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

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

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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.