Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wrinkled... but I took pictures anyway.

Here's the pictures of the bodice with trim. There are four rows that come up in the square, and then three that run paralell to that and up and over the shoulder and down to the center bottom of the back. I spaced everything about 3/8 in apart except where the shoulder straps widen and I spread the trim to kinda cover more area. I think it looks better that way. I couldn't decide whether or not to also sew the ribbon across the back of the neckline and then kinda forgot about it in the excitement of getting the rest of it all sewn on the bodice. I might add some later. If anything, I feel that I made the center trim too 'square' in the front and didn't taper it enough to the middle.

I've worked on the sleeves too. The first thing I did was the wrist tabs. I don't want to put a button or opening at the wrists cause I am too lazy to try and find two buttons that might match the dress, so I took my wrist measurement and rounded it up to 8 inches - which still fits over my fist so I can still easily slip it on. I had determined that I would make all the tabs one inch wide, and then the vertical trim on the lower sleeves would be spaced one inch at the bottom and tapered evenly upwards to best give the appearance of the trim in the portrait. The tabs are made from 3 inch squares of the linen sewed into tubes with a half inch seam, turned inside out, pressed, trimmed along both edges and then folded in half. I basted eight together for each wrist. The finished string of tabs turned out to be a bit more then 8 inches (grr) but I think I should be able to ease them into the wrist opening without too much difficulty.

The rest of thw sleeves will be composed of three parts, the lower sleeve, the upper sleeve and the lining. To get the proportions for the upper part of the sleeve, I took what would have been the upper part of my regular sleeve pattern and roughly multiplied all its outside measurements by two. In the portrait it is difficult to determine if there are more rows of  trim on the upper sleeve than there are on the lower sleeve. In order to make it easy on myself I decided to make it the same number. As I mentioned before, on the lower sleeve, the trim starts off at the wrist being spaced one inch apart and tapered upward. I took the resulting spacing measurement at the top of the lower sleeve and also multiplied that by two to get the spacing measurement for the trim on the upper sleeve. Once I'm ready to gather the two parts together, matching up the trim should be pretty easy and result in a fairly even gather...I hope.

I have the trim sewn on to the first lower sleeve and about a quarter of the way done sewing it to the first baragoni. So far I've done it all by hand and haven't broke down and used the machine. I'd be pretty tickled if I don't get too impatient and could finish the entire thing by hand, but looking ahead to the skirt......that seems doubtful.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Carpi Bodice Done

I've been making pretty good progress on the dress, dispite working on a few quilts for Christmas presents. I have the bodice completely done, and since I've taken pictures last, have also got ALL the trim on the bodice as well as started on the sleeves. But for now here's just a few pictures of the untrimmed bodice and a little  about the construction methods I ended up using.

The bodice is interlined with one layer of medium to heavyweight linen/cotton fabric and one layer of brown wool which are basted together. The outer jade-coloured handkercheif linen is also used as a lining. The bodice is finished off in two separate peices, the front, and then the back with the shoulder straps. They are bag-lined, and then the lining is 'topstitched' through the layer of wool and heavy linen but not through the outer layer of linen. This gives really nice edges and smoothness on the outside.
I did a total of 18 hand-bound eyelets, spaced for spiral lacing, using an awl and cotton embroidery floss. Here I have it laced with silk ribbon but I plan to eventualy make some lucet braid to use.
After the front and back sections were finished I pinned the shoulderstraps to the front bodice portion and whipstitched the edges together from the back. I'm very happy with how this bodice turned out. It is very comfortable so far. I seem to have gotten the shoulder straps exactly where I wanted them (we'll see what happens when I add sleeves) and they are not tight or constricting ( which is usually me biggest problem) . The outside surface is very smooth and took the trim very well.

                            Hopefully tomorrow I will get pictures up of the bodice with trim:-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bodice Mockup

First of all, thankyou to my few followers for your comments. I've been wanting to converse with some of you but for some reason I cannot leave comments.....I don't know why, I just don't understand computers/internet all that well.

On the brighter side, I've been ambitious and today I made the mockup for the carpi gown. It was rather fun, having no help, and taking it off and on and off and on and trimming and pinning... I think I got it where I like it now. I let it sit for several hours and tried it on again to be sure, and then cut out the permanant pattern out of more white cotton, and hopefully I will get to cut out and begin constructing the bodice tomorrow.

As you can see there was alot of pinning and tweaking of the shoulder straps. They end up being kinda a funky shape once they're laid out flat, but they hug my shoulders fairly well without being too tight. My worries however, are wether or not they will continue to hold their shape once the sleeves are set in, and wether or not the fact that they are much narrower where they join the bodice front will make trim placement more difficult. Since the ribbon I am planning to use is so narrow I think I can ease it closer there without it looking too silly. I guess we will find out.  The diagonal wrinkles under the bust will theoretically dissapear once the bodice is constructed with the proper materials.

I'm still planning on interlining with a layer of linen and wool stitched together, but now am trying to decide if I wish to 'bag' line the bodice like I do with most of my gowns, or once again try the  'flat' lining method, or wrap the front fabric around the interlining, whipstitch it down and then line it by turning the edges of the lining in and whipstitching it on.....I've never had much luck with that method, but I think it is more period? I haven't done much research on that area.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I couldn't help myself....

11 days until the wedding. The only thing that remains to sew is a small round pillow to fit in a brass tray for the rings to sit on!! was easier to do all that sewing than face the other stuff going on with the weddings, including the severely incompetant hotel manager. We have a reception hall.....but cannot use their kitchen, as he originally told us and have no way to keep food hot. grumble grumble. I could go into quite a rant about everything, but I will spare you.

On the brighter side, I have ordered 5 yards, 60 wide, emerald green handkerchief linen for the outside of the green carpi gown, and 75 yards of 4mm copper coloured silk ribbon. I'm hoping 75 yards will be an excessive amount, but its fairly afforadable, so I'm hoping I'll be able to go all out and copy the exact pattern of trim application in the portrait and not have to skimp! I have also purchased a period -ish glove pattern and started making a mockup out of scraps of blue velveteen. So far so good. I'm hoping to find some thin garment leather in about the same colour as the silk ribbon so I can make matching gloves.

I've been thinking about the bodice construction in my spare time. I've done a corded bodice before (thanks to festive attyre! ) and really like the feel and shape. However, I'm very small chested, and all the cording is allot of work to go into for not needing it. I have some teal coloured wool in my stash and I think I will simply interline the bodice with a layer of the wool 'quilted' to a layer of linen and see how it works. I've also decided that I will have side back lacings, as I simply can't justify back-lacing being period for that type of gown. The sleeves and armscye will be completely finished and the top of the sleeve will be whipstitched in arcross the top and side of the sleeve to give that sewn-in look. I've done something similar before with my 'la bella' gown and it works pretty well, just makes it a little snug getting into.

I'm still trying to decide on the camicia, if I want to invest in more linen or go with a lighter more comfortable voile. I want to do whitework along the neckline, and the structure of the linen would greatly aid with supporting the embroidery. However, those beautiful fine little pleats around the cuffs would be much easier if I went with a voile.....hard I don't know.

Other than that I just need to find suitable lining for the skirt, and something sheer for the partlet and that head-thing and research jewelry-making stuff....

I'm so excited to start a new gown for myself, but with the wedding, moving and settling in, and then Christmas, its looking like I won't be able to start anything until the new year. Theoretically....I'm sure there will be those moments between stuff and evenings were I might be able to sneak in some work...i'm resourceful like that. lol.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Planning Ahead

So there is a slight lull in wedding sewing! I have only a handful of things left to do, but am waiting on various things such as arranging fittings and confirming the servers to I can make their tunic appropriate sizes, so on and so forth. I have 35 days to go until the wedding, and I think I will have no problem getting everything done, especially with the help of my bridesmaids.

So I am now allowing myself to plan what I want to sew after the wedding and after Christmas. My persona is Florentine, early 1500's and I really only have two or three gowns that reflect that. I have two portraits picked out that I currently can't stop lusting over. I'm not sure why either since puffy sleeves (as are in both portraits) are not really my thing. Perhaps it is the uniqueness and novelty of trying a new style:-)

The first portrait is Bacchiacca's 'Portrait of a Woman with a Book of Music' c 1540.
Why I like this portrait, I'm not really I said there are puffed sleeves involved and I am really not a big fan of pink. Perhaps it the applique? I am a sucker for that. LOL. This woman strikes me as being someone with a quirky and perhaps a carefree attitude for her time and place. The trim on her gown is definiately unique, and she flaunts it well...having the hem draped over the chair just so to make it extra visible?  My plan here is to make as close a copy as possible, using linen (more affordable that silk) for the majority of the gown, blue/brown silk taffetta for the sash and balzo and rabbit fur to line the lower velvet sleeves. Perhaps I can find some very light weight linen for the partlet thingy and of course, make myself a new camicia, as a girl cannot have too many of those. Things that will be new for me in trying to sew this gown will be the balzo, the ruched baragoni, and fur sleeves.

The second gown I wish to make is the one in this 'Portrait of a Woman' c1530 which is attributed to either Peter de Kempeneer or Girolamo da Corpi. I beleive she is a woman of Ferrara, but the gown is close enough in style to some Florentine and Roman gowns that it will still work for my purposes.
Again, I'm not positive what strikes my fancy so about this particular dress. I do not care for the trim placement on the bodice or the trim color, and again with the puffy sleeves.... Oi! Again, however, I wish to make this gown out of a jade green linen, and perhaps find a copper coloured trim instead of the yellow. I hope to experiment with jewelry for this one, as I suck with jewelry making thus far, and maybe I'll be brave enough to attempt a pair of gloves and a feather fan. Up until this point I have stuck with flag fans, as they are easy and fun to assemble.

The sad part....I have to wait at least two months before I can start with either of them. Hopefully though that will give me enough time to research and plan and plot and find the perfect materials.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

and then I made a few hats....

And then I made a few hats for the men in the wedding entourage. Zach already had a hat, but I had made the top too small, so I tore that one apart and made a new top, then added a cord of blue/black and silver lucet cord. It is made from black velveteen. the brim is interlined with several layers of linen and the top is lined with scrap silk.

I made another cap in the exact same style for one of Zach's groomsmen, this one out of a really dark blue wool. I did the visible stitching in silver thread to make it better match the doublet that goes with, and made a silver tassle to hang off the band...not sure I like that final touch at all yet, I'll wait for some masculine input or from someone who knows about hat decorating in the fifteen hundreds.

The third cap I made was my first try at one of the three-cornered hats seen worn by older gentlemen of the period, with a simple band instead of a brim. I'm hoping this one will fit with the pastor and his garb, but again, not sure I like how it turned out.

The picture is kind of lame unfortunately and doesn't really show what they look like on a person's head, and I have a lack of models this week. And once again I am bemoaning the fact that time restraints don't allow for much research. I cringe to think at some of the shortcuts I'm taking for wedding garb, but alas, what else is to be done? I just need to remind myself of the true purpose for all this and stop worrying.

venetian's mens coat

Ok, here's another evidence of lack of research. I have no idea what this garment is technically called, so I've been calling it a coat, I'm pretty sure thats not right. Anyone care to enlighten me? I saw this type of garment in two pictures, several decades apart and both appear to have almost the exact same construction, the first is Lorenzo Lotto's 'Portrait of Febo da Brescia' in 1544 and the other is in Giovanni Battitsta Moroni's 1565 'Portrait of Antonio  Navagero.

Anyway, I wanted to make this coat for my dad to wear to the wedding. He is down in New Mexico until the day of teh rehearsal, and so that gives no time for fittings and no way to get his measurements, and the coat is loose fitting and should easily go over a (not so well fitting) borrowed doublet. However...not that I have it done, and it went so easy and looks so nice, I may have milord wear it over his doublet instead and make another one for my father. We'll see;-) I'm just crazy.

So, I started out with two yards of 60 wide olivy-foresty green cotton velveteen and five big  'grizzly' coloured rabbit hides. The cutting out was pretty simple after I thought about it for a while. I only needed a front/back, the underside of the collar and two outer sleeve pieces.  Here's my diagram;
And miraculously the coat is both long enough and plenty full enough. I was very worried at first. The front of course I slit open down the center front and I cut down a bit more of the neck opening in front. I trimmed the edges of the first rabbit hide, and then cut in half widthwise and stitched the two pieces together side by side for the collar lining. The rest of the garment is lined in plain black cotton. The remainder of the rabbit hides I trimmed down to nine inch strips, and then cut those again lengthwise and placed the narrow edges together and sewed those down to only the black cotton along the front opening edges. For the fur edging around the sleeves I used the long kinda ragged strips from the edges of the rabbit hides and placed those along the outer edge of the black cotton lining for the sleeves and stitched those down. Then I sewed the garment as usual, bag lining it, and topstitching the edges. This was perhaps not the proper way to sew with fur, but i'm very new to working with fur and this was simple and effective. I lengthened the stitch on my machine to avoid perforating the thin rabbit hides too badly and so far there is no tearing:-) We shall see what happens after it has been vigorously worn a few times, and hopefully someday I'll get to make one with a better fur than rabbit.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Medeival Ecclesiastical

So yesterday I got to dabble in one more foreign area of renaissance garb for the wedding. The Baptist pastor who is officiating the service is willing, and somewhat excited, to join us in dressing up, as long as whatever he is wearing is not too denotive of Catholicism or Friar Tuck. So....not knowing much about ecclesiastical garb in the first place and not really having the time to do the proper research, I browsed though the male portraits on The Realm of Venus and chose this one, Paolo Veronese's Portrait of Daniele Barbaro 1566.   For one, it looks fairly simple, comfortable and easy for an older gentleman to get in to, and if decorated apropriately, it could be taken for something a Church man might wear.

So off I went to sew. I had four yard of 55 in chocolate brown handkerchief linen and three yards of a medium brown open 'waffle like' weave 60 in wide wool and about four yards of wide vestment trim. As the pastor has very long arms (37 in) and is over 6 foot tall, I mapped out the linen undertunic as best I could, but couldn't nearly get the fullness as seen in the portrait. Its a pretty normal tunic, front/back piece with head hole, sleeves, underarm gussets and side gores. However, I ended up splitting the whole thing down the front, and I need to find appropriate buttons yet for the closure.

For the capelet I deviated again from the portrait. Instead of making the round bottom edge, I left the wool square and long enough so that it will hand well below th belt. I sewed down large soft pleats at the shoulders to help give the garment more body and less droopiness. I then sewed the vestment trim along the bottom edges, front and back. The sides are open. I just need to find an appropriate clasp to fasten the neck opening with and it is done. So really, it doesn't look like the portrait at all....but oh well. it should fit the vision.

I want to yet make the four cornered hat pictured, but I think that will wait for 'hatmaking day' when I need to make several hats for the several of the men in the party.

I'm going to go try to take pictures of the whole thing now, not sure how it will go down as I have no model and the whole thing is pretty shapeless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Venetian Girl's Gown

The saddest part of sewing so many sets of garb in such a small time frame is that I have time to do very little research. I'm going off of what I know and learning new methodology and easier ways of contrunction. The gown I am working on now is for the flower girl. I have not had a chance before now to dabble in constructing children's garb and I have not previously found any good sources for period children's wear.....So I'm piecing bits of info together when constructing this gown. My main inspiration portrait is Venetian, a detail of Giovanni Antonio Fasolo's 1565, 'The Banquet'; the little girl in front with the purple dress. My construction methods are Florentine, the pattern for the bodice and the skirt based off of the pattern Janet Arnold gives in 'Patterns of Fashion' for Eleanora's burial dress.

However, I have the bodice open in the front instead of the side-backs, and it will lace shut like the traditional v-neck style. I've heard quite a bit about interlining bodices with wool felt, and since this is such a tiny dress, I splurged and purchased a yard of felt. The back, sides and straps are all a single layer of felt, but I stitched an additional piece of felt to the center fronts to give the opening more stability since this dress will not be boned. The shoulder straps are cut on the bias to insure a little more give and comfort, and so the straps hug the shoulders better. The bodice is then lined with muslin and there is purple cotton for the outer layer.  The skirt is fairly narrow. There are two front sections, the back and two side gores, each lined with muslin. This is actually much narrower than Eleanora's skirt, but I had only a little over three yards of 45 wide fabric for the dress and having a train was more important to me than the extra width. On my flower girl though it should look fine, as she is really slender. After  sewing all the sections of the skirt together I pleated them to a narrow wasit band and whipstitched it to the bottom inside edge of the bodice. The sleeves are fairly simple, bag lined and trimmed with lace at the cuff.

 I scoured eBay for the perfect lace, and went back and forth between white or gold. I wanted gold as gold and purple are my wedding colors, but was unsure if that would become too flashy. In the end I ordered some very wide gold venice lace, not knowing HOW wide. It looks decent on the sleeves, but i'm still not sure if i like it around the opening of the bodice. It looks almost too much like a ruff.....we'll see once I get it on the flower girl and see if it needs altered or just completely taken off.

The only thing my flower girl really requested was that she didn't want a camicia......... i think we eventually agreed on a simple sleeveless tunic thing to go underneath, so that at least there will be some protection between her skin and the gown, and there will be 'camicia' peeking between the front lacing. However, I had to come up with something for the small puffs at the shoulders of the gown. I ended up sewing tubes out of muslin and sewing the ends together to make circular tubes. I made them to be a little bigger than the opening of the top of the sleeve and gathered/hand-basted one edge of the tube just inside the top of the sleeve and the other side just barely to the inside of the armscye. My plan is to then join the actual sleeve and the gown at intervals around the armscye (and bead those of course), and then puff the white of the tube up to make that cute tiny even row of white around the shoulders, as seen in the portrait.

I have heard of other costumers doing this before and I believe it possibly could be period. I never have before however, due to having huge camicia sleeves that need to go somewhere, and the gaps and slashes on sleeves just seems the most logical place for their appearance. However, I think that this method will work very well, and very neat, and there won't be near as much primping needed when putting on the gown.

I am almost finished with this gown; I need to finished sewing on the second sleeve, and do the beaded joins on both. I need to decide if i'm doing lacing rings or eyelets for the front closure and follow through with that. I need to find or make a cord to lace it. The under tunic thing needs to be finished up. And once all that is done I need to try it on my flower girl and pin the hem. I want to still add the rest of the wool felt in the hem somehow to make it stand out good. I'm unsure how I want to do that though becasue there is no exterior guard on the skirt, and so I have no where to insert/hid the wool unless I somehow sew it to the inside of the skirt.....still pondering on that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Copper Silk Gown Pictures

Here's the pictures of my three day copper silk dress. I am really happy about the way it turned out and how comfortable it turned out to be. I decided to ditch the low on the shoulder straps this time and aim for a venetian that was mostly comfortable. As a result I can actually raise my arms completely above my head in the dress! The only problem I have is that I think I made the waist a little too high. Anyway, here's the pictures;

Groom's Get-Up

Yesterday was picture day. Zach and I finally got ready to have our engagement pictures taken. We had his mom take about 60 before we finally settled on one that we all like. Neither of us enjoy have pictures taken, but we had a good time...and since we were sort of in the spirit of picture taking, I got Zach to dress in his wedding garb so I could take pictures of that too.  So here they are;

It is a five piece ensemble. There's the linen embroidered shirt, and the short pants (unsure of the name due to lack of research, but I've seen these in some portrait somewhere....) The silk and linen doublet, including the sleeves which lace on. The loose jerkin (also very little research here; this is men's garb!), which is made of velveteen and lined in a silk/cotton blend. There are two threadworked buttons at the waist. I will probably do more going all the way up the openings. There is also the velveteen hat.

There's a few little things to finish. I need to hem the pants and add hook and eye or buttons at the cuffs on the shirt. I may also do some black velvet applique on the doublet with vines and scallops so that it kinda matches my wedding dress. That is dependant on how much time I have leftover when everything else for the wedding in sewn however. I have less than three months to go!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm Still Alive..really

I am currently in the middle of making six sets of court garb for my wedding....and too busy and disorganised to get pictures of any of them of course. I have less than three months to go and yet I'm staying confidant that at least all the sewing will get done....not sure about music selection or much of an elaborate ceremony but at least the whole wedding party will be in garb. Sometimes I wonder if my priorities are a little twisted.

Anyway, three of those sets of garb are almost done, and as they are completed I do want to put up pictures. Things are turning out really good so far.  The other three are in varying stages of having the bodice cut out to having all the pieces more or less assembled they just need to be put together.

AND (here's the worst of it) as a productivity reward to myself I decided to whip myself up a dress based off of Titian's 'Portrait of a Lady in White'. I've had some beautiful copper silk and rust coloured velvet bouncing around in my stash for a while with this project in excuse for rationalising this? I don't have any garb that I really really want to wear for the engagement pics that have to be taken this week, and I want something new to where to Schola in a few weekends....The dress in the portrait really is quite simple, as there isn't much in the way of trim. So yesterday afternoon I whipped up the sleeves and the bodice minus any means of fastening, and I have the skirt ready to be pleated. I would like to add some pearls to the joins in the sleeves and maybe around the top of the bodice, but that might wait. I just need to get it to a wearable state so I can wear it on Wednesday and then I need to put it aside and wait to further the embellishments until AFTER the wedding.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Final Pictures are Sent!

I just sent in the final pictures for the Challenge.  Happy to be done with one thing and free to move on. I have started with mylord's wedding garb. He picked the portrait Moretto da Brescia's   'Portrait of a Man' 1526, and so I am planning on following all those details as closely as possible in everything except colour and that hat.

I've started by making a linen shirt with blackwork in dark forest green floss on the collar and cuffs, and most of the seams worked in herringbone sitch in the same dark green. The embroidery is done, and the main body is done, with the collar attactched.  There are four briaded cords at the collar for fastening. I tried something new with the collar. I usually make collars with the inside piece, outside piece and one additional 'interfacing' layer. I still end up with a big lump at the top and bottom where the ruffle and shirt body are sewn into the collar. This time I made a narrow strip of four layers of linen basted together and set that inside the 'gap' created by the seam allowances on top and bottom. It seems to have worked pretty good so far. It creates a much cleaner line, however the collar may be a little too stiff....we'll have to see when he tries is on. Here's a picture of the inside collar construction;

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bella Nani Dress Pics

This is one of the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding. These are the trial fitting pics, so no hair or makeup, not all the final jewelry and underthings (thus the funky closure in front) and without the last few little 'things' to fix. All in all though we got this dress done in about a week and we are very very happy with how it turned out and how close to the original portrait we got it to look. no pictures...

I've been procrastinating pictures....I am sorry. I've never liked uploading stuff from my camara cause it is always such a pain, that and my computer hasn't had much internet access for the past few it hasn't happened.  I'm thinking tomorrow I ought to be able to make myself do it. I have one more update to send in to the IRCC, and then after that I shall have time to work on the final pictures and writ up /documentation.

Brighter news! My dress is finished!! After having to take all the applique off the first sleeve due to to much bulk and having lost the pattern i drew up for the second sleeve, I finally got both sleeves done and attatched to the gown. My mother pinned the hem for me last week and a few nights ago I sat and hemmed my dress. It's looking great and I am very excited about it.

Today I started a few more accessories. I made a little tasseled beaded pouch, using the same pattern I used below for my mother's pouch. I made the tassels by hand out of my gold embroidery floss. The handle/strap thing is beaded silk ribbon. I used white velveteen on the outside, and scraps of gold silk dupioni on the inside. I am very happy with it.

I also started on a handkerchief. I was just going to hem a square of linen and call that good, but then it wanted to be embroidered, and after wanted I am practicing my novice skill of Armenian lacemaking around the edge, using purple and gold floss....Its gonna be one decked out hanky.

It's been fun!! But I am glad the challenge is almost over though, so I  can turn my focus to other things I need to do for the wedding.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


So I've been pretty busy...but not much done on my challenge dress. I got to a little standstill, being in the middle of moving and having lost the pattern for the trim for the shoulder.  So I have one sleeve fnished and tied onto the dress. The other sleeve is cut out, and the wrist trim is finished...but I have yet to find the trim pattern and I am not feeling brave enough yet to just re draw it.

I also have my skirt pleated and sewn to the bodice. It has yet to be hemmed. I'm hoping one of my mum will be able to help me this week with pinning where the hem needs to be. I also decided to cheat with my girdle....I put a row of beads along the bottom edge of the bodice. The beads stop at the front openings though leaving about a three inch gap, and if I want to do anything dangly in the front or to hang my fan off of I have yet to figure out how I want to do that.

I have also been working on the doublet for one of the groomsmen. Its a lovely wine/burgundy brocade. I'm doing a fine line of slashing along the edges of the tabs on the skirt, center front, and collar. The collar and tabs and armscyes are all edged in a slashed piping. There aren't going to be sleeves, as we are planning a velvet overcoat with a wide fur collar and are so short on time (only three and a half months until the wedding and still so much to sew!!) I need to handstitch the lining to the armholes, finishe slashing the piping and do the button holes. I hope to be able to do most of that on the ride back to Cody today.

I have also been working on one of my bridesmaids dresses.  Its based of off the 'Bella Nani' by Paolo Caliari.  I ordered five yards of the medium blue velveteen from Renaissance Fabrics (my favorite online fabric store) and one yard of vintage bobbin lace off ebay from France for those fancy cuffs. I've spent the last few days working on the cutwork for the sleeve. I first drew up the pattern and then traced it onto wonder on and so forth. I did not handsew around all the edges though. I cheated and done it by machine. Shame on me. But the pile of the velveteen more or less hides the stitching so it doesn't look too bad. I also worked on the partlet to go with the dress, using some white cotton voile. It is a gathered/ pleated type partlet. I don't have a specific portrait I based that off of, but it looks pretty good, just got to sew a line of silk ribbon over all the rows of gathering and itll be finsihed.  I hope to kidnap Emily for a while sometime this week so I can work on fitting her bodice.

Anyway I hope to take pictures once I get to Cody and hopefully I'll get around to posting them soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yay for Progress!!

Finally, finally, finally! I have finished the trim for the bodice on my gown, have it sewn on and have the skirt sewn to the bodice. It seemed to have taken forever and I am very relieved to be finished with that step and am very pleased with how it looks. The bodice is a little long, but looks nice when laced up. The shoulder straps are sufficiently sloped off the shoulders...but this allows for very little movement, so I hope I won't have to be working too hard on my wedding day. lol.  The skirt is loosely patterned off of the Eleanora dress in Patterns of Fashion, but due to having only so much yardage, I modified the pattern to where there is one wide panel in the front and one in the back, and one triangular gore on each side. The opening is also located center front than on the sides. It is completely lined in muslin, and the top edge is bound in white velveteen and turned in several inches and then sewn to the inside edge of the finished bodice with several different pleating techniques. The bottom edge is not yet hemmed. I have the dress hanging now while I decide whether or not I am ready to tackle making the trim to go around the bottom edge.

I have also finished a quickie petticoat. It is made from 3.5 yards of purple cotton and trimmed in a narrow strip of gold cotton jacquard. I experimented with the petticoat. I have previously been unable to wear petticoats with my front lacing gown unless I wear them under my camicia (which seems weird to me) because they show under the I made a waistband with a nearly ninety degree angle center far it seams to be working and not buckling or doing weird things with all the weight of the fabric.  We will see. And I was bad...the whole thing is machine sewed, except for the button that I still need to sew on.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mother-of-the-Bride Dress

So this week's goal was to finish my mum's dress for the wedding. Quick and simple. We did it together, using fabrics of her choice and loosely patterning it off of early-mid 1500's Florentine with the very stiff front bodice and simple trim. I made her an ankle lace camicia out of muslin, and practiced my newly learned hobby of making Armenian needle lace on the front of the neckline and on the cuffs. I should've caught pictures of that, but it slipped my mind. We then made the sotanna out of a dark strawberry red poly/nylon taffeta we got on sale at Hancock's. The bodice is stiffened with several layers of canvas. For the sake of modesty, my mother wanted the neckline higher than I would normally have made it to get the right silhouette...this messed me up with drafting the armscyes and so there's some funny wrinkling on the bodice due to it. There is side back lacings through tiny machine made button holes (I wasn't thrilled with the idea of hand binding eyelets through the tight synthetic fabric). And for ease...the sleeves are sewn on to the shoulders where they should be tied or buttoned on.

I used a modern jacket pattern that my mum had previously used for herself and revamped it, taking out the darts and adding some curves and used that for the doublet pattern. It is made from some pretty flocked taffetta, lined with black cotton and interlined with a layer of cotton/poly quilt batting. I found some buttons with velvet centers at Uprising that went perfect, they are sewn to the front edge...and I cheated here again...the doublet closes with hook and eyes strategically placed under the buttons.

And thanks to Hastings for giving me the link to a picture showing an external pocket/pouch type thing. I tried it out for my mum out of the flocked taffeta and it turned out really nice except that I made the ties around the waist too short and so the pocket barely clears the bottom edge of the doublet. But she is happy with it there and so I'll leave them that length and make them longer for the pouch I want to make for myself. I also made her a simple partlet out of muslin and am letting her borrow my black crocheted hairnet that she made for me a while back.

All in all I think it worked out really well and we made good time. That's one set of garb crossed off the list of the thirteen I'm planning to do for the wedding.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Being at a small breather point, I'm taking the morning to think over what I yet have to do for this dress. Its mostly the time consuming and not so favorite things to do left....

Dress- skirt and bodice are mostly done except for attatching them together and adding trim and hemming

Sleeves- Haven't even started on these yet, but I need to go find more buttons for attatching them to the shoulders. I have some lovely bone buttons carved like elephants that I want to use, but I haven't enough.

Handkerchief- I was planning on making this  to match the camicia and drawers with the same gold lace, but I'm almost out of that too, and the place where I ordered it is out of it as well.  So I'm thinking it'll be pretty simple, and I might embroider a pomegranate or something in each corner.

Shoes-As this is going to be my wedding dress, I want something comfortable and nice not sure if I'll attempt to make some Florentine style flats or not (I have the leather for the soles sitting in my closet) .

Soccaccia- I was wanting to make the kind that ties around the waist under the skirts....but having already finished my skirt without (stupidly) making a pocket slit in the side, the tie around the waist kind would be kind of useless. So further research is required here, about whether or not there is some sort of pocket or pouch that could be attached to the girdle? If all else fails, I'll just not make a pouch...after all that's what bridesmaids are for, carrying things;-)

Belt- I suck with jewelry and stringing beads and all that type stuff, as I think I've mentioned. Also, I have been having a terrible time finding beads that I like to make a Girdle, so I really don't have much of a plan here.

Zibellino- I have the fur, just need to sew it into a tube. I'm working on something possibly brilliant for the head.

Stockings- My mom may possibly actually knit me a pair, if i can find white sock yarn.

So that's my to do list....along with getting everything ready for all my bridesmaids and the much sewing to do and only about four-five months left.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the promised pictures

Here's the pictures of the partlet, one on the dummy and then a close-up of the blanket stitched and beaded edge (which is the same all the way around the veil). I am sucky when it comes to making any sort of jewelry, so the necklace is something I purchased from 'Silver Images' at Uprising last week. It works perfectly with my dress.

I was intending to sew the second row of trim on my zimarra this evening, but misplaced the roll of trim....not good.

Little Update

Back from a wonderful week at Uprising. I was able to do quite a bit of shopping there and got most of what i need for trim, buttons, and some of the rest of my fabric that I need for wedding outfits. I'm close to having most of my materials grouped, and nearly ready to start delegating the sewing of it all.

For the IRCC challenge; I have finally finished hemming my veil. It took only about three-four weeks. I went around it once, rolled hemming it with a whip-stitch and fighting the raw edges and shifty nature of the chiffon. The second time around I used a blanket stitch and added a bead every inch or so. I think I turned out looking acceptably nice. I order the metal hair comb yesterday to which I will attach the veil.

And then, last night, with a wonderful spurt of energy, I draped the pattern for my partlet, cut it out, and got it hemmed all the way around. This is especially amazing because I used the same silk chiffon as the veil. My technique; I laid the pattern on the chiffon and traced around it with fray check, let it dry, and then cut it out along the hard edge created by the fray check. This then makes it very easy to fold over a really narrow hem and there are no stray threads from raveling fabric! To finish, this morning I went around the curve for the neck, using a blanket stitch in gold floss and adding beads so that the partlet matches the veil.

Hopefully Ill get pictures taken within the next few days, but now I must be off to work.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick Update

Just sent in another IRCC update in this morning. Since I'm short on time this morning, ill just post pictures here for now.

So I can cross out drawers and garters off my list. I'm now working on hemming and trimming my veil. Going on that has been painfully slow so far, since rolled hemming sheer silk chiffon is not the easiest thing in the world to do.

I also had a little hiccup with the green velveteen I was planning to use for my overdress. it had been a while since I had looked closely at it, so when I unfolded it the other day I was irked to find that it has that rather obnoxious rubberized backing.  SO....made a special shopping trip to the city and I was able to find some rough silk in the exact pale gold as the floss I've been using, but now I need to find a suitable lining for that as the black linen I was planning to use for the green just wont go. I have some ideas, but this hiccup wasn't really budgeted for. Oh well.