maanantai 19. helmikuuta 2018

Revisiting the blue robe à la Francaise

I made my first and so far only robe à la Francaise in 2015 but never wore it to an event until the Christmas ball last November. As I had reworked the trimming entirely, I thought to write a new post about it.
Initially I was happy about the general shape of the robe but the trimmings I first put on it did not feel right. So last year I finally got around changing them and the result is in my opinion much better, frillier, and definitely much more 18th century. The trims consist of  ruched robe fabric frills wit pinked edges, double edged wide lace pleated partly on top of that and partly winding around it, taffeta bows, and hand-crocheted-by-me trim on the sleeve frill edges. The petticoat is also decorated with the same lace and bows and to tie it together with the robe (since they are of different fabrics) I put a net ruffle on the hem of the petticoat. I might make a new petticoat later if I ever manage to find suitable fabric, but the one I have now works fine, too. I still have to adjust the engageantes, because I attached them too low under the sleeve frills and they reach my wrists, which they really shouldn't.
The photos below were all taken by Sanna of Rococo Atelier, and Mia did wonders with my hair.


I had some misgivings about having TOO MUCH frills and bows on this, but then I got over it. Too much frou frou in the 18th century? There is no such thing.


Looking at pictures of the latest hair styles.




The feathers refused to settle and kept turning into this very bunny ears type of an arrangement so I just gave up trying to fix it :P

lauantai 3. helmikuuta 2018

1910s walking suit

FINALLY! Finally I made a hat to go with my 1910s walking suit and finally there's enough daylight to take decent photos!
I made the suit last autumn but never got around filming it then and anyway I wanted to wait until I had the whole ensemble together before writing anything about it. I was inspired by the suit that Hattie Morahan wears in the movie Mr. Sherlock, especially for the jacket but I ended up making my skirt shorter to show the ankles so I'm still debating which exact year of the 1910s my suit represents. The jacket shape is very 1914, but the shorter skirt would place it in 1918-1919.
I drafted the jacket pattern myself and first made a toile to try out the shapes. The bodice of the jacket is very typical for the 1910s: loose around the bust and back, gathered to a waist band, the shoulder seam is dropped and almost batwing style, and the sleeves are narrow and have cuffs. The collar is showy and wide and I made the back of the collar pointy too, to echo the shape of the back hem.
For the skirt I used this pattern (the lower one of the two), though as said, I made my skirt shorter partly because I didn't have too much fabric and also because I wanted my ankles to show. I wrote about the gaiters I made for this suit earlier so the short skirt works better with them too. I love the tulip shape of the skirt and the smart casual feel of it.
The blouse fabric is net lace fabric with very prominent embroidered stripes, and I thought that it looks very period. The blouse pattern is my own and a very simple shape. The blouse closes with buttons and thread loops as I didn't want to even try making button holes on the net...
The hat was inspired by the style shown on this fashion plate (the lower left corner), and it is a soft crown hat with wire only on the brim edge. I'm going to make a couple more hats later but this was a good start; I like the quirky shapes of the 1910s headwear.

The suit fabric is smokey blue velvet and the cuffs and the hem are edged with a bluey-violet fabric I had in stash (incidentally the same I used to make the Courtois dress). The hat is dark blue boucle-velvet type fabric. All hand-sewn by me :)

Picture time!

I love 1910s fashion!

Pointy hem, pointy collar.

The cuffs and the collar are maybe my favourite part of the jacket.

Awkward fashion pose.

This wee bag I made last summer for a party goes perfectly with this suit.

1910s are the best, you get to wear crazy pointy feathers.








Deer in headlights...


tiistai 23. tammikuuta 2018

1910s project: corset cover

Another short post about my 1910s project. Here's a corset cover I made. There's nothing special about it, it's a very typical shape for the time, though I didn't want to make a drawstring waist which is a very usual feature in the 1910s corset covers. I made the waist solid here.



sunnuntai 21. tammikuuta 2018

1910s project: gaiters

In addition to the 1910s evening dress I made for the Independence Day centennial last year, I've made a walking dress which is roughly 1914 style but could with a bit of imagination work also for 1918. I thought to write bit posts about the different parts of the suit before doing a proper photo shoot of the entire thing. I still need to make a hat (or two) to go with it and until I find an affordable hat block in right size I don't want to take pictures of the suit.

I've fallen completely for the 1910s styles, and I especially like the 1914 fashion and also 1918-1919 styles. 1915-1917 are not as attractive in my opinion, I'm not a fan of the wide frilly skirts of those 3 years. One accessory I've always wanted to make and which went very nicely with this project are gaiters (or spats). They come up in fashion plates and mail order catalogues of the time, though sometimes it's a little difficult to tell if they're gaiters or button boots.

I made my own pattern by draping it directly on my foot and leg, while wearing the shoes I intend to use with the suit anyway. I made a toile draping with some scrap cotton fabric and then cut the actual gaiters with that. The gaiters have seams at centre front and back and a button closure on the outside of the foot. they also have elastic straps that go under the shoe and attach with a button on one end (the other is sewn on, obviously). I found really nice tightly woven wool fabric (it was cheap too) and I cut all the pieces on the bias to make the gaiters fit nicely around the ankle and foot. These were mostly machine sewn and I'm especially pleased how well a special edge stitch worked on the top and bottom edges of the gaiters. I'm very happy with them and can't wait to wear them with the suit!







torstai 7. joulukuuta 2017

1917 Independence Day dinner - The 1910s evening gown

This year is the centennary of independence in Finland, so we got together with a group of costumer friends and history enthusiasts and dined in grand style yesterday, the Independence Day, in a beautiful turn of the century era restaurant in Tampere. I'm waiting to get photos of the event, but in the meantime I can finally share some pictures of the dress I made.

I love it, it's the sparkliest dress I've ever had and it turned out just the way I wanted!

My main inspiration came from a 1913 evening dress detailed in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail. The drawings of that dress really helped me to work out the construction and the materials that I'd need for the dress. I also used this evening dress by Lucile as a source. I used one vintage sari, taffeta, lace fabric and a bit of silk taffeta for the belt piece. I added a lot of bigger sequins and beads on the lace fabric to embellish the embroidery.

I drafted the dress pattern myself and even though it looks complicated the pieces themselves are fairly simple. Basically, the dress has three layers, the base layer made of taffeta (the bodice) and the unembroidered bits of the saree (the base hem), the lace fabric layer with the right sleeve covers the base bodice and hem, and the third layer is the embroidered sari which is the shorter top hem, the left sleeve and the train. Then on top of everything there's the sash. They are all attached to each other but the fastenings of the dress go through all the layers as the pictures below show.

I took these photos a couple of days before the event just to make sure that everything was in place.







I cut a flower motif out of the leftover lace fabric and appliqued it on the sash with beads and sequins. The hanging bead chains are attached under it.



The sash attaches with snap buttons on the left side.

The loose front end of the left sleeve attaches with snap buttons on the bodice under the sash.


The lace layer of the bodice is loose from centre front to left side seam and attaches on the base bodice with snap buttons.



The base bodice closes at the centre front with hooks and thread loops.
These are photos from the event last evening, I only noticed today that I had a bit of a dress malfunction there, the front end of the left sleeve piece has crept out from under the sash and is hanging weirdly. I only hope the rest of the photos don't have that, because I did notice and fix it later but can't be sure if it was before or after the second photo shoot.


I'm happy with my hair and accessories. I did the hair myself and it turned out nicely. I also made that diadem and it fits well in the overall blinginess of the dress.


All the photos on the staircase were taken by Sonja From





A couple of photos of the underwear. Here are my petticoat and corset cover, and under them I'm wearing my 1910s long underbust corset, with a chemise and stockings. I think I need to make a new corset as this one turned out to be rather uncomfortable in long-time wear.