Sunday, December 28, 2014

Birthday Bustle - Complete (mostly)!

Dress finished (mostly) just in time for the annual GBACG Bustle Tea!  I still have some scraps of silk to keep making petals for trim, but otherwise used every bit and even had to add some slightly different silk and some synthetic that is the same color.


At the Garden Court

 With my Ladies in Red after the tea.

And a little Skeeball after that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Adventures in pleating

The corset is finished. I'd still like to further refine the top, which is not giving me quite the shape I want. Maybe time for bust gussets instead of general shaping.

I made a pleating board using some internet tutorials. The basic process:
Two pieces of poster board, hobby/paper craft knife, ruler, spray glue.

Mark lines for your pleats on the larger poster board. I found a sequence of 1 inch, 1 inch, 2 inches worked well.

Use the knife to score, but not cut through the poster board.

Pleat the poster board, spray the back with glue and firmly affix it to the smaller piece.
You now have a board where the pleats open on one side. The idea is to stuff your fabric into the folds, the iron them so  they stay.

I found that using blue painters tape helped each part stay together until I was finished.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Birthday Bustle - new corset progress

I have many perfectly good corsets.  In fact I have an entire box full of corsets I've made over the last 8 years. But, I tried on a friends' corset with hip gores and through the power of engineering it gave me a bit of a fashionable figure.  I'm usually shaped like the rectangle in Vogue pattern's Figure Flattery guide (THE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.), so only garment shaping* is really going to get me a fashionable figure.  Also, its my birthday and who doesn't want another corset.

I went off to copy my friend's pattern (since I know it fits!), which is fairly Edwardian/1890s-1900.  I added to the top to bring the corset to a mid-bust finished edge like my other 1870-1880s corsets.  The hip gores have a piece of 6 inch elastic that I was only able to find at  Some places in the garment district in LA might have it but nowhere in the bay area had more than 4 inches and I wasn't sure if I could just sew two 3 inch pieces together.

* I suppose better diet and exercise would also get me there but corsets seem easier.

Black coutil on teal silk/cotton sateen

The corset is a one layer corset with applied boning channels.  I flatlined some lovely silk/cotton sateen with coutil for my base layer and used bought boning strips for the boning channels.
Craft bond is great for flatlining
Boning channels sewn
Currently the boning channels are sewn and the busk is inserted.  The elastic gores and the hip gores went in surprisingly well.  The front gusset, not so great.

Still to do:
  • cut boning to size and tip
  • make lacking placket and put in grommets (fortunately I own a hand press)
  • Possibly fancy the whole thing up with some nice black lace.  Not historic but would be pretty.
  • Bind the whole thing
I'm thinking of maybe switching to the pleated underskirt tonight in an effort to at least get the dress started.  I've only got a couple more nights of sewing before the round of holiday parties really starts, including one I'm hosting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Birthday Bustle - Progress!

First new undergarment finished!
I'm not entirely sure what the undergarments for the film gown looked like.
 This gorgeous book, Coppola and Eiko on Bram Stoker's Dracula, published in 1992, has one photo of a bustle. But there is no indication of which dresses it was paired with.
The bustle has exposed boning at the top and a cascade of ruffles to the floor.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to use Truly Victorian's Petticoat with Wire Bustle, as a pattern with additional ruffles.
And here's my version.
Next up: corset!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Make Fashion MakeCocktails

I love wearable tech fashion and I'm involved with an exciting group out of Calgary, Canada - MakeFashion.  They are having a cocktail fundraiser for the
project this Saturday!  If you are in the Calgary area come out and support new designers and interesting ideas.

Make Fashion Event

You can also check out the amazing fashions made by MakeFashion designers over the past couple of years!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

early-mid 1900s bodice

I don't collect extant clothing because I don't have space to store items properly and my apartment is extremely damp because of all the Pacific fog.  
But sometimes I run across something that is just so inexpensive or damaged that I acquire it just to see how it is constructed.

I found this black beaded bodice in a vintage store in Santa Cruz.  The silk lining is shattered but the main bodice fabric, which seems to also be some sort of silk, although with a much more crepe-y texture is mostly intact.  From the shape, I'm estimating it is possibly from around 1900-1905/1906, before the more streamlined shape later in the decade.

The bodice was absolutely dripping in beaded appliques. 

I'm not sure that the appliques are original to the bodice. I think they are definitely vintage since they are all glass beads, but once I removed them there were some very nice dress details that had been covered.  For instance all the pintucks in the front of the bodice, and the nice contrast of the pink lining showing through the lace inserts. 

 I believe the sequined net at the top of the bodice is original to the dress since it is faced with a thin strip of silk that matches the pink lining.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Birthday Bustle Dress

GBACG's fabulous New York Society Tea is on my birthday! This seems like a fabulous opportunity to make anew bustle dress. Fortunately, there is one I've always wanted to make.
Mina's red bustle dress
from Coppola's Dracula. The costumes for the movie were designed by Eiko Ishioka, and are gorgeous. 

My to-do list is pretty intense considering I have 1.5 months:
1. New corset with bust and hip gussets, to hopefully give me more of a later bustle shape.
2. New petticoat bustle, to support the skirts better than my lobster tail bustle.
3. Hundreds of kanzashi flower petals.
4. The actual dress.

Guess I'd better get to work!

Monday, October 27, 2014

18th Century Fan Instructable

Need a fan to go with your 18th century gown?

You can make your own with some bits from the craft store.

I wrote an Instructable about how to make one:

And if you've never been to Instructables, clear the rest of your day to just look at amazing projects.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tiffany Glass at SFO

Alaska Air moved into the international terminal, which has the best exhibit space at the airport. Past the security lines is the usual desolate hellscape of duty free shops and overpriced food. But, before security there are at least 2 good exhibit areas.

The Lace exhibit is gone, but in its place is one on Louis C. Tiffany, who's workshop made fabulous art glass, windows, lampshades, and other useful home items from the 1890s through the Depression.

Tiffany had a Women's Glass Department, headed by Clara Driscoll, which employed women as designers and makers. The lamp below is one of Driscoll's designs.

Glassmakers tools.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Fan Friday: Regency Horn Fan

1812 - Ackermann's Repository Series1 Vol 8 - December Issue
Regency is a term often loosely used to refer to the years between the end of the 18th century and the Victorian era.  In costuming it often more specifically encompasses "Empire style" (referring to Napoleon's 1804–1814/1815 empire, and often also to his 1800–1804 "consulate") or "Regency" (most precisely referring to the 1811–1820 period of George IV's formal regency.

The dress silhouette of Western female dress in this era is very distict.  Closely fitted in the bust and falling fairly straight underneath.

1813 - Ackermann's Repository Series1 Vol 10 - December Issue
1814 - Ackermann's Repository Series1 Vol 12 - August Issue
Fans in this era are small but fairly diverse.  There are still folding fans, but a new popular fan style is the brise fan.  Brise fans have no leaf and all the sticks are generally the same length.  Regency Era brise fans came in ivory, bone, wood and horn.  They are generally much smaller than the ones from even a decade before, in the 1790s, and are usually about 6-10 inches in length.  From looking at fashion plates, fans seem to be an evening accessory that coordinate with a ball gown.

1828 - Ackermann's Repository Series 3 Vol 11 - June Issue

This brise fan from my collection is made of horn and decorated with inlaid silver spangles.  Horn can be moulded when heat and pressure are applied.
Regency/Empire era horn hand fan, circa 1800-1820
1807 Madame Duvaucey by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (Musée Condé, Chantilly)

This style was probably popular from around 1800-1820.  This painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres shows a horn fan of similar style in a portrait from 1809.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cosplay at Dragoncon - part one

Dragoncon 2014.  Some fabulous cosplay and costuming at Dragoncon this year.  There were definitely some popular themes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games, Joker and Harley Quinn, and of course Maleficient.  Here's the first batch of photos.
I am Groot
Animaguri Groot
Baby Groot in a pot

And this amazing full sized Groot. This is some dedicated costuming.
Full Size Groot
And of course some Doctor Who
Old school Cyberman and Dalek


With an adorable K-9
That fabulous Alexander McQueen butterfly dress that was in the Hunger Games was very popular, saw several versions.
Hunger Games butterfly dress

Butterfly dress with bonus characters
Death of Rats from Terry Pratchett's Discworld.  I've always wanted to make a anamatronic or puppet Death of Rats.
Death of Rats
A lot of Maleficients, here are 2 really nice ones.

Classic Maleficient
New Maleficient
 And no idea what this is, but nicely done.
Anyone know what this is?