Tag Archives: sewing

galadress5

Finished Project: Irene Castle & Lucile Inspired Gala Dress

Hello!  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Today, I’m finally sharing my 2014 Costume College Gala Dress!

Several of us signed on to do a group project of Robe De Styles for this year’s Costume College.  While most people think of 1920’s gowns with the panniers for Robe De Style (see my Pinterest board here), I wanted to do a bit of a predecessor of the style by doing 19-teens style of a similar silhouette.

1962-190-1

Lucile’s “Happiness” dress, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

One of my favorite extant gowns of the 19-teens is the “Happiness” dress by Lucile from her 1916 Autumn collection.  Lucile was also known as Lady Duff Gordon, who was a survivor of the Titanic disaster.  If you’d like to see more of her work, check out my pinterest board.  Since I’ve been utilizing Pinterest a lot for my projects, you can also see the other looks that I was brainstorming and inspired by for my gala dress, here.

25eb29e2ffd444ae2d7e1b36e4352378

Lucile, 1919.  In the collection of the Met museum.

I loved the fullness of skirt of the “Happiness” dress, but I also loved the draped skirt on some of Lucile’s other work.

IreneCastle1I’ve also long been a fan of Irene Castle’s style.  Vernon & Irene Castle were a world famous husband and wife dancing team of the 19-teens.  Above she wears a Lucile creation.  You can see my Pinterest board of Irene Castle’s style here.

I was procrastinating for a long time on my Gala dress because I simply didn’t know what I wanted to do.  Inspiration overload!  I was also elbow deep in designing and prepping my new clothing line, and time was tight.  Finally, I dug in and went for it.

I started with a base of this pattern from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library for the bodice.  All else was pretty much draped or cobbled together from my knowledge of period construction by studying extant garments.  I was bad and didn’t even try it on, which meant that the torso was much too short for me (and I’m short waisted.  Disclaimer, there, if you want to buy that pattern).

galadress6

I had seen tucks in several of the research photos I found, so I used a twin needle and started creating tucks to go around the waist.

galadress7

A little too tuck-crazy, I played with the fabric on the form until I found I really liked the loop of this “seashell” kind of design, created by draping and twisting the fabric.

For fabric, I had a gold tissue lame silk chiffon in my stash which I had planned on using for an Edwardian gown.  I also had a sea green crinkle silk chiffon, and I bought the sea green silk taffeta in Los Angeles a few weeks before Costume College. With these, some belting, some beading, and some silk roses (made during class on Saturday!), I made this dress.

galadress2

galadress1 galadress3
galadress5

I am not a dancer, and not graceful, so luckily I had some help with posing from some friends and bystanders so I could attempt at the poses I loved in Irene Castle’s photos.

galadress4

Here’s a black and white one, just for kicks, because it makes me feel like a time traveller :)

galadress8

And me looking like an advert for drinking tea at dinner that night :)

Yay!  I love this dress!  I am a little unhappy I was in such a rush that I didn’t get to do the fittings I really needed, so the armholes are a little wonky and the torso is a little too short, but otherwise, I really love the dress and I’ll be looking for an excuse to wear it again.

And, because I was asked at Costume College- I’m sorry, there won’t be a pattern for this.  It was just a personal project, and it’s a bit too complicated to do into pattern form.

If you’re wondering, I get into the dress by opening at the side of the skirt.  The bodice is overlapped it at center front, and it snaps (or, it should snap, but it was really pinned) into place. It’s that crazy Edwardian/1910s puzzle piece of a way to get into garments.  If you’ve seen real ones, you’ll totally get what I’m saying.  They were really creative at fastenings back then.  Today, we have invisible zippers to do this- but they snapped and hooked at all sorts of strange places to make it look like your dress just magically was on your body without any obvious fasteners.  That’s one thing I wish that movies that are set in the 1910’s would do instead of putting a big ol’ zipper up the back.  But I digress… I hope you like the dress :)

 

Share/Bookmark

Starting a New Regency Tailcoat

I’m back from Costume College (photos to follow soon) and I’m really excited about my new sewing project.  I have decided to make my husband a new Regency era tailcoat.

Pictured below is the previous tailcoat.  You can read all blog entries on that here.

At Costume College last year I bought the Laughing Moon Men’s Regency Tailcoat pattern #121.  The coat is a little late Regency, but I love that she said she took it from an original period garment.

P121-2TI made the mock up tonight and we tried it on.  My husband has more squared shoulders than the original and we had some other alterations to make, but the thing we noticed after the initial fit concerns was the strange roll line.  The roll line really popped up, and stood away from the neck.  It’s so against modern “classic” tailoring rules, and I started to make a new neckline, but my friend Ginger pulled out some books and we started seeing that my engrained view of collar roll lines was incorrect in this period.

For example:

images

Look how far Mr Brummel’s coat stands away from his neck, and how high it pops up at the roll line.

And looking at period paintings and fashion plates, and comparing them with modern period movies, we see the same.  The modern movies make the roll line where we’re accustomed to seeing it, while the original period sources make the collar stand up and out from the neck.

collarresearch2 collarresearch1

So, while this post doesn’t show any actual progress, I thought I’d share this little revelation.  It makes my mind kind of turn inside out and I’m really trying not to look at it from our modern comprehension of fit, but the period one.  I have to keep batting my hands down from drawing or pinning alterations, because the way it is in the Laughing Moon pattern is actually the way the collar is supposed to fit in the period.

So, for those of you who are also interested in Regency era menswear, I thought this might be useful information for you on fit.

Have you made any Regency era menswear?  If so, share your info with me.

 

picture 43

SUIT A LONG: JACKET PART 4: COLLARS

Well hello again everyone.

I’m glad you’re back for my most complicated bit of this pattern so far, the sailors collar. I know that Lauren has been getting photos out there of the plain collar, so I decided to do the sailors collar version. A plus side being that the pattern of the front of the jacket does not need cutting down with this version. I always like to keep a pattern as full as possible for future use.

Anyhow on to the steps.

1. Cut out the pattern pieces.

I wanted to use the skirt material for the collar and thought I had plenty until it came to the crunch and I laid out the pattern pieces I needed. Oops. You may note that the front facing does not fit.

picture 1

So my addition to step 1 was having cut out as much as I could of the facing and then to sew a bit more material across the bottom and then cut this extra bit out.  It is much better to put the join at the bottom than the top as it might show on the bit that folds over otherwise.

picture 2 picture 3

I also had to cut the facing side of the collar, cuff and belt in the main material, but then I was good to go.

picture 4

2. The Facing;

Sew a small hem along the edge of the facing that won’t be attached to the jacket.

picture 5
Pin the facing in place, right sides together

picture-6

Sew along the seam line, I also like to sew along the bottom hem at this point too, just where the facing attaches.

picture 7

don’t forget to pivot at the corners and then clip to get a neat turn.

picture 8

picture 9

When you get to the top, stop at the shoulder seam, there will be some facing sticking over with a raw edge, but we will cover this when we get to the back facing section.

picture 10

Turn and iron, here’s mine at this stage:

picture 11

3. The Sailor Collar:

Sew the collar and the facing along the 3 outside edges, right sides together. (The line down the centre is a crease not a seam so just ignore that, I ironed it out after.)

picture 12

 

I under stitched the facing down as far as possible, you won’t be able to get into the corners.

picture 13

So after a good iron, we are ready for the pleats. Here’s my lazy approach; place the pattern piece over the material and stick pins through where the lines are, all three lines. I use a padded ironing board covered table (cut an ironing board cover to fit a tv dinner table, it’s one of the most useful things in my sewing room.) for this as you can push the pins right in and they stay where you want them.

picture 14

Then bring one set of outside pins to meet the middle pins, using more pins, pin in place.

picture 15

Then do the same with the other set of pins, giving you a box pleat.

picture 16

Iron this well

picture 17

picture 18

As you can see the pin marks stayed in the fabric, but with another quick blast from the iron, they vanished. If you fabric won’t do this then you may have to do the job properly and use tailors tacks.

picture 19

Then sew a baste line across the top of the pleat.

picture 20

4. Attaching the Collar.

Ok jacket prepped and collar prepped, lets put them together; I did this in 3 stages. I sewed the collar to the back of the jacket and then sewed the front pieces on.

So to start, matching raw edges, line the jacket and the collar up with the collar facing right side up onto the right side of the jacket along the back, matching notches and clip the jacket to fit.

picture 21

picture 22

sew the seam stopping at the shoulder seams.

picture 23

You will now have the front of the facing loose and this needs to be attached to the lapel of the jacket.

picture 24

picture 25

Pin it in place following the fold line, so that the sewing line will be on the fold line. But only through the facing not though the whole jacket.

picture 26

Sew in place but only through the collar and the facing. This will make it easier to sew the bit by the shoulder too as you have more to work with with the the facing spread out, it will make more sense when you reach this bit. Repeat for the other side.

picture 27

picture 28

Next take the back collar facing and sew a small hem the same as we did for the front facing. Line up raw edges and pin to the jacket with the right side of the facing facing the collar, clip and sew in place only going as far as the shoulder seam the same as we have done for the other facings.

picture 29

picture 30

Ok so now we have everything where it should be, but it will all look a bit of a mess, so it’s time to get the hand sewing going and tidy up a bit. The back facing will cover the raw seam of the collar at the back, and Lauren suggested using bias tape made from your fabric to cover the front area, but I decided to go a little easier than that.

Firstly I opened up the raw seam of the collar and trimmed right back the facing material, the paler colour in my pictures.

picture 31

picture 32

Then I folded the collar seam over to encase the facing material, the bit between my fingers shows this.

picture 33

Holding this fold in place I hand sewed the seam in place

picture 34

paying particular attention to the end to make that neat

picture 35

I am still only working on the front facing so the front of the jacket is un-touched, here’s what it looks like from underneath.

picture 36

This picture shows the raw edge enclosed all the way up to the shoulder seam.

picture 37

Next sew the top of the front facing to the seam allowance of the back of the jacket, ensure that it all lies flat first

picture 38

Then fold the back facing down having turned the raw edge under and sew that into place to finish everything off neatly.

picture 39

picture 40

And here’s the finished sailor collar fully attached.

picture 41

picture 42

picture 43

Well I that’s all from me. It’s been great doing these guest spots for Lauren who is such an inspiration. If you’d like to keep in touch you can always follow me on my regular blog Honey Pot Creations. Hopefully Lauren might let me back sometime to show you some of my hats. Check out my website honey-pot-creations.co.uk for more details.

hugs and kisses

Ally

 

IMG_2463

Suit-A-Long: How to Sew the Skirt Placket

I’m finally able to take a few minutes and work on sewing the skirt of the suit!

The placket may sound hard by reading the original instructions, but it’s really quite simple.  When I sewed mine last night, I took photos of the process so you can follow along.

I sew the placket of the skirt before assembling the side seams.  I just find this simpler, but you can do this after the side seams if that is easier for you.

IMG_2458

The first thing to do is finish the straight edge of the center front skirts.  I used rayon seam binding (Hug Snug), pressed in half, then sandwiched the raw edge in the fold and topstitched it on.

IMG_2459

Measure in from the edge to where the fold line is.  It’s about 1 3/8″

IMG_2460

Mimic this marking on the front.  When I cut my fabric I lined my stripe up with this edge, so I don’t have to mark it.  But if you do, use a long stitch line on your machine, a water soluble pen, chalk, or thread marking.  ALWAYS test on a scrap first to make sure it comes out of your fabric.

IMG_2461

Press under the edge on the fold line.

IMG_2462

The center front is 1″ from the folded edge.  Mark this in a similar method as above.  Here I’m using a basting stitch on my machine.  Mark on both pieces.

IMG_2463

Lap the pieces over each other, as shown.  The line you just marked is the center front line, so line both pieces up on that line.

Since my fabric has a pattern to match, I matched the pattern on the lines.

IMG_2464

Now, figure out the opening you need.  Don’t forget, the skirt has a raised waistline.  I did mine at 9″ down from the top, but you could probably go as long as 11″.  I put a double set of pins at where my stitching should start, but add pins above it as well, to help control the fabric above where my stitch line will start to make sure it lays correctly where I start.

IMG_2465

Now, stitch right on top of the center front line. If you did a basting line, like me, you might want to go just to either side of it.  If you stitch right on top it will be really hard to remove the basting later.

IMG_2466

If you want to, you can do a stitch line through the skirt at the top, to make the stitching seem continuous down the front.  Obviously, don’t’ stitch both together or you can’t get in your skirt.

And that’s it!  After you put the waistband on, you can add hooks and eyes at the top, then snaps down the front, and your placket is complete.

Next post will be about attaching the interior waistband.

IMG_2347

Part 5: Suit A Long. How Should the Skirt Be Constructed?

Hello!  Sorry for my lack of posting.

I spent 5 very busy days driving up from San Diego area to San Fransisco to attend seminars and a trade expo for my upcoming clothing line launch (more on the trip in a future post), so I wasn’t able to give much thought to blogging!  We got back on Wednesday, and after playing catch up I feel like I can finally take some pictures and share another step in the Suit A Long.

suitalong250px

So, we’ve covered fabrics, sizing, and how to grade the skirt if you need a different size.  Aren’t you itching to get sewing yet?

I thought long and hard about how the best way to illustrate this would be, and I’ve settled on it.  We’re using a period pattern to make this suit, so I think a period example that’s close in silhouette would be the PERFECT way to show how it would have been assembled.

Luckily, I have had this 1910s skirt for quite a while, so she’s happy to illustrate for us how she would have gone together.

IMG_2338

IMG_2339 Just like our skirt pattern, there are four main pieces to this skirt.  There’s a front skirt piece, a back skirt piece, an external belt, and an internal belt.  Basically if you ignore the pockets, it’s nearly our exact same skirt!  But hey, you could always add pockets to yours, too…

IMG_2340

You can see that the skirt hits higher than the natural waist.  Please ignore the padding and the marks, that’s for me to pad out my form to what I need to be doing and is NOT part of this skirt.  But if you look in this picture, you can see that it hits about two inches above the natural waist.  You can also see that the belt that we see is EXTERNAL, and NOT ATTACHED all the way around.

IMG_2341

In fact, this particular belt is just attached with a swing tack (or French tack) at center back of the skirt.  If you don’t know how to make a swing tack, check out this video on YouTube.

 In this close up you can also see the stitch lines for gathering the back skirt to the internal waistband.  Ours will have more gathers at the back.

IMG_2342

What does the internal waistband look like?  Here it is, inside the skirt.  You can see that it’s basically just a long, wide piece of grosgrain ribbon.  This was most common in the period.  In fact, skirts with this type of construction continued in until the mid 1930s, if not later.  The grograin ribbon snugs your waist, but it is hearty enough to hold up the skirt and not collapse on itself.

This waistband does not have darts on the inside.  In fact, the couple of skirts I have do not have the darts.  Our pattern, however, does have darts.

Personally, I’m thinking of leaving the darts out  of the interior waistband because I don’t think I have enough of a difference in my corseted waist size to need that extra shaping there.  If you have a pretty strong curve in your corseted shape, you may find you need to keep the darts in.  The waist size on the pattern is given for the darted waistband, so if you leave them off you may need some adjustments (because without darts the waist size would be bigger).  When you make your mock up, test it out and see which one works better for you.  Either way, the top of the skirt’s raised waist should fit you snuggly, and not gape.  But MAKE SURE TO LEAVE ROOM for your blouse to tuck in and allow room for your petticoat waistbands it you’re making this before you’ve made your underthings.

IMG_2344

This illustrates how the waistband was attached.  Like out pattern, the front skirt is attached smoothly, with no gathers.  The back skirt has some gathers that are pulled in to fit the interior waistband circumference.

To do this, stay stitch the waistline on the skirt.  Next, press the seam allowance toward the inside (wrong side) of the skirt, so you have a nice fold.  After this, run your gathering stitches along the top of the back skirt.  Now, pin everything together, matching the top of the skirt to the top of the waistband and pulling in your gathering stitches to fit.  Topstitch through all layers, about 1/8″ in from the edge.  In the photo above you can see the outside of the skirt, then the inside of the skirt.  You can see the stitch line is visible from both the inside and outside, because this stitch was done in one step like topstitching.

IMG_2345

What about the center front fasteners?  1/2″ or so is just turned under at front and back.  This example has the waistband free below the top, though I have seen some examples where they fasten at the lower part of the waistband as well, to help if hug the figure.  When I used to be able to wear this one, I would have trouble with the snap coming unfastened.  I’d suggest you supplement a skirt hook and eye for the snap if you’re worried about that happening to you.

IMG_2347

Here you can see how the button lap and the snap work together at the front, just like they will on our skirt.  Easier than you thought, right?

IMG_2350

What about that front button lap?  Well, you can see it’s simplified.  In this original garment the front lap was not interfaced in any way.  If you had a lighter weight fabric you might consider interfacing it for added stability to the buttonholes and buttons.  But, you see the buttonhole side?  It’s simply the selvage edge of the fabric there, not turned under.  On the side where the buttons attach, you can see they did turn under the seam allowance and there’s also topstitching near the edge on that side for added stability.

IMG_2349

The seam finishes were quite simple.  At center back they simply used the selvage to finish the edge.  We don’t have a center back, so we can’t do this (the selvage needs to fall on the straight of grain, and our side seams are shaped), but we can do this for the front underlap, like shown above.  The shaped seams are finished with a simple stitch (in this case, it’s a chain stitch, but since most of us don’t have chain stitch machines, that doesn’t matter so much).  But these side seams were finished as quickly and simply as possible, which makes me think that this skirt might have been readymade instead of home made.  It’s sewn, then just finished with a double fold bias binding.  If you don’t know how to do this, check out my past post here.

IMG_2351

And for the hem?  They didn’t face it, like our pattern calls for.  Instead, the just turned the hem up on itself like you usually do and stitched it down by machine.

I hope this post really helps you visualize how the skirt goes together!  I think once you get to see the “guts” of these period pieces, it makes construction kind of click.

So go ahead and get started on your skirt mock up!  And once that’s done, go for the finished article!

If you need any help, or need clarification, please leave me a comment letting me know.  And don’t forget, you can ask questions and participate on our Facebook group!

p02

Finished Project: 1002 Nights Poiret Dress

I have just finished up my Poiret inspired dress!

Paul Poiret is one of my fashion design icons.  Making a dress that paid homage to him was really fun!

I felt so “high fashion” in it, because of it’s absurdity, so had fun with editing my photos to capture the way it felt.

p02 p03 p04 p05

p01 p06 p07

If you missed the prior post with more details about the making of this dress, you can find it here.

This “excuse” for making this dress (not that I needed one) was the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Fairytale” challenge.  Here’s the info for the challenge:

The Challenge: #6- “Fairytale”  Inspired by Paul Poiret’s “One Thousand and Second Night” party.

Fabric:  The tunic is all poly with little rubber dots on it.  Pretty horrid, but has a great look when made up for the “Poiret” look.  The dress is a black satin rayon, which they actually did have in this time period.

Pattern: Underdress: My Cordelia skirt pattern and the 1910s Blouse pattern with an altered neckline and no sleeves.  Overdress:  Very loosely based on a bodice pattern from the period, but mostly entirely self composed as I went along.

Year: 1913-ish

Notions: Indian import trim, hooks and eyes, snaps, hoop wire, bias facing.

How historically accurate is it?  If it wasn’t for the fibre content, it would be pretty close.  I’m knocking myself for that, though, and giving myself a 40% accuracy marking.

Hours to complete:  I have no idea.  Maybe 12-ish?  It went pretty fast, but I puttered in 15 minute increments on it over the span of three weeks (didn’t make the “fortnight” due date).

First worn: Today for pictures!

Total cost: Hmm…. considering the only thing I really bought for this was the dupatta, I think it was around $35.  Everything else was from the stash.

More outfit details:  My shoes were thrifted, my hat is authentic Edwardian, and the brooches, etc are vintage, with the exception of the necklace and earrings, and the choker I used as an accent on the belt.  All of those are new from Ebay, bought over the last seven years or so.

 

In Progress: A Poiret Inspired “One Thousand and Second Night” Dress

The next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Fairytale.”  I was originally thinking that I would finish my Edwardian tea gown and do “Sleeping Beauty”, but then I got totally uninspired and realized I made some mistakes in construction when I started it last year.  That, and I had about a million pieces of insertion lace to cut the back out of and finish, and I don’t like the fabric.

So my second thought was “The Midas Touch”, and making a gold 1920’s evening dress and cape.  But the event I was going to make it for was last night, and we didn’t go, and I obviously didn’t make the dress in time.

So then, I looked on this lovely Indian imported dupatta shawl (bought at Queens Club on Etsy).  I had bought it to make a 19-teens evening dress for, but when it arrived I wasn’t enthralled with the poly content and little painted gold dots on it.  But the trim on the edges is GORGEOUS, and, the next idea that popped into my head was more costumey, which would allow a little more wiggle room for authenticity than my original plan I had purchased it for, so it was sort of serendipity.

One of my fashion design icons of all time is Paul Poiret, and he had lavish parties themed “One Thousand and Second Night”.  PERFECT theme for the HSF challenge!

aaff3355889bc8a6694b5076350fb377

Denise Poiret, 1911, at one of the “One Thousand and Second Night” parties (found via Pinterest).

Did I mention I love roses, so I bought it for the rose pattern and then realized not only did Poiret LOVE textiles of this sort, but his signature rose was similar in design to the one on my dupatta.  Serendipity!  Meant to be!  And it’s coming together SO quickly.  Love when that happens.

09b98bc7037c47d5757fb881969f583e

Poiret Dress from FIT (found via Pinterest)

One of my main inspirations are the “lampshade” dresses that Paul Poiret was incredibly well known for.  This one is a classic.  Katherine of The Fashionable Past actually made a great 19-teens evening gown inspired by the existing black and white version of this dress.

IMG_4050

I started with an original vintage pattern, circa 1912, but changed it quite a bit in the muslin mock up stage to accommodate a bodice that would cross in front and in back and have a slightly different sleeve than the original, which was tighter fitting and had gussets.

IMG_4052

I pinned the bodice and skirt to the dress form to get an idea of the length of the lampshade skirt.  I did end up shortening it, and decided I wanted it to have a slightly longer length in back than in front.

sample02__84077.1330732185.1000.1280

The dress it’s over is the dress I made for the Cordelia skirt pattern sample of the evening train.  I have never worn it, so chopped off the sleeves, removed the trim, and am making it work as an underdress for this outfit.  I also will have to let out some of the seams, since I’m not the same size I was a few years ago.  But still, better than starting from scratch!

I have decided to make the underdress and overdress separate, so that I have the option to make harem trousers for this at a later time.

IMG_4058

After I cut the right length, I assembled the underarm seams, the back seam, and decided on a center back closure.  The original was most likely a front closure, as is normal with period gowns, but I decided the back closure would be easier to construct (though it means I’ll need help getting into it).  After a little thinking, and remembering how period dresses are made that I have, I decided on the inner waistband, with the skirt and bodice gathered to it.  All seams are now encased between the inner waistband and the rayon seam tape.  It will lap over at center back and fasten with hooks and bars and snaps.

IMG_4059 And on the form, ready for the next step!  I will have a waist sash cover the waist where the tape is visible, and I have to sew the inside casing for the hoop wire next.  It’s coming together quite quickly, considering I only started it yesterday afternoon!

I have a board on Pinterest I started as inspiration for this project, with Poiret images, examples from the Ballet Russes, and other period inspirations.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend!