Making a Pink Sateen Ball Gown, 1860’s Inspired, Part One

Today i’m blogging about another bodice that I have in progress. This one is based on one of my favorite 19th century dresses, which was worn by Countess Anna von Hallwyl in 1865. The portrait of her wearing it can be seen here, and the actual dress can be seen here. I’m pretty sure that’s the same dress, but the exact details are hard to track down since the gown is part of a swedish museum archive that doesn’t allow english search terms.

I discovered this painting years ago, before I was even making historical costumes. I was instantly charmed by it and those feelings haven’t changed at all. I still adore the dress and think it’s a really interesting example of 1860s fashion. I love how it has the traditional bertha style neckline, but instead of being created with pleats or ruffles it’s ruched! And the banding details on the collar carry over to the sleeves, which create a paned effect that dates back to renaissance times.

I bought fabric for this project shortly after seeing the painting for the first time, but I didn’t have the confidence to make it until now. So i’m very excited to finally be working on this gown.

Even though this project is based on a specific painting, and has the same color scheme, i’m not aiming to recreate the dress linked above. The finished project will be a mixture of elements from the Boutibonne painting and my own design choices. But the similarities are pretty clear in the bodice! Since one of my favorite things about this dress is the collar, that will be prominently featured in the version i’m making.

Here is the sketch that I started out with.

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And a full length sketch.

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I started by draping the bodice, then turing it into a paper pattern. At this point I realized the collar would have to be a bit wider, and the neckline a bit higher than I had originally planned.

I made a mock up to check the fit, which made it clear that some alterations were needed.

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I lengthened the basque waist and trimmed a half an inch off the waistline. I took in the front seams by half an inch, lowered the shoulder by a half inch, and made a few alterations to the arm holes. Overall these are pretty major changes, but at this stage they were easy to make.

(also I should mention that this is pictured over my Cotton Sateen Corset)

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After fixing the pattern I began cutting out the bodice. The bodice has two layers – a top layer of pink cotton sateen, and a base layer of stiff cotton to prevent the top layer from stretching.

My fabric choice for this project was kind of poor (in my defense I made it three years ago when I had way less fabric knowledge) the material is too lightweight for the bodice, so I backed the cotton sateen with lightweight fusible interfacing before cutting it out.

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I created boning channels on the front and side panels with twill tape. The boning channels are visible on the front panel (sewn after attaching the cotton sateen to the stiff cotton layer) but the side ones are hidden.

This bodice will be worn over a corset, so the boning isn’t for reduction purposes. It’s just to support the bodice and keep the material laying smoothly over the body.

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I sewed the right sides of the sateen/stiff cotton layers together around the arm hole, so once they were turned the right way out I had a finished edge. Then I hand stitched around the edge to keep it in place.

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The bodice was sewn together by machine with half inch seam allowances. A few things didn’t line up as well as I would have liked, but overall i’m happy with it.

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I boned the bodice with quarter inch steel, then sewed an alencon lace applique to the front. This lace was another one of those bad material choices, since alencon lace looked very different in the 1860s and wasn’t common at the time. But I love this fabric and it matches perfectly, so i’m using it anyway.

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I folded the bottom edge inward by a half inch, then sewed piping to the edge. I tried doing this a few different ways with various sizes of piping, but this looked the best.

When the bodice is worn tension keeps the piping smooth and it looks symmetrical. When it’s flat the piping does it’s own thing and it looks like this, which is a bit unfortunate!

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At this point the exterior looked pretty, but the inside was quite messy. I didn’t want to line it, since that adds bulk to the garment, but I didn’t want frayed edges either.

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So I trimmed each edge slightly, then whip stitched lace hem tape overtop. this was a little time consuming, but i’m really happy with the end result!

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Now I could finally move onto the collar! The collar started as a single piece of cotton sateen, which was also backed with fusible interfacing.

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Then I pinned lace appliques overtop. All the appliques used on this project were fussy cut out from a piece of lace fabric. That lace fabric had borders on each edge, which were also fussy cut out and used to trim the skirt. It’s a much more affordable way of buying lace appliques/trim as long as you don’t mind spending a few evenings cutting it apart!

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Here the lace is after being sewn on. It looked very pretty at this stage, but unfortunately that didn’t last, because the next step was covering the collar with two layers of gathered tulle.

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After adding the tulle the lace became really difficult to see. But even though it’s barely visible it still adds a lot of dimension and sparkle to the collar, so I think it was worth doing.

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I made the bands for the collar out of one inch wide strips of cotton sateen. I ironed the edges inward, then fused a small strip of interfacing over the back side. This isn’t the most secure method, but it was much faster than hand sewing them and it looks much cleaner.

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The bands were pinned in place two inches apart, but after draping the collar over my dress form I made a lot of changes. I probably spent and hour arranging them until I felt they were perfect.

The bands were sewn on by machine. Then the raw edges of the collar were covered with bias tape that was stitched on by hand.

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Close up showing the lace detailing beneath the tulle.

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I liked how this was coming along, but it was a bit dull looking. So I did the obvious thing and added sequins.

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They really do fix everything! They should be advertised as the duct tape of the embellishment world.

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Now I started adding the frills. The first addition was a scalloped lace from etsy, which was hand sewed around the top and bottom edge.

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Then I sewed a bit of lace trim to the center of the neckline. I had to sew the lace to tulle, then sew the tulle to the collar to get it to stay like this.

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Now it was time for the lace ruffle which goes across the underside of the collar. I used chantilly lace for this, and trimmed the edges so the lace will be longer in the back and shorter in the front. I also saved the bits I trimmed off – they were helpful when it came to making the sleeves!

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I gathered the lace down by machine.

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Then pinned it onto the collar. This was almost as time consuming as placing the bands, I spent so long lifting portions by a quarter inch only to drop them again. There was also a big struggle in getting both sides to be symmetrical, but I think I got it figured out!

Here it is sewn in place.

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I love how frilly this is. Everything should involve a minimum of four different types of lace.

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Then the collar got sewn onto the bodice, and suddenly it started to take shape!

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I tried putting it on my dress form so you could see how it drapes, but that didn’t work so well. The proportions don’t look right since my dress form doesn’t fill out the shoulder and bust of the bodice. I guarantee that it looks much better when worn.

On the bright side it does show how nicely all the materials work together!

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Now it was time to finish and bone the back of the bodice. I did this by making a one and a half inch wide facing. One edge of the facing was turned inward by a half inch and sewn down to create a boning channel, and the other edge is sewn to the centerback of the bodice.

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The facing was supposed to be attached with a half inch seam allowance, and hidden by the exterior of the bodice…but when I measured the waistline it was only 25″ and I didn’t want to lose a whole inch of seam allowance. So the facing was sewn with a quarter inch seam allowance and didn’t get folded under completely.

Then I sewed a quarter inch away from the edge to create a boning channel. The end results looks pretty bad, but it’s at the back of the bodice so i’m not that bothered by it. The lacing will mostly cover it, and If I have leftover chantilly lace when i’m done making the skirt i’ll stitch some overtop to cover it completely.

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Boning was inserted, then I embroidered eighteen eyelets into each side. They are spaced more densely near the waist of the bodice since that’s where the most tension will be.

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I lined the collar with muslin since the interior of it was a mess.

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And that’s about it! I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I think the materials work nicely together and it’s just as frilly as i’d hoped it would be.

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I haven’t included a worn photo in this post since the silhouette didn’t really come together until after I added the sleeves. But I promise there will be some in the next post about this project!

In the mean time, here is a detail shot.

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Thanks for reading! I don’t think I have any more bodices in progress right now so the next post will probably be about poofy sleeves and skirts!

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Garment District Haul, Fabric & Trim

It’s been more than six months since my last one, so I think it’s time for another fabric haul! I usually go into the Garment District twice a year, once around my birthday, and once before Christmas. So this trip was a little bit out of the ordinary for me, but it came at a perfect time since i’ve been feeling quite uninspired recently. But I think having the opportunity to plan a few new projects and purchase fabrics for them was just what I needed, I’m feeling very excited about everything I got and the things I plan on making with them!

I was mostly shopping for materials for three projects and I ended up being really successful.  Here are my swatch cards for those projects.

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I had a list with me, and at the top of the list were materials for a Burgundian dress. I actually bought the trims for this dress first, so I had to find a material that matches those. I was expecting this to be a challenge, because my fur trim for the dress is a greyish brown, and the beaded trim I bought is a bright gold. Finding a fabric that goes well with gold and a cool toned brown isn’t something i’d classify as being easy.

But I got really lucky! The first fabric store I went into had just what I needed: A beautiful blue jacquard with a gold scroll print.

I’d sort of expected this project to be red in color, because that is a color I really gravitate towards. But the cool tones in the blue went really nicely with the fur, and the gold perfectly matched the beaded trim. This fabric is part of the 120″ wide home decor collection that i’ve used before, and since it’s so wide I only had to buy five yards.

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Here it is in the store, Zahra fabrics. It’s sitting alongside a gold brocade, which I ended up buying for the same project.

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Burgundian dresses are usually worn over kirtles. In medieval times these were slim fitting, long sleeved dresses which get wider towards the hem. The neckline of this kirtle will be visible when the Burgundian dress is worn, so I wanted a fabric that went nicely with the jacquard, but also had enough contrast to be interesting.

I found this gold and silver brocade which has a geometric print to it and knew right away that it was perfect. Not only is the shade of gold spot on, the silver threads tie in the cool toned theme and go beautifully with the blue.

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At another shop, which I can’t remember the name of, I got this beautiful beaded trim which will be used on the neckline of the kirtle. Usually trims embellished with seed beads are way out of my price range since they are more expensive than sequined trims. But this one was reasonably priced, and I thought the design was too lovely to resist.

Unfortunately I didn’t buy the amount I was supposed to – I had 2.5 yards written down on my list, but only purchased a yard and a half. So I won’t be able to use it around the waistline of the Burgundian dress, which sort of sucks. But I should have enough to use it on the kirtle, and if enough is leftover I’ll put some on the headpiece which will match this ensemble.

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The next project I was shopping for is a Cotehardie. This is another medieval garment and I actually plan to make two of them – one inspired by the female version of the garment, and another inspired by the mens version. The women’s version is quite similar to the kirtle, but it’s made from heavier material and is usually more embellished. Which means they are more of a standalone garment than a layering piece.

The mens version looks like a fitted jacket, though it’s less hardy. They extend past the rear, almost like a dress, and were frequently worn over slim fit pants.

For the women’s version I found a beautiful blue velvet which I thought would be the perfect base fabric.

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Then I found another brocade, which is a bit more subtle than the gold one. I love how much texture this has, I think that will read well on camera. It also has gold in it, which will work well with the gold trim I bought earlier in the day with this project in mind. It is also in that light blueish grey shade, which is quite similar to the fabric I picked for the Burgundian dress. That wasn’t intentional at all, but I don’t mind too much, I think it’s a pretty color!

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The trims for this dress were actually bought before the fabrics. These are trims that have been made with an embroidery machine, so the stitching of them actually looks quite similar to the embroidery on garments hundreds of years ago. Which is why I thought they were the perfect choice for a medieval costume!

I got four yards of the bottom one, and a yard of the top one. The top trim will be used to trim the sleeves, and the bottom one will decorate a sash at the waist of the dress.

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Here are the fabrics for this costume all together!

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For the mens version I decided against velvet, since I thought it would look out of place. Instead I bought a navy wool suiting, which is quite similar in color but lighter in weight. I got three yards of this, which is probably more than I needed. But at least if I mess up i’ll have extra!

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Mens cotehardies are often worn with capelets. Which meant I was on the hunt for a sturdy wool coating. I ended up lucking out and finding one in the same greyish blue color as the brocade I bought for the women’s version. These pieces don’t have to match, but I kind of love that they have the same color scheme.

I only god a yard and a half, but I think that will be enough. This wool is very heavy and has a lovely texture, I bought it for $15 a yard which I think was a good deal!

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I didn’t find a fabric I liked for the bottom half of the mens cotehardie ensemble, but I was okay with that. I have this four way stretch knit in a champagne color with gold threads running through it, which I think will work really nicely for a pair of leggings to wear underneath it.

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Cotehardies are also known for having a crap ton of buttons. They extend down the front of the garments and up the sleeves until past the elbow. In those times buttons were more decorative than they were functional, which is why there were so many of them.

NYC isn’t the cheapest place to buy buttons, so I didn’t get any there.  I ended up ordering from this shop on etsy that was selling 20 half inch buttons for five dollars. I bought a hundred, which should be enough for the two costumes!

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With fabrics for the costumes I had planned found, I was mostly in browsing mode. But I had a few things left on my list. The first was a sheer light brown fabric with silver threads running through it – this may look familiar if you’ve seen my birthday haul, since I purchased two yards of it on that trip. I recently decided to make that fabric into a long shift, to wear under a future project. But two yards wasn’t enough for that, so I picked up two more yards.

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The other thing I planned to buy were small montees from Beads World. These are for my 1630s taffeta dress, which I will hopefully be starting on soon. I had planned on buying clear ones, but these taupe-y/champagne colored ones caught my eye so I bought those instead. I think the shape and tone of these is a bit more interesting than clear square ones!

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And pretty much everything else are impulse purchases. I managed to only buy one fabric that wasn’t on my list, and that’s this neat iridescent blue material that has a gold shift to it. I used this type of fabric for my Silvery Blue Dress earlier this year, but had no idea what it was called. The store owner called it Cotton Fallie, so let’s assume that’s the name for it. I picked up three yards and i’m sure i’ll find something to make with it eventually!

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I saw this greyish blue sequined trim and fell in love. It was thirteen dollars a yard, which is more than I like to pay for a yard of anything, much less trim, but I couldn’t resist! Something about the pattern and color really stood out to me. I think around the waist or collar of a dress this would look lovely.

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Speaking of greyish blue trim…

I also picked up four yards of this lace. Do you see a pattern in my purchases? It was totally not intentional, but it seemed all the things I really liked were in this color! This was in the case at the front of Zahra fabrics when I went to pay. They only had four yards, and I believe it was $35 for all of it. I think that’s a pretty good deal, plus with the design of this lace it can be fussy cut out so you have two borders, which gives you eight yards of trim.

I think i’ll use this to edge the hem and hood of a cape. I think my Silvery Blue Dress would look lovely with a big cloak overtop, and this trim matches that dress really nicely. The sequins on it look almost like snow when the light hits it, it’s really beautiful. When it gets a bit colder and we start to get snow i’ll add that to my project list!

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Lastly I have a pile of things from trim and bead shops. The first thing is from Pacific Trimming, where I got this gold clasp. I might use this on the wool cloak and pair it with the mens Cotehardie ensemble, or maybe i’ll save it for something else. I just really liked it!

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At Hai Trimming I went a little crazy. I got twelve of these brass stampings which I plan on soldering together to create a crown. I also got some brass cameo frames, because they were two for a dollar, which is a lot cheaper than i’ve seen them online.

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Then I saw these beads and I couldn’t leave without them! I think they look like the eyes of a dragon, with the bright orange and red veining. Not sure what they will get used for, but they really stood out to me. I got twelve of the smaller ones and three big ones.

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I also picked up some in a purple color. I have heaps of purple velvet and some purple satin which are collecting dust in a bin on my top shelf. These match those fabrics quite nicely, so maybe I can come up with a design that incorporates all those materials.

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I saw these in Beads World and really liked them. They are circular metal beads which almost look like buttons. They are quite heavy, so I’m surprised a pack was only $2.50. Not sure why I liked these so much, and I don’t know what i’ll use them for, but I think they would look quite nice on the front of a jacket or up the cuffs of a dress!

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Then I got sequins! The two packs on the left were the first things I bought that day. I was kind of looking for lace that could be turned into a 1920s evening dress. I was imagining that project would have a light pink or green color scheme, so when I saw these sequins that had both of those colors I decided to buy them. The burgundy ones were bought with my medieval projects in mind, because I was so certain that one of them would be dark red.

Jokes on me, I couldn’t find lace I liked and the other project ended up being blue, not red. But i’m sure these will come in handy someday!

The feather shaped gold sequins were bought because I loved them. No idea what these will be used on, but I’ve gone through half the circular gold sequins I bought last time I was in. So I think gold feathered shape ones actually have a decent chance of being used.

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The last thing I bought isn’t from the Garment District, it’s from ebay. And it’s a real leather hide! This isn’t something I ever expected to be buying, and i’ve never worked with leather before, but I really want to try making a pair of 19th century slippers. Specifically velvet covered slippers that are embellished with sequins, which will match a court gown made from the same materials.

I think leather is the right material for that, and the flexibility of real leather will make a difference over the pleather alternatives. So when I found this on ebay for $20 I decided to get it – i’m kind of nervous but excited to attempt this project. It might go really wrong, but if it goes well I can say i’ve made a pair of shoes, and that would be quite neat!

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And that’s it! This post is absolutely massive so i’ll end it here. Thank you for reading!

Making a Cotton Sateen Regency Bonnet

Usually I post about making a dress, then post about making matching accessories. But today I felt like blogging about making this bonnet, so i’m doing things a little backwards.

I’ve recently finished a regency themed dress made from a red and white floral fabric. I showed a little preview of it in my last progress report, and a blog post about the process will be up in the coming weeks. The dress has a bright print but is very simple in design, which makes it an excellent candidate for accessories. I decided to pair it with a bonnet made from cotton sateen and a pair of white shoes. This post will be about making the bonnet and decorating the shoes.

I’m not very familiar with bonnets from the early 1800s so I did a bit of research. It seems cotton caps were more common than bonnets, but I didn’t think those would be very flattering on me or look nice with the dress. After a lot of searching I found reference images that I liked. The first is on the bottom left of this print and the second is shown here. My plan was to combine the brim from the second image with the cap/banding of the first image.

Here is my sketch illustrating that plan…I draw really badly sometimes.

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The brim and back of the bonnet are made from interfacing with wire in the edges. The outside will be covered with red cotton sateen and the interior will be white. I also chose to make the cap portion flexible and made entirely from fabric, with no base.

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And I have some fake flowers and pearls which I wanted to use as decoration.

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With a bit of a plan in mind it was time to get to work!

I never really know where to start when it comes to bonnets, so I tried to drape the brim shape on a wig head. That process looked a bit like this…

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When it was removed from the form it looked like this!

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I made it a little bit larger to account for the fact that my wig head is smaller than my head.

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And I had a pattern! It looked about right when I held it up to my head, so I used the pattern as a guide and cut out the interfacing. This is heavy duty felt weight interfacing, which i’ve used for headpieces in the past. I should have used buckram, but I still haven’t ordered any.

(it’s on my list, i’ll get to it someday…)

The interfacing sat weirdly on my head, it looked much different and way larger than the newsprint layer. So I cut several inches off each side. I don’t regret doing this, but I wish I hadn’t cut off so much. My bonnet ended up being a little bit too small and sits farther back on my head than I would like.

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Using my sketch as a guide I drafted a back panel which will cup my neck and attach to the brim. This also got cut out of interfacing.

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Then I whip stitched wire to each edge. This allows the bonnet to be shaped.

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To cover up the wire and texture of the interfacing I sewed flannel over the top side of each piece. I did a really awful job of this, but that’s okay, no one will see it.

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The top layer of the back piece are bands of cotton sateen. I made these bands by sewing three inch wide strips of cotton sateen into tubes, then turning them right side out and ironing them.

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The bands got sewn on but I left the top and bottom edge open. The lining got tucked into the open edges and sewn down. Eyelet lace will eventually be sewn under the bottom band, and the top band will hide the raw edge of the lace used for the cap. So  these were left open for the time being.

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This is the interior.

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I decided on the wider eyelet lace since it matched the color of the dress better (the other was a little too yellow) it was pinned underneath the bottom band.

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And all sewn down! It looks a little ripply right now, but when it’s bent more tension is put on the bands and they look smooth.

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I skipped a few steps here, oops The brim was covered with flannel and cotton sateen. Then I cut out a piece of poplin to the same size as the brim with a half inch seam allowance across the bottom edge. I didn’t like how the poplin looked on its own, so I covered it with a gathered layer of silk organza. Then the bottom edge was tucked underneath and pinned to hide the raw edge. Here you can see it pinned in place.

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I whip stitched around the top edge and the sides to secure the layers in place, but I left the bottom edge open.

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I made a little bit of bias tape (I had maybe an inch leftover when this was done!) out of some lace. I sewed this around the top and side edges to finish them nicely.

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Now the two pieces were mostly done and could be sewn together. Here they are pinned in place. I sewed them together with thread that was doubled up. I was sewing through two layers of stiffened felt so I used a big needles and pliers to help guide it.

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And when that was done I cut out the cap. I took a few measurements and then guessed what the shape and size should be. Not the most professional method but it worked!

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The bottom edge was gathered slightly then tucked between the top band and the layer of lining. I sewed it in place with small whip stitches.

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Then the top  layers was gathered slightly towards the center and pinned between the brim and the brim lining.

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Here is a shot of how it looked inside.

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And after everything had been sewn down! After all that work it was finally starting to look like a bonnet.

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I made up some ties from strips of cotton sateen. These got sewn just inside the interior of the bonnet. And then it was time for decorating!

The roses I planned on using for decorating were a bright orangey red which didn’t really match. So I used a watercolor brush and some copic inks to darken the edges to a deeper shade.The one in the middle/slightly towards the left is unpainted so you can see the difference.

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I glued those on along with the pearly strands of white flowers, and it was done!

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I think this bonnet is very pretty, and i’m happy with the shape and construction. But I made it too small, so I don’t love how it sits on my head. I also need to add another tie, or combs to the back because it is really unflattering on my jaw when it is tied tightly, but it tends to shift and fall when it’s tied loosely.

I attempted to take photos of this worn but the lighting went to crap and I didn’t end up with usable images. But I did get a bit of video footage of me wearing it (I was filming it for a costume spotlight) and that can be watched here!

Now onto the shoes. I actually plan on making a pair of Regency slippers from leather and velvet in the near future, since I want them to match a dress i’ll be starting soon. But I didn’t make these shoes, I bought them from amazon, you can see the listing here.

They aren’t very comfortable or well made, but for $18 I wasn’t expecting a lot. I bought them because I really liked the pointed toe, and found the silhouette to be quite similar to shoes from the early 1800s.

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Funnily enough the model of these shoes is “Angie – 18” which is my name and current age, which is kind of a weird coincidence!

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I made some bias tape from cotton sateen. It was folded in half and glued down around the foot opening with the creased edge being visible. I used E6000 to secure it and a few dozen binder clips to keep it in place while the glue dried. The raw edge was trimmed with pinking shears and dipped in fray check to prevent it from unraveling in the future.

Then I made cute little bows for the front.

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Here they are with the bows attached! I glued on some of the pearl/white fake flowers as well. I’m really happy with how these look.

I just wish I had used a little more precision with the glue gun! There is some visible glue which i’m not very proud of. I might try and fix that in the future, but even if I don’t it’s not a big deal. I doubt anyone will be getting that close to my feet, or even see these underneath my dress!

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And that’s it for the accessories! I’ll talk about the dress that goes with them soon.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Black Lace Dress, Part Three

 

We are onto the third and final blog post about this dress! Part one shows the process of making the bodice, part two shows the skirt, and this part will cover making the collar and adding the final touches. I also have video “progress logs” about this project posted here.

The most unique part of this dress is the collar.  This was a big part of what attracted me to the dress I used as inspiration, and what I was most excited to replicate. Unfortunately my materials didn’t let me do that.

I had planned on making the collar from ruched lace. That didn’t go so well. Since the lace print consists of solid floral designs and sheer mesh I ended up with areas completely opaque, and others that were very sheer. Even though it was gathered properly it looked uneven and messy. My only other option was using the point d’esprit netting for the collar, but I didn’t like how it looked gathered either. The stiffness of this netting makes it bulky when it’s gathered, which isn’t very flattering in the arm area.

So after a very frustrating evening I gave up on my pretty draped neckline and chose to pleat the netting instead. This way the netting will lay flat and won’t add bulk, it just looks nothing like what I had planned.

I pleated large rectangles down by eye – I didn’t want to leave any visible marks on the mesh so I tried my best to make them even without the help of a ruler.
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Before attaching the collar I sewed the black lace around the neckline, with only the scalloped edge extending past the bodice. Once the collar is sewn on only the scalloped edge will be visible. I did this partially to created some contrast, since the netting is similar to my skin tone, and also to imitate the way the scalloped edge of black lace meets the netting on the skirt.

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I sacrificed some skin from my knuckles (holy mother of pin pricks this process was not fun) and spent an hour pinning and arranging the collar in a way I liked.

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I put it on my dress form and was surprisingly happy with it. Does it look anything like I had planned? Nope. But once I got over that, I started to appreciate it for what it is, not what it was supposed to be. That isn’t ideal, but sometimes it happens. And what matters is that in the end I had a dress I really liked!

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It  looked surprisingly like the sketch I made for this project before studying the Mairlyn dress. I sort of forgot about this, and chose to go in a different direction after sketching this, but the dress looks almost identical to it! I guess sometimes your first instincts for what to do with fabric are the best ones.

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I sewed the collar on and tacked the pleats down with a whole bunch of hidden stitches. I also gathered the collar slightly on each side of the armholes, which makes it sit a little nicer on my arms.

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Here it is worn. This was my first time trying it on so I was a bit nervous! Luckily the collar looked pretty, more symmetrical than I had expected, and it fit my arms. Those were the three things I was concerned about and to have them all be non-issues was a pleasant surprise.

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Now it was time for rhinestones! A little while ago Creative Crystal sent me the bejeweler pro tool, which is for hotfix rhinestones. It is supposed to pick them up, melt the glue, then drop the crystal when it’s pressed against the surface you are embellishing. When I decided to buy rhinestones for this project I chose to buy them from the same store so I could give it a try.

I bought two hundred 3mm crystals, and two hundred 4mm ones. The 8mm ones were sent to me along with the tool, and they are all in the shade Jet. This project has pretty low fabric costs (maybe $30? the lace and netting were cheap) so I could justify spending the $27 for swarovski crystals…though I definitely won’t make a habit of it!

I felt the tool worked really well for the 3mm ones, it picked them up and melted the glue very quickly. The 4mm ones were kind of a hassle, the tool wouldn’t pick the stones up at all so they had to be placed by hand before using the tool to heat them. But the process was definitely cleaner and faster than it would be if I was using E6000 and the stones felt very secure once attached. So I kind of have mixed, but mostly positive feelings towards it.

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I placed a bunch of 3mm ones underneath the collar.

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And you can’t really tell, but 4mm crystals were placed in the center of each dot on the scalloped lace that trims the neckline.

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But most of the stones went into the skirt. I placed them somewhat randomly on the lower four inches of the lace. They look really pretty in certain lights, but aren’t as noticeable as I had hoped. I think it’s my own fault for buying black stones and placing them on black fabric, but still, i’m a bit disappointed!

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With the skirt and bodice done it was time to focus on attaching them to each other. But before doing that I cut out the lining and assembled it.

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Then I pinned the lining into the bodice.I only stitched it down around the neckline, the lower edge and back edges were left open and will be sewn down once the skirt and zipper are attached.

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It was at this point I realized the bodice wasn’t quite as symmetrical as I had thought. From the front it looked pretty good, but the pleats did not line up in the back. Luckily I had the perfect solution: Use a bow and cover that shit up. This isn’t the most professional solution, but I had wanted to put a bow on the back of this dress from the beginning.  I just placed it a little bit higher so it has a benefit other than being adorable.

The bow attaches with two hooks/bars after the bodice is zipped up, so if you are some  strange person who is offended by bows you can take comfort in the fact that it’s detachable.

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I sewed the back of the skirt up with a french seam. I left the top eight inches open, since that is where the zipper will be.

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Apparently I don’t have any photos of the zipper or attaching the skirt. But the process was pretty straightforward, the skirt was whip stitched to the interior of the bodice, then the lining was folded over the raw edge and sewn down. I sewed the zipper in but the zipper was three inches too short. Which is a stupid thing to have happen.

At this point I just wanted it done, so I closed the top few inches with hooks. Then I sewed the lining to cover the edges of the zipper. The final step was sewing in the petticoat topper, which is what you see below.

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And it was done!

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Here are some worn photos of it. After taking these I decided it needed a necklace, so I bought one from Macy’s which I will wear to the wedding. The shoes are lace with scalloped edging, which makes them perfect. They were purchased from DSW. The hair clips are from H&M, the earrings are PBS Downton Abbey Collection,  and the lipstick is Colourpop liquid lipstick in Creeper. I had lace nail decals from jamberry as well, but you can’t really see them.

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The bow is a little crooked in this picture, but that is an easy fix.

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And that’s it! I think this will be the last fashiony thing I make for a while. Even though I love how this turned out, I didn’t enjoy the process as much as I would have liked. I’m definitely ready to get back to historical stuff – maybe with a silly Halloween project mixed in.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Black Lace Dress, Part Two

Today i’m blogging about making the skirt to match the black lace bodice which I posted about last week. This part of the project went better than the bodice, and ended up being pretty easy!

 The pattern is a simple 18.5″ long three quarter circle skirt. The finished length after seams will be seventeen inches, which is pretty short, but there will be a six inch ruffle sewn onto the hem so hopefully it will rest just above my knees.

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The skirt was cut out of the polyester shantung I used for the bodice. I had just barely enough left!

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 I sewed a layer of black petticoat net overtop so it would match the bodice. The bodice actually had two layers of petticoat net on it, but I figured the gathered black lace at the waistline of the skirt would make it look darker and balance out the color difference.

Also I didn’t have a lot of petticoat net leftover. The second layer would have been made up of three or four pieces which I didn’t think would look that good.

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I was going to do a normal rolled hem on this but I ended up having just enough one inch wide horsehair left. So I used that instead. I sewed the horsehair on by machine, then turned the hem over and sewed it down by hand with whip stitches.

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With the circle skirt done I switched over to working on the petticoat topper and ruffle. The petticoat i’m wearing under this is  my cheap leg avenue one, since I plan on traveling with this dress and that one can be squished into a small plastic bag. But that petticoat is shorter than this skirt and doesn’t have the level of volume I wanted.

Which is where the petticoat topper comes in! It adds the length I want and a bit more poof. And it gets sewn into the dress so the dress could even be worn without a petticoat and still have a bit of volume.

I cut twelve and eleven inch wide strips for the petticoat topper, and six and a half inch wide strips for the ruffle on the hem of the circle skirt. All of these were cut from a beige point d’esprit netting I got from Joanns. I was pretty impressed with this netting – I think I paid less than $3 a yard for it and it was really soft and easy to work with, while still creating a good amount of volume.

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Anyway! The eleven inch wide strips got gathered down and sewn onto the twelve inch wide strips.

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And then the top was gathered down and tah-dah! It doesn’t look like much here but trust me, it helps with the skirt shape.

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Then the six inch wide strips were sewn together and the twelve yard length was gathered down.

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That is some ruffly goodness right there. I left all of these strips unhemmed because I prefer the look of that. This netting is soft enough that it isn’t scratchy, and it doesn’t fray, so it doesn’t really need to be hemmed anyway.

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The ruffle got pinned on.

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And topstitched on. I could have sewn it on by hand but I didn’t think anyone would really notice.

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Here it is on the dress form – It looks a little uneven but I promise it isn’t!

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With that done I cut out the lace overlay. This was nineteen inches long and three yards wide. I figured after the top was gathered down it would fall just below the hem of the circle skirt and make a nice transition into the netting.

I did that, and it kind of worked but I didn’t like the result.

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So I ripped the gathers out and pinned the scalloped edge of the lace onto the point where the netting attaches to the circle skirt. Then I roughly pinned the top to the waistline.  I realize this looks messy right now, but I liked this soo much better!

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I sewed the lace onto the hem.

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Then gathered the top down and sewed it onto the waistline of the circle skirt.

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I thought it looked really lovely, but there was a slight problem.

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The scalloped edge kept flipping up and that looked bad.

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So I spent an hour hand sewing the scalloped edge onto the netting.

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And then it was done! Or almost done. I still have to glue on the rhinestones but everything else is finished. I love how this turned out. I think the fabrics look lovely together and it’s so pretty and delicate. I was worried the lace would look cheap (I think I paid like $6 a yard for it? so it was cheap) and that my dress would end up looking cheap. But that concern went away after getting it to this point.

Like the last blog post, this one has a video counterpart which can be watched here.

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And that’s it! Part three should be up on Friday and will talk about the collar.

Thanks for reading!

A Fabric & Trim Haul

It’s that time of year where I post another ridiculously huge birthday haul!  Like last year I bought a few random things but decided to spend the vast majority on fabrics and costume supplies. My birthday was a couple weeks ago, and the day before it my dad and I went shopping in the NYC garment district where all of these lovely things came from!

I know not everyone likes hauls, but I got a positive response when I did this last year so I decided to bring it back! If you don’t care for this type of post, i’ll have a “The Making of” post up on Monday which might be more to your taste. If you do like hauls, i’ve done two before, which can be read here and here.

Lets start with one of the less exciting cuts of fabric, and we can build up to the really good stuff. This is 120″ wide home decor weight damask. One of my favorite stores in the garment district (Zahra Fabric) has started stocking this whole collection and sells them for ten dollars a yard, which is pretty damn good considering the weight and width of this fabric. This is actually the exact same fabric I used for my Dewdrop Dresses, just in a different color!

I plan on using this for a medieval style dress and headpiece, similar to what is shown here and here.

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Funnily enough, I spent several minutes between debating between this fabric and another in a red color scheme. I finally decided on the orange/gold material because I have so many red dresses in my portfolio already and none in this shade. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it’s very similar to the fabric i’m using for my tudor project.

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From the same store I got two yards of brown velvet. These are for the sleeves of my tudor project. A lot of the fabric I originally purchased (about three yards) was damaged and had to be discarded. I didn’t have enough fabric leftover to make the sleeves and was unable to buy more of the original fabric.

Velvet was commonly used for sleeves and I think the warm brown color goes well with the orange/gold I used for everything else!

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Speaking of velvet, I bought a lot of it! The red velvet is for another 16th century project, based off of this painting. Unfortunately my streak of buying damaged fabric continues with this red velvet. The first few yards were damaged from the machine that bolted it, so I got those for free. But I didn’t realize the damage continues down the entire length of fabric. So that is annoying and will be troublesome to work around.

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The black velvet is for a design which might end up being part of my Monarch [butterfly] Collection. I haven’t mentioned that series much on this blog because I haven’t actually finished any of the projects relating to it. I have about five WIPs in this series and instead of focusing on those i’m buying fabric for  a new one. Oops. This is the rough design for the dress I’d like to use it for.

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The next few pieces of fabric were bought for an Orchid inspired dress. I have four orchids now, they sit next to my desk and I love seeing them everyday. I get really inspired by things around me, so it was only a matter of time until I took inspiration from them!

This is the original sketch but I’ve made some design changes since sketching this. The actual dress will have a similar shape and bodice design, but it will look much different.

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I bought more of the 120″ wide home decor fabric for this project. This time I went for a simpler pattern which is made up of alternating off white stripes. I also got four yards of off white silk organza to use for the bodice and trims. I don’t usually shell out the extra money for silks but I got a good deal on this one (four yards for thirty dollars) and really like that it is matte.

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For the purple parts of the dress I bought four yards of silk taffeta. I found a few gorgeous two toned taffetas, which were very tempting, but I ended up going with this one because it has a beautiful weight and texture to it. I was playing around with it in the store and I knew I could drape and sculpt it into the exact shapes I wanted.

Both of the silk fabrics I bought were from Amin Fabrics. I didn’t even know they sold silks until this trip, but i’m not surprised, that store has everything which is why it’s one of my favorites!

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Another one of my favorites is Hamed Fabrics, but I only got six yards of fabric from them. Two of those yards can be seen on the left. It’s a woven fabric made up of many neutral colors with metallic ribbons weaving through it. Not the type of fabric I would usually reach for, but I thought it was really interesting! I’d like to work this into a menswear inspired ensemble if I can, and maybe pair it with some black wool i’ve had for a while.

The fabric on the right is from Cut Fabrics Inc. It’s a beige chiffon (with stiffness to it which makes it almost resemble organza) with silver stripes. They had this in lots of colors and I regret not getting more. I think this would make really nice puffs for underneath paned sleeves.

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Also from Hamed Fabrics I got a green chiffon with silver woven through it. Again I probably should have gotten more of this, I think I got three or four yards, which isn’t enough to make a full dress. This is what happens when you don’t have a list!

I got this to make some type of fairy inspired dress. I purchased an interesting string of beads at Beads World in the same color, which I plan to turn into a crown. I’d like to use this fabric to make a dress that matches it, but I have no clue what it will end up looking like.

I also got a few yards of a lightweight striped cotton. I’ll probably use this to make a smock or chemise to wear under something. Not the most exciting purchase but basics are important too!

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The next few fabrics are from a store I usually avoid. It’s called “Day to Day” and tends to have higher prices than I’d like to pay. This week they had a big “everything must go” moving sale (but they may have been using that as a ploy to get people in – one store has had a sign like that up for three years) so I went in.

I think of this store stocking exclusively home decor fabrics but they had tons of lace too.

The “home decor” fabric I got is a pale blue taffeta with an embroidered floral design. I’ve seen versions of this fabric in Joanns with red/gold color combinations and never been fond of it. But I love this color and I think it will eventually be turned into a gorgeous 18th century ensemble!

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In the same store I got some white embroidered mesh. On my last trip into NYC I got taffeta and glass stones to use for a 17th century gown. That dress will let bits of the chemise showing at the sleeves and neckline, so I bought this with that in mind! Not historically accurate, but it’s so pretty and will look much nicer than linen.

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The last thing I got from that store is a gorgeous piece of pink lace. I wish I had gotten this in another color too, but I didn’t have any reason to. This lace was marked at $145 a yard. After twenty minutes of haggling I managed to get it for forty dollars! Which is still a a lot for a single yard of fabric, but the detail of this fabric is incredible and I think it was worth every penny. I don’t have a project in mind for this but i’m sure i’ll figure something out!

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The final two pieces of fabric are for another original design. This one is a little weird. It was actually inspired by a vulture.  They are called Bearded Vultures and their diet consists almost entirely of bones. They are mostly cream colored and grey but can develop richly colored plumage from rubbing dust and mud on themselves. And when they do, it’s gorgeous. The coloration they have in that state, and the amount of texture their feathers have were the inspiration for this piece.

I don’t have a good idea of what this costume will look like just yet. I’ve done a few sketches but I don’t feel ready to share them. I think it’ll be a fitted gown but i’m still debating. However this idea was cemented in my mind so much that I bought a few fabrics for it!

The first is this peach colored laser cut chiffon. It’s so fluffy.

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The other is a piece of tablecloth lace. It’s woven from red and black threads so it has a very interesting color and sheen to it. The color is what made me want it, but I really like the lace pattern too. And as a bonus, it was super cheap! Like, five dollars a yard cheap which is a steal when it comes to lace.

(even if it’s made for tablecloths)

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And that’s it for fabric! I’m happy with what I got but the in store selections weren’t that great this time. Usually I have problems restraining myself in certain stores because I like everything and could easily drop two hundred dollars in them. That didn’t happen at all this time. Which makes me think the selections are better in the winter, because around Christmas I saw sooo many fabrics that I fell in love with.

Anyway! Onward to trims and beads!

I went back to Beads World. This time I got seed beads for my 18th century dress. It has lace on the hem which I plan on beading by hand, so that is what the pink and off white ones are for. The gold ones are because I wanted more gold beads, even though I didn’t really need them.

I also got a dozen clear glass montees for my tudor project (I ran out). And two dozen black montees for another tudor project. This time i’m going to be more historically accurate, which means using stones that imitate things they were actually capable of using at that time..

Oh and I got a small bag of green sequins for the previously mentioned fairy inspired dress. Because it will probably end up being sparkly. Most of my projects do.

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I had a few impulse purchases in beads world, too. I got two bags of green montees which are imitation opal. I believe these are trying to imitate “Ethiopian Welo Opal”, but i’m more familiar with them being called “Fire opal” or “White Dragon’s breath”  because I spend to much time on etsy and those are the names indie jewelry companies use!

Either way, they are gorgeous in a way my camera couldn’t capture. They have a milky green base with lots of flecks in them that shine white, pink, blue, and gold. I’m not sure what they will be used for, but i’m excited to use them!

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The last Beads World purchase is the weird strand of beads which i’m going to make into a crown. To me, these look like something you would see in the ocean. But i’m pretty sure they are plastic and dipped in metallic paint.

For my purposes, that doesn’t really matter. They are going to make the most gorgeous fairy princess crown.

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I ended up going into yet another bead store. I couldn’t find the name of it online, but they were selling montees for half the price Beads World does! I wasn’t expecting to find these there, otherwise I probably would have gotten more. I’d never seen them in this store before, so i’m not sure if they will be there permanently. I got a bag of large red ones, teardrop shaped brown ones, and two packs of small blue ones.

I also got two bags of orange sequins for the black velvet butterfly inspired dress!

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At a random trim store ( I couldn’t find the name online) I bought a yard of alencon lace. This is for a wedding dress idea i’ve had for ages. I have enough lace for the bodice, but not enough to trim the sleeves with. This lace is similar in design and should work for that purpose!

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In the same store I got two yards of an embroidered lace trim. I’m not sure what this will be used for, but it would look nice on the bodice of a dress. I could also see it running down a set of sleeves!

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I bought some leather “bias tape” – it’s actually small strips of thin pleather with the edges turned over, similar to singe fold bias tape, but I don’t think it would go around curves very well! I got this with my vulture dress in mind, for trimming the edges of  bodice panels.

At Pacific Trims I got four yards of ribbon elastic. I’ll use this for gathering sections in sleeves, which will create delicate little “puffs” I have a Renaissance project coming up that I need this for.

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Also at pacific trim, I got some fake fur trim. I think this was six or seven dollars a yard, which is kind of ridiculous when you can buy a full yard of sixty inch wide fake fur for $12 at Joanns. But fake fur is miserable to work with, and I don’t want to put myself through that.

I’d rather make fifty yards of bias tape from chiffon. Yeah. That’s how much I hate working with fake fur.

Plus this is really nice! It doesn’t have the typical fake fur sheen, and it isn’t super thick. It is already attached to strips of cotton and the perfect width for trimming sleeves! This will be used for the medieval style dress I linked photos of earlier, and i’ll pair it with the orange and gold damask.

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The final two trims I got are from M&J trims. I usually don’t go into that store since it’s a bit overpriced and the employees are very…attentive? But not in a very positive way. In a way that makes me feel guilty for browsing. But they have a fantastic selection and I knew they would have what I wanted, so I went in.

I got exactly what I needed and was out in five minutes – yay! All I needed were feathers, which they have a pretty great selection of. I got a yard of peach colored goose feathers.

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And two yards of smaller, softer, black and red ones. If you hadn’t guessed, both of these are for my vulture inspired dress.

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And that’s everything! Holy hell this was a long post. I didn’t mean for it to be this wordy. I’m passionate when it comes to talking about fabrics and trims, I guess.

Speaking of that. I made a video of this haul too. I’m quite nervous in it and don’t seem as excited about what I got as I actually am. It was my first time filming myself talking and i’m hoping i’ll get better with more practice.

If you are interested, it can be watched here!

Thank you for reading!

A Fabric Haul & Project Plans!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I had a quiet but nice Christmas. It wasn’t filled with surprises because I was responsible for buying my own presents, but that arrangement worked out really well because I got exactly what I wanted! And what I wanted was fabric. Lots of fabric. And some beads.

Which meant it was time to take a trip to the garment district!

I haven’t been into NYC to buy fabric since my birthday (in April) so I was really excited! This year I’m aiming to make detailed, higher quality garments, so I went for quality over quantity…but I still got an absolutely ridiculous amount of fabric. This is going to be a post about what I got and what I hope to do with it!

I’ll start with the most elaborate fabric, which I definitely did NOT need. I was pretty good about sticking to my list this time, but when I saw this I couldn’t resist!

It’s a low pile velvet decorated with gold embroidery and sequins. I wish the velvet quality was a little nicer, it isn’t very pleasing to the touch but it does look lovely. I fell in love with the colors and embroidery pattern and knew I had to have it! I got it for $12 a yard from Amin Fabrics but I saw it at other stores too.

I know this has indian inspirations behind it, but I think it could make a lovely regency court gown. Definitely not an accurate one, but it could be so pretty. I feel like fabrics like this do all the work for you and I don’t want to cut into it too much, so a style like that would suit it well.

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I actually bought satin! I haven’t bought satin in…years? I think it has been years! This is an off white polyester satin with matching embroidery all across the fabric. In the store I really really liked it and decided it was perfect for a simple Regency dress, which i’ve already started on.

Now that i’ve played around with it I have mixed feelings about it, because I think the sheen makes it look a bit cheap.The sheen is actually identical to some silk satin I have, which is a high quality fabric. So maybe i’m just not used to shiny fabrics…or maybe it looks like costume satin and i’m in denial.

DSC_1594 The red fabric underneath it is a cotton sateen. I’ve actually used this exact material a LOT, I’ve made two dresses, a bonnet, and a corset from it and I still adore it. I love the weight, color, sheen, and price! So I picked up another six yards on this trip.

It will be used for a robe a la polonaise, worn over the ivory satin dress.

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 This year i’m finally going to tackle a gown from the 1640s! It’s my favorite period when it comes to fashion and i’m so excited to make something for it. It will be of this style. I chose a light blue taffeta for the project, I had hoped to find a richer shade but I think this color is nice too!

DSC_1946 I also got eight yards of champagne colored taffeta and eight yards of this lovely emerald green. Jewel tones are my favorite colors and i’m looking forward to working with these! They will eventually be turned into a monster ball gown from the mid 1800s.

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 I picked up eight yards of this ivory damask. I wish I could remember the shop name from where I bought this so I could recommend against visiting them. I was browsing trim while they cut this and when I unrolled it at home I found that over a yard is filthy and the weave is damaged beyond repair! Very annoying.

Hopefully I will still have enough to make the dress I planned. It will be an unusually elaborate dress that will be worn under a riding coat, with a mid 1700s theme.

DSC_1939 I also picked up a lace to pair it with! This is from Dianas fabric. It was $13 a yard, it’s sixty inches wide and both edges have gorgeous scalloped lace. That means I only needed three yards and I have enough to hem the dress with, so it works out to being cheaper than buying trim by the yard. And in addition to the lace edging, it also has appliques I can cut out and use.

Unfortunately the lace doesn’t really match the fabric (damn store lighting) so it may get a tea bath before I start the beading process!

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The fabric I bought for the riding coat is a stunning melton wool! Not the most exciting looking fabric of the bunch but I love the weight and texture of this. I got the three yards for $35 which I think is pretty good considering the quality!

I’m going to do a heap of research before starting on this project, but i’m so excited. It combines my love of lace and pretty dresses with tailoring, which is great!

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 I found these taffetas in Amin fabrics for $4 a yard and fell in love. They are really light and have a sheen that reminds me a lot of irredecent silk taffeta. I think they will make a really lovely renaissance ensemble.

I got some pink chiffon and trim as well, which actually don’t match. That’s what you get for trying to match fabrics without swatches. I think I have some chiffon in my stash that will match anyway, so i’m not too worried! It will always get used for something else!

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 The final fabrics I got are for a Tudor piece. I showed a few of my inspirations here, unfortunately I couldn’t find materials as intensely colored as I wanted. I ended up settling on this gold and orange damask, which I like but don’t love. But i’m confident it will grown on me once I start the project.

Bright colors can look a bit garish in historical recreations so I think in the end i’ll be happy with how it looks.

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I bought silk – a shock to the people in the fabric stores who remembered me, because I never buy silk. Usually when I ask how much something is they will just respond with “That’s silk” and that means it is  more than i’m willing to pay. But this year is about quality over quantity, so I decided I need to have one project that uses something other than cotton and polyester.

It’s a nice copper color with some deeper red tones.

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 So that is it on the fabric front. But i’m not done yet! Because my allowance money from the last four months went into beads. My dad and I went to Beads World, it was our first stop and I was determined to buy a lot of seed beads and glass gems.

Most of the seed beads I bought were gold, because it’s the color I find myself reaching for most often and crafts stores don’t have a good variety.

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I also got some orange ones with my tudor gown in mind, some blue ones for the baroque dress, and some cream colored ones of the same size. I would have chosen differently if I had bought the fabric before visiting this shop, but the location of this store meant we needed to go to it first.

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 I also really wanted glass gems for my tudor and baroque dresses. They have very elaborate beading at the necklines which should be easy to replicate with these.

I got a dozen of the larger red ones, and a 72 pack of the smaller red ones. I think it was $5 per a dozen and $12 for 72, so I opted for the latter.

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A dozen of medium sized clear ones and a 72 pack of the smaller ones. I REALLY wish they had some square ones since those are more accurate, but i’m happy with what I got. I think with less variety they will be easier to arrange, so that’s good!

DSC_1930 Some larger ones in this taupe color.

DSC_1929 A mixture of blue and clear oval ones! I really adore the color of these blue ones.

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And two large ones, for pendants.

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While walking to the fabric stores we came across another bead shop which I got a few things from. I purchased two (massive!) bags of sequins, two bags of plastic pearls, two feathers and some thread.

These feathers are fantastic, I never thought I would pay $5 for a single feather but these are just…I can’t describe them, they move like they are alive. Like some sort of underwater creature. It’s fantastic. My dad and I sat on the floor of this shop looking at them and talking about how “Nice those feathers are” which sounds odd looking back on it but was totally justifiable at the time because they are really nice feathers.

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I thought the pearls were super cheap because they were in a big box and all strange colors. I realize now they are probably so cheap because they don’t have holes in them. I am officially the biggest dummy ever. I should have checked but I just assumed beads would have holes in them.

Luckily the sequins do, in fact, have holes!

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I also got three spools of thread because it was really cheap. But a blog post filled with such pretty things shouldn’t be finished with something so boring, so i’ll end this here!

I’m not sure if it can really come through my writing but i’m so pleased and excited with what I got and really looking forward to working with all the new supplies!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and I wish you a happy new year! It has been a really exciting year blogging wise and i’m looking forward to continuing it in the new year. I’ll have a big gooey round up post with my goals and such up next week, so I won’t get too mushy here. But thank you all for visiting and reading what I have to say here! It means a lot to me!

Making a 1840s Floral Red Dress, Part Two

I’m a few days late but here is the second part of making this floral lacy dress! Part one shows the process of making the bodice and can be read here. Today i’ll be talking about how I made the sleeves and skirt.

I went back and forth about what type of sleeves to make for this dress. I love huge frilly sleeves but the neckline of this dress has so much detail that big sleeves would take away from it. So instead I settled on small sleeves with a little bit of lace, which ended up being very similar to the ones shown in the painting I used for inspiration!

To create a pattern I measured the arm hole, measured my arm, and used a lot  of guess work when it came to the length and slopes.

I made a mock up from broadcloth and liked how they looked enough to turn them into a paper pattern which was used to cut them from my floral fabric!

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I also cut the pattern from muslin. I pinned the muslin and floral fabric together, then sewed around the top and sides. This created three finished edges and saved me from making bias tape and sewing french seams later on.

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I folded the fabrics inward by a half inch on the lowest edge to create the appearance of a finished edge and pressed them in place. Then I pinned lace in between the two layers.

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Then the lace was into place, this is what the sleeve interior looks like! I usually don’t make sleeves that allow for this method (It can’t be done on puffy sleeves without adding a lot of bulk) which sucks because it’s so easy and looks so nice.

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I did up the only remaining seam and the sleeves were done!

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I sewed them in place with small straight stitches, then went around the outside with a whip stitch to make sure they are secure.

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After the sleeves were done I sewed together my lining and pinned it in place. Aside from attaching the panel of buttons I think this is the only machine sewing on this costume.

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The lining was completely hand sewn in place. Once that was done the bodice was finished! The lining on this isn’t perfect but it’s pretty close, it’s the damn basque waist that always screws me up.

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Since the bodice is done it’s time to talk about the skirt! Like my last two 19th century dresses, the skirt is made up of one big rectangle. Because I didn’t have that much fabric this skirt is only one hundred inches wide, which makes it look a little weird over petticoats.

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I marked out the hem line in pen.

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I did a sort of strange hem on this dress, the selvage was rolled over and basted in place, then the new edge of the fabric was rolled over to create a two inch hem. I used a cross stitch for securing this hem, since it’s kind of fun to do and you don’t see any stitches from the exterior of the garment!

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Then I gathered the top of the skirt. They aren’t large enough to be called cartridge pleats, but I used the same method just with quarter inch wide stitches. There are two rows of gathers, each a half inch apart. I left sixteen inches ungathered in the front, which was turned into a four inch wide box pleat.

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I pinned the skirt onto the bodice and sewed it in place with a whip stitch. This took ages and I ran into so many problems, my  thread was so tangly and broke a half dozen times during this process.

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After the skirt was stitched on I sewed it up with a french seam, I left a six inch opening in the back to make this dress easy to get into. The opening closes with five small snaps.

Once the back was all figured out the dress was done! I’m really pleased with this dress. It’s so girly and lacy, just looking at it makes me smile. I’m also proud that I managed to make this dress from start to finish in forty eight hours, without sacrificing the quality of the finished garment.

I think I might do more forty eight hour challenges in the future, hopefully they will all be as satisfying as this one!

I have a whole bunch of photos of this dress laying flat, but no worn images just yet. I’ll post those next week along with a write up on how I made a matching headpiece.

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Thanks for reading!