Sunday, May 26, 2013

The pinkstriped polonaise (or my absolute favourite 18th century outfit)

The fabric for this outfit has been laying in my stash since I first started this blog and so has the inspiration image. When Elisa of Isiswardobe kindly invited me to the 20th year anniversary for Gustafs skål, I knew this was the dress  I wanted to wear as evening dress. I was short of time because three weeks of my planned sewing time was used to make three application projects for the teachers program at Konstfack (University college of Arts,Crafts and Design, a very prestigious school in Sweden). But I managed, although I stopped sewing at 4 am in the morning of the event and made last stiches sitting in the park of the event.

Fabric and inspiration

Back in 2009 I scored a fantastic striped silk duipion on Tradera (swedish version of ebay).
I got 9.75 meters and the fabric was 90 cm wide (=10.6 yards of 35").
My main inspiration was this amazingly hysterical and wonderful creation from Galerie de Modes:

I choose a "blonde" silk organza for trims and opted for pink bows instead of green because I could not find a green that played well with the shades of pink in my fabric. I also made a much smaller bottom ruffle on the petticoat and adopted the width of the gown ruffle to look good with the shorter length I had do to because of fabric shortage.

 Pattern and construction

There are diffrent ways of constructing a real polonaise, I choose to do a separate corsage (bodice) and an over gown. I used my standard 18th bodice for the corsage and draped the pattern for the gown by looking at the ones in featured in Cut of womens clothing. I got some fitting help from the lovely Carina, a fellow costumer in GS, Elisa, and Caroline wich is also a GS member.

Since I'm a long legged vixen and wanted some serious back action for this gown I quickly realised that the fabric would no be enough for a full length gown. So I started with cutting the skirt panels, sleeves and corsage and used the remaining fabric for the gown.

I mixed machine sewing and hand sewing due to time constrains but I took the time to hand sew the CF and CB of the petticoat to make sure that the stripes matched there (this is actually the only place on the whole dress that the stripes match, all the stripes was totally uneven so it was impossible to make them match anywhere else). I also hemmed the petticoat by hand.

The corsage was assembled by machine and finished by hand, it closes up the front with hooks and eyes, also sewn on by hand. I choose to trim it down the front with the same rose trellis braid I used over the seams in the back of the gown.

The gown is lined in the bodice area with white linen and pink striped cotton in the sleeves. I machined it together and hemmed it by hand. All the unknown meters of double box pleated organza trim was hemmed and sewn on be machine.

The finished result

I absolutely adore and love this dress! I feel faboulus in it and I so want o make more over the top creations in the future, subtle and understated is not my thing! I'm also very pleased with the sleeves I think I finally got a good pleated sleeve pattern.

The only thing this dress is missing is a matching hat, necklace and walking staff but I'm working on it ;)
To get the serious amount of back action that is a bit exaggerated of my pose in this picture, I'm wearing a cul de paris with a quilted rump on top, I made the rump after Kendras in depth analysis found here. (I used no 3). On top of that are two petticoats and then the silk petticoat and the gown.

Me and Elisa, the Pink ladies 18th century style!

Ooops, our hairstyles got tangled with each other...

Elisa was kind enough to do my hair and she did a faboulus job, this is what it looked liked when she was working on it:

 And here is a good shoot of the finished hair style (and me powdering Elisa's hair, image taken by Anna Skomakare):

Now I'm working on a over the top decorated strawhat and a walking staff to go with this gown. And I've also started with a flowered anglaise and have plans for an amazing hat for that gown too...

I hope I'll have more time for blogging this following months because I really miss you, all my readers and fellow bloggers!


A pierrot for Harlequina

This post i s way overdue, the masquerade where I first wore this outfit was early this spring but my life has been kind of hectic so costume blogging ended up last in my priorities.

I have always liked comedia dell arte and harlequin in particular so I really enjoyed making this costume.
The costume consists of five pieces, a velvet mask, a neck ruff, a velvet jacket with gold lace, a gold silk waist coat and a petticoat. I also made matching shoes and a ridicule.

The mask is made of papier mache, moulded over a plaster copy of my face, water proofed with flax seed oil and then covered with velvet on the outside and linen on the inside. I really like the shape of it, it almost stayed on with out strings! And the high forehead kind of give it quite a spooky appearance.

The ruff is made of a very wide,white ribbon with gold edges. I box pleated it and then folded it in the middle lengthwise and attached ribbon ties.

The waist coat is made of gold silk dupion and I created the lattice pattern with carefully sewn on velvet ribbon. I'm really proud of it because it opens and closes in the front with hooks and eyes and I managed to match my harlequin checks so well so the opening is invisible if you see it from the front!
I interlined the front with a thick linen canvas and the back is the same black velvet that I used in the jacket. For lining I used a black silk matka remnant I had in the stash. When I have time I want to go back and re fit this garment because I'm not 100% happy with the back.

The main inspiration for this ensemble is this striped so called zone front jacket from KCI (image found on pin interest) and the victory outfit from the Duchess movie (original image from The costumers guide to movie costumes):

I draped the pattern for the jacket using the victory jacket and the KCI jacket as main reference. I chose to make my sleeves without pleats and I also made my back with a little different seams but the overall shape is very similar. The peplum was the hardest, I swear, I lost count on how many different shapes I tried. Then I stumbled over Bauhausfrau's struggle with the victory jacket and she had kindly enough shared her pattern for the peplum. Even with that I help I stood in my sewing studio scratching my head and stared at the cut out and sewn together half moons of fabric that just lay there in a puckering mess and wonder how the f**** it was supposed to work. Then when I lifted the test peplum up from the cutting table and sewing magic occurred, all the pleats fell in to place and I had an eureka moment!

For some reason all the pleats ended up lying in the same direction in this image, but they usually lies flat :P
From there it was more or less smooth sailing with the jacket, and I'm very pleased with it, although the combination of cotton velvet and cheap linen lining has stretched so I need to go back and alter the fit in the back a bit. But I love the overall shape, the gold lace that my sister kindly bought for me and I feel very pretty wearing this pierrot.

The petticoat I'm wearing is completely hand sewn and made from a lovely super sheer striped cotton voile from Hand hemming that bottom ruffle and sewing it on was not fun but it really was worth it in the end!

And finally here is a picture of the front of my shoes:

These were a pair of boring old ladies shoes, but the leather was good and the heel sturdy so I bought them for 20 SEK ($3), attacked them with gold paint and remnants of the gold dupion and got myself some fab harlequin shoes :D

Since the masquerade I have worn this outfit without the mask and ruff and it works nicely this way too, although warm summer weather and black velvet is not the best combination. (The super fabulous hat I borrowed from Elisa over at isiswardrobe and she also did my hair and took the pictures):

Here I'm doing the last stitches on my Galerie de modes inspired polonaise that I wore in the evening on this event.More info on that project will follow in another blog post.
I really like this angle because it show of the silhouette nicely, although the wind has caught the peplum.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The stays are finally done!

Here they are, in very romantic candle light. I'm quite pleased with them, I love the fit and their appearance.
The front and back lacing is wonderful. My beloved M laced me in once and now I can get in and out of my stays by my self. WIN!

I use 6 mm baby blue satin ribbon for lacing, because it looks pretty and are sturdy. Not very period correct, but I couldn't find anything else in the right colour. I tried plain old white corset lacing but it looked horrible and with all the work I have put in this pair of stays I want them too look their best.

So here are the final info on my stays:
Pattern: c.a 1780's from Jill Salens book, modified to fit my body
Materials and construction: 2 layers of linen twill with a silver silk dupion on the outside. Silvery blue silk dupion for piping and binding. Channels made with machine, threaded with silk button hole twist for top thread and regular sewing silk for bobbin. Eyelets done by hand with silk button hole twist. All assembly was done by hand using white linen thread. Binding by hand used threads pulled from the binding fabric for a perfect color match.. For lining I used white cotton/linen (remnants from my chemise), and it was sewn in by hand after the binding was done using white linen thread.
Boning: Steel flats made from sewer tape in centre front and in centre back (sewer tape is much stiffer than regular steel flats and crinoline steel).  Synthetic whalebone for the rest.

In the photo you can also see my modified chemise, I removed the lace ruffle because it was a PITA to iron flat after each washing and I felt that it often was in the way when patterning garments.

I'm also wearing my new decency petticoat, I decided to make one since my chemise is so short. It was very simple to make, I just took an old linen bed sheet and sewed it into a tube by hand.Then I made a drawstring channel at the top, made two tiny button holes and threaded a ribbon through. DONE!

Now I'm working on my outfit for the masquerade held by Gustafs Skål in March. It's a secret what my character are going to be, but I can tell you that the outfit will consist of an pierrot jacket, floofy white petticoat and reticule. With hedgehog hair of course. And a mask and some character appropriate accessories ;)

I'm currently working with the jacket pattern, the papier mache mask base is recieving some moisture protection before I can embellish it, the floofy petticoat is cut out and ready to be sewn together and my under petticoat is also cut. I'll sew the floofy one by hand and the rest by machine with some hand finishing. I hope to be able to start making the jacket this weekend, so I can measure how much trim I need. I'll have to order the trim from my sister (the fabric stores in Uppsala are not well stocked on pretty trim) so I must hurry so it will get here in time.

Well I'll better get working on it then...and hope that I'll be able to post some more pictures soon.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Almost finished" feels like my moon ray stays has been in the "almost finished" state for a really long time. I've worked on them on and off since my last post that was painfully long ago. The reason for this project taking me so long is several, some is work related, some is due to personal issues .Anyway bare with me, here comes a recap of what happened to the stays since my last post.

In the end of 2011 I only had the sewing on the straps, piping, binding the edges and lining to do when I decided to wear it in it's half finished stage to an event. I ripped it, one of the front panels tore right of in the seam. I got so mad that I lost the urge to work on it.

In the second half of 2012 I started to long for 18th century again. I looked at my stash of fabrics intended for my 18th century wardrobe and decided that now I want this damn thing finished!

So I fixed the ripped seam (it was only the thread that broke, not the panel it self), re-enforced it and all of the other seams and worked through the painfully slow process of adding the piping on top of the seams. When I was doing it I hated myself for coming up with the idea of piping but now I'm glad that I did it. My stays looks so nice with it!

With the help of Elisa from Isiswardrobe I did a new fitting and we discovered that I would benefit from a gusset at the bottom edge between the mid back and side back panel. She also helped me to fit my straps.
Both the straps and the gussets are made of one layer of dupion backed with one layer of the linen twill, I believe it's sturdy enough.

Moon ray stays - front

So here are one half of my stays, (I focused on the moon ray front) the only thing left on this half is making two eyelets for the ribbon that connect the strap to the front. The other half not pictured is in the process of getting it's top binding stitched down, then I'll add the lining and I can work eyelets on that half too. Then they are finally ,truly finished and I can work with the rest of my wardrobe again!

I promise to post better pictures when this forever project are truly finished!

So, sorry all my readers for my absence, but look forward to me being back in the costuming game with a vengeance!