Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spangles and purls and ribbons oh my!

In a previous post, I mentioned I wanted to make some new garters to go with my black Marie Antoinette halloween costume. The dress is black with silver spangles, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to try out some goldwork, or in this case, silverwork embroidery. A while back I bought a bunch of spangles and supplies from Berlin Embroidery. For this project I'm using silver spangles (#12), silver rough purl (#6) and silver thread (001C). For the garter I'm using black, one inch, silk satin ribbon from MJ Trimming. I'm still deciding what I will use to reinforce the embroidered area. Extant garters from the 18th century are often reinforced with linen or even paper. Below are some examples of garters embellished with silverwork.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oooh what a find! Vintage metal lace...

1745-1750; altered 1770; Britain. Williamsburg.

I found the most gorgeous vintage passementerie trim while browsing online last night. It was all on this great site, called, you guessed it,  They have all kinds of beautiful vintage and antique ribbons, metal lace, buttons, beaded flowers, etc. I found some amazing gold metal lace trim and brass mesh from germany (both silver and gilt). I also got a yard of a lovely woven metallic ribbon that I can absolutely see embellishing my garters. Here are the pics from the website.

The sequined lace has arrived!

I woke up this morning and the sequined tulle I ordered from Thunderlily arrived. Yay! And it is beautiful! Prettier in person than on the website. And the edge has a lovely scalloped finish that the website didn't show, so I'm double pleased.

The black tulle also came a couple days ago. While I wait for the black silk to arrive, I'm working backwards, so I started on the overskirt. I've started with two layers of tulle, pleated to attach to the bodice. The dress from the movie closes at the back, but I'm going to make it have a front closure to make it easier on myself - both in general fit (it's more forgiving if you change size a little) and ease of dressing. I think I'm going to add two more layers because as of now it doesn't look luxurious and pouffy enough, but yikes, tulle is a nightmare to cut properly. It has so much give. To help in cutting, I laid it out on the carpet and stuck pins into the edges, down into the carpet. It helped make the fabric more stable and less slithery. After pleating, I sewed down the pleats on the machine and zig-zag stitched the edge to keep it more orderly.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Striped Pierrot

I love the little jackets of the 1790s, especially this stripy pierrot from the Kyoto Costume institute. A few notes on the original, from the KCI website:

Material: green and yellow striped silk taffeta and satin with fringe.

The "pierrot", a short fitted jacket with short tails, was popular from the mid-1780s through the 1790s.
Just prior to the French Revolution, in contrast to extravagant court fashions clothing tended to be simple and comfortable, and stylish jackets began making their appearance. These jackets were worn with skirt of lightweight, white "linon", a woven cloth with a high linen-like quality made of thin and delicate cotton.

A good picture of the original fabric, from the KCI website.

Here is a front view. I'm 99% sure this is the same piece.
I mean, logically, how many striped, befringed, 18th century jackets are
still out there? And it looks soooo similar. The color is a little
off, but that might just be the photo. I only question it because
I found this on google images and I have no idea where
the original photo comes from.
To recreate this jacket, I found a striped upholstery fabric from Hancock Fabrics - and I actually went to the store, so unfortunately there is no link. A spot on copy of the fabric I couldn't find, so I chose a light blue/dark blue stripe that gives the same vibe. The fringe trim I used was found at Joann. It was too long (1 3/4") so I cut the fringe down to an inch. I used a white linen for the lining.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fairy tale fabulous!

In 1774 this breathtaking silver court gown glided down the aisle at the wedding of Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp (mouthfull) and Prince Karl, the brother of King Gustav III of Sweden. Below is Charlotte, actually wearing the dress:

You can see, that unfortunately, the lacy sleeves and neckline trim have been lost to time, but the dress is in exceptional condition. It showed recently at Versailles, at an exhibition called Court Pomp and Royal Ceremonies: Court Dress in Europe. The dress, however, lives at the Livrustkammaren, or "Royal Armory", the Swedish royal and military history museum in Stockholm.

And somewhere, Cinderella is stomping her little glass slippered foot, because her dress was no where near this amazing. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wrinkles happen. So a few notes on wrinkles and bunching.

Recently, I made a reproduction of a dress from the Kyoto Costume Institute. I was pretty pleased with it, but the wrinkles on the bodice were driving me crazy!

Robe a l'anglaise, England, 1790's. KCI.

But then today I was browsing some paintings, and I started noticing that so many of them show ladies  with wrinkly bodices. Take a peak below:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adventures in fan making

If you're looking to buy a Victorian fan there are 3462354146518941648416445814347683468734 available, but if you're trying to find one for an 18th century costume, there are like none anywhere.  You might be able to find a real antique, but even those are slim pickins.

So why not just substitute a Victorian fan? Well to start, there's a big difference between the two. If you don't really care, have at it. There's a million to choose from at every price point. But if you really want to look the part, here are a few differences to point out between Georgian/Rococo and Victorian:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One of my favorite places

Inspired by Versailles and built in the late 1800's, Linderhof Palace is the smallest of three palaces built by Kind Ludwig of Bavaria, and the only one he saw finished in his lifetime.  I got engaged a little to the left of where I took this photo. And I had the best hot dog I have ever had in my life in the car park :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

I want to be her! ...for Halloween

Yesterday talk of Halloween parties came up and I was like, eh, uh, hmm... I don't know what I want to be. And you would think, with all the pictures of costumes I see on a daily basis I would know one right off. So I started browsing and when I saw this pic I was like DONE! I think it's fabulous for halloween. Just poofy and sparkly and wonderful enough! 

Here are some close ups of the costume from the movie:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Close your eyes, breath in, and what do you smell but Versailles.

Recently I was shopping at Barneys when I came across the most interesting candles. Weighty green glass things with a beautiful gilt seal, displayed under glass domes that you lift to smell. And the most interesting, creative scents, with names like Roi Soliel, Odalesque, and Pondichery, all inspired by a moment in history.

Cire Trudon is a wax maker and candle company that has been in France since the late 1600's. Trudon was the royal wax maker to the court at Versailles until the end of the Ancien Regime. They also supplied the most prominent churches and religious institution. Trudon candles lit the last hours before the execution of Louis XVI, and at the birth of Napoleon's son, he gave the boy one gift, a Trudon candle. Cire Trudon survived the industrial revolution and the onset of gas and later electricity.

More recently, the company has revived itself into popularity by creating scents that are inspired by their history. I ended up buying five. Roi Soliel, inspired by Versaille's hall of Mirrors, and Carmelite, inspired by cloisters and convents, smell AMAZING by themselves, but when burned together have a scent reminiscent of a beautiful old building, in the very best sense possible. You smell candles and wood and a kind of mossy dampness, as if you are in a castle. Love it! The other three I bought were Manon, which smells like fresh laundry, Trianon, inspired by Marie Antoinette's beloved Petit Trianon, and Spiritus Sancti, which has a churchy incense scent.

The Hameau de la Reine,  Marie Anoinette's "little hamlet"
 at the Petit Trianon. Image from Les Voyages de Lauren.

There are many other scents you can investigate here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lucy Locket lost her pocket...

England, 1700-1725, V&A

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.

- English Nursery Rhyme

Since I've been so into accessories lately I thought I'd take a shot at pockets. But I was feeling lazy so I thought I'd come up with a quickie way to make something pretty. 

For quite a while I've had a plain linen pair or pockets I purchased from Jas. Townsend. I have also had some Crayola fabric markers I wanted to try out...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Pin Cushion

You have the dress, the petticoats, the underwear, the hats, the gloves, the muff, the fan, the shoes, the stockings, the this, the that, etc etc. But there are lots of little known accessories that get overlooked when creating costumes. One of these, that I have been looking into recently, is the pin ball. A pin ball is a type of pin cushion ladies used to wear on their person, hanging from a chatelain or ribbon of some kind. Often these were embroidered and given as gifts. Below are two examples of different ways of sewing these pin balls. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One, two, buckle my shoe...

Cartoon by James Gillray

For a long, long time I have been searching for some fabulous 18th century shoes to go with my costumes. Problem is, unless you want to wait to have them custom made (I'm not too patient), you have very little to choose from. In the past I have bought a pairs from Fugawee and Jas. Townsend.  Both are very well made and have straps for buckles. The Jas. Townsend shoe is low heeled, black leather, and would be appropriate with a redingote, or a middling class outfit. The Fugawee shoe is interesting. I got the "Connie" in natural leather. It is straight lasted, which means there is no left or right. Very acurate for the time period. It's got a little heel and is made of a rough suede. Fugawee has a lovely pair of white bronze basket weave buckles that really dress up a shoe.

But as nice as these shoes are, they still were not the dainty slipper I was looking for. And I looked everywhere. Then I came across the American Duchess Boutique and I was thrilled! I pre ordered six pairs. I may have gone a little overboard, but I was just so excited :)  The shoes come in silk and leather and are dyeable/paintable/whatever you want.

The Georgiana silk shoe.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I was up in the mountains for Labor day, and I totally intended to bring the bargello with and finish it, but instead I just did outdoorsy things and hung out with deer for a week.

They are fearless! They come up so close and don't even care if you're there. Well, until my dogs decided to chase them down...

As for the needlepoint, I did get some more of it done. I think the colors are looking pretty good.