Friday, July 23, 2010

Fitting Stuff

On a whim, I decided to try a different pair of bodies with the gown. It's only slightly different than my handsewn linen pair (though not as comfortable)

This pair of bodies does different things to mah bewbies, so it's a bit more *strained* at the top. Overall, I think it's OK, but I will most likely to back to my other pair. This pair shows the 'ridge' at the top of the bodice more than my other pair do. This may be covered with some sort of trimming if for some reason I go with this pair instead. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the front, though I wish I had cut about 1" more on the center fronts - I have very limited room to play with, and the silk is fraying like mad, taking up valuable seam allowance real estate. I zig-zagged the edges to make sure there is no further retreat.

Anyway. See the weird wrinkles at the side back? Well, I think those are mostly caused by the overly small armscye biting into my armpit, and finding nowhere to go. Now that I see this picture, I'm pretty convinced that those big wrinkles will go away once I start hacking out the arm holes a bit.

The center back is so weird! I swear, IRL, those teeny horizontal wrinkles don't show up nearly as much. There's something to do with flash or something that's making them look worse than they really are. The back is fairly beaten up from hours of hand sewing - it does look much better after a fresh pressing.

As far as the neckline in the back - it is for sure overly high. I'll be ripping off the shoulder straps and seeing if I can lower everything by making the straps a smoodge longer (check the picture above - I have a freakishly long waist, and there is plenty of room to move the whole bodice down a touch), or if I need to hack at the neckline itself. It may be a combination of the two.

Arm chub. EEEW. (Look past my disgusting arms....I'm sorry y'all had to see that!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Waist and Shoulders - done!

I'm not 100% happy about the fitting. Linen, I believe, is the prime suspect. My brand new linen stays are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g. (I know I'm not shrinking!) Also, I did my toile up in linen, which also stretches. The end result is the non-stretchy silk isn't as smooth as I'd like it to be. I also think that my shoulder straps are too short, pulling the back up much higher than it should be. I need to put everything on again with a clear head and take a good long critical look at everything. It may be OK enough for me to say "meh, it's my first attempt, so bite me".

I am also loathe to rip out hand's much more painful than ripping out machine stitching! I've only sewn the lining and the center back of the gown by machine, everything else is all by hand. I back-stitched the waist to give it a bit more substance, since part of the side back is on the bias, I didn't want it stretching all wonky.

At any rate, here's the waist all done up: (I've pinned a pillow to Bertha's butt to give a bit more poof....)

Here's the shoulders: (I cut the strap extra, extra wide so I would have plenty of room to play around with the sleeves. It will end up about half as wide as it is now, I think)

Yeah, the arm hole is extremely wonky, I know. But that just means I have plenty of extra fabric to play with to get the sleeves right.....

Also, while I had the gown on Bertha, I had a bit of an 'bout a zone bodice? Yes? No? Were zone gowns ever en ferrou'd? Hm. Something to think about, anyway.

Next up: Sleeves. Argh. Sleeves.


I hate my arms SO much, they're the worst part about sewing for myself. I think most striped gowns of the period have the stripes running around the width of the arm, rather than down the length - how much do I care about period accuracy versus personal vanity? I don't need my tubby arms looking any more tubby than they already are. It'll take me a day or two to angst through drafting up an acceptable sleeve pattern, so I don't have to decide straight away.

And bonus: TWO comfy goggies!

(How do I ever get out of bed in the morning with so much comfy snuggles to be had?!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moar 18th c stuff

I didn't get anything done last night, other than pleating the skirt (only pinned, not sewn), because mah baby took me out for a date night. :) I remembered to snap some pictures before I went to bed, though.....

To start off, here is a pic of one of the stains from the tea after cleaning - I knew it wouldn't be pretty.....

I've already shared the first pic with you, but this second one is a little zoomed in on the stitching. It's very much not perfect, but the stripes distract a lot! (This is also pre-ironing - the little wubbles towards the bottom steamed out with a good pressing)

Here's the facing I was talking about yesterday. I'm kind of *meh* about it, but it's on there for good now. Long story short, my glue gun (unbeknownst to me) dripped a gob of glue on my pressing board.....I ironed the facing over that gob, and then ironed the facing after it was attached to my dress, sooooo....yeah. I kinda am stuck (quite literally). I think it's time to recover my pressing board before I really ruin something!

Bertha is decidedly not me-shaped, so there are some crazy @$$ wrinkles going on at the waist. I promise, it is not so on me!

I forgot to take some 'before' pictures of the straw hat, but it was one of those ubiquitous 'rennie' straw hats with the high rounded crown. I raided my kitchen until I found a lid that was just about the right size and shape for the new crown, and I stretched and squished and molded wet straw until I got something sorta what I was looking for. I loaded it down with bottles and jugs to dry overnight. As you can see, it is very far from perfect (especially when viewed from the side!) but it'll do in a pinch. I don't have the heart to rip off all the beautiful decor on my purchased 18th c hats, so this will have to suffice - if I end up doing a hat at all, that is.

Bit of a test with some ruching around the crown. Too big! I still haven't decided if I'm going to cover it, and what shape it will eventually take, but that's all stuff for after I finish up the sewing bits!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Costuming Blatherings

Firstly, I apologize for the distinct lack of pictures to illustrate what the heck I'm on about. Honestly, I did do stuff!

I pulled out a mightly can of whoop@$$ this weekend! By early on Saturday morning, I had finished every last stitch of stuff for my Vic, and Jannean's vic hat. I buckled right down to work on my 18th c. ..........

Because of the little tidbits I learned along the way on the last one, I made a few tweaks. (By the third one, I'll have even more!) Rather than making the front angled (which I really like, but didn't feel like messing with this time 'round), I did the front vertical. Which really makes for a nice angle in the back, if I do say so myself. I also added an extra 1.5" in the back for the en ferrou, which I really ended up liking. If I had someone there to help me muddle through another fitting for the lining, I would have taken out 1" of the center back, but as I did not, and I had a bodice that already fit pretty dang well, I decided to forego further futzing to save time. Here are the pleats sewn down, before the facing: (Sadly, the only pic of all the work I've done on the gown all weekend long!!)

I've struggled with the neckline greatly, I haven't found the *answer* to what's going on, and I may have done it wrong, but I finally settled on a 2" wide facing across the back. The shoulder straps will have a seam on the neckline, and the center front is already turned, so it was the best solution for what I had done already without a major construction change. I think it looks nice, even if it is wrong.

I really am pleased with how quickly the hand sewing is going - I am 91% done constructing the body of the gown with only one weekend, so hurrah! I think I will probably make it by the deadline!

I've spent an indordinate amount of time pondering options for this gown. I really wish I had more background on this type of costuming, I do feel like I'm floundering quite a bit. I must promise myself to never, ever, ever start another gown without a firm set of inspiration sources. This "figuring it out on the fly" stuff is for the birds! Here are some things I've thinking about:

-What type of hat is appropriate? I really do want a hat of some sort! I'm leaning towards a Bergère, but not 100% sure. (They're all gonna laugh at you!) There seems to be multiple trimming and shaping options for a basic Bergère, so there's that too. I blocked out a straw hat to be Bergère-esque - the straw is fairly rough, and I had to manipulate it so much, it's not the prettiest beast in the world, but it'll do, I think. (Even if the crown is not as crisp, and a bit higher than I'd like) I'm also thinking of lining the under side (and possibly even the top as well, depending on how fugly the straw is when all said and done) with some ivory silk (same silk as petticoat), and I have some lovely wide ivory ribbons too. I made a length of ruching while taking a break from the hand sewing to put 'round the brim. What I can't decide on is what type of shape to do? An upside-down "U", or flat with a cute little kick up in the back? Side-note here: I went searching 'round for an example of each type I'm thinking about to post here, but I'm starting to think my addled little mind has made it up. Blah.

-What type of hair is appropriate? This is directly related to the above. I'm pretty sure some sort of hedgehog 'do, but not positive. Also of concern is if I have enough natural hair to do a mini-hog? (They're all gonna laugh at you!) I don't have the funds (or time, probably) to buy a new wig or hairpiece. Here's a little test of what can be done with my hair (so very not perfect, just a quick 10 minute futzing to see if it is at all possible!)

(It's a bit hard to tell with how dark the pictures are, but there's some 'hoggin going on round the sides and top, and there are three sausage rolls going down the center back. Then, obviously, a couple of curls hanging down on either side. If I were to do this style for real-reals, I would actually put product in it to make it a bit more poufy and smooth down some of the fly-aways, this is just my hair in it's natural (plus a bit of back combing) state with no added mousse or hairspray)

-False bum or panniers? I've not found anything concrete either way, and it is truly driving me insane. I really don't want to do something inappropriate. (They're all gonna laugh at you!) There is enough room in the hips to do either way, so I don't have to worry too much about it until I get to the hemming stage, I think. Also, I'm planning on polonaise-ing (what is the correct term??) this gown, so that will also help hide any un-evenness, I think. I am hoping next time I do a fitting, I'll put it on, and one or the other will just look 'right', and that will solve that problem.

-Trimming? Aaaaah, trimming. I am completely boggled. I don't want to look plain, but I don't want to put on an incorrect trimming. (They're all gonna laugh at you!) Gaaaah! I've seen a few very, very plain striped gowns, but I'm wondering if 1) the trimming has been stripped off over time, and/or 2) the gown isn't *fancy* enough to have trimming. I'd like mine to look a smoodge more fancy than not, but I don't want to look all plain-jane either.

And bonus: Comfy goggie