19 February 2009 @ 08:45 pm
Friends who have made 16th-century hanging gowns, I have questions.

I have these five yards or so of burgundy cotton velveteen, and I think it wants to be a hanging gown/loose gown. It will be a loose gown. I need an Elizabethan overcoat, and I think this will be a good, easy project. A get well project, if you will.

Has anyone used any of the patterns out of Patterns of Fashion? Looking at those, it looks like all the loose gowns are just widths of fabric pleated to an internal yoke, with armscyes and necks cut as required. The Sir Francis Verney gown just has ribbons as stay tapes, right? I'm thinking about basing it on one of the young girls' gowns, as the length on those are right for me, if not the bust. The Sir Francis Verney gown is 60-inches long at the back, and as I am 62-inches tall and narrow-shouldered, that's not going to work. Besides, I loveloveLOVE the round sleeves on the girl's gown on page 122 -- the one of cut velvet.

What I'm wondering is if there's any precedence for a separate shoulder yoke -- external, like a man's shirt -- with the body/skirts of the gown gathered/cartridge pleated to it. I seem to remember someone doing that in a dress diary, but hell if I can find it now.

So, internet-friends, have any resources or advice? Is it really as simple as cutting the right length or fabric and then pleating it to a yoke? What did you use for lining? Do I need a lining? Attached at the hem or free?

Y HELO THAR, help vampirism!

If this doesn't work out, I'm going to make a fitted English gown with a full skirt.
17 October 2008 @ 01:46 am
Uh-oh. People there is a problem with the NaNoWriMo poll. Namely, there's a big fat tie. Like everywhere.

Witness the perturbation )

You need to vote in this if you haven't. Vote early, vote often!

OK, so a post or so ago, I said that I was thinking about CC28, which is in 2010* in Milwaukee. That is so much more accessible than either of the coasts for me. Which means the only way I will not be there is if something sudden and horrible happens, like the appearance of Cthulu. Tentacled doom. That's the only thing that will stop me.

So, of course, I'm already thinking of what I'd like to make and wear there. What centuries? What silken insanity? Why am I planning so far ahead? We'll probably never know the answer to that one. (Actually, I do know the answer. So I can save money and sew things.)

What are my ideas? Click and behold!

There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, Lemon. )

In other news, I made dinner tonight and it was total fail. I don't know what went wrong. Well, I do for one part, but the other two are a little wha-? huh?

I made sweet and sour chicken from a boxed kit and garlic sesame chicken from scratch. So I had a wok and a cast-iron skillet going at the same time, both with chicken in them. I was supposed to add a half-cup of water to the sweet and sour, and 1 1/2 cups to the garlic chicken, and oops! I mixed that up. So the sweet and sour chicken was a little bland because the sauce was way watered down. And then I followed Mom's recipe for the garlic chicken, with 1/4 cup of cornstarch to 1 1/2 cups of water, but that turned out so thick. Like a gel instead of a sauce. I've no idea why. I measured right, I cooked it right, and it just turned out as a gel instead of a sauce. I ended up adding another cup of water to thin it to the right consistency.

And then the rice. I don't know what happened to the rice. I brought it to a boil, put a cover on it, and turned off the heat, which should have resulted in delicious fluffy rice. But instead I got rice that was perfectly cooked on top and still crunchy on the bottom. I don't know . . . That shouldn't happen.

I'm a better cook than that. A way better cook. I just wasn't on my game and I don't know why. It's edible, but not as good as it could have been. *sigh*

*In the year 2525, if man is still alive . . .
Current Music: Ghost Song -- Patrick Wolf
24 October 2007 @ 06:28 pm

This dress is knit, ca. 1800. It's still gorgeous.

I've been thinking lately about tackling a multi-year long project. The on that was kicking around my head was an Irish lace crochet Edwardian lingerie dress. (Say that six times fast!) But this? Amazinggorgeousastounding -- in Danish. The Danish bit is a puzzler, but I'm way better at knitting than I am at crochet, and it's not like a picture tells you a hell of a lot more than a paragraph long description.

The stitch actually looks a lot like the Butterfly slip dress from Rowan mumblemumble by Jennie Atkinson. It wouldn't be any worse than knitting a shawl . . . right? RIGHT?

Perhaps I'll try losing some weight first, so I don't have to knit quite so much to cover my body.

*wanders mumbling into the night of ludicrous knitting/costuming projects*

EDIT: And, what do you know? An 1820-ish gown I actually like. A lot of the time, the 1820s/30s seem like the fluffiest, silliest period, and so I find a lot of it unattractive. But this? This I would wear.
Current Music: Fallen -- Sarah McLachlan
22 June 2007 @ 12:12 am
I found the corset pattern on La Couteriere Parisienne. It's right here, near the bottom. Hopefully this will become the base of my Hallowe'en costume -- the McGonagall that was. Apparently fashion lags behind by umptity years in the wizarding world of my mind.

I drew up the pattern exactly to scale on brown paper grocery bags. Confession: The first piece I drew out I used inches instead of centimeters, because I am a fool. I looked at it with my head cocked to one side and thought, "This is going to hang past my knees. Corsets aren't supposed to do that." Then I remembered that the metic system was big in Europe. The second attempt was much better.

Drafting the pieces was really easy. It only took me a couple hours, and that was only because my cat was interested in what I was doing and I kept misplacing my measuring tape.

Here the pattern pieces are, all cut out )

To check and see if I was going to have to make any major changes to the pieces, I laid my 1860s corset out next to the pieces.

Grandma Corset meet your grandbaby )

The 1860s corset is really a little bit too big -- I can almost lace it shut. I would have used it for this project, but it gives me a big bulge at the hips because there aren't any hip gussets. I think this one should fit just fine.

One criticism of the 1900s corset: I don't understand why the bust gusset is in two parts like that. It doesn't really provide an extra shaping that a single gusset wouldn't provide. Nobody has breasts shaped like that.

At this point, I have the half of the mock-up sewn up, and when I wrapped it around my body, it hit where it should. The the directions that accompany the pattern tell you to make a single-layer corset, but I don't like sewing all that bias tape down. So I'm going to make up one layer of lining fabric (firm cotton sheeting) and one of fashion fabric (dark blue satin), and stitch the boning channels in black thread, to coordinate with the dark blue/black vintage ribbon I'm going to run through some lace at the top. I knit the lace a long time ago to edge some pantalettes, but I never made the pantalettes.
Current Music: Oh Me, Oh My -- Imogen Heap
25 May 2007 @ 09:30 pm
I should not be planning future costumes when I have so many left to build this summer. But I have this idea in my head of what I want to be for Hallowe'en this year, and it's been kicking around for a while, so I might as well get it written out.

The Idea
I want to be Minerva McGonagall, but not Minerva McGonagall as she appears in the books and movies. No, I want to be a younger, softer McGonagall. (The younger and softer part is unavoidable, as I am about fifty years younger than she is and have a figure more suited for Poppy Pomfrey or Madame Sprout.) McGonagall in her twenties, before she was made bitter and tired by the battle against evil. Back when you could call her Minnie and still get away with it. A McGonagall like this, but young. I would like to bring out the tabby cat in her, I think.

Yes, you guys, I want to make certain my status as the biggest dork in my group of friends is assured for all eternity. This is fan fiction as costuming.

The Dress -- Version 1
What I'm envisioning is a late 1890s dress, like the one Jen Thompson made inspired by Moulin Rouge. (I have been absolutely in love with that dress since the moment I saw it. Jen looks so lovely and luscious and curvy in it, too.) It will likely be a hodge-podge of that turn-of-the-century style and fantasy/medieval elements.

The Dress -- Version 2

The other idea I have kicking around for this is to make a corselet skirt and wear it with a blouse. Very businessy. Sort of like the look on the left here, but a little bit more buttoned-up. Maybe with a tie. This would both work better with my fabric yardage, I think, and be the perfect opportunity to bring in some plaid. And what is a McGonagall without plaid? An Englishman, that's what.

For accessories, I will undoubtedly need a witch's hat and a robe. Perhaps I will decorate the hat freely with Scottish thistles. The robe must be black and have lots of swish.

The Fabric
I have some rather atrocious apple green acetate taffeta that I bought at Wal-Mart years ago for $1/yard that's pretty much perfect for this. I have about five yards total, I think, but most of it is has been half-conjured into an Italian Ren gown. One of the skirt panels is knife-pleated already, but that will be easy enough to remedy.
13 May 2007 @ 10:18 pm
I still can't get a robe a l'anglaise out of my head. I intended to cut the skirt for my Tudor kirtle today, since that's really the last thing left to do, but instead I looked at robes a l'anglaise on the Internet all day. Like this one, which is truly lovely. It also brought me to the realization that I'd be willing to use *gasp* shantung for this project. So, I trundled over to Fashion Fabrics Club and found a billionty beautiful silk shantungs for $9/yd. Oooh, copper. Oooh, pink. Oh, holy drooling, royal blue! Obnoxious, obnoxious royal blue!

Wait, when did this become a project? I haven't even decided if I want to make this, right? I don't even know anything about the 18th century, past watching the musical 1776 an indecent number of times.

I've also come to the realization that I hate bag lining. I can never get it to turn neatly and the lining is always rolling out and BLAH. I can't even figure out why patterns for modern clothing always call for bag lining. I always end up flat lining and finishing stuff with bias strips or facings. Flat lining and finishing seams with tapes, etc. is so much easier. You just have to be willing to do a little handsewing.

I can make a corset, I can drape a pattern on a dummy, I could probably even drape a pattern on a smart person, but I cannot bag line worth a damn.

Pah. I wish I hadn't sent all my fabric home with my mom on Saturday. I could be doing something easy like making a partlet, but instead I'm sitting here looking at shantung I can't afford and making little hamster noises. The kind they make when you hold a carrot just in front of them but don't let them touch it.

No! Bad Sarah! No shantung for you!
Current Music: Caravan -- Mills Brothers
13 May 2007 @ 02:44 pm
I've been doing random Web site cruising tonight, and now I can't get these lines from Beauty & the Beast out of my head:

Gaston: Le Fou, I'm afraid I've been thinking . . .
Le Fou: A dangerous pastime.
Gaston: I know.

Because I'm afraid I've been thinking, too. About what?

Pet en l'airs. Striped anglaise. (Which makes me think of creme anglaise, which makes me want Boston cream pie. Yum.) Saucy little jackets. Quilted petticoats. In my stripey green fabric.

The only problem is that I only have barely five yards of the fabric. Oh, and I have absolutely none of the underpinnings for an 18th century outfit. ButI do have an 18th-century corset pattern that fits me. I've just never gotten around to making it.

And there is a French & Indian War reenactment that takes place every fall near my hometown, though I'm not sure I'm bold enough to just show up in full regalia, since nobody else does except the sutlers and guys who fire the cannon. Apparently there is also a period dance group in Milwaukee, that I wish I had been aware of earlier.

But stripes! New corset! Silk petticoat with ruffle!

On the Tudor kirtle front, I've bound the armhole, and I think I'm going to end up ripping out the neckline and doing it by hand. There's some wonkiness in the front that needs to be taken care of.

Would anyone like to weigh-in on my embellishment question from a couple days ago? Mad Photoshop skills, I know.

Four choices, and I can't decide if it's even a good idea )
Current Music: Victimae -- Anuna
09 May 2007 @ 12:08 am
1. I finished another beret, this time for my friend Tabatha. It's once again in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, and I still love it. I washed it in shampoo and rinsed it with conditioner, so it turned out very soft indeed. I also did one more set of decreases to the brim on this one, so it's a little bit perkier than the other one.

Pitcha here )

I also got my hair cut again, and it's quite a bit (3-4 inches) shorter. There are days when I wonder what the hell I was thinking, and then there are days when it's really cute. Unfortunately, there aren't many of the latter.

2. I found a site with samples of period brocade that are incredibly similar to this stuff from my fabric acquisition post. That makes me so happy! Even if the stuff I have is flocked acetate.

3. I started a Tudor kirtle, using some of the fabric I acquired in my last post. I went with the pretty, pretty purple stuff, which I've discovered is wholly synthetic and melts in delightful crusty bits when ironed no matter how much steam. It looks surprisingly period, though. It's definitely period-oid, and it good enough for ren faire. I also think I can stretch this puppy to cover most of the sixteenth century, from about the late 1530s to 1570 with the appropriate accessories.

I'm using the Tudor Ladies' Gown and Kirtle pattern from Reconstructing History. I was delighted to realize that by adjusting the back neckline and depth of the front point, I can use this to make kirtles for the entirety of the sixteenth century.

My justification behind making this before my sister's kirtle is a) I don't have the fabric for hers yet, and b) I can mess up on mine and not feel as horrible as I would if I botched hers.

So, onto the pictures.

Mock up and notes )

The mock-up was completely painless. So I moved right along to the actual thing.

Purple brocade/jacquard/something kirtle bodice and construction notes )

I did, however, run into some trouble with the piped bias on the neckline and a mystery wrinkle at the bust.

Razzafraggit )

Now comes the debate over trimming this puppy. I'm not sure if I should or not. On the one hand, if I do, then I can stretch its use: All I'd need to do is make a partlet and some sleeves, and I could wear it as a 1550/60s style dress. So, friends, this is where you come in.

Four trimming choices )

Which would you go with? I'm leaning right now towards the Eleanora di Toledo version or Version 3. They seem the most flexible, and the Eleanora has the advantage of being from the 1550s, while there are examples from the 1540s, as well. The look is a generic mid-century thing. The only problem is that the back neckline on my bodice is, well, wrong. Oh, and that this trimming look is Italian. I think I can live with that, though.

I am currently very startled by how easily this is going together. I'm predicting that this means I will sew the skirt together inside out more than once or spill red Kool-Aid all over the entire ensemble at some time in the future. Costuming is not supposed to be this easy!

What I have left to do:

--Baste down piped bias along armholes/lacing
--Figure out trimming situation
--Maybe insert an lining
--Sleeves? Sleeve cap?
--Finish covering lacing holes
Current Music: Come My Sweet -- Medieval Baebes
23 April 2007 @ 09:29 pm
Yaaaarrrrrr! This is so frustrating. I just want five or six yards of a large repeat brocade, suitable for a Venetian dress* ca. 1560-80, preferably jewel tones of red, blue or green. It doesn't even have to be silk -- I'll settle for a cotton blend. And I don't want to spend more than $75.

And I keep finding stuff that I like, but there's only a half yard of it, or it's only 20 inches wide or I discover it's some sort of fuzzy hideousness when I look at the close-ups.

World of fabric, why do you fail me now? *wails* I swear to god, I was running across this stuff all the time last fall when I was planning the Dickens dress, and now I can't find more than a yard of it anywhere.

I should just go with the skulls and call it quits.

*I think there is little chance of me avoiding an Italian persona. The clothing is just so elegant and pretty and makes me feel elegant and pretty and dainty and ladylike and . . . sigh. I just wish I was more interested in Italian culture.
Current Music: Like Lovers (Holding On) -- Texas
21 April 2007 @ 09:52 pm
I went to my first SCA event EVER today, and had a good time. For it, I was planning on whipping up (cue maniacal laughter) out of this burgundy velvet I got for a song, but the fabric doesn't want to be that. It wants to be mid-sixteenth century Venetian. Or maybe just Italian -- based on the Eleanora di Toledo gown.

Anyway, I made a pair of sleeves and a sash for a dress I finished a long time ago and never took pictures of. The dress is actually made out of a stretch jacquard, but it doesn't really look it until I step on the hem, which doesn't happen much because the hem is the right length. Go, friend and your mad hem-marking skills!

Oh, I also hemmed it . . . last night. You know, because finishing doesn't actually mean hemming.

WARNING: Don't look at my face. I look . . . dyspeptic.

Two pictures of a lobster courtesan )

There ya go, guys. Lobster in a dress!

EDIT: Fixed the second picture. It really is of the back, now.
Current Mood: sunburnt
Current Music: Ophelia -- Natalie Merchant
18 April 2007 @ 04:10 am
I was ridiculously productive today. Really, there's no excuse for it.

This is what I accomplished:

1. Copied the bodice pattern for the fitted English gown from Tudor Tailor. It's still the original size, but I only need to add four inches to it total, so tomorrow I'm going to add about two inches to each seam allowance and fit it on my duct tape double. I'm making it using this delicious mulberry/wine colored cotton velveteen. It's so gorgeous.

2. Copied the plain sleeve pattern from Tudor Tailor AND got a pair of sleeves to the point where I only need to tack the bias binding at the cuffs and shoulder opening down before they're wearable. Oh, and sew some ribbon ties on the sleeves and bodice.

3. Copied medium roll pattern from the same and made it. One hour project that started it all. Of course, now I've changed my mind about what I want to wear this weekend, so I won't need the bumroll, but it's now part of my wardrobe.

So, that's one finished object, one almost finished object, and one started project.

I've also been breaking knitting ground. I have about six or seven inches of Laura Chau's Thermal from the Winter 2006 edition of Knitty done. This thing is knit on size 2 needles, so I am deeply impressed with myself.

See? )
Current Music: Permanent Guest -- Pretty Balanced