Thursday, July 24, 2008

Skirt added to bodice

Well this has been a right pain because I didn't believe in myself and I have pinned and re-pinned until my fingers ached! First off I cut three lengths for the gown as I wanted lots of skirt omph, but I am quite small and the skirt fabric quite bulky, especially with the lining and interlining so I pleated it up and I couldn't reduce it enough no matter what I did. JL said that its all to do with simultaneous (sp) equations and walked me through some really complicated maths that made no sense to me but made her happy (grin). Finally I used simple arithmetic to figure out how much fabric I could cram into the bodice if I used 3" pleats and had to take out one of my skirt segments. All of this took two weeks for this bear of little brain to figure out! Then I decided I wanted a split skirt to show off an undergown so had to unpick the skirts lining anf interlining and re do and create blue velvet guards and stitch all this back together, la, la, la! The next big mistake was that the bodice looked way too short to me, shorter than my true waist so I, in my foolish wisdom, decided to lengthen it. Yes, I know, stupid idea, why not just create a new bodice, but heh, who am I to not make big mistakes to learn from. I extended it, this took a stupid amount of time and was not easy with interlining, lining and fashion fabric to contend with. I then pinned the bodice onto it and tried it on, you guessed it, way, way too long, the skirt sat on my hips. So more un-pinning, more ripped fingers, lots of frog stitching later I pinned on the skirt to bodice at its original length and had perfection Bodice with skirt attached1 and here's the back view as yet unlaced and you can see my rope corset spiral lacing Back of gown no lacing yet The skirt isn't as boofy as I wanted, but I think it works. I have found an old curtain in red and gold to turn into my under skirt.

Sleeves for the gown

I spent ages trying to decide what sort of sleeves I wanted, I finally decided on split sleeves and went for five splits and the results turned out well. I used the drafting instructions from the Dress Diary of a Novice Renaissance Seamstress Venetian courtesan gown blog, yet another fabulous resource by a keen 15th - 16 century costumer. Reading her mistakes and successes ensured that my sleeves were right first time, which is particularly satisfying! Here's an image of the sleeve just after I cut it out Cutting out sleeves. The next image shows the sleeve stitched to its lining Sewn sleeve strips and here it is pinned to my still incomplete bodice with some trim that I'm not using but was close to hand to give me a feel for what I was trying to create Side view of sleeves. At the Lawson market on Sunday I found some lion faced pretend gold metal buttons which will be perfect to attach the sleeve to the bodice - very happy camper me!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Camica and corset

I have made my camica for my Italian renaissance gown Camica1using the great instructions on Festive Attyre. I am very pleased with it, I couldn't find any affordable linen so I have used raime which goes under the name of handkerchief linen in Spotlight and it is a natural fibre so it should be as comfortable as either hemp or linen I hope, it has a history as old as linen I understand. Here's some more piccies:Camica_back Here's a closup of the underarm gusset, Camica_gusset
I have also finished my rope corset, Corset_front2 I used the excellent online corset pattern generator at the Elizabethan Costume website to create my pattern and followed the instructions on how to put it together, its a brilliant resource.

This is my first corset attempt and I decided to use rope rather than cable ties for boning as it is for an italian renaissance gown where the line is much softer than the later English and Spanish styles. I used the tutorial Everything you ever wanted to know about boning with hemp cord, but were afraid to ask! that is also found on Festive Attyre. I couldn't find hemp rope in any of our local hardware stores, not even the large one in Penrith, so I used sisal instead, I have no idea if it is as firm as hemp, but it seems to work. The sisal is quite hairy so I hope the fibres don't work through the corset fabric and prickle, I will only know with wear, but so far its very comfortable, much nicer than a bra, I'm tempted to wear it to work. Corset_front2.

The corset is all made from recycled resources, except for the sisal rope. The fabric is moleskin left over from dress making that was still in my stash and its very sturdy and strong, the ribbon binding came from the local second hand shop, it is petersham ribbon, very good quality and very old, looks like its from the '50's! I didn't have enough of the green so I used the white as well, so its my Suffragette corset because green, white and purple were the colours of the Women's Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Its laced using Festive Attyre's spiral lacing method, Zen of Spiral Lacing Corset_back I still have to sew over the metal eyelets.