Thursday, June 27, 2013

Los Encinos Victorian Picnic

Last weekend we attended a Victorian picnic at the California historic site of Los Encinos. This is an annual event for us and a favorite at that. The weather wasn't too hot like in past years and we had a nice big turn out, making for a lovely picturesque afternoon with friends :)

Micheal wore my favorite houndstooth waistcoat and pants with a dark jacket and a bowler. 

I wore an old cotton bustle gown that hadn't been out in at least a year with my original straw hat. The exciting part of the dress was getting to wear the dress over my new corset! Yes I have a new corset, yes I will post on it tomorrow :) 

Many photos courtesy of photographer Steve Farrow

Monday, June 24, 2013

Moving on to the next project

. . . its time, the last big project is all cleaned up and packed away. This next one is gonna be for an upcoming costume college group - 18th-century Disney princesses, as well as meeting the last HSF challenge pretty pretty princess. 

I'm going to make an 18th century robe a l'anglaise but I'm going to make it with a few simple modifications so it looks kinda like the dress Rapunzel wears from the new Disney movie. 

I have a light lavender, nearly lilac colored, raw silk taffeta for the main body of the dress and the petticoat. 

And the pattern is the JP Ryan's robe a l'anglaise that I used for my first 18th century dress. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NorCal Pirate Festival

Last weekends event was up in the Bay Area on the water front. This was the second year we have attended the Northern California Pirate Festival. 
As with last year we had an absolute blast with all our friends as part of Government House. 

Michael participated with the military guys and the governor and I spent my time with the ladies. 

There was a little sewing and a lot shopping and shenanigans :) on Sunday morning a few of us ladies ran away and joined the girls at the House of the Rising Sun and played at being courtesans till we were discovered and chased out ;)  We ladies even got to play the key role in rescuing the governor after he was kidnapped by pirates. 

The weather was actually cool and made wearing all the clothing pleasant though it was almost too windy for me to walk around on Saturday for fear of being blown right off the ground in that big dress.

On Sunday evening my friend laura and I played a betting game from the 18th century that ending up being silly and fun.

We had a great lunch both days with everyone pitching in and providing something and Juliana making sure was all beautifully presented and well displayed.

Both Michael and I were very happy with how our outfits turned out and held up to the two day event.

I tried to remember to take more pictures this time but the lot was still pretty weak ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Robe Battante and Coldstream Guards Finished

Here is a quick look at both our outfits from the event last weekend:
Me with all my accessories on :)
Michael in the uniform all complete!

More photos and details from the event to follow

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accesories for the Robe Battante

As stated in a previous post there are a few accessories I wanted to add to my Robe to really complete the outfit. The first is a set of under sleeve flounces. I wanted these to be really dramatic to match the Robes' scalloped sleeve flounce. I was using this original painting as my guide:
Using the same material as my fichu and apron. I cut out three different widths, all slightly longer in the back then in the front 

and finished the bottom edge with a small rolled hem (machine done, as time is of the essence). Next I sewed the 3 layers together and ran a gather stitch around the top and gathered it into a narrow band just a little bigger then my arm. Then to help keep them up on my arm I ran a thin elastic through the band and set them to my arm size. 

The elastic is not period, a drawcord to tie them on would be more period, and almost just as easy, but I was working in a rush and this didn't cross my mind until after I had closed the elastic into the band. It would be an easy enough fix in the future (when i am not scrambling for time) to open up the band and replace the elastic with a cord.
Next came a head covering. Caps are the go to for the18th Century but the mob cap I made earlier in the year is not the right style for this earlier period. Instead it appears they preferred a small round cap the was pinned to the top/ back of the head with optional lace lappets, or tails. These paintings came from my archives:
and this site has nice descriptions by decade of the shifts in styles in everything from hair to shoes, though brief, it is a nice general reference.
My favorite little cap came from this painting and that is what i based mine on. It was the little colored bow in the back that struck my fancy :)

Again using the same material as the sleeve flounces so that all these accessory pieces will match and therefore be relatively interchangeable with other outfits. I gave my little cap a ruffled edge for decoration, and i might add a little lace as well if i can find something small that i like between now and Saturday ;)
I think i made it a little too big but i hope once i have my hair all piled up on my head that it will be just right :)
This next piece I'm not sure i am really happy with and may change if i can figure out something better but for now it will work and allow me to wear the Robe . . . I made a matching stomacher. I made it with a heavy canvas interlining and about a half dozen plastic bones for extra rigidity. 

But all on its own it was just too plain, so i added these little pieces of lace that for not too close up look like embroidery and the big white bow across the top that seems to be a common decoration/ functioning closure in the period.
I'm thinking about ripping off the lace and adding lacing instead like the original below . . .not sure . . .
And last but not least i made a little ruffle of my white material to edge the neckline on the Robe, its only really tacked in along the back, but its to help hide all the tattooing i have ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coldstream Guards long white gators

Per the portrait this unifrom needs long white gators. Michael had a pattern from years ago that he found for free online that shows how to make the pattern and gators so thats what we went with.

The pattern is made by taking an old pair of jeans and cutting them off at the thigh and pining them as close fitting to the leg as possible at the side seams and marking that line. Then cutting them out, and that becomes the basis for your pattern, they then get traced on posterboard and seam allowance and placket are added in then the whole thing is cut out as your new pattern. 

we used a very nubby medium weight linen that in a previous life had been an elizabethan shirt but was too bulky to really wear under any doublet.

The construction is relatively simple, the hard part being making that initial pattern on the leg. I set my button holes using the machine, cheating again, but oh so valuable in saved time at this point. The buttons i will set with the heavy button twist and thick thread shanks as they will take a lot of strain. 

The final step is to wet the gators and then put them on and let the dry on your body so they further mold to your leg, something i think we will be doing when they are first worn on Saturday at the event as there likely wont be time before then ;)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Coldstream Guards - Decoration

The uniform on its own is impressive, especially when you were the person who put the whole thing together and know what went into it ;) but getting all that gold lace on to the coat and waistcoat made it really freaking impressive! And it finally is starting to look like the portrait we are copying.
(Don't mind the modern pants and slippers, we were working late into the night to get to this point by the end of the weekend)
The gold lace is about two inches wide and went around the front edges and neck of the coat, also the top edge of the cuffs and around the two pocket flaps. It also runs the bottom and fronts of the waistcoat, though the waistcoat pockets were trimmed with a different gold lace for scale.

All the lace was sewn on by hand by Michael, it was a gargantuan task! And he did a great job with it, even going so far as to sew the little gathers that makes the lace lay so nicely around curves like was done on originals
like this one:
The buttons are just simple domed brass, in two different sizes with the larger ones for the jacket and the smaller ones on the waistcoat (still have to set those ones yet). Because the buttons on the jacket are just decorative we didn't set button holes on the opposite lapel and i set them very flush with the lace so they wouldn't catch and snag. I made a very small slit through the lace and material and pushed the shank through, then secured it with a wedge of wool like i have seen done in originals. I set one stitch into the narrow end just in case ;)
After all that decoration went on i was finally able to set in the lining and close the whole thing up! When i set the lining into the coat everything was lining up just perfectly so I went ahead and cheated for my own sanity and sewed the skirt pieces on the machine then turned the whole think right side out and set the fronts and neck by hand along the gold lace.

So what remains to be done this week before the event next weekend? Well its still kinda a lot:
the waistcoat buttons need to be set
the waistcoat needs to be sewn closed in the front (opens in the back)
the waistcoat pocket flaps need to be stitched down
the jacket skirt pleats need to be set, pressed and tacked down
two back buttons need to be sewn on to the jacket
the jacket pocket flaps need to edged in gold lace and stitched down
the cuffs need to tacked up on the the arm (they are so large and heavy they flop down and get wrinkly)
the lapels need to tacked open so they expose the inner blue lining like the portrait
lace cuffs and lace for in the cravat
the white linen gators (you haven't seen these yet, I'll post about them tomorrow) need buttons and bottom leather strap
the hat needs to be edged in the same gold lace
black silk cockade for the hat
black silk ribbon ties for the gorget to hang from

And that's just to finish this uniform, there is still a whole other laundry list for my outfit ;)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Robe Battante - Mostly Finished

The whole Robe really only has a handful of seams, all the shape comes from those pleats. So it was easy enough to sew everything together, but a real pain to try and press the pleats in nicely ;)

The silk i am making this out of really wanted to fray at the edges and i hate having a gown not last because the fabric frays right through your seam allowances and through the seam! and even though i have a serger now to help prevent that I'm just not totally comfortable using it yet. So i cut out the pieces with pinking shears and then did french seams for the few seams that make up the Robe. The top edges on both the front and back were salvage edges just due to how they were cut out but i still covered both pieces with a self fabric binding and then set them together. I also did all the internal seams that i feel comfortable wont be seen on the sewing machine to make things go faster and then did all the external seams by hand.
I wasn't sure if i wanted to wear this over my big pocket panniers but wanted to have good deep pleats at the hips and so as a result the robe really looks best on the bigger panniers. In these photos you can see the bones of the panniers because i don't have a good heavy petticoat over them. I will be making a "quilted" petticoat for this dress that can also be worn with the curtain along dress, this one will be made to go over the panniers, where as the first one was round and meant for a hoop.
The internal pleats are stitched together to help hold their shape when on a body, and i added ties to help bring the sides in just a little tighter to really emphasis the narrow waist under all those pleats. I have to admit that i am going a little nutty trying to make this rather free formed gown fitted, as i am terrified that i will look pregnant (which i am not) in this gown, as that is often what it is recommend for.
The sleeve finishing per the pattern, and most of the originals, should have been rather large cuffs, and i did start out with the intent to make those cuffs but i really thought the look was goofy so i started messing around with the idea of a scalloped sleeve flounce, i was using this original gown as my inspiration for that idea:
This was the result! 

open flat it kind of reminds me of a creepy flower ;)

regardless of that i am really happy with how they came out :) Then to cover the seam where i attached the flounce i made this little box pleated trim.
I had to lay the dress out on the floor to press in the pleats as i need a very long very flat surface to really get them to lay straight and to my liking and the ironing board just wasn't cutting it! very silly i know but, hey it worked :)
The hem still needs to be set but i am not far off at all and will really just need to roll back up the salvage edge. 

And then its just the accessories and few finishing touches such as I think i will be making white cotton under sleeve flounces to go with the outer flounce like on this original gown:

And i will need a little ruffle, probably of the same material as the under sleeves to set along the top edge of the gown to cover my tattoo in the back ;)