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Category Archives: Costume College 2017

1660s Cavalier Dress at Costume College (and Bonus: Hacking the American Duchess 18th Century Undergarments Pattern to Make a 17th Century Chemise)

I now have photos for my 1660s Cavalier dress from official Costume College photographer Andrew Schmidt, as well as a great group photo of the rest of my Cavalier ladies!IMG_4216-(ZF-7662-83598-1-001)

You can see my previous posts about this project under the tag “Cavalier” but if you keep reading I will discuss the things that went wrong with this project, and what I would do differently in the future, so you can learn from my mistakes!IMG_4217-(ZF-7662-83598-1-002)

I am very happy with how our group turned out, with the variety of colors, trimming, and hairstyles. Left to right, back to front: me, Teresa, Cate, Kim, Jessie, and Elizabeth.IMG_4211-(ZF-7662-83598-1-003)

I used the Nehelenia 1660 Baroque dress pattern. This era is completely new to me, and I have no experience with this shape of the bodice, so I followed all the instructions. This included making bound bodice tabs (similar to 18th century stays, seen below) to help distribute the weight of the skirt, and sewing all the bodice pieces of the fashion fabric together before attaching it to the boned interlining.IMG_2904

These steps may be period correct, but created some extra work and issues, so I have some comments about what I would do differently if I made another dress of this style:

  1. No tabs! Anyone who has made stays knows how time-consuming it is to bind them! Since my skirt was a lightweight taffeta, I could have skipped the tabs and pleated the skirt directly to the bodice and saved a lot of time. (I would not recommend this for a heavy skirt like velvet or brocade). Dressing would have been much easier too, since I would have had a one-piece dress to slip over my undergarments. Instead, I had to make sure the front tab was over my skirt, while my back and side tabs were underneath my skirt, while my bum roll was over my bodice back tabs but under my skirt. It took some help getting dressed!
  2. Do not finish the fashion layer before sewing it to the interlining. I had some problems with wrinkling in the bodice. I think it would have helped if I sewed the fashion fabric to the interlining, and then sewed each pattern piece together (the way 18th century stays are made). This would have reduced the wrinkling and wiggling. I talked to someone else at the  Gala who was also wearing a 1660s gown, and hers was so smooth! She said she sewed the bodice the way she would a pair of stays.
  3. Maybe skip the cartridge-pleating. I love tiny cartridge pleats; they look delightful and neat. I am glad I did them for this dress, but for speed in the future I would probably do larger pleats to save time. I ended up spending so much time on them that I was not able to do my eyelet closures before a medical procedure made it impossible for me to sew, and recovery took longer than expected so I had to be sewn into my dress at CoCo! (I can’t remember the last time I showed up at an event without closures, but it’s a humbling reminder that life sometimes intervenes.)

Some of my problems may have been attributable to my use of silk taffeta instead of a thicker silk satin, but I wanted to use what I had in my stash, and the skirt was so light and lovely to wear.

I made the jewelry out of giant acrylic pearls, strung with fishing line. Glass pearls would have been lovely, but very heavy, and since I was going to pin the drape directly to a silk taffeta dress with a silk gauze neckline, I wanted it lighter.

Bonus: Hacking the American Duchess 18th Century Undergarments Pattern to Make a 17th Century Chemise)

I promised a pattern hack in the title, and here it is! This 17th century dress required an off-the-shoulder chemise, which I did not have. I also did not want to draft one from scratch, so I hacked the American Duchess 18th Century Undergarments pattern (Simplicity 8162). This is what the original pattern looks like:8162

Ignoring the ruffles, you have a body panel with a shoulder strap, a sleeve gusset for the underarm, and a square sleeve that is folded to form a tube.IMG_2634.JPG

However, what if you fold down the shoulder strap, shift the sleeve and gusset down, and double the size of the sleeve piece to make it fuller? (Previously you cut a square that became a tube, now you cut a large rectangle that becomes a square).IMG_2639.JPG

This is the shape you get:IMG_2644.JPG

Add a drawstring neckline, and you get an off-the-shoulder chemise!IMG_2648.JPG

Please note, my sleeves are a bit shorter than what you see historically. A proper 17th century chemise would have had much longer and exaggerated sleeves. I made these shorter for several reasons:

  1. I plan to reuse this with other gowns where a billowy chemise sleeve would be inconvenient.
  2. The portrait I am using as inspiration has an exposed chemise sleeve made of finer materials than the linen I used, plus little ribbon ties; thus I made false sleeves that can be attached to my black bodice that will allow for nicer fabric and no need to fuss with tying bows each time I wear it.

So, if you do not have the reasons enumerated above, you should quadruple (not double) the original sleeve pattern into a giant square, not a rectangle.IMG_3853

(Yes, those are green and purple crayons because my child left them next to my computer and I was too lazy to go looking for nicer writing implements).

Final reckoning:  Let’s tally up!

  • 10 yards of 35″ black silk taffeta: $49.90 + $8.75 shipping = $58.65 (Yay for fabulous sales from FabricMart!)
  • Nehelenia pattern: $23.96 including shipping (I ordered with a few other ladies and split the postage from Europe)
  • Lining and boning: $0 (left over from my 18th century stays project)
  • 2 yards linen (for chemise) and 1 yard silk gauze (for bodice neckline): $23.94 including tax and shipping from Dharma Trading (I ordered double that but am setting the rest aside for a different project, so I’m halving the cost)
  • 1 yard silk cotton blend for lower sleeves: $17.99 from Amazon
  • 120 giant pearls: $11.28 from Aliexpress
  • 2 brooches: $5.40 from Aliexpress
  • 2 “small spiral corkscrew” cheerleading/Irish dancing hair clips: $43.11 including shipping from eBay seller american_costumes
  • Ribbon, thread, hooks and eyes, polyfill for the bumroll, etc. from stash ~$5?

Total: $189.33

So the silk was cheap, but all the extras added up! Normally I do not count accessories and hairpieces, but in this case they are very specific to this era and the portrait inspiration, and they’re not very versatile for other eras.

Finally of course, as always, my shoes are American Duchess. They are the Pompadour French Court Shoes in black (affiliate link).

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This was a long post, so thanks for reading!

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Regency / Napoleonic Court Gown and Train at Costume College 2017

I received my photos from the official Costume College photographer Andrew Schmidt  so I can show you my complete Regency/Napoleonic court gown and train ensemble!*

* A note about terminology: Technically, English Regency court gowns were a really odd silhouette where you had the high waist but very wide shape, and French gowns of the Napoleonic period had the more columnar shape, so my whole outfit is French style. However, for simplicity in some of my past posts I have been using the term “Regency” because I can wear my gown without the formal court train.IMG_3396-(ZF-3567-92908-1-002)IMG_3397-(ZF-3567-92908-1-003)

I love this view of the back. Thanks Mr. Schmidt for making sure the circle was laid out nicely!IMG_3399-(ZF-3567-92908-1-001)

I have made a number of posts about the construction process of the dress and train and you can find them under the Napoleonic tag on my blog, but I will summarize a few main points here.

For the dress I used the Butterick B6074 pattern, with some modifications (described in previous posts). The dress is made out of a mint green chiffon with white cotton voile lining, and the fancy layer on top is a heavily embellished net with embroidery and several types of sequins, beads, and faux pearls. I had a few questions about whether I used a sari. It is not a sari, but a bridal lace from Fabric Wholesale Direct. Here is a close-up of the fabric before I cut it out:img_0802

For the court train I used the Butterick B4890 Josephine pattern, but I modified it to have straps instead of a bodice back. The train is made with silk velvet, lined with a linen/cotton blend, and edged in a gold-tone netting lace. The front underbust strap is closed with a vintage brooch that I found on eBay.IMG_2362

My pearl necklace and earrings were made by Gloria of In The Long Run Designs, whose Etsy shop is full of beautiful historical jewelry!

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Photo by In The Long Run Designs

My regency diadem was made by me using brass lamp banding and faux pearls. (I posted about a party where I made some other diadems here).IMG_2927

This whole outfit was really heavy and became quite uncomfortable to wear by the end of the evening! I’m glad it was worn for only a few hours at the Friday Night Social. The dress is heavily beaded and sequined, and the train is quite heavy too, and unlike a Victorian outfit where I can have a corset and hoops to help support the weight, everything was supported by my shoulders.

Here’s a quick twirling video here where you can see the dress sparkle!

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So, what’s the final tally of what everything cost? This was my “splurge” project for the year so it cost more than my usual outfits, but I think this one was worth it!

Dress:

  • 3 yards beaded lace (from Fabric Wholesale Direct): $149.85
  • 3 yards mint chiffon (from FWD): $7.47
  • 3 yards white cotton voile (from FWD): $11.97
  • Thread and fishing line (from stash)

Total = $0 (All the fabric for this dress was a gift from Fabric Wholesale Direct in exchange for a tutorial you can see on their website. Thanks FWD!)

Court train:
  • 6 yards silk velvet (from Amazon, affiliate link): $113.84 (I used 5 yards)
  • 5 yards linen/cotton lining (from Renaissance Fabrics): $32.50 + tax and shipping = $43.59
  • 10 yards lace (from Aliexpress): $34.94 (I only use half, and sold the remainder)
  • Pattern (from eBay): $7.59
  • Brooch (from eBay): $3.84 (yay no one else bid on it)
  • Button cover kit (leftover from another project): $0
  • Button loops (braided from random string I found in my house): $0

Train total = $203.80

Ouch, that’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s not terrible considering I have a lot of huge scraps of silk velvet left over, and can probably make a 1920s dress with some careful cutting, so I can get two dresses out of that price!

Tiara: The cost of this is a little tricky to calculate, because a lot of the supplies I bought in bulk, used to make other tiaras, and shared with friends. I think if you shop right and share with friends you can make one for $30 depending on how fancy you get with beads, pearls, or gemstones. A big part of the cost is buying the brass online and paying for shipping.

  • Brass banding: Etsy or lamp supply stores
  • Faux pearls and head pins: eBay or Michael’s
  • Metal hair combs: Amazon or beauty supply shops

My shoes were Pemberly Regency slippers from American Duchess (affiliate link) that I previously owned. I am also wearing short stays and a corded petticoat (not period correct, but needed to support the weight of the dress).

So in total, this ensemble will cost you about $400 of materials (not including accessories), but represented a little more than $200 out of pocket, with enough leftovers to make a second dress, so not too bad! I try to keep most gowns $100 or less, so this was my “big project” for the year.

I am very happy with how this court outfit turned out, especially how the mint and rose color combination worked together, and how the accessories completed the look. It’s also always nice too when a dress looks good from the back as well!IMG_3399-(ZF-3567-92908-1-001)

Costume College Recap (Part 2)

If you missed it, Part 1 (Thursday/Friday) of the Costume College Recap can be found here.

On Saturday I took several classes: Fashions of Versailles (Rise Reading); The King of Fashion: Paul Poiret (Adam Lid); and Intro to Arduino, Sensors and Programmable LEDS.

For the daytime I wore something quick and easy, a vintage 60s wool cheerleading uniform that fit the theme. I accessorized with a modern band hat and gogo boots.IMG_3208

Ginger looked lovely in green Regency!IMG_3222

Molly of Avant Garbe looked lovely in her Eliza Schuyler-inspired gown.IMG_3217

And I ran into these two cuties that were just finishing breakfast! Ashley (of fishnetvanity) and Twila (of twilatee).IMG_3212

Elizabeth (peachassassin) was #bigpimpin in her brocade outfit.IMG_3232.JPG

Saturday night was the Red Carpet and Gala dinner. There were so many incredible costumes I could not capture them all or post them here, but please see my Flickr album for more!

I wore 1660s with my Cavalier ladies (Teresa, Jessica, Elizabeth, Cate, and Kim). I loved the variety of colors in our group! (I’ll post more about my outfit later, with construction notes and what I want to change for the future!)IMG_3298.JPG

Natalie (frolicking_frocks) wore an amazing Cersei dress with embroidery she did by hand!IMG_3283IMG_3260

We couldn’t resist taking photo in our matching villainous black and chest jewelry.IMG_3308.JPG

Christine (of sewstine) and her husband wore these incredible silk frock coats! Christine sewed the outfits and did hundreds of hours of machine embroidery! Be sure to check out her IG account for more photos. I could not do the outfits justice with my camera and poor lighting.IMG_3322.JPG

A group of us (me with Christine, Bunny, AJ, and Gloria) posed for a photo to prove we are all different people. Yes, we are constantly referred to by each other’s names at CoCo. IMG_3409

Elvis (really Jez) was in the house!IMG_3446.JPG

Kelsey (irreverentvintagegirl) was in a gorgeous vintage 60s evening gown, with perfect hair and makeup.

Christina of the Laced Angel wore a Hamilton extra outfit and Curtis looked dashing in his banyan.IMG_3310.JPG

Jessica had an impressive reproduction of the coronation gown for Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Be sure to read her summary here!

The girls of American Duchess looked splendid as always, with Lauren in her Robe a la Turque and Abby in a frothy pink and white 1760s Robe a la Francaise.IMG_3265IMG_3268

Breanna of Mothball Fleet was adorable as always.IMG_3286.JPG

Rebecca was a stunner in blue!IMG_3405.JPG

After a long day and evening people started collapsing into cupcakes on the ground . . .IMG_3442.JPG

Or into sleepy kigurumis like Lauren.IMG_3441

The next day we woke up early to make it down to the Bargain Basement. I got so many lovely things there I will have to make a separate post later. I was too busy with shopping and my classes that I didn’t take many photos.

First I took an amazing lecture from Leimomi Oakes called “Tapa Cloth and Tiki Attire: The Pacific Influence on Fashion.” After a quick lunch break I went to my limited class “Making the Phantom Bustle” with Christina DeAngelo, and then later her great overview lecture “Beyond the Lobster Tail Bustle,” where she provided many examples of bustles.

This is Christina telling us not to hit each other with dowels in the limited class.IMG_3455

Kelsey looked wonderful in 18th century!IMG_3456IMG_3463

I dressed casually on Sunday because I had class and tear-down of my costume display, but here is a bonus picture of me with Breanna in matching clothes from Wearing History, checking out of the hotel on Monday.IMG_3469.JPG

One of the last costume pictures I took at CoCo was of Nicole (silk_and_buckram) and Lauren (markslauren) in bright green. What a way to end another fabulous CoCo!IMG_3460

To those of you that I met at Costume College, welcome to my blog! If you found me through my Instagram account (@freshfrippery) thank you for following! I got lots of new followers and I’m still sorting through which accounts are legit and which are spam, so please send me a DM there if I met you in real life and haven’t followed you back. Thank you!

Costume College Recap (Part 1)

I am back and mostly unpacked from Costume College. It was so much fun and so much happened I will have to break everything up into multiple posts: Thursday/Friday recap, Saturday/Sunday recap, final details and summary about my Napoleonic ensemble, final post about my Cavalier dress, and a “loot” post about the goodies and antiques I managed to snag from the dealer’s hall and bargain basement. You have been warned!

I traveled down on Thursday with Natalie (frolicking_frocks) and Kelsey (irreverentvintagegirl)IMG_2941

After checking in and unpacking we ran over to the exhibit hall, where I was invited to display my Lady Tremaine costume. There were other really talented costumers in the room so please see my Flickr account for more photos!IMG_2944

My travel companions helped me dress and pad the mannequin, plus make boob-arms.IMG_2942

Later that night at the pool party my 1940s Star Trek group had a revival, with a new addition of a galaxy by Christina of The Laced Angel.IMG_2948

We passed out custom badge ribbons.IMG_3033.JPG

I didn’t take many photos at the pool party because of the lighting, but look at these great Reys!IMG_2964.JPG

Friday started out with fun. (I wore a traditional embroidered German dirndl with a vintage 1930s apron) and Stratford shoes from American Duchess (affiliate link).IMG_3036

Maybe too much fun (with Elizabeth/peachassassin’s codpiece).IMG_3001.JPG

Kim had a really cute 60s coverup and Tab soda. (The overall theme for CoCo was the 60s). It’s hard to see in the picture but underneath there is an adorable gingham bikini top and shorts beach set.IMG_3023

I took two great classes during the day: “Beyond the Fringe: Unravelling the Myth of the 1920s Flapper” by Leimomi Oakes and “Finishing Your 18th Century Look” by Abby Cox. I would highly recommend any classes taught by these ladies.

That evening I finally wore my completed Napoleonic court gown and train. (I’ll post more photos and a final summary later, but you can see my other construction notes along the way).IMG_3153IMG_3146

My pearl necklace and earrings were made by Gloria of Inthelongrun.IMG_3192.JPG

There were so many incredible costumes at the Friday Night Social I can’t post them all so here’s a selection.

Natalie as Dolores from Westworld and Kelsey as Annie Oakley.IMG_3172

The awesome Adria Renee in her take on Star War’s Orson Krennic.IMG_3178

This great Outlander gown.IMG_3135

Some awesome Barbarellas by diystopia, Elizabeth, and Cynthia of Redthreaded.

Look at this amazing cord and soutache ensemble by Kelsey!

And we ended the evening with kigurumi shenanigans at the Pink Drink party!IMG_3204