Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Next Project...The Tudor Transitional

What on earth could that title mean? Well, everyone is very familiar with the iconic Tudor style; bell sleeves, triangular skirt with forepart, square neckline, gable or french hood, puffed undersleeves etc...
And we're also rather familiar with Elizabethan style; ruffs, little hats or headdresses, higher or filled-in necklines, stiff skirts, padded sleeves, lighter colors etc...
But what about something in-between? As a professor, I like having garments for my students to see, and something in a style somewhere between the two would help them to visualize how clothing evolved from one idea into another. With that in mind I present the inspiration.
Elizabeth of Austria, 1570
And now, to find the fabric and start on the chemise!

Monday, July 22, 2013

41 Historic Demises!

I admit to having a morbid fascination with historical deaths, as any long time reader of this blog knows, so this video from the producers of Mental Floss was right up my alley. Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finished Italian Gown Project

It's done! I ask your indulgence for the fact that the outfit does not entirely fit the form, as I myself am very small and still need to carve it down a bit to make the form me-sized. Until we have a reliably sunny day (maybe this week?) I won't be able to put it on and take nice photos outside.

The project took about 18 days to accomplish and was machine-sewn except for where the stitching would show. The time crunch required it. The pattern was adapted and draped in places, and straight out flat-patterned in some areas. The bodice is corded with hemp cording, which can be found at most craft stores, or even with the garden supplies. The material is linen with some silk taffeta for the sleeves, and a cotton chemise.

Future photos of the gown on an actual person will prove that the sleeve doesn't fit half so awkwardly as it appears to in this photo (grrr). As the research images appear to show, the gathered sleeve and the straight sleeve are made as two separate ones and only joined at the sleeve head. I used, as I recall, six gathering stitches and the fabric was 45" prior to gathering. Next time I think I'll either gather it less tightly in the middle section, or use a longer strip so that it's more full. You can also see the pearl necklace with pendant that I put together for the outfit. I wore it with a set of dangling pearl earrings as well, and an "emerald" ring.

The back of the gown shows the side-back lacing, which is featured in some great Italian paintings of the renaissance. I gathered the trim at the back neckline as I was stitching it on, just slightly, so that it would take the curve better. The sleeve is only attached to the bodice via one ribbon tie at the shoulder, and is left free under the arm, front, and back for ease of movement.

I was really pleased with how my cartridge pleating came out on the skirt back. I pleated the underskirt with standard "divide-and-conquer" pleating so that there would be a flat section in the front (to avoid that all-too-common divot, you sometimes get); but I gathered the front of the gown skirt (54" into something like 19", I believe) and had to get 108" into 7.75" which necessitated cartridge pleating. Considering that this is a technique which I rarely have cause to use, I was pretty happy with the result and it feels very secure.

The last thing I have to share is the hairnet which I made from some gold net material, studded with gold roundels and pearls, and stuffed full of fake hair. I then attached another long strand, which I braided, and wound it around the top of the hairnet and my head. Pinned in place it was hard to distinguish from my own hair, which was twisted at the sides and then pulled back and stuffed into the hairnet as well.

My shoes were ruined at the event as it was soggy and they started to warp and the woven material split over the canvas lining at the toes. C'est la vie, perhaps it will give me an excuse to do a post on fixing such problems.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teaser! Italian Project Sleeves

I did manage to get the entire project done in time for the event this past Saturday, and was very pleased with myself for doing so without the customary sewing into any wee hours or hand stitching in the car. The downside to this is that I took very few in-progress photos towards the end, and did not get any pictures of myself in the outfit at the event. Sad panda.

While I clean and rephotograph the project for later posting I leave you with just a taste via a few pictures I did manage to take.

Bodice mock-up marked for alteration
The marked mock-up next to the original pattern pieces

Before and after shots of altering the back pattern piece
"True-ing" the pattern pieces to ensure that they will work and have all the right markings
The new interlining piece cut with seam allowance etc.
I used the cording technique to stiffen the bodice just the right amount. This version is couched on.
Front and back lined
Bodice in progress
Gown in progress (I lack a form small enough for me so it sits weirdly)
Finished sleeves
Similar to these sleeves
Next time, I promise, more finished gown photos along with the jewelry and hairnet!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Italian Project- 3

Based largely on shoes like the ones to the left, I have completed the adaptation of my shoes for the Italian outfit.

I'm pretty pleased with the result, which is not, of course, 100% accurate, but is fairly passable.
I started with the blank shoe...
added elastic loops to the vamp and sides, which I then covered with trim...
tied a ribbon through the loops where they were unsewn at the tops, and finished it off with a cockade made from the same trim I'd used earlier.
C'est finis!

As for the chemise; I ended up taking a shortcut (I know, boo, hiss) to make up for some lost time which occurred when my husband's outfit took longer than expected to finish. His was made to the highest professional standards I could manage, so that's something to be proud of anyhow.

I used an old chemise, cut down the neckline some more, smocked a portion of it in green and yellow embroidery floss, and am hoping that the simplicity will work in harmony with the rest of the outfit.

(I haven't removed the dissolving marker dots yet)
I should also mention that I've managed to complete the underskirt, which I'm pretty pleased with and which will barely be seen at all (naturally).
Now, it's back to work on the gown, which has passed the mock-up stage and is into bodice construction. We ride!

Next time:- The gown, jewelry (and maybe sleeves).