Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Victorian Christmas After All?

It seems that this fall/winter is the season that sees me finish projects I started last year at the same time.  Which means the projects that I started this fall/winter will probably be finished next year.  I can live with it!

When cleaning my sewing room the friday after Thanksgiving, fussy and discontented with all my current projects being in the mockup/fitting stage, I came across a natural form-era gown that I had painstakingly patterned, fit, and cut last year.  I had put it to the side because it is an exercise in shirring, and I didn't feel ready for it until now.
 It turns out, hand gathering is the perfect thing to do at the table by the fire with guests for the whole weekend.  I based the gown on the fan-front bodice by Truly Victorian made to the lines of a long 1880 cuirasse bodice.  It is in a sheer, moss-gold-green poly chiffon, which was almost too cheap to mention (it was leftover from wedding decor and I was broke) but I believe will give a good effect overall.

Experimenting with draping paniers.

The bright green underskirt/lining will be completely covered by the chiffon; oddly enough, this was the only backing that I felt brought out the 'true color' of the sheer fabric.

Tape has been stitched to the shirring in the back train where it isn't fully lined.
My main design questions are the direction of shirring on the skirt: Vertical like this:
Mody Paryzkie 1879.: Concert dress with panier and long train with ricsh mousseline balayeuse.:

Or horizontal like this? (on the left)
The Season 1883:

OR horizontal with poofs like the one on the right below?

Revue de la Mode 1881:

Honestly, I might just go with whatever seems less time consuming, since I now have the slightest hope of a new gown for this year's Victorian Christmas Tea on the 17th! (Can totally do this...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What I've been up to lately...

Treating my dressform like a large doll
1950s style petticoat over 18th c. Paniers

Mocking up a turn-of-the-century princess gown
Tight sleeves with a slight head, and a tight bodice with as few seams as possible.  What could go wrong?
Trying out Norah Waugh's 1904 ribbon corset, and dying my own linings to match

Planning an evening gown
The one one the right? Mauve silk taffeta?
Reading the very charming Tales Told in Holland, usually while sitting by the fire

And, you know, some other stuff.  Toodles!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ozma's Diadem

The fabrication of the iconic Diadem was no simple matter.  The poppies were easy enough, I had dyed silk organza a bright red (redder than the photo) and formed the petals.  The stamens were black beads twisted on gold colored wire and sewn to a black velvet pad.  I made the stems by pulling upholstery cord through a silk bias tube.  

For the center piece, I decided to go with Bronzclay, since I had experimented with it last year, and had all of the tools.  If you haven't used precious metal clay before, it is amazing stuff.  You roll it, mold it, stamp it, sculpt it, like a regular (albeit very sticky and finicky) clay, then you bake it in a kiln and it becomes metal.  The finish is very matte after baking, the shine was achieved after an hour with a dremel and some jewelry-grade buffing oil.  The bubbles and pits had to do, I think, with the firing: the piece was a little too big for the pan, and I might not have kneaded the air out enough to start.  

The bands are simply corset boning painted gold.  The centerpiece clips onto the bands using some prongs I set into the back, also made of clay.  This worked way better than I would have thought.
Ta da!