bodice is lightweight, but well supported so it doesn’t crumple at the sides or back.

I also very much enjoy the matching hat I made. Trying this on really made me feel like an 18th century lady, I was so sad to take it off! Once I make the necessary alterations I want to get more pictures of it.

dsc_2221-copyrezie

In December I made an edwardian evening gown, which I still haven’t got worn photos of. But I really like how this turned out. The construction isn’t my best, but the color, trims, and simplicity of the design make me really happy, and I enjoyed working on it a lot.

dsc_1118-2

I also made a few headpieces in December, including this antlered one!

keep-3

And finally, my Christmas costume. I’ve gone over my thoughts on this recently, and the remain the same. I like it as a finished ensemble, but It’s far from my favorite thing I’ve made this year.

x-mas-2016-10

I also want to give an honorary mention to my 1880’s evening gown. I got this 98% complete (seriously, a hundred hours must have gone into it and it’ll only take two more to finish it)  in 2016 but moved on to other things after Christmas and didn’t complete it. In fact I still haven’t completed it – I got distracted by the materials I got for Christmas. But I will finish it soon, and hopefully have blog posts detailing the construction process following that.

1880s-evening-1855

There are a few other things that I think deserve mentioning in this post, like my attempt at an 1880’s striped bustle dress. And my sequined 1890’s jacket. And a black 16th century gown.  And probably a few other things I’m forgetting that ate up 10 or 20 hours of time but never got completed. I think that was part of my problem this year, when I was lacking motivation I would try to kickstart it by making something new…but I didn’t put a lot of thought into those projects, so they either fizzled out before I reached the half way point, or I realized they didn’t fit or weren’t accurate and never bothered to complete them.

Which brings me into my costume related goals for 2017!

The first one is to try be more diligent. I’m great at working when I’m inspired, but I want to get to a point where I can push myself to work regardless of how motivated I feel. I’m not saying I won’t take breaks, but I don’t want to procrastinate and accomplish next to nothing for several months because I “don’t feel like it”. I did that last year and it sucked.

I’d also like to try and find more balance. I think my procrastination sprees partially happened because I got burnt out or bored. Having projects with a lot of contrast in progress at the same time should help. And I think finding things I enjoy doing outside of sewing would help me relax and feel less burnt out.

Another one would be putting more thought into the projects I take on. A lot of my unsuccessful projects were ones I made on a whim, didn’t sketch first, didn’t research, and didn’t have enough material for. I like taking on spontaneous projects since they can be a lot of fun, but I feel like spending a few hours thinking and researching before getting started would save me materials and time in the long run.

I don’t have project specific goals this year, but I would like to:

Focus more on foundations. I don’t put the effort into these that they deserve, I’d love to have a corset and petticoat that I’m really proud of and fit well. And potentially a chemise with some embroidered details.

Venture into other eras and silhouettes. I gained a new appreciation for the late 1800’s this year and challenged myself quite a lot with dresses from that period. I’d love to push myself even more and make a bustle dress, regency gown, and something elizabethan.

Remember my love of simplicity. I tend to forget how much I enjoy projects that are construction based. I love ruffles too, and I tend to be most attracted to projects that have lots of them. But I really enjoy making simple kirtles and structured jackets. I’d like to keep that in mind this year and potentially make an Edwardian suit, or more casual wear from the 1500s/1600s.

A bit of a silly “goal” – but I would really like to have a dress from every decade of the 1800s. I have dresses from the 1830s, 1860s, 1880s, and 1890s. Along with materials for dresses from the 1820’s, 1840’s, 1850’s, and 1870’s. It isn’t something I’ll push really hard to accomplish, but I should be able to do it and I would be thrilled if I did.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you had a productive 2016 and that the first month of this year has served you well.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Progress Report : Recent Projects

Today I’m talking about all my recent projects – which means there is a LOT to talk about! Though I haven’t finished a whole lot in the past months, I have a ton of things in progress and a bunch of recently abandoned projects. I did a big sewing room cleanup yesterday and came across a lot of those projects and thought it would be fun to share them with you! I also want to go over some of my future plans since I’m always planning something. 

But as I usually do with my progress reports, I’ll start off with things I’ve recently finished.

Using the term “recently” loosely, I finished my Civil War Era ball gown, which I adore. 
angela-clayton-evening-gown-1860-7872

And from the same period I made a more casual ensemble…er, I tried to, at least. This ensemble was supposed to consist of a blouse, hat, and skirt. But I didn’t have enough material for the skirt so it didn’t sit nicely over my hoop skirt. The fabric I used for the waistband was really delicate and unraveled. And somehow the skirt was sewn onto the waistband incorrectly, leaving the side seam at the center front.

I decided the skirt was cursed and gave up. Usually I push through to the end of projects, but this one wasn’t worth it. However I do really like the blouse! And I made a really cute pork pie hat to go with it. I used buckram, heavy weight interfacing and wire for the structure. It’s covered with velvet and decorated with a cheap brooch from ebay and a few feathers.

Before discarding the skirt I put it on and got some waist up photos, which I think turned out nicely!

dsc_7055

I’ll probably remake the skirt someday, and try to get better photos of this ensemble because I really the parts I did finish!

The wig in these photos was from a Halloween shop, I braided it nicely in the back but you can’t really tell. And the earrings are these ones* – I wear them all the time since they make me feel fancy.

dsc_7095

Around the time I finished that blouse and hat, I also made an 1890’s cycling costume. This is still one of my favorite things I made this year, it’s really comfortable, cute, and feels more complete than most of my costumes. Not because of how it’s constructed, it just the way everything from the hat to stockings and shoes match. It was also really enjoyable to make, flared jackets are so much fun!

angela-clayton-cycling-costume-resize-6839

I find jackets so fun that I’ve decided to make myself a winter coat this year. Well, I originally wanted to make myself two coats, one 1920’s inspired, and another based on this 1950’s image, but I could only find the material for one coat and decided to make the 1920’s inspired one first.

Though I’m determined to make a coat like the one on the right some day.

1957-bh-coats-womens-357x500

The design I settled on is based on some of the designs in this Bellas and Hess catalogue. I’m going to make mine a lot more fitted than those, but the length, crazy collars, and flashy buttons will definitely feature in the one I’m making. And if I have enough fabric leftover I’ll make a hat too.

Hopefully the end result will be something I can wear on a regular basis. My current winter coat is falling apart so if it turns out well it would definitely be an improvement! And a lot more unique than the ones I’ve tried on in stores.

I picked a fairly plain brown faux wool flannel from Jo-anns, and bright orange vintage buttons for it. But right now it’s just a sketch (on left).

dsc_9331

Part of my motivation to make something more wearable comes from a 1950’s inspired dress I finished recently. I was browsing on etsy when I came across a vintage dress from Over Attired that has a really interesting dart placement – they were parallel to the neckline and extended out from a center seam. The dress also had sleeves incorporated into the bodice pattern rather than being a separate piece.

I loved the dress, but it wasn’t in my size. So I decided to make my own! I used a lightweight polka dot material for it and lined it with cotton. It closes with a zipper up the back and a hook/eye. I drafted the pattern myself and absolutely adore the end result, it’s so much more flattering than most dresses I own and really comfortable. It’s made me want to make more of my own clothing, rather than just elaborate costumes.

1950-resize-2

There won’t be a blog post about that dress, but there is a video showing how I made it here!

And I’ve already started on another 1950’s inspired project, with a similar sleeve design. But this one is bright yellow with a cute collar!

dsc_9309

Back to discussing finished things! My most recently completed costume is a Sybil inspired ensemble. Making this was the most fun I’ve had on a historical costume in a long time. I think it was a mixture of the materials, the huge amount of hand sewing, and the spontaneous aspect of it. I didn’t have built up expectations while working on it so I could just go with the flow which was great.

sybil-inspired-costume-915233

I’d hoped to replicate those feelings with another Edwardian project, but it didn’t quite go as planned. I had a few other things in progress and this got put on the bottom of the pile rather than the top, which ruined the fun of it. But I do plan on going back to it soon when I have time to give it more attention.

The plan for this was a simple dress, fitted at the bodice with short sleeves and a skirt that falls away at the hips. For the dress I was going to use green satin faced chiffon, some trim I had around, and these matching appliques.

dsc_5540

The dress would be worn over a lace blouse made from silk, vintage lace, and cotton. This was the part I was most excited about since I love mixing trims, but I didn’t get very far before moving on to other things. I’m DEFINITELY coming back to it, I just need to finish some other stuff first.

dsc_9296

And that reminds me of another lace blouse that hasn’t been finished either. I started this a few months ago and got the bodice almost finished – it’s a mix of lace fabric, lace trim, and soft mesh. It was supposed to have a high lace collar and matching sleeves but I was so indecisive about which style to go with that I ended up setting it aside and haven’t gotten back to it. I’d like to resume this someday, but I’m still not sure what direction to go in!

dsc_6988

My other recent edwardian plan had a similar fate. It was supposed to be a suit based on this ensemble from a vintage magazine. I was really excited about this project, but I wasn’t very committed to it. I made the base for the hat, then got bored before I finished it. I made bust pads to achieve the proper silhouette and drafted a pattern for the suit, but I lost interest in that too and never finished it!

dsc_5475

A project I did successfully finish is this 1890’s taffeta dress. I have the first few blog posts up about this already and the final one should be up next week!

dsc_8722

Unfortunately my other 1890’s project hasn’t gone as well. This was supposed to be a fast fun project, made from a yard of glitter velvet and some two tone chiffon I had in my collection. The plan was to make a cute, short jacket and let the material really shine. But then I had the bright idea to embellish patterns on it with sequins, which looks fantastic, but took forever. 

After finishing the embellishing I took a break from it. Then a few weeks later I tried it on and realized the stupid thing doesn’t fit. Well, it kind of fits, but it’s too short in the waist. I might be able to salvage it by sewing in boning and adding waist tape that hooks closed, but that doesn’t seem like much fun so I’ve been avoiding it.

dsc_7589

I have two more abandoned projects to share, and then I’ll go back to the positive stuff!

A while back I had the bright idea to make something really different from everything else I had in progress – a tudor ensemble made from a variety of black materials. This was a flop too. I  think black fabrics (specifically velvet?) hate me. Or suck the inspiration from me. Or both.

In this projects defense, nothing went wrong with it. I drafted and fitted the project, then assembled the bodice. I did a bit of beading on it too before losing interest. I haven’t trashed this, and I’d still like to finish it, but my feelings towards is are very “meh” – there are more exciting things to sew, so I’m avoiding it for now.

dsc_8004

My final flop is the one I’m most annoyed about, because I invested so much time into it. This was supposed to be an 1880’s day dress, with a slight bustle. I made the bodice from cotton sateen I salvaged from another project and striped fabric I got for a dollar in Lancaster.

I draped, fitted, cut out, assembled, added hooks, sewed on the collar and sewed on the sleeves before realizing this didn’t fit. The main fit issue is with the shoulder, it’s too tight but not sloped enough, so it causes bunching below the neckline and around the chest. It looks terrible and can’t be fixed without removing the sleeves and collar.

dsc_8300

On top of that I sort of ran out of fabric. I thought I had more cotton sateen from a recent trip to the garment district that would match, but it doesn’t. Which means the bustle dress would have very tiny, awkward draped panels on the skirt. I could probably make it work but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

Here is the skirt in its current state, without any draped panels. 😦

There is also a matching hat lacking trimming which I don’t have photos of.

dsc_8309

On a brighter note, I do have a few works in progress that seem to be going well! The first is my 1830’s dress, which I’ve blogged about already. I finished the bodice for this, and made major progress on a matching bonnet.

I still haven’t started on the skirt since I’d really like to make a shorter petticoat before working on it. But I haven’t been in the mood to make a petticoat, so I may make the skirt over my existing petticoats and  hem it shorter later.

plaid-8939

I’ve (bravely) taken on another 1880’s project. This is a natural form era gown, with a very fitted bodice and skirt that is wide around the hips but tapers towards the hem. It’s a very different silhouette for me and will require a LOT of work but I’m excited about it. I’ve been working on this for a while, with a bit of progress happening each week.

I guess the slow and steady technique has worked, because the bodice is almost done (minus some ruffles).

dsc_9279

I drafted the underskirt, and have spent ages beading the front panel, but it hasn’t really taken shape yet. Hopefully it will soon.

dsc_9060

I’d hoped to focus on some 18th century projects this October – partially because the name is catchy, but also because I have so many I want to make. The first project on this list is an elaborate turque which I mentioned in my birthday haul earlier this year.

The bodice is almost done – it’s fully constructed, just needs some trim and sleeves.

dsc_7471

I also got the skirt cut out. The skirt is made from shantung and trimmed with five yards of home made organza puff trim. By some miracle I finished that last week, and have moved on to hemming and gathering the ruffles for the petticoat. These are made from a snazzy taffeta and striped organza

dsc_9294

My other 18th century project is in a similar state. The bodice is almost done and i’ve confirmed that it fits, but it’s missing trim and I still haven’t drafted the sleeves. This is made out of that beautiful striped taffeta I got a few months ago. I love it soo much, I can’t wait to see this finished!

dsc_9082

I have the matching petticoat cut out as well. Both edges of the petticoat ruffle were hemmed by hand, which is like fourteen yards of hand hemming! But it’s done now, so I can move onto gathering it and attaching it to the upper portion.

dsc_9299

And I think that’s everything! I probably left out a few of the things I completed, but you’ve seen them before anyway. I thought it was better to focus on my fails and what I’m currently working on. Hopefully it was interesting and made you feel a bit better about any UFO’s you have laying around!

My goal for this month is to finish the turque, the winter coat, and the 1830’s dress. Then I can focus more on the other 18th century project and maybe something edwardian. I’d really like to work through some of these WIP’s!

Thanks for reading!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Making an 1860’s Plaid Blouse

Today I had planned on posting about making a shirtwaist to go with my 1890’s cycling costume. But I didn’t get the video that goes along with that post edited in time, so i’m writing about a new project instead!

This project is a relatively simple three piece Civil War Era costume. It will consist of a blouse, skirt, and hat. It’s based off the two-piece ensembles that can be seen in many photographs from the 1860s. Though I definitely prefer the elaborate evening costumes, and matchy-matchy dresses from this period I’ve always found these interesting, and I like that they are different from the previous 1860’s pieces i’ve made.

Though i’ve been aware of this style for a long time, I didn’t feel especially inspired to make one until I saw this fabric. I think the print is a bit too bold to be accurate, but as soon as I saw it I knew it would make a beautiful blouse, and I think I was right!

DSC_5991

Like my cycling jacket this project was made with materials sent to me for review by Organic Cotton Plus.  I was interested in this material since i’d never worked with cotton gauze before, and I found the print really interesting. From a distance it looks like a typical bold plaid, but up close you can see all the contrasting threads and detail work. I like fabrics that transform the more you look at them, and I think this fabric falls into that category!

The fabric is really soft and very lightweight. I’d say the weight is closer to chiffon than any cotton fabric i’ve worked with before. It acts a bit like chiffon too, which made it kind of challenging to work with. It frayed a lot and the pieces were prone to warping and shifting as I worked with them. But unlike chiffon the fabric didn’t pucker as I sewed it, and it gathered really smoothly.

DSC_5608

The material is a double cotton gauze, so it’s actually two layers of gauze material that have been sewn together. This makes the fabric opaque and double sided, so if you wanted you could use the backside which has a check print (this side is also grey but looks more warm toned than the plaid side, which almost appears blue in some lights).

Even though this fabric was challenging at times, I really liked working with it and i’d consider getting more for similar projects in the future. But I don’t think I would recommend it for very fitted dresses that would put a lot of tension on the seams since it is quite delicate.

DSC_5609

Now onto the construction! I didn’t bother making a sketch for this, I went straight into the draping. Which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea. Since I didn’t do any sketching I didn’t do much research either. And I didn’t realize that blouses from this period usually buttoned overtop of the skirt waistband, instead of being tucked into it. Instead I draped it like a shirtwaist, with gathers at the waistline and material flowing outward from that point.

But at least I remembered the dropped shoulder detailing!

DSC_5504

Here is my pattern after being removed from the form. I cleaned the edges of this up, added seam allowances, dropped the shoulder more, and made each piece a bit wider to allow for more gathers.

DSC_5508

Then I cut my pieces out and marked the gathering lines with basting stitches. This is the back panel.

DSC_5717

And this is the front panel. All these pieces were cut from one yard of the gauze, with the other yard set aside for the sleeves.

DSC_5718

To prevent the fabric from warping I fused interfacing into the shoulder portions of the front and back panels. I also ironed a one inch wide strip into the centerfront of the front panels. Then I finished the edge with lace seam binding.

DSC_5724

Then the edges were turned inward by hand and sewed down.

DSC_5726

I made a placket for the front panels out of a scrap of leftover material that was backed with interfacing.

DSC_5723

I cut down the edges and turned them inward. Then they were trimmed with some vintage cluny lace. I finished the placket off with a bunch of black buttons. These are the washable ones that come in sets of eight for 99c at Joanns.

DSC_5781

The placket was sewn on by hand.

DSC_5780

Then I sewed in a whole bunch of tiny snaps, which serve as the closure for the blouse. I could have made the buttons functional, but sewing tiny button holes without a machine is hard. And since this material is quite delicate and prone to fraying I didn’t think I could get an end result I was happy with by doing that.

Plus it’s way easier to do up/undo snaps, so I went with that.

DSC_5782

Then I gathered the back panel at the waistline and collar.

DSC_5719

The panels were sewn together at the shoulder with french seams.

DSC_5807

I bound the collar with bias tape.

DSC_5808

And trimmed it with some lace trim. I think lace looks a bit softer than the stiff collars that were sometimes worn, and that goes better with this fabric.

DSC_5809

And now I could move onto sleeves! These were cut out from the remaining material – I made them as wide and long as I could. The top edge is straight, but the bottom edge gets longer towards the underarm. I thought this was a fashionable thing during the 1860’s but I can’t find any examples of it, so I might have made that up.

DSC_5806

I folded the bottom six inches of the seam allowance inward by a quarter inch, then inward once again to finish the edge. Then I gathered the cuff down with two rows of gathers that are spaced a half inch apart. I love how these gathers turned out and they were really easy to do – I used my typical method of sewing small running stitches and pulling them tightly as I go.

 I think the fact this is a double gauze makes the material thick enough to create really pretty, dense gathers. But the fact it’s so lightweight means there isn’t a lot of bulk to them. It’s an interesting effect!

DSC_5838

I repeated the process at the shoulder of each sleeve. Then the cuffs were bound with strips of bias tape and finished with more lace.

DSC_5841

Look at those cute little cuffs!

DSC_5842

They close with a single button and some ugly buttonholes – in my defense the fabric was fraying a lot and I didn’t have matching embroidery floss!

DSC_5843

I sewed the sleeves onto the shoulder of the bodice, then bound the edge with lace tape.

DSC_5858

The side seams were done up with french seams, then I gathered the waistline of the front panels. The final step was turning the hem inward and sewing it down with whip stitches. And that was it!

DSC_5991

I think i’ll wear this with a velvet ribbon and a few paper flowers at the neckline. Or a cameo brooch.

DSC_5992

 The bottom few inches of the side seam are left open so I can easily get the cuff over my hands.

DSC_5993

And the back! I had to add a pleat to the back of the collar to make it fit better, but other than that it’s perfect!

DSC_5996

Okay perfect might be a stretch considering the goof up with the waistline style and sleeves. But other then those issues, i’m really happy with how this turned out! I think the lace/fabric/button combination is really pretty. Now I just have to finish up the matching skirt and i’ll be able to share photos of it all together!

DSC_5994

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading!

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Fabric Haul, April 2016

Today’s post is an exciting one…or at least it’s exciting for me, because it’s a fabric haul! Which means new materials and new projects to work on.

The week before my birthday my dad and I went into the garment district and this is what I got during that trip – plus a few Jo-anns purchases since I couldn’t find everything I wanted in NYC.

This post is a bit different than usual, since I don’t have many sketches to share. Most of my future plans are in the idea stage and haven’t been transferred to paper yet, or are based off of paintings. But i’ll do my best to describe each project and include my inspiration photos!

Here is my swatch sheet that I made after getting home. I managed to get (almost) everything I need for seven projects which is fantastic.

DSC_5194

Now lets go through them in detail!

The first fabric I bought is for an Elizabethan ensemble based on this painting of Anne of Denmark. I plan on following the silhouette and detailing quite closely, but i’ll be making a few changes, as I always do. I’ve been wanting to take on an Elizabethan project since I got “In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion” for Christmas, and this seemed like a good piece to start with.

I’d hoped to find a fabric with a larger, more subtle pattern, but I didn’t see any others that were green so at the end of the day I came back to this one and bought eight yards. It isn’t quite what I had in mind, but I do really like it! I just hope it isn’t too overwhelming once I make a full dress out of it!

DSC_5212

To go along with that I bought buttons! I don’t think metal buttons are very accurate for this period, but I fell in love with the shape and details of these so I bought them anyway. I thought I would have to order buttons for this, so finding ones in person was a pleasant surprise!

DSC_5213

This costume will mostly be trimmed with lace, which I already own and small gold ribbon, which i’ve ordered online. But I came across this gold/green cording which I thought would look nice on the bodice, so I got three yards. I also picked up two yards of velvet ribbon for the rosettes and two orange pheasant feathers for the hat!

DSC_5209

For the partlet and ruff I got a sheer cotton fabric. This is a really neat fabric considering it’s weight and color. It has a subtle plaid pattern  woven through it and parts of it have a sheen almost like mirror organza.

DSC_5207

From Diana Fabrics I got a plain cotton striped shirting, which is for a cycling ensemble I plan on making soon. I already have the other materials for this project (buttons for the shirt, plaid for the pants, and wool for the hat) so now I can get started!

DSC_5197

Also from Diana Fabrics I bought three yards of this striped silk taffeta. I love this fabric, unfortunately I didn’t buy enough of it to actually use it. I thought it matched another fabric I bought and would work for an 1880s bustle dress but it doesn’t at all. Hopefully on my next trip in they will still have it, then I can get another two yards and have enough for an 18th century Robe a La Langlaise!

DSC_5196

Speaking of the 18th century, I got a whole bunch of fabrics for an ensemble from that period. This is based on a few paintings from the late 1700’s and incorporates the loose wrapped headpiece (“turban”) trend that was popular at this point in time.

DSC_5195

I wanted this costume to have a warm color scheme and incorporate textured metallic fabrics, so when I saw this I grabbed it up right away! It’s a striped organza made from pink and gold threads so it has a two tone shift. It’s really striking in person, and might be a bit overwhelming, but I love it a lot.

DSC_5232

I tried to find a striped material that would compliment the organza, but they were all out of my price range. And the silks I found were a little more textured or pink than I wanted, so I went for a polyester shantung instead. It’s a light copper color that looks gorgeous with the organza. I got this at Amin fabrics, along with a few yards of pink taffeta which is a base for the organza.

DSC_5227

Since I couldn’t find a striped fabric I went back to the shop where I bought the organza (Zahra fabrics) and got two yards of a similar material, just in a different print. I’m going to use this for ruffled trim, which will hopefully jazz up the slightly boring shantung!

DSC_5233

Here are the materials all together, and you can see how the striped fabric looks over the pink taffeta.

DSC_5229

At a trim shop I found some pretty organza ribbons that were a dollar a yard, so I bought two yards of each. I think one of these might work as a sash for the costume,  and even if they don’t I’ll find a use for them someday!

DSC_5236

At Zahra fabrics I got four yards of an orchid colored satin faced chiffon. This is for a grecian inspired project I want to make soon – it won’t be historically accurate at all, but it will be very pretty!

DSC_5205

They also has a textured silk that I really liked, and matched the color scheme I had going, so I got a yard of it.

The final fabric for this project (on left) is a plain linen that I bought from Jo-ann’s. I’d hoped to find a foiled linen that had gold flecks in it, or something more interesting, but didn’t see anything like that. And when it comes to plain linen, it’s cheaper to buy it from Jo-ann’s with coupons than in the garment district.

DSC_5249

For the same project I got a bunch of beads and sequins from Beads World. I’d like to make a crown or shoulder piece with a floral pattern, and I thought these would work well for that.

Even though i’m not completely sure what this project will look like I really love the color palettes and fabrics I ended up getting for it. It’s made me realize that I don’t work with purple fabrics often enough!

DSC_5204

These things weren’t on my list, but they had them in the sale section at the front and I couldn’t resist. I use gold beads all the time so I thought these would be a good addition to my collection, and the leaves were too pretty to pass up! Ecspecially at $2 a bag.

DSC_5266

I also got some red beads and a tiny crochet hook. I’m going to attempt to teach myself the process of crocheting a beaded rope, and thought these would be good to start with!

DSC_5257

At Hamed Fabrics I came across a striped home decor fabric and fell in love. I had no idea what to do with it until I remembered this fashion plate. This project was on my list of tentative plans, but I didn’t think I would find a fabric in my price range that would work for this.

DSC_5285

But clearly I was wrong, because this is perfect. It’s a dark pink organza with opaque stripes that are outlined in gold. It’s such a pretty color, the texture is lovely, and looks gorgeous when it’s gathered.

Best of all is that it’s 120″ wide so I only had to buy five and a half yards, which came to a total cost of fifty five dollars.

DSC_5237

To go underneath that I bought a polyester taffeta (on left) and as a contrasting fabric for piping and bows I got a pinstriped gold fabric. These all look wonderful together and i’m really excited to use them.

DSC_5238

From the same shop I found a striped polyester organza with opaque off white stripes. This was another fabric I was happy to find, since it reminds me of the ones used for this Chemise a la Reine. I plan on making something inspired by that painting and some of my favorite John Hoppner works from that period (like this and this). The end result will probably be a very light, yet structured dress.

DSC_5219

I bought some shantung to go underneath it, but I might use a  lighter weight fabric as a base to keep the gauzy effect.

I also got two yards of silk taffeta to create a sash and trim the hat. This taffeta is the exact same one I used for my Royal Milk Tea costume back in the day, and was also used to trim a Chemise a la Reine-ish dress I made a couple years ago!

DSC_5220

From Amin Fabrics I bought this soft dotted net, which i’ll use to make neckerchiefs for a few projects. And at Zahra fabrics I found the same maroon/brown material I bought a few years ago. When I purchased this the first time it was for an 18th century project that ended in total failure, then the remaining yardage was used for my 1890s Paid Ensemble. I loved that fabric a lot and was sad to use it up, so I jumped at the opportunity to get more of it.

I bought three yards and I think i’ll reattempt that 18th Century project someday – three yards should be plenty for a jacket.

DSC_5202

Another good find from Zahra fabrics was this brocade. It’s the same type of material as the one I purchased for the Elizabethan project, but is in a much brighter shamrock green that my camera refuses to do justice. It has gold stripes woven throughout and is ridiculously pretty.

Unfortunately they only had three and a half yards, which isn’t enough for the dress I had in mind. But I bought it anyway and am determined to do something with it someday!

DSC_5224

From the same shop I got four yards of dark green satin faced chiffon (on left) and two yards of a striped jacquard. I was going to use the chiffon for an edwardian dress, but didn’t find any lace that matches it. So I need to browse etsy for something that will work, or put the project on hold for now.

The jacquard was supposed to be for a bustle dress, but I didn’t find anything that matches it. So that’s on hold for now as well!

DSC_5199

A project I did manage to get all the materials for is a very simple Victorian riding habit. I’d never seen one of these before but fell in love when I saw this picture. I’m not sure why I like it so much, but I think it’s very striking!

DSC_5283

I must have looked at hundreds of black suitings before picking this one. I wanted something that would look nice when it was draped and this is the only one I found that had a subtle sheen to it and was in the weight I needed. So I got six yards, which should be plenty.

I also found some filigree metal buttons on etsy which probably aren’t accurate, but should add some Victorian flair to this simple design.

DSC_5245

At Joann’s I got a yard of white cotton sateen, which i’ll use for the collars and cuff. And at Hai Trimmings I bought a bundle of rooster feathers for the hat. I fell in love with these last time I went in but didn’t want to buy them without a purpose, so I was happy to finally have a use for them!

DSC_5248

From Hai Trims I also got more of these resin “stones”.I bought orange ones on my last visit to the garment district, and couldn’t resist getting more this time around. I picked up three packets of the blue ones…

DSC_5264

And three packets of the green ones.

DSC_5261

The last notion-y things I bought are fluffy ostrich feathers – three in a warm white color, one in ivory.

DSC_5280

And a bunch of smaller ones in a warm white, plus two raspberry colored ones. I have a couple projects in mind that require light colored feathers, but I mostly got these just for the sake of having them around.

DSC_5279

The raspberry colored ones were bought for an Edwardian project (inspired by this), but I didn’t find velvet in the color I wanted so that project is on hold for now. However I did find this lace, which is hideous in that kitschy way that makes it perfect for something from the early 1900s, so I bought a yard of it with that project in mind.

DSC_5225

I bought a bit of red cotton sateen just for the hell of it. I thought this might be fun for an 1830s dress, similar to this one. I’ve used this material for a few projects in the past and it’s great to work with and super cheap, so getting more seemed like a good idea even without a plan in mind!

DSC_5243

The final two fabrics I bought are for a dress based off this one. I came across this dress recently and was immediately obsessed with it. The shape! The flowers! The draping! And the ruffles…what more could you want?

I’m not sure why but right away I knew I wanted this dress to be made from velvet. I planned on using black velvet for the dress, but the draping isn’t very visible on black, and the other dark colors (brown, blue, purple) weren’t as elegant as I liked. I wanted green, but couldn’t find any, so I choose this dark raspberry colored one. If it looks familiar that’s probably because I bought some on my last trip for a different project.

DSC_5215

To trim the dress I bought silk satin. The edges of this are slightly discolored, which I’m frustrated by, but it seems to be unavoidable when buying ivory fabric from the garment district (I swear the shop lighting hides all fabric flaws).

For the ruffles of this dress I bought matte black tulle, which I think go nicely with the silk and velvet.

DSC_5242

That is everything from the garment district but I did make a few sneaky Joanns purchases that I wanted to include. On my most recent trip there I was really impressed by the new (summer?) collections and trim selection – everything was nicely stocked for once and I saw a lot that I really liked.

I ended up getting five yards of pink chiffon that has an iridescent vine pattern on it. When it catches the light it reflects all the colors you can imagine. It’s really, really pretty. Probably one of my favorite fabrics I’ve ever seen. I got two yards of it in an off white color as well.

DSC_5252

Then to go with that I bought one yard of a textured organza. This has satin flecks in it, a mottled pattern, and glitter woven into the base. This one was ridiculously priced ($30 a yard!) but with coupons it was half that, and a little more justifiable. I have no idea what i’ll use these for but I see some sort of medieval inspired dress that looks like a bridesmaid gown in their future…

DSC_5254

The last thing I bought was this trim! Which I was also very impressed with. I got two yards of it which is enough to edge the cuffs/waist of a dress. Not sure what it will get used for either, but I liked it enough that I didn’t care!

DSC_5255

And that’s everything! I’m currently working on my Civil War Era evening gown and a few other projects so I won’t be using any of these materials in the immediate future, but they will be making more appearances on my blog soon!

Thanks for reading!

 
14 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Reviews & Hauls

 

Tags: , , ,

Progress Report: February / March 2016

It’s been a while since my last post. Sorry about that! After my last project I wanted a little break, then I came down with a cold and wasn’t feeling well enough to respond to comments, much less write an entire blog post. But i’m back! And today I have a massive progress report to share. If you’re unfamiliar with these posts, they include updates on what i’m currently working on, a look back at what i’ve finished recently, what I plan on starting soon, and any other costume related bits that have happened in the last few months.

Let’s start with what i’ve completed so far this year. Which, to be honest, isn’t much. I’ve only finished three costumes. I’m really pleased with all of them, I’d just hoped to have done more.

The first costume I completed was made in the first week of February. It’s a medieval cotehardie, and the female equivalent of this ensemble. It’s made from velvet and brocade, and is trimmed with hundreds of sequins and more than fifty buttons. The dress laces up the back and is paired with this crown.

I haven’t spoken much about this project since I didn’t take many photos when I was making it. But I did film the entire process, and i’ll definitely write a bit more about it as soon as I have those videos edited and uploaded (though that may be a while, I have 15+ hours of footage…)

Cotehardie_Angela_Clayton_1

The cotehardie was made in less than a week – I think it took five days? I realized the season of snow was coming to an end, and I knew I wanted to photograph this project in a wintery landscape. I definitely didn’t want to wait another year before making it, so I drafted the patterns, put it together, embellished it, embroidered more than thirty eyelets, and sewed on all the buttons in less than a week. I had it done just in time to photograph it the last big snowfall of the year!

Here is a close up of the hemline, adding these sequins was the most time consuming part.

DSC_3602

I also “finished” this 18th century ensemble – though it isn’t really finished, since the dress isn’t wearable on its own. But I did make the jacket, hat, and refit/complete the bodice. So i’m counting it anyway!

Angela Clayton_ Riding Coat_ 3

I also made a plaid walking ensemble, which i’m pretty sure is my favorite thing i’ve ever made. I’m really happy with how this turned out and it was definitely worth the days spent matching the plaid!

Plaid_1890s_Angela Clayton5

And though I haven’t finished any other ensembles, I have completed a few individual pieces. I made this petticoat, a chemise, and a corset, which all match and are based off garments from the late nineteenth century.

DSC_4289

Here you can see the corset in detail. It’s made from cotton eyelet fabric, denim, and steel bones. I trimmed the top with chantilly lace and ribbon. I’m really happy with how this looks, and it’s quite comfy to wear, but it doesn’t give me as much reduction as I’d hoped which is dissapointing

(I put the busk in upside down, shhh)

DSC_0916

A few days ago I pieced together a matching combination set, which can function as bloomers and a chemise. This is to go underneath a cycling ensemble I plan on making soon, which is also based off designs from the 1890s.

This came together really quickly – I’d say four hours or so? I used more of the eyelet cotton, a lace applique I was gifted, and some embroidered mesh to make pretty cuffs. I draped the pattern and put it together without making a mockup, and by some miracle it fits!

DSC_5015

This was such a fun little project. I’m planning to photograph ALL these pieces soon, then i’ll write about the process of making them. I just have to make a pair of bloomers first, which will complete the set!

DSC_5016

The final thing I’ve finished is a partial shirtwaist. I’m don’t think i’m going to post about making this, since I didn’t take many photos and don’t plan on wearing it any time soon. It was made to go with an 1890’s gown, but I don’t like how the asymmetric collar and gold buttons look with that dress.

It has a very similar construction to this partial shirtwaist, but ties at the sides with bias tape instead of at back. The neckline opens down to the waist with snaps and has decorative gold buttons. It’s made from a lightweight striped cotton that I tea stained, lined with muslin, and trimmed with vintage lace.

I’m going to keep this around in case I have a use for it someday, but right now it feels like a waste of time/effort/materials!

DSC_4275

I suppose completing two hats, two jackets, a dress, a skirt, two undershirts, a chemise, petticoat, combination set, and a corset isn’t too bad considering we are only three months into the year…but i’d really like to do double that in the coming months. Luckily I have some things in progress, so that may happen!

The first project I started on this year is an 1890s taffeta dress. Once my foundation garments were finished I went straight into drafting the bodice for this gown. The bodice actually came together really quickly – in a week or so I had it and the sleeves, completely finished.

Here it is before I added the sleeves. It’s made from polyester taffeta, faced with faux wool flannel, lined with a basic polyester lining, trimmed with vintage lace, and beaded around the neckline. I’m really happy with the fit of this, though the back panels pucker pretty badly when it’s worn since I wasn’t paying attention to grain lines.

I’m also happy with the beading on this, I think it turned out nicely!

DSC_0881

The sleeves are made from the same materials and feature the same beading pattern. Gathering these and attaching them to the bodice was a huge pain since taffeta is so tightly woven and difficult to stitch through. I pricked myself way to many times and I had to take lots of breaks, but I did get it accomplished!

Unfortunately that’s about all I got accomplished on this project. I made major progress in January and then ignored it for more than a month. Even now, three months later, it still looks about the same.

DSC_0866

This was mostly because my 18th century ensemble and cotehardie took priority, but it also has to do with a roadblock I hit when working on the skirt. The skirt was supposed to have large pleats in the side panels, but I couldn’t get them to work. I spent ages trying to fix them before deciding to remove the pleats and simplify the skirt.

After fixing the skirt I got the waistband put together and closures sewn in. Then I abandoned it, again.

I’m going to try to resume progress this week and get it finished. I have to add cuffs to the sleeves, replace the buttons on the bodice, attach the skirt to the bodice, and sew on the waistband. That shouldn’t take me more than a day, I just need to find the motivation to get it finished!

And hopefully when the dress is done i’ll have enough enthusiasm to make the matching hat and cloak that are meant to go with this dress. The cloak is already drafted and the hat has been cut out, so it could happen!

DSC_4310

Another ensemble I had planned on finishing by now is an Edwardian evening gown. Unfortunately as soon as I began work on this I realized the design I had come up with wasn’t going to work. The illusion neckline and appliques down the sides looked very modern, not historical at all. I played around with some of the appliques and realized that putting them across the shoulder and down the front of the dress looks way better.

But this means that the asymmetrical hem detailing i’d planned won’t look very nice. I’m not sure how to rework that part and still like the end result, and since the bodice and skirt are cut as a single piece, I need to figure that out before working on this project at all. So i’ve decided to put this project on hold for now, and come back to it when I have a new idea that incorporates the design changes.

Hopefully that will happen soon since i’m dying to work on this – look at how pretty the lace is!

DSC_4942

I really wanted to work on something detailed that involved sequins and beading, and since I couldn’t move forward with my Edwardian project I decided to start something new. And that something is an 1860s evening gown, inspired by this painting. It won’t be a recreation, but I’m basing the bodice quite heavily on the one shown there, and it will have the same color scheme.

Here is my sketch.

DSC_4982

I’m using cotton sateen for this, and pairing it with an alencon lace (which can be seen here) and some chantilly lace that I recently purchased.

I got it from the seller PrettyLaceShop on etsy. This lace has a few issues (uneven “eyelashes” on edges, a couple tiny oil stains, and the occasional tear along the top edge) but the sheen and design is beautiful. And it’s cheaper than anything else I could find. I think it was $40 for seventeen yards, which is pretty amazing considering how wide this trim is (more than ten inches at points).

DSC_5065

This costume is no where close to being done, but I have enjoyed working on it so far. The bodice has a lot of details and layers to it which i’ve loved creating. This is just the collar, photos of the entire bodice and a “Making of” post about this should be up next week!

DSC_5083

The lower half of this project hasn’t been quite as enjoyable to make. I spent a few evenings fussy cutting out twelve yards of lace trim, then spent another few evenings stitching the lace  onto a length fabric which will form a ruffle for the skirt. But that part was fun compared to making the understructure for the skirt.

I decided to use my farthingale as a base for the skirt (since that worked well for this dress) and planned on making a very full petticoat to go overtop, which will add enough volume and length to the farthingale to create an appropriate 1860s silhouette.  I chose to do this because I didn’t have enough hooping wire on hand to make an elliptical hoop skirt (and spending $40 on lace for this project was more appealing than buying $40 of wire).

Even if I did make an eliptical hoop, I would still have to make a petticoat to soften the shape of it. Making a super full petticoat seemed like the better, cheaper option than making a new hoop skirt and a new petticoat.

Oh boy was I wrong. After cutting out dozens of strips for ruffles I managed to injure my wrist. And after three days of nonstop hemming my neck was hurt too. My wrist was fine a few days later, and my neck has improved by a lot, but it’s still hurts if I spend more than a few consecutive hours sewing. I lost almost a week of work time because it was so bad, which has added to my lack of progress over the past few months.

On the bright side, the petticoat has a nice shape and it’s super fluffy! I’m going to try and get it finished this week so I can draft the skirt for this project. It’s 95% done so hopefully I can manage the last bit without hurting myself again.

DSC_4906

The final thing I have in progress is a renaissance inspired dress. I started on this before the Civi War Era gown, because I wanted something flowy and easy to make. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. The construction hasn’t been difficult, but I have a lot of conflicting ideas and can’t figure out which direction to take this project in.

I’ve temporarily set this dress aside since i’m not sure how to move forward, but i’m sure i’ll come back to it soon.

So far the bodice looks like this.

DSC_4989

And I made a very fancy beaded collar, which looks like this.

DSC_4983

I also managed to make some major progress on the matching headpiece and collar (which is for a cape, not the dress). Those pieces were wonderful when I got sick because it was the only thing I felt capable to work on and kept me distracted from my runny nose and sore throat!

I managed to draft the headpiece and collar, then spent an entire week beading them.

DSC_5047

The color scheme for this project gave me a chance to use these weird resin “stones” I bought last year. I think these are gorgeous and i’m so thrilled to finally have a use for them!

DSC_5046

My other reason for not getting much done these past few months is because February was kind of…weird. I don’t know if it was allergies, or lack of inspiration, or what, but I felt really burnt out. I had to force myself to work on stuff in the mornings, and by the time afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. None of my projects were going well and instead of pushing through the problems I ignored them, which lead to me getting very little done.

This is part of the reason why my 1890s taffeta dress didn’t progress much, and why my blog and youtube channel were so dead for a while. Luckily that went away in March and got back on schedule. But February was mostly spent in my sewing room procrastinating. And one of my favorite things to do when i’m procrastinating is organizing.

So I rearranged things to be more convenient – The velvet, suiting, and quilt batting that was previously stored on the top shelf of my closet got moved into the bins underneath my desk, where they are much easier to access.

Then I spent a whole day winding most of my lace collection onto Kraft tags I got from michaels…

DSC_5075

And I switched all these boring bins out for colorful photo boxes I got from Michaels. It went from this:

DSC_4121

To this!

DSC_4137

Even though February wasn’t a productive month, I am happy with the storage changes that came out of it!

DSC_4076

One exciting thing that happened in February involves a package I received from my Great Aunt. She was cleaning up her sewing room and came across an issue of “The Lady” magazine from 1896. She thought I might appreciate it, so she sent it my way. I’m so glad she did. It’s incredibly interesting to look through and see real advertisements and illustrations from  that period.

I’m sure there are books that include the same fashion plates, but seeing them printed on paper that is more than a hundred years old is just incredible. Not to mention super inspiring, since the 1890s is a period i’ve been researching a lot recently.

I may make a blog post completely devoted to the pages of this, but for now i’m just going to share my favorite. I believe these show fancy dress costumes from the period, but they may also be illustrations of the characters featured in the short stories that are spread throughout the magazine.

Either way, they are awesome. Here you can see a medieval inspired gown, an 18th century inspired witch, and a lovely riding ensemble.

DSC_4375

My favorite is probably this one, which is titled “Carnival in black and white”

DSC_4376

Here you can see more details on the “Modernised Witch” who has skulls and snaked decorating the hem of her skirt and shoes. The lady on the lower left is simply titled “chrysanthemum” and has feathery looking bits decorating her skirt and sleeves, which I can only assume represent the flower!

DSC_4373

The ads throughout the magazine seems to focus on corsets, skirt facings, and outwear (which makes sense, it’s from November). I’m sure i’ll be using some of these as references in the future!

DSC_4361

I think that covers everything that has happened so far this year! When it comes to the next few months, i’m not entirely sure what my plans are – but I need to decide soon because my birthday is coming up, which means i’ll be taking a trip into the garment district within the next week.

Usually I go in with lots of costume plans and a carefully crafted list of materials i’m on the lookout for. And I could do that this time, I certainly have enough ideas for it. But I also want to go in with an open mind and the goal of  expanding my stash of fabrics. Because I really miss the days when I had enough random fabric around to make whatever I liked without planning ahead. If I was stressed and a costume wasn’t going well I could start something new to distract me. Or if I came across something inspiring on pinterest I likely had enough materials around to make something similar.

I still have a lot of fabric, but I have specific plans for most of it. And the materials I don’t have projects in mind for are too small to turn into a full costume.

So going in without a list is really appealing to me…but i’m such a planner, and I have so many specific ideas that I want to work on. I’ll probably end up shopping for a couple specific projects, then spend whatever money is left on silks, sateens, taffetas, brocades, velvet, and any materials that could be used for a bunch of different projects and would suit a variety of eras.

Whatever I decide to do, i’m really excited about getting new materials and having the opportunity to start new projects. I know it will be a lot of fun. But i’m trying not to think about it too much since I have a massive list of things to accomplish this week, and the thought of new projects and fabric is only going to to distract me!

Thanks for reading! I should be back to my usual schedule now, and have a “The Making of” post up on Friday!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Progress Report

 

Tags: