Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pretty in Blue

After the trial that was acquiring the right fabric in the perfect-ish shade, the harrowing experience of applying the lace, and then realizing that the bodice needs to be re-fitted, I'm pretty happy to be done with this dress.

And now, shameless self-aggrandizement via pictures.

Maman lent me her mother's pearls for the photos!

My bubby.
As you can see, the bodice suffers to be taken in a bit at the front.
Serious side-eye action.
Just the Facts:

Period:  Mid-1860s

Pattern: Janet Arnold's 1860s ballgown, and a lot of fudging it.  The skirt is box pleated and the sleeve us a normal puff sleeve, but I tacked it down in random places to make it look interesting.

Fabric:  Silk taffeta, white cotton lining, antique lace, cotton organdy, silk ribbon, velvet rayon ribbon.

Time:  Once I got the fabric, about a week and a half.  But lordy, what a challenge that was!

Verdict:  Meh.  It is exactly what I had expected it to look like.  I'm going to seriously refit the bodice before I wear this in public.  This is my first time making a dress with princess seams, and the finished garment behaved very differently than my poly taffeta mockup, unfortunately.  Luckily, I know what I need to do, I'm just too lazy to do it.

I'm also tepid about the concept of using antique lace for this dress.  I found this lace a few summers ago in a Michigan antique store for $5 with a few similar pieces, and I tried to be as careful as possible and used the strongest of the pieces.  That being said, I believe there's a special circle of hell for those who use and abuse antique clothing and I don't want to end up there, as the last thing that I want to do would be to ruin this gorgeous lace.  So I might take it off as a precaution...

Anyways, I have another modern dress in the making, so I'll probably post that soon.  Until then!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Love from the Underwoods

Or, experiments with online patterns.

As it turns out, sewing modern clothes can actually be pretty rewarding!

I was inspired by Netflix's masterful drama House of Cards (imagining a modern jacksonian political tv show while watching it;) more precisely, Claire Underwood's on point wardrobe:
So on point.
 And my take!

Just the facts:

Pattern: Burdastyle reverse pleated dress; I was drawn to it by the pleats that look like an en fourreau back.

Materials:  Strangely expensive? cotton pique, cotton thread and a miscellaneous zipper

Time:  About 5 hours (no, really, this was really quick!)

Opinion?:  Really great!  I'm going on a summer trip with a good friend of mine, so I wanted a cute but relatively modest summer dress.  A few considerations:  this dress is supposed to have sleeves, but me with my peasant laborer arms to not to well with standard sleeve sizes and I was too lazy to redraft the pattern; the side darts are really asymmetrical and need to be re-done at some point, and the whole thing needs a good ironing and de-linting.

Other than that, though, I feel pretty sassy and ready to take over Washington alongside my husband (played, obviously, by Kevin Spacey.)

It's only one layer, with pleats all around.  So basic, but so nice.  How I'm going to keep it white is beyond me.

 And then with a cute thrifted bolero to hide ungainly side darts:
I already stopped by my favorite fabric warehouse after a particularly grueling harp performance and picked up a dress length of wool blend that looks like it came out of Hannibal Lecter's closet for another rendition of this pattern (the new Hannibal, of course, not Silence of the Lambs Hannibal.  Ew.)

And because this is a historical sewing blog, here is a sneak peek of my finished dress (which will be photographed in earnest once my darling photographer comes home.  Hop on to my tumblr blog if you want to see more shots on my terrible mannequin.)

Until later!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Radio silence

I apologize for the recent lack of updates, friends!  I'm not dead.  I've just been working on little things and repairs (I made an underpetticoat and also made up the cotton print 1770s petticoat.)  I expected to get my fabric in a lot earlier than I did, but because I had to send the first batch back I was set back in my schedule.  But I'll have something very, very cool to show off soon.

In the interim:  If I started making little things, like aprons, sleeve ruffles, chemises, petticoats, and maybe larger custom orders, who would be interested?