giovedì 20 novembre 2014

XVIII century costume: Marquise

Hello ladies! Today I wanna show my last creation, a rococo' inspired costume :3
The XVIII century was one of the few historical periods I never met in my modelling life. I've never been a huge fan of panniers and high hairstyles, powder and wigs, but as a beginner costumer I wanna try everything. I found a good offer on Ebay for a Simplicity pattern (number 4092) and I bought it. While doing some research about the pattern on the web I discovered it was released in 2006 when "Pirates of Caribbean" came out; the first model shown on the envelope is a classic XVIII century gown with lace sleeves and decorative ribbons (a simpler version of a robe à la française) while the second one was inspired by the movie itself, and looked easier to make. 

The reviews described the pattern as very good for beginners and I've to admit they were right. I had some problems with the panniers but I'm not good with heapieces and accessories. This dress was the first fully lined and boned costume I ever made and I'm soooo pleased with it! I finished to sew it in a couple of weeks and I would recommend this pattern to every lady who wants to start a rococo' inspired dress. 

The fabrics I chose are midnight blue taffeta and light blue satin. The dress asked for a petticoat but I chose to sew the underskirt and the main dress together (this is not historical accurate). On the back I went for a pair of hidden buttons instead of the zip asked by the pattern. The bodice has been really easy to sew together and I was a little bit frightened by the boning part. I was wrong! My boyfriend helped me to draw the boning channels and I did the rest, using linen as interfacing (so I have 4 layers in my bodice: fabric, lining, linen and lining again). The result is sooo lovely, the central panel falls perfectly and gives a good shape. I used spiral steel boning for this project and since the dress fits me quite fitted (I used a size 8 instead of a 10, the pattern runs large) I avoided to add extra boning except the central panel. 
The second step has been the lining. Lot of love! The dress falls on the body like a feather and the inside of the garment looks so professional. 

After sewing the lining to the bodice I stitched by hand this beautiful blue organza trim along the whole neckline. 

Then I started to decorate the bodice attaching the sleeves and this beautiful ivory lace. 

The skirt has been very easy to sew; I pleated it instead of gathering it and I'm so satisfied of the result. This is how the dress looks without the panniers: 

I started sewing the panniers in a second moment, when I saw the dress looked so "empty" without a proper underpinning. The problem with the panniers is the back: the dress doesn't hang straight on my hips (it's obvious, this model wasn't designed for panniers) and so the back looks quite big. For the panniers I bought two metres of natural/ivory linen and white bias tape as boning channels: 

These are the several layers of the dress. I use a burgundy taffeta petticoat to hide everything. 

.  My bf took some detailed photos with his Reflex to show you some details:

That's the dress in action during a shooting: 

For this dress I spent less then 100€: the fabric costed around 60€, the lace was really cheap and I already had at home the blue satin ribbons I wear around the elbows. The choker has been done by my own, it was an old strip of black lace hidden in my sewing basket from ages. And you? Did you sew a Georgian dress as well? Show me your work! 

lunedì 3 novembre 2014

Civil War day dress (1850s-1860s)

Hello there! Today it's a cloudy and wet day in Italy and I've enough spare time to write a new entry. 
As some of you may know I'm totally in love with the Southern Belle look (known as "antebellum fashion" as well) and I already wrote an entry about this period last year (italian only; the public knows this look thanks to "Gone with the Wind" mainly and recent movies as "Return to Cold Mountain" and I find it totally fascinating and feminine. After watching "Gone with the Wind" again I felt advanced enough to sew a civil war costume by my own. I did some research on the web about fabrics and construction methods and I immediately faced it would have been an expensive project. The total amount of fabric is really huge and you need multiple layers of clothing to be the most accurate possible. I already had a corset and a chemise but I needed a 6 hoop petticoat to be worn underneath so I purchased it. 

There are many patterns available to sew this costume and I found a good offer for Butterick 5831; this dress has a loose fitting and a simple design which looks like a day dress, surely it's not a ball gown. I purchased this pattern since it contained some tasks I needed to achieve: buttonholes, french seam and button cuffs and I know it's not so accurate. The sleeves look more from 1840's and I don't know why they designed this loose bodice (victorian women wanted a thin waist, this one would have been so unfashionable!) but it looks good. I bought it because I needed a standard model to sew and study on, especially for the bodice. The pattern instructions ask for inner boning and I avoided this step since I' always wear a corset underneath; the skirt has to be pleated with cartridge pleating (which I already met in my first Tudor project) and this step took me a while to be completed. I had to sew darts on front and back bodice to reduce the looseness, I used a size 10 was sadly too big, so I've been forced to reduce it a little. I choose this beautiful light green fabric in 100% cotton. 
I really had fun in sewing buttonholes, it was my first approach with them and I can say I'm pretty satisfied.

I sewn a strip of white crochet lace on button cuffs for a more feminine look (can I say I LOVE how the shoulders came out thanks to french seam?). I clean-finished the neckline with some emerald satin bias tape. 
After pleating the skirt I attached it to the bodice by hand with a backstitch but - gosh! - it's really huge and heavy. The pattern includes a train on the back of the dress but I don't think it's so much period accurate so it's up to you to sew it or not. As final touch I purchased a ivory taffetta ribbon. 
Look at my hair! I found a nice tutorial by Janet Stephens on YouTube and I did this accurate hairstyle with the help of my boyfriend: soooo lovely! 

The sewing process took me 10 days more or less and so I could finish it on time for a shooting in a neo-romantic villa! After a couple of days, I could wear it for the first time... Ta-dah! (Did you notice I dyed my hair dark in the meanwhile hehe?). Sorry for the messy room and the lack of ironing and hemming the gown.

The dress needs to be ironed and hemmed again but it's simply stunning and I think it's a good result to be a beginner. Sorry for the lack of underpinnings, I forgot to put the petticoat on the dressform! 

These are some shots taken during the shooting. All shots are by Mario Bosio:

And you? Have you ever sewn a victorian/civil war costume? Show me your works and I'll be glad to write an entry dedicated to you!

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