LHS ball

Feb. 29th, 2016 12:53 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last weekend my sister and her fiance flew into town to spend her birthday with us and attend the Living History Society's winter ball. The period was civil war era. I loaned her a dress which meant I had to scramble to come up with something for myself. I sewed frantically until the last minute as usual, but we made it to the ball!

lhs ball 2016 010

I had just enough fabric left from my purple plaid dress to make an evening bodice. I had a half yard of acid green silk/cotton satin to work in somehow. I originally bought it to go with the day bodice, for covered buttons and trim. That didn't pan out, but I still loved the bright green with the purple.

I bought some more of the same satin in white and some gorgeous wide lace from work. With these I made a bertha with ruching and piped edges with green bows in front, back, and shoulders. I absolutely love the look of this, but it did seem to gape away from my body slightly. It didn't feel slippy but you can see it in photos. Alas. I suppose I just sew a tucker to it. I suppose this is the danger of making a separate bertha rather than just sewing trim directly to the bodice, but I like how a separate bertha conceals the closure and looks seamless.

I also made a sash with long tails in back. The sash ended up slightly tight, which made it wrinkle more than I wanted, but I can move the hooks and eyes for next time.

lhs ball 2016 021

I really didn't get any good dress shots. We were in such a hurry getting ready, and then I didn't take my camera to the ball with me.

The ball was a lot of fun. The dinner was delish and the dancing was wonderful. I think my sister had a blast! It was so nice to have her at a costume event. And my future brother-in-law is a great dancer!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Not doing much the past couple days because I have been fighting with a cold, but before that I started putting this cage hoop together.


It's a moderate size; about 112" at the bottom hoop. It looks so tiny here but looks somewhat bigger with lots of foofy petticoats all over it. It still needs all the hoops connected and a waistband closure.

I didn't use a pattern this time; I made up the shape with a combination of math and just putting it on the dress form and messing with it. I've been planning a blog post with all the examples I drew from. Maybe next week.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I did end up finishing this in time for the Winter Ball.

lilac ballgown 010

I like it more than I expected. The bertha looked doofy the whole time I was making it, but when I put everything on it came together a bit. I accessorized with pink glass pearls, white gloves from Finale Gloves, and some off-white fake flowers in my hair. I just used my own hair, braided in two braids and coiled up, with a couple small twists in front.

lilac ballgown 026

The ball was great fun! The dance program was perfectly suited to my taste; lots of polka and figure dances and only a few waltzes. I danced mostly with my husband but with a few other folks too, including lots of ladies, because I do enjoy leading in a couple dance. But I did also polka with a gentleman and I did let him lead. So I'm not hopeless, really.

I got a few photos at the ball but as usual none really worth keeping. They are on my other camera so I might share some when I get them off there. But here are a couple more from home:

more pictures! )

And some construction details )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Put in a little time on the 1860s ballgown this weekend.

60s ballgown 004

I am just holding it closed in back. After this photo I put the bones in the front and it smoothed out quite a lot. The neckline feels crazy high to me. Thoughts?

I was shooting for 60s but it really looks earlier to me, maybe because my hoop is small, or just because it is so plain. It still needs puff sleeves, piped facing, back eyelets, and bodice trim. Maybe it will look a little better once it's more together.

new project

Jan. 6th, 2015 11:41 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I've finally gotten all the laundry done and put away from holiday guests (sheets, mostly) and I've almost beaten the cold the guests brought with them. I rounded out my week of selfish modern sewing with some jammies, mending, and a felted-sweater mitten upgrade. So now I am really ready for the next costume thing.

The annual Winter Ball here is in less than 2 weeks, and I have nothing to fit the 1860s theme. Since I have no particular feelings about this period, I am not going to waste a ton of time, money, or effort on it. A simple cheap dress will do.

I bought some purple cotton sateen at work for this. I know cotton is not so very dressy, but see above. It's very nice for cotton, though! I am also not crazy about purple, but it was on sale and it is good enough.

I have the Laughing Moon pattern 117. I was going to use Truly Victorian, but a friend reminded me that a design with princess seams (instead of darts) makes fitting that wide neckline much easier.

So, a plain pleated skirt, a simple bodice, and a bertha with some lace and froof. I will also need a new low neck chemise, probably some drawers and a modesty petticoat for under the hoop, and a new bag, big enough to fit my good camera into.

Today is mockup day. I am really hoping this will be a relatively simple project. So wish me luck!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So I finished this in time for the 1864 tea last weekend. Here I am in front of my house with my friend Sarah when she picked me up.

plaid dress 009

This is the first 1860s dress I have made. I made up the skirt (of course) and the bodice is Truly Victorian 443, the 1861 Dress Bodice. It fits well enough and I like it, though I had to do my usual alterations (all TV patterns are a bit generous in the sleeve and upper chest for me). My only complaint is that the points in back, while being quite adorable, are also very distinctive, giving the bodice a bit of a cookie cutter look when 3 ladies all wear it to the same event, which happened on Saturday.

The collar is linen and I spent about 10 minutes on it, from drafting to done. I accesorized with my mother's cameo pin and pearl earrings. I did my hair simply, over my ears with a center part, and this is seriously as low as I could get it while still making it attach to my head.

Here's the back.

plaid dress 013

a couple more )

well oops

Nov. 6th, 2014 09:00 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
You know when you are sailing along and everything seems to be clicking and falling perfectly into place?

This is a red flag. Nothing is ever that easy.

I assembled my bodice tonight, and it's looking great, but I forgot to put the piping in the side back and shoulder seams. Since I wanted piped edges, it may look incongruous to have left it out of the seams.

Tomorrow will tell whether I rip it out or if I just don't care.


Nov. 6th, 2014 02:50 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The Glinda project really wiped me out, more than I expected. So I am reassessing plans.

I'm still determined to finish the 1860s dress for this weekend's tea, even though I am ignoring it right now and have spent an inordinate amount of time this week goofing off with The Girl. I still need to make a whole bodice, but even though it's a new decade for me, I understand the basics of 19th century construction so I am not worried. Not saying I could do it in my sleep, but I think I can pull it together. I am excited and apprehensive for the tea.

I have ditched plans for any new Regency stuff for the 11/15 ball. For a few days I was even considering trying to whip together a new coat for The Man and a new dress for myself. But I know I can't make anything nice in just a week. As much as I hate wearing something that is old/wrong, I just can't bear to make a hack job of my nice fabric when I am so broke. So I will wear my bright green voile, and my HB will wear his 1780s suit. I really want to make him the Laughing Moon regency coat and I will wait until I can do it right. The ball organizer plans to have more Regency era events in the future, so I am sure there will be an opportunity.

That will leave me (after this weekend) to focus on modern clothes (The Girl needs pants bad!), christmas stuff, and a ballgown for January. The theme isn't finalized yet, but it might be 1860s, and if so I am just going to go with it. I still have the feeling that I don't want to "waste" my good fabric on hoop dresses, but I am sure I will get over it once I find a ballgown plate that inspires me.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
A petticoat!


It's loosely based on Truly Victorian's free hoop petticoat diagram, but of course I had to fiddle with it slightly. I wanted a narrower ruffle at the hem (it's not on yet) and I was being frugal by making the upper section 30" narrower than the lower tier.

It's over this hoopskirt, which I made in 2008 (is it just me or does this seem like an eternity ago?). There is also a really big floofy ruffled petticoat under there; I originally made it for bustle dresses but it fits over the hoop, although the hem is wavy.

I am leveling it at the waist as you can see in the picture. I sewed a piece of elastic into a loop and slipped it onto my dressform, then pulled the unfinished waist of my hemmed petticoat through, pleating it roughly as I did. Next I'll measure from the hem to the floor and adjust it until it's even all around, then mark it and chop it before I attach the waistband. Because of the hoop's shape the petticoat needs to be a little shorter in front, and this way just seemed easiest!

Before I started this petticoat I fiddled with the ties in the back of the hoopskirt to make it rounder, with less back emphasis. I've been trying to figure out hoop shapes during the 1850s and 60s, and there is so much variation! The bell shape, the bell with more back fullness (like mine), the straighter, more triangular style, and the straight ellipse are the obvious ones. You could probably boil it down to a timeline but it looks like there's a lot of variation even within a single year. The takeaway for me is that not all women wore the exact same hoop shape. Subtle differences existed within the general trends.

And why grey, not white? No reason, I just felt like it. :)
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