madamemodiste: (me 18th c.)
2011-07-10 05:52 pm
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Bastille Day sewing

So here in Philly we celebrate Bastille Day at a big block party outside of Eastern State Penitentiary with champagne in the streets and a storming of the prison where our own Marie Antoinette throws down Tastykakes (local pastry co) exclaiming, "Let them eat Kake!"

It's fun! See? )

So it's usually 100 degrees on Bastille Day, so I decided to make a new cotton polonaise. Stealing a great idea from [ profile] bauhausfrau, I bought two packages of Shabby Chic white voile embroidered curtains at Target and made a skirt. Yay! So here it is:

This was my first experience leveling a skirt from the waist. I found it hard and I won't jump to do it again :) Without the advice of Ms. Amy J, I doubt I would have finished it (she advised I find an object that is the same height from the floor that I want the skirt to be (I used a cracker box), wrap a piece of twill tape around the waist, adjust the fullness evenly, and begin adjusting the hem from the top until the embroidered hem hits the top of the box all the way around)

The bodice will be a black and ivory stripe with pink and green floral ticking. I've had all this fabric in the Stash for several years and I'm so happy to finally get to this project. I hope I finish in time!!

So far today I've only cut out the fashion fabric and lining of the bodice and overskirt.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-04-05 09:34 am

My first Victorian corset

Well, I finally did it! I made a single layer Victorian corset.

I'm taking a pattern and drafting class at Temple University. Hey, I might as well take advantage of the costume/theatre department and learn sewing skills while I get my degree. Where else can I learn from professionals twice a week and have access to amazing tools and supplies? It's like Project Runway in there!

Anyway, our latest project was to draft and build a corset from scratch. We could pick any era we wanted from the 1500s to the 1950s. I went with 1890s. I picked a pattern I liked from Robert Doyle's Waisted Efforts: an 1892 corset with hip gores. I chose a fancy white coutil for my fabric.

First I had to grid out the pattern because it wasn't printed on a grid. I measured the corset pattern front and back length and measured my own front and back length. When I scaled up the pattern, it had to match my measurements, not the ones on the original, which is too small. With the help of my classmates who have taken math classes much more recently than I have, we figured out the grid so the pattern would draft up closer to my measurements. No, I couldn't repeat that process again if you put a gun to my head.

Once the grid was figured out, I grabbed real life grid paper and started drawing. By hand I drew out each piece in life size, cut them out, transferred them to muslin (with a generous 1 inch seam allowance), cut out the muslin, sewed them together, cut spiral steel, taped them to the places I wanted boning with masking tape, basted on pre-made boned lacing panels, and tried it on.

From there, my professor marked where I needed changes. The bust and hips were too big and the curve from my rib cage to my bust needed to be sharper. It was also longer than I felt was comfortable, so we marked where I wanted the bottom hem to sit (so I could sit without getting poked in the no-no place).

I went back to my paper pattern and, using the "slash and spread" method (or in my case, "slash and squish"), made changes to the pattern pieces that needed them and trued up my edges.

Then I transferred my new pattern to the coutil, sewed them up, put on the boning channels using boning tape, set the busk, altered the previous boning to fit and tipped the bones, made and sewed on self fabric bias binding (by hand inside and outside), and hammered on nearly 3 dozen size 00 two piece grommets. At this point my hands were throbbing!!

and here she is! Of course she fits me better than my dress form, so ignore the fit.

see more here )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-03-29 04:48 pm
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Visiting Dress update

Both school work and a nasty cold prevented me from getting much done on this dress. I did get the underskirt made and nearly done. I made both sets of pleats, but I haven't sewn the lower set down yet (it's pinned in place).

It's very bright in my sewing room today, so the color looks a little bit washed out.

see another view here )

I had to do the pleats without my Perfect Pleater because I've come to realize it's bowed. I didn't realize until I tried to make pleats with a stripe in it. Immediately I could tell that the pleats weren't straight, and it matters when there is a stripe. Oh well. It wasn't so bad. I listened to Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children while I pinned and pressed. The white ribbon I secured with double stick fusable iron-on tape before I pleated. There was no way I was sewing down a ribbon (would have required upper and lower edges, which already have decorative "pick stitching") to that much material. Yup, call me the lazy seamstress!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-03-14 10:52 pm

May's striped visiting gown

I've been sewing up a storm, but they are secret projects for the Steampunk World's Fair, so I can't reveal them until May. Anyway, The Croc dress and the Madeline dress are just about finished. I found myself with Judy over at Jomar yesterday and came across a lovely black cotton with white stripes for only $2/yd. I picked up 7 yards and looked through my "striped dress" photos to see if any spoke to me. This one did:

From The Age of Innocence, this is a gown May wears on two occasions while "visiting."

another view )

Since I wanted to make the underskirt out of plain black cotton to save the striped fabric, and I was out of plain black cotton, I started on the overskirt. Here it is shown over an old petticoat that has seen better days.

click here to see my progress )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-12-21 09:47 am

The Elizabethan

Oh! I never posted finished photos of the Elizabethan!

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-24 12:43 pm
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photo of open robe

Well, here it is! I was afraid at first that the combination of a white gown and black robe would make me look like a Regency waitress, but I think it doesn't. It probably needs some trim, but that's for another day.

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-22 08:39 am
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Regency dress progress

Well, after over a year, I have picked up the Regency dress project again. Here is where it is now. It just needs a skirt and sleeve hem and it's done.
If memory serves, I think I used a combination of patterns from Sense and Sensibility as I wanted a flatter front on the skirt and the drawstring top, but I forget the details.

I hate how square the shoulders look on the dress form. Man, I hope it doesn't look like that on me!

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-10 10:42 am

A photo of progress!

As I'm a lazy, non-period accurate costumer, I was happy to take some advice regarding cartridge pleating the overskirt on my Elizabethan. Decorator's pleating tape! It doesn't give as clean a result as hand cartridge pleating, but I have a feeling it saved me some time (which I have very little left to finish this thing). So here's a shot of the dress in it's current state. I'm still fiddling with the trim.

The overskirt obviously isn't sewn to the underskirt yet, but it's an idea of how things will look in the end.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-07-14 03:32 pm
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madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-05-19 09:07 am
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Steampunk Worlds Fair

Hello! I have returned from the fair and am ready to share my outfits.

Friday is here )

Saturday is here )

Sunday is here )

We had a wonderful time and look forward to next year!

Here are all my photos!

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-04-10 10:48 am
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Edwardian silk dress

Some of you have already seen this, but I'll post it again since it's related to what I talk about on this journal.

I won an auction for an original turn of the century Edwardian black silk blouse and skirt for $25.00. I was the only bidder. I have no idea why as the size is equivalent to a "medium" today. It's not wearable, of course, but that was to be expected (and mentioned in the auction).

I couldn't resist putting it on!

The sleeves are shattered and the skirt has places where the silk is shattering, but it was ok to stand still in for a moment or two for some photos.

more photos of the dress this way... )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-02-03 10:20 am
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getting to work

As previously mentioned, instead of a proper coat, I want this as a "jacket bodice", so I cut it out from the TV tea gown pattern, cutting it off at the hem where it said "lengthen or shorten here" since I want the underskirt to be seen.

Anyway, when LL came over on Sunday, we held up the trim to the partially made garment and realized it needed something. It was too plain. We looked at the fashion plate and saw that there was a silver-grey trim underneath the braid, so off to Jomar we went! I got 8 yards of this really lovely medium weight satin for $1/yd

see the photo here if you want to )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-01-31 10:08 am
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Finally inspired: 1878 black velvet coat

Beth sent me some inspiration images last night to try to jump start my desire to work on something. She sent me this and I freaked:

I have all that black cotton velvet and braid trim from Jomar. I don't even need to buy anything, so this is a perfect project to work on. Right now I'm trying to decide if the back center panel should be of the left over black on black dragon brocade or if the whole thing should be velvet. I'm making it as a jacket/bodice rather than a true coat. This will be for club nights when it's 10 degrees out, like now.

Can't wait for Beth and Jess to get here later today to see my progress and give their input!
madamemodiste: (me 18th c.)
2010-01-16 09:35 am
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futzing with the pannier skirt

I popped a full netted skirt over the steel panniers to soften the lines. Then when I put the petticoat and overskirt on over that, it looks more elegant and less like I draped fabric over two boxes! If you want to see, it's HERE and here's a side view for the hell of it.

The ball is tonight and I can't find my box of feathers since we moved. Not sure where I stashed it, but I think there's a big red ostrich plume in there. Will continue the search.
madamemodiste: (me 18th c.)
2010-01-15 10:37 am
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Drac's Ball skirt

Lighting is still poor, but here it is without any trim. Since the fabric is so light, most trim I've played with weighs it down and pulls the fabric. Hrm...I think I'll leave it like this.

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-01-14 10:04 am

(no subject)

I had a brainstorm this morning, and it's either fabulous or horrid. Tell me! I have a Dracula's Ball on Saturday night, and I was thinking of making a pannier skirt of this ruffled fabric. I stuck my stays and panniers over top of my current Victorian gown (too lazy to remove current project, so just ignore it) and draped the fabric on top. Is this fabulous goth attire or awful? Remember, I'm not going for historical accuracy, I'm going for goth fabulousness.

And in the future, I can always use it as an under petticoat that won't be seen to further soften the pannier bones.

[Poll #1511495]
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-01-13 04:42 pm
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Playing with buttons

Since I am waiting to choose buttons, I decided to play with the pleaty thingies. Here they are done and sewn down. I had two 3/4" black satin buttons in my button bag and pinned them to the pleat points to see how it might look. I LOVE it! Looks like 3/4" is the right size for the pleat tips. I fear any smaller and the pleat tips will show. I held up my usual 5/8" and it seemed too small - didn't look right. So here are some 3/4" buttons pinned on:

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-01-13 09:24 am
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Ballgown bodice

A few years ago I received 3 yards of a lovely black on black brocade from [ profile] bauhausfrau. It has finally spoken to me after seeing an extant bodice purchased by [ profile] cfilson.

The front of the extant bodice is a high collar, double breasted front - otherwise plain. Mine, as a ball gown bodice, will be low necked, off the shoulder with a single button front, and I have no idea how to do the pretty back kick pleat, so it's just a slit. I cut the hem higher than the original to save fabric, and I think it'll be ok with out the "skirt". It's really those pleaty things I'm hot for.

I'm thinking of doing an overskirt of black satin taffeta with an asymmetrical swag of the brocade and black lace since I have little left and can't get a whole overskirt out of it. Sort of like the middle dress in this fashion plate. Again, not quite sure how to accomplish that, but I figure I'll fuss and drape until I'm happy.

So far the bodice is together and hemmed, and the boning is cut and sewn into boning channels. Next I must sew the channels to the seam allowances, do buttons and button holes. So satin or the usual "jet" buttons from Joann's I usually do?
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-01-07 12:27 pm
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bodice update

Since we last visited this bodice, it needed to be lifted up at the shoulders because an unsightly horizontal wrinkle appeared over my bust when I wore it. ( see 2nd photo for unsightly wrinkle) Done!

Then it desperately needed some trim. I poked through my Jomar trim finds and picked a matte sequin trim braid to be placed over black net lace ruffles. I also decided to fill in the open sleeve with a double ruffle of the net lace.

Just need to tack down the sleeve ruffles! Should I add the sequin trim around the hem of the sleeve, too?

madamemodiste: (Default)
2009-11-30 01:59 pm
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test shots

OK, so here is a test of ideas...

With a grey silk sash to tie in the grey hem pleats:

and here is a velvet NF era overskirt I already have, to give an idea of the skirt with a black overskirt:

But ya know, there's no reason I can't also have a grey overskirt. That way I can put it with this as well as any black underskirt. Just a thought :)