Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Progress on my Stays

My 18th Century stays are cut out, and two pieces are fully boned so far.  I've had some issues with this project, mainly with the process of transferring marks from the pattern to the fabric.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lucas Sells Star Wars to Disney

I guess this means we'll be seeing more Star Wars costumes?

Read all about it.

Red Plaid Curtain Plan Revised

I was quite discouraged in my last post when I discovered that the gorgeous red plaid curtain set I had bought on clearance was half as much yardage as I had originally calculated.  I had wanted to make a big, Christmasy 1860s crinoline gown, which calls for eight yards of fabric.

Tartan Plaid Silk Taffeta Dress, c. 1871
This meant I would need four total sets of curtains.  I have one.  However, inspiration returned when I was browsing my blogroll, and found The Dreamstress' recent post about her plaid 1880s skirt.  Suddenly I realized that my red plaid would match a deep red taffeta dress that I bought off the sale rack in the bridal store where I work:

Which I bought specifically because the pleated trim around the hem reminded me of a Victorian bustle-era skirt!

The dress had been languishing in my closet for months, because I had been unable to find matching taffeta to make a draped overskirt.  Originally I had planned to pair the dress (as a skirt) with a frilly, creamy, gauzy blouse.  However, I should have enough plaid fabric to make an overskirt and matching jacket!

First I had to revamp the taffeta dress a bit.  I removed the zipper and lining, and let out all the seams as much as possible, since I want to use the full length of the dress (it was ankle-length on me) for my new floor-length skirt.  Fortunately it was a couple sizes too big for me already, so I was able to get enough girth for my hips to fit where the waist was supposed to be.

Then I put it on my dress form inside out and pinned in the top to fit to my waist.

I sewed up the seams, tried it on, pressed it and put it back on the dress form, right side out this time.  Then I draped my curtain fabric over it, just to get the effect of the plaid with the taffeta.

I think it'll be beautiful!  Now I just need to find a pattern to use.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Window Shopping

Well, boo.  I went to two different Meijers today, and neither had the gold embroidered clearance curtains I want.  :(  The first one did have the same style in three other colors, but they weren't on sale.

So I could make the gown in Bone, Brick, or Chocolate, for $70.
They also had several clearance curtains in a lovely jacquard that I thought might work for a someday Elizabethan gown, but I wasn't inspired enough to buy any.

The second store had even less selection, but I did end up finding one of the 5-piece window sets that caught my eye the first time I went window shopping.  I absolutely love this deep red and gold plaid:

So I bought one.
Now, my original calculations led me to believe that two of these sets would yield enough yardage to get a good Civil War era gown, because I was reading the description incorrectly.  I thought that each curtain panel was going to be 60x84", when in fact the attached valance is the only part that's 60" wide.

Each panel is only 28" wide, which means that I would need twice as many sets as I thought, and this Meijer only had one.  Boo.

They did have four sets of the same plaid in a pretty tan color, but that one didn't excite me as much.  And now I'm not sure what to do with this one.  It's not very 18th Century, otherwise I'd make a caraco jacket or something.  And the pattern is much too large to be suitable for a doll gown.

I think the moral of this story is that I need to stop buying curtains.  :p

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ugh, Math

So... I can't get this French court gown idea out of my head.  Something like this would be what I'm aiming for:

Robe a la francaise [French or Austrian]  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I have this gorgeous gold embroidered faux silk, which is basically begging to be made into something extravagant.

Problem is, it's a curtain panel I bought on clearance, and it was the only one left at that particular store.  There are other stores I can check to find more, but first I need to know exactly how many curtains it'll take to make this beauty.  Hence the math.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curtains and More Curtains

I was in Meijer again on Saturday, and decided to check if the curtains I had found last week were still there.  I quickly discovered that the entire curtain aisle had been re-arranged, and guess why?  They're joining the Curtain-Along, too!

It might be hard to tell on my crappy cell phone pic, but those are the famous Waverly indienne-print curtains in the bottom left corner!  So I guess the reason all those other curtains were marked down last week was because they were making room for the new Waverly line.  Their price is the same as Lowe's, though.  I'll keep my eye on them and see if they ever go on sale, at which point I might snatch up a red one for a caraco jacket...  We'll see.

In the meantime, I did end up finding some clearance curtains to tide me over...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Make a Ruffled Petticoat From a Fitted Sheet

Need a ruffled petticoat to add poof to your gown, but don't want to buy yards and yards of fabric?  Use an old, worn-out bedsheet instead!

Look how pretty it can be!  
This can also be done with a flat top sheet, or with a brand-new sheet or set of sheets with a pretty pattern, for a nice underskirt worn with an open robe or jacket.  For my tutorial, I am using an old worn fitted sheet.  This petticoat will be worn only as an undergarment, so I didn't mind the fading in the middle of my sheet.  This will be strictly a utilitarian garment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Past Projects - 18th Century Doll Gowns

American Duchess recently blogged about how she found her era, and this made me think about why I'm so in love with 18th Century fashions.  I've concluded that it dates back to my childhood playing with American Girl dolls. I had Samantha, my younger sisters had Kirsten and Felicity, and my cousin Melissa had a Girl of Today she named Sarah.  Melissa and I played with our dolls every chance we got, even after my much younger sisters "outgrew" them.  And looking back, I realize now how much fascination Felicity's wardrobe held for me.  She's a colonial American Girl, growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I loved her clothes and all the little accessories and undergarments and everything.  And although my clothing and costuming interests have gone through major changes since those days, I'm still fascinated by the 18th Century.  Stomachers make me happy.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flirting with Curtains

It's curtains for you!  
So I was shopping at Meijer today (Meijer is kind of like the Walmart of Michigan, even though we have Walmart here, too...), and I somehow found myself in the curtain aisle... and I think I'm in trouble.  :p  See, ever since I became aware of the 18th Century Curtain-Along using the Indienne print curtains available at Lowe's, I've been looking at curtains in a whole new light...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

18th Century Stays

All of the research I've done into historical costuming agrees that foundation garments are key to achieving the proper silhouette of the time period.  For the 18th Century, this means stays, a chemise, pocket hoops or panniers, and petticoats.  Lots of petticoats.

Stays and quilted petticoat, 18th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

American Duchess Shoes

When I decided to get serious about historical costuming, one of the first things I knew was that I was going to need at least one pair of American Duchess shoes.  In fact, it was the American Duchess blog that really inspired me to delve into the world of historical costuming in the first place.  I ordered the last two pairs of size 8.5 Ivory Devonshires in June, used the 3-month payment plan, and they arrived on September 19:

Like my lovely anachronistic socks?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Past Projects - Deathly Hallows Midnight Showing

My sister Gretchen asked me to make her Gryffindor Quidditch robes for Halloween 2010, so she could also wear them to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  I modified a cloak pattern I already had to make the mid-calf length robes in scarlet, fully lined in gold.  I used reference images from the first two movies, before they had all kinds of racing stripes on the sleeves and hood.  I did, however, appliqué a large number 4 on the back, per Gretchen's request.

Her friend Kelli also wanted to dress up for the midnight showing, so I made her a Slytherin costume.  For the school robes I only lined the hood and sleeves in green, and painted green lines on silver fabric to make the tie.  I had quite a lot of fun with both costumes, and I was very happy with how they turned out.

Gryffindor vs Slytherin
Who will triumph?