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Regency/Napoleonic Court Train (Part 2) 98% Done!

My Regency/Napoleonic court train is nearly done! (I am just missing a proper brooch closure for the front; right now the straps are pinned into place).IMG_2285

I apologize for the weird lighting. I recently changed some of the lighting in my house to LED bulbs, which is great for my energy bill but not for the color of my pictures.

Don’t you just loooove the way silk velvet drapes?IMG_2276

Here is a shot with my court dress previously described here.IMG_2301

A reminder of what the gown alone looks like:b

I hope to get proper photos of the whole ensemble at Costume College.IMG_2307

Here is another mmm silk photo since I love the back so much.IMG_2278

I used Butterick B4890 to get the teardrop shape, but did not use the bodice portion of the pattern. I opted for the shoulder and underbust straps I saw in extant examples of court trains. I also decided to have a more “modest” length train since I will be using this at Costume College and it will be easier to navigate the crowds.

I can’t wait to wear this!IMG_2297

I still have to make a matching regency diadem and I have a pearl jewelry set on the way. Once that’s taken care of I can finally start on my gala gown!

 

(I will do my usual final tally of project costs once the whole ensemble is actually complete, but it is nearly there).

Outlander Dinner Party

Last night I went to a lovely Outlander-themed dinner party at the Sequoia Lodge in Oakland. The wooden building surrounded by trees definitely contributed to the mood!  We were greeted by a bagpiper as we entered. Later, as part of the dinner entertainment there were also musicians signing and playing instruments, and some dance demonstrations.

I wore a gown I made for the occasion out of cotton plaid. I am also wearing a wool petticoat, 2 under petticoats, a double-bum pad, a pair of stays, a chemise, a fichu, and a pair of beautiful black 18th century Dunmore shoes from American Duchess.IMG_2029

It was my first time using pins to close an outfit instead of hooks and eyes. I bought some reproduction 18th century gown pins from Larkin and Smith. (I am using a combination of the medium and fine pins). I am still figuring out how to do it without stabbing myself or putting weird wrinkles into my dress, but I am getting better! (Hint: the stays are for safety as much as they are for support). You can read about construction details in my previous post.IMG_2037

My hair is rather short at the moment (even too short to braid properly) so I put it into a tiny bun on the back of my head and covered it with a large fake braided bun.IMG_2034

My fichu is actually a small vintage cotton organza tablecloth. It has lovely floral whitework, scalloped edges, and best of all, zero effort on my part! (For those that are curious, it is about 35×35 inches wide. If you are tall or broad-shouldered I’d recommend a larger square).IMG_2006

As usual, I was too busy chatting and stuffing my face with the delicious meal (puff pastry wrapped asparagus with prosciutto, roasted fowl with buttered leeks, roasted blue and gold potatoes, haggis, and sweetmeat cake with marzipan) to take as many pictures as I should have, but here are a few more!

You’d never realize that Christina of The Laced Angel and Natalie both finished their jackets that afternoon. Christina started the same day! IMG_2024

The tables were set up in  large U in the lodge. This was the side I was sitting on.IMG_2050

There was a range of social classes and decades at the dinner.IMG_2060IMG_2064

I especially loved the variety in jackets! (You can catch a glimpse of the bagpiper to the right of the photo).IMG_2015

I had a delightful time, and I think everyone else did too. (There was even a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, and they were married 25 years ago in the same location!)IMG_2032.JPG

Outlander 18th Century Plaid Dress

In a few weeks I am going to an Outlander-themed dinner party hosted by my local costuming guild. I don’t subscribe to premium cable so I have never actually seen the show, just lots of pictures, but I am always a fan of dressing up and eating!

I’m aware that there are some fabulous silk dresses in the second season of the show, but I wanted something relatively quick and inexpensive, so I decided to go with a plaid 18th century dress using a pattern I’ve worked with before. (I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise Pattern when I made my Ljusoga dress).

I found a decent plaid cotton from the “Wales plaid” Fabric.com collection. (I ended up purchasing it through Amazon due to a 20% off promotion and free shipping!) It was cheap enough I used the same fabric for lining the bodice and skirt. I dithered for a long time as to whether I should make the fabric out of the same fabric or make a fancy quilted one. In the end I could not find a suitable pre-quilted fabric or bedspread to repurpose, and some well-priced wool appeared on a destash group I am part of, so my decision was made.IMG_1861

In real life the bodice fit is rather different (and much better!) because I would be wearing stays to provide a smooth front. My mannequin is not wearing stays because it does not have a compressible torso and the boobs would be in the wrong place. Right now the front is pinned with regular straight pins while I await some proper 18th century reproduction pins in the mail. IMG_1866

See how the middle point of the back of the bodice rides up a little? I’ve got to adjust my underpinnings a bit to fix that, but what prevents it from flipping up all the way is a split bum pad.IMG_1864

My old half-moon bum pad was too small and not up to the task of the much larger faux butt I wanted for this outfit, so I made a new double bum pad. The split down the back  is what gives it this particular shape. I should have curved the top edges but this was a rather quick project. It is just twin trapezoid pillows bound with a single twill tape at the top.IMG_1740

The front comes forward enough to increase my hips too. The way I constructed these bum pads is not period correct, but works for my particular body shape.IMG_1739

See how gloriously wide it makes the petticoat compared to my real figure?IMG_1859

Final project costs:

  • 8 yards (45 inch wide) cotton plaid fabric: $45.31 from Amazon (affiliate link) including tax and discounts; I still have leftover fabric.
  • 2.5 yards (60 inch wide) brown wool fabric: $20 plus $6.50 shipping from Facebook; Normally I use 3 yards for a petticoat but this was wide enough to do piecing in the back.
  • Pattern: $0 (already used for another project)
  • Bum pad fabric, stuffing, and twill tape: $0 (left overs from other projects)

Total (without notions): $71.81 (Not bad! I was originally planning $50 just for the main dress and I can reuse the petticoat for other outfits).

1940s Star Trek Ladies at Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017

Yesterday I went to Silicon Valley Comic Con with two other members of my vintage-style 1940s Star Trek mashup crew. We got a few “Star Trek pin-up girls” comments, but were pleasantly surprised at how many people called us the Andrews Sisters! That wasn’t our intention but still neat how many people got the vintage reference.

The highlight of our day was meeting Jonathan Frakes aka Commander Riker!HBZU8021.JPG

He was super nice! It was really exciting to meet and take a photo of him, but the experience was even better than we expected because he seemed excited to see us too! When he spotted us his jaw dropped and he said, “Look at you guys!” He complimented our outfits and style. We would have liked to talk more but after a quick photo the staff herded us away and we were left with some really great memories!

The other fun part of the day was geeking out with other fans. We took literally hundreds of photos for and with other people that were excited to see our handmade Star Trek costumes. We took so many photos our cheeks hurt at the end of the day and we quickly settled into our “standard” pose for the day.IMG_1749

I wish I hadn’t forgotten my shoulder pads though! My dress is made of rayon (which is so wrinkle-prone). The front is supposed to be blousy and fall into soft gathers, but without the pads it looks too wrinkly.

We also ran into some storm troopers! At first one pointed to his or her chest to indicate our comm badges and then made disapproving gestures, but eventually we achieved detente.IMG_1747

We also had an encounter with the Borg when we went outside to the food truck area.IMG_1751

And I got to meet Dark Helmet!IMG_1766.JPG

These two Mr. Jones were great. They portrayed the characters well, teasing each other with lines from the Indiana Jones movies. The elder Dr. Jones was really convincing with an impeccable costume and props, and passed out tickets to his upcoming lecture. We had fun with these guys.18076507_10104937819382180_2893655046594490592_o

There were a lot of really fantastic costumes that I weren’t able to photograph, either because they walked past too fast, or I was busy taking photos with someone else.

By the way, I am on Instagram now. I just opened my account so there is much yet but you can follow me as @freshfrippery.

Regency/Napoleonic Court Train (Part 1)

The blog has been a little quiet lately since my last post on Regency diadems because I’ve been having some issues with my wrists and haven’t done much sewing except for things I can make completely by machine, like curtains. However, I have received all my materials for my court train, to go with my beaded court dress.

I have 6 yards of silk velvet, which depending on the light and the direction of the nap appears either a deep rose color or a silvery-pink. (I tried getting swatches of cotton velvet, but they were the wrong texture and stiffness and were obviously meant for upholstery). I didn’t realize before starting my search how hard it is to find a nice rose-colored velvet that isn’t either baby pink or hot pink! I would have been happy with a synthetic velvet if it was the right color, but ended up having to go over budget and buy silk. Of all the places I looked, you’ll never guess that the final winner was Amazon!IMG_1454

After a few tries at swatches of lining I settled on a linen-cotton blend from Renaissance Fabrics. The dusty pink color is good match to the underside of the silk velvet, and lighter than the deep rose but close to the silvery-pink. (Left to right: underside of the silk, the velvet, and the lining).IMG_1452

The lace I ordered online was a brighter gold than the stock photo (and what I was able to photograph below), but still rather pretty. However, I think bronze would be a better match to my dress, so I’m going to have to tone down the lace. I have a friend who has sponge-painted acrylic craft paint onto lace before, so I will be doing some experiments! I hope it works; after the purchase of the silk velvet I’d rather not spend any more money on this project buying new lace and crossing my fingers that it is the right color!IMG_1455

Mmm so buttery soft!IMG_1451

Regency Diadems

The Napoleonic era is filled with gorgeous golden diadems, studded with coral, pearls, gemstones, or lovely cameos. What court outfit is complete without a tiara?

This garnet diadem was sold on Ruby Lane.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 7.28.31 PM.pngThis coral diadem made from gilded brass from A. Brandt is very elegant.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 7.23.31 PMScreen Shot 2017-03-10 at 7.23.51 PM

Here is a beautiful cameo tiara sold by Sotheby’s that inspired me to want my own.Regency2

This parure (matching set) that belonged to Caroline Bonaparte is stunning!Regency

Last month, I hosted a group of friends and we decided to try our hand at making our own, using this great tutorial from the Mistress of Disguise, for a Regency Tiara Making Day! Behold, crafting chaos.IMG_1157.JPG

We bought materials from a variety of places, including Michael’s,  Joann’s, and eBay for beads and wire; Hobby Lobby or Amazon for brass sheets and metal combs; and Whittemore-Durgin, Etsy, and Ebay for our brass lamp banding. It’s hard to say how much it cost to make each one, since some things were bought in bulk and we did a lot of sharing. Here are our tiaras!IMG_1159

There was some trial and error, and things we learned during the process:

  • Soldering looks better but hot glue is much faster than soldering, especially when you have a group.
  • High-temp hot glue is required; the mini glue guns used for crafting don’t stick as well.
  • Big tin snips instead of small jewelry snips are better for cutting through the brass banding. (Regular scissors can cut through the brass sheets).
  • If you have tarnish on your brass, use Simichrome polish.
  • Wiring metal combs to the diadem is more sturdy than gluing metal or plastic combs.

Here are my “practice tiaras.” They are not perfectly straight and there are some little issues I’d like to work on (such as the thickness of the brass, the overall proportions, and remembering to push the head pins down before the glue set!) but they were really fun to make and I want to make more! I’d like a thinner, more delicate pearl one, and a pink coral one to go with my court gown.IMG_1258IMG_1261IMG_1266IMG_1264

Beaded Regency Court Dress (Part 3)

I’m still working on the rest of the court ensemble but at least my dress is complete! B.JPG

I didn’t have all my accessories yet at the time so I wore a pearl tiara I had instead of a Regency diadem and did a quick updo. (My next post will be about Regency diadems; I got together with a group of friends for a tiara-making day).D.JPG

You can read Parts 1 and 2 for more information, but to summarize a few details, my dress is made up of one layer of beaded and sequined mesh, an interlining of seam foam chiffon, and a lining of cotton voile. It is made from Butterick B6074 View B, with some modifications:

  • I combined some pattern pieces to minimize seams in the beaded fabric.
  • I skipped the gathered overlay on the bodice which is recommended for solid fabrics.
  • I raised the back neckline about 1 inch.
  • I extended the bottom front bodice about 1 inch since I was not trying to achieve the tiny bodice/pushup bra look.

Note: Butterick B6074 runs large! It has a lot of ease built in for the modern wearer. I recommend going down 2 sizes.

a

For undergarments I am wearing a shift, short stays, a corded petticoat and a ruffled petticoat. I normally would not wear a corded petticoat with Regency but this dress is heavy.

I have decided to go with a rose velvet for the train, and I have been spending far too much time searching for pink velvets, getting swatches, and looking for trim. However, I think we have a winner. IMG_1185.JPG

I still need to order the rest of the fabric and find the trim, but I’ve purchased lining and have the pattern ready. I’m mulling over whether I should use my leftover beads and sequins to decorate the trim, but that may be madness speaking.

By the way, in case you think my life is glamorous, here’s a peek at real life (bad posture, clutter, and photobombing) vs. the cropped version of a selected few pictures for the blog!img_1155

UPDATE:

I wrote a tutorial for this dress, which Fabric Wholesale Direct spiffed and made into this post on their website! 

All the fabric I used for this project is from Fabric Wholesale Direct. Thank you!