jennylafleur: (moi titanic)

I have to confess that I only liked my dress at the Epic Titanic Dinner but thanks to the revamp that Bridget and I did I now LOVE it!

It's amazing how small fixes can change everything. "Small" not equaling little time of course, alterations always being time consuming. First Bridget and I pinned up the black chiffon skirt (while it was on me of course, B not having dress form), changing the angle on the side and making it more dramatically asymmetrical. I was way too conservative the first time. Once that was where we like it, we took off the black chiffon "scarf" that was on one side of my bodice along with all the beaded trim on the bodice. We moved the scarf over so it didn't end in the center front, changing the angle so it better matched the skirt. So much better!

I then had to completely remove the skirt, recut the top, fold over the top edge, gathered and hand stitched it to the boned bodice lining. Once that was done I stitched the bodice black chiffon back on and re stitched on the vintage beaded trim, keeping it only on the black this time. To balance out the decoration on the bodice I added a row of spaced gold seed beads to the ivory "scarf".

For such little changes it was a lot of work (mostly thanks to the evil natures of the fabrics involved) but so worth it in the end. Which of course begs the question why didn't I just do that the first time?! I blame the sleep deprivation and the fact that my brain had to keep track of too many things the week I finished the dress. Oh well - it's fixed now!

While I was working on the construction bits Bridget was going to town on the embellishment. She beaded the gold laces on the top and bottom then finished the beading by gluing rhinestones and sequins all over. Yay - bee bling!! *happy butt wiggle*
jennylafleur: (titanic)

The GBACG Titanic Dinner on Saturday was amazing! It was one of the most magical costuming events I've ever had the privlege of attending. The venue was goregous, the food very tasty indeed, the live band such fun and the company completely fabulous.

The evening inculded the gentlemen at my table standing whenever a lady stood (squee!), couples dancing the Castle Walk to Too Much Mustard (I love that tune!), a very touching toast at the hour that the ship sank (thanks to the time differance it was right as we finished our meal) and some lovely conversations with friends and strangers alike in the drawing room after dinner.

I spent much of the evening just observing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, while squeeing inside of course. It was truely a night to remember. :>

I didn't take too many pics (too busy enjoying the moment) but I did manage to take a few videos:Read more... )

And the photos:
Richard Man
jennylafleur: (titanic)
Today Bridget and I are working on the great ETD re-vamp while watching Lord Peter Whimsey DVDs.

I'm re-working the black chiffon side of the bodice and the angle of the black chiffon skirt, making them both more asymmetrical. The dress is looking much better - more of what I had in my head than what I ended up with at the dinner. Bridget is beading and embellishing away on the gold lace. If we have time there will be rhinestones glued on too.

Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?
jennylafleur: (titanic)

I just scored a ticket to the GBACG Titanic Dinner!! I'm SO excited! A Titanic Dinner I don't have to do anything for but dress and enjoy - whoo hoo! This is just the motivation I need to get my dress done. (Well at least in wearable condition. I don't see the spangles happening for the ETD.) Maybe for the GBACG now though... :>
jennylafleur: (sisters)
There are some days technology is annoying but yesterday it came in handy. I was whining to Bridget on the phone about my anxiety concerning my ETD layers, saying she shouldn't live on the other side of the country so she could give me her opinion. Then she said the magic word - Skype!

So after a very useful and fun Skype session where I draped my various fabrics in various ways and got some great feedback I'm feeling much better about the dress. It will be pretty! Bridget says so. :>

The skirt is now attached and the layer of gold lace on the foundation bodice as well. Today I'm off for a weekend of Mary Kay - going to a MK conference in PA. I'll have a bit of down time so my dress is coming with. I'd like to get the chiffon layer attached to the foundation and the hooks & bars stitched on but we'll see how much I really get done. See you Sunday!
jennylafleur: (titanic)
I am still plodding along with the ETD dress. The chiffon sleeve layer has taken a lot of time since all the finishing is by hand and the fabric is so delicate and finicky (darn crinkle!) that I'm having to take my time at it. The neckline and back seam have had rolled hems, the side seams/kimono sleeves have been French seamed. Thank goodness I was able to use the salvage on the sleeves so no hemming there! I couldn't handle the thought of hemming the bottom of the bodice (especially since it will be covered up anyway) so I stitched a length of 1/8" ribbon along my seam allowance to stabilize the bottom. I sewed a second strip of ribbon onto the front section that has to be gathered, again for stability.

The demon fabric has continued to put up a fight in the skirt. Letting out all the seams helped but wasn’t quite enough so I inserted a placket at the center back and am just off-setting my closure on that until it fits. It’s still a tight fit, little ease, but luckily my corset is long so there isn't any strain there and I have layers of fabric to go over it so it shouldn't be noticeable. *crossing fingers*

So (after multiple fittings to double check everything) the skirt and chiffon layer are pinned in place on to the foundation bodice and I'm ready to sew them on, the skirt by machine and the chiffon by hand. Then it's onto the layers of gold lace and black chiffon. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about that part, since I'm not sure how that is going to work. I mean if the ideas in my head will look pretty on my body. But I'm trying to push the negative thoughts away and just get on with it... It will be pretty, it will be pretty…
jennylafleur: (teens:lounge)
I decided to flat-line the skirt after, it's just so much easier to deal with that way! So I found a cotton/poly voile in the stash (so happy to use this up!), cut it out and used temporary basting spray to baste the lining to the demon fabric.

I stitched all the seams, pinned the skirt onto the foundation bodice and it is too small in the waist. Ahh! I had the same issue with the bodice and think I have finally figured out what the problem is. My demon fabric doesn't stretch like the cotton muslin I used for the mock-ups. Actually I don't think it has any give in it at all. So what fit beautifully in the mock-up isn't working in the demon fabric. Awesome huh? :P

The only thing I can do at this point is sew the seams with the smallest seam allowance possible (like I did on the bodice) and hope it's enough. If not I'll have to add a panel or something, which even though it won't really show with the other layers of fabric I have planned I'd be bummed to do. I'll know it's there you see.

jennylafleur: (artistic)
After two days of futzing and frustration I finally beat the cream demon-fabric into submission and finished the foundation bodice (except for closures) - yay! SO looking forward to working on the skirt now (also made of the demon fabric)! *note sarcasm*

I'm re-thinking this issue of flat-lining the skirt with cotton. I had decided not to flatline the skirt, afraid that lining it would change the drape of the fabric too much, after all I chose this fabric for this project because of its drape. But now I'm wondering if it would help me avoid some of the demon issues I had on the bodice. I don't know...

While I'm pondering the skirt I'm trying my hand, for the first time, at hand-sewn rolled hems. Well I've tried them before but without success. After talking about my past frustrations with rolled hems [ profile] koshka_the_cat was kind enough to give me a little private lesson on how to do them at Costume College a couple of years ago but despite her demonstration looking easy I was too intimidated (and lazy) to use the technique once I got home. However the only way to deal with this crinkle silk chiffon is with a rolled hem. So I refreshed my memory with this video on YouTube and started on the chiffon. So far so good, just mind-numbing. Well this project will give me lots of practice anyway... *sigh*
jennylafleur: (bother)
Clearly this project was going too well - it's now fighting back. I'm sincerely regretting using this dino fabric - it's is evil, evil stuff. Combine demon fabric with trying to do a bag lining on the foundation bodice and it's been hell.

This ladies and gentlemen is why I am a fabric snob. And why I hate bag linings. And why I don't bother with trying to make the inside of my costumes pretty. You'd think I'd know better by now.

Now I'm trying to figure out a way to get this to work without having to A) Hand sew tons or B.) redo EVERYTHING I've done in the last two days. Grrr...
jennylafleur: (funny)
I worked hard yesterday, although I don't have much to show for it. Darn you wiggly fabrics!

I got the skirt and the outer layer of the foundation bodice cut out. My cream satin/damask fabric is lovely but 100% dead dino, including I suspect some rayon, and really wiggly. So that was a tedious process. Blah.

I also got the crinkle silk chiffon sleeve layer cut out, finally. At first I tried to use the old trick of ironing on spray starch to make the fabric stiffer and easier to handle but realized that not only was this fabric a pain to iron but the ironing was taking all the crinkle texture out. That made me nervous - trying to iron the crinkle out again once the piece was washed (so the layer would be the right size) didn't seem like a fun prospect. So I had to hand wash and air dry the chiffon so I could start over. It then took a lot of gentle steaming and futzing to get the chiffon to be a uniform size so I could cut out the pattern piece (part of which is on the fold). Dude! I am never buying crinkle silk chiffon again; I don't care how cool it looks!

On the good side, both of these fabrics have been in the stash for 10+ years. It feels really good to be using them (and to never have to deal with them again!)- yay!!
jennylafleur: (twenties)

The skirt toileing yesterday went really well. I played around with the seams using pins at first, trying to figure out if I wanted to go with the pleats all the way around (the way the skirt was intended to be made) or if I just wanted one in the back (more like the Cordelia). I decided I liked the slimmer front, full back so I played around with pins working on the fullness. When I was happy I stitched up the seams and tried it on.

Laaaa!!! I'm so happy with this skirt, I can't even tell you. It's flattering and makes me feel like a queen when I walk in it (It really has to be seen in action hence the crappy little video...). And that is in muslin! I didn't slim the hip area too much in the back, putting my dress definitely in the 1910-11 range but I'm fine with that. I can’t wait to see this in my fashion fabric!

I had Mom mark the hem (so my pattern could be more accurate) then started playing around with train options. Looking through my research files I’m mostly seeing pointed or triangle trains and squared off trains. Round ones are there too but the triangle and square seem to be more popular, the triangle especially so in 1912.

So I played around with the triangle. My first try was very slim and pointed, like a pennant flag. I liked it but pondering the train, it really was too long. This is an evening gown not a court dress.

So I shortened it, changing the angle of the train to more of a triangle. I like it! I should probably futz with it a bit more (I'm more hoping than anything that it will lay nicely when finished which makes me nervous) but mentally I'm really done with toileing. I need to move on with this project!

So I declared it good enough and starting tracing off all the master patterns - skirt, bodice foundation and sleeve bodice. I got everything but the skirt back piece done last night before bedtime. Today I start cutting my fabrics - exciting!!
jennylafleur: (patriot)

The finial fitting of the bodiced foundation and the sleeve layer went well. The foundation has a few wrinkles that are annoying me but once I use a sturdier fabric than muslin and add the boning I think it will be fine.

The sleeve layer was good, I just need to lower the center back bottom edge another 5/8" to match the markings on the foundation. Yesterday I found a c1910 gown that I love the sleeve detailing on - I might try reworking my sleeves to something like this. I'm still pondering that though...

So I next turned my attention to the skirt. I'm going more 1911 with my gown so I wanted something a little fuller than a hobble skirt. What I really want is Wearing History's Cordelia skirt but the pattern isn't quite ready and I can't wait for it. Oh well - I'll have fun with it when it is ready! :>

In the meantime I analyzed the Cordelia to figure out what it is that I liked so much about it. For me it's really a great transition/compromise between the elegant sweeping Edwardian skirt and the slim more modern hobble. I love that it's slim at the top and flared at the bottom. I also love the pointed train since I was already thinking of going with that shape.

So I looked through my books, files and patterns and found a similar skirt in Period Costume for Stage & Screen by Jean Hunnisett. Hunnisett’s skirt is slim through the hips then has released pleats all the way around the skirt (not just the back like the Cordelia). So it seemed like a good starting point.

One of the things I love about Jean Hunnisett’s books are that the patterns are not only based on extant garments (don't let that book title fool you, these patterns are not just for theater) but they are sized for a modern body so adjustments are easy. Since this was a skirt I decided to draft it up rather than use the computer to blow up the image. So lots of math and measuring later I had a toile mocked up. It used a lot of fabric but I decided to do a full mock-up so I could play with the pleats, the flare of the hem and the ease on my body. The pics are of the skirt with the seams just sewn up, without the pleats being defined or sewed down. It’s a really pretty skirt as is but not quite right for my ETD.

So I started fitting the skirt to get that slim in front, full in the back look that I want. No pics of that step but I think I'm on the right track...
jennylafleur: (teens)

The second fitting of the ETD gown went pretty well. The bodice foundation just needed a couple of tweaks in the fitting here and there. After looking at my inspiration gowns and Arnold again (and referancing Nicole's & Katherine's versions of this bodice) I realized I probably cut the neckline a little low so I’ll need to fix that in the next toile.

The "sleeve" layer toileing, which will be out of crinkle chiffon, went pretty well too. I started with the under bodice from my now defunct Peacock Dress, which used the bodice from my Erte gown (which was in turn based on the Sense & Sensibility 1911 Kimono Dress pattern). Luckily for me I was smart and kept not only the master pattern I'd created for that project but the last toile as well so I was able to quickly sew that up and try it on yesterday. I noted the adjustments needed (the size - too small now - moo! and the sleeve length) and cut a new toile.

The updated toile looked pretty good, just tweaking really. So all that work on a dress that never was wasn’t wasted! The biggest change was to opt for gathers at the center front rather than the darts of the Peacock bodice. The gathered should be really pretty in the soft chiffon.

I quickly took off the toile, made some of the fitting adjustments (like bringing up the kimono sleeve under the arm to create a more fitted look), tried it on a again and marked further adjustments. The sleeves need to be shorter, the bodice bottom needs to be evened out. So new toiles were cut and sewn so I'm all ready for the next fitting...
jennylafleur: (titanic)

I started on my ETD evening gown in earnest yesterday. I had piddled around with it last week but yesterday I actually did some fitting.

Since I’m building this gown from the inside out I started with the bodice foundation, using the lining from the Lady Maude Warrender gown found in Arnold's Patterns of Fashion. Using patterns from Arnold is always interesting because those patterns are taken from extant garments that were fitted to a specific figure. This bodice had a really interesting shape (that was nothing like mine!) and a pretty dramatic waist to bust ratio. So lots of adjustments, albeit simple ones.

I tried fitting from the front to the back but found that fitting from the back to front was more accurate. Also much easier to fit on oneself! I transferred all the markings, cut and stitched a new toile and that was as far as I got...
jennylafleur: (Default)

The Flying Wrap is going well. For a pretty simple garment it's been a time-eater though. Of course I'm not sure why it is that when I pick the most difficult fabrics known to the sewing world to work with I expect to breeze through a project! Silly Jenny!

Putting on the velvet bands was simple but meticulous work. All the bias strips had to be pieced together then seams pressed open (using a needle-board so as not to crush the velvet). For the sleeves I had to sew the strip into a circle to go around the sleeve edge - you can bet I triple and quadrupled my measurements on that one! Then the band had to be pinned onto the edge – so time consuming! Luckily this velvet wasn’t too finicky and I didn't have to hand-baste it as well. I then sewed the band on as well as sewed a basting stitch along the other edge.

The bands were then carefully pressed, first on the underside (to create a sharp edge at the stitching line) then on the "right" side (creating the finished edge.)

I then carefully smoothed out the taffeta and using the basting stich on the raw edge turned the remaining raw edge under to create the hem. That was pinned and later stitched down by hand.

The skirt band was slightly more challenging as I decided to do an interlining of cotton twill to weigh-down the garment. I took the further precaution of stay-stitching the hem edge and used the basting stitch on the opposite side of the band to slightly gather the top to adjust for the curve of the hem. Finicky but so worth the effort!

The twill interlining did the trick, adding just enough weight to help the wrap turn the corner and look lovely and elegant. No more Stay Puft woman!

I've also worked a little on the embellishment. I stitched a mixture of bugle and seed beads to the edge of the sleeve to add some sparkle and weight there. I’ve also been making beaded tassels - but that is the subject of another post...

I still have the neckline/front and belt to finish/hem/attach and the rest of the beaded tassels to make. So it's all hand work at this stage, which is the perfect sort of work for headache and travel days. So while the wrap isn't quite done I'm moving on to other things.

Oh and I'm so excited I don't have to make anything to go under the wrap because I realized last week that I already have the perfect Edwardian nightgown - my 18th century chemise gown! It looks perfect under the wrap and is of course really comfortable. Yay!
jennylafleur: (artistic)
Don't faint - I've actually been sewing! I know, clearly the fun and inspiration of the Fabulousity Club meeting was a good tonic for my costuming mo-jo. :>

This post is really to remark that after an afternoon of messing with them I now remember why I hate French seams and why I rarely do them. Oy.

In good news my Flying Loungewear is going well despite the hassle of French seams. Now if my headache would just go away. *sigh* I'll post pics in a little while...

July 2014

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