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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!

Regency/Napoleonic Court Train (Part 2) 98% Done!

My Regency/Napoleonic court train is nearly done! (I am just missing a proper brooch closure for the front; right now the straps are pinned into place).IMG_2285

I apologize for the weird lighting. I recently changed some of the lighting in my house to LED bulbs, which is great for my energy bill but not for the color of my pictures.

Don’t you just loooove the way silk velvet drapes?IMG_2276

Here is a shot with my court dress previously described here.IMG_2301

A reminder of what the gown alone looks like:b

I hope to get proper photos of the whole ensemble at Costume College.IMG_2307

Here is another mmm silk photo since I love the back so much.IMG_2278

I used Butterick B4890 to get the teardrop shape, but did not use the bodice portion of the pattern. I opted for the shoulder and underbust straps I saw in extant examples of court trains. I also decided to have a more “modest” length train since I will be using this at Costume College and it will be easier to navigate the crowds.

I can’t wait to wear this!IMG_2297

I still have to make a matching regency diadem and I have a pearl jewelry set on the way. Once that’s taken care of I can finally start on my gala gown!

 

(I will do my usual final tally of project costs once the whole ensemble is actually complete, but it is nearly there).

Regency/Napoleonic Court Train (Part 1)

The blog has been a little quiet lately since my last post on Regency diadems because I’ve been having some issues with my wrists and haven’t done much sewing except for things I can make completely by machine, like curtains. However, I have received all my materials for my court train, to go with my beaded court dress.

I have 6 yards of silk velvet, which depending on the light and the direction of the nap appears either a deep rose color or a silvery-pink. (I tried getting swatches of cotton velvet, but they were the wrong texture and stiffness and were obviously meant for upholstery). I didn’t realize before starting my search how hard it is to find a nice rose-colored velvet that isn’t either baby pink or hot pink! I would have been happy with a synthetic velvet if it was the right color, but ended up having to go over budget and buy silk. Of all the places I looked, you’ll never guess that the final winner was Amazon!IMG_1454

After a few tries at swatches of lining I settled on a linen-cotton blend from Renaissance Fabrics. The dusty pink color is good match to the underside of the silk velvet, and lighter than the deep rose but close to the silvery-pink. (Left to right: underside of the silk, the velvet, and the lining).IMG_1452

The lace I ordered online was a brighter gold than the stock photo (and what I was able to photograph below), but still rather pretty. However, I think bronze would be a better match to my dress, so I’m going to have to tone down the lace. I have a friend who has sponge-painted acrylic craft paint onto lace before, so I will be doing some experiments! I hope it works; after the purchase of the silk velvet I’d rather not spend any more money on this project buying new lace and crossing my fingers that it is the right color!IMG_1455

Mmm so buttery soft!IMG_1451

1920s Egyptian Revival and Poiret Cocoon Coat (Part 3) at the Rosicrucian Museum

Yesterday I wore my 1920s Egyptian Revival dress and my Poiret cocoon coat at the GBACG Egyptian Expedition at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, CA.IMG_7051

You can read about the finished dress in my previous posts, but to summarize, both the dress and coat are made of silk velvet. I used the Decades of Style Zig-Zag dress pattern and the Folkwear Poiret coat pattern.IMG_6943IMG_6944

I am wearing a vintage fox fur collar and footwear from Royal Vintage Shoes. I felt so glamorous in this coat!IMG_6946

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I found a place in the museum that had interesting lighting and gave things a slightly eerie glow.IMG_6981

You can see the double-layered silk chiffon sleeves in this photo.IMG_6980

I am wearing golden bee pins in my hair.IMG_6987

Outdoors in the sun the colors of the coat are more obvious.IMG_7017

Here’s a shot of those gorgeous shoes (I got so many people asking where I got them!) with my matching purse. My vintage-style stockings started to pool and slip just like the real ones.IMG_7021

I came in under budget for the dress, so I splurged a little on the coat materials.

  • 5 yards of silk velvet burnout: $82.50 plus tax (from Fabric Depot in El Sobrante; I still have leftovers)
  • 4 yards heavy blue satin: $12.77 plus tax (from Joann’s at 50% off, with an additional coupon!)
  • Folkwear pattern: $19.95 plus $2.75 shipping (from eBay)
  • Tassle: free! (The place where I bought the velvet threw that in for free)
  • Button, thread: from the stash

Total: $119.12

You can see more photos of our museum adventures on Flickr. My friend Kim also has a very nice photo album here.

1920s Egyptian Revival (Part 2)

My 1920s Egyptian Revival dress is finished, in time for the event at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum!

I used Decades of Style’s zig zag dress pattern. It’s a great pattern that I’ve used before, although in retrospect silk velvet is not the best fabric for it. Velvet slips and stretches so much during cutting and sewing that needing lots of triangles to match up perfectly can be difficult. (After cutting, I had to fuss around with mine a lot to make everything fit, so it doesn’t line up as well as I wanted). I also used very sheer silk chiffon for the sleeves and collar binding. It was so sheer that I had to double up on layers. I originally ordered 1 meter of the navy blue silk, but the shop sent me 4 meters by accident (and told me to keep the rest!) so I’m glad I had the extra since I had to use twice as much as I was planning to.

Here is the dress with an Egyptian collar I purchased on eBay.IMG_6867

I found these really neat appliques on eBay as well! The seller didn’t have any information about them other than they are “vintage,” so I don’t know where they are from. They are a rather stiff, so the folds of the skirt drape a little funny, but I still find them an interesting touch to the project.IMG_6870

The neckline is bound with 2 layers of silk chiffon, and the shoulders are gathered.IMG_6873

The chiffon didn’t work out for binding the zigzags, so I found some fine rayon twill tape to do the job.IMG_6876IMG_6877

I need to iron flat some small details but it’s finished!IMG_6880

Stay tuned for next week, when I will take pictures of myself wearing it at the Egyptian museum, along with some accessories I am excited about (like new shoes from Royal Vintage Shoes!)

Final costs (lots of lucky bargains!):

  • 3 meters white silk velvet and 4 meters navy silk chiffon : $58 including shipping from Halo Silk Shop
  • Appliques: $6 including shipping from eBay
  • 10 yards twill tape: $4.50 plus tax (with extras left over)
  • Pattern: $0 (I already own it and used it before)
  • Collar:  $10.80 including tax and shipping from eBay

Total: ~$79.30 (for a silk dress!)

Read Part 1 here.

Poiret Cocoon Coat (Part 2)

I’m currently hemming my 1920s Egyptian Revival dress, but have been working a little on the Poiret cocoon coat in between.

The Folkwear 503 is a very simple pattern, but the assembly is different than what I was expecting. I’m used to coats and most garments having seams in the shoulders and sides, but this pattern has a long seam down the center back, and then a horizontal seam across the front of the chest, with darts in the shoulder/neck region. It works, but took a little staring to get over the “you want me to do what?” feeling.

Here is a diagram from the inside of the pattern instructions:

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The sleeves and coat body are cut as one huge piece for each side of the body. The top is folded down to make the sleeve (hence the horizontal seam). The pattern piece is very wide, and takes up most of the width of your fabric.

IMG_6806

I’ve cut out the pieces and sewn them together, but I need to press the seams and attach the lining to the outer fabric, and add a closure. The width of the pattern piece makes pattern-matching on the fabric difficult. To match I would have had to line up my pattern piece about a foot in from the edge, and that wouldn’t have been wide enough.  However, the busy pattern helps hide this a bit, and using a solid fabric would make the back and front seams very obvious.

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At the moment I’m considering not using the collar pattern piece included with the pattern, and putting a fur collar on instead. I tucked this fur scarf I have into the coat to get a general idea of what it would look like, but I think I would rather have a chocolate brown fur that matches the fabric, or go for a fluffy cream collar for more contrast.

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So far I would have to say that this pattern is very easy to use – there are definitely not a lot of pieces at least!