Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Look back at my Victorian Past Part 5 – Stacey's Ensemble

This was a nightmare of a costume to make.  Bit of background - these costumes were made for a game at a role-playing convention, yes it has crossed my mind since that it was a lot of work for 3 hours of use but that aside.  In addition to all the Victorian costumes I was also making all these pirate costumes (that were worn for the 4 days).

I did get a lot of help from the lovely ladies but I was at the time the primary sewist.  Stacey was the second and so she made her pirate outfit and was also going to make her Victorian.  Pirate went off without a hitch but Victorian was presented to me the afternoon before con, the self drafted underskirt complete and the Wash over skirt mostly complete but the bodice was simply pieces.

Now remember when I said that TV had the best sizing system ever - well Stacey did not listen to me and had decided she would need the largest pattern size and thus traced and cut that out.  So Yeah, perhaps a post on perception v's reality may be in order some time.  Anyhow we were up until about 4 or 5am getting this completed a task made all the more fun by Stacey's bizarre ability to stab herself with any pin post about 3am to which the sewing hours after that became known as stab o'clock.

I won't break this one down as I did the last ones because as I have already mentioned I didn't sew a lot of it.  From what I can tell the Wash Over skirt sews together well looks great and is easy to deal with in terms of cleaning and storing.  The whole skirt flattens out for ironing and cleaning.  what I will focus on is the bodice.

We changed up the sleeves (to make it easier at stab o'clock) and changed the neckline quite substantially.  I was especially proud of having lined up the chevron despite the resizing stress.  I assume it would have sewn together much better if the proper instructions were followed from the start.  Lucky I had some practice with the whole resize thing on my own bodice so it wasn't completely foreign though I would still only rate myself novice at best.

Anyway there is now only one Victorian to go but alas I will need to get a better picture as the one I have is only from behind.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Elvis Dress

I have been wracking my brain to find the pattern that I used to make this dress.  Anything, even a brand but it is alluding me and with all my patterns currently boxed up and out of the way it isn't something I can easily search out.  I even tried the database I am building of patterns I own only to discover that I have wrongly catagorised a pattern as this when it obviously isn't.

However without further ado I will tell you what I do know.  This dress is made from a vintage 1950's pattern.  I think it was a mail order pattern to be honest, so not branded or numbered anyway but once I have dug it out of storage I will add the details and a photo to this post.  The features of the dress are box pleated skirt (There is one on the center front with is easy to spot and two on the back that get lost in the gathers - this isn't a mistake the pattern made me do it.)  the bust is fitted by these awesome open ended darts that I love and the neckline as per the pattern is boat.

This dress fits like a glove, no resize, no issues just on and go.  Personally I think it must be something in the design because I wore it right up to about 6-7 months pregnant and it still looked ok.  The fall of the skirt is flattering and the fit of the boat neck surprising as this is something that normally needs to be individualized.   Not just me though as I made a version of this for a friend and it fit her to and she is way broader and thinner than me.

The material I used I love, it is a clever trick of the eye where it looks from a distance kind of like a patterned striping but when you get up close - bam that's Elvis right there in one inch repeat and two awesome colours.  It is a quilting cotton that came out many years ago there was a series with elvis prints and one with Beatles prints.  I still have some Beatles heads to make something with but this is what the precious Elvis fabric was destined for..  There were several considerations (which appears to be why I have it wrongly labeled in my database) but few 50's patterns can carry a strip like this.  I needed one with a full gathered waist because I did not have the fabric to try and match striping on gores.

I like the way the zip fits in too, it is by pattern set a few inches below the neckline, very handy for people like me who screw up zip inputs all the freaking time!

I made this dress in 2011 and I still love wearing it now, I still get compliments on it and it still makes me feel just a little funky.  I remade this pattern with some changes that Christmas but I will do a different post on that one once I get some images done.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Look at my Victorian Past Part 4 - Pam's Ensemble

Due to Pam working shifts I had all rights to choose fabric for this outfit.  As such it is all my fault or all my glory.  I think it turned out well to be honest.  There are things I would do differently which I will outline below.

This is called the Tail bodice specifically for the pleated falls over the bustle and can be made in long or as you see here short length.  It is designed as a late bustle period bodice/jacket and could likely have used a bit more pomp than I afforded it in the material choices I made. 

The blue is a self striped polyester satin with a very soft fall.  The colour was nice and worked well for Pam but the weight was all wrong for the pattern.  This didn’t make much difference to the bodice pieces as they are all flat-lined with denim but it did make quite the difference to the tail pieces which didn’t really hold the pleating as well as a stiffer fabric would have.  I don’t think the effect was detrimental to the overall look but it certainly didn’t showcase the double box pleating that is done to create the falls of the tail.

The detailing was simple, I just created a bordering using the brown fabric of the skirt.  Lessons learnt since tell me that had I cut the strips on the bias it would have sat much better.  The straight cut edging I think does effect the sit of the top and as I said it also could have used some more je ne sais quoi.  Maybe ribbon detailing or beading or something to bring it more into the over lavish time period of Victorian.  To me the styling seems like the more austere Edwardian period, but with bustle.

Skirt – Simplicity 5457

There isn’t much more I can say about the skirt than I haven’t already said here.  The same pattern was used for this and a very similar material differing only in colour.  Again like the bodice I feel that the skirt is lacking in decorative finery.

All in all the outfit turned out well but it does serve as a reminder of what could have been so much more even if it was good as is.

What suggestions would you have given to dress this up a bit more?