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Poiret Cocoon Coat (Part 2)

I’m currently hemming my 1920s Egyptian Revival dress, but have been working a little on the Poiret cocoon coat in between.

The Folkwear 503 is a very simple pattern, but the assembly is different than what I was expecting. I’m used to coats and most garments having seams in the shoulders and sides, but this pattern has a long seam down the center back, and then a horizontal seam across the front of the chest, with darts in the shoulder/neck region. It works, but took a little staring to get over the “you want me to do what?” feeling.

Here is a diagram from the inside of the pattern instructions:

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The sleeves and coat body are cut as one huge piece for each side of the body. The top is folded down to make the sleeve (hence the horizontal seam). The pattern piece is very wide, and takes up most of the width of your fabric.

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I’ve cut out the pieces and sewn them together, but I need to press the seams and attach the lining to the outer fabric, and add a closure. The width of the pattern piece makes pattern-matching on the fabric difficult. To match I would have had to line up my pattern piece about a foot in from the edge, and that wouldn’t have been wide enough.  However, the busy pattern helps hide this a bit, and using a solid fabric would make the back and front seams very obvious.

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At the moment I’m considering not using the collar pattern piece included with the pattern, and putting a fur collar on instead. I tucked this fur scarf I have into the coat to get a general idea of what it would look like, but I think I would rather have a chocolate brown fur that matches the fabric, or go for a fluffy cream collar for more contrast.

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So far I would have to say that this pattern is very easy to use – there are definitely not a lot of pieces at least!

Poiret Cocoon Coat (Part 1)

I am still working on my 1920s Egyptian Revival dress, but I am in the middle of tediously hand-stitching the trim, so there isn’t a lot for me to discuss about the progress of the dress.  Meanwhile, let’s talk about cocoon coats! I have been wanting one of Paul Poiret’s luxuriously draped coats, and since the Egyptian event I am attending is during the winter, this is the perfect time to make one.

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Illustration by Paul Barbier. Check out that Egyptian print on the dress on the left!

I am using the Folkwear Poiret Cocoon Coat pattern, which seems quite easy and straightforward. Originally I planned to make one out of solid red velvet to highlight the red accents in my 1920s dress, but  . . .IMG_6573

. . . a few weeks ago I was shopping for ribbon when I came across this incredibly beautiful silk velvet burnout fabric!IMG_6575

It has a beautiful blue, purple, and chocolate brown paisley pattern.IMG_6579

I later bought coordinating lining fabric to highlight the blue in the silk.IMG_6735

I’m looking forward to starting this project!

1920s Egyptian Revival (Part 1): Silk! Embroidery! Flapper Shoes!

Next month the GBACG is hosting an event at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. To celebrate the Egyptomania surrounding Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, I will be making a 20s dress with an Egyptian Revival theme.

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I am using white silk velvet and navy blue silk chiffon. Here it is pinned together but still looking rather plain before its embellishments.

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I am using Decades of Style’s zig zag dress pattern, which I used before to make my Daisy dress for the Gatsby Picnic.IMG_6680

I made a bunch of silk chiffon bias tape to trim the zig zags, but sadly they are really too sheer and delicate and the seams show through, so I will have to come up with another plan. (The fabric is so sheer the sleeves are 2 layers of chiffon).IMG_6570

I have 8 of these vintage appliques, one for each panel of the skirt. They might be a little weird, but I am hoping they are just weird enough.IMG_6738

I am excited to wear the dress with these shoes I got from Royal Vintage Shoes. They come in black/gold and navy/silver, but not navy/gold, so I went with the black/gold combination. They are really lovely and I’m glad I’ll have an excuse to wear them!IMG_6565

18th Century at the OT-Tea Party

Back in September I attended a fancy tea event called the OT-Tea Party. (It is a reference to OTT, meaning “over the top”). It was held in the gorgeous French Parlour at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Recently I received the official photographs from the event. (Pictures below are by KV Photography, with editing by Nicole Keane).

I wore a silk dress inspired by both 18th century gowns and Japanese lolita fashion. The dress is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, and I’ve worn it to Costume College, Gaskells and PEERS balls, each time with a little change in the trimming or accessories.

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I am wearing a pearl necklace and earrings, and a straw bergere I trimmed. My shoes are by American Duchess (the very first run of Georgianas!)23748249499_6142597493_o

I wish my hair had behaved a little better that day, but I had a wonderful time, and ate lots of delightful sandwiches and desserts.24089779936_50bef4e720_o

Here is the whole group together. There were so many amazing outfits and I hope the tea becomes an annual tradition!23488213444_df2dc8fd16_o

 

2015 Year in Review

I don’t usually do an end-of-year review, but I finished more than I thought this year, so here we go! (My plans for 2016 are at the end of this post).

I made a Game of Thrones Kings Landing gown for myself, and an Oberyn
Martell-inspired costume for my husband.

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I made two chemise a la reines (one cotton and one made of sheer
striped silk) and wore them together to a few events.DSCN1814

I had fun frolicking in a tulle fairy tale skirt.IMG_4895

I made a wool-blend Victorian bathing suit.
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I was a maid from Downton Abbey.
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I retrimmed a bergere hat.
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I attached appliques to a dress to make my Circulatory System outfit
for the Vampire Ball.
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I finished the underskirt and overskirt for my Lady Tremaine costume.
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I made new undersleeves for my 1850s silk plaid Victorian day dress.
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My final project of the year was my 1840s fan-front Victorian day dress.
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Goals for 2016:

  • Finally complete my 18th century stays! I actually “finished” them months ago except for the binding on the eyelets, but took a break from most hand-sewing because of a wrist injury.
  • Make the bodice for my Lady Tremaine costume.
  • Trim a hat for Lady Tremaine.
  • Sew a 1920s Egyptian Revival dress for a GBACG event.
  • New regency gown – not sure day or evening yet.
  • Make more PJs.

Wish list with time frame unknown:

  • Black silk 18th century market hat
  • Black chemise a la reine
  • 1940s cocktail dress
  • Fur muff
  • Velvet cloak

1840s Fan Front Dress at Dickens Fair

I have been so busy sewing a new 1840s Victorian dress the last several weeks that I didn’t even make any progress posts, so this will be a long one with lots of pictures and information about the pattern, accessories, hair, and such. I started sewing after my last visit to the Dickens Fair at the beginning of the season wearing my 1850s plaid silk dress, so this dress only took a few weeks!

I made an 1840s fan front day dress out of a wonderful reproduction cotton print by Andover Fabrics, based on an antique quilt housed at the University of Nebraska. It’s a very nice machine-washable fabric that doesn’t seem to wrinkle much. I was able to take this out of the dryer and not iron it before sewing!

I wore my dress with a cashmere/silk paisley shawl and a gorgeous sapphire silk taffeta bonnet made by my friend Lynne Taylor (more on that later).

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I apologize for the quality of the pictures; the lighting at the Fair is terrible. I do have detail shots taken at home following these photos.IMG_6401IMG_6406IMG_6410

I wish I had darker gloves; I think the white gloves look rather stark against the navy and orange.IMG_6368

I put piping in the neckline and bottom of the bodice, but it gets lost in the dark and busy print, so I didn’t bother piping the shoulders and sleeves.IMG_6371

The front is gathered into the shoulders.IMG_6373

The back closes with 8 black hooks and bars. My husband was complaining they were hard to see when he helped me get dressed.IMG_6375

The side panel is cut on the bias, so I couldn’t quite get the pattern to match up.IMG_6380

I am pleased with how invisible the hem came out.IMG_6377

I ended up with more leftover fabric than I anticipated according to the pattern. I didn’t know this when cutting out the panels, so my hem facing is only a few inches deep this time.IMG_6379

Can you see the pocket hidden in the side seams? The pattern has huge deep pockets and I put one on each side. It was actually a little awkward trying the reach the bottom of the pockets, but I was able to hold my wallet, phone, keys, fan, water bottle, tissues, a snack, a tin of hair pins, a schedule, and my ticket!IMG_6383

I used the Laughing Moon Round Dress #114 Pattern. It is a decent pattern, but I recommend some changes if you use it:

  1. The shoulders are very broad. I had to take mine in at least 2 inches and adjust the armscye. Two friends of mine also used this pattern and had to do the same.
  2. There is a lot of fabric in the front bodice overlay, and I think you can get a more flattering shape if you increase the gathering. The pattern calls for 7 rows of gathering in the center bottom front, but I tripled that. I added extra rows in between the original rows, and additional rows above it so that the fan rises higher.
  3. I saw a few reviews that said the sleeve is a bit wide, and one friend said it is a bit short too. If you like a more tightly fitted sleeve you’ll need to adjust the pattern. (I ended up reusing the sleeve pattern from my chemise dress, with some minor changes, but I still cut the sleeves on the bias).
  4. If you have a 45 inch fabric the pattern recommends cutting 3 panels of that, plus a 13 inch wide panel, and making a final hem circumference of 144 inches. Regardless of the skirt style I like to have 3 panels so I can have pockets in the side seams and one seam in the back for the opening, so I skipped the 13 inch panel. My skirt was narrower, but I wanted a smaller silhouette to navigate the crowded fair with.
  5. The pattern calls for boning in the darts of the lining. I gathered my fan so tightly that the front panel was already pretty stiff, and I made this dress to be machine washable, so I skipped that step.

The skirt is cartridge pleated, and I used gingham ribbon as a stitching guide, rather than tediously marking 2 rows of dots a half inch apart. Fold over the top of your skirt like you normally would when cartridge pleating, then lay the ribbon over the fold. Use the little squares as a guide for your rows of stitching, and the ribbon will be sewn to the skirt. When you are done, the ribbon remains, and also adds extra body to your pleats!IMG_6305

As I mentioned earlier, my coal scuttle bonnet was made by Lynne Taylor. She is a very talented milliner and did a lovely job. The bonnet is wired buckram, covered in sapphire blue taffeta. (It is much brighter than it appears in the pictures). The inside and outside are pleated, and the top of the crown is double piped and padded. There are little bows over the moire ribbon that circles the middle of the crown, and the same moire is used for the ties. IMG_6390IMG_6392

I was delighted with the whole ensemble, and will gladly wear it again to fair next year (and to Costume College as well!)

For my hair I tried to fake the 1840s style. I took a large section of hair on each side of my head and coated it with lots of mousse, then curved it gently forward and then up, and then pinned it to the side of my head. I then did my usual little bun on the back of my head, covered with a big fake braided bun. Since most of my hair is covered by the bonnet all you see are the “droopy puppy ears” and not the messy mass of bobby pins on my head and doesn’t matter if the rest is not appropriate to the decade.IMG_6387

Final cost of the dress, minus accessories:

  • 7.25 yards cotton fabric: $50 + $12.65 shipping (from destash group on Facebook)
  • Bodice lining left over from other project: $0
  • 1 roll gingham ribbon: $2.99 plus tax (from Michael’s)
  • 1 hank nylon parachute cord for piping: $1.79 plus tax (from Michael’s)
  • 1 package skirt hooks and eyes: $3.74 (from Amazon)
  • Pattern: $18 (from Amazon)

Edit (I forgot to add in the pattern!) TOTAL: $89.34

The dress was worn over 4 petticoats (1 ruffled, 1 corded, and 2 flat) that I already owned for other outfits.

I still have 1 yard of the printed fabric left. Normally I would want an evening bodice when I have leftover fabric, but the cotton is not right for that, and the skirt is gauged onto the bodice, so I will have to figure out what to do with it!

Pink Plaid Silk Dress at the Dickens Fair

Last Saturday I went to the Dickens Christmas Fair and wore my 1850s silk plaid dress. Here I am on the streets of “London” (photo by Laurie Tavan):

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I made the dress last season (and you can read construction details here), but I had a few new accessories this time. IMG_6184.JPG

I made a new pair of silk taffeta undersleeves. They are so easy to make! Normally I machine sew as much as I can, but these are completely hand-sewn because I needed a small project for a sewing party. The overall steps were:

  1. Make a rectangle of fabric a little longer than your forearm and sew into a tube with French seams. (My tube was a little curved at each corner for a slight barrel shape).
  2. Make a cuff by sewing a tube of fabric, then folding it in half.
  3. Gather one end of fabric into the cuff and stitch. (Slip stitch on the inside to finish).
  4. Make a channel in the other end of the sleeves and place elastic into it to gather.
  5. Sew lace onto the cuffs.

I have small hands so I cheat on sleeves by making closed cuffs instead of buttoned cuffs. The elastic end goes around your upper arm above the elbow and should be tight enough for the sleeve to not fall down, but not so tight it is uncomfortable.

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I made a simple belt using some moire ribbon, backed with satin ribbon, and a pearly slider buckle.

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I dressed up a pair of vintage gloves with some new ribbon roses.These gloves are not new, but I decided to wear cotton gloves instead of the kid leather gloves I wore last year, because Dickens Fair is rather dusty, and these gloves are much easier to clean!IMG_6217.JPG

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