Saturday, July 12, 2014

Getting back into gear

I've been in a bit of a sewing rut lately, that I've been trying, and failing, to pull myself out of. I think part of the problem was that I still have a bunch of historical undies to make, and I had run out of all but a yard and a half of white cotton, so I was brought to a bit of a halt. But! I'll have just enough money left from this last paycheck after paying bills to pick up a new bolt of white muslin, so I'll be back at it in no time!

There's a whole slew of things I need to cook up in the near future. Most immediately, I need to make an 1830s corded petticoat, a flounced petticoat, a bum pad, and a set of corded long stays, for my 1830s Mourning ensemble that I'm planning to wear to the DFWCG Mourning Tea in October. Thankfully, 1830s styles are pretty easy to cook up. The basic patterns are really simple, there are minimal seams, so they go together quickly. The devil is in the details, though. The 1830s was all about little design elements, like piped seams, decorative pleating, embroidery, and things like that. Since this is a mourning ensemble, I don't want to do too much, but I am going to have a pleated detail at the neckline, and I'm going to pipe the back seams of the bodice. And, of course, there will be ridiculously huge sleeves. I don't know yet if I'm going to have to create some sleeve supports for them, since I plan to make the dress out of taffeta, but I wouldn't be surprised if they need some umph underneath to keep them perky. Overall, the dress will be based on the shape and details from this fabulous plaid taffeta dress.

It's funny, but since starting the Five Foundations Challenge at the beginning of the year, I've discovered just how much I love making historical undies. I'm completely addicted to the little design details like inset lace and tucks, and I want to add them to everything now! It's a little worrisome, I may be developing a frill habit. But wearing frothy petticoats under gown not only helps to build the proper silhouette, it makes you feel correct when wearing the entire ensemble. It feels more secure, like I know that everything is in its proper place, and I don't have to worry about things shifting because there's not enough support, or bones from a hoop/farthingale/bustle showing through my skirts. It's pretty awesome! I'm probably going to end up having way more petticoats than I'll ever need, just because I've become addicted to making them. XD

Anyway, besides the mourning ensemble, I'm starting to do some planning for next year's CoCo. Yes, I'm finally making it to Costume College, and I'm so excited! I wanted to make something really spectacular for the gala, but I wasn't quite sure what. I really love Worth ballgowns from the early 1900s, and while I love the Oak Leaf gown, I would never want to try and recreate it after Cathy Hay did such a spectacular job doing just that.

But, there were still elements that I wanted to incorporate, I just didn't know how. Then, I was daydreaming at work, thinking about a ballgown I had made in the past that I loved, and I thought, "hmm, why don't I just make that ballgown in a 1905 style?" That's when the design of the dress really started to come together in my head. I would incorporate the embroidery style of the Oak Leaf dress, with this lovely spring-time dress, also from Worth.

I am going to make the dress in emerald green satin, with the embroidery being of ivy leaves instead of oak leaves. (With a few little spiders thrown in, just for fun.) I think I may add a few spangles here and there, to simulate dew on the fresh leaves, and to give the dress a little bit of sparkle. The ruffle at the hem of the second dress will be black lace on mine, and the join of the lace to the gown will be disguised with appliqued ivy leaves.

I'm quite excited about this dress, and can't wait to get started. There's a trip planned to the fabric warehouses with some of my fellow CoCo goers, where we're all going to shop for our gala gowns.I hope to pick up most the materials for the dress there, but other things, like the cord and chenille yarn for the embroidery, I'm going to order in bulk online. I found one seller that has spools of 200 yards of rattail cord for $13. Huzzah! 

I'll be house-sitting for a friend during September, so I hope to get a lot of the hand-sewing and embroidery done during that time. I'll only have 12 days there, but I think I can get a large chunk of work done, since it will probably be one of the few things I'll have to keep me amused (besides schoolwork).

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