Making a Pleated Navy Gown, Part One

Today (well, yesterday) I was supposed to post about finishing my Fluffy & Feathered dress. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking the photos required for that post, so that couldn’t happen. However, I have a new project to talk about, which is always exciting!

Right now i’m not in a very positive place project wise. I’ve hit a lot of roadblocks with my tudor costume and realized I have to accept that it won’t turn out the way I wanted. That is a very frustrating position to be in, even if it is part of learning.

After two days of moping around and doing a whole lot of nothing I decided it was time for a procrastination project! I was aiming for this to be a forty eight hour project, but due to some setbacks it ended up becoming a seventy eight hour project. Oops.

My main inspiration for this dress was this painting, and how Saints were depicted in [early] Renaissance times. I’ve wanted to make something soft and draped for a long time, so this seemed like a good opportunity! I decided to use navy satin faced chiffon for the dress and brocades for an undershirt.

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Since chiffon is sheer and far too flimsy to make a dress with this shape I’m lining it with navy gabardine – I’ve had this fabric for a good two years so I was happy to find a use for it!

I had five yards of gabardine and seven yards of chiffon for this dress and I used almost every scrap, so that worked out well!

This is the sloppy little sketch I did before starting.

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Step one was draping the bodice! I still really need to make a proper write up on how I do this…but I really don’t have a specific method, I just pull the fabric around until it fits the form tightly. Then I draw the seam lines and trim any extra material.

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After I was happy with it I removed the fabric from my dress form and ironed it. This is what it looked like when laid flat!

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 Which got turned into this.

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 Unfortunately since I was trying to make this quickly and because I worked on it at night, I wasn’t very good about photographing the process.

Luckily it is pretty easy to explain! I started by cutting the pattern from gabardine, which will be used as the bodice lining and as a base. This post is going to be almost entirely about working with the gabardine, since I had to completely assemble a skirt and bodice with it before even touching the chiffon. The chiffon gets draped overtop of the gabardine later on.

Once the  pattern was cut I turned the edges over by a half inch – I used my machine for this, which is kind of rare for me! Once the edges were finished I assembled the pieces. Below you can see the collar pinned in place, ready to be attached.

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 This is the bodice lining finished! I used an ivory jacquard for the center piece.

DSC_3167 And here is the first fitting. In my rush to make this I neglected to do a mock up, so I was thrilled to see it actually worked!

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Then it was time to start on the skirt. I chose to make the skirt a rectangle since those are fast, easy, and an effective use of material.

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I decided to hem the gabardine layer with horsehair braid to give it a bit more volume. This is cheap, kind of crappy horsehair so it didn’t add much “oomf” to the dress, but it certainly didn’t hurt!

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And here it is on a dress form! I’m intentionally leaving the hem very long, because it was quite common in paintings from the middle ages. And it helps differentiate it from my other dresses, which I like.

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The last step before beginning work with chiffon was adding the lace up front panel. Since I was working under time constraints I decided to just stitch it down instead of making functional laces.

The panel is cut from jacquard, then I used a piece of lace as an overlay to add texture.

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The lace was gathered overtop the front panel, then stitched down.

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I made marks every three quarter inches down each side, then cut pieces of leather covered cord. These will serve as the “laces”. I used a tiny stitch length and backstitched over the ends of the cord to make sure they were secured over the markings I made earlier on.

This was the end result!

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Ok so it looks like a big mess. But I promise it turns out okay!

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I will be better about posting next week!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part Three

This is the final post about making this dress! I originally posted about it at the end of January, almost two weeks after I finished it. It’s inspired by Madalena’s wedding dress in the show “Galavant” and has a Renaissance/Fantasy flair to it.

There is more information about all that in the first, and the second posts about this project! I would suggest reading those first, if you haven’t already.

In my last post I had just completed the bodice and sleeves, which meant it was time to focus on the skirt! The skirt is made entirely from the greyish “mystery” fabric. I had quite limited amounts of fabric, so I couldn’t make the skirt as full as I had hoped. It ended up being a rectangular front panel, with three gored panels in the back. Skirts like this can be cut from three and a half yards of fabric, which is super handy!

I gave it a small train – I would have made it longer if I had more fabric, but it only ended up being around sixteen inches.

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 I had planned on cartridge pleating the top, so I cut strips of flannel on the bias to back the waistline with. This will give the fabric more volume which makes it pleat nicer!

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I hemmed one edge, then stitched it onto the skirt. One end folds over a half inch, and the other is one and a half inches long.

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Unfortunately even with the backing this fabric really didn’t want to pleat nicely. I ended up with really tiny, sad looking gathers and I wasn’t pleased with them at all.

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So I decided to pleat the top instead. I had hoped having a gathered waist would help differentiate it from the dress I used as inspiration, since i’m not trying to make an exact copy of it. But sometimes you have to do what works with the fabric, even if it isn’t part of the plan!

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This is it all pinned! One large box pleat is in the center, then knife pleats on the sides.

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Then it was time for hemming! I marked one inch inside the hem and folded the edge to touch it, then basted it down.

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Then I turned that edge inward again, until I had an even one and a half inch hem. I did make the hem a little deeper towards the back, so I could get really smooth curves.

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I stitched it by hand with a cross stitch to make it nice and pretty!

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I turned the top of the back seam edges over to create a slit.

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I finished the edge with bias tape and sewed hook/eye closures every one and a half inches to keep the skirt closed. I don’t think I got any photos of those, but below you can see the markings I made for them.

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Then the skirt got pinned on!

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And finally sewn on. I did this by hand to try and hide the stitches, but both of these fabrics are very pucker prone so i’m afraid it isn’t as smooth as I had wanted!

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Here is the finished dress – all it needs is a good ironing!

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I’m probably most pleased with the tiny gathers on the sleeves.

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I decided to pair this dress with the silver crown I got on ebay last year. I’m a little annoyed because it has started to turn gold in some areas which is really bizarre. I’ve heard of fake gold turning silver, but never the reverse! Luckily it kind of comes off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

I also wore it with a bunch of rings I got from ebay and forever 21, and a pair of earrings from Charlotte Russe.

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After wearing this dress for a bit i’ve decided there are two things I want to change. The skirt REALLY needs a liner of some sort, the fabric is too flowy and looks very lumpy, even over a smooth petticoat. It also caves in at the bottom so I think adding six inch horsehair in the hem would make a huge difference.

I’d also like to pick up something to cover the waist seam – next time i’m in NYC I’ll keep a look out for silver lace!

Here are two pictures of the finished costume. We got some snow I thought it would make for a pretty backdrop!

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Thanks for reading!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part Two

This is a continuation of this post, which goes over drafting and making the bodice of this project. If you haven’t already, I would suggest reading that post first. In this post I will talk about making the sleeves!

The design for these sleeves is one i’ve used before – a large puff at the shoulder, fitted to the elbow, another large puff at the elbow, and fitted to the wrist. It can easily be made as a four piece pattern. The difficult places to fit sleeves are at the shoulder and elbow, so it is actually really great pattern if you find sleeves hard.

The sleeves on this dress bring back memories of making my Merida cosplay a couple years ago. I was really proud of the sleeves on that dress….even though the edges of the chiffon were unfinished and the sleeves were unlined so it frayed everywhere. The sleeves also didn’t really line up – and by that I mean the “puffs” were an inch away from lining up at points. Yikes.

But I did a much better job this time!

I started by taking a set of measurements, mostly paying attention to the arm length. After I got the proportions and shapes right I took this pattern in to fit my arms width.

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 The pieces for the “puffs” were altered a lot. Since I wanted them to have a lot of volume I made the patterns almost four times wider than the size they will be when gathered!

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 The lining for the puffs were cut out of silk organza, I had long scraps of it and thought it would create more volume than thin cotton. I cut the rest of my pattern from mismatched batiks, the same type I used for the bodice lining.

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 The organza pieces were gathered down roughly by machine, then stitched on to the batik pieces. All the edges were turned over and stitched down to ensure they wouldn’t fray too much.

I also stitched up the back seam and tried them on to make sure the fit was good – they ended up being a little large, so I made some alterations to my paper pattern before cutting out the top layer of fabric.

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 I trimmed the edges to be a half inch and then sewed them onto the bodice. I ended up with a big ugly mess that looked like this! But it fit really well, and that is the important thing!

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 So I moved on to making the top layer of sleeves. Step one was cutting out the pattern, again. This time from brocade (the fitted portions of the pattern) and the mystery fabric i’m using for the skirt (for the puffs).

Once the pieces were cut out I folded all the edges over a half inch and stitched them down. I was concerned they would fray and wanted to add a bit of stiffness to the brocade, so I fused one inch strips of interfacing over all the raw edges.

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Unfortunately I can’t find a picture of the fabric for the puffs ungathered, but here is what they looked like after I painstakingly gathered each one by hand. It took a long time. Much longer than I was expecting. I may have even done it by machine if I knew how tedious it would end up being.

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 I smoothed out the gathers a little bit, then pinned them onto the brocade parts of the sleeve.

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Then they were stitched together! This part so it took a long time too.

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But eventually I had two lovely sleeves!

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 I did up the side seams and they fit nicely! So I sewed them onto the bodice and stitched the cuffs to the cotton lining.

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 Now it was time for another fitting, which went quite well!  A few little puckers from the lining not being arranged properly, but that can be smoothed out later.

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 Before moving on to the next step I decided to stitch flannel into the bottom of the lining. Batik is pretty delicate, and so is brocade, neither are really strong enough to support the skirt.

 Eventually I’ll stitch the skirt onto the flannel and then cover the flannel with brocade.

DSC_2055Now I could attach the brocade bodice! Here it is pinned in place.

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And all stitched down! I left it open at the bottom so the skirt can be attached.

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That is it for this post! The next post will be the final installment about this project and talk about making the skirt.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part One

Here is a new project! I started this when I was at a point where I didn’t have anything in progress and I didn’t feel comfortable starting on a big project because I hadn’t done enough research. So I chose a simple dress in a style i’m familiar with to keep me busy while I read up on elaborate dresses from the 1500s.

After watching “Galavant” I felt really inspired and decided to make a dress based off of Madalena’s Wedding Dress. Most of the costuming on that show drive me crazy (not in a good way), but I thought this dress was gorgeous, even if it isn’t anything near historically accurate!

I decided to use a blue brocade and a silvery blue ~mystery~ fabric that is silky on one side and matte on the other (definitely not satin or charmeuse). I talked about these materials in a Fabric Friday post ages ago, about how they were so pretty I couldn’t bear to use them. But now i’ve had them for almost two years and think it’s time they have a life beyond sitting in a box. I can always get more!

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I had planned on beading the bodice and creating a very full skirt but after deciding on the brocade and silver material I knew I wouldn’t be able to do either of those things. The brocade is delicate and I think it would catch on the beading, and the second fabric is too soft to form such a full design.

This sketch was done before I had picked fabric, so it isn’t quite accurate!

DSC_2015 I started by draping – this was a very easy pattern to drape!

This mock up features sexy delivery men. Of course.

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DSC_2017I removed it from the dress form and turned it into a paper pattern, which looks like this! Usually I would draft the front of the bodice as one piece, because princess seams didn’t exist in the 1400s. But in this case I wasn’t focusing on accuracy at all.

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I cut my pattern out from lining fabrics first. I decided to use scraps of batik – i’ve had these for ages and they are too small to use for draping and most mock ups, so it was nice to finally have a use for them! I think they look quite nice together too, funky lining makes everything better.

Once the pattern was cut out I sewed it together and tried it on – it was actually a pretty nice fit!

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 Then I cut  my bodice pattern out from brocade.

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 Which also got assembled.

DSC_2039 When all the seams were pressed I went through and stitched a 1/2″ away from the edge, around each edge. This prevents the brocade from fraying and creates a guideline of where to turn the edge over, without leaving any marks on the interior of your fabric.

(after the pen incident I have converted to using this method as much as possible)

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 I went through and turned over all the edges and secured them in place with a tiny running stitch. This is before it was ironed, the brocade is very delicate and prone to puckering so it didn’t look great at this point.

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 I repeated this process on the cotton lining. The only difference is that the center back edges were turned over by machine, and done in such a way that it creates a pocket. In this pocket I put a piece of plastic boning.

Without the boning whatever closure I add will be prone to bunching up, this solves that problem!

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 Speaking of closures, for this particular piece I wanted to try creating loops to lace through instead of eyelets. I made these by cutting one and a half inch wide strips of bias cut fabric – in this case I used the same fabric that will get used for the skirt.

I turned the edges inward, then folded them in half again. This is the same way you make bias tape, except I stitched the folded edges together.

I made twenty four two inch long pieces for the loops, and one piece that is three yards long to serve as the lacing.

DSC_2025 I pinned the bits of fabric (soon to be loops) onto ribbon.

DSC_2045 Then stitched over them a bunch of times. The end result were two pieces of ribbon with loops attached. Perfect!

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 Then I sewed these onto the back of the bodice lining and ta-da, a functional closure!

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Since the skirt fabric was now incorporated into the back of the bodice, I decided to bring some to the front by decorating the neckline with a folded bias cut strip of the material. I’m not sure why it is puckering a bit, I made it properly and ironed it loads. Luckily it looks find when worn, so i’m not going to get too upset about it!

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So that is it for this post. Because the next step was attaching the sleeves, and this post would be very long if I included that part too! Hopefully that will go up next week, along with another post. I’m going to try to get back onto my twice a week schedule because I miss it.

Thanks for reading!

Isabel de Requesens, Photos

Don’t get top excited by the title, these photos are crappy in my sewing room shots! I would really like to set up a proper backdrop with drapery and candles and fancy lighting but for now these will have to do. As per usual the costume was made, worn, and photographed by me.

Getting these shots was more difficult then usual since I can’t lift my arms in this dress. The struggle I went through just to focus the camera was pretty intense.

If you haven’t seen them already, I have five blog posts and two videos which go through the process of making this costume, they can all be found here!

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I’m really pleased with how this turned out. I might have to remake the hat at some point since it’s still not holding it’s shape that well, but for now it’s fine.

Thanks for reading…er, in this case, looking! I should have a “The making of” post up soon.

Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

I was doing so well with my twice weekly updates until now.

My only excuse is that this week was busy. I make a point to leave the house as little as possible, but I had nine days in a row where I had to make myself presentable and talk to people. I’ve also been trying to kickstart a lot of new projects which has been my main focus, I didn’t  try hard enough to find quiet time to write and edit anything exciting.

But I did get a few post outlines done, because I’m going to be prewriting a lot of things for the end of August, which is when i’m getting my wisdom teeth out.

Anyway, sorry for the delays! Regular posting should be back to normal. This post is the last in my Isabel series and focuses on making a ugly hat.

I looked around for Renaissance beret patterns but most of them focused on the gathered variant, which I didn’t want. So I decided to make my own – beret patterns are really easy to draft, but it’s a little tricky to figure out the sizing. Luckily my first educated guess was perfect so I didn’t have to make any changes.

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Then I cut out my pattern from velvet and reinforced the pieces with a lightweight fusible interfacing.

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The hat was way too floppy and refused to hold it’s shape. I tried adding boning, which failed miserably, then I had the bright idea to add horsehair to the seam. Nope. Bad Idea. Didn’t go well, it destroyed everything.

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I tossed that hat and luckily had just enough fabric left to make another one. This time around I lined the hat with quilt batting hoping it would add enough volume to hold it’s shape, but not too much that would make it look like a fuzzy CD balanced on my head (the effect boning gave).

I basted the quilt batting and velvet layers together.

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Then I basted the two pieces together and tried it on, and it was perfect!

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I used a strip of lace to finish the…hem? I guess it’s a hem. The opening.

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Then I rolled that over and sewed it down with a whip stitch and blanket stitch combo. I did this by hand so I could “ease” it open without puckering the fabric too badly.

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I used my machine to fully secure the two pieces together, and then I had a fully functioning hat!

There is some puckering at the opening, but that’s inevitable. It’s also not visible when worn.

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Then it was time for the beading – I didn’t follow the pattern from the painting identically, but it’s pretty close! I used beads I had on hand, aside from the weird rhinestone square ones, which I picked up from Michaels. I’d like to replace these with something more historical looking in the future, but they were the closest I could find without making an etsy order.

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I started on the nipple center part first, which I created by sewing down an 8mm pearl and stitching seed beads around it. I probably should have used more opaque beads because the red is really visible through these, oops!

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After that I freehanded the rest of it.

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And that’s pretty much it. It was a nice little afternoon project that took around two hours from start to finish!

Unfortunately the off shoulder style of this design restricts my arm movement by a lot, so much so that i’m not sure I can take my typical tri pod shots. I haven’t actually tried, but I definitely will at some point this week. If it proves successful I’ll make a separate post with those photos.

But for now this will have to do! A few mirror selfies with a wild wig I need to tame.

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As always, thanks for reading!

Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

Here is part two of making my beaded chemise, part one talks about the actual beading process and can be read here!

In addition to photos and a lot of rambling, I also have another video to share! I’m not too happy with how this turned out, it’s a bit choppy due to big variations in lighting, angle, and zoom. I’ll try to get that sorted out for future videos, but for now it’ll have to do!

This video shows pretty much every step of this project, from beading the collar to hemming the skirt and everything in betwee. If you are seeing this post in an email you can access the video here, otherwise you can view it below!

Unfortunately since a lot of these photos were pretty nondescript I think files ended up going in the wrong folder or being deleted, so i’m missing a few here and there.  Hopefully it won’t make things too confusing

Step one was drafting the sleeve pattern – it was absolutely massive!

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Once it was cut out it was even more ridiculous.

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I pinned my sleeves to have a quarter inch rolled hem, not an easy task!

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Then sewed it by hand, just because this part of the sleeve is most visible and I wanted it to look good. Ignore the other lines of pen – they are part of my original plan for the sleeves which didn’t end up working out.

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Then I gathered the cuffs down with two rows of super teeny tiny gathers. I don’t know if anyone else would use the word cute to describe gathers, but I think these are pretty cute.

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In my last post I talked about making these decorative beaded cuffs

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Those got sewn on overtop of my very pretty tiny gathers.

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Then I took a step back and began work on the skirt…or dress, the main part of this costume. It was three giant rectangles with seams at the sides. The rectangle in the back is longer, and the front one slants inward towards the center…but they are pretty close to being rectangles.

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I marked out a hem allowance.

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Then pinned it in place.

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I hemmed it by hand, yay! I really do like hemming things. I know people view it as a big chore, but it’s so easy and satisfying, it just takes a bit of time and patience.

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The next step was cutting out the sleeve holes, I had to make these deeper later on because I forgot there was a one inch seam allowance at the top, oops!

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I also cut out the “V” at the front, then rolled the edges over twice to avoid fraying.

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Once all that was done I gathered the top of the skirt/dress/top/thing, I was struggling a lot with making the gathers even so eventually I stopped and decided to do it by machine. I set the tension really low and used a 5.0 stitch length, then pulled on the threads until the turned to gathers.

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Here is where I lost the photos – The skirt/dress was sewn onto the collar, the collar creates the top part of the sleeve hole, so this had to be done first. Once that was done I measured the size of the sleeve hole and gathered my sleeves down to that size.

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 I stitched them into place by hand and bam I had a chemise! Don’t I look thrilled?

In all honesty chemises kill me because they are so time consuming and such an important part of historical costumery….but they look like a cross between maternity wear and canvas tents. Trying one on and thinking “I spent thirty hours on that” makes me reconsider my love for this hobby.

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I added hooks to the cuffs so they would fit my wrists tightly.

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The last thing to do was sewing in lining to the collar, which was pretty easy.

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So that’s that! I do have photos of the finished ensemble but I’m not going to post them until later in the week. Unless you are a sneak, then you can see them here.

Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. 

Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

I’m resuming progress on my Isabel costume! This is part one of making the chemise, which will be worn underneath this dress. Today I am going to be talking about how I made the collar, it’s easily the most detailed and complicated part so it’s worthy of it’s own post. My next post will talk about basic assembly, and I should have another video to share as well!

The shape of this collar is a cross between a U and a rectangle. I drew out the shape on poster board and traced it onto the beige linen I chose for this project. Then I used a quilting ruler to measure a half inch seam allowance all the way around.

The pieces were sewn right-sides-together, then turned rightside out so there was a finished edge all the way around.

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I hand stitched around the edge to tack it down and give more of an old timey look. Then I began drawing out the pattern for the beading and embroidery.

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Though I have some minor experience in beading I had never created something with a repeating pattern, nor had I ever embroidered patterns. So I knew this project would be a huge adventure – and maybe a huge mess too.

I happened to have beads that would work on hand, leftover from my bracelet making days and previous costumes.

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I believe I used 4mm glass pearls, 8mm glass pearls, 3mm white plastic pearls, 3mm red beads, and 2mm gold and red beads. I piled them all on a beading mat to keep things organized.

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The first step was sewing the centermost beads on. This is by far the easiest and most enjoyable part – after finishing this step I was lulled into a false sense of security that this would be easy.

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Step two is sewing all the connect-y bits with gold thread. The beads give a good guide which makes this part easier, but the thread was constantly getting caught on beads, getting, tangled, or pulling things loose.

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Then I went through and added gold seed beads. Six get added to each section, two extend down from the 4mm pearls at the top and bottom, and one gets added to each side of the center section. The goal here was just to add more gold because it looked a bit sparse!

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Then it came time to add the red. This was by far the most difficult part, the thread had to be looped four times to have enough bulk and it seemed to always get caught on beads, tangle, and need to be clipped. It took me several minutes to stitch each one (unless the thread tangled, then it would take twice as long), which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize there are nearly ninety of them that have to be sewn!

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I think in total I must have spent thirty hours beading this stupid thing. If I did it again I feel it would go much faster because now I have more experience with the process. I would probably do a much better job too – I did this thing one side at a time and the side I did last is much cleaner and more even then the first. Oops!

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So that finishes off the collar, I added ties to it and a lining later on but that will be covered in the “basic assembly post”.

There there was another part of this costume that required more embroidery and beading, so I’ll go over that really quick too.

The cuffs on Isabel’s dress are tricky to see and end up looking “gold” from a distance, so I really didn’t have to bead these. But I thought it would be nice to have them match the neck piece.

I started by cutting small rectangles of linen, then marking out a half inch grid.

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I sewed rectangles over the grid lines, then a cross in the middle that stretches from corner to corner.

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Lastly I sewed some of my large 8mm pearls in the middle, and it was done!

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Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. 

Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

Here is part two of my velvet Isabel de Requesens dress! Today i’ll talk about the skirt and sleeves.

In addition to sharing photos and information I also have a short video about this costume!

I did my best to press “record” whenever I sat down to work on this costume, and though I didn’t manage to capture every step I ended up with a few hours of footage.  I edited it down, sped it up, and paired it with music.

The whole thing was easier then I had expected, and it’s something I would like to do again in the future. I’d like to film tutorials and stuff as well, but I think this is a good place to start considering my inexperience with filming and editing. I’m a bit out of my element here, so any comments or feedback would be very much appreciated!

If you are reading this in an email, here is the direct link where you can watch it! Otherwise it can be played below.

Onwards with the post!

The skirt was pretty easy, as usual with these things it’s just made from rectangles. I used three pieces of 40″ wide fabric cut to be around 58″ inches in length. The length was cut with a four inch hem and one inch seam allowance in mind.

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They were sewn together the way you would expect, then hemmed with a cross stitch. I’ve pretty much completely switched over to this stitch when it comes to hemming, it’s a little slower but the end result looks so much nicer then a whip stitch.

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Then I went ahead and cartridge pleated the top, cartridge pleating velvet is honestly one of my favorite things. It’s so easy, satisfying, and the end result looks so sharp and pretty, even if you don’t measure beforehand.

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Once that was done I did a little dress form test and everything looked pretty even and good!

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I pinned the skirt to the bodice, then sewed them together.

DSC_7512After the skirt and bodice were attached I began focusing on the sleeves. These were hard since I didn’t want them to be so ridiculous that they were eating my hands, out of proportion to the skirt, and taking over the whole costume. I ended up making them about forty inches wide, and i’m pretty happy with that decision.

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Each sleeve was hemmed. I didn’t mind the raw edge since these were lined later on.

DSC_7465Then It came time for the bias tape, which was, by far, the most annoying part of this dress. I made it from lining material and organza, the same combo used to create piping on the bodice.

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Below you see my second attempt at sewing it on. My first attempt was done with 1/4″ stitching and the velvet completely disintegrated  during the pinning process. I ended up trimming the edge before trying again with a half inch stitch.

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The trim was folded over to create a quarter inch of visible gold.

DSC_7490Then it was all sewn into place with a blanket stitch. After that was done I added the lining, I don’t have any pictures of this process since it was done late in the afternoon and I couldn’t get a decent photo.

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I tacked the bias tape together every four and a half inches. This is where the buttons will go.DSC_7504

Then the buttons were sewn on. I opted for regular gold dome buttons since my attempts to paint them with the black design shown in my reference photo didn’t go well at all.

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The tops of each sleeve were gathered down with cartridge pleats. In the end the tops of each sleeve were only twelve inches!

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They were sewn onto the bodice and it was pretty much done! It still needs a back seem but you can get a good idea of how it looks from the pictures below. Unfortunately due to the nature of this bodice and the off-the-shoulders style it looks really poopy on my dress form.

I took a few mirror and webcam shots of it worn, and that’s as good as it gets for the time being.

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Photo on 7-8-14 at 4.11 PM #3

Photo on 7-8-14 at 4.11 PM

As you can see the neckline is kind of, uh, daring. Luckily the finished costume includes a higher neckline, thanks to a fancy collar which will be part of the chemise.

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So that’s that! Still lots to do on this costume, but the most major part of it is complete.

Just as a warning, I’m not in a big rush to finish the chemise and make the hat. I have to wait a month for the wig to arrive, so I might switch things up and work on a different project for a bit.

I hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading.

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. 

Recreating Renaissance Fashion, Isabel de Requesens

A few things I would like to state before moving forward with this post: I have searched all over and keep getting conflicting information about this painting. What I do know for certain is that it was painted by Raphael and Gulio Romano in 1518. From what I can make out the painting was originally titled as Joanna of Aragon or Je’anne de Aragon, which is still the most frequently used title in English.

Italian and French sites state the painting is of Doña Isabel de Requesens, wife of Ramón de Cardona and the official title seems to be “Portrait of Isabella Requesens, Vice-Queen of Naples” (I know citing wikipedia isn’t the most professional way of doing things, but it has more information then any other site i’ve come across).

I’m still not entirely sure which is correct, if you have more information i’ll happily change the title!

I also want to mention that I will be changing a few things. My fabric colors were based off of this version of the painting, a restored “high key” version. My gold and reds are much brighter and lighter the shades in the original, but at the same time i’ve chosen an aged off white linen for the chemise, simply to avoid the “candy cane effect” of pairing white with bright red.

Speaking of the chemise – I have chosen to remove a few details to make the garment more versatile with other projects. There may be other minor changes as well. I want to accurately bring this painting to life but I really don’t want to end up with a garment I dislike, so it will be a delicate balance!

Now that all that has all been said!

I discovered this painting back in December when I was browsing art.com and fell in love. It’s from my favorite time period, it’s red, it has super huge sleeves and a hat. It also requires a large amount of embroidery, which made the project easier to justify (even though it kind of looks a lot like things I’ve made in the past).

If you are unfamiliar with the painting, this is it.

This first post is going to be about making the dress, then later on i’ll post about the chemise. This was an odd project since the chemise collar needed to be made before I could create the dress, but the dress needed to be finished before the chemise was made.

The collar was key in drafting this garment, since it provided the basic neckline shape.

I used cotton as usual to drape my pattern, this was slightly tricky since I wanted a three piece pattern, but with a lot of stretching and pinning I managed. I didn’t trim away the excess fabric since I was terrified of cutting the collar by mistake.

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 When it was removed from the dress form, it looked like this.

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I turned that into a paper pattern, which had to be altered a bit because it was large in the bust.

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 I cut my pattern out from velvet and lining material, and marked out all the boning channels.

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Then I began folding strips of velvet and pinning them in place to serve as boning channels. Looking back on it I should have used a canvas or twill to support the boning, but my priority at this point was keeping the garment really lightweight.

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Then they all got sewn down and boning was inserted.

These probably won’t be practical long term but oh my gosh this garment is so comfy because you feel the fluffy velvet instead of the bones again your skin.

DSC_7453I set this aside for a bit and began work on the outer bodice. After the shoulder seams were sewn together my next step was making and attaching piping.

I wanted the gold on this costume to be a really specific shade, in the 16th century there wasn’t really gold fabric (aside from brocades or embroidery). It was either pale yellow or almost orange, in this case it looks like a deep mustard color which I wasn’t fond of at all. So I opted for a pale yellow.

I used a layer of my lining fabric and organza to get this effect. I also pre-wrapped my cord in flannel to avoid the rope texture showing through.

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After the piping was made I very carefully stitched around the bodice neckline to create a finished edge I repeated this process on the bodice hem and arm holes as well.

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Then the piping was pinned in place and sewed on by hand.

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The next step was pinning in the lining. This went really, really badly. It was too big, it had stretched, it was too long…it was just a mess. I finally got it pinned so it fit but the end result looked horrible. I ended up just going with it, but i’m really unhappy with how the interior of this costume looks.

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After that was done I embroidered eyelets in and tried it on for the first time! It was at this point I realized where my mock up had a fair amount of stretch, velvet does not. It had nearly four inches of skin showing in the back!

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I ended up adding a “modesty panel” in the back, but it was more like an extra panel since the skirt was sewed on to the panel as well.

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Once those were added I tried it on again and everything was good. It’s not as pretty as I would have liked it to be, and the interior is a bit of a mess. But i’m really happy with how the outside looks, so I can’t complain too much!

Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five.