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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!

IMG_3150

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

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!

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).