Sunday, October 27, 2013

Italian Ren Gown Update

I'm not making as much progress as I should be, but I have conquered substantial steps toward the completion of my dress. So far I have:

-Addressed fit issues in the bodice
-Cartridge pleated the skirt
-Attached the skirt to the bodice and sewn down bodice lining
-Hemmed skirt
-Added hem guard made of unbleached cotton muslin
-Made God knows how many yards of piping
-Redesigned and finished lower sleeves
-Redesigned and began attaching upper sleeves
-Started eyelets (3/40)
-Started attaching pearls to the neckline trim

Yards of lovely piping made with yarn and my Singer Merritt 2404

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pink Button-Down Blouse Update!

I reached a point of almost-completion with the Pink Button-Down Blouse v. 2 just before I left for Portugal this summer. The blouse is almost finished except for a hem, buttons, and buttonholes. This is mostly due to me running out of thread and being unable to find appropriate buttons!

I eliminated most of the topstitching detail on this blouse because I didn't want to take away from the beautiful fabric: it's so soft and lustrous, and such a delicious shade of pink!


Look at that crisp collar!

Handmade, handsewn binding to the sleeve slit.
The yoke turned out beautiful, in my opinion!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Faded Wool, Silk, and Velvet Bodice c. 1905-8

The original, awkward, extremely anachronistic display of this bodice is described here. This bodice was infested with moths, so before I was able to properly store it, I had to tuck it in the freezer for a bit to kill off the moths.

This wool bodice had faded from a dark forest green to a dull moss color. The silk inset and neckband is very shattered. The neckband is trimmed with two strips of narrow black velvet ribbon. Black velvet also trims the waistband, and ends in a decorative "bow" at the left side closure. The sleeve cuffs and bodice are decorated with black velvet cut in a sharp scallop pattern. The scallops are decorated with seed beads and sequins. The bodice is lined in coral-colored cotton, black (possibly polished) cotton, and a gray floral pattern.

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Fading under arm. The forest green wool faded to a soft olive shade from excessive exposure to sunlight.
The original color of the wool was preserved underneath the decorated beaded velvet "flaps."
The silk lining of the neckband and the silk inset had shattered.
The front flap is lined in coral-colored cotton. Beige bias binding encloses the seam.
Two sets of hooks and eyes in the front: on the right hand side of the "pigeon" gathers, and on the left side seam.

Black polished cotton is replaced for the green wool where the bodice fastens and overlaps.
I wonder what this loop is for?
Two hooks, presumably to help secure a skirt.
Large stitches in black thread hold the gathers of the decorative velvet waistband in place.
Pleats on the elbow of the sleeve.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

UFO Italian Renaissance Gown

I started this gown last fall, right after I started making the camicia to go with it. I didn't finish the dress in time to wear on Halloween, which was already all fumbled up because of Hurricane Sandy. So this dress sat in a box, unfinished, for a year. In that year, I did more research on Italian Renaissance sewing techniques, looked at what other people had made, and realized just how off I was with the construction of my dress.

I was going for a mid-16th century Florentine look. These are some of my inspiration photos:

Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of a Lady in Green (1528-32
"Eleanora of Toledo Renaissance Gown" by DecosaDesign
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Lucrezia Sommaria (1530-32)
Trystan L. Bass' Realm of Venus entry
This thick satin fabric (from an unlabeled bolt, as usual) only cost $2 a yard. I bought 6 yards because I was so in love with the color! This is one of my favorite shades of blue. The bodice is interlined with some of the leftover green fabric from my Italian Tarantella skirts. The bodice is lined with an olive green burlap-type fabric (maybe wool?) from the usually mysterious Fabric Warehouse. Those green pieces were sold in rough squares, for 50 cents each (I bought 2).

I made the bodice using this tutorial. I put boning along the center back opening, which ended up warping and bending all the time that I had it in storage. I wonder, if when I have the eyelets done, will I need boning there anyway? The rest of the bodice doesn't have boning, but I'm pretty flat so I don't think I need it.

I tried cartridge pleating the skirt--without the fabric's edge turned over to create two layers. To add insult to injury, I MACHINE SEWED the pleated skirt to the bodice. It was awful! But you live, you learn. I need to remove the skirt and re-pleat it, the correct way, and re-attach it to the bodice the correct way.

Awful "cartridge pleats"
I also need to shorten the back waist by about an inch.

Weird fit on the bodice under the bust and around the straps.


I had also made lower and upper sleeves. The upper sleeves are made of the same material as the dress. Both the brocade and lining of the lower sleeves were gifts from my aunt. I drafted them woefully too small--they can't even fasten!

Oops! the one on the left doesn't even have the fabric's motif centered...
Lined with poly satin in a silvery champagne, a gift from my aunt.
They're hilariously small. Only the top loop fastens.
I've already deconstructed the bodice to improve its fit and alter the neckline. I've also finished re-pleating the skirt, and it looks so excellent! 

I still have to:
-Make new lower sleeves
-Attach the skirt to the bodice, hem it, and add hem guards
-Pleat and attach the upper sleeves
-Make eyelets
-Add neckline decoration