Thursday, October 20, 2011

DIY Inspiration!

     Isn't this bracelet so cute? I definitely need to try to do this--I even already have the pearls and leather cord! Might pop out a bunch of these and make them Christmas presents.....


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

18th Century Undergarments: Chemise, Petticoat, and Pockets

       For my Chemise a la Reine, I of course need the proper undergarments. I began with making a chemise, or shift. I used these websites as my sources:

However, I felt that at some points the instructions for putting together the chemise were too difficult to follow, so after I had all my pieces cut out, I kind of guesstimated the construction. In the end, the chemise actually looks very nice, and it's remarkably comfortable and flattering. For the sake of time and money, I machine sewed most of it. Also, instead of making it out of linen, I made it out of cotton because I had several yards of white cotton in my stash. Oh well!

Isn't that a cute little fan? A friend bought it for me, I think from Uzbekistan.

I bought the socks in Portugal, for about 6 euros. They're from the Spanish brand Stradivarius.
Detail of the sleeve gusset.

Detail of the back.

      Naturally, I also made a few petticoats to go underneath my Chemise a la Reine. I realize now that instead of pleating outward, I pleated inward! But I don't think it makes much of a difference. I also realize that I could have spared a little more fabric towards the construction of this petticoat. I made my first petticoat out of an old rust colored sheet. The petticoat has pocket slits in the side, and I figure that if I ever need an outfit for any sort of Steampunk soiree, I could just sew some pleats or ruffles to the bottom. It comes to just above my ankle, at a really perfect height.

I used these websites when making my petticoat:

I also made pockets! I know, I know, they're very simple--I chose not to embroider them for the sake of time--but they are great and really useful and clean and pretty and, above all, practical! These are also white cotton, bound with some olive green double found bias tape I had leftover from a previous project.  I love the contrast of the white and the olive green, and overall I'm happy that I have a repository for all my modern-day crap so I won't have to lug around a purse.

 In your opinion, what is the most practical historical garment you've ever made or seen?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chemise a la Reine

      By now I'm sure you've assumed that I have begun working on my Halloween costume. And what costume did I decide to make?

      Why a Chemise a la Reine of course!

Image via Google
I've chosen this because of time/ money/ talent constraints, but I'm really excited to wear something so frothy and feminine! I'm aiming more for a chemise like the one above, with two arm puffs, either a powdery blue or baby pink taffeta sash and sleeve bows, and maybe a row or two of ruffles along the neckline.

      I am also planning on making a hat to go with this, perhaps if I modify a straw hat and drown it in trimmings? We'll see!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween, Part 3

      Now that I've showed you last year's costume, it's time to think, what's this year's costume going to be? Hopefully, since Halloween lands on a Monday this year, the school board will let us wear our costumes to school as we have done in the past.

      I've already brainstormed a few ideas, which I'll share:

Option 1a: Marie Antoinette     

Pattern: Simplicity 4092, View A
Image via PatternReview

An option I've been lusting over for a while, and now that I have a sewing machine I think that I can actaully do this. However, I would never make a half-assed historical costume, i.e. one that zippered shut, or worn without the proper undergarments. So, I'd also use this Simplicity pattern for the stays and chemise: Simplicity 3635;

Image via PatternReview
But there I was thinking, why would I put so much time, effort, and money on a gown that zippered closed, when I didn't even know how to replace zippers with lacing? And then I figured, this project would just occupy WAY too much time and money, two things that seem to escape me easily. I did a few mental calculations, and realized that this project would require obscene amounts of money that I just did not have.  For me to be properly satisfied with this costume, I'd have to make a chemise, stays, pocket hoops, at least a petticoat, and the gown itself. Last year, when I dressed my hair up as Marie Antoinette, NO ONE KNEW WHO I WAS except my painting teacher. Le sigh.

Plus, when I began reading some pattern reviews, I learned that these patterns weren't easy, and required a lot of modifications and fitting. As an incoming high school senior I can't devote too much time to a sewing project since I'm in the process of applying for colleges.

Option 1b: Marie Antoinette in the dress that sparked the Revolution, or a Chemise a la Reine.

Image via Google
From what I have researched, these dresses are very simple, fun, and easy to construct; they're basically a gathered rectangle with sleeves. And according to The Dreamstress, a Chemise a la Reine wasn't necessarily always worn with stays. You can read more in her post:

If I were to make a Chemise a la Reine, I'd only make two gathers on the sleeves though -- I feel like three gathers are a bit overwhelming. And perhaps a hat to match the ensemble?

Image via Google
The more I think about it, the more I feel that a Chemise a la Reine would be a good starting point for an 18th century costume. Yet, I know that if I wear this to school, very few people will recognize me. But whatever, that just gives me an excuse to explain the French Revolution to them....

Option 2: Rowena Ravenclaw

This will be a very un-historically accurate costume. Mostly for the fact that basically my idea is for a Renaissance style ensemble, however since Hogwarts was founded "over a thousand years ago," Rowena and Helena are most likely from the 10th and 11th century--the Middle Ages.

This costume will be more of a mesh of patterns and ideas. Of COURSE, you all know who Rowena Ravenclaw is, right? RIGHT? Anyway, I was thinking of making this out of a dark blue damask, or similar printed dark blue fabric, with a slightly grey- or silver-toned underdress. Perhaps I should explain further? I will.

I already have this pattern at home, and I feel that I can modify it for this costume.

Image via PatternReview
Image via PatternReview

For the underdress, a sort of chemise, if you will, I would make blouse B, but elongate it A LOT, up to my ankles. For the overdress, I'd make the vest, and then make a long skirt, about as long as the underdress; I'd pleat it, then tack it to the inside of the vest, which sounds rather tricky and finicky but in my mind it seems like it would totally work. Which means it probably wouldn't.

And of course, somehow I'd make a diadem or tiara of sorts out of wire and whatnots around the house. But this costume definitely requires a lot more...trickery, and messing around. Although I don't doubt my abilities whatsoever. I also feel that no one would recognize me; they'd probably just say, "Are you a medieval queen?" and I'd have to control myself from strangling them. But then again,I doubt people would recognize Marie Antoinette either.

Option 3: Alice in Wonderland

Or, I could just do this the easy way and wear a costume I already made: my Tim Burton inspired Alice in Wonderland costume.

Dear readers, what do you think?

Will You Accept My Apology?

      I am sorry.

      I am sorry that I haven't blogged in over a month.

      Will you accept my apology?

      In the mean time, I'll tell you what happened since I last blogged on here. Well, to begin with, we were hit by Hurricane Irene and lost power for sometime, which was actually kind of fun. I've never been much of a ringer for technology, mostly because I am afraid of a dependence on it. But when a tree was uprooted by the storm and brought a breaker down with it, I woke up on Sunday morning I realized that the familiar, almost inaudible hum of our household appliances was gone.  It was the first time that I had ever seen all of my neighbors outside, together. We actually met a lot of people we didn't even know lived on our block. Yet, we still yearned for news of the outside world. Dealing with this shock, I'd sit in front of the television, staring at it, hoping that my supersonic stare would somehow bring Channel 5 to life again. Eventually, I ceased my supersonic stare, and the neighbors began badgering a PSE&G worker as to when we'd get our electricity back; he said we'd have it back in at least five days, which caused much panic among everyone. My mom fished a few boxes of fruit juice bars out of the freezer and we tried to feverishly eat them before they melted. I began making a list of all the things I could do to entertain myself for the next few days: I'd sew back all the buttons that had fallen off my clothes, I'd read some books, give myself a mani/pedi, dust my room, reorganize my closet, etc. That day I pulled my legos off of my shelf and began tinkering with them again, underneath a window because it was starting to get dark. Towards the end of the day, I was really enjoying myself and began embracing the lack of electricity, but while we  were eating dinner surrounded by assorted scented candles (vanilla, key lime pie, cinnamon, raspberry candles are a strange scent combination...) we heard a little snapping sound, then a long buzz, and slowly all of our electronics came back to life. I was a glass box of emotions, simultaneously happy and discouraged. It turns out PSE&G had to return our electricity so fast because the fallen breaker had knocked out a few stoplights on the main avenue.
      Then it was time to go back to school, so I had to become acclimated with a normal sleep schedule again. And I had to get back into the groove of massive amounts of AP homework.

      And so here I am. Resurrected from the blogosphere dead. Did you miss me?

Image via Google