keskiviikko 10. joulukuuta 2014

The yellow riding habit

I began this project sometime in the early summer and have been working on it on and off until November. I got the riding habit bug from Sanna of the Rococo Atelier and by some bizarre lucky alignment of stars I even managed to find fabric in the exact colour I had envisioned (when does that EVER happen??).
For some reason, yellow has become one of my go-to colours and what better time period for it than the 18th century. From what little research I've done, yellow seems to have been the height of fashion throughout the 18th century, owing to the popularity of all things Oriental during that time (yellow, after all was the colour exclusively reserved for the emperor of China, among other things). Riitta Pylkkänen's Dress of Gentlewomen in Finland in the 18th Century mentions yellow as the most fashionable colour. Annoyingly, I can't give the exact quote because I don't own a copy of the book (it's fiendishly difficult to find, having been published in the 1980s) and the city library is closed for the whole of December. Also, The Diary of Mantua Maker writes about the popularity of yellow in her posts about 18th century colours.

As many others before me, I used the riding habit jacket pattern in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion. I had to alter the pattern to fit me (obviously); for example I drastically shortened the bodice and the sleeves. The finished garment is OK, but I would do things differently if I ever used the same pattern again. I think I maybe cut the jacket hem piece slightly too narrow, and the pleats aren't exactly as I'd want them to be. I think the habit fabric is very nice, it's medium thick cotton twill that feels almost woolly and it's very hard wearing and was generally nice to work with.

I pad stitched pieces of sturdy cotton on the insides of the front pieces and lined the whole jacket with cotton. the jacket fronts became very sturdy due to the interlining, lining and lastly all that trim I stitched on. The inside front edges, the sleeves and the jacket skirts are lined with taffeta. I'll maybe finish a waistcoat of that same taffeta at some later date. It doesn't really show unless you look very closely, but to add a little variation I used the reverse side of the habit fabric on the collar and the cuffs because it's the teeniest bit darker and the weave of the fabric looks different on the reverse side. I trimmed the jacket with antique gold coloured gimp trim and some antique gold coloured buttons. I might change the buttons later, either to metal or deathshead, depending which comes my way first.

The riding habit petticoat is your standard petticoat, with pocket hoops. I debated for a long time whether or not to cut the petticoat to accommodate the hoops because I think they're ridiculous, but in the end I decided to go for it and now I kind of like the look.

The  habit fabric is fairly heavy so towards the end of the day it was hard work to wear the whole get-up with the heavy skirts pulling at the paniers (and my hips and waist), walking around the fortress islands on original cobblestones...

I also made a tricorne hat out of a floppy 70s-esque felt hat, trimmed it with petersham ribbon and a cockade.

I wore the habit a couple of weeks ago in Suomenlinna Christmas event, which consisted of a day event for the general public, with 18th century military and gentlefolk re-enactors and of a private ball in the evening for re-enactors and other properly attired people.

The photos of the riding habit were taken by Sanna and Mia.

I had a curled pigtail, but the sleet and rain took care of that...

No, those are not THE cobblestones that I mention above... They're round, uneven and cover all the roads on the main island. Can't even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to drive a horse-drawn wagon or cart on them.

At the Ehrensvärd Museum. They had just closed for the day when we got there, but kindly let us take a couple of photos in the yellow room.

I really, REALLY can't pose. Whenever anyone takes out a camera and proposes to photograph me, my face does weird things. I look like I had a lazy eye in nearly all of the photos taken in the museum...

With Ehrensvärd, and Sanna of Rococo Atelier; she's wearing her gorgeous new anglaise.

Soldiers who took part to the Christmas opening event, practicing their drill.

King Gustav III, I think. He was very strange.

The soldiers, doing their drill

Mia and Sanna checking over some photos at the Ehrensvärd museum. Mia borrowed my flowery anglaise and red petticoat for the event.

The evening ball venue, Tenalji von Fersen, which used to be a bakery in the old days.

Pretty much the only picture of me in my ball do. I did a separate post of this gown. Oh, and that's Merja aka. the Aristocat in black and white :)

lauantai 6. joulukuuta 2014

18th century saree round gown

I've often used vintage sarees for my costuming projects, here's yet another one. I bought the saree earlier this year with this one and it's been sitting in the cupboard, waiting for the opportune sewing project to come along.

I decided to make an 18th century roundgown, mainly because the saree had a gorgeously embroidered pallu end and I wanted to make the most of it.

I used the round gown in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion as guidelines and used my anglaise bodice lining pattern as the bodice pattern for this gown too. I would have wanted to make another en fourreau gown, but due to the fact that I was working with a saree, I could not have cut the en fourreau back out of it. I opted for making the bodice and the hem separately and joining them in the end. I didn't really like that and still think that an en fourreau back would've looked better. Ah, well.

The fabric was annoying to work with, it's very drapey, soft and--I'm now convinced--part liquid. Also, the metal embroidery is fairly heavy and while that's nice on the finished gown, while sewing it added a level of difficulty.  I lined the bodice with cotton and bound all the edges with bias tape inside the bodice to give it a modicum of stability. The hem was scream-inducingly hard to pleat and level (due to fabric quality and that metal embroidery) and I actually ended up asking help from Sanna (Rococo Atelier ) and other friends in attaching the hem to the bodice before the Christmas ball in Suomenlinna where I first wore it.

I trimmed the gown with gold lace, which is probably not as common as white lace in extant gowns but I managed to find some examples browsing different museum databases.

After the Christmas ball I realised that I didn't have any good photos of the gown so today I decided to dress up and snapped a couple.

perjantai 26. syyskuuta 2014

Sew sew, cut cut, stitch stich

I was so busy frantically sewing all things before my trip to Bath that I had no time to write about the new things I made. I don't think I've ever been that last minute with sewing before. Of course, I have a fairly substantial Regency wardrobe already, but you know, it was nice to have something new too, and it was Bath, after all, so you'd wanted to be fashionable...

Ergo, two new spencers (I swear I didn't plan them, they just happened!), a turban hat (because apparently any hat with a brim just makes me look idiotic) and a new block printed day gown.

Let's start with the gown. I've made one block printed gown before, but I wanted a long-sleeved day dress, and something dark with white print. The gown is a slightly improved version of my earlier drop-front dress; I think the original pattern came from Jean Hunnisett's book. I cut the pattern pieces out first, then printed them with my Indian block prints, using white fabric paint. As before, I printed the bodice pieces, the sleeves and one hem piece over one weekend and then procrastinated about a week before taking up the other hem piece. The fabric is blue cotton and I lined the bodice with black batiste.

The spencers were a stash/budget project. I originally wanted to have a bright red spencer to wear with the blue dress, but I couldn't find fabric. Then I got the idea to visit some flea markets and look for 2nd hand jackets in suitable colour and fabric that I could take apart and remake as spencers. I didn't find anything in red, but I did score a rather ugly, if good quality, white linen-silk blend jacket (under 10€ to boot!) that I completely ripped apart and cut again using my trusty spencer pattern. Luckily the sleeves worked as they were, since I would not have had enough fabric for new sleeves. I added three more buttonholes on each cuff and made funny fabric buttons for them. The spencer is trimmed with lucet braid I made myself using cotton yarn. The inspiration for the trimmings of this spencer came from this extant piece in the Met Museum Collections; I took the initial idea and sort of ran with it. :)

The second spencer is a stash project; I've had the yellow velvet for years and I've tried to make things out of it several times (a chair cover, an 18th century pierrot, a knee-length Regency pelisse) but none of the previous attempts really worked that well. This time the spencer seemed to be the right choice and I managed to put together a nice little jacket, even if I say so myself. I was able to recycle the bodice from the doomed pelisse project and I also managed to fix the earlier bothersome sleeves by adding a gore to the sleeve cap end of the seam. The sleeves were originally a remnant from my early attempts in historical costume, when I didn't realise that different time periods had different styles in sleeves and their patterns. Oh well. At least I fixed it and was able to use those sleeves for something, finally! I made a wide collar for the spencer and trimmed the whole thing with cream pompom trim, because I wanted something fun and a little whimsical to decorate the jacket. Also, as time was scarce, I abandoned my original idea of hussar style soutache trim.

After looking at tons of fashion plates and despairing over the fact that any brimmed hat, especially bonnets, look stupid on my head I made the turban hat after the instructions of Festive Attyre. It was the nicest project; it's not often in this line of hobby that you have clear instructions of what to do, so making this hat was very relaxing in the middle of all the sewing madness.

I didn't actually wear the yellow things at all while I was in Bath; I have no idea why. I kept liking the white spencer and anyway, I might have to adjust the yellow spencer a little; in the general haste of trying to get everything done I may have made it the teensiest bit too small as there's an annoying gap at the centre front.

I did take some photos of the new things and my other Regency clothes, want to see? :)

keskiviikko 24. syyskuuta 2014

A trip to Bath

I only returned from UK yesterday and I'm already writing a blog post of the biggest costuming event of my year, how's that for efficient? :) So, Jane Austen Festival. This was my third time and I have to say that I didn't go to Bath for the festival program at all; instead, I went over to see all the friends who I knew would be there too. We ended up having a sort of fringe festival (I believe Jane Austen Frills festival was suggested), coming up with fun and nice period things to do in bigger and smaller groups over the week. I went to a musical soirette, picniced and danced on the Royal Crescent lawn one evening, was invited to tea at the Pump Rooms and met lovely people, went to an evening house party and met more lovely people, bathed Regency style at the Cross Baths, went to Montacute House (which was Mr. Palmer's house in 1995 Sense and Sensibility, you know the place where Marianne gets sick) and got sick there, had another evening party and went to a bar in costume. I also went to see "The Georgians" exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath, I put the pictures from the museum at the end of this post.

 All in all, I had such a lovely week that only a massive amount of pictures will do it justice. Most of them are my own, some are by Pamela Henwood, Angela Grimes, Megan Stephens, Virginia Crawford and Rachel Dalziel.

Are you ready?

While we were waiting for the count for the world record attempt to be completed, the new festival patron, Adrian Lukis (aka Mr. Wickham) appeared on the balcony :)

Lovely ladies from Russia in lovely pelisses

A musical soirette, Mr. U. playing his electric harpsichord

Picnicing at the Royal Crescent lawn after the soirette

Royal Crescent at dusk

Pultney Street from the Holborne Museum
Regency style bathing in the Cross Baths

Après-bath breakfast, dresscode: deshabillé  :)

Nobody went hungry :)
Evening party at the Admiral's House

Megan's writing box

Megan composing an answer to an invitation for tea at the Pump Rooms, which took place the following day. The card had been slipped under the door and we found it coming back from a party. Only in Bath! :)

Standing in the centre of the Circus in Bath. Incidentally, I'm wearing my new block print dress and white braided spencer that I finished just in time before the trip
Gambling evening at Mrs. Stephens'; we're playing Pope Joan here.
All set for outrageous gambling and losing all our fortunes

The ball room (see what I did there :) )

Visiting Montacute House, and photobombed by a cat :)

Elizabeth Phelips;  I really like this portrait

I hope the person who made this didn't go blind when she was finished because the stiches are absolutely microscopic.

The loooooong gallery

Montacute House

Crouching goat, curious choice for decoration, I thought

There were swings!

The muggy weather resulted to several Regency carcasses on the lawn

Never realised before how see-through all-white clothes are. And I'm wearing two layers under the dress itself...

Looklook at my new parasol, isn't it pretty?

After dinner on Friday we nipped to a bar. Here we're trying our best to ooze decadence

Sadly, Fritz the penguin didn't know his limit

Bath Abbey

The Marks & Spencer window provoked our Regency sensibilities :)

Pictures from "The Georgians" exhibition at the Bath Fashion Museum

The rest of the pictures are from the museum's permanent exhibition, displaying the entire collection. The stature of these white Regency dresses never ceases to amaze me; I'm not tall or big(160cm, ca. 5'3''), but these dresses belonged to someone absolutely tiny.

The above is true of this late Victorian dress, also. The picture doesn't show it very well, but the original owner of the dress can't have been taller than 5', maybe even less. the waist of the bodice is very very small.

A hand-painted coat from the early 1970s if I remember right. So beautiful!