elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Phew! This project kind of ate my life for a while. I really want to get these notes down before I forget what I did.

Many more photos and notes )
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
We didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked, because of the Girl's naptime and all that, but we had a lot of fun anyway.

I'll probably do a couple separate posts tomorrow about the dresses and how I made them, but for now, a few photos of [livejournal.com profile] undycat and I picnicking (with our families).

Looks like Pink Stripes was the theme of the day!

More!! )
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I am happy to report that I finished sewing everything on time.  I spent a leisurely afternoon yesterday sewing hooks & eyes and doing the other little handwork while F hung out with me, listening to music and coloring with crayons.

I dorked around a little with her hat yesterday, too, but it was looking stupid so I abandoned it.  She can wear her modern sun hat.

I do have one more thing to do (besides packing my picnic): sew a button on the World's Cutest Last-Minute Bib.  That is all.
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I keep forgetting how bad I am being about taking/posting progress pictures for this project.  Here's an underskirt pic I snapped a few weeks ago (I know!).  The underskirt will be almost completely hidden, except the ruffle, but at least the photo shows the fabric.

I took this one just for reference when I was figuring out the ruffle height.

I made the belt yesterday.  It's made from the same fabric as the bonnet.  
I cut it on the bias, not because I thought it would drape better or because I wanted to make my life harder, but because after cutting the bonnet, the fabric I had left was a bias-edged triangle.  Cutting it straight would have meant too many odd seams.  The bow is 3 pieces sewn together and the belt closes with hooks and eyes.

Left to do:
bodice facing
buttons/holes, hooks/eyes
attach bodice & overskirt
(maybe) sew the girl's hat, which is already cut out
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I trimmed the bonnet.

(I also finally bought a fake head! Woo!)

The crown is wrapped in a wide bias strip of self-fabric, edged with tea-dyed cotton lace, gathered and folded and lightly tacked down. I was going for a casually draped look, and this is the best I could do. The ties are also self-bias.

More pix )

This trimming has basically nothing to do with the inspiration image; I just wanted to make it pretty and this worked for me.


May. 24th, 2011 03:05 pm
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Thanks for the nice comments on my bonnet!

I made the first part of the trimming, two rosettes made of rayon petersham ribbon in a deep cream color.  

I know there is a way to make ribbon flowers look more realistic, but I'm not that good.  I went for simple.  I just hope they don't look too much like county fair prize ribbons.

I just happened to have two vintage glass buttons that I think coordinate well.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
It took me an embarrassingly long time to make this.


I plan to trim with ruched self-fabric, blonde lace and matching blonde petersham.  Surely I can figure out some way to whip up some petersham flowers?  I also plan to make the ties out of self-fabric, not so much because I am cheap as because I couldn't find a coordinating ribbon and I didn't want to get too many colors into the mix.

The shape is not perfect, but this is definitely the best job I have ever done on one of these buckram-and-wire affairs.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I think I may have figured out the hat/bonnet (more on that later) so I put it aside to work on the overskirt.

I'm using the Truly Victorian Long Draped Overskirt, but it was just not working out for me.  Granted, I am using a soft, drapey fabric, which the pattern specifically warns against, and it meant all my drapes were in a puddle at my feet.

I tried pulling up the sides more, and while that looked nice and solved the puddling, it meant the sides were now too high.  In my inspiration, the front overskirt hem is relatively level with the side seam.  I wanted to make sure there wasn't too much plain skirt showing; the look in the painting is of an explosion of ruffle from under the overskirt.

I thought about shortening the whole thing, but the side seams would still be shorter than the front.

Finally I realized I needed to make the front piece narrower; more of a rectangle, less of a triangle. This was the aha! moment. The pleats alone don't create the drapery; the tension on the side seams pulls everything into place.  With my soft fabric, I needed more tension, so I trimmed a few inches off each side, straight up to the hip.  I pinned a few pleats in, and it worked.  
I'll pin it up for real tomorrow; I'm a little burned out on pinning pleats today (especially after stabbing myself a dozen times with pins.)

Unrelated: I am currently eating the most magically delicious chocolate ever, Truffle Pig.  Holy crap.


May. 10th, 2011 03:27 pm
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I've spent most of my free time for the past two days cutting up manila file folders, taping them back together, and putting them on my head in an effort to make a serviceable hat pattern. I’ve been using my basic hatmaking book and many fashion plates as references, but I just cannot make the thing look right.

Here’s the hat in my inspiration painting. It has a high, turned-up brim with an odd shape and seems to be set back on the head.

I can’t say I am all that fond of it, but I think if the brim didn’t have that weird curve, I’d like it better, and it would still have a similar feel.

Here are two plates that are quite similar to the painting, brim-wise.

some fashion plate hats )

Here are some that have a different shape, but still have the brim turned up in front.

some more fashion plates )

Those last 3 don't quite match brim-wise, but they have lower crowns, which seem to match the painting better.

The problems are, again, Impressionism making things look all wacky, and not being able to see the back in the painting or any of the plates.  I am thinking of just calling the hat-drafting thing quits and buying a pattern. Specifically, the Truly Victorian French Bonnet. But 1885 is a little late for what I'm planning; the painting is dated 1883 and I'm thinking the style she's wearing is more 1881-2.

So I also looked for a readymade buckram frame to cover. I didn't find any that looked like I wanted, but I did find this straw hat for sale, which has a brim that doesn't go all the way around in back, a detail I might be able to incorporate into drafting my own hat (again).

I've also been planning F's hat. She is technically a bit young for these, being not quite 2 yet, but oh well.

little girl hats )

I could try to find a tiny straw boater, but that seems unlikely. I think I could sew any of the other 3 in fabric by adapting a modern pattern I already have.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
It's always right before I cut into my fabric, a.k.a. the point of no return, that I get all panicky about my ideas.

The idea was to use a Renoir painting as inspiration, but since my fabric is only vaguely like the painting, I've already left the 'reproduce perfectly' idea behind.  Plus I can't find any other documentation for a dress like the one in the painting.

The painting's dress fabric really looks like a sheer cotton print, lawn or some such thing.  My fabric is a sheer cotton print.  The painting has a fitted bodice with lapels and a collar. This is a style that I've only seen in heavier fabrics, more tailored styles.  There's also a weird belt/sash, and the bodice has no discernible bottom.  It's obvious the artist cared not for preserving accurate fashion for posterity.*

Now I don't know whether to try to find a fashion plate to reproduce so I can at least feel like I am being somewhat accurate, or keep going with my not-quite-like-the-painting idea and have no idea if it's actually historically accurate or not.  Obviously I am not an accuracy purist, but it's nice to at least be kind of on the right track.  And I'm running out of time, so I better decide now.
* Please remind me not to try to reproduce an Impressionist painting again, no matter how pretty it is.


Jan. 29th, 2008 09:52 am
elizabeth_mn: (telescope)
I'm working on the plans for my spring picnic dress. I bought 8 yards of 60" wide sort-of-sheer cotton a few months ago. It's white with thin red stripes and scattered red paisley designs. Pretty and perfect for something springy!

This Renoir painting is my primary inspiration. It's dated 1883, but I'm probably going to fudge dates a little to get the look I want. I'm not planning a direct reproduction, but there is so much I like about the dress as it is that I will probably not change too much.

I think Truly Victorian 225 (without the train) would make a nice underskirt. That pattern has never really interested me, but it's simple and basic. I might just use this diagram from Festive Attyre for a similar skirt. I plan to add a flounce of 1" wide knife pleats to the hem, about 12" deep. The painting looks like the skirt is edged with pleats like this.

Truly Victorian 324 looks like the overskirt style I want. I will probably just give in and buy it as opposed to my usual style of trying to draft something similar myself, which is slow, painful, and has only a moderate success rate.

I've got several source images for petticoats, but I will probably end up with one petticoat with ruffles down the back like this plate and one with a wide flounce around the bottom like this plate. I want some really froufy lace and ruffles to just barely peek out of the skirt hem.  I'm still waffling about small wire bustle vs. no bustle.

I can't see what's going on in the front of the dress in the Renoir painting, but it looks like she has a sash or belt at the waist, and the bodice either:
A.) ends at the waist,
B.) forms a polonaise, or
C.) has a more typical hip-length hem which the artist left out (possible with Impressionism).

I'm trying to find examples of the sash or band. This cotton dress has a polonaise with a waistband. This dress from 1881 (far right) and this dress (left) from 1883 both have a hip-length bodice with a contrast belt at the natural waist.  I like fitted better than blouse-y or gathered so I will probably go with a plain, dart-fitted front with buttons.

I can't seem to find anything that has a bodice that ends at the natural waist from this period in this style, and even if I had, I'm not sure I want to fuss with a short, unattached bodice.  Option B would necessitate either a hidden button placket or dog-leg closure.  C is the simplest, but despite the fashion plates with this look, I'm not sure it's the one I want.

Other notes: A small lapel is visible in the painting. I think I might use a narrow V neckline with little lapels and fill it in with a chemisette. I found a few examples of this from 1879 in my Mode Illustree book yesterday.

Also, I like the hat on the right here, it bears some resemblance in shape to the hat in the painting. 

As for what to do with the fabric, I think I will flatline the bodice with white cotton broadcloth, but leave the skirts sheer-ish.  

(btw, thanks to Festive Attyre for all the great research material!) 
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