Monday, 11 September 2017

Hat decoration...

...or: How to turn something incredibly horrible into something more credibly horrible :D

Having a pencheant for fleur de lys, I just had to buy this masterpiece of glittery madness (who the hell invented sticky glitter?!), plucked off the silly ribbon and the plastic rhinestones, scratched and sanded the glitterglue off, changed the position of the metal ornaments, and lo!, it can easily serve as hat decoration now - though I'll more probably use it for a rococo tricorn than for a baroque cavalier hat.

Glittery madness before
De-glittered ornament after

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Tiny stuff

This is what I do when I get along too well with my projects and decide I can waste some time on doing random stuff. While sorting through some drawers my mum found this wee rubber doll from the 1960s and brought it to me for some clothing. As it's a boy (even though the details are missing) he got red woollen trousers and a white shirt, mostly hand-sewn because four centimetre trousers and a three centimetre shirt are simply too small for a sewing machine :D

Petit four dress

Yes, that's what it looks like, all pink :D I once bought a justaucorps from a theatre sale and at last found matching pink fabric for a skirt. After adjusting the justaucorps to my measurements, I started with the skirt, to be worn over my smallest set of paniers.

The justaucorps was too wide around the waist (which could be helped easily by taking in the side and back seams) while the sleeves were too short - which took a bit more effort. I had to detach the cuffs as well as the lace cuffs which I sewed to the very edge of the sleeve, then came the pink cuff that was not, as before, sewn edge to edge but three centimetres further down to give additional length.

The skirt is two fabric widths, closing at one of the side seams, with pocket slits. Measuring the seamline is tedious when you have a curved hem to be worn over paniers. I usually put the skirt on, mark floor length at the front and on one side, and copy it to the other sides, cropping a little for the front and adding a little for the back side. Much to my satisfaction I found an ample amount of matching satin ribbon in my collection but, not content with three rows of ribbon around the hem, I decided to try some simple self-fabric-trimming. And after using the very last bit for the waistband I can proudly say that I used up every inch of this fabric! From the cutoff I cut 2 centimetre wide strips, using pinking scissors to get the typical pinked edge, which I sewed together and ruffled slightly (not too much or it will curl up). These, alternating with the satin ribbon, decorate the hem.

While rummaging through my collection of trims and ribbons I also found a short piece of a matching one that I decided to turn into a neck ruff / choker. Actually it's a length of gift ribbon, 100% polyester and the centre is some kind of translucent plastic, but this part is covered by a row of lace anyway and won't be seen. I box-pleated almost the whole length, the rest was folded into a bow to hide the hook and eye closure.

The event for which I'm currently finishing this outfit (yay, one more of my gotta-finish-this-projects done!) doesn't require a hat, but as I have a length of ribbon left that's too short for the hem I think I will add a little decorated tricorn.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Celtic outfit with interchangeable outer garments

One of the liveroleplay-settings I play in is celtic, and I decided that now at last my character - actually a completely unpretentious and practically-minded surgeon - needs some new clothes instead of the worn and sack-like outfit she has. Plus I need to get rid of fabric I bought for projects I haven't started in the past seven years. Now's the time!

The léine, the dress I use as the first layer, is actually very simple (which is authentic) and made from four rectangles, two for front and back, two folded for the sleeves. For vanity's sake I might make another princess cut version, which is completely unauthentic but looks more shapely. The fabric is a relatively light blue cotton (no, not period) that matches the colour of all three possible peplos.

The peplos is the outer garment, worn over the léine. Same as the greek counterpart, the top is folded over, pinned over the shoulders, and either sewn close along the sides or left open and just belted. Two are light cotton tartan weave, the third is a heavier and simple blue and white tartan. You will inevitably get a bateau neckline unless you pin the shoulder parts to the léine to fix them in place. If you want to have a lower neckline at the front, the trick is to either make the front part a tad shorter than the back part, or adjust via the folded part.

As all of this is soooo simple and will be done so quickly I found that having machine-sewn hems visible where the peplos is folded over, I went for hand-sewn hems, at least for the two lighter fabrics. Slowly I'm beginning to realize that perfectionism might be one of the reasons for never getting anything done...

Friday, 3 March 2017

Yellow renaissance dress

A.k.a. "picknick dress", as I think the colour fits green meadows and joyful picknicking. Years ago I made a landsknecht-outfit for my former boyfriend and, as always, bought more fabric than I needed. Even made a tablecloth from the yellow jacquard. Still enough left for a dress. The fabric has a woven pattern of - guess what! - marguerites that I followed with the embroidery. I set out with eight colours and two shades of green in my mind, using up thread I had on stock and just buying the missing material. Six shops and two changes of colour ideas later I had finally made up my mind what to use. It's amazing how much the pink upset the colour palette before I exchanged it for a pale yellow!

The embroidering is perfect work for being on the train or bus, and luckily last summer took me here and there and back again often enough to finish a sleeve and a half. The rest was done watching "Penny Dreadful", figuring that the only dreadful thing in this series is the horrid wearout when it comes to hotties. All 27 episodes left me with an almost fully embroidered renaissance gown and the firm decision to copy umpteen nice dresses from Vanessa's and Angélique's wardrobe for my victorian collection. Needless to say that the picknick came with the dress being only embroidered but not sewn, so I fear I'll have to organise yet another baroque picknick. Preferably with a different picknick blanket that's not made from the same fabric as my dress...

The gown follows my usual bodice pattern, only this time with side seams to have the woven pattern follow the neckline so as to be able to embroider it. It's embroidered heavily at the front as well as along the neckline.

The sleeves are two-part each, joined with (hand-made) strings along the front and back of the arm, one embroidered top and one plain bottom part.

The skirt has a seam circumfence of close to five metres but only sports a couple of scattered marguerites and leaves. I'm not THAT mad, after all!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Baroque vine dress

This year's ball motto is "Autumn", so another new dress is absolutely necessary ;) The actual idea behind it is an eccentric mid-1800s-dress that I chose because of the vine decoration:

The decoration will bearranged differently, to give it a more baroque impression, like in this drawing from Burnacini: the grapes and leaves are arranged around the slimmest parts of the costume only.

And yes, this is the dress that had me on the search for glass grapes, or something the like. No point in sticking plastic grapes on a baroque gown, it would look like I was carrying the table decoration on my shoulders :D So these are the grapes that are going on the dress, entirely handmade, to be found at

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Baroque dressing gown and matching slippers

This project has been on my mind for quite some time already, and at last I managed to find two matching fabrics from my stock. The outer layer is iridescent blue polyestre with a yellow sheen and yellow embroidery. Yes, polyester, yucky, but I want to be able to drag the train through the dust without having to pay much heed to it. The lining is yellow jacquard and won't touch the floor. I intend to have this morning gown as a kind of "Oh dear, there's still something going on, allons-y!!"-outfit for the liveroleplays. The pattern is self-made, more towards the end of the 17th century or even 18th century-ish actually.

I wanted the sleeves to be wide to show the beautiful lining (of which I sadly hadn't enough to trim the front opening with). Sticking to the symmetry of the woven pattern, it was a bit of a pattern-tetris to get all parts nicely onto the four metres.

The body has a yoke to which the back and front parts are pleated.

And I had slippers of black fake leather which was beginning to disintegrate, so I stripped them completely, took the pattern of each part and decided to re-make them from my blue synthetic fabric - which is perfect for shoes as it cleans easily. If you wear cotton- or silk-covered shoes, better stay away from all mankind, my advice... ;)

What you keep is: the heels with inner sole, the outer sole, any interfacing still usable (the leaf-shaped thingy in this picture). You take the pattern of the top, the inner leather sole, and the heel cover (the T-shaped piece in the picture).

Don't bother getting the heels off the sole completely, you're likely never get them on properly again. Yust ease them apart (flat screwdriver or something the like) enough to strip the old fabric and glue on the new one. Then use tea-clips or any other small, handy clamps to press the heel to the instep on both sides, hammer the sole firmly to the heel and add some weight (I used dumbbells of 3 kg each) to press them together until the glue has hardened completely. Et voilà, if you didn't spill too much glue where it diesn't belong you'll end up with neat, newly covered heels.

Now for the front part...