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 http://godivascreativechaos.blogspot.com/2017/07/artificial-glass-grapes.html

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...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Late 19th century necktie made from ordinary silk tie

So I happened to stumble over a bunch of really low-priced silk ties with patterns that would suit late 19th century. And because I have a male character up my sleeve that I'm playing every now and then (usually when I know there's gonna be a lack of gentlemen at a ball), I bought one of each pattern. As I said, they came at an irresistably excellent price...

Just the shape doesn't suit at all... So what's there to do but unpick them and give them a new shape! Usually you can make a necktie and a bowtie from one ordinary tie. Here's how to:

Unpick the hand-stitched back-seam all along. Cut away all loops and hindrances and take out the inlet. You'll end up with something like this, an outer shell with pieces of lining attached, and the thicker inner fabric:

You'll notice that the outer shell of a tie never comes in one piece but in two or three joined together. Unpick the seam closest to the slim end so you get a larger, broad and a shorter, slender piece.

The borad piece is going to become your necktie, the slim piece will be used for the bowtie.

Update to come, currently busy with baroque...

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Attempts in victorian hatting

There is one fashion problem especially in Victorian liveroleplays: a lady would never leave the house without a hat. And with your outfits improving you will want more sophisticated headdresses, matching your dresses, instead of one decorated straw hat for all purposes. I have so far tried four different patterns.

Of course I started with the most difficult one: a top-hat. The shape was entirely modelled on a mould. The inner layer consists of stiff interface joined with paper glue as it remains flexible when dry and doesn't smell. It's not the best solution, though, as it takes long to bind with the fabric. The cover was made from brocade matching the dress, sewn and then glued and stitched over the basic shape. I prefer a combination of glueing and sewing to just hot-glueing everything. It allows for much finer work and looks better. I'm a nerd when it comes to details...

The second type of hat I tried was a nice little hat to sit over the forehead so you can wear your hair taken up at the back - which usually gives you trouble fitting a hat on top. This has become my favourite shape now, as it can be decorated and modified to fit the dress: wider brim, higher top, folded up like a tricorn, loaded with flowers, plain with ruffles, anything goes. When using the pattern, keep in mind to add about a centimetre seam allowance at the inner side of the brim and at the top of the crown when you cut your material for the basic shape, and to add seam allowance to all adges when cutting the outer fabric. For the outer fabric, crown and top are cut once from fabric matching the dress and once from thin, matching fabric for the lining. Glue the brim to the crown, close it at the back, then glue on the top and cut off excess material (it never fits perfectly). The brim is cut twice from dress fabric and joined at the outer seam. Top and crown piece are joined, both go over your basic hat and are glued in place, then joined along the crown where the hatband will cover the seam. The lining is glued in in some places and joined with the outer fabric. Add hatband, decoration and a few small loops for hairpins, or just use a hatpin to keep your dainty little headdress in place.

Here are the example pictures of my blue velvet hat.

Only the inlay is glued, the fabric is sewn, in many places by hand. I usually use buckram or cardboard. Do abstain from using hot-glue anywhere on your hat, even for the decoration - you will never be able to change anything or correct mistakes. These days, hot-glue is used for almost everything instead of using the proper methods. I used book glue (which remains flexible when dry) to join the fabric layer and the cardboard and shaped the brim by letting it dry pinned up.

The lining was finished by hand.

The three sides had their shape already by glueing the fabric in, but after attaching the hatband and the decoration, they were fixed to the crown with a few stitches.

 The plume easily gets its shape from an ordinary curling iron. First, get the quill in shape to sit nicely on the hat, then curl the ends.

This is the finished specimen: A tricorn, covered in blue velvet (same fabric as the dress), lined with blue art silk and decorated with a shaped plume and some golden flower-berry-thingy.

The third and fourth pattern are the easiest ones, they're almost flat and are basically just a platform for your decoration - ruffles, lace, flowers, bows, and plenty of them. Cut the shape from cardboard or any other stiff material and overlap the slit about a centimetre or two to get a 3D-shape. Cut your fabric a bit bigger than the basic shape plus seam allowance, join it with the lining (which should be smaller than the basic shape) but leave a slit big enough to slip in your hat. Glue in some places (through the slit) so your fabric follows the shape of the hat-base. You can also help with a few stitches in places that will afterwards be covered by the decoration. Close the slit and decorate. Also here, either use a hatpin or sew two or three small loops for hairpins.

Pattern to come...

Thursday, 28 January 2016

1880s dress of blue velvet - day dress and evening bodice

The blue velvet skirt may look familiar - it's the one from my egyptian style dress. I still had so much of this blue velvet left that I decided to make another high-necked bodice and, playing pattern-teris once more, even squeezed in an evening bodice to go with the skirt. Always nice not having to change the entire outfit when a lady is busy plotting and solving mysteries!

Again the pattern of the day bodice follows the one I have already used several times - only this time I think I didn't add enough fabric for the button line, so the bodice fits very snugly, no chance of wearing it over a blouse as a jacket. Well, or maybe just a very thin blouse :D The buttons are, again, rather small and of a pale golden colour. The standing collar is only half the hight of the egyptian one's and closes with an additional hook and eye. It was the best solution for following the high-necked fashion of the 1880s and still show some lace underneath. And I'm still musing over additional decoration...

The pattern of the evening bodice is the one I had altered for the embroidered ballgown, the neckline this time being a little higher as there won't be any bertha and even for an evening gown it would have seemed too naked. That's also the reason why I added small sleeves roughly based on the pattern I used for the puffed sleeves of my white regency ballgown. The decoration will be black lace and beading once I find the time to go shopping.

The hat follows my new favourite pattern that I created in an hour of boredom because I couldn't find any decent pattern online.