Jul. 24th, 2015 12:42 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I'm doing the green ruffly bustle dress for the gala. Today I am making the evening bodice. I took the pattern I used for the day bodice and altered the neckline to make it low for evening. And I am going to proceed WITHOUT A MOCKUP. dun dun duuuun!!

I will have it close in front with hooks/ fake buttons, and I am thinking of using a separate, removable bertha for trim. Early 70s ballgown bodices still did that right? Mostly I am motivated by convenience. On my 1860s ballgown the bertha made trimming so easy to make and wear.

For bodice trim I will mimic the ruffles on the skirt and probably add some lace and bows.

Clearly at this point I am feeling the need to post every fleeting thought that passes through my head.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I ended up with just the sleeves to set in and a couple odds and ends the morning of the ladies' luncheon. It all came together pretty smoothly and I really enjoyed wearing it. I took a zillion photos because it has been FOREVER since I have made a new fancy dress that I love as much as this one.

Hey it's my backyard again!

green ruffle bustle dress 014

There are a ton more )


Accessories! )

I really love the way this dress turned out. I love early 1870s and I haven't had a fancy one since my wedding dress. It's nice to play and experiment with other eras, and it's fun to make weird styles just because it's fun that they are weird, but bustle era for me is like coming home. It's an aesthetic I genuinely enjoy.

The only thing that ended up being wrong with this dress was I couldn't raise my arms much! That "tried-and-true" sleeve pattern turned out not to be so true after all. I probably don't have enough fabric to fix it so I will just live with it. It was fine, except I couldn't drive wearing it, and I had to put my hat on before my bodice.

There is an evening bodice in the plan for this, and I did manage to save out enough green silk for it, yay! It might end up being my costume college gala dress, we'll see. In any case, I will certainly wear it at the January 2016 ball.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Not nearly so much progress as I would like, but I am pretty sure I have a workable bodice pattern. I spent what felt like hours today puttering around with mockups and pattern paper, but it feels worth it if the result is a good fit and a pattern I can actually use again later.

Had a couple aha moments, like when I realized the back was riding up in a weird way because of the shoulder slope being off. My shoulders are much more sloped than the pattern's and the back neck was slipping up (and in) to accommodate, which in turn pulled up the back waist.

I want to do another mock but I might do it in lining fabric so it behaves more like the real thing.

Also had a panic moment when I put everything on and the skirt is over an inch too short. (!!!) But I just decided to use a twill tape tie for a closure so I can tie it slightly lower on the waist. The overskirt will totally cover it. Could I take it apart and piece in a bit on top? Sure. Will I? No.

I am longing to share progress photos but unfortunately I need to resist so I can just sew sew sew and make my deadline.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Started the overskirt. This is what is actually sewn:

skirt progress (1)

And these are just draped here for the effect (now they are pinned in):

skirt progress (2)

The side/back pleats are just pinned in here, too, of course.

I am falling pretty in love with this dress. Obviously not everything is coming out perfect, but the look is really coming together the way I want! I am not even very bothered by the visible machine stitching. Would it be more gorgeous and awesome if I had hand-hemmed those ruffles? Yeah, probably. But it's 1870s, so machining it is totally valid, right? And I would never get miles of ruffles like these if I was going it by hand.

I'm also thinking accessories. I would love to make a new hat, but I am going to focus on the dress first. I have an old trimmed straw hat I could use if I run out of time. Or my seaside hat might work.

For this project I decided to finally buy some American Duchess shoes. This took weeks of waffling and obsessing (and looking for cheap fakey alternatives) before I finally decided to just do it. Well today I was all set to order my dyeable Tissots - I even had them in my cart! - but then every dye color I chose was out of stock. I tried at least 8 different colors. None of them were available.

White shoes aren't much use to me and since I am doing this rather last-minute I can't wait and dye them later. I might give her a call later and see if it's a glitch or if every dye color is really out of stock. Or I might dig around in the closet and see what I can do to mod some old crappy shoes.

Update: I called Lauren and she said the out-of-stock was a glitch and to go ahead and order. So I did! I still cannot believe I am blowing that amount of money on shoes. But here's the part I left out: my hubby told me to. No, seriously. After I whined about mother's day he said I should have a fancy gift and I said well, there's these shoes. . . so there you are.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The actual skirt. It just needs a hem. I am very happy with the shape! And it has a very short, almost non-existent train.


a couple more views )
I briefly obsessed over the idea of giving it a ribbon-edged hem but I think I am just going to use a facing and fold it. And probably machine it.

When I first started daydreaming about this dress I had visions of lots of hand-hemmed ruffles, but I am on a deadline and that is never going to happen. Eh, it's 1870s, it's acceptable to use the machine for ruffle hems. Not as amazing but whatever. There are 300 miles of ruffles and it'll be a time crunch even with the machine.

Here's is the plate I am more or less reproducing (left):

But I am borrowing the silhouette from this one.

And my contrast fabric. Green and turquoise again, are you surprised?

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Basted the skirt lining to check in lieu of a mockup. In my jammies again.

skirt lining mockup (4)

skirt lining mockup (3)

skirt lining mockup (2)

The pattern is this one from [ profile] jenthompson's 1870 Peterson's magazine Flickr set. I used the projector to enlarge it and added 4-6" of length (that sure made me feel tall!).

This is over the new bustle, corset, and two fluffy petticoats. I think it'll do. I'm not quite getting the feeling of hugeness I was picturing, but I have to call it good enough at some point.

Now to rip this apart, cut the silk, flatline it to the silk, and put it back together!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finally hit on one of the reason's I've been procrastinating on the new early 1870s dress: I'm dissatisfied with the shape of my skirt foundations.

There's a skirt shape look in the early 70s where the woman looks as though she's just been dumped out of a pudding mold.


It's wide and round but very straight; there's an almost dome-shape at the hips and back, but the skirts fall straight down; no angles. It's not a bad look, I like it in the right context, but it's just not what I'm going for right now.

Another early 70s shape you see a lot is more of an A-line. The bustle might be softer just behind the waist, but there's more fullness behind the knees and more of an angle from waist to hem in back.

That angled back line is most obvious when there's a train, but even here in these dresses without trains you can see more of that A-line shape, less pudding-mold look.

This is more like what I am going for with this dress. A-line with either a very small train or none at all.

Yesterday I got out all my early bustle undies and tried them on to see which combination I liked best. First I tightened my lobster bustle's lacings to poof it out more, then decided the shape was too abrupt and loosened them again, then I tried my Truly Victorian bustle last. I wore two petticoats - a plain one with a single flounce and a very full one with 3 rows of ruffles all around - and used an old linen 1870 skirt on top; the waist is now too small so I had to hold it closed with my hand. I also layered my horsehair ruffle in there somehwere. I put all the photos together to compare.

bustle comparison 1

Of these I like the shape of the center one best, but it's still too pudding-y. Not enough A-line shape; not enough fullness behind the knees. Part of it is volume; some starch in my petticoats and a good stiff hem facing on my skirt could improve that, but it's also just the shape.

So, what to do?

1.) Make a new lobster bustle. The one I have now is pretty dainty. I made it a while ago, back when I was still cautious about things being too big. I could make a new one which is pretty much the same dimensions up top but widens lower down.

2.) Make a new petticoat bustle. Like this.

Or the top left one here:

3.) Add another petticoat. Particularly with more fullness concentrated in back. Perhaps even with a tie-back and/or some netting. Like so:

I realize that plate (and the tie-back generally) are veering into "natural form," but if it gives me the right shape, it goes. I could also try achieving this shape with more ruffles/flounces:

(Again, this is an 80s example but you get the idea.)

I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but I'd better decide soon. The event this dress is supposed to be for is in just over a month.
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