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1660s Cavalier Gown

I’m still recovering from eye surgery so this post will be brief. I’ll post more pictures and construction details when I get back from Costume College.

Here is a quick look at the bodice! I can’t see well enough to make a lot of tiny hand-sewn eyelets in the back, so someone will have to sew me into my dress before the Gala. IMG_2904

I already packed my petticoats and bum roll so I don’t have a mounted picture of the skirt.  I cartridge-pleated it, left the front part that goes under the center bodice tab flat, and hid closures in the pleats. (I have side openings for pocket access).IMG_2911

My hair in its hat box looks like braaaains!IMG_2903.JPG

See you at Costume College!

1660s Cavalier Dress

The Costume College theme this year is “60s” and the Gala theme is “Dinner at Tiffany’s” so I am making a black 1660s dress with large pearls, inspired by this portrait of Grand Duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany and his wife Vittoria Della Rovere by Justus Sustermans at the National Gallery in London.1660s-probably-grand-duke-2

This is a stash-busting project!

A while back I got 10 yards of 36″ black silk taffeta for $5/yard. With this project my goal was to stay as close to $50 as possible, which meant the other materials had to not only be stash, but what I call “legit stash” (leftovers from other projects). As much as we like to pretend it doesn’t count if you buy it and hide it in the closet for a few years, it still cost money up front. Aside from the black silk I wanted to use things that were already accounted for in the costs of other projects. Luckily I had scraps for lining, reed from my stays, and other miscellaneous materials:

This means not all of the materials are ideal. However, my rallying cry is STASH-BUSTING! Stash-busting

I used silk taffeta for the interlining that encases the boning because I didn’t want my bodice to be too thick, since I will have to add more layers afterward (a fashion fabric that has to be flat-lined to prevent the boning from showing).

Please keep in mind that silk can be rather insulating and warm! I used silk interlining anyway because:

  • STASH-BUSTING!
  • I’m going to be wearing this in the evening and indoors, in an air-conditioned hotel.
  • I feel cold all the time. I promise I’m not a vampire.

I am using the Nehelenia 1660 Baroque dress pattern.IMG_2598.JPG

Please note, this pattern is not for beginners. No boning channels are marked, and you have to figure them out by yourself. I recommend having made stays before you tackle this project, because the bodice is essentially stays with fashion fabric on top.

The pattern calls for about 2.5 meters of fabric for the skirt, which is 98 inches. That is not particularly full. I looked at some other bloggers’ recommendations and Kendra of Demode and the Dreamstress both recommend about 150 inches for a modern frame, even though a smaller circumference was historically accurate. I ended up using 4 panels of 36″ fabric.

Here are some quick progress shots of the inside and outside of the bodice. (The sleeves are still a mess and I have to add eyelet closures down the back and some silk gauze to the neckline).IMG_2601IMG_2603

I have cartridge-pleated about 3/4 of the skirt. My trick to save time marking and measuring is to sewing gingham to the inside and keep it there as a way to make the pleats fuller.IMG_2605IMG_2606

For a “simple” black dress this is proving to be a lot of work (much of it hidden). There is. boning, binding of tabs, cartridge-pleating of the skirt and sleeves, etc. I am having surgery later today so I will have to take a bit of break from sewing and the computer. I hope I can still finish before Costume College!

Portraits of 17th Century Fashion

While I’m finishing up accessories for my Napoleonic project, let’s talk about the 17th century!

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ca. 1664 Margaret Brooke, Lady Denham by Sir Peter Lely (Sheffield Museums)

I’m interested in 1660s and 1670s baroque fashion, which broadly speaking consists of a fully-boned bodice with a pointed front, wide neckline, full sleeves, and double-chins. (Yes, “soft features” were considered fashionable).

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1667 Portrait of a Woman by Joannes Buns

There are many solid-colored gowns in portraiture, but the elaborate lace trim down the front of the gown was also very common.

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1662 Married Couple in the Park attributed to Gonzales Coques (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

The 17th century is full of crazy hair. A lot of the hairstyles remind me of a cocker spaniel, full and curly at top.

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 Portrait of Maria Mancini by a Follower of Jacob Ferdinand Voet, sold by Bonhams Auctions

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c. 1670s Maria Kazimiera (Casimira) d’Arquien, Queen of Poland by Voet

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ca. 1670 Principessa Laura Caterina Altieri by Jacob Ferdinand Voet (Museo del Settecento Veneziano, Venizia)

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1669. Portrait of Suzanna Doublet Huygens by Caspar Netscher from The Leiden Collection

If you like bows upon bows check out the Infanta Margarita Teresa.

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  (c. 1662-1664) Infanta Margarita Teresa, by anonymous at the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna

My dress for the Costume College Gala will be inspired by this portrait of Grand Duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany and his wife Vittoria Della Rovere. Although there are many flamboyantly-colored gowns from the time period, the little goth inside my heart wants a black gown.

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Grand Duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany and his wife Vittoria Della Rovere by Justus Sustermans  at the National Gallery in London

My gown won’t be an exact reproduction but I plan to make a similar jewelry set. Look at those giant pearls! They look like they would be deadly if swung in the wrong direction.

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.