tiistai 27. toukokuuta 2014

Another planning post, 1830s this time...

Ok, so I've just spent couple of hours browsing blogs and Pinterest for 1830s inspiration. Is it just me, or is this era getting more popular all of a sudden? It seems to me that there are 1830s projects popping up here, there and everywhere at the moment.
I've had a favourite 1830s must-make for ages, it's in the Kyoto Costume Institute collections, it's red and very pretty:


I like everything in this dress, the shape, the sleeves (not insanely poofed, but still enough to have that 1830s look), the pleated detail on the bodice and the sleeves, the white accents... I would love to see other angles of the dress but the KCI digital collection and the KCI books only provide this view of the dress. I've already thought about what I would need for a 1830s ensemble and collected a pinboard for inspiration, latest additions being for the crazy hairdos of the era... :)

I would have to begin with making a 1830s corset and currently this is my favourite extant piece. I'd also need a corded petticoat. Since I'm not planning to go heavy into 1830s costuming and it's (probably) a one-off project with just the one dress, I don't want to make multiple undergarments, so I think I can get away with using my Regency chemise and a couple of short 18th century petticoats to complete the set of undergarments. I haven't yet made any drawers for my 1880s get-up, but once I do, those will work for this too.

The dress itself is said to be "red silk and wool mixed gaze with silk satin piping" (I suppose they mean glaze...) but I think cotton voile would probably do also. I know I'm not going to find any fabric in this colour so I'd probably have to dye the fabric myself.

Looking at the picture I'm wondering if the bodice is actually a separate piece and whether it closes at the back or in front. Anyone travelling to Kyoto anytime soon? Would you go to the museum and take lots of photos of this dress?? The sleeves must have some sort of plumpers in them, they wouldn't stay so poofy otherwise. Luckily, I already have a red 1830s bonnet and shawls and fingerless mittens to accessorise a troop of fine ladies, so the only additional thing I need is a collar piece.

All the sewing projects are pretty much on hold at the moment; the great house move endeavour took place yesterday and things are more or less chaotic at the moment. Planning is the only thing I can do for now. However, I'm hoping to travel to Tampere and Helsinki next week, so I'll have a chance to look for lace and ribbon for the Courtois dress (and FINALLY finish it), and who knows what else I'll find.  ;)

torstai 15. toukokuuta 2014

Fabrics and plans

The house move is getting closer and closer so I haven't had time to sew that much but I did go through my fabric stash in a desperate attempt to get rid of stuff I don't need. While I was doing that I found this:

I bought the fabric a couple of years ago but didn't eventually make anything out of it. I thought that the blue background and the shape of the flowers didn't after all suit the 18th century but then Sanna of Rococo Atelier showed me this picture; 18th century floral print fabric with a blue backround, and the flowers (even though they look bigger than in my fabric) are surprisingly similar in shape. So, I see an anglaise taking shape :)

Then there's the other saree I bought earlier this year, which will be a late 18th century round gown. I'm planning to finally attend the 18th century Christmas Ball in Helsinki, so this would be a perfect dress for that event.

I've also bought fabrics for an 18th century riding habit. It seems like everyone's making one, so I didn't want to be left out. And for once the fabric shop had just the colour I had envisioned. The yellow fabric is thick cotton, but has a strangely woolly feel to it. I also bought a lenght of taffeta for the waistcoat and even managed to find the right kind of linen for the shirt, so score! I haven't yet decided if I want to make a mid-18th century habit or one of the later fashions; I think that wearing paniers with a riding habit is just so silly, but I'm not sure if I'd want to make a 1780s habit either. Maybe I'll make up my mind eventually.

I'm making steady progress with the dance dress. All the machine embroidery is now done and I'm adding details by hand. I still need to line the cape and the dress hem, sew in the zipper and the back seam, sew the shoulder seams and set in sleeves and finish the neckline. I like it, it's pretty :)

lauantai 3. toukokuuta 2014

How can it be May already?

What happened to April? Looking back, I've had the busiest April for years, with work, dissertation studies and sewing, too. Also, earlier in the spring I got the good news of securing a full time job at the university for four years, and just this week I signed the papers for my very first, very own apartment. So May is going to be rather wild as well, with the move (why do I have this many books and this much fabric, why?), a touch of renovation and everything that goes into moving house. The last time I did that was 10 years ago, so I'm a bit nervous.

As always, sewing is my way to unwind, relax and escape the every day stuff. As I said in the previous post, the Courtois project is on hold until I find suitable ribbon to trim the skirts and the jacket. I could neaten the insides of the jacket while I'm waiting but that's just... nah. Instead, I've  begun to make a late 18th century waistcoat and jacket and I'm trying to make them entirely out of what's in my sewing and fabric stash. So far I've put together the waistcoat and I only need to sew the shoulder seams and put in hooks and eyes. The fronts are taffeta and the back and the lining are coarse cotton.

The taffeta is buttercream colour.

I had to do a bit of piecing with the lapels, because I had very little fabric.

Today I also cut the jacket pieces. It's going to be a zone-front with a silly tail. It will also have a wide collar but I haven't cut that yet.

These kind of sleeves always remind me of the Barbie dolls I had as a child...

See? The fabric is actually stripy.

Back and front pieces.

But wait! There's more! I hardly ever have just the one sewing project, so I'm also making a new Irish dancing dress for myself. I've been dancing for 10+ years, but only recently got into competing and I expect to participate at least a couple of feisanna towards the autumn this year. I wanted to try if I could make a nice dress for myself and also try my hand in machine embroidery. Now, the modern Irish dance dresses tend to be a bit overwhelming and (dare I say it) tacky, but there is a beauty in them and there are some wonderful dressmakers out there. I've compiled some of my favourites on this pinboard for inspiration. I like the more traditional styles in decoration but I like the modern dresses for their lightness so I wanted to try and combine that. This is what I have at the moment:

The front hem. I'm going to add another pair of spirals in that empty space in the middle and the spirally design will continue to the back along the hem. The back is going to be plainer because it will be largely covered by the cape. The front pieces have iron on support fabric on them and I've also flatlined all the dress pieces with cotton.

The front of the dress. I'm going to add some details on the birds and obviously finish the head spirals on the other bird as well. The symmetry is a tad off in places but since this was my first attempt at machine embroidery and I don't have a special embroidery machine, just an ordinary one with zigzag stich, I'd say it's a passable result.