Saturday, December 23, 2017

Green Satin Flower Bustle Dress

Hello all,

I know, I know... I'm a really baaad blogger.
Over a year I haven't posted anything, is anyone even around here anymore?

Well today I want to share this year's big dress project with you (before this year is already over again, where has the time gone?)

As every year I made the dress for WGT at Whitsun, starting somewhere early this year, with rough plans made and stuff shopping late last year already. As I had to make some new underwear to go with it, I started on the actual dress around March or so.

The main inspiration was this lovely green flowery printed satin I gathered up in Paris last spring.
I wanted to make an overskirt that would show the print as much as possible.
As I has gotten some new books by Francis Grimble (covering the years from 1885 to 1889) I found some nice skirt patterns that would work. So I settled my dress time to the very late 1880s.

That's why I needed to make some new underwear as well... a new corset, another combination and two pairs of drawers to match my existing chemises.
I made my short bustle a bit bigger and added a new petticoat for more rear fluff.

The foundation skirt made of black cotton is a plain 4 gore pattern from 1886. The back is held in place by two sets of ties underneath.
On top of the foundation I put a pleated panel of cotton satin. It's been some stuggle to get the hem even on it.

For a first impression of the overskirt I simply draped the whole satin piece on my dressform.

Then using some instructions for a similar skirt from my books, I made a rough sketch of the overskirt pattern. I needed it to be in one piece with the hem untouched.
Looks weird, I know.
So I took out my trusty Bomull and made a test to see how much of the satin I needed.

After figuring out the length I cut it and matched up the lining fabric. I basted the layers together every 10cm to keep them from shifting and slipping.
I closed the only seam and tried my luck in pattern matching.
I then cut the shape I had made with the Bomull and draped it on the dressform until I was happy with it. The side pleats are fixed with tape to maintain their shape and fall when moving.

Next on the bodice. I thought I could use the pattern from my last dress and cut directly in the fashion fabric, but appearently the new corset had lowered my waistline about 4cm. Fortunately I had enough fabric to recut the bodice, after changing the pattern.

I had wanted to decorate the bodice with green beads and sequins matching the over skirt, so I ordered some lace appliques and had to wait.

In the meantime I made the hat and the sleeve cuffs. These I kept separate until they were decorated before basting them to the sleeves.

I also made a matching necktie for my boyfriend from the green flower satin.

After the lace appliques arrived I cut them and pinned them on the dressform to the desired look.
Everything was handstitched in place and then beaded and sequined. This took me many hours (almost 60 I guess) and just as many episodes of different tv-shows.

I'm really happy how the dress turned out.
And of course here are a couple of pictures of the whole outfit worn.

Thank you again for reading.

I wish you all a   Merry Christmas!

Have a great time with your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Black Velvet Drama Dress

Hi again!

I really need to make a few posts... but time flies so fast *sigh*

Well, I might just start with a project that had kept me busy most part of the early year. Actually planning and such already had started around this time last year.
As WGT is every year, it's kind of a fixed point to finish another large project.  Natural form again it should be and mostly using stash material.

The "Black Velvet Drama Dress" it would be.

Many years ago I had found this fashion plate and having some nice black velvet in my stash for years already then, I knew what to make of it.
Quite dramatic, isn't it?
Planning on making this outfit one day, I had gotten some nice taffeta about a couple years ago. Instead of fringe I wanted to make ruffles of a glittery tulle, also in my stash for years. If i remember right the only things I bought for this dress was black cotton (I use the one from IKEA) as lining/backing fabric, and some hat wire as I had run out of both.
Anything else came from my stash this time. *woot*

As always the outfit started out with the basic skirt. Here I again used my trusty fantail skirt pattern. It ties pretty tight in the back, so it was great for this slim silhouette.
I knew that I would probably never achieve such a tight skirt, so I just went for as tight as possible and still be able to move.

This is the basic skirt made of cotton. It didn't need to be pretty as it would be covered anyway. The waistband is just a cotton tape, closing with a hook.
Having just a limited amount of velvet and to reduce bulk at the waist and hips, I decided to fix the velvet part of the (under) skirt at a lower level. It's a historical method of saving good fabric and you only see it from around the knee anyway.
Here's a sketch of my musings about how to make the skirt layers:
It's been a lot of thinking and re-thinking (also because you can't see the back side in the plate).

In the end the velvet part starts a bit above the red marking in the sketch and due to my shorter body the angle is not so steep.
At the hem I put a nice cotton lace. If you look at the fashion plate you can see a few glimpes of white there.
This lace has been in my /my mothers stash for a long time and it was in one piece (well still is, I have quite a bit more left). So I meticulously cut all about 15m with a scalpel and nail scissors.
Here you can see it at the bottom along with my draping try-outs made of good old Bomull (I love IKEA, did I mention that already?).
The velvet part was added after that. The hem I finished with a wide facing to which I sewed a pleated trim. So you don't see a seam on the outside.
I obviously like to torture myself with things like this. I do have a ruffler, but it can never produce so neat pleats this deep.

After the velvet was fixed I cut the raw tafetta pieces for the overskirt drapings. I stitched up the "yoke" from a modern lining fabric and then I pinned and pleated and pinned and pleated, pulled and left until it somewhat looked like the fashion plate.
Being happy with it, I cut the lining accordingly (again modern lining to keep it light) and made the glitter ruffle.
*side note*
The little one saw it and named it "black milkyway" as the glitter looked like the stars in the black sky. Cute, isn't it? I had to promise him, that if I had some of the ruffle left over in the end to give it to him to play with and to make a little cape-dress for his plush bat, so she would look pretty, which I of course did *aww*.
*side note end*

The closure of the over skirt had me thinking and re-thinking a lot. I ended up with a side closure with an invisible/covered button panel. Hooks seemed to insecure to hold up while walking and sitting.
The finished overskirt drapings:
Next on to the train. As the backside was left to my imagination I decided to make a separate train and attach it just to the waistband and at a few points at the back of the drapery to stay closer to my body.
It's a very simple shape, about 1,60m long, so 60cm on the floor. (In the end it was even more than I had thought from the fashion plate, it's really hard to guess).
The train is lined in the already mentioned black cotton with the milkyway cought inbetween the outer seam. I also added a layer of a stiff tulle like fabric to the lower part, so the fan would better hold its shape.
Just like the fantail skirt I added a ribbon to pull it together thightly at knee level. So the upper part will stay rather slim and the bottom will flare out as the fashion plate shows.
The picture also clearly shows a dust ruffle with pleating and some white lace.

I took the train pattern bottom part, just a bit higher than floor level and cut 4 layers of cotton. I added the white lace and taffeta pleats and added a satin ribbon at the upper edge of the trim to clean it up.
The upper end I bound in cotton bias and added buttonholes all around to fix it to the train.
It's a really heavy dust ruffle. Maybe 4 layers was too much, but I had been worried about chaffing through too easily.
The finished train without dust ruffle and the close up of the bottom with attached dust ruffle.

For bad weather I also added a bustle option, so I can wear it off the ground. It's a flexible one made with buttonhole elastic. I can use the buttons from attaching the dust ruffle to bustle it in many ways.
Probably next year I will wear it this way, but without the heavy dustruffle.

With the overskirt done, the bodice was next.

Due to a few weight and circumference changes over the months, I deciced to make a new bodice pattern from scratch.
This time I didn't use a historical pattern instruction, but one based on the modern basic pattern adapted to be worn with corset and actually more for theater use. I just don't need to alter it as I usually have to do with historical patterns. Still I made a few changes to get it closer to the historical original patterns.

I cut the bodice from velvet and flatlined it to black cotton. So it's not as heavily backed as my other bodices, but it still holds up great and it is much lighter.
The sleeves I cut from taffeta on the bias and backed them with modern lining fabric so I can slide in easily.
The standing collar is also lined with thinner fabric to reduce bulk.
The glitter ruffles at the sleeves and collar are mounted to a separate strip of thin fabric and attached by hand.
I don't have many progress pictures of the bodice, just from the sleeve fitting (I had to recut them once, because they didn't fall nicely).

I had thought much about how to close the bodice, as on the fashion plate it somehow seems that there are some small buttons below the neck.
In the end I decided to keep it simple and used hook and eye tape.
The bottom edge is finished with velvet piping and I added boning to most seams and darts.

To complete the outfit I made a pair of fingerless gloves from the glitter net, a matching purse and of course a hat.

The flowers of the hat were originally white ones, that I just painted black with permanent marker. Again everything (exept the hat wire) came from stash. For the basic hat shape this time I moulded the wet bukram over the bottom of a milk pot instead of cutting pieces and sewing them together. It made a nice capot shape.

And finally to prevent myself from freezing to death in the cool May weather, I made a dolman wrap from a nice cashmere touch fabric I snapped up in Paris. It's very basic and simple with just little trim, so I can wear it with several outfits.

Okay that's it, if you've got any questions feel free to ask.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

I finally managed to take pictures of the plush bat in her glittery cape. Hope you like it ;)