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