torstai 5. joulukuuta 2013

Memories and new things

Today I finally got a link to the photos taken at the Jane Austen Festival Regency Fashion Show. I think I mentioned before that I was one of the models in the show; it was a lovely and fun event and I'm so happy to see the photos at last! Here's a link to the photo album (photos were screen caps taken from a video, filmed by Owen Benson)

I've also begun sewing a new Regency dress; my plan is to copy this ca. 1815-1820s gown from the Eremitage Museum:

The picture is my photo of a photo in a book, so the finer details are a little blurry, but I like the high-necked look and that's one of the main reasons I want to make this gown; it seems that not many people make the high-necked dresses and there aren't that many extant ones either.
I've already decided to leave out the petal shoulder decorations, because if I want to wear a spencer or a pelisse over this dress, they'd just look bulky and odd. I've cut the bodice and the hem and I'm about to start sewing soon. Because I only have this one picture as reference and I haven't been able to find any info or photos of this dress on the internet, I need to just invent the back of the dress and whatever is used as closure. I've decided that this is a kind of drop front dress, with the front panel buttoned up horizontally and the under-bodice flaps closing on the centre front under it. It will make more sense when I've actually made it.
The fabric I'm using is viscose, very nice quality and cheap too :) The colour was really difficult to photograph, and the fact that we only have about five hours of what passes as daylight didn't really help. The real colour is smoky blue/lavenderish purple, kind of midway (not at all realistic) between these two photos:

keskiviikko 27. marraskuuta 2013

The Other Saree

As you might remember, I originally bought two sarees for my Regency dress projects but as fate would have it, I ended up making something completely different out of them. The first, yellow one became a 20s dress and I'm still very pleased with it. The second saree was (possibly) silk blend fabric, and embroidered in the traditional Indian kantha style, which is, in the lack of a better word, rather rustic. So it really didn't look like Regency dress material.
Instead, I made it into a petticoat and a caraco jacket, á la 18th century. I modified my black print jacket pattern (originally from the Costume Close-up book) and did some piecing and fiddling and managed to put together the jacket out of the more densely embroidered pallu end of the saree. The petticoat is a bog-standard 18th century skirt, nothing interesting going on there; happily I was able to cut the petticoat so that the nice embroidered border of the saree fell on the petticoat hem.
The jacket closes with three horizontal straps, each on opposite side from the others. I was inspired by the beautiful caraco in V&A and the strap-fronted pierrot in the Cut of Women's Clothes book.

The saree before cutting

Close-up of the embroidery

The middle part of the saree is really lighter than the pallu end and the edges. I've been looking at so many sarees lately that I can say with confidence that this is typical for many sarees. I'm not sure why, exactly, but there are a lot of sarees dyed like this out there. The entire jacket came out of the more densely embroidered bit. I wanted to use the border on jacket edges, which meant that I had to do some piecing to make that happen around the curving hem of the jacket. Also, I had to cut the other sleeve in two pieces to be able to cut it out of the embroidered piece.

My hand as a scale to show how big the flowers are.

I like how the jacket hem spreads out over the bumroll.

I still need to sew in hooks to attach the straps. Here they're only pinned and a bit crooked at that.

The stomacher

The jacket hem forms a complete circle when it is laid flat.

I faced the edges with leftover fabric from the inside because I didn't have enough seam allowances just to turn the lining and the jacket fabric in.

torstai 21. marraskuuta 2013

I'm not dead!

I've only been busy with studying and stuff. I have nothing to post about yet, but I'm soon hoping to finish the petticoat and caraco combination I'm making out of the other saree I bought. The saree was a vintage one, like the yellow saree, and the colour is strong reddish orange. The saree is embroidered in the traditional kantha style and I think it sort of works for 18th century styles. I'm not sure what the fabric is exactly but I would guess silk blend. But no pictures until I've finished it!

Instead, here's a couple of photos of a shawl I spruced up with block printing. The shawl is cotton, a flea market find and I hand printed the motifs with my lovely Indian block prints. So, a paisley shawl on a budget, one might say :)

tiistai 22. lokakuuta 2013

A vintage saree and what happened to it...

About 2 weeks ago I searched Etsy for suitable sarees for my costuming projects and found and ordered two. The other one arrived surprisingly quickly and even though I had first intended to use both the sarees for making more Regency gowns, the garment started to look more and more like 20s flapper dress material.
The saree in question was lemon yellow chiffon, the borders embroidered with metallic yarn, beads and sequins and the pallu end of the saree had beautiful flower and vines embroidery with more sequins and beads. After some sketches and browsing through a ton of pictures of extant 20s gowns I settled on a shape. 20s dresses can be cut very simple and made to look very elaborate or vice versa. I wanted to have a simple design but still something more than a plain sheath dress, so I deviced a pattern which is loosely based on the 1925 Vionnet dress in Janet Arnold's patterns of fashion. The dress only has a front and back piece and they are exactly the same.

The dress piece. The horizontally wide part is the hem and the cut creates the nice hanging pointy things on each side.

I wanted to use the flowery bit at the front of the dress. Luckily it was about 110cm wide, exactly the right lenght for my dress.

The rest of the saree was scattered with these little leaf motifs.

I was very lucky to find fabric for the underdress. Since the saree is chiffon (aka. veeery see-through) the dress needed an underlayer. Miracle of miracles, I managed to bag this viscose fabric, and the colour matches the saree perfectly!
First I sewed the underdress pieces together and hemmed them. I then cut, sewed and hemmed the chiffon pieces. The front piece of the dress needed some piecing, because I wanted to use the flowery bit for the centre front, I needed to cut the side hem pieces separately and sew them on the centre piece. The back piece is all one piece. Because chiffon frays like crazy, I sewed double seams everywhere. I then joined the underdress and the chiffon dress at the neck line. I tried to join the chiffon dress shoulders at first, but it pulled the bodice too high on my neck and it just looked stupid, so I chose to align the top edges of the chiffon dress with the neck edge of the underdress.
The chiffon dress is slightly longer than the underdress and this gives me the opportunity to pull it up a bit with a long sash of the same chiffon fabric (basically all the rest of the saree left over). Here are some pictures I took today, complete with my attempts on 20s hair and makeup.

My make-up skills are practically nonexistent; I never really learned when I was a teenager...

A sudden fit of vampiness.

I still had a smaller piece of the saree left, so it became a head scarf.

sunnuntai 13. lokakuuta 2013

So, what's next?

I've been madly busy and away from home for the past few weeks; it always seems that September and the first half of October are the busiest months for me (if you don't count the summer, that is). Now I'm actually looking at several full weeks at home, so some sewing would be nice (What dissertation? What dance competition rehearsals?).
I still have the blue Regency dress that I need to finish. I'm done with maybe 1/4 of the embroidery on it, so that's one project. I also need new Regency stays; for some reason both the pairs I have gave me horrible shoulder cramps all week long in Bath, so I've decided to try and make a new pair. I'd like to try the patterns that Sabine of Kleidung um 1800 researched so expertly.
I also searched Etsy for sarees and managed to find two very nice embroidered silk sarees, so once they arrive, I have a couple of new gowns to make. I still want to block print a gown fabric, too, if I ever find suitable thin, white cotton (I'm beginning to lose hope :P ).
I also want to make a highnecked Regency gown, after this fabulous number from the Eremitage collection in St. Petersburgh:

Curiously, I'm suddenly drawn to the later 19th century styles. I came across this painting via The Ornamented Being tumblr and fell in love. I have absolutely no experience in the 1880s styles, not to mention the underwear etc. But a girl can dream, no?

Portrait of Anne-Marie Dagnan, 1880, Gustave Claude Étienne Courtois, via The Ornamented Being

tiistai 8. lokakuuta 2013

Le Petit Bal au Petit Palais

A week ago on Saturday I packed my bag again and travelled to Tampere to attend le Petit Bal au Petit Palais, a little ball in the Little Palace, that the local re-enactment and dance group L'Amusette had organised. The venue was amazing - if a little futuristic for us 18th century gentry - a neo-renaissance/art nouveau house in the middle of Tampere, restored beautifully to its late nineteenth century glory. The house created a wonderful atmosphere for the party and it was nice to have several rooms instead of just one big hall.
At the ball there was dancing, of course, accompanied again by the old music group Muskotti. We were also entertained by a solo dance performance, and a reading of the scandalous adventures of Fanny Hill. A soprano sang some popular songs and I played the harp. All in all it was a lovely evening and truly a succesful event.

Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

Music room waiting for dancers

The Red Drawing room

In the hallway

The dance master surveying the venue

Gorgeous wallpapers and paintings in the red drawing room

The first dance was Hole in the Wall

Merja and Sanna looking fantastic

L'Amusette being photographed

Gaming table

Baron and Baroness von Mannheim being photographed

Sanna, Maija and Merja displaying different 18th century styles to perfection

Our singer Pia performing

Ida dancing a solo variation

Something very interesting going on at the gaming table

Pia shocking/entertaining the society by reading excerpts of Fanny Hill

This is maybe my favourite photo of the evening; I love how the chandelier light makes it look like a painting and there are several things happening at the same time.

The artist at work

Ida in the Blue Salon
At it again; more historical harp playing, photo by Markku Arvonen

Admiring my surprisingly succesful hairdo. I managed to produce a passable Georgian do all by myself!

What the artist drew during the evening
Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

I was pretty happy with my anglaise and it was comfortable. The chinoiserie stays performed well and the hair never ceases to amaze me. I did it, even though I first felt that It would never work out :) Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

Stripy ladies; we did another group shot too, with all the ladies in stripes that evening. Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

The dance master giving a welcome speech. Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

It was lovely to meet up with Merja and Sanna again! This time we really had time to talk, which was great. Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen

Photo: Teemu Laukkarinen