jennylafleur: (potter)
First - thanks to all for your kind comments on my attire this weekend. I'm so humbled by your praise - you guys are great! More pics of the event can now be found on the RCHS website on this page.



Thanks also to those of you who helped slap me upside the head on the regency stays issue. You all are absolutely correct and I've seen the error of my ways. *wicked grin* I'm going to just fix the fitting issues and wear the ugly twill with pride. :> Besides B has begun work on my bee diadem today so I'm anxious to get the dress properly started. *wink*



That is about all to report on the sewing front. I've been busy the last few days on baby quilt signatures. I've gotten quite behind the past few months. I took the step of simplifying the design further. I just don't have the time to do the more elaborate ones these days. So the signatures are smaller and simpler but still nice I think. They are hand crafted and made with love and good wishes anyway. :>



After some thought I've decided to put my Butterfly dress on hold until later in the summer. I'm just not in the mood to work on it and switching from 18th/regency and 1911 construction has proved too much for my little mind to deal with. The shapes and fitting techniques are just too different. So I'm going to focus on my bee dress and other 18th century projects for a while. If I get the butterfly done in time for Costume College than great and if not, well that's really okay with me too. I'm just not going to worry about it for a while anyway...
jennylafleur: (antoinette)
Yep, still alive. Just suffering from acute sewing ADD and a general insane schedule. *sigh*

I did pull out the old sewing machine (for the first time in forever) this weekend. I put together the second toile on the butterfly gown and tried it on. No pics since B had the camera at school but it looked pretty good. I think I’m on the right track. I must admit I miss my basic 18th century shapes and techniques when I work on the butterfly though! :>

I also put together the toile for my 1780s ruffly jacket, or the bodice anyway. I still need to attach the sleeves and then drape the skirt – all of which I will do as soon as I post this note. :> I am going to try and get this made for an event on Sunday.

More about the event and outfit soon… *smile*
jennylafleur: (josephine)
I have been filing today (there is something about spring and tax time that gets me in the mood to throw away paper). One of the files I cleaned out was my Sense & Sensibility forum file. When I was still on the board I had a habit of printing out threads or single entries that I thought particularly interesting or that I thought I might want to reference later on.

While I was going through them I noticed that most of the most interesting, helpful, informative, etc comments where by Jennie Chancey, [livejournal.com profile] joysdaughter or [livejournal.com profile] pinkdiamond. I can honestly say without their words, advice and encouragement I would not have accomplished any of the things in this craft that I’m most proud of. *bows* May I offer a humble thanks to you ladies – I feel so fortunate to have "found" you as you have given me so much!

I also found something that may prove valuable for my Butterfly Dress. From a thread in 2001 where I was asking for advice on using the Lady Maude pattern in Arnold (which is a base for the Butterfly -took me a few years to get to that one aye?), Jennie mentioned that when she made it up she inserted a casing and some elastic at the shoulder. Her comment was that the gown has a tendency to fall off the shoulders otherwise – it exact problem I’m running into. *smile*

I love my life!
jennylafleur: (georgian costume)

I managed to finish my frock, petticoat and hat for the outing to Gunston Hall on Saturday – yay! I’m very pleased with how my hat came out. It’s quite fetching if I do say so myself. :> I broke down and used the lovely lace I bought at Liberty of London’s two years ago on it too. I'll just have to go back and get some more now. *wink*


The day at Gunston was lovely. There is something almost magical about that property. The people there are so nice and because it’s off by itself on acreage with few modern things laying round (no signs or plaques) it’s easy to forget there is a world outside. The Gunston events are definitely my favorites!

The day started out rainy but it turned out to be a gorgeous spring day, if rather windy. We all had a hard time keeping our hats and caps on! It was a little chilly at times so my wool frock turned out to be perfect.

We wondered around both the American and Highlanders camps, watched the battle reenactment and did some demo dancing. Once the park closed we ate picnic lunches and then danced with the soldiers and sailors. It was very strange to be outnumbered by guys, usually it’s mostly girls in our group! It was one of our esteemed musician’s birthday so we had cake and the lady who portrays Martha Washington (at Mount Vernon) and Gen Cornwallis (among other things in Williamsburg) came up for the occasion too. I wish I could have stayed for the candlelight tour of the house but I had to sing at church the next morning and stay awake on the drive home (I drove home). It was a truly delightful, if long, day though. :>

I was very inspired by one of the Gunstonian’s frocks. I was a total ditz and didn’t take any pics of her outfit but it was an almost exact replica of a jacket/petticoat from the Williamsburg collection. It will be perfect for the Under the Redcoat weekend in June. Out of the leftover cream linen from my petticoat, trimmed in black and with a big black hat, perfect I say!! *rubs hands together*

I couldn’t sleep last night so I started on a toile for the jacket. I took my robe a l'Anglaise lining pattern and used that as my base. I cut the front just the same but split the back into two slightly curved seams, like the original. I also lengthened the sleeves.

This evening, while I had all the toile making stuff out, I corrected and recut the second toile for the butterfly gown. So that is all ready for a second try.
jennylafleur: (titanic)

Here are the pics from the butterfly fitting I did last weekend. It looks pretty good but I have to admit that it doesn’t feel great.

The sleeves in particular are troubling. They felt like they were falling off and as I moved my arms around they shrugged down a bit. I do not want a dress I’m constantly pulling up – it’s so un lady-like. The only thing I can think of to fix it is to move the point of the back “V” to the top of the bodice (rather that disappearing under the bodice). Suggestions are welcome.

Shortening the sleeves might help as well. The lightness of the chiffon might work to my advantage too. I think I will have to stay away from embellishment on the sleeves, extra weight pulling the sleeves down won’t work. I think I’m going to add a layer or two of netting to the chiffon to stabilize it (especially at the shoulder) as well.

The over-bodice didn’t fit as well as I could have hoped, it ended up too big at the back seam. The slightly gathered look didn’t work so I pulled it down and for a more tightly fitted look. Not sure how that will actually work though. It kept wanting to bunch up right above the bust. This corset doesn’t totally flatten me out. :P

The skirt I wasn’t able to fit above the waist but I kept it on at the bottom to give an idea of the general shape of the frock. Definitely going “hobble” on the underskirt.

Overall not a bad first toile, just more work than I wanted. I’ve been very spoiled making the same en fourreau gown over and over. Sewing without the fitting and fiddling is so much easier! Fitting the 18th century is also much easier – simpler shapes and simpler techniques. I’m having to re-wire my thinking to wrap my head around this project! *sigh*
jennylafleur: (Default)

You know it just occurred to me that I have not one but two insect projects this year, the butterfly and bee gowns. Perhaps I should round out the year with an inch worm, ladybug or moth dress! *hee hee*

Anyway… I found a nice little belt at Target this week that solved the $9.95 necklace and Mr. Butterfly not matching issue. The sash is aquamarine silk chiffon, all the edges are finished and it was on clearance for $2.39. *hugs receipt* I love sales!

I like it a lot better than the sky blue chiffon option. The sky blue seemed to accentuate the differences between the necklace and bead colors. The belt beads them and makes them work suddenly, better in person than in the pics of course. :> I need to resign myself to the fact this gown is never going to photograph well. *sigh* The belt also makes the whole outfit *pop* which is fun. Besides I love aquamarine, it’s one of my favorite colors. So back into the fabric stash the sky blue goes…

The belt is covered in flat sequins on one side so I need to take those off. I’ll save them for some future project. One day 10 years from now they will turn out to be the perfect thing you know. :>
jennylafleur: (titanic)

After talking over this year's project to do list with a friend yesterday I got the bug to be working on something last night. :> I tidied up the toiles for the lining and kimono top, cleaning up edges and actually sewing everything together. So changes I’ve made to the S&S pattern so far are to lengthen the sleeve, remove the darts, recut the neckline to be wider and with a deeper “V” in back and to bring up the curve of the armhole for a closer fit.


I then turned my attention to the upper bodice. I looked at the Maude pattern in Arnold again (actually that is what inspired the change in the kimono armholes, they are quite high in that pattern :>) and decided to try draping the section again with that pattern as my base. So I enlarged it in the computer, printed it out, laid out the pages, placed toile fabric over it and traced the shape out with a marker. You can see how scientific I am about these things. :>

I ran gathering stitches down the center front and the center back edges and then draped the piece on Narcissa until I was happy. I ended up trimming quite a bit of it away, both top and bottom, to get the shape I wanted. You can see above the shape of the finished piece; it’s quite different from the original. I ended up with just a slight gathering which I think looks nice. I may take another whack at it to see if I can have a bodice without gathers or darts. The corset may alter my shape enough to get way with it (like on my Rohan gown). I don’t know, the gathers are nice and my fabric drapes so beautifully. :>


I started to drape the skirt lining as well but decided to go to bed before too long. I think before I mess with that any more I’ll try using the Butterick pattern as my base first. I think it will help things to go quicker. I want to move on to that draped overskirt! :>
jennylafleur: (Default)

Despite another migraine today I got some work done on the Butterfly dress. The first rough toiles of the other bodice sections are draped. If you will remember my inspiration dress, the white fabric is the lining, the light yellow is the orange chiffon and the tea colored muslin is the cream bodice. A belt of blue and Mr. Butterfly will go on top.

For the kimono top I used the Sense & Sensibility pattern as my base. Worked pretty well. The most fiddly bit turned out to be the upper bodice. I did it to myself really by not wanting any seams to show. I’m not entirely happy with it but I think it will work for a first try. I draped it myself, using the pattern in Arnold (Lady Maude dress), for a semi-gathered concave shape. It was the only way to do it without seams or darts. I’m going to see how well this toile looks when sewn up. I may need to actually enlarge that Arnold pattern and use it instead. My fashion fabric will be easier to work with than the muslin though and that may be enough to make the difference.

So I need to tidy up the toile and sew it up for a fitting. Then it’s on to the skirts. :>
jennylafleur: (Default)

Made some more progress on the Butterfly gown tonight. Looks like my gown will end up being a cross between the Kyoto frock and the Tea Gown from Titanic. I tried a couple of different things (based on my other inspirations) but going in this direction makes the most sense with my fabrics and inclinations. :> Above is the original fabric combination I picked out for this frock. Below are pics of my finial choice. As intriguing as a *hello* orange frock sounded I think I’ll be happier actually wearing the more subdued version. :>


So following the design of the Kyoto dress (of which there is a better picture in the book Fashion by the way – yay for Christmas presents! :>), the main body of the dress will be the patterned satin, the top/sleeves with be the orange crinkle silk chiffon and the belting the blue silk chiffon. I’m considering using the old orange ribbed fabric for the underskirt and to line the train as well.


I’m happy to say that the toile fit to perfection. *throws confetti* I used lengths of ribbon and a sash to determine where the “waist” and top of the pattern satin bodice should be. It was when I was doing this that it struck me how similar my design resembled the Titanic tea gown. :>

I marked where all the ribbons were and such and will cut the bodice lining appropriately before I go to bed. My next step is to pull out my handy S&S Tea Gown pattern (I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth out of that pattern!) and cut out a toile bodice for the chiffon part. I can’t tell exactly how the Kyoto original was constructed I think using a kimono top will be the simplest thing. The style, apart from being very period, is so easy to fit and very comfy! :>

I also need to drape the skirt. I was thinking about using the Butterick pattern as a base but now I think I’ll just drape it from scratch. That way I can be sure of fitting the high waist the first time around and having seams just where I want them. :> I actually need two skirt toiles, the underskirt (hobble) and the overskirt (draped & trained).

Or do you think I should have a separate train? I haven’t decided yet.
jennylafleur: (titanic)
I really must make a new teens corset. This one is okay but it was one of my first corsets and it’s not very pretty. The ugly too-wide un-bleached muslin binding particularly grates on me. I could make it so much better now and even have some pretty cream bridal satin that is calling out to be a corset. *wicked grin*

The real problem, and the reason I will justify this not-completely-necessary time consuming project, is that the busk is in backwards. As in the buttons, which should be on my left, are on my right. It is a little thing but it makes it a huge pain in the butt to put on. More like a wrestling match than dressing. Also some of the stitching has come undone. Actually it did it the first time I wore it. A combination of poor stitching, tight lacing to fit in my gown and too much dessert. :>

I think I will get the dress made first though before tackling a corset re-make. As much of a pain as the busk issue is, I don’t want to loose my momentum on the frock! :>
jennylafleur: (titanic)

I started on my teens Butterfly gown tonight. *throws confetti* I just need a break from the 18th century and since I have all the supplies and a deadline for this project I thought, why not finially start it! :>

I didn’t get too far because I got sucked into the computer looking through my costuming files & bookmarks for inspiration. Wretched thing the internet. I did find some yummy things though and I finally have an idea of what I want to do. The original concept I created last year was a good one but with a slight change in fabrics (and direction of interest) I am changing it. Nothing is ever set in stone until the fabric is cut you know. :>

I’m particularly inspired by both this gown from Kyoto and this one from the Met as well as this pattern diagram from Ladies Treasury. I'm not sure how well I can conbine all the elements I like but I have some other ideas floating my head. I really just want the fabrics to speak to me as I drape. I’m completely in love with the textiles I’m using so I really want to showcase them. It’s backwards from the way I usually work but I’m excited about the challege. I’m all about change in my life right now.

I’m determined to take a very laid back approach to this gown. I mean I’ve spent a year reading and researching the fashion of the period but I’ve put the books aside now. No period diagrams or historic patterns to size up. I’m not checking seam placement or documented period construction techniques. I need a break from all that. I’m just going to for the right look and feel and if that isn't 100% correct, oh well.

I got as far as taking measurements of me in the corset and the first steps of draping the basic bodice lining tonight. Nothing terribly exciting yet I know but there you are. It's a begining. I need to take this first toile off Narcissa, cut a second half and baste it up for a fitting. Haven't gotten my machine in to the shop yet so I might as well do it tomorrow, right? *grin* I’ve cut everything generously - watch for the seams to be cut down to size, the top to be trimmed and the bottom cut off to just above the waist.

Fun, fun! :>
jennylafleur: (titanic)

I’m still feeling sickly, which officially stinks, but I didn’t let it stop me from hitting the after Thanksgiving day sales this morning. I crashed & napped when we finally got home but it was worth it. I found really good deals on a few things I’ve been needing and even got a bit of Christmas shopping done so that was fun.

Okay - brag moment! I won the "best deal of the day" contest with B & Mom. Actually I usually do. *wink* I found the above necklace super marked down. Isn’t it gorgeous?! :> It’s perfect for my 1911 butterfly dress, and exactly what I wanted, down to the turquoise stones and pearls. I am just too jazzed for words! The best news? With all the markdowns and discounts my $45 necklace came out to be $8.99. *does the happy dance*

Dude! I really need to work on that dress now! :>
jennylafleur: (teens)
I’ve found some trim I like for the tea gown. I really don’t want to work on it though. I want to work on my Butterfly dress not fix this thing from 2 years ago!! *moo* I wonder if could whip it up in time?

*hand fly to mouth* I didn’t just say that, did I? Someone stop me! *hahaha*
jennylafleur: (l'duc)
Elizabeth you would be very proud of me, I went over 24 hours without thinking about my 18th century toile issues. I even had the cup of tea you suggested and started a new book. Of course it's about Louis Saint-Just of French Revolution fame. :> I do try not to obsesses about things but well it just comes so naturally! *hee hee*

Today I began thinking again however (always dangerous). I went through all my LALD (L'Anglaise et le Duc) captures, my library of 18th century books and websites of costumers who have made a lovely 18th century things (Katherine, Demode, Bjarne). I was specifically focusing in on the shoulder area and how the pieces were shaped and constructed. With those visuals and helps in my head, I decided to drape the bodice front once again, totally reworking the placement and shaping of the shoulder area. I now have several ideas of achieving the effect I want, I just need to work them out in fabric. Luckily I have lots of that pink and black stripe still to play with.

I started a new bodice tonight but didn't get terribly far with it. I had to stop and go to the quilting fellowship this evening. Just got back from that actually. It was fun, despite some difficulties with the current quilt. Apparently when they cut the strips (I wasn’t there), someone wasn’t very accurate in the cutting and now whole sections are off and having to be fudged. That is one thing I realy hate about quilting. Tiny mistakes in the beginning can be huge headaches later on. Luckily I got to iron and cut another section of strips so I didn't have to really deal with the mess. That worked out well as I wasn’t really in the mood for mess.

Everyone cooed over Mr. Butterfly though so that was fun. Encouragement is always a good thing!
jennylafleur: (titanic)

Finished up the butterfly appliqué (now affectionately known as Mr. Butterfly) last night. I painted a rough outline in fray check and when that was dry I trimmed the excess silk away. I then turned down the allowance so that the silk didn’t show before tacking everything down by hand.

I probably should have extended the fray check into the design a bit more but I wasn’t sure how passing a needle through the treated fabric would work. (Turned out to be just fine.) By the time I got to trimming tight corners I didn’t want to wait for the stuff to dry so I made do with needle and thread. So lazy!


Here are some pics of Mr. Butterfly on top of my corset to give you an idea of scale. The isolated pics of beading in a hoop weren't good for seeing scale I know. The color isn’t too bad in the shots either. I’ll have to try and take pics of the finished product in front of a sunny window as well. :> I looked at Mr. Butterfly on the orange fabrics this morning and was very happy with the results but forgot to take a pic. Well, next time.
jennylafleur: (titanic)

It’s done!!!!!! *throws confetti*

Yes, I’ve finished the butterfly. I haven’t been feeling like doing much else lately so it’s done a lot sooner than I thought it would be. :> The finial tally was 31 hours. That seems a little high to me. I must be slow at this stuff. Of course, that is with redoing a few sections because I wasn’t happy with them at first. *shakes head* I really must get over this perfectionism someday…

Anyway, I’m happy with the ultimate results, even if the dratted thing won’t photograph very well. The next step is to trim some of the fabric away and tack it all down so the silk doesn’t show, then wire the little beaded antae and create the tassels. Oh yes and make the dress to tack it onto… that might be good thing too. :>
jennylafleur: (bother)
*waves weakly* Hi all. Yes, I am still alive, but I’ll still sick as well.

*cough* *sniff, sniff*

I know it hasn’t really been that long but I think this has been one of the longest weeks of my life. The days just dragged on and on. I have not been this ill in a long time. Wretched flu! Today was the first day in a while that I thought life might be worth living again. :P It was also the first day since Wednesday that I could talk aloud. I’m glad to not be writing everything down - that was getting real old! Mom, Dad and B are still sick as well, all in various stages of feeling blah. It is a definite bummer when the entire family is feeling wretched all at the same time; there is no one to cater the sickies. :>

*cough* *sniff* *cough*

I am feeling like I’m finally on the mend, although it will probably be a little while before I’m feeling 100% myself again. I foresee the cough lingering for some time. I’m feeling just well enough to be antsy and wanting to be doing something other than watching movies. Until I actually get up and try to do something of course, and then I’m exhausted again. *blah*

But enough of my whining. I shouldn’t complain really, I’m home and can take it easy. Bridget has to go back to school tomorrow and can’t just give into this thing. Poor thing.

I’ve managed to get a bit of beading done in the last few days, although not as much as I would like. Hopefully now that I’m feeling a bit more human I can pick up the pace on the project once more.


le fun costuming survey )
jennylafleur: (titanic)

Well, I am sick. I caught whatever sickness Bridget brought home from school. In fact we are all sick, Mom, Daddy, B and I. *blah* Beyond some general achiness and some sinus issues (including a light head and headache), my only symptom is a rather nasty sore throat and cough. That is very painful though, especially to talk. I think I've pretty much lost my voice though, so it doesn't make much difference. :> Luckily none of this effects my LJ life. :>

I spent a lot of time this weekend beading, so the butterfly is looking pretty good despite having redo a whole section of outline I didn’t like. I'm second guessing the new dark blue beads a bit now. I really wanted something more of a medium shade. This color works though and I think it will be stunning and that is the point, right? :> I also stopped by G Street before I was feeling really awful so I have silk thread to use on my wool 18th century dress. Being sick isn't quite so bad when you have quiet handwork projects to work on and I now have several projects to choose from. :>

Well I think I’m ready for my couch and cranberry juice again…

beadwork progress: 22 hours
jennylafleur: (titanic)
I am now the proud owner of medium blue beads for my butterfly! I found out that there is a bead store in Fredericksburg (*gasp*) the other day and yesterday I checked it out. Oh my word... it's like a real bead shop with a wall of seed beads and other goodies! I haven't seen a bead shop that nice in a while. Very, very cool.

I'm at [livejournal.com profile] elegant_musings's house so I can't take pics of the new beads at the moment but I'll take some pics when I get home. I started working with them last night and they are a bit big but I think I can make them work. I can't wait to get a few sections filled in and see the effect!

*sigh* I love this stuff.
jennylafleur: (titanic)

I took out that yucky second blue and have progressed into the second wing. Not a terribly exciting update I know but, well it’s the only costuming I’ve gotten done lately. :> I was mostly experimenting with taking pics of the beading in the daytime. Don’t seem to make much difference, the browns still blur together a lot. Of course it is a gloomy day out – blah.

I have to wear a brace on my wrist while I bead now. My left wrist was really sore after my marathon beading on Monday so this is more preventative than anything. The brace seems to help, after wearing it for a couple of hours of beading last night my wrist isn’t sore at all this morning. The brace is also making me more aware of what my wrist is doing and how it’s moving as I work. I’ve been able to modify the way I hold and move my hand as I work, which can only be a good thing.

Not a big deal by any means but it’s funny, this little experience has made me stop and ponder a few things. I now have a better appreciation of the difficulties [livejournal.com profile] pinkdiamond and my Grandma have/had with handwork. I’d never really thought through the mechanics of the wrist that go into handwork before, the mechanics that RA messes with so badly. I am now in even more awe of Michaela’s work and accomplishments. You go girl! :>

beadwork progress: 13.5 hours

July 2014

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