Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An early bustle petticoat AKA "fluffy!"

Do you lack undergarments for the eras you want to recreate? I do. It is completely scandalous but there you have it. I lack underpinnings to form the foundation of the lines I want to achieve.

I have been wanting to make a version of the dress worn by the character Irene Adler in the first Sherlock movie since about one second after it waltzed across the screen. That brilliant pop pf raspberry and navy color in a sea of brown suits. It was a breathtaking visual (there was much silent geeky cheering going on inside my head!) 

So with that imagery in mind can you just imagine my stunned over excitement when Kat of Madame Modiste offered me the perfect shade of raspberry moire fabric? She took it off her shelf after I complimented it and plopped it in my lap. "Here ya'go." she said to me. "Whaaaaaaa!?!" I said or something practically that eloquent. If you get to know me well enough you might notice that I can freeze when shocked. I think I tried to say no, I probably didn't try very hard (because inside I was already petting it and feeding it and calling it George) and ever since that day I have had the desire to make a Sherlock dress rolling around in the back of my brain and hopefully give Kat the joy of seeing that fabric become something at last! 

First I wanted to make a dress that would be clearly recognized as a Sherlock dress, but I had no desire to make a satin blah recreation of the movie dress which frankly fell short in absolutely every way except for the drool worthy color. 

seriously- could we get more boring? Still LOVING the color though.

Here are the fashion plates that over the years keep ending up on my short list for this project. 

This one (left) has the amount of contrast I want and the floral pop like the cape in the movie dress appealed to me. 
More than the dress the coat on this dress (left) had an edgy Steam feel to me. 
This dress (right) had a military bent to it which is just me wanting a military dress but I do like the contrast ratio of trim to dress. 
(right) I love the contrast, it's 1880's big ole' bustle which I was focused on and seemed to me like something a sassy Adler would wear. This was the dress I had been pretty well set on. 

But then the urge for early bustle and this fashion plate teamed up and beat me into real motivation to make this dress! 
(left) I love every little thing about this dress! The tabs- the buttons- the collar- the sleeves- all of it. 

Here is how it happened... Do you ever notice that the events you attend start dictating the dresses you make? That the authentic list of "I want this dress!" gets pushed aside, pushed back, and left to languish in the corner while you spend your time making "this dress will work for the event" dresses? It  happens to us all at times I think, but it seemed to me like this trend had become my costuming life and it was sucking some of the joy out of it for me. After the recent pink tea dresses (three of them- three!) in a shade of 1980 rose pink I would never choose in a million years- I snapped. 

"Sherlock is happening, all upcoming events not withstanding- I may be wearing it to Dickens instead of a fur trimmed Victorian but I don't care! I'm making it! No power in the verse can stop me! I can kill you with my brain!"

You get the idea. So after my super jolt of motivation and creative juice set in I realized I have none of the undergarments I want for this dress. So instead of waltzing to my closet and pulling out two petticoats, a beautiful satin corset, some cheeky cute drawers, an elegant chemise, and making my dress- I'm making a whole set of undies first. I REALLY need new underpinnings anyway so I'm excited about it and not feeling like it is a set back. 

Enter "Fluffy" I wanted to start with a petticoat. It needs to be early bustle and trained. I wanted it to have a pretty high degree of fluff because the moire' fabric for the dress is fairly heavy fabric and wimpy petti's just won't do. 
It's SO Fluffy! 
This petticoat is unusual in that it is made from a floral print Pima cotton (this fabric started life as a king sized sheet set from target.) I have found several extant and fashion plate images that clearly show floral cotton prints during the early bustle years but none of an actual petticoat. I still hope for validation of the fabric choice but until then - I made it with this fabric because It's pretty and I wanted to! 

I did find these great printed drawers from the MET and I will continue to look for an extant petticoat but this was enough validation for me! Moving on! 

I used the Truly Victorian 208 pattern for an early bustle skirt. I made no changes to the pattern for the petticoat as I typically need to lengthen TV skirt patterns by two inches in theory the pattern length as printed should be just right for a petticoat and slightly shorter than my skirt. 
I used this image as a guide for the placement of the ruffles and puffing. 
My puffing is much fluffier by intention. 
The ruffles took forever! Seriously, I remembered why I don't ruffle often. 

The circumference of the skirt os 160 inches and I ruffled at a 3:1 ratio for the three bottom rows. 
my machine being eaten by ruffles! 

adding the puffing. 
My puffing row is gathered at a 2:1 ratio. 

I drafted the waistband for the petticoat myself. I had the idea that it was a pointed waistband until I referred back to my inspiration image. So I corrected the front of the waistband to a curved shape. 

I still need to add the last bit of ruffle to the top row and the waistband but I am so pleased with this petticoat so far. Next I will be making some cutie floral drawers and a lavender corset. 
Lord Beckett stops by to inspect the studio. 

It feels really good to be making something just because I want to - I don't have an event in mind for this dress but I am so excited to be making it at last. Are you making something just because you want to this week?

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Pink Tea Challenge - part 1

September flew by in such a whirlwind!

We attended a Pink Challenge tea with DFW Costumer's Guild and it was the best tea I have attended so far. The Location was outstanding a stunningly restored old home with a lovely family history of art and community involvement. The Heard-Craig Center for Fine Arts was everything a Victorian Costumer hopes for in a tea venue. 

There were a lot of fun spots in the garden for photos. 

On my way to pose for the pervious photo this bush jumped out and grabbed my hat! Needless to say any concerns about me waking up with grace and elegance can now be put to rest. I'm still me. 

Inside the house there was the most breathtaking staircase, the fretwork over the alcove and the main hall was beyond drool worthy. 

Again my my grace under the fierce gaze of the camera was completely intact. 

But is was not all silliness and cheesy photos. I was very blessed to be with both of my moms and my beautiful daughter so I had the opportunity for a three generation photo. My mom is not a costumer but I would not be one if not for her care and diligence in teaching me to sew. She was fearless each halloween making, often without a pattern, any crazy thing we could possibly come up with. My mom is endlessly encouraging and to this day is pretty sure I can do anything I put my mind to (Thanks mom, you did it right!) 

My other mom is always game for dress up and loves to come to events with me. Not everyone gets to have a mom-in-law they can play with. Because of this lady I have the love of my life. 

I love hanging out with this kid- she is such a joy. Emily wore a paler shade of pink moire' for the tea from a bolt of fabric my Grandmother Kulaga, who was also a dressmaker, gave to me. I love the way her dressmaking continues on in my life. 

While I am being sentimental, I rarely go to an event without wishing my distant girlfriends could be with me. My friend Gina of Beauty from Ashes is my biggest cheerleader, always ready with words of encouragement. They usually go something like "So help me you BETTER take pictures..." but I am paraphrasing. She is also a big 'ole geek and loves to collect oddments and peculiarities. So of coarse I got excited and thought of her when I saw a locust skin on this bush. 

"Look G, a curious thing!"

I took a great many photos and I still have not talked about my dress, or Connie's (which will be a post with a pattern review) or the food, or the OMG china cabinet- so I am going to make this a two part post and share more details on the morrow. 

Sleep well friends and my all your tea outings be glorious. 

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