Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dabbling in victorian style - Unmentionables

So I love historic fashion. And somehow I always wanted to have a try at recreating it, simply as a challenge. Oh and because I think it would be awesome to have it on display in my room :)
Because everything with a hoop skirt takes up enormous amounts of space (which I don't have), I decided to go with a late victorian ensemble with a bustle.
In my head I have designed it for a character I played in our movie "The Picture Of Dorian Gray", which should have been set in the victorian period, but unfortunately we didn't have the money for the proper costumes. So my character will be getting her dress now, a few years late, but better late then never.
I decided to start from the bottom so to say, with the "unmentionables", so I can make the real dress with the right measurements to fit over the corset.

So this is it, the chemise with the corset.
I made the pattern for the corset myself and it actually was pretty easy. The chemise started off as two fabric squares and then I just worked out the pattern as I went along.

I still find it very weird to wear a corset. Not exactly unpleasant, but well, I wouldn't want to do it every day. And mine isn't even that tight. It still forms a nice silhoutte I think.

And here's a back view. As you can see I could lace it a little tighter at the top and bottom, but I like breathing ;)

Another back view. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have in which one can see the whole length of the chemise...
The chemise is very thin cotton, the corset is cotton satin on the outside and a denim weave on the inside to give it stability. After all, there is a lot of pull on the panels.
I used spring steel boning, because it's strong and still flexible at the same time.

The front panels of my corset are hand embroidered and I made up the pattern by combining several Photoshop Brushes.

And last but not least a close-up of the lace I used for the neckline and sleeves of the chemise.

This project is so much fun! I really enjoy working on it and can't wait to continue!
Today I got the fabric for the "real" dress and am so exited to get started!

The colours aren't completely right, especially the one on the far left... it's somehow darker in real life.
By the way, I'm actually done with the bustle and the petticoat as well, but I don't have pictures of that yet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back in time

A long, long time ago... began the tale of my sewing "career".
True, my first project ever was a Lord of the Rings costume (covered here), but these dresses were the first more "everyday" ones I made, around christmas 2006 (we actually wore them for New Years).

This is the one I wore, though it is obviously not modelled by me here, but by my friend Fynn. Thanks, by the way :)

The pattern I used was Burda No. 8174-B, which I'm still very fond of.

The bodice and underskirt are made out of purple cotton and there are two layers of tulle on top. One is roughly the same shade as the cotton, the other is more of a lavender.
I added a decorative border, little rocailles and a tiny bow as adornments.

The other dress I made for the same occasion was made from the same pattern, but view C.

It is also made from cotton, a bright blue one, with a pink underskirt with a tulle ruffle and (by now) a big pink flower adorning the bodice. When I made it there were tiny roses instead of the big flower, but somehow there was too little pink ;)
Back then I wasn't very experienced but still I dared to use a pink thread to make contrasting, decorative seams. That was quite the challenge back then, as you can see every little bump and curve in the seams. Let's just say, I sewed veeeeeeeery slowly.

Wonderful vintage

The fifties are my declared favourite fashion era. I love how the shapes flatter the figure, especially with the accentuated waist.
So last year I made this dress for my friend Kathy's birthday:

The pattern is from burdastyle magazine 11/2007, which I have also used for Helena's dress.

I always found the original pattern slightly too long, so I shortened the hemline to a suitable length.

For the dress I used three different fabrics. The white one is a very stiff cotton with a denim weave to give the bodice enough stability. The waistband is a dark green fabric with white polka dots and the skirt is made out of green cotton.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flowers all over the place

With my new overlocker I can finally sew jersey properly, so I had to make the first top I would actually wear.

The design idea came to me when I was sitting in the train from Stranraer to Glasgow this summer and fortunately I could remember it until I was back home because I had no time to make sketches at the time.

I started with copying the pattern from a tank top that fits me well, I just elongated it at the sides, in order to be able to place the additional flowers.

The shirt is made out of a quite thick jersey and is adorned with flowers I cut out of felt and sewed on by hand that go over one shoulder (and were strewn all over my room when I worked).

I have a few more ideas for this kind of design, with the flowers winding across the fabric, but I'm a little wiser now ;) In retrospective I would use a thicker felt, because this one stretches quite easily when I wear the shirt and sooner or later I fear the flowers will loose their shape. :(

My favourite waistcoat pattern

I think waistcoats are a wonderful item of clothing and some time ago I found my favourite pattern for them:

This pattern is out of burdastyle magazine 02/2008 and I have since made it four times, but always without the ruffles, I don't know, I just don't like them.
The first one was this one, which I made for myself:

An exact replica (just another size and a little longer to pass as a men's waistcoat) of the grey waistcoat was made for the theatre production of "The Real Inspector Hound" of which I was a part this year.
These two were made out of a silvergrey jacquard.

Another one I made is an elongated version of this pattern for Puck's costume, which you can find in this post.

And somewhere in between I made another version as a gift to my friend Kathy, can't remember when exactly, but I just took the pictures of it a few days ago.
It's made out of simple black, but quite heavy and stiff cotton. I chose the material because it gives the waistcoat a wonderful shape.

One can see it a little in this picture already, I embroidered the lapels. I think hand embroidery is always a beautiful method to enhance a piece of clothing.

I'm actually a little jealous of this one, I think it turned out really pretty.

img 1

Yeah, I really love this pattern. I'm guessing I'll be making a few more waistcoats with it in the future :)

Tartan ♥

I just love tartan!
I bought myself this wonderful cosy tartan fabric as a reward for writing my first final... but it took me a while to actually make something out of it and even longer to take pictures of it.
I used a pattern from burdastyle magazine, which was actually for a summery chiffon blouse, but it worked well with the thicker fabric.

The fabric I used is a flannel, maybe wool, but I'm honestly not sure.
The only thing I changed are the sleeve cuffs, I added loops and buttons instead of the ties.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I never heard so musical a discord, such sweet thunder

Phew... It sure is hard to find a good quote from Hippolyta! She says so little in the original play...
So again we have a costume from our movie project "A Midsummernight's Dream", based on William Shakespeare's wonderful play. It's a pity he neglected Hippolyta so much, though ;)
While in the play she was just a minor character, just as her fiancé Theseus, she is a pretty major one in our version of the story. We decided that, as long as you take a more serious approach to the story, their plotline offered an interesting conflict.
In the play Theseus and Hippolyta have so few lines that you can't really be sure if they're really in love or not.
We thought, that it would be highly unlikely for a fierce amazon like Hippolyta to fall in love with the man who defeated her in battle and captured her, so in our version she clearly dreads their "nuptial hour".
In her costume I wanted to show the conflict that ensues between Theseus and her and also between the world of Theseus' court and its regulations and her being used to being free and independent. Another thing I also wanted to capture with this dress are the two opposites in her character: On the one hand she is a cruel warrior, but on the other she is also woman who has her weaknesses.
Obviously Theseus wouldn't allow her to wear her usual clothes, as he is trying to break her spirit to make her obedient, so he chose a dress for her that would be as unlike her as possible: a very feminine regency-stile gown in soft colours, adorned with delicate lace.

But she of course can't just accept that. So she makes a few slight alterations to the dress...

Yeah, we thought that's what she would do: cut up the dress she was given to be able to wear it with trousers underneath, enabling her to move more freely in it.
Now when you see her wearing this dress in the film, it is very clear these are not her normal clothes, while at the same time she still retains the air of an amazon.

I made this dress with a pattern from burda-magazine 12/2007, but of course added the slit in the front (by the way, I used the same pattern for a graduation dress, posted here).
It's made from two sorts of satin and the top part is covered with lace.

Here you can see the fabrics together before I sewed the dress. These are the exact colours, without strange light or shadows.


That's it for now, taking loads of pictures tomorrow, so probably a lot to post soon!
Oh and again, as so often, thanks to my friend Beccy for modelling the dress :)