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Edwardian Dress at the Monet Exhibit at the de Young Museum (Plus Butterick B6229 Pattern Hack)

Last weekend my local costume guild organized an outing to see an exhibit of Monet paintings at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and I wore a dress made of blue cotton sateen and antique lace.IMG_7850

I had to take photos looking upwards because my broad-brimmed hat created shadows on my face, and I was also trying to hide a splint on my hand, so sorry about the weird poses! It was a bit cold that morning so I wore an antique Edwardian blouse underneath my dress as a guimpe.IMG_7818

I needed a quick and simple dress so I used Butterick B6229, with modifications. I picked that pattern because I was already familiar with it after using it for my Downton Abbey maid costume, and knew it fit.IMG_8004

This is what the pattern looks like before I hacked it.IMG_7539

The 4 main changes I made to the pattern for this dress:

  • I changed the dress from front-opening to back-opening. The front button closures were turned into back hook/bar closures. (Cut the front bodice piece as one piece instead of two, and cut the back bodice piece as two instead of one. Do the same for the skirt panels).
  • The sleeves were shortened. (I cut them off a little below the elbow and turned the edges inside the sleeve. You don’t need to cut the cuff pattern pieces).
  • I cut a square neckline and omitted the standing collar. (I pinned the lace collar and strudel panel on the unfinished dress while it was on a dress form and marked where to cut the neckline).
  • Instead of having the belt go completely around my waist it does not cover the center lace panel. (I shortened the belt and based on my waist measurement minus the lace panel plus seam allowance).

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I am calling this my Strudel Dress because of the slits in the lace panel down the front. I bought the panel a while back and wasn’t sure what to do with it until I realized it was perfect for this dress. I had just barely enough; I literally had 1 inch of lace left over. My shoes are American Duchess Theda Edwardian shoes, aka “Skeletor,” which also have a bit of a strudel-y look to them.IMG_7560.JPG

The Supima cotton sateen I used has a lovely sheen to it, but is a bit thin and prone to wrinkling so I flat-lined all the pieces with cotton broadcloth. In retrospect I should have skipped the flat-lining for a more flowy Edwardian look, but perhaps having no flat-lining would have made the dress wrinkle even more when I sat down.IMG_8006

The dress closes in the back with hooks and bars, and the belt is sewn down on one side and attaches on the other with hooks and bars. The buttons are decorative only. (They were made with a covered button kit).IMG_8018

The collar is antique lace, picked up at the Costume College Bargain Basement.IMG_8007

The “strudel” lace is from a Costume College marketplace vendor.IMG_8008

The antique lace cuffs were a scrap piece left over from my Downton Abbey maid project, and I had just enough!IMG_8015

Dress Cost:

  • 3 yards blue Supima cotton sateen: $13.20 including tax with stacked coupons at Joann’s
  • 3 yards white cotton lining: $12 including shipping from eBay
  • Pattern: $0, already previously used
  • Lace panel: $5.50 from Costume College vendor
  • Lace collar: $1 from Costume College bargain basement
  • Lace cuffs: $0, leftover from other project
  • Lace for buttons: $0, gifted
  • Buttons, thread, hooks and bars: ~$3 from stash, bought in bulk

Total cost: ~$34.20

Woohoo, less than $35 for a dress!

My hat was made from a straw beach hat I already had and I don’t recall how much I spent on it, but they are easy to find. I hot-glued a lot of fake flowers from my stash onto the hat and filled in a few spots with assorted feathers. (Tip: buying a floral garland from the craft store is cheaper than buying individual stems).IMG_7915

Oops, I just noticed that stray thread. I admit this dress was a bit of a rush job. Aside from the closures and hemming, I made the bulk of it in a weekend using a machine and forgot to iron flat all the seams like I usually do.

There was a neat doorway in the garden where I posed for some photos.IMG_7952 copy

And here are some of the other lovely ladies that were there that day. There were many more that I forgot to capture.IMG_7855

Overall it was a lovely day!IMG_7906

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1830s Cotton Day Dress

I have an 1830s-themed picnic later this year, so I made another Romantic era gown! Although I already have the plaid silk dress that I wore to the Dickens Fair, the thought of wearing silk to an outdoor summer picnic did not sound very comfortable. Instead, I decided to have a washable cotton dress in a busy print that could hide stains.IMG_6177.JPGIMG_6179.JPG

The dress is shown above without the sleeve plumpers or the petticoats properly starched, so there will be a lot more poof when I wear it! The fabric is a quilting cotton by Andover Fabrics from their Maling Road collection, shown below with one of the hidden pockets I put in the side seams.IMG_5788.JPG

Although the cotton I bought was not advertised as a reproduction print, I thought the general checkered feel of it was similar to this antique wool gown at the Victoria and Albert Museum.Dress-With-Lace-Pelerine

The cotton pleats up beautifully, as seen in my sleeves. (Since the sleeves have about a yard of fabric, deep pleats are needed to get all that fabric into the armscye. Gathering will be too bulky).IMG_6182.JPG

I have lots of details about construction, undergarments, and accessories in my post about my plaid silk gown, so I’ll just go over the things I did differently in this gown.

As before, I used the Truly Victorian TV455 1830s Romantic Era pattern to make my dress, but this time I redrafted the sleeve pattern to have a more defined difference between the upper and lower sleeve, using the Workwoman’s Guide as a reference (drawing not to scale):IMG_6428.JPG

Other changes I made to the construction (mostly to speed things up):

  • I skipped the piping because the print was so busy, and I wanted this project to be fast!
  • I used the variation of the pattern that omits the pleating at the top of the bodice because I will be outdoors and wearing a pelerine that covers the pleating anyway.
  • I did not line the sleeves this time; this reduced the bulk when pleating.
  • Rather than having an opening in the lower sleeve that closes with hooks and eyes, I just sewed the sleeve seam shut. This means that the wrist area of the sleeve is not very tightly fitted, but still looks slim enough since I have slender hands I can carefully slide in. Having the seam fully shut made construction much easier since I had no lining, and is one less thing to fuss with when dressing.
  • Last time I flat-lined my silk with an organdy interlining, then made a separate polished cotton lining. This time I skipped the lining and flat-lined my cotton print with a plain cotton interlining. Here’s a time-saving tip I posted to my Instagram stories:IMG_5757.JPG

I will be reusing the delicate cotton pelerine I made for my silk gown.IMG_6187.JPG

The yellow ribbon belt is just a placeholder; I am considering a teal or coral velvet ribbon for the sash. I also purchased a lovely carved antique abalone shell belt buckle to use with this dress. It is probably Edwardian instead of Victorian, but it has the right size and proportions.IMG_6221.JPG

I put bust pads inside the gown, which are just cotton pouches stuffed with Poly-fil. They are not really meant to make your bust bigger, but fill out the hollow near the front of your underarm. The size, shape, and placement will depend on your body.
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As you can see, the neckline is just flipped down and hand-stitched into place.

Materials:

  • 8 yards of 44″ wide quilting cotton: $66.75 including shipping from eBay
  • Pattern: $0, previously used twice!
  • Bodice lining: $0 (leftover scraps from other projects)
  • Thread, hooks and eyes, Poly-fil. ~$3 (already in stash and purchased in bulk)
  • Ribbon: TBA

Not including accessories that means the dress will be around $70-75, since I already have all the undergarments, bonnet, shoes, and pelerine!

Here’s a storage tip: I now have three 1830s gowns and I don’t want to have the sleeves crushed in my packet closet. I also didn’t want to make multiple sets of sleeve plumpers. I put a plastic bag inside each sleeve and then put Poly-fil inside the bag. That meant the enormous sleeves of my 1830s dresses could muscle my other dresses in the closet out of the way.IMG_6403

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My event is still more than 3 months away, so I won’t be posting final worn photos for a little while, but I am glad to be done! (I don’t normally finish things this far in advance, but I wanted to make this gown while my previous 1830s dress was still fresh in my mind).IMG_6189.JPG

Wearing History Dahlia 1940s Gathered Blouse

This post is way overdue, because I made this 1940s-style blouse in August and have been enjoying it ever since! It was made using the Wearing History Dahlia 1940s Gathered Blouse pattern, with some modifications I’ll detail below.IMG_3702

This blouse is made with vintage cotton I found at the Costume College Bargain Basement. There was just enough, with careful cutting, for me to make this blouse and run the border of the print down the center front and as faux cuffs on the sleeves.IMG_3703

I used a combination of View A and B because I wanted the V-neck of View A but the button front of View B. (This also means instead of having the side closure of View A, I put hooks and eyes down the center of the peplum).

The blouse pattern doesn’t actually have a yoke. I just did a tuck in the back to hide a flaw in the fabric. I also did a neck facing instead of binding.IMG_3699

I did keep the lovely gathers in the shoulder! That is one of my favorite parts of the pattern.IMG_3701

I made button loops and self-covered buttons for the closure.IMG_3697

The last change I did was to shorten and slim the sleeves a bit because I have a small frame and skinny arms. I think the sleeve pattern as-is would work for most people; it is accurate to the slightly boxy look of the 1940s.IMG_3665

My modifications were for personal preference and not because of any flaw in the pattern. I found that the sizing was accurate and the pieces fit together. I highly recommend Wearing History and the Dahlia 1940s Gathered Blouse pattern!

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

A Giraffe Dress and Elephant PJs Using Fabrics from Tanzania

Earlier this year my friend Kim visited Tanzania and brought me back some great African fabric as a special gift.

I used this vibrant giraffe print to make myself a long dress for summer. It’s opaque enough that I was able to skip a lining, making it a perfect cotton dress for warmer weather.img_0713

I cut it out a few months ago but only recently finished because I got distracted by the Tudor kirtle.img_0714

I think it looks like the giraffes are having a chat and perhaps giving a little side-eye.img_0715

I used Vogue 8789 for the pattern, and just extended the length of the skirt to use up the width of the fabric. (You may recognize the bodice as being the same shape as my Black Swan 1950s  Ball Gown). The dress used 3 meters of fabric.img_0716

The other fabric I received from Kim was a kanga. (You can read about them and how they are used on KangaUSA). This elephant kanga is printed with the phrase “Wanyama ndiyo urithi wetu tuwatunza,” which is Swahili for “Animals are our inheritance, we should protect them.”IMG_9037.JPG

Because of the shape of the fabric and the way the print is formatted I had to think about how to cut the fabric, but realized that pajama bottoms are a great way to use a rectangular print.img_9038

The pattern is Butterick 6837, which I’ve used a number of times in the past to make PJs for myself and my family. If you have a serger and put in an elastic waistband you can make PJ pants in about an hour with enough practice.IMG_9040.JPG

I was able to use up the kanga with very little fabric wasted. Because of my height I had to piece a little fabric at the top to make it long enough, but a shorter person could skip this step. This project was so quick it was my first sewing project right after attending Costume College in August, when I wanted something easy.

I’m still working on my last project of 2016, but Happy New Year!

1840s Fan Front Dresses at the Dickens Fair – and Twins!

Last weekend I went to the Dickens Christmas Fair and wore my 1840s fan-front dress, along with a few other friends wearing the same style. One of my friends had the same orange and navy fabric that we purchased independently by coincidence, so we had a good time being twins!img_0498

I made this dress last year so you can read about my construction details on a previous post. I am wearing a bonnet by Lynne Taylor, a shawl from eBay, and ivory silk stockings and Tavistock button boots from American Duchess.img_0538img_0535

Our “backstory” for that day at fair was that Elizabeth had consumption (hence the dark eye make up). As her dear devoted sister I made her many nutritious broths and teas, which tasted like almonds.img_0509

She spent a lot of time coughing while the rest of us enjoyed ourselves!img_0502

I love this cotton print very much, and I think the orange bows that Elizabeth surprised me with were a nice touch this time.img_0507

1770s Robe à l’Anglaise Retroussée Using Ikea’s Ljusöga Fabric

At Costume College I wore my finished robe à l’Anglaise retroussée, previously debuted in an unfinished form at the Pirate Festival.  I don’t have all my formal portraits yet, but Andrew Schmidt, the official CoCo photographer, put up this picture as one of the preview shots.

18th century elegance by Andy Schmidt

Photo by Andrew Schmidt

The dress is made from one king-sized Ikea duvet cover! And I still have plenty of fabric left over for another project, such as a jacket. The bodice is lined with linen and I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat pattern. (I highly recommend this pattern. It was simple to follow, relatively quick to put together, and I had to make very little adjustment to the fit).IMG_8771

(I am wearing red Kensingtons with paste buckles and clocked silk stockings, all from American Duchess). The back of the dress can be worn down as a regular Anglaise, or retroussée by looping the two twisted rayon cords around the fabric-covered buttons.IMG_8772

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I would like to get a bigger hat (this one goes with a different outfit) but ran out of time. I also attempted hair buckles, but that was a disaster, so I  just put my hair up in a high bump over a rat, then put flowers in the back.IMG_8774IMG_8776

 

The sleeves also have a little loop of rayon cord and a slightly smaller fabric-covered button.IMG_8982

Unlike the previous time I wore this dress, this time I am wearing the correct stays. Here’s a silly selfie in the hotel bathroom while still in PJs and messy hair. Now you know what I look like in the mornings! (Well, except for the stays).IMG_8731

Project costs:

  • Ikea king-sized duvet cover: ~$30
  • Linen lining: $0, leftover from another project
  • Period Impressions pattern: $13.95 + $4.85 shipping from Etsy
  • Buttons: from stash
  • Rayon cord: ~$5 from Britex

Total: ~$53.80

Way under budget! I got to splurge a little on the accessories. 😉 Onsite I happened to hear about Dames a la Mode’s trunk sale, and bought this lovely set that I wore with my dress.IMG_8973