nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I will not have a fully completed robe de style for the Gala.

I've been beading steadily since 21 June. That's five solid weeks. Construction of the dress is included, but that didn't take much. I've stayed up later than usual most of that time. I've also had relatively few social commitments. I've spent a lot of time on it!  And only the bodice beading is done.

There is more beading to be done at the joins, now that it's on the bodice. Plus the hem, and the net inserts in the neckline, and fixing the pannier where it's only pinned (i.e. most of the place - Does anyone have spare 1/2" boning tips? I need two and just cannot stand to order only that!). Tomorrow I'm travelling, so effectively I'll only have two days to finish the dress itself AND bead the skirt AND fix the things on the pannier that are just pinned.  It's just not going to happen.  And I'm so tired.

I was starting to debate the areas on the skirt that I could just outline, and come back later to fill in. And worry about how to deal with the different sizes of hoops, and finding a good beading station when I'm not at home. I've been headachey for several days from the beading + tension. And when I was fitting on the beaded places, I could see crooked places that happened when I got in a hurry.

It makes me sad to not have this finished. Ego is totally a part of that. But it makes me even sadder to think of this lovely dress finishing with a whimper.

So it's a huge relief to not have to kill myself to get this done. I can do a quality job on all the finishing things, which will make me happy. The design is very complete without the skirt part. I doubt that anyone who hasn't seen the original will see anything missing.

[personal profile] llyrafantasyfae and I are already planning to wear fully-finished dresses at Costume College next year. So we'll be all complete then! I might also have a bag, too. I was going to get something, but I ran out of time and budget.

I feel so relieved now. Regretful, but relieved.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I'm nearly done with the front bodice piece! I got up this morning and scalped the lawn so it won't grow too much while I'm gone. Got to avoid the baby mockingbird who was having flying lessons - he kept hiding in the tall grass. You know, the part that needed mowed the most. At least his mama was always around, so I wasn't really afraid of missing him. I did have to go back and hit a couple spots I had to avoid.

Anyway, I was done before 10 AM. It was 91 by then, bright sun and roughly 30% humidity. Icky sweaty. I cleaned up and got started with the day's beading, while watching Dick Van Dyke. I just took a break to make lunch and finished the load of laundry, and the front beading is really close to being done.

[personal profile] llyrafantasyfae, I see what you meant about it being heavy! I think my beads are smaller than yours, but it's still significant. It's working pretty well, though, even without the hoop. Basically, it's laid on the seat of the sofa, with the corner that I'm working on hanging off the edge, and pinned in a few places. So the weight isn't flopping around or dragging on anything, and I can reach under the piece easily.

Then I go back to the machine! I need to finish the waist seam inside and put bias binding/facings on the bodice. Then I can cut out the beaded pieces and stitch them down. And finally baste the pattern for the skirt in place and get to work on it. So excited!

Sunday's priority, after church, is packing. I want to get everything out and together as much as possible. Then I can just go back to beading.


9 July 2014 10:23 pm
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I'm taking 20 minutes away from beading because I can't stand not sharing the shiny.

Back waist, finished, except for the partial motifs on the ends where the side seams will be.


This is the first piece I did. On the next piece, I realized that I only need the tissue for outlining, and it's much easier to remove before filling in. Thank goodness for needle-tip tweezers!

The next piece, back neckline. Without flash:


With flash:


And currently in progress, the front piece, which combines waist and neckline. It doesn't look like much yet, but the biggest part of the outlining is done. The filling in can be tedious, but it goes faster. Those tiny beads and the side-by-side bugles are quite a job.

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
... but the back neckline piece is also finished, and I put the front bodice piece in the hoop, ready to go. I'm on track to finish if I do nothing else; outside commitments are minimal at this point in the summer, though. So I may be able to go into Sewing Hermit mode this week.
nuranar: (congratulations)
Let's see... I got everything done for the picnic, yay! Dang, except food. Totally forgot that until just now. I guess I'll get something on the way home from church.

Anyway, I tried the ribbon bows on the Nankeen boots. By themselves, they just didn't look right. But the ribbon on the seam really punched it up. I glued it down very carefully on the edge of the seam, mimicking the double curve just right. And then the glue soaked through the thin ribbon and looked awful. So I got to hand-sew another layer of ribbon over it. Yay. But it's all the for the best, since it would have been terrible to sew it down in the first place.

I also finally got the bodice beading templates done. It was not easy! But they're done, with the seams decided, and motifs outlined. I also cut out the hunks of taffeta that each will be worked on. I still need to trace the actual working templates onto black tissue paper and tack them to the silk; then I can get started.

After church tomorrow I think I'll also hit Joann's. It would be nice to have an intermediate-sized embroidery hoop. I have a 6" and an 18". Something between would be helpful! I got a new sales flyer and a bonus card this week, so I'll make up a list now and then hit the sack. *yawn*
nuranar: (science fiction)
I got all wound up from the amazing needlework goodness on my friendslist this week (goldwork! beetle wings!) so I went ahead and did some test motifs for the robe de style. Mixed results:

The Good: I love doing it! It's time-consuming, because they're all individual with no couching; but it's not solid beading, either. I love doing it. The motifs are interesting, and there's switching off in sizes fairly often, so it's not tedious.

The Not-So-Good: It was immediately clear that the 4mm pearls are too big in scale for the rest of my beads. So, more ordering!

The Good: 3mm pearls are only available in the cheaper but still nice Czech glass pearls. So I don't have to worry about where to use the more expensive ones, and how much of each size to order.

The Not-So-Good: Shipwreck Beads (great prices, $25 minimum) has a 30 day return policy, which I forgot - and I'm about 5 days past the time. So I'm stuck with a lot of 4mm pearls I can't use for this project and am unlikely to use for another.

[So, is anyone in the market for nice white 4mm pearls? :D I have 600 Preciosa Nacre Pearl - these are the nicest ones that aren't Swarovski, MOP, or real pearl. I paid $17.75 for them, but I'll accept $12.  I also have 1200 Preciosa Ornela Czech glass pearls, also very pretty. They're in packages of 300; one package is open, the one I used for a swatch, but all the pearls are there. I paid $12.50, so I'll accept $8.50 for the 4 packages or $2.50/pkg.]

Anyway! I also tested two methods of marking:

The Not-So-Good: First method was using a clear, writeable, tear-away stabilizer a friend lent me. It was very easy to use. I could lay it right over the pattern and draw very precisely with a pen, and it stayed on the silk in the hoop very well.  It was a little too hard to tear away for this project, though. Beading stitches are just looser than quilting or machine embroidery, and I'm concerned about pulling the beads off.

The Good: The other method, my original one, uses black tissue paper and silver Sharpie. I used a lightbox to transfer the pattern onto the black paper; that worked perfectly. It tore out easier than the stabilizer, and was actually a little more sturdy to sew through. I'll still have to use tweezer to pull out the small parts, but being black, any wisps left are invisible.

So I ordered a bunch more beads, and now it's late at night again. Grr. But now I can really make some beading patterns! Yay!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (victory)
The second muslin of the pattern was perfect. YAY!

I've worked an hour later than I should have before a work day; but I have also marked all the beading shapes, the front and back necklines (which depend on the beading), and the lower edge of the bodice (which is not even all around).

So relieved! \o/

Also, I think I'll try to face (interface?) the hem with what's left of the black silk organza. I really don't want it to even hint at "waterfalling" off the edge of the pannier.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (victory)
The pattern I'm using now is Simplicity 3365, c. 1941. I've already made it up once and it fit like a glove. I tried it on again, with the bandeau, and it still looked fantastic.

S3365 Front - 1940

Of course I had to try a real muslin, because (a) I didn't know how the armholes would look when there was no sleeve, and (b) I had to leave the princess seams undone below the waist so I could "fit" it over the pannier. I also drafted the inset pieces onto the center front and center back. Most of the shaping is on the outer edge of each one, so that wasn't hard.

I just tried it on and it's wonderful! There's a little bit of rumpliness, which is totally fine. While looking at robe de style pictures, there's a variety of methods used to cut and fit them. Two of the obvious ones:

1. All rumpled up with Terminal Horizontal Wrinkliness, engineered with gathered side seams. Looks distinctly more like a bliaut effect across the midsection than 18th century.
2. Slightly fitted at the side seams. Sometimes fairly smooth, especially on slender models with shoulders and hips that balance.  Side wrinkling on the mannequin shows where the waist is nipped in, but the mannequin lacks the hip or hoop to hold out the bodice. Sometimes the bodicelooks extra long. When worn on a real body, that almost always results in horizontal wrinkliness similar to the earlier styles.

And others aren't so clear, but are blousey, or more tubular and loose, or (flip side) seem extra fitted, including some of those with princess or other seaming. But very very often, regardless of the cut, and especially in taffeta, there is wrinkling. So I don't want to try to draft any wrinkliness out. It's not going to be skin tight, and the creased look seems actually desired.

Anyway, the other thing on my muslin was that I used strips of tape to approximate how much extra flare to add on each seam below the waist. The last tweak is to try to cut the center front on the fold. As drafted there's a very slight curve, so it shouldn't be an issue.

I need to go make some food for dinner (and lunches for the next week), but I think I can haz a REAL pattern tonight. Yay!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I got it out again, so I could construct it in silk and then make the beading patterns. But I just didn't feel good about it. It's so complicated! Six darts AND full front and back peplums.  And I did so much fudging with it that I have a gut feeling it's very far from being a sound pattern anyway. I'm not super careful in how I fit things, and I did so much to this one. 10 variations, at least, changing everything from strap length, strap angle, armhole shape, waist length, side seam shape and length, and moving/swinging/lengthening/shortening/widening/narrowing all the darts, multiple times.

I think it's a lousy pattern, and I want to start over.

I leafed through my vintage patterns to see what I have that can work as a base. Late 30s/early 40s patterns, particularly Simplicity, tend to fit me extremely well. If I don't have to fiddle with the armholes and shoulders much, that alone is a huge time and accuracy saver. Now, this period tends to be blousey and rather full in the body, and fitted with yokes and tucks. But I have some possibilities, including a couple with princess seams.

Princess seams? Yep. I just took a browse through my robe de style board, and found at least 5 period examples of 1920s construction with princess seams. HA!

I'm not looking forward to more muslins, but I'm looking forward to starting with a good pattern and just tweaking it. That, I should be able to handle!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
... I think I have a good robe de style pattern.

And I am going to do something ELSE for the rest of the day, like the 1910s corset and brassiere. Whew!
nuranar: (Art Deco)
After all my struggles with the robe de style bodice on Sunday, I realized that I may have made an error anyway. My dress will have a more triangular-profile pannier, but it's still a pannier, and it will probably affect the set of the dropped waist.

So tonight I started working on the pannier. When that is done, I'll go back to the mostly-fitting bodice and add a back waist yoke that should solve any residual issues there.

Of course, koshka_the_cat's brilliant blog post on her 1920s hoop skirt was timely and very helpful. The shape of mine will be different; the inspiration picture shows the triangle look very clearly. This original gives a similar shape, though the inspiration has a shorter skirt and will need a shorter but still wide pannier.

I'm using black silk organza instead of net for mine. Like net, it is super strong and lightweight; unlike net, it ravels like crazy when cut. ;)  I have some very nice 1/8" steel, but I'm using a piece of 1/2" for the bottom-most hoop. This type of hoop, with the steel tied into an ellipse, is structurally not as strong, and I don't want it to collapse on itself. I also don't want to have to use a hoop every 4 inches.

Warning, math ahead! :p

One of the things I did Saturday was estimate the visual width of the skirt. I used drafting dividers to compare the skirt's width, as worn on the model, to the model's overall height/proportions, and then measured myself for the same proportion. I came up with a visual width of about 38". Then again using the dividers, I found the length of the tying tapes of the hoop in Costume Close-Up. That hoop is about 26" wide, and the tapes are about 12" long. (In other words, an ellipse with a long axis of 26" and a short axis of 12".)  Doing proportions again, that gave my 38" ellipse a short axis of 17". Then the resulting length of the bottom hoop would be 92".  I rounded down to 90" just to be easy, and tried it out with my piece of 1/2" steel for a sanity check. It looked good, so I moved on!

(I do hope that made sense to anyone else.)

I turned the fabric sideways this once, so there's a nice woven selvedge for the hem.  To give some slack, I cut about 100". The remainder I turned into strips for the casings. It took some trial and error to figure the best width for the double-fold tape makers. (Hint: In very lightweight fabrics, cut the strips at least 1/8" wider than you'd use for medium-weight fabrics.)  I didn't use bias, first because I didn't have much fabric left, but mostly because silk organza on the bias is insane. It makes indestructibly puffy puffings, but there's nothing exact about it.

Anyway, it's already past bedtime, but I did get the first casing in and tried a piece of steel. It looks very good! It will also be fun to get around in - it's wider than the door frame. :p I may narrow it a bit, or lengthen the tying tapes. That should be finished tomorrow. Yay for visible progress!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Muslin 3.1 actually did end up too small; I blame the stretchiness of the Muslin 2 remnant material after 4+ try-ons.  But even with that, the fit on Muslin 3.1 was vastly improved. The back in particular looks quite good. Not perfect; but I've really done all I can do there without taking another approach entirely, and I have no desire to start over. And honestly, at this point I'm ready to move on and make the beading templates over it. I can tweak the bodice itself if needed after the beading is complete.

Changes included correcting the shoulder seam angle again, and taking out a dart in the back. I'll need to add some material to the back armhole as well since it was a bit too far back. Release the back darts by 1/8" apiece. Adding material on the center front to fix the overall snugness, which means moving the front darts over so they're roughly still centered. Mostly simple, and I'll make another muslin to make sure it's still tolerable.

Whew, I'm tired. I need to go eat something, and then do some cleaning. I'm hosting the end-of-year party for Impressions after our concert tomorrow.


18 May 2014 04:33 pm
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I just finished Round 2 with the robe de style bodice pattern. It was hotly contested, but I think I will be judged the victor. Proof will come with Muslin 3.1, of course.

The bodice front didn't have too many issues. I noted where to swing the bust dart (expected) and I shortened the lower end of the waist darts (also expected).  I also took a tuck in the armhole, angling toward the center front, so I'll be able to adjust the armhole and neck angle to eliminate it. I also re-drew the side seam, since it was canted toward the back. But now I'm reconsidering that. I slit it up the new line, to see if that would release some of the back pulling (more of that anon), but it really didn't. It didn't even hang open more than 1/8". And since the dress opens along the left side, having that opening toward the back would give a more streamlined look from the front.

Anyway, the real problem was the back. I haphazardly sized the whole thing up (lengthening 2" and adding 2" width). The back was HUGE at the neckline (which is a scoop at this point), a little big at the waist, and once again pulling and drawing up below the waist. Better than yesterday's, but still bad. So I took in the center back with a huge wedge - a good 1.25" at the neckline, tapering to nothing below the waist - and it helped a bit. But there was still "pooling" at the back waist.

I looked up swayback adjustments briefly, but I really didn't want to go that route since it messes with the seamless center back. One of the first hits listed a host of other issues, including hip fullness, which I suspect is the primary issue. I both shortened and took in the back waist darts, which helped the bodice flare a bit more. Then I stay-stitched the back neckline and drew it up slightly (I know I should have done that first - bad me) and also took up the neckline corner of the shoulder straps. That mostly fixed it, or at least enough that it just needs a whole new muslin to see what happens next.

This is totally my least favorite part of sewing!

If this still fails, I'll just have to add a back waist seam. It'll be invisible behind the upper edge of the beading, and I'll be able to cut a peplum-like shape that fits me. I'd probably be able to smooth the back darts out, too. So I have an alternate plan. I can't afford to spend forever researching complicated alterations.

But I'm going to try once more to make the darted version fit. It IS a period pattern, by a Lanvin person no less. I'm doing my best not to over-fit it; but a pattern that fits an extreme figure has to be either very loose or very fitted. The design of this dress calls for a dress that's more fitted than not. What else can I do?
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I mean, I'll try to post every day. ;)

Uh... what so far...

I'magonna finish [profile] rvqavalon's petticoat today, and pack it up and the green batiste to ship back tomorrow. (I'll also get the envelope chemise printed on wide paper while I'm out.) I also printed out some closeups of the beading patterns on the robe de style. So the plan for the weekend:

1. Finish petticoat.
2. Box up petticoat and batiste.
3. Take to the post office.
4. Get the envelope chemise printed.
5. Make the 1920s bandeau.
6. Fit the robe de style bodice.
7. Draft templates for the beading areas.
8. Sketch at least one beading pattern.
9. Make the pannier.
10. Order the rest of the crepe de chine and some extra lawn from Dharma.
11. Draft the skirt.
12. Make the 1910s brassiere.
13. Assemble the 1910s corset (as far as possible until the busk/boning arrives).
14. Learn the new sewing machine feet: ruffler, tucker, and hemstitcher.
15. Make 1810s strapped petticoat from pimatex.
16. Start on beading a test piece.
17. Gather pieces for 1780s shift and cut neckline.
18. Wait to finish corset before drafting/cutting the princess slip, the petticoat, and the negligee., not all of that is for the weekend. But this is what we call, in my line of work, The Path Forward. Feels good to have it written down!

In other news, I'm starving. And it's 4:30 PM. Time to raid the refrigerator and not spoil my dinner.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

I spent a rather frustrating Wednesday evening. I did wear the stays around, which was good for them. But I broke the tape lace again. (This is developing into a very bad habit!) I scaled up and printed some patterns, which was good. I also estimated yardage for a few purchases. But I got myself worn out trying to decide how to make a period-appropriate 1916 petticoat (i.e. one that helps the skirt stick out) with a minimum of new fabric and work. (The catalogs full of silk taffeta petticoats with rows of tiny frills and bigger flounces and cutwork were not helping.) (I think I've decided just to settle for pimatex with three flounces [of pimatex or stiff organdy] and starch from there.) And also trying to estimate what lace I need for the princess slip and the envelope chemise. Ugh. This stage is just paralyzing!

So I need to make a master list, for each piece of each outfit if necessary, outlining specifically what patterns I need, what I will use, and what I need to buy/source.

1780s white silk Romney
Source: Portrait of Mrs. Moody
Materials have: white silk, pink silk, fine cotton for ruffles, linen lining
Materials need: button forms for cuffs
Pattern: Fit a basic 1780s block, starting from 1780s gown in POF p. 40, then altering for this to a straight front and back waist and fuller front with tucked (?) casing. 

1780s sprigged silk
Source: _____________ (several possibilities - separate brainstorming post)
Materials have: sprigged silk, linen lining, ivory striped sheer silk for ruffles
Materials need: trim?
Pattern: ______________ (also part of the brainstorming! I've never done a sacque-back gown and I'm getting scared)

1810s yellow muslin
Source: here and here
Materials have: yellow muslin, lining, cording
Materials need: nope
Pattern: hopefully something with the wide-set sleeves c. 1815. Either start with my white muslin pattern from years ago and try to fill in the armhole a bit, or use (a) 1818 pelisse from POF or (b) 1816 evening dress from Cut of Women's Clothes. Maybe do like [profile] the_aristocat and just free-hand trace it from my pattern and modify according to the two samples. ;)

also needed:
* 1810s shift 1 - nearly finished
* 1810s shift 2 - cut out, needs assembly
* 1810s petticoat (shorter and fuller, maybe with cord in hem) - use Pimatex
 Materials need: cotton cord for hem
 Pattern: narrower version of Skirt D from Hunnisett

1910s Envelope Chemise
Source: article from [personal profile] fancyfrocks's magazine, dated 1916
Materials have:
Materials need: batiste from Farmhouse Fabrics; __ yds various lace
Pattern: pattern from [personal profile] fancyfrocks

1910s Corset
Source: none really; reference above article
Materials have: white brocade coutil; garters (search "hose supporters" on ebay for the wide ones), lace
Materials need: busk, boning, corset lace
Pattern: [personal profile] jenthompson's pattern

1910s Brassiere
Source: article again, confirming what was worn in 1916
Materials have: probably Pimatex
Materials need: boning (probably)
Pattern: article/pattern for hooked brassiere, from [personal profile] jenthompson

1910s Princess Slip
Source: n/a
Materials have: some lace
Materials need: batiste from Farmhouse Fabrics; 2.5 yds narrow beading for minimum
Pattern: pattern from [personal profile] fancyfrocks

1910s Petticoat
Source: catalogs from [personal profile] fancyfrocks, showing the crisp taffeta petticoats necessary to hold out the flared skirts of 1916
Materials have: Pimatex cotton, super stiff "cambric" (have 2 1/4 yds, 39" wide)
Materials need: 18 yds edging if I do three frills and edge them all, stiff organdy from Pure Silks if it's better than Pimatex or there's not enough cambric
Pattern: princess slip pattern as base, using circular flounce; mount flounces on it

1910s Empire Negligee
Source: May Manton pattern
Materials: white crossbarred muslin, pink silk ribbon & lace trim unused from 1860s sheer
Materials need: none
Pattern: same as the source

1916 Blue Sprig Dress
Source: middle dress, from a 1916 catalog owned by [personal profile] fancyfrocks
Materials: semisheer white cotton with woven openwork and woven dots, printed with a blue sprig pattern, very similar to the catalog picture. Blue silk taffeta left over from the Star dress for the sash and buttons. Some nice cotton for collar and cuffs.
Materials need: pleated net for collar and cuffs trimming
Pattern: waist and skirt patterns from [personal profile] fancyfrocks

1920s Bandeau
Source: n/a
Materials have: vintage pink medium-heavy rayon satin from antique mall
Materials need: 3+ yards 1/2" ribbon for straps; 2" wide elastic (pink if possible)
Pattern: Women's Wear of the 1920s

1920s Teddy
Source: Les modes, showing this as the most common/fashionable undies
Materials have: some lace; white silk ribbon
Materials need: white crêpe de chine from Dharma
Pattern: Women's Wear of the 1920s

1920s Pannier
Source: shape from model image
Materials have: narrow steel hoop wire
Materials need: black silk organza from Dharma
Pattern: Costume Close-Up and 1920s example with similar a-line shape

1920s Navy Beaded Robe de Style
Source: 1 and 2
Materials have: navy silk; cotton for lining
Materials need: beads, cotton net, organza for lining (maybe)
Pattern: pattern from [personal profile] fancyfrocks and Women's Wear of the 1920s (Lanvin copy)

1940s Open Midriff Evening Gown
Source: Lauren Bacall, To Have and Have Not
Materials have: heavy-ish rayon crepe in dark teal blue
Materials need: metal ring (try Home Depot); hopefully fresh tropical flowers for hair
Pattern: Draping from ebay image and basic blouse and skirt patterns from stash

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I noticed that the Costume College "dress code" removed the weasel wording about hoops and bustles in class; instead, they requested none at all. (They didn't mention big hats or bonnets, which I remember used to be in the wording!)  And that brought to mind that although I've planned a lot for the robe de style, and some 18th century things like the Jesuit, I really hadn't planned out a schedule.

Tiki Chic pool party (Thursday evening) - 1940s midriff evening ensemble
Classes (Friday day) - ???
Ice Cream Social (Friday evening) - ???
Classes (Saturday day) - ???
Red Carpet/Gala (Saturday evening - beaded robe de style
Sunday Undies Redux (Sunday morning) - 1910s peignoir
Classes (Sunday day) - 1916 blue sprigged gown

Two other outfits are planned
* Embroidered silk Jesuit
* White silk Romney gown

Obviously I need to (a) figure out one or two more outfits and (b) figure out when to wear the ones I have.  It would be a nice bonus to coordinate with others a bit, at least for time period. So far, I know that the_aristocat is wearing a seaside bustle gown for the Social, but that's it.

Of things in the stash, I got some lemony cotton lawn last year for a Regency dress. That would be fun to wear with my yellow AD slippers. But I don't really have an idea of what I want it to look like. I'm feeling it should be simple, but not TOO boring.  I've also got the blue striped sarcenet, which I want to use to copy that blue striped gown in the Danish (I think?) museum. But that probably will take more work.

I don't want to load up on intensive gowns; did that last year and barely survived. And I got a much better head start last year than this year. The spring has been so busy!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Work has been intense, as is the eight-week class I've been taking. The third choir has gotten active again, because we've been asked to sing at a Big company banquet/ceremony late in April. The other two choirs are active, with one polishing up the new Spring music for that concert series, with the big spring show on top of it (and I'm in a big ensemble and a quartet); and the other choir, church, working on both Tenebrae and Easter music in addition to regular weekly stuff.

I love singing. Is that obvious? I even love rehearsal (usually) (unless we're singing a song that not only is Too Low, it Doesn't Get High Ever, because that destroys my voice). I don't think I could do this much singing if I didn't love it. And it recharges my batteries in a totally different way from all my other activities.

I don't have the time or energy for a big roundup of last weekend's Regency Bash yet, but I had so much fun! I didn't wear a new dress, but I did have a newly-trimmed bonnet that came out pretty much exactly as I hoped. And I dyed and trimmed my first pair of American Duchess shoes, the satin Highburys. I love how they look, too, so both projects will have a post.

In the meantime, I've gotten back to the stays. I'm one front away from finishing the boning channels! Most of the boning is already in, too. If you recall, I'm mostly copying these McCord stays, with the tape straps and the wavy stitching on the front.

I assumed the wavy parts were just cording, and I'd gotten frustrated with the difficulty of doing fine cording in wavy lines. When she was here, the_aristocat said she thought that was boning (whalebone, in these) instead of cording. She suggested using round reed, soaked in water until it was very pliable, and running that through the channels. So I placed yet another order for reed (seriously, The Basket Maker's Catalog has great variety, great prices, and FAST shipping) and experimented. It works! It works really well! When it's very wet the reed has a LOT of friction in the channels, but after the surface dries a little bit it's still pliable but slides without too much trouble. It takes 30-60 minutes to get each piece through the channel, so it's not fast, but it's certainly not impossible.

Now I need to mark the channels on the other front piece. That'll be fun, having to match the first one... Then it's just more sewing and fitting in reed. And also a lot of whittling, to get those front pieces of wide reed narrowed down really small at the tip.

And then on to the next step! Which may be dealing with the seam allowances, and then doing endless eyelets. Any ideas where to get a small cord for the front lacing? In the picture it looks about the size of perle cotton or regular crochet thread. Not terribly strong, but it would do, I guess.

I need to get these stays done, because they're not the most important thing for Costume College. I never expected them to take this long! I've been a lot busier this spring than last spring. :(  Next is definitely the robe de style undies... which now I am ambivalent about. Weren't a couple people trying to do real 1920s-style girdles? And I need to figure out a pannier, I think. I want this look:

Not side hoops, and not an extreme pannier. More like this, perhaps, just smaller and shorter in proportion?

I'm scared of this part. :( It seems awfully hard to mock up, and so easy to get really badly wrong.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I haven't sewn anything since the last time I reported status. So Eleanor's dress is still unfinished (but still looking adorable), patterns are un-printed, and the sewing room is still dark. But I did drive an hour plus to the guild's Tiaras and Top Hats Tea Party on Saturday. That was fun! The tea was lovely. I liked the main course best, and the white tea was very good instead of disgusting. (My only previous experience with white tea, alas.)

I finally wore Maid Marian to a guild event, too! She's been out for Costume College and Halloween for two different years, but this was the first time at a guild event. As usual I had some minor difficulties with the belt (this time because I forgot which set of hooks to use), but it was fine for a mostly-seated event. Although I would have liked to wear a tiara, it was nice to check the "Maid Marian @ guild" box and not have to worry about anything else. And Maid Marian does have a circlet!

Pictures from Jen, as always, because she's generous and I'm a moocher. :p

Me and [profile] kaesha_nikovana. She made her crown. It's mesmerizing in person!
More pictures! )

I did order Jill Salen's Vintage Lingerie on [personal profile] jenthompson's recommendation. Not that I don't think a bandeau would give the wrong look as such, for me! But a longer type of brassiere would probably be more appropriate for me back then. And most importantly, with a pattern, I don't have to make it all up. :D

Note: I was surprised at the number of critical/negative reviews on Amazon. I have her earlier book, Corsets, and I can recognize some of the complaints; but most seem to show a basic misapprehension. IMHO the negative reviewers are both (a) legitimately reflecting the lack of construction detail, along with the condescending tone of her commentary, and (b) not reviewing the book for what it is: scale drawings of actual garments. As more recent reviewer said in response, "Sewing and pattern drafting aren't the same." Yep, this book is not the same thing as buying a pattern envelope with multi-sized block-drafted patterns and illustrated directions.

So with that book on the way, scheduled to arrive Saturday, what should I do? (When I actually have some free time, that is, which may be Wednesday evening; or Friday afternoon.) Hmm... I think I'll finish tracing the patterns Lauren lent me, and then start on the white wool stays. I've sized up and drafted some shape changes on the pattern, but I haven't actually tested anything yet. My least favorite part, but when I get into it, I tend to make rapid progress.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I just said that I'm lousy at round-up posts. But I am good at planning posts. Planning posts actually help me organize my thoughts and map out a course of action, whereas round-up posts are a list of short-comings - it's always less than I wanted in quantity and quality - and serve no practical purpose.  That sounded pretty cynical! Maybe I overstated the case a bit. Round-up posts would help a bit for reference purposes, come to think of it.

Anyway, I do need to do some planning. Last year I had the most elaborate planning ever, for two reasons: I had ambitious costuming plans with a tricky travel schedule, and the Historical Sew Fortnightly gave structure and motivation.  The results were mixed. I did accomplish most of what I wanted, but I had the tightest/most stressful pre-Costume College summer yet.  Plus, the HSF resulted in a lot of projects that were good, useful things, but took time away from my primary sewing goals. When the schedule got tight, many of them were set aside unfinished. I'm usually pretty good about minimal UFOs (un-started objects are a different matter), so this is also stressful for me. And the piecemeal challenge announcements made it more challenging and stressful to re-assess and try to fit in the big projects.

So you'd think the 2014 HSF would be a stupid idea for me. Nonetheless, I'm undecided. Moving the date up to 1945 is a huge help, because a BIG part of my fabric and notions stash is WWII-appropriate. And since I keep attending reenactments with widely varied weather, plus vintage shows, I can get good use out of a 1940s wardrobe.

But I still have ambitious plans for other costuming:

* Beaded robe de style
* 1780s white wool stays
* Jesuit (already have fabric!)
* 1780s white silk gown
* Quilted Brunswick (haven't found the fabric, so this may be shelved for a while)
* 1916 ensemble

Maybe I'll wait on making an HSF decision until she announces the rest of the year's challenges.  Honestly, while the beading is an unknown quantity at this point, I still don't think it'll take forever.  The 18th-century stuff shouldn't be too terribly difficult, either, particularly if I let the Brunswick slide for a while. I can probably make the stays in a reasonable amount of time. And once I make a new basic bodice and sleeve, most of the rest shouldn't be too hard. Draping the Jesuit/Brunswick back will be interesting, but there's lots of info out there.

Since I mentioned the Brunswick: I want to make it in a medium/light blue. The quilted examples are all in satin. $40/yd satin is totally out of the question for this, particularly since it will be stuck full of holes and stiffened as it's quilted; but I know there are cheaper silk satins. So far I've found mostly whites, with maybe a pink.  White would be accurate (both English examples are white) but I'm already doing one white gown, and darn it, I want blue! I've done enough dyeing to know that it's not for me, but that doesn't seem to be the case for all of you. So, just on the chance: Would anyone be willing to dye white satin blue for me? It should be a straightforward dye job, since I want just a straight shade of blue - no green or turquoise, nothing to match. And I would definitely pay for the job.

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I don't usually do year-end posts. To be honest, it's mostly because I can't remember everything I've done. And that's because I've been getting lazier and lazier about even mentioning what I've been working on, much less actually dress diary-ing them.

So I have a resolution for LJ: I'm going to regularly mention, at least, what I'm working on. And this is the first post on that subject!  I have a lot of UFOs right now, but if I list them I'll just get discouraged. What I actually have been working on:

* Two baby blankets. They're for giving to mothers-to-be through pregnancy centers and adoption centers. I'm knitting one in pale yellow wool blend in a fun checkerboard pattern; the other is crocheted in an argyle-like pattern in two colors of blue, green, and white. Both are about a third done.

* An 1860s baby dress for Eleanor. This was her major Christmas present from me. Sarah ordered the patterns from Elizabeth Stewart Clark shortly before Christmas. I didn't have the pressure to actually finish the dress, but I did manage to get everything assembled. Yes, I stayed up late on Christmas Eve, finishing the stroked gathers on the skirt.

The dress is a lavender calico that I've had in my stash for quite a while. Sarah's favorite color is purple, and Eleanor doesn't get a choice yet, so it was the obvious choice. I made an "infant" style dress (full bodice gathered at waist and wide neckline), using the smallest (2-year-old) size in the pattern. Eleanor is only 8 months, but (a) she was 10.5 lbs when she was born and (b) it will be some months before there are more reenactments. The only pattern change was to shorten the bodice 1", and I made the waistband halfway between her actual waist and the size 1 pattern size.

I just finished the inside waistband, effectively finishing the stroked gathers on both bodice and skirt. Now I need to hem the skirt and sleeves, and do three buttons and buttonholes.

* This fall I made two more skirts out of my current favorite skirt pattern, a 1950s 4-gore skirt. It's full enough without being enormous, and has awesome big patch pockets. One skirt was a really nice soft navy flannel suiting, and the other a thick gray wool blend fleece. I do a 2" waistband on these skirts, and with the gray one I put short pieces of boning in the front to keep it from folding. I didn't do that with the navy, hoping that the extra-heavy layers of interfacing would keep it straight. It didn't! Partially because the waistband is extra snug. So yesterday I opened up the front waistband, and this afternoon I put casings on the reverse of the band and sewed it back up. It feels really good to have that done!

* I got started on the patterns for the robe de style undies and bodice. I didn't get far, because I need a work computer to convert the images back to PDF so I can poster print. But that should be in good shape.
* Speaking of, I got robe de style fabric for Christmas! Namely, navy blue silk taffeta. It's super pretty. I also tried to order a first batch of beads, but one item was out of stock. So I'll wait on that. I need to pretty much make the whole dress and undies before I can do the beading, anyway.

* I did decide that I'll probably need to do a real pannier for the dress, too. My favorite picture of the dress is on a model, and on her the skirt has a rather triangular shape more than a bell. Just netting or side hoops, added to my own hips, would give the skirt a wide top and straight sides. So a simple pannier like this, just a little smaller and shorter, is more likely to give the right look. I think. Opinions?

So that's all that's actually in progress. And actually the robe de style stuff is still mostly not started. But I need to do that so I can be beading steadily instead of frantically this summer!


nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

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