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Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Hopeless Romantics Invade Gaskell Ball, 1830s Style!

There were so many beautifully made gowns at Gaskell Ball. Most of us used the same pattern, but I loved all the variations in fabric choice and trimming.

We made a lovely rainbow!

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And had a ton of fun!

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Here I am with the other pale-colored ladies.

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Kim had such a cute doll-like shorter dress.

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Natalie of Frolicking Frocks looked just like a fashion plate.

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Breana of Mothball Fleet had such a daring and darling color combination, with perfect piping.

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Elizabeth had a bodice with impressive detailing, and a padded hem.

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Amanda’s dress looked great in motion.

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Samantha had such a cute bow sash.

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Jean-Anne went for a bold print that worked out great.

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Jenny looked elegant in white.

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Christina of The Laced Angel used an old sari, to great effect.

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Kathy of Stuff I Sew had an impressively smocked dress. Read the details here!

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Monica had charming little fans and tucks on her dress.

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Kaila had really lovely piping and pleats.

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Cassandra’s dress reminded me of a Disney princess.

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You’ve seen mine, so here’s a silly photo.

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I am looking forward to next year’s theme!

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 6): Finished Dress and Hair

Last night I had a fantastic time dressing up with a large group of other ladies wearing Romantic Era gowns (and crazy 1830s hair) at the Gaskell Ball in Oakland, CA. (I will be posting photos of everyone in my next entry!) I finished my dress with a few days to spare, but did not have time to work on the hair until the last day.

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(I didn’t have time to make a new petticoat, and the old one is a little longer and less poofy than I would like, but that is a project for next time).

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I was very pleased with the way the sheer sleeves came out. I was fretting before about how to pattern them, then went for the easiest approach. I took a yard of fabric, sliced it down the middle, French seamed the pieces to make 2 tubes, and gathered the ends into the armhole or wrist openings.

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The bodice is pleated and embellished with pink and green embroidered lace and little pink ribbon flowers with pearls in the centers. The back of the neckline is also pleated.

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The cuffs are made with the same embroidered lace I have on the bodice neckline. The waist is trimmed with a green scrap of fabric (leftover from a Titanic, and then Gatsby project). The pearl and rhinestone buckle was purchased from Britex.

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The hem is trimmed with embroidered tulle lace, as you previously saw.

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I struggled with the hair, and it is a little sloppier than I wanted, but I think it’s a decent first try. A  number of people asked me if it was my real hair!

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I forgot to buy a foam head, so I used a stuffed toy monkey. I bought a long black wig, and split it into 3 sections. I made 2 fat braids and pinned them into Princess Leia-style cinnamon buns.

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The middle section was braided and left for the moment.

I then used another large piece of fake hair that I split into 2 braids (with wire braided in). I formed pretzel loops and sewed that to the wig, and then used the little braid from the main wig to wrap around the base. I pinned a fake peony in the back, and put some little roses and butterflies into the buns.

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I decorated the front with a little fake bird, a birdcage and some feathers.

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I had a lot of fun with this project!

Final cost rundown (not including fake hair):

Silk taffeta, linen lining, hook-and-eye tape, bird, feathers, flowers, cage: from the stash

Tulle lace: $27.96

Floral lace $11.91

Organza: $3.10

Pearl buckle $9.73

Total $52.70*

*well, I did spend about $200 on silk a few years back, but we’re talking new expenses here. =)

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 5): Bodice

I haven’t done a lot of sewing in the past few weeks because I started work again and have had some long hours. However, here is a sneak peek at the bodice in progress.

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I put on the puff sleeves and started the sheer ones. The neckline has lace. I still need to fuss with the fitting (since the heavy sleeves are pulling things down), the gathers and the cuffs on the sheer sleeves.  The front will be embellished with some little pink flowers.