Monday, December 15, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #23 - Modern History

It's the time of the year for parties!  For Halloween I put my Poetry in Motion dress to use, and this past Saturday I took out the Art Challenge dress for a Durin's Day party.  This Saturday is the annual Christmas party hosted by one of my best friends.  Last year we all decided to make plaid dresses for the occasion.  It was so much fun we decided to do another theme this year.  We decided on candy and/or food themed dresses.  I decided to make my dress do double duty for the party and the HSF.

I had initially planned on using a fabric I'd spotted that had glittery Christmas donuts on it, but by the time I went back, it was all sold out.  So my mother and Husband voted for a black fabric with peppermint chevrons on it.

I dithered about patterns for awhile, because I was picturing something rather slim-skirted in my head, but non of my period patterns seemed right.  I tried a mock-up of a Janet Arnold pattern for this dress from 1938:

I  have no idea what I did wrong, but it was singularly unattractive.



What the heck is that collar doing?

So I pulled out my trusty 1940 Evening Gown from Vintage Pattern Lending Library and decided to go with that.  I had to take some of the volume out of the skirt, as I had only three yards of fabric, but I still managed to make it full length.  And as seen above, slimmer skirts were perfectly appropriate.

You can see how much slimmer I made it.

The last time I made this pattern up, I used the bodice only, so I had to make a full mockup to make sure it fit over my not-insignificant hips.  I almost started over during the mockup fitting, because I wasn't sure I liked it.

But I decided to keep going and almost everything went together smoothly after that.  Almost.  When I laid out the pattern to cut the peppermint fabric, I could not remotely get the pattern to match up on the seams.

I gave up and just cut the thing out anyway.

I wasn't too concerned about the side seams, but of course this dress had seams down the center front and back.  The best solution I could come up with was to cover the seam with some red ribbon.  The pattern still didn't match, but it looked a little less jarring.  A cute bow at the top, and voila, I'm a present!  Oh, and I inserted a lapped zipper, but this one would not lay flat, so I traded it out for an invisible one.

Not my best, but it will do.

Facing and straps

The Challenge: Modern History

Fabric: Quilting cotton

Pattern:  VPLL F3680
Year: 1940
Notions: 3/8 in red grosgrain, black invisible zipper
How historically accurate is it? The fabric is 100% cotton,and the pattern is period.  But there is a little serging on the inside, and the zipper is plastic.
Hours to complete: (Makes jazz hands and shuffles out of frame)
First worn: Should be this Saturday!
Total cost: $35ish

And the result:

Still looks a bit wonky

I'll live

Has a nice shape though

Evie decided to join me

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #22 - Fortnightlier's Choice: Gentlemen

For this challenge, I knew what I'd make as soon the challenge was announced.  In college, my design teacher had us size up and fit a pair of men's fall-front breeches.  It's one of my favorite patterns and I've made them for more than one show.  I have a show in May, right after my Ren Faire, that has significantly less stringent costume rules than the faire.  (I should know, I made most of the rules for both.)  The May show is for a Pirate Festival in Madeira Beach, FL.  Rather than being set in a specific time period (like the Bay Area Ren Fest, which is set in 154?) this show spans hundreds of years.  The idea is essentially that pirates from all eras have come forward to OUR time to search for a legendary treasure.  This way we can have Grace O'Malley rubbing elbows with Jean Lafitte.  We also have a group of fancy harlots who get to lounge around drinking wine and flirting with the pirates (best role ever!).  I play a French Harlot, and I have done her costumes in both the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Having done some damage to my costume last year, I needed to make some new pieces for it.  Fall-front breeches would be a fun look I haven't done in awhile.

I picked up some upholstery fabric that looked a bit like dupioni and some great flower-shaped buttons, all I really needed for this project.  I then realized I didn't have enough buttons and had to exchange them for something I could get more of.  Oops.

I still had an old mock-up of the pattern, and it still fit.  So I just dove right into cutting and sewing.  I did the majority of it in one day.  When I went to sew my buttonholes, I planned to do the expedient thing and make them on the machine.  Well this fabric was NOT having it.  So I had to learn how to do hand-stitched buttonholes for the first time.  They took an embarrassingly long time, but I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  I used pearl cotton thread and this fantastic how-to.

 The rest of the pants I'm pretty pleased with, although they are a smidge tight.  If I did them again, I would build plackets into the knees so they could be opened up and buttoned back down.  I might still open up the side seams before next May and at least give myself a bit more bending movement.

The Challenge: Fortnightlier's Choice: Gentlemen

Fabric: Upholstery fabric, cotton/poly blend
Pattern:  Something my design teacher gave me approximately a million years ago
Year: Late 18th century
Notions: BUTTONS
How historically accurate is it? I believe the original pattern was a period pattern, but of course I'm using a machine, and a serger because the fabric unraveled if you breathed on it.  The buttons are metal at least, and the buttonholes hand-stitched
Hours to complete: Most of a Saturday, and interminable age for the buttonholes.
First worn: Just to model, although they will definitely get some use next May.
Total cost: $45ish

And the result:



Modeled with my first Georgian corset, an old chemise, and a quick-and-dirty pomp.

From the back 

A better shot of the fall-front

One of our next door neighbors stopped by to say hi.