Steel Inquisitor Vin + a new 1840s gown

So this was supposed to be the year of the bustle.

Seriously, I have the fabric for four different bustle gowns.

But, I ran out of time to turn the last dress link into a Captain America bustle gown for Jordan Con, because having only ~30 minutes to sew a day (on a good day) left me no time to start a completely new era (need new undergarments, patterns, etc).

My plan was to wear my Eliza Schuyler dress for the Jcon costume contest, because hey it’s cosplay if you squint.

And then an utterly brilliant idea hit my brain that I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO MAKE.

So the theme for Jordan Con was The Darkest Timeline. Getting into some fantasy book nerdery here, what if evil timeline Vin – from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn – was found by the bad guys and made into a Steel Inquisitor, instead of being found by the good guys? And to hide her peasant origins, she goes all-in on wearing ballgowns?

The character in the book does go undercover as a noblewoman, and as such sometimes puts on a ballgown. To get even more nerdy, I hypothesize that she definitely has to be wearing 1840s.

The dresses are described several times as bell-shaped. Can’t get much more bell shaped than 1830s-1850s:

Ok, we know this character definitely isn’t wearing 1830s. 1830s is too damn bonkers of an era (giant sleeves, giant hair). If your character is wearing 1830s, you are going to describe the heck out of it. By leaving out the description of this unique era, it ain’t what you are reading about.

1830s bell-shaped gown. Unfortunately a pinterest link and I can’t find the source.

Whereas by the 1850s, skirts had gotten so big that they needed hoopskirts to keep them nice and big (or hoopskirts were invented so skirts could get bigger. Potato potahto chicken/egg etc). Another name for these is cage crinoline. Now, in the Mistborn world, where people (and especially nobles) have the power to control metal, are you going to surround yourself with a big ol’ cage of it? HECK NO that would just be asking for trouble.

La Mode Parisiennes, Feb 1855. Also know as bell shaped DEATH TRAP.

So by process of elimination that leaves us smack dab in the 1840s. I also wanted to make this dress with as little metal as possible to try and make it more cosplay-accurate (which meant things like eyelets instead of hooks and eyes to close the dress).

I got my main inspiration from these three plates:

Black lace on a black dress yes please. Godeys 1848.

Not entirely sure how that yellow trim is made but I love it!

Trim over lace tiers, now we’re talking!

See my pinterest board of 1840s dresses here.

So, armed with all my petticoats from my 1830s gown (hooray, no needing to make undergarments!) and 6 yards of black Supima cotton sateen from the epic Joann sale (taffeta is just too damn expensive these days, especially when 1840s is not my favorite era worthy of spending that much) I set off to make this dress in 4 months. I figured even with a non-sleeping baby, I already had all the patterns so fitting shouldn’t take long, and I could just bang the dress together for April. (Spoiler alert, I did, and will be describing the parts of the dress in the forthcoming posts).

Posted in 1840s, Fantasy/Scifi/Cosplay, Steel Inquisitor Vin | 2 Comments

A large and rambunctious 1830s bonnet, and some 1830s outings

I made a late 1830s dress for Dickens in 2018, and had a number of changes I wanted to make afterwards. So of course, I didn’t touch it for a year while I worked on keeping a baby alive instead.

Out of the myriad of changes the dress needed, the most important ones were around upping my accessory game. I especially needed some kind of head covering, so I needed a Big Ass Bonnet!

Not having made a bonnet before, I bought Lynn McMasters romantic bonnet pattern.

A few pictures of the construction process:

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Whipping the millinery wire to the buckram. I didn’t trust myself to do this by machine.

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I actually screwed up here and didn’t do the wire long enough, so I cut a short piece and overlapped at the ends.

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The top being attached to the crown. I ended up not finding any tape to make it work and had a lot of spiky pins in all directions.

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Strip of bias fabric around the edges to soften them.

I don’t recall if the strip of fabric around the edges was in the instructions or not, but this is what we did in a previous millinery class. There is an actual product out there made for buckram binding, but I used a bit of leftover thin drapey silk fabric (from my Bubblegum Titanic dress actually). It’s basted on the bottom with long stitches, but it was glued around the top since I couldn’t baste through that right-angle edge.

And then no more photos happened of the construction process (which was glueing on flannel for mull, attaching the outer fabric, and cursing a lot because the pleats wouldn’t lie nicely) because I had to rush to finish (of course).

I used a beautiful copper orange cotton/silk blend as the outer fabric. (The brand is Radiance by Robert Kaufman. Unfortunately they have stopped manufacturing this fabric which makes me so sad, as it was my favorite substitute for silk satin.)

Once it was put together, I quickly threw some decorations onto it! I have very few millinery supplies in my stash, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the few I had all coordinated together.

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The ribbon and flowers came from a booth at the Cañada College – Artistry in Fashion fair (separate purchases in separate years actually). The leaves came from the garment district in New York, and the velvet ribbon is leftover from my De Heere dress. (Seriously, I had copper velvet ribbon that perfectly matched the fabric. This would be hard to match intentionally let alone by accident!)

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Pile of decor on a bonnet! Flowers on leaves on feathers, with the stems covered up by a bow. These are all tacked on in strategic places to stay in place.

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The inner shirred brim is one of my favorite parts. I actually used that pattern piece upside down here [see comments about unclear pattern instructions], but somehow it still worked out.

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The fabric ended up wonky with a leaning seam going up the back. But it’s not noticeable unless I tell you! The bow is also covering some wonk.

The ribbon has a very definite right and wrong side, so I folded it in half up and sewed up the sides to where it touches the bonnet so you only see the pretty decoration. It ended up being just enough to tie a bow (or drape down my back, which I prefer the look of)

And for some commentary on the pattern – I would call this an intermediate-level pattern. It requires a lot of precision to line things up properly (and I didn’t always manage). I have taken an in-person millinery class before which really helped – I think it would be more difficult to do this bonnet with no millinery experience since I didn’t find the instructions beginner friendly.

The biggest issue is that different variations of the pattern pieces are given midway through the pattern, and not right up-front. For example, the cover picture shows an uneven bias binding on the brim (wider in the center getting narrower on the sides). The instructions for cutting this uneven binding are not given in the pattern layout, or the pattern pieces themselves (both of which show a regular bias binding piece), or in the beginning of the instructions for that view. They are given at the bias binding step, which is something like step 7.

The instructions do say to read everything carefully before starting, but it’s hard to visualize what is happening (or exactly what you want) when you are just at the fabric-cutting stage. I wasted fabric cutting out a piece that I ended up not using, because I followed the pattern layout and cut a plain top brim layer, but I had intended to do the pleated top and had to recut.

I would therefore recommend this pattern cautiously – it may not be best if you are an absolute beginner to millinery, and you really do need to read the pattern extremely carefully before cutting (and maybe only cut each piece as you are about to use it, which is way less efficient but less error-prone).

Luckily it’s got enough froof and shine to still be pretty!

For additional accessories –

I bought a lace collar/shawlette/pelerine thingy from ebay. The listing claimed it was extant to the 1840s, although I’m not sure if that really is the case. It definitely is handstitched. The little embroidery bits are actually applique on top of it. I ended up pinning it to each of my shoulders, since otherwise it falls off as I walk.

The black lace gloves are cheapo stretch lace gloves from Amazon (I originally tried to go cheaper from AliBaba, but instead of sending me gloves I received tiny doll shoes. At least it was easy to get a refund?)

So thus armed (and, head-ed?) with my new accessories I went to Dickens Fair with the rest of the Gigot Girl Gang!

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Rocking the late 1830s sleeve (where they have moved down the elbow) with La Dauphin Costuming. Man I am jealous of the amount of poof she has there! It’s also a testament to my Pixel 3 camera that it got accurate colors in the weird yellow light of Dickens.

Separated at birth?

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This wasn’t even the whole group! But we probably couldn’t have fit any more sleeves in the photo.

I was able to get in another wearing in January at the GBACG open house.

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The astute may notice I managed to get a wee bit more decor on the inside of the bonnet.

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So sassy, much sleeve, wow

This is a super fun outfit because of how absurd it is, and I’ll be wearing it again in a month for the GBACG 1830s picnic. Now I really want to make early 1830s dresses with EVEN BIGGER sleeves and redonculous hair!

Posted in 1830s, Ada Lovelace dress, Hats | 4 Comments

Rey (and BaBy-8)

Hello blog! This time I have a real excuse for not posting, and that’s the 8 weeks  5 months 7 months old baby! (the crossouts tell you how long this has been in draft). There are a lot more photos and construction steps I wanted to include about this costume, but if I did this would literally never get posted so off we go!

In the meantime, let’s have a retrospective to Jordan Con back in April, when I was a well-slept and well-showered 6 month pregnant lady.

It was tricky figuring out what costume to make for the competition, since it turns out there are not a lot of pregnant women in fantasy. I almost did Daenerys eating a horse’s heart from Game of Thrones (started buying materials and everything), but then started feeling meh on the idea.

I had vague plans about doing a Rey costume after The Force Awakens came out, but seeing The Last Jedi (which I absolutely adored, you can fight me over this) over the holidays solidified those plans. As a bonus, it would involve some propmaking (which I’d like to get better at) and was not Wheel of Time or Brandon Sanderson related (I’d really like to see the Costume Contest at Jcon branch out from those.) After seeing someone else do a Rey maternity costume, that nailed it for me as well.

The good thing about Star Wars costuming is there are people on the internet as obsessed with screen-accuracy in their costumes as I am about historical-accuracy in my usual stuff, which meant I didn’t have to do the research!

In this case, I lived in the Rey Cosplay Community group on Facebook for months.

The list of items I needed to make:

  • shirt (with painted on BB-8 over the belly)
  • drapey wrap thing
  • pants
  • arm wraps
  • boots
  • leather wristband
  • the staff
  • belt (which I decided against cause it’s not like I would have a waist)

I tried to keep a list of everything I purchased to see what the actual cost of this costume ended up being. I have exact numbers for the stuff I bought online, but I’m only guessing where I bought things in stores locally.

Shirt:

I bought this shirt off of Amazon in a size large to make sure it would fit my stomach. Then I took off the buttons and sewed the placket partially closed. Super easy! I printed a picture of BB-8, stuck it under the shirt with some bright lights, and painted the black outline. Then I came back and painted in the orange and silver parts. In retrospect, painting it was a silly choice (since the fabric paint is hard to get even, and splits when the shirt stretches) and I should have just used fabric markers.

I also bought a foam half sphere, cut it in half and painted it to look like BB-8. This got two safety pins glued on, and was then pinned to my shirt

Shirt and foam cost: $19.98

Wrap:

I bought cotton crinkle gauze from fabric.com. The movie version doesn’t have a seam, but that would mean buying so much yardage and having a bunch left over. I went for half that much and have a seam at the bottom of the loop near my calf where no one should see it. The other ends are all left raw. This was my second ever attempt at dying – I used RIT liquid taupe dye. It turned out to be the perfect color!

The wrap is gathered where it would hit my shoulders and tacked by hand to a piece of twill tape. The twill tape has snaps which attach to the shoulders of the shirt, so the wrap stays nicely in place.

Wrap cost: gauze ($28.26) + bottle of dye ($5) = $35

Pants:

These are very straightforward pants, except for the color. Like the wrap, the pants are also a shade of taupe, but a darker shade. Taupe is a seriously annoying color to dye for – depending on the lighting it can look much more gray or brown. I used Dharma raw silk (raw silk was used in the movie), and proceeded to dye a bunch of test squares. I started by mixing tan and gray liquid RIT myself, but kept ending up with shades that looked vaguely purple (presumably the gray was blue-based). Then I bought more taupe dye that I used for the wrap, and just used a higher concentration of it. Despite that, the pants are way too brown/purple looking, even though they used the exact same dye as the wrap. Just shows what dying cotton vs silk does. One day I’d like to strip the dye out and try again. Maybe in time for Costume College?

The pattern itself was quite straightforward. I started with my pants sloper and added extra to the sides and a ton of extra to the top to make sure it would fit over my stomach. The top is just a drawstring to be adjustable, and the legs are finished with long strips which wrap and tie around the top of my calves. And of course I added pockets!

Pants cost: 2 yards raw silk ($20.33) + ~4 containers of RIT dye ($20) = $40

Arm wraps:

These are cotton bandages from Amazon which I tea-dyed to make a wee bit darker. The screen accurate bandages are from Boots, a store in England, but they don’t ship to the USA. I was originally going to tack them down to stockings so I could have an armband to slip on and off, but I realized I would need to have someone tack it down while it was on my arm, because the bandage wouldn’t hold its shape off my arm. Since wrapping it isn’t that much effort, I just re-wrap them every time.

Cost: $10

By far I took the most pictures of the boot-covering process, probably because I did these first. The official screen-accurate boots can be purchased from Pozu, but I didn’t want to spend $200 on boots (that amount of money is for silk purchases only). I bought cheapo suede/fur boots from the internet, and repurposed the heavy wool fabric I had bought for that Daenerys costume to cover them. I also bought brown leather for the backs.

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I started by cutting out the seams at the sides:
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Used blue tape to make a pattern:
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The leather thingie that goes up the back. This was my first time sewing leather. You MUST get a leather needle and either use a walking foot or put a piece of tissue paper or sand paper between the needle plate and the leather, otherwise it will stick
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The covering for the back half (with the leather bit from above already glued on). This just got slipped on over the boot and glued down with rubber cement:
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View from the opening of the boot:
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Front and back fabric pieces glued on. The visible part at the bottom back of the boot will eventually be covered by leather:
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Cost: boots ($20) + leather cord and backing leather ($19.40) = $39.40

Leather Wristband

I had a piece of white leather that has been in my stash for so long I have no idea what I paid. I think I bought it off someone on livejournal a decade ago? I used a free online pattern. I used leather dye to paint it brown (it ended up a bit too dark for my taste). I bought a piece of thin leather in the right color which is glued to the backside on just the narrowest part where it will show on the wrist. And yes, it wasn’t until I had made two of them that I realized Rey only wears one wristband.

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Cost: White leather (depreciated to free) + thin leather ($6ish) + leather paint/sealer/burnisher/stuff ($30ish) = $36

And now for the trickiest part for me, the staff:

I have an awesome coworker who had 3D printed staff pieces for his own Rey costume, but since he never got around to making it he just gave them to me.

The original staff is around 6″ long, while Daisy Ridley is around 5’6″. I scaled down the staff length to be 5’6″ so I would have the same scale of the staff being taller than me, but not by an absurd amount.

Here I laid out the pieces to figure out the order, as well as the distances between them.

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I bought some PVC pipe and had the hardware desk at Orchard Supply Hardware cut it into two pieces, since I knew I would have to get this into a checked bag. I also bought a PVC connector piece that I could use to re-join the pieces once I got off the airplane. I could hide the join at the place where the fabric wrapped around the staff. Then when I got home, I discovered that 1″ PVC referred to the inner diameter, not the outer diameter, so it was too wide.

Back to the hardware store, and this time I bought a plain wood rod which was 1″ across. I also found a connector-ish piece that I figured I could work with. My other wonderful coworker (who 3D printed my Melisandre necklace last year) who occasionally dresses up as a Jedi himself put some screws through the parts, and by removing and inserting the screws I was able to break the staff down and put it back together.

Time to put the pieces on!

Aaand half the pieces didn’t fit.

In retrospect this isn’t super weird – 3D printing isn’t entirely accurate and if this was being very precise about the measurements, it could easily be off by 1mm (which it was). At first I went to town with a file and some lube (yes, that’s what she said, sigh), but that resulted in pieces that got stuck partway up the staff and I had a hell of a time pulling them back off. I ended up frantically emailing the first coworker who printed the original pieces, who sent me the files, which I sent to the second wonderful coworker who printed me new pieces.

That left me with about 3 days to glue on the new pieces and do a couple coats of spray paint. (PANIC PANIC PANIC)

Here’s what it looked like after the first coat of black spray paint:
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I bought the staff strap from etsy because I was running low on time and really did not feel like making it myself!

The fabric strips are some random scraps from my remnant box.

Staff cost: unused pvc + wood dowel + spray paint + metal file + sanding attachments for my drill bit + hardcore glue = I didn’t save this info at all, but I have to imagine it ended up around $40? And the strap from etsy was $53 (not going to complain about paying other cosplayers for their high quality products) = $93

Total costume cost: $274

(sheesh and I thought this would be inexpensive compared to yards of silk. Stuff adds up. Especially when you are embarking on a new part of costuming such as propmaking where you don’t have all the supplies…)

Alas, as is so often the case, when it came down to the final product it doesn’t really get across how much work the whole thing took and looks fairly simple. Oh well. Still,

I didn’t place at all for the official costume contest awards, but I was tickled to come up for the applause voting for audience fan favorite! Came in second to a truly excellent costume that no one but Wheel of Time nerds will understand.

The final results!

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Getting all zen or something while waiting for the results of the costume contest. Also, the photo that makes it obvious I was pregnant.

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Hotel lighting and carpets, never change

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And once I de-maternity-ify it, this will be perfect for my costume for the Thursday night pool party “Garments of the Galaxy” at CoCo 21019!

Posted in Fantasy/Scifi/Cosplay, Rey and BaBy-8 | 1 Comment

A Victorian Reticule

Woohoo, one item crossed off my pregnancy sewing list! Obviously, an accessory like a reticule does not involve my waistline at all, and is super handy for most of the Victorian era for carrying your stuff (like cell phones, keys, flasks, all the important things…)

The instructions are from Bunny and Catherine, who taught a class called Reticulous at Costume College last year. I didn’t take the class, since I figured I could get the instructions from them and make the reticule on my own time.

I started this back in February intending it to be a quick little handsewing project that I would finish on the 3 plane flights I was taking. But yeah, I kept reading books instead of sewing on those flights and here we are in June.

I used the leftover blue/black shot shantung from my sacque gown, and it’s astounding how different the colors look in photos depending on the lighting. On the front, I added gold lace, because everything is better with gold lace (and I have so many yards of the stuff). This would also be lovely with some kind of embroidery on one of the circles.

Finished reticule, probably the most accurate color of the fabric.

Shiny silk in the sun! There is probably a cat lounging right off screen.

This shows off the cartridge pleating which looks so nice here I don’t really regret how long it took! Amazing how the fabric looks completely gray in this photo.

This was supposed to be much quicker than it was – the instructions have you whip gather the long edges to the circles. Since I lined the taffeta with dupioni, the 4 layers on the edge was way too thick to whip gather, and I wouldn’t have been able to gather the fabric down enough, so cartridge pleating (which requires two rows of stitching) was the only solution.

Onto the next item on my pregnancy sewing list, because I only have 3 weeks left until there is a small human and all sewing time goes away for a while 😮

Posted in Accessories | Leave a comment

Fabmo Haul

Fabmo is an awesome volunteer-run store-ish place that gets crafty type donations from designers and sells them at discount prices in order to prevent the stuff from going into landfills. I had no plans to go to their last open sale because I’ve never managed to go without buying some fabric, but I had some crafty friends visiting for memorial day weekend and figured I would bring them because I’m such a good hostess.

So, here was my haul, for $16.50 total!

Two half-yards of terry in blue and pink and a yard of blue flannel in order to make some burp cloths (don’t worry, if this blog ever threatens to turn into a mommy crafting blog, I give you permission to thwap me with insertion lace until I get better).

4 yards of a wonderful teal coating material (I can’t get the color to show up correct in the photo). I suspect it is not 100% wool, but I also don’t think it’s 100% dead dino. Maybe one day I’ll do a burn test to figure it out. This is either going to become a modern hooded jacket, or an Edwardian skirt. (Or neither! The joys of a fabric stash),

I was only going to buy 3 yards, but there was a bit over 4 yards left on the bolt so at $2/yard I figured I would just take it all.

My most indulgent purchase; 1.5 yards of a ridiculously soft jersey that I have no idea what to do with. I almost never do knits!

And the most exciting purchase of all, a wooden tailor’s clapper for only $5!!!!

Squee a clapper!

I think every volunteer at the shop stopped to ask me what on earth this thing was and why I was so excited to buy it.

The flat side (bottom) is used to help press open seams. This is especially useful on bouncy wools – steam press the heck out of the seam, then press it open with the clapper until the seam cools down. The wood clapper helps to absorb the steam back out of the fabric, which keeps it nice and flat, instead of burning your hand off keeping the seam open while it cools.

The pointy bit and other strange shapes on top help you press open bizarre seams, especially enclosed ones. The pointy one is especially useful for pressing open seams on something like the upper and undersides of a collar, when you can’t get an iron in there.

So if you are anywhere around the Mountain View area, you should check out Fabmo for their awesome deals!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Kwik Sew 3531

So I made a long list of sewing I could do during pregnancy that I could do without having a waistline (like accessories, small fixes to existing dresses, actually making something for my husband).

Do you think any of this happened?

But I did have to make a jacket as the final project for my Intermediate Clothing Construction class at Cañada College, so I spent the last 4 weeks doing that. I chose Kwik Sew 3531 for two main reasons:

  1. It doesn’t close all the way in front, giving me a much better chance of having this fit after pregnancy.
  2. The teacher had a few copies of it for students, so I could just make a copy and not have to buy the pattern.

Why do pattern pictures always choose unfortunate styling? Nothing screams matronly like shiny polyester floral jacquard.

I used the literally oldest fabric in my stash – a fuschia wool I bought from the $5/yard discount table from the Joann in Santa Monica when I was in *high school*, officially making this wool at least 12 years old!

When choosing a pattern size you are supposed to go by high bust measurement (if bigger than a B cup) and do a full bust adjustment. I go an extra size down to account for my super narrow shoulders. So ,I cut an XS, did a 1″ full bust adjustment, and still had to trim another 5/8″ off the shoulders to get the seam to lie in the correct place. No wonder most commercial jackets make me look like a linebacker…

For the additional (almost) complete set of pattern adjustments I did between the tissue fitting and 2 muslins, check out the full album here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/137804647@N06/57C54y

This pattern doesn’t call for a lining. I decided I wanted to do welt pockets and a bound buttonhole (to practice the skills I learned in Tailoring class last semester, for which I still haven’t shown the jacket I made because I need to fix the button positioning…) which immediately made this jacket less casual. Welt pockets leave too many raw edges on the pocket backing to not cover them up with a lining.

The biggest chance I made was deciding to wear this jacket with the lapels open, instead of closed and overlapped like the pattern picture. I have a very short neck (sigh, high lacey Edwardian collars will never work for me), and having the jacket overlap super close to my neck was not at all flattering. It would have looked ok if I had redrafted the fronts and collar to overlap several inches lower, but I really didn’t have time for that.

This is the second jacket in a row where I’ve used this rainbow silk lining fabric! I bought the silk years ago intending for it to be a dress, but I have no idea what I was thinking.

It’s way too thin, and way too rainbow. It’s actually shot with white along the weft thread, so it’s a muted rainbow silk. Way too much everything for a dress. But perfect for a lining!

The finished jacket:

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Do me a favor, and don’t look at this welt pocket too closely. This is why I wanted to practice them. It’s definitely a several-feet-away sort of detail. (As I show you a closeup photo…)

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But look at this bound buttonhole all you like! I’m much better at making these.

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See, pretty buttonhole!

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Pink jacket plus rainbow lining is definitely A Lot. But it was also all stash fabric which trumps everything when I wasn’t sure how this wouldn’t turn out.

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I’m honestly not sure I’m in love with this – I don’t really like where the fronts fall when I wear it open (I should have interfaced a bit less of the front pieces) and the back doesn’t have any shaping. I think I’ll need to put this on after pregnancy to see how it falls when closed (because it strains now) to see if I’m going to keep it or not. But everything in it was from the stash, making it good practice for pattern altering and tailoring skills!

Posted in clothing from this century? | 4 Comments

Orange Regency for Wine & Peace

The Greater Bay Area Costumer Guild put on a regency event called Wine & Peace at Wente Vinyards. Despite the fact that 1) I can’t really drink right now and 2) I don’t really like regency, I hacked together a regency dress in about 1.5 weeks so I could go in costume.

Turns out since regency dresses make everyone look pregnant, they are really great for when you are actually 5 months pregnant, and entirely hide that fact! And I had some super helpful friends to be my designated drinkers aka stunt livers.

I was also able to use this as an assignment for the Intermediate Clothing Construction class I’m taking right now, so win/win situation all around!

I have no regency undergarments, but this era looks decent over a pushup bra, so I went with that and a tank top instead of trying to also make stays (remember, hacking this thing together). Instead of buying a pattern, I drafted something based on this wonderful description of how a bib-front/apron-front gown works from The Hungarican Chick.

Drawing by The Hungarican Chick

The only fitted part here is the back, and that’s just princess seams! So I pulled out my fitted sloper, and played around with it until I had a empire princess back and something that fit over my front with one small bust dart. No pictures, cause I was in a rush.

For the sleeve, I turned my sleeve sloper into a two piece with a poofy part up top and fitted down below.

My fabric was a mystery burnt-orange from Fabmo that I got for $10 total. I suspect it’s a silk or a silk blend based on the feel (but haven’t done a burn test), and that it is also a sari, given that it was only 36″ wide. I thought I had 5 yards, but it turns out I had more like 4, which was slightly problematic in the end. I was only able to make the front skirt half as wide as I wanted, and I had to piece it with a seam right down the middle. I also had to piece the apron front together from scraps. Despite my measuring, the dress ended up about 2″ shorter than I would have liked. The whole thing is entirely machine sewn and serged wherever possible.

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Literally the only scraps I had left when I was done.

Here’s the final dress:

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From a few feet away, you can barely see the piecing in front!

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And some closeups to try and explain how a bib-front gown goes on (although I think it’s better explained from the linked website above):

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First the bodice closes in front in some manner, I used hooks and eyes. I may try and add a band under the bust to stop this from riding up, which it really likes to do.

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The front comes up and the ties are brought around to the back.

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Where they go through loops on the back (in order to stay up) and criss-cross back around to the front.

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Then tie under the front to hold it secure. The apron is hanging down at this point, but the skirt is in place.

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The apron is flipped up, and buttoned or pinned into place! I really need to trim down the neckline of the under-bodice, since it shouldn’t be showing above the apron. You can also see the piecing I had to do since I had no fabric left which was big enough!

One day I want to mess around with the apron, since I gathered it at the top and bottom right above and below the bust to the lining. Except I should know better than that, because that doesn’t create a nicely gathered bodice the whole way through. It’s just going to pooch across the whole thing (which is what it is doing). I’m thinking of either adding tucks, or gathering/ruching the entire thing all the way across.

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Closeup of the pleats, since I like how they turned out. Because they are friggin knife pleats, I had to rip them out several times before it ended up looking nice…

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Sleeve closeup. If I had realized how little fabric I had, I probably would have done a plain sleeve instead of this gathered two piece.

 

Since I finished this in plenty of time the night before, I also banged together a super quick reticule to carry my stuff from some leftover peach taffeta and gold lace (because everything is better with gold lace).

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For the event, I popped on a pearl necklace, pearl earrings from Dames A La Mode, and a pashmina on my head for a turban. (Seriously, regency is super easy to hack together.) Over it I wore an amazing empire-waist vintage velvet coat I bought from Moon Zooom (a vintage thrift store) years ago. It definitely read as a fancy pelisse, and I really needed it because it was super cold that day. The boots are Robert Land, which I bought when he was heavily discounting shoes in his going-out-of-business sale.

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Sorry, no front pictures without the coat. It was *really* cold outside.

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A classic regency wedgie pose.

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All the orange ladies!

Overall, this is a little more costume-y than historical. While all the elements are historical individually, not so much when you put them together. Puffy sleeves and shorter hems are seen together in the late regency period, but I don’t think they actually coexisted with bib-front gowns, which are seen earlier. But whatever, now I have a pretty dress to frolic around in for regency events!

Posted in Orange regency dress, Regency | Leave a comment