Monday, September 3, 2018

The Tsarina Gown - The Jewelry


I searched high and low, near and far, for a coronet close to the one worn by Alexandra Feodorovna. To no avail. So, I made one!

Finding the elements wasn't too easy either. I ended up going to quite a few stores. Basically, I made a circular wire frame, and glued everything to it. I used SO MUCH GLUE.

The Tsarina Gown - The Dressmaking Details

The gown construction was pretty straight forward, as far as turn of the century sewing goes. The big challenge comes in handling all the layers.

I've already posted a bit about this dress, so, to view the finished gown, see this post. To learn more about how I planned and executed the sequines, see this one.

The skirt ended up being a foundation of silk satin, a chiffon layer, trimmed in lace, and then the sequined silk tulle. All the skirt layers were joined to one waistband. I tried to decipher as much as I could from photos of the original dress. What was not obvious, I filled in with instruction from period sewing manuals and other extant dresses from the era. 


The Tsarina Gown - Planning and Executing the Sequins


For anyone that's been keeping up with me on Instagram, you'll know that the bulk of my sewing this past year has been devoted to sewing sequins. Lots and lots of sequins. Twenty six thousand of them.

Haha not all 26,000... This was the sample order!

After Costume College last year, I was super inspired by the Royalty theme. I finally settled on a direction because of my husband. While taking the Orient Express a couple years back, his beard had earned him the nickname, The Tsar (not by us, but it stuck). Well, Romanovs it had to be! I chose this particular dress (designed by Lamanova and worn by Alexandra Feodorovna) because it stood out as something complex and challenging that I wanted to tackle. In truth, it didn't end up being especially complicated, but it did take a lot of patience and careful planning. And time. It took about 200 hours to sew 26,000 sequins. I diligently kept track. 

The Costume College Gala


Guys!! I actually remembered to take pictures this year! I always get so swept up that I completely forget to take photos. I made such an effort this year!

I'll share about my dress in the next post. For now, here's a bunch of pics from the gala night. Everywhere you looked there was such amazing work to see!!!




Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Day Dress for Tombstone

My favorite photo from the whole weekend.
My husband spent the whole event dressed, as well.
He looked awesome!

The second dress I made for Tombstone actually turned out to be my favorite! At some point (while pleating miles of silk), I panicked and decided there was no way I could wear a silk dress in the heat of the day, and I simply needed a cool, day dress. Good thing I did, because it was HOT! And we're from hot. We know hot. Good thing I thought ahead!

A Silk Dress for Tombstone

Back in May, my husband and I finally got to Tombstone, Arizona for the first time. We went for Wyatt Earp days, and it was such a blast! A long drive from Las Vegas, but we road tripped with our Airstream and made a two week trip out of it. It was absolutely fantastic, getting to explore Arizona.


When we first decided to go to Wyatt Earp days, we had many, many months before the event. There was no way we were going without dressing up! I could have worn the 1885 dress I wore to Calico, California, last year, but I had so much time before the event, I decided a new dress was totally doable. I settled on 1880 because Wyatt Earp went to Tombstone in 1879, and the famous OK Corral gunfight was in 1881. Also, I wanted to do a silk dress, because I didn't have one.

In planning the silk dress, I looked at sooooooo many extant dresses and sooooo many paintings and photographs and fashion plates. I saved them on a Pinterest Board called "1880ish Inspo", if anyone wants to browse. I settled on what is often referred to as a "dinner dress". It's not a "ball" gown, but is often of silk with ornate trimming, but with longer sleeves and a low neckline.