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My Historical Loki Variant Cosplay (Borgias-Inspired Renaissance Dress Costume)

I was making a Borgias-inspired Renaissance dress and decided to lean into to the green gold color scheme and make it a historical Loki variant costume. I wanted a Renaissance gown but being shiny and pretty was more important to me than historical accuracy so this isn’t pegged to a specific decade, but rather a look inspired by both the Borgias HBO show and the character Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The dress is made from beautiful green and gold shot raw silk suiting. The bodice uses the same fabric but with a silk/rayon organza burnout overlay, and the lining is a black cotton canvas for structure.

Rather than using a commercial pattern I Frankensteined together math and modified pattern bits from previous costumes I made. The bodice is a shorted version of the kirtle I previously made using help from the Tudor Tailor book (Amazon affiliate link). I widened the shoulder straps and added some more seam allowance but it is otherwise generally the same.

The skirt is made of pleated rectangular panels. Each of the front and back are 1.5 panels wide, with the seam hidden under the metallic jacquard trim.

The sleeves are basic sleeve shapes but cut a little loose to allow for the chemise underneath. They are somewhat like tie-on sleeves except instead of ribbons I sewed them at the meeting points with a glass pearl and some gold bead caps.

Underneath the dress I wore a Tudor chemise because that is what I had on hand. (It was also made using a pattern from the Tudor Tailor book). However, at a later point I’d like to make a Renaissance camicia with a different neckline and much fuller sleeves to puff out through the gaps in the green sleeve.

LOKI CROWN

I bought the Loki crown as 3D printed pieces from Parton Prints on Etsy. The horns come as separate pieces for ease of shipping and I glued them on using E6000 glue. After a little sanding, I used a primer that someone recommended to me for 3D printed plastics Tamiya Gray Fine Surface Primer (Amazon affiliate link) I finished up with two coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint in Gold. Originally I used more E6000 to glue on a black elastic strap but decided to cut them off. Instead I used the nubs of those straps as an anchor point to sew on some gold necklace chains both as decorative dangling elements in the front and also as a visible gold band across the back to hold the crown on.

I am wearing a wavy black wig from Amazon (affiliate link) under the crown. I wish my hair was that luxurious! The necklace is a secondhand eBay find.

And here is a video of the dress in action!

MATERIALS

  • 5 yards green/gold raw silk suiting from Fabricmartfabrics.com: $52.50 + $9.99 shipping (some left over)
  • 2 yards organza burnout from Fabricmartfabrics.com: $16.10 (shipped with silk suiting, a lot left over)
  • 10 yards metallic jacquard trim from Aliexpress store Lucky Zakka: $9.42
  • Thread, hooks/eyes, glass pearls, lining scraps, paint, glue, etc. from stash/left over from other projects: ~$5
  • Package of 9 mm gold-colored bead caps: $5.90 from Amazon (affiliate link); I have many left out of that 100 pack.
  • Gold chains: $0 (gifted from someone’s destash)
  • 3D printed Loki crown pieces: $32.12 including shipping from Parton Prints on Etsy

Total cost: $131.03 (with about $100 of that in the dress itself).

OTHER RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE POST (Amazon affiliate links below):

I had a lovely time wearing this to a Sistine Chapel art exhibit with my lovely friend Sara, who took a number of the pictures in this post.

Thank you for reading!

Shawl with Surprise Hood Pattern and Tutorial

Winter is here and I wanted a cute and cozy accessory that was a nice shawl, but also a surprise hood and scarf! I made this out of a wool knit jersey but other soft fabrics with a bit of drape would work as well. I added some pompom trim for whimsy but that is optional; this surprise hood would work well untrimmed, or finished with decorative stitching or other touches. This was inspired by Victorian mantelets with front lappets, knit sontags, chic old Hollywood head scarves, and modern cozy.

Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this project was sewn on a Janome Skyline S9. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine).

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Soft fabric with drape (wool jersey, lightweight cable knit, rayon challis, lightweight wool suiting, etc.)
  • The yardage depends on how wide your fabric is. (I used 1.5 yards of a 58″ wide fabric by alternating the wide and narrow ends of the pattern pieces while cutting).
  • Thread, scissors, chalk, pins.
  • Optional: 5 yards pompom/ball fringe trim, lace, rickrack, etc.

DRAFTING THE PATTERN

Don’t worry if you don’t have any pattern drafting experience! I’ve broken it down into squares/rectangles/triangles so if you have a ruler you can draw these shapes. Start with these basic geometric shapes; I find it is easiest to draw the square first, then the rectangle, then the triangle on a large piece of paper. (It doesn’t have to be fancy or special drafting paper; a roll of gift wrap works great).

Next, draw the curves indicated in red on the diagram. Then, discard the shaded areas.

Now you have your pattern that you can cut out of paper and use to trace onto your fabric! (This includes 1/2 inch seam allowance. You can add more when cutting out your fabric if you want your shawl a little wider or are skipping any trim).

CONSTRUCTION

Cut out 4 identical pieces of fabric. 2 will be the fashion layer and 2 will be the lining. (If you want, you can use a different fabric for the lining but then the hood will be a different fabric when flipped up).

Sew the center back seam of the 2 fashion pieces together. Repeat for the lining layer. Press the seams flat.

Put the fashion and lining layers right sides together. If you plan to use pompom trim or lace, this is the time to sandwich your trim in between the two layers as shown, with the edges flush. (This is so that the pompom balls are “inside” when sewing the edges but will be on the “outside” when the shawl is flipped right side out). You will have trim everywhere except the neckline. (If you are using rickrack, instead of sandwiching it in the layers you should sew it to the fashion layer before it is attached to the lining).

Sew all along the outer edges of the shawl, except for the neckline, as shown in the earlier image.

Turn the right sides out through the opening in the neckline, exposing the pompom trim. Fold in the raw edges of the neckline and topstitch closed.

Right now you will have a long flat piece as shown below. (The ends are folded in so I could fit everything in the photo).

Pleat the neckline area (up to where the pompoms start) to fit the curve of your neck. The finished curved area should cover the back half of your neck. (If you have a dress form handy, an easy way to determine how to do the pleats is to pin the center back seam to the center back of the form, pin where the pompom trim starts to the shoulder point on the form, then pleat using the neck of the form as a guide). To keep the pleats in place, stitch down the pleats over the previous topstitch line either by machine or by hand.

Optional: Use one of the embroidery stitches to add some extra decorative details to your shawl. Some ideas include using a continuous stitch along the edges of the shawl, or putting a monogram on the tails. You can also do a decorative stitch along the edge after the shawl is sewn, rather than using pompom trim. (These examples are under the Decorative stitch menu on my Janome Skyline S9).

HOW TO WEAR

This can be worn multiple ways!

  1. Wear the draped back and front tails down as a shawl.
  2. Pull up the draped back over your head as a hood (with the tails in front or pushed behind your shoulders).
  3. Wrap one or two front tails around your neck like a scarf.
  4. Combine 2 and 3 for a chic hooded scarf look.

Which one is your favorite?

Thank you for reading! Be sure to follow me on Instagram @freshfrippery for the first peek at any new projects!

I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: https://ko-fi.com/freshfrippery.  Thank you!

Elven/ Moon Goddess/ Medieval Fantasy Dress

I made this fantasy costume back at the start of the year and realized I never wrote up a post! With the 20th anniversary of the Lord of the Rings films coming up, this is a good time to finally blog about this dress with elven vibes. I had fun walking around in nature, pretending to be regal, and hope to wear it to an actual event some time!

I made the main body of the dress using an embossed navy blue velvet, and the cape is a sheer netting with silver glitter stars.

I created moon phase appliqués out of silver glitter heat transfer vinyl with my Silhouette machine to decorate the front of the dress. (If you’re not familiar with HTV, the material is on a plastic backing. You iron on the appliqué and then peel off the plastic backing, revealing your design).

@freshfrippery

How I made the moon phase decals for my moon goddess costume #learnontitkok #crafty

♬ sonido original – xsunix

I glued crystals around the moons using E6000 Fabri Fuse (which is not the same as regular E6000). I glued larger crystals onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon to make the belt.

The pattern I used is Butterick B4827. It is a princess-seamed fantasy dress and I made very few modifications. I turned the lace-up back into a zipper back, and I added the cape. The cape is a long rectangle, pleated into the back neckline, with a cut open center slit part way down the back to access the zipper.

The front of the cape is sandwiched into part of the armscye shoulder seam, with excess removed, as explained in this video.

@freshfrippery

Reply to @sunflowerstardust how I put the cape on my moon goddess dress. #sewing #costume #learnontiktok

♬ original sound – freshfrippery

I made my flower crown by spray-painting sola wood flowers with Rustoleum silver spray paint. The base of the circlet is silver floral wire, and the flowers and a necklace are attached to the base using 26 gauge wire. I also glued crystals onto the petals using E600 Fabri Fuse. This video shows the process:

I have a few scraps left of the velvet and I am planning to make a pouch for carrying items. In my haste to whip up the long seams of this dress quickly, I serged all the panels together and forgot to add pockets!

Materials used:

  • 4 yards embossed navy velvet: $52.59 including tax and shipping from Amazon. The blue is sold out but there are other colors like black and ivory still available from Amazon (affiliate link). You can also find it at Fabric.com
  • 2 meters glitter star fabric: $19.84 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • Butterick B4827: $0 (previously used for another medieval princess project). However, I originally purchased it for $7.99 from Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Crystals, glue, flowers, thread, ribbon, wire, paint, etc. were items I already owned and mostly left over from other projects, but I’d estimate if I had to go buy that all new from a craft store I’d spend ~$20.

Total cost: $72.43 out of pocket plus miscellaneous stash items.

Thank you for reading! I took these photos on a cloudy day. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to take some atmospheric night time photos!

1910s Edwardian Wool Suit

I love the Edwardian era and the Wearing History 1910s WWI suit pattern seemed smart and cozy. 

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I liked the big lapels, sailor collar, and tulip-shaped pockets and cuffs.

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I used a gray and black houndstooth wool for the skirt and accents and a yellow wool for the jacket. The black buttons are vintage Czech glass buttons and the the yellow ones are vintage handmade.

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There are different options for collars and pockets in this pattern.

The skirt is made according to the construction methods of the era where there’s an internal waistband that actually holds the skirt up. The waistband you see on the outside is attached at the top but not at the bottom, allowing for the gathers in the back of the skirt to hang loosely. 

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I made myself a matching hat which was pretty easy! The base of the hat used the same pattern as the jacket belt. I wrapped it around my head at a jaunty angle and pinned it to fit. The center of the hat is just a giant pleated rosette with a pompom hiding the center hole.

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I’m afraid I took my photos while it was getting dark quickly during winter, so they are a bit grainy.

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Some sizing notes: This is based on an antique pattern from the period.

  • The original skirt is quite long (great for tall people) but WH includes a cutting line if you want a shorter version of the skirt. I am 5’6″ and cut the shorter version.
  • The shoulders of the jacket are rather broad. I had to take in the shoulders a little bit to reduce the width.
  • The jacket is very full and loose but this is intentional. Shaping is done by the belt. You do not need to cut a smaller size; it is supposed to be a bit tent-like. (For security I have some hidden snaps in the jacket and hooks and bars in the belt).

Materials:

  • 3 yards gray/black houndstooth wool: $31.50 plus tax and shipping from Fabricmartfabrics
  • Pattern from Wearing History: $28 plus tax and shipping
  • 4 yards yellow wool: $65 including tax and shipping from a FB destash group
  • Vintage yellow buttons: $6 + tax from a marketplace
  • Vintage Czech glass buttons: from eBay; I’ve had them for years and don’t remember how much I paid
  • Thread, snaps, etc. from stash

I’m not quite sure of the total cost because items 1 and 2 had shipping bundled with other items; I don’t have receipts for everything, and I have leftover wool in both colors, but I hope this gives you an approximate idea of what it will cost you to make your own. Thank you for reading!

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Victorian/Edwardian Pumpkin Witch Costume

For Halloween I made myself a Victorian/Edwardian-inspired mashup witch costume. I got large amounts of sari fabrics rather cheaply from a local person after they were used as party decorations, and even after distributing most of it to friends I still had a lot left over, and decided they were perfect for a bright Halloween witch. Since this was a costume I didn’t worry about combining details from various decades.BZWR0824

The skirt is a basic pleated two-panel skirt with seams on the sides. One seam has a pocket and the other has an invisible zipper. Since the sari is thin and I had so much of it I flat-lined it with more of the same.IMG_3705

The blouse and vest patterns are both from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. They are the 1890s Late Victorian Day Blouse/Bodice and 1890s Edwardian Ladies’ Vest. Because this was meant to be a Halloween costume I took a “theatrical” approach to the construction and skipped a lot of the detailed and historically accurate instructions in the patterns such as creating facings, boning, etc. so I cannot comment on those. As usual, I did find the pattern pieces to be well-drafted and needed very little adjustment.  My biggest cheat is I sewed the sleeves from the blouse pattern directly to the vest to make one garment. This saved me a lot of time, and also made the costume less warm with less layers!XWJE4219

Instead of making lots of buttonholes for my small gold buttons I did hidden hooks and bars down the front of the bodice and the buttons are decorative. WRIE9403

The belt is made from a scrap of the green sari fabric, paired with a vintage belt buckle. The buckle is actually plastic painted gold but looks pretty good from a distance!IMG_3471

The green pleated grosgrain trim was purchased pre-made from Amazon (affiliate link) and comes in other colors. I used the olive color this time but you may recognize that I used a baby blue version for my pink striped bustle dress!IMG_3526

The hat was made using my own pattern for a Professor McGonagall-inspired deerstalker witch hat, and you can find the instructions on a previous post.OOMF7987

I’m afraid I didn’t do a great job tracking the yardage since I had basically unlimited fabric, but I would estimate that I used 3 orange saris (since everything was 2 layers) and one green one. The saris I got were used and pre-cut and were 3-5 meters each. Thus, my rough estimates for project costs are as follows:

  • 4 saris: ~$20 (yeah I got a great deal!)
  • 25 yard roll of pleated grosgrain trim: $9.50 from Amazon, and I have a lot left. (The trim usually runs about $40 a roll but I’ve bought other colors through random price drops).
  • Gold buttons: free from a friend
  • Vintage buckle: ~$10? (I don’t remember).
  • Thread, hooks and eyes, collar interfacing, lining: ~$5 (stash and scraps from other projects)
  • Bodice pattern: $8.60
  • Vest pattern: $7.37
  • Printing costs: $5.56 plus shipping (I had my A0 patterns printed by PDFplotting.com and the shipping was bundled with other things)

Total: ~$45 for materials and ~$25 for patterns I will reuse

Some final thoughts:

This project was all polyester. The fabric was pretty enough it didn’t “matter” if it was silk and I hope this a reminder that costumes don’t need to be expensive.

Did you notice that I pleated the front of the skirt differently than I did the back? I didn’t until I put the waistband and zipper on, and I didn’t care to redo it! Here’s a reminder that maybe “mistakes” aren’t really that big of a deal and probably most people won’t notice. 

I did some cheats to simplify construction.  What works for you is what works for you, whether it is historically accurate, historically appropriate, historically adequate, or historically adjacent!

Thank you for reading!IMG_3821

My necklace is antique glass and brass from the 1930s and my shoes are from American Duchess.IMG_3526

1920s Cozy Cardigan from Wearing History Pattern

Posted on

Back in April we had some chilly weather so I made myself a soft cozy cardigan using a 1920s pattern from Wearing History.

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I had some gray and pumpkin-colored knit fabrics in my stash so when I saw that pattern I thought it was the perfect way to use up some fabric. This was a sewing pattern, no knitting knowledge required! Plus it has pockets! (I decided to color block my pockets. That is not in the pattern; if you like to keep things simple you may find it easier to make solid pockets as instructed).IMG_E7252

Because this is a pattern using stretch knit fabric I recommend that you have a serger. If you are very determined to make it you could probably zig-zag everything tightly. This pattern is meant for knit fabrics; I don’t know how it would look with woven fabrics.

This is a reproduction of an antique pattern from the 1920s so it came in only one size (42″ bust). This was not my size so I had to grade down from the pattern to make it fit me.  I also found the sleeves too baggy on me so I also had to slim them down. The pattern does not have a lot of pieces (back, fronts, collar, sleeves, pockets, waist tie) so if you have knowledge of grading you can manage it just fine. I am 5’6″ and did not have to adjust the overall length. IMG_E7253

Depending on the width of your knit fabric and your size you’ll need about 2-3 yards to make this cardigan. (Please see the size chart on the pattern listing). The knits I was using were very thin and fine so I had to self-line and double my yardage.  I used 2 yards of the pumpkin fabric, all lined with gray fabric. My collar, cuffs, ties, and pockets all used some gray as well.  I had scraps left over from both colors; I would estimate I used almost all of the 2 yards of pumpkin and about 3 yards of gray. (If you are using a thicker knit you won’t need to line so your yardage would be half of what I used).IMG_7255

This pattern is listed as “expert difficulty.” My personal opinion is that the construction is not very difficult but the reason why this is not a beginner pattern is because it comes in one size (42″ bust) so you will have to know how to grade patterns if it is not your size. (Luckily it is an open front cardigan so it can run big and has room for error!) The other reasons why Wearing History lists her “Archive Couture” patterns as advanced or expert is because some of her patterns (plus the instructions) are reproductions from antique patterns, which assumed a certain level of sewing knowledge and did not do illustrated step-by-step instructions like modern patterns.IMG_7259

PROJECT COSTS:

  • Pattern from Wearing History: $5 from her Etsy; it is on sale for now
  • 5 yards of rayon/poly/lycra rib knit: $26 plus $5 shipping from Fabric Mart.
  • Thread:~ $2

Total: ~$38

If you are looking for something comfortable to wear around the house I highly recommend this pattern! I’ve already been looking at my stash and thinking I can make another one for wearing at the office or with dresses.

Note: You may have noticed that my cardigan is used as an example on the Wearing History Etsy listing. The photos are used with my permission. I paid for the pattern myself, and was not paid to make this blog post. 4FB29124-FF35-45D2-BDBE-CB6683577E69

Vintage-Style Cowgirl Split Riding Pants / Skirt for a Western Train Ride Event

Last month I made myself a cowgirl ensemble with a pair of split riding pants (with a button on panel to turn it into a skirt) using some cheerful blue wool and the 1919-1920 riding pants pattern by Wearing History.IMG_6640

The leftover wool was used for a self-drafted matching vest, lined with the same floral cotton as my blouse. GXWCE5351

I wore the ensemble during a ride on the Sacramento River Train with my local costume guild. IMG_6583

At the event I wore the pants without the extra skirt panel, but for a future wearing I plan to use this versatile garment with the skirt panel buttoned in (which makes them surprise pants!) IMG_E6491

I used 20 silver-colored metal shank buttons that have been in my stash for years. I think I paid 25 cents a button a long time ago and have been saving them for a project that needed 20 buttons! I got the wool for a great bargain too ($20!)IMG_E6486

The blouse was up-cycled from a second-hand cotton dress! I removed the skirt and used the extra fabric to make new sleeves and cuffs (replacing the 3/4 sleeves), extend the hem of the blouse, and also line my vest.  (It would have been even less work to just cut the skirt off a few inches below the waist seam, but it had a lot of gathered material that would have created bulk below the split riding pants).ABUU0472IMG_6478

For my other accessories I wore American Duchess Tavistock boots, vintage fringed sueded gloves with studs, a wool hat with a silver emblem I got from Poshmark, and a pleather pouch from Amazon.IMG_6693IMG_6691IMG_6830

The pouch (Amazon affiliate link) had slits in the back for threading the belt through to wear as a hip pouch, plus internal loops to wear as a purse. It’s “old-time” enough that I think it’ll end up in other costume ensembles!IMG_6831

Some notes about the Wearing History pattern: It comes with a short and long version of the skirt. Since I had limited fabric I cut the shorter version and was able to get a vest out of the scraps. (I used 3 yards of 54″ wool). The pants are unlined.Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 5.23.22 PMThe skirt panel is faced with self-fabric and contains all the buttonholes while the buttons are sewn onto the pants. There are two options to attach the skirt panel. You can have one side sewn into the seam of the pants (which means you won’t lose the panel and you can make half as many buttonholes) or you can have the panel completely removable. If you have the panel attached you fold it over to one side and button it down.  I opted to have the panel completely removable because my self-faced fabric folded over would have meant 4 layers of medium-weight wool and more bulk than I wanted. (If you use a lightweight wool or other fabric you don’t have to be concerned about that).IMG_6485

The back of the skirt has an inverted box pleat that you can stitch down the center back seam. I did not do the stitching, in order to make the back more skirt-like. IMG_6501

The pants are very full so even if the skirt is buttoned in place in the front there should be plenty of range of motion due to the extra fabric in the sides and back.IMG_6595

Pattern difficulty is “advanced” according to Wearing History. This is because this is a reproduction of an antique pattern from 1919-1920 and assumes certain basic knowledge. Wearing History has added some really helpful notes, but this is not the kind of modern pattern that has step-by-step illustrations.  You should know how to make and attach a placket for the opening and the facings on the bottom hem. (These are rectangular pieces you make yourself from scraps, and are not included in the pattern).IMG_8727

I am an experienced costumer maker and have made pants before, so I did not find this pattern particularly difficult, but it is not a beginner pattern for sure. I highly recommend this pattern if you are experienced or an ambitious intermediate seamstress. It was definitely fun to wear with the rest of my guild!IMG_8713

The last 3 photos are by Lauren Moyer, one of our wonderful GBACG board members.IMG_8724

Giddyap!

1870s Bustle Gown (Black Snail Patterns Victorian Seaside Dress)

In February my local costume guild went to see an exhibit of James Tissot paintings at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, and we dressed up in bustle gowns. The exhibit was wonderful and it was lovely to see my fellow costumers.

I made myself an 1870s bustle dress using pink and white striped floral cotton and the Victorian Seaside Dress pattern from Black Snail Patterns.

I used a cotton that was very lightweight which helped the fluffy bustle layers stay fluffed!

My shoes are American Duchess Tissot shoes that I dyed blue and made shoe clips for out of my fabric scraps.IMG_5553

The blue trim is pleated grosgrain ribbon, which I put on the collar, cuffs, belt, and skirt flounces. I made my hat using a palm fan (more on that later in this post)!IMG_5566

My buttons were made using vintage fabric over vintage covered button kits. (The bodice actually closes with hooks and bars and the buttons are decorative). I prefer this technique because it means I can adjust the fit more easily and I don’t have to make a lot of buttonholes!IMG_5579

I recommend the Black Snail pattern. It consist of a bodice with an attached “apron,” a skirt, and long sleeves. The bustle effect is achieved by having ruffled flounces on the apron and skirt, and by having hidden ribbon ties underneath the apron.

The pieces all fit together well and the sizing chart was accurate. I was impressed that even the very large pieces of the skirt panels fit together, which means the pattern was graded well.IMG_5574

The sleeve is an 1870s two-part coat sleeve with a seam down the elbow and another seam on the inside of the arm. It is loose-fitting and appropriate to the era, and the fullness of the sleeve head needs to be eased into the shoulder of the bodice.IMG_5571

I made some simplifications to the Black Snail pattern in order to speed up the project:

  • I did not bother making a skirt placket and facing for the underskirt, since the top half is covered by the apron overskirt anyway.
  • The pattern calls for the back half of the underskirt to be cartridge pleated into the waistband. I did regular pleats since the top would be hidden.
  • I cut my flounces using the straight grain instead of on the bias like the pattern calls for. This is so I could use the selvedge instead of hemming the many yards of flounced fabric. However, this meant that my flounce stripes are horizontal instead of diagonal so you should cut on the bias if you prefer the diagonal. (The other reason why I used the straight grain is because I had limited fabric and the bias cut takes up more yardage).
  • The bustle effect comes from gathering up the apron overskirt in the back with twill tape. The pattern asks you to sew pieces of tape to the bodice then sew buttons to strategic parts of the overskirt that get attached to buttonholes on the tapes. In order to skip making the buttonholes I just used tapes on the skirt as well to tie to the bodice tapes.
  • The pattern calls for self trim to cover where the skirt and flounces meet. Instead of doing that I used purchased pre-pleated grosgrain trim from Amazon (affiliate link), which is available in other colors.

Just a warning: if you purchase the pre-printed pattern please make sure you have large paper around your house. There are some pattern pieces where you are told to extend the piece by up to 15 inches. (This was done by cutting a piece through the middle, inserting some paper, then drawing lines to connect the original pieces).  I had to do this for a number of the larger pieces, and I didn’t expect to do so much assembly for a pattern I did not print at home. I’m not sure if the reason behind this was to save paper costs, but I would have gladly paid a little more for the pattern to avoid the extra work.

Here’s some photos I took of the dress in progress so you can see what the apron looks like up and down. JULE6537

Black Snail recommends 11 yards of 51″ wide fabric for this dress. I only had 9 yards of 42″ fabric but made it work by using straight grain flounces instead of cutting my flounces on the bias like the pattern recommends.

Underneath my skirt I wore a “phantom bustle” (made during a class taught by Christina Deangelo) and two antique petticoats.EEWR4333PTLV3670DEGD9186

On top I wore this custom silk brocade late Victorian corset by Redthreaded. I own several other pieces by them and they are all very well-made. They offer both ready-to-wear and custom sizing and the owner Cynthia Settje is committed to great customer service and fair treatment and wages for her employees.

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Photos by Redthreaded

My hat base was made by me using a palm fan I had around the house! I trimmed it with leftover fabric from my dress, some leftover floral trim from my 18th century shepherdess outfit, and a little bird I got from the craft store. (I am wearing glass intaglio earrings from Dames a la Mode).IMG_5599

The fabric is a long pleated rectangle with pointed ends.IMG_5595

When I said palm fan, I literally meant a palm fan.IMG_5419

I soaked it in water to soften it, cut off the handle, and molded it around a bowl.IMG_5425

After it was dry I machine-sewed the ends together and trimmed off excess. IMG_5430

Voila, a hat base!IMG_5432

For my hair I wore 3 false hair pieces: a large braided bun, a crown braid, and twist hanging from the bun.IMG_5591

I used a remnant of pink ribbon I had around the house to trim the hat, but I think for a future wearing I’d like to replace it with a much wider and longer ribbon.

Project costs (not including undergarments and accessories):

  • Pattern: $20.70 from Black Snail Patterns (purchased during a sale with free shipping).
  • 9 yards cotton fabric: $35 including shipping from Facebook
  • 25 yards pleated trim: $13.06 from Amazon (during a sudden and lucky price drop! Plus I still have leftovers!)
  • Lining: $0 (scraps pieced together from previous project leftovers)
  • Thread, notions, etc: ~$5

TOTAL: $73.16 (woohoo for bargain shopping!)

I had such a lovely time. Thank you John Carey for these photos with some of my favorite beautiful ladies!

 

 

 

2019 Costuming Year in Review

Oh it’s already February! I feel like the winter holidays happened recently but it’s already past the time I should be tallying up my 2019 costuming year in review! Each year I’m pleasantly surprised at the amount I’ve been able to make; I attribute a lot of this to the fact that if I can machine-sew or serge I will to save time!

First up, I made an Edwardian dress to wear to a Monet exhibit.IMG_7850

I wore a cotton 1830s dress to a summer picnic. (The bonnet and pelerine were reused from my winter 1830s silk dress).IMG_8621

For a wedding at a science museum I made a space dress with battery-operated twinkling lights!JJPQ1221IMG_0093

I made his and hers Roman-inspired costumes for a wine-tasting party. IMG_1198IMG_1244

For a late summer tea party I made some 1930s linen beach pajamas from a Decades of Style pattern.IMG_2109IMG_2115

I made an 1890s sweater, a wool skirt, and a Professor McGonagall-inspired deerstalker witch hat.IMG_3336

I have a tutorial for the 1890s sweater (no knitting needed!)WCIH9664

Plus a pattern for the witch hat!IMG_3350

In the fall I went to an 18th century-themed weekend getaway, where I put together a shepherdess costume (with stays by Redthreaded) and added trimming to finish a previously worn silk dress.

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Photo by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs

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Photo by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs

For Rebel Legion I made a generic Jedi costume that consisted of an inner tunic, outer tunic, tabards, obi, pants, and hooded robe.

Miss Vivien_s Con-Ex-4

Photo by Ribidib

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My last project of 2019 (not worn until early 2020 was the 1930s crane coat dress made from a Decades of Style pattern.20200125-IMG_3624

Once again that was more than I expected! I hope you had a productive 2019 and am looking forward to 2020!

1930s Crane Coat Dress

My last project of 2019 was a 1930s coat dress using the Miss L’s Coat Dress pattern from Decades of Style.  My color scheme was inspired by Japanese cranes (featured in the embroidered appliqués on my coat).20200125-IMG_3624

(Thank you Lauren for taking all these pictures of me wearing it at the GBACG Open House!) The defining feature of this coat dress is the fabulous sleeves! All the curved black and white stripes you see are pieced together during construction; they are not appliqué. 20200125-IMG_3612

I made my coat out of a vintage twill fabric. The stripes are black cotton velvet and white canvas with a layer of sheer white organza on top. (I didn’t have any sateen in the sash and the plain canvas looked too flat next to the velvet so I added the organza to add some texture). The front of the coat features long darts, pointed lapels, a stand up collar, and big cloth-covered buttons.20200125-IMG_3621

The black and white stripes meet at the underside of the sleeve. (Not perfect but close enough for me!)IMG_4934

The back of the coat has double princess seams that are top-stitched. My collar is red rayon challis with a canvas interlining. 20200125-IMG_3617IMG_4920

All the accent materials (the velvet, canvas, organza, and rayon) are scrap pieces from past projects of mine. The buttons were purchased at a rummage sale for $2 for a large bag and I still have some left over! The main coat fabric was purchased on eBay as part of a larger lot for a bargain price. The lining was $1/yard clearance fabric. My “splurge” were the embroidered crane appliqués from Aliexpress and they still cost me less than $10, so overall I spent probably $30 on supplies to make this coat because I’m good at hoarding useful materials. =)20200125-IMG_3620

Some notes if you plan to make your own coat:

  • This is not a beginner pattern. I would not say it’s unduly difficult and the instructions are very good, but this should not be your first project!
  • You should be comfortable with fish eye darts, top-stitching, interlining, grading curves, and setting a sleeve.
  • There are a lot of pieces and a lot of steps, so make sure you have a way of labeling all the bits as you go.
  • The lining must be attached by hand so be comfortable with some hand-sewing.
  • The pattern is true to size; follow the size chart.
  • Use a mid-weight fabric. I made mine out of twill but I’ve also seen some really lovely wool and velvet versions of this coat on Instagram. You want enough structure but not something so thick that sewing the curves on the sleeves makes bulky seams.
  • This pattern takes some time but I feel like it’s quite worth it in the end! I got a lot of nice comments when I wore it and people asking if it was a real vintage coat, so Decades did a great job on the pattern.

I enjoyed making and wearing this coat. Thank you Decades of Style for the pattern! 20200125-IMG_3623

(My shoes are from American Duchess. My hat is vintage with faux pearls).