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.

Diaphanous Flower Dress, Part Two

Here is the second part of making my flowery dress! The first part, which talks about the skirt, can be found here!

The bodice of this dress is a simple sweetheart that drafted a few months ago for a different project. I actually planned to do a pattern making tutorial on this project, so I have nearly twenty five photos of how it was made! But this post will be long enough without those, so i’ll only show you two.

Here is the draped bodice on my dress form.

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And here is what the finished pattern looks like!

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Step one was cutting out all the pieces. This was made more difficult (by that I mean really annoying) by the fact I chose to make this bodice from sheer and slippery materials.

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Each piece was cut from two layers of tulle, a layer of chiffon, and a layer of organza. After cutting them out I hand basted all the layers together. I also used tape to keep track of which pieces go were – they sort of all look the same!

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The two front pieces were done a little bit differently, the tulle layers were assembled separately from the rest, this way I can attach flowers to the chiffon/organza layer and use the tulle as an overlay.

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The pieces are sewn together with a three quarter inch seam allowance. All the seams are pressed open, then turned under to create a quarter inch wide pocket. This finishes off the seams really nicely and creates a channel you can slip boning into.

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Here they are finished – not the most even stitching in the world, but this was my first time trying the technique, so i’m sure i’ll get better!

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I repeated the process on my front panels, then inserted plastic boning into all the channels.

Once that was done I began the process of gluing flowers onto the bodice! I started with some petals.

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I wanted to keep the flowers even on both sides, but I wasn’t aiming for perfect symmetry. Please ignore all the icky glue tails, a sweep with a lint roller removes them all!

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At this point it was time to add the tulle overlay…which looked awful. The seams in the tulle looked terrible and I wasn’t happy with it all. I also really disliked how the center seam looks, so distracting!

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I decided to cut the tulle to be all one piece, tulle has enough stretch that it doesn’t have to have a bust curve…at least not on me and my tiny bust.

For the center seam I decided to stitch a scattering of pearls and sparkly bits to create a little more visual interest, and hopefully, distract from the ugly seam.

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Then I basted my tulle layer on top. I like how this looks so much more then my original plan, just shows that you shouldn’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working out, that’s part of being an artist!

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I attached the front panels to the rest and added boning into that seam.

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I took a minute to try it on and though I could fit into it, it was a little snug and I was worried about the tulle ripping. I added an extra (very small) panel on each side which gave an extra half inch of room. A half inch was all I needed, and it fit so much better!

Then I moved on to the waistband, which is the only opaque part of this costume. I made it from white cotton sateen with an overlay of chiffon and tulle.

The pieces were basted together.

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Then the edges were turned under with a basting stitch.

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I set this aside for a bit and used lace to finish the top and bottom edge of the bodice.

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The waistband was pinned on.

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Then the top of the waistband was sewn on with very tiny hand stitches.

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The pins for the other side were removed and the skirt was sewn on.

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Then the waistband was pinned down again.

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And sewed on. It actually looked like a dress, which is great.

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I trimmed a few threads and sewed in a zipper, and the whole thing was finished!

But it was missing something. That something was an obnoxious floral headpiece. I made a simple flower crown of sorts, I don’t have any photos of how I made it, but I do have a video tutorial! It can be watched here.

The finished thing looks like this!

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And when that’s worn with the dress, the finished product looks like this.

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So that’s that! This dress didn’t come out the way I had hoped, but i’m glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and made it, because it was fun!

I’m also really flattered and amazed by the positive feedback i’ve gotten on this project. It makes me really happy to know you guys like it!

Thanks for reading!

Dewdrop Series, Making Another Dress, Part One

A few weeks ago I finished up a dress and cloak which I named my “Dewdrop Series” because it was based off of the blossoms and greenery of spring. I ended up with two yards of leftover ivory damask, and a few yards of remaining velvet. My original plan was to use the remnants to make a fancy 18th century suit, but the damask proved to be far too delicate (and prone to fraying) to make into a jacket, so that wouldn’t work.

The fabric really needed to be used for a dress. After a bit of sketching I decided on a really simple design, so simple that I figured I would make it right away. I  mostly wanted to have it completed so it can be photographed along side the other pieces in this series, but I MIGHT have been procrastinating on all the other things I have in progress.

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I wanted this dress to be more modern then the original but I still wanted it to be cohesive, simple, and a little unusual. I decided on a strange kind of “spiky” neckline, a visible waistband, and a skirt half the size of the original but pleated the same way. I originally wanted it to have a train too, but I only had two yards of fabric so that didn’t end up happening.

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This post is going to focus on the skirt, next post will be about the bodice.

The skirt was one big rectangle, cut to be one hundred and twenty inches wide, which is the same width as this material – if the fabric was less wide there is no way I would have been able to make this dress with two yards of fabric.

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I didn’t have any side seams to do, so I got straight to the pleating! Step one was cutting long strips of lightweight quilt batting. I learned a lot from making the first dress in this series, this time around I whip stitched the strips together so there was no added bulk at the seams.

I also didn’t mark the lines on these like I did the first time around. The ink was prone to rubbing off, and it was terrifying touching white fabric with blue hands! I’m also pretty good at eyeing it, so I decided to be brave and trust myself.

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Then I sewed these on by hand with a really large basting/running stitch. The first time around I used my machine and it sped up the fraying process which I did not want!

The only lines I marked were for the large box pleat in the front.

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Then I hemmed the whole thing using the same method I use in most of my dresses.

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Doesn’t that look pretty? Slash that, it’s not supposed to look pretty, it’s supposed to look invisible. 

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Then the pleating began! This went so much faster then my first dress, I think it took one sixth of the time or something crazy like that. Even a bit of practice makes such a different when using new techniques.

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You may also note I didn’t add bias tape, so it’s fraying a lot. I did this on purpose because last time I ended up with a ton of extra bulk at the waist due to sewing on bias tape BEFORE my cartridge pleats. This time I did it afterwards and the end result is much nicer looking and more practical too.

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And  that was pretty much it when it comes to the skirt. Aside from a back seam (which can’t be done until it’s attached to the bodice) it was finished!

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Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Photos of Completed Dress

Dewdrop Series – Making a Velvet Cloak

I really love cloaks. They are so dramatic and different from everything in modern fashion. Putting one on makes you feel like a magical princess from another time and world.

So it’s pretty weird that I haven’t actually made one. I made a hooded dress, a dramatic velvet overdress, and even a cape at one point, but never a proper cloak. Horrifying, isn’t it?

But don’t get scared! I’ve resolved the problem and can now officially say that in addition to being a cloak enthusiast, I’ve also made and worn one. And this post is about that process.

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I started with a bunch of doodles. Doodles are the best way to figure out how on earth to make something.

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I actually wanted the hood shape to be very similar to the one made for my Blue Dress, but I wanted to achieve the shape through gathering, which meant I couldn’t reuse the same pattern.

On the bright side, there is a lot more wiggle room when you’re gathering, if something is too big it’s easy to gather it down to be smaller, and if it’s too small you can let it out. Because of this I felt really confident – so confident I decided not to make a mock up.

In my defense I probably wouldn’t have been able to get a good idea of the finished product through a muslin mock up. Velvet is so much heavier then most materials, it reacts really differently and I don’t have anything around that will imitate that.

I also have an extra two yards of velvet, so mistakes were acceptable.

The main pattern pieces looked like this.

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I set aside the brim pattern (which is just a long rectangle) and recut the hood pattern from my ivory damask, which I decided to use as lining. Then I basted these pieces together by using the largest stitch length on my sewing machine.

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Then I set that aside and began work on the brim. The brim is the most important part since it supports the rest of the hood, and it’s also the most visible piece, so it needs to be very nicely finished.

I started by fusing a heavyweight interfacing to the back of it, this gives it more body, and it also prevents the fabric from stretching.

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I cut two strips of my demask material, then I folded them in half and sewed them on to the underside of the velvet brim. These are channels that will eventually house hooping wire, which is what gives the hood shape.

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I could have just rolled the edges and been done with it, but I decided to be fancy and add cute little chiffon ruffles. I used three inch wide strips of chiffon which were folded in half and ironed down, then I ruffled them by hand and stitched them onto each side of the brim.

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Next I prepared the hooping wire. I used bolt cutters to cut two forty-four inch pieces – I later decided these were too long and cut five inches off each piece. These got threaded through the channels I made, and were then set aside.

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Moving on to the  actual hood piece!  There wasn’t that much to do here, I just had to cartridge pleat it down to the right size.

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Once that was done I sewed the brim on and it looked like a hood! Wow.

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Though there was still a bit of work left to do on the hood I decided to take a break and work on the cape instead. Capes are really easy, they are either half circles or rectangles that are gathered down. In this case I was using rectangles, I cut three panels of velvet to make up the cape, after they were sewn together the final measurement was 67″ x 118″ or so.

It’s a real beaut, huh?

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I pinned my hood and cape up on my dress form and it looked like this, already taking shape!

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 I went around ever edge and hemmed them with a three inch seam allowance. I usually use a slip stitch so you can’t see the thread from the other side, but I found that puckered the velvet. So instead I did two rows of a running stitch, and I kind of like that it’s visible from the other side. It gives it character.

I apologize for the lint – I did all the handsewing on the couch and i’m pretty sure my dogs used this as a blanket for part of that time.

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After that was finished the cape needed to be gathered. But first I had to figure out what to gather it onto. I really didn’t want to do the traditional cloak attached to the hood type of thing, because that’s no fun. So I came up with a funky idea that involved these U shaped bits of material. I rolled the edges over and sewed around them, then used a heavyweight interfacing to make these a little more sturdy.

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I gathered my cape down with cartridge pleats and sewed it on.

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Then I did the same thing to my hood.

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I cut away the excess material, then used linen as lining to bind the seam closed. I sewed the edges of the hood piece and cape piece together, so the back ended up looking like this. I think it’s a lot more interesting then the traditional hood back, plus it doubles as a sweat vent in super hot weather.

(is that gross?)

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The last step was attaching hooks and eyes to the cloak and dress so they would stay together. The weight of this thing is pretty crazy, there is no way it would stay on without them.

So that’s that!

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And here are a few of the dress, after trying it on for a few minutes I quickly realized the petticoat will not work – it really needs a pair of pocket hoops underneath it to achieve any sort of shape. But other then that, i’m really pleased with it!

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 So theres that project, all finished! I currently have a few things in the beginning stages, but i’m not sure what my next post will be about. At this point it could be a regency dress, a tulle ball gown, or a Raphael painting i’m trying to bring to life

Thanks for reading!

Birds Of Prey ~~ Photography

Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph bird’s of prey. It was amazing, you could get within 5 feet of all the birds, and I was allowed to pet all the owls and even hold a kestrel :] It was so amazing. I had to get up at 6:30 then we drove for about an hour, then I had to wait for 90 minutes for the people with the birds to arrive but it was soooo worth it. I took over 1000 photos of the birds and have now deleted all but about 50. I really do think some of these are amazing and I hope you guys agree.