Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saloon Girl outfit

With the renaissance gown completed, well almost, certainly my part is done, M is finishing off the trimming and embroidery, I'm now moving onto the Victorian era and am making up Laughing Moon's Saloon Girl outfit as a precursor to making a bustle gown. I'm making it for an event next year, but also to get a feel of the fitted style of the time in an easy manner.

Women entertainers, Hurdy Girls, Soiled Doves and other Ladies of the Evening were mostly making their way in the oldest profession open to women with no money, prostitution. With my outfit I am aiming for entertainer, actress and professional beauty (read courtesan). To quote Shooting Star History

"These women could move amongst the "proper women" in town. They would dress everyday or on the street, much as a well-to-do lady "back east" would dress. On stage however, they had some rather "racy" costumes for the time. These were often featured on "tobacco cards" found in cigarettes in the 1880-early 1900's."

So I'm making a 'racy' costume for the stage and will attempt not to lower my moral stance as I do so.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Italian renaiisance gown update - hemming metres of fabric

The project is coming to an end, on Sunday, in the 41oC heat, we sat and hemmed the under gown, the over gown and the lining, over 15 metres of hemming. It was a lovely day, doing a task that women have done for over a thousand years, hand stitching a gown to wear, dreaming of completion, looking forward to a new gown and the pleasure of wearing it.

Earlier posts on the creation of this gown at underpinnings, bodice, sleeves and under gown, cartridge pleats.

Here a few pictures we took on the day:

There will be one more post on the gown, with photos of its presentation at the event it has been created for.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cartridge pleats for the Italian Renaisance gown

We are on the final leg of making this gown, we are onto the outer skirt, creating the cartridge pleats and attaching it to the bodice. For those of you who have arrived via google you can find the rest of the posts on the gown creation at underpinnings, bodice, sleeves and under gown.

I hadn't made cartridge pleats before, my gowns so far have been much earlier in the period and only box pleats were required, so I went hunting for a good tutorials and found a number of them, but two stand out, Elizabethan Costume and Reconstructing History . I found them really easy to do, in fact, its the way I was taught to gather by my mum, two rows of gathering, three if you want a really good finish. The difference with cartridge pleats is that the gathering stitches are much wider, the width of my thumb.

To stitch the skirt to the bodice I used a waxed linen thread that I found amongst my mother's old sewing notions, it's brand name is Barbour's, the packet says they have been making linen thread since 1784. I went and googled it and you can still buy it today, pretty amazing, that's 225 years of linen thread making for hand stitching.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Italian renaissance gown: the sleeves and under gown

The next installment in M's renaissance gown has been the creation of the sleeves and the under gown/skirt over winter. Both of us have been extremely busy and so its taken us a while to find time to work on our project.

For the creation of the underpinnings and bodice just use the links.

The sleeves were based on a set of mine that I had drafted and constructed last year for a gown of my own, you can see the 'how to' in Sleeves for the Gown. These sleeves are still a work in progress, more beading and embroidery will be added by M who is a first class embroiderer.

The under gown has been created from a lovely piece of silk gold damask, the top skirt will be split to expose this lovely fabric. We didn't have enough to make the whole skirt so we used a lovely yellow linen found in a second hand shop, it had just the right hand for the tiny pleating at the back and the heavy damask took the box pleating well. We had enough damask to put around the back so if the top skirt lifts, the gold will show, not the yellow linen. The gown has side plackets and fabric ties for fastening. The skirt has a lovely structure over the farthingale. You can see these details in the following images.

Onto the cartridge pleats post --->