Saturday, February 28, 2015

Melissandre-Inspired Renaissance Faire Ensemble

Going into the spring renaissance faire season, I started thinking about something that would be both comfortable and  flattering.  My mind went immediately to Game of Thrones and the delightfully creepy "Red Woman", the Lady Melissandre.  In order to create a look that is in line with hers, I thought about ordering a cotton Cotte dress from Moresca, but they're not cut to flatter a pregnant belly.  They're also $115, which was more than I wanted to spend.

I started with the bodice pattern from Butterick B5181 (which the cat promptly destroyed) and the sleeve pattern from New Look S0597.  I had to cut the sleeve down a little, but it worked pretty perfectly.  I will likely end up shortening the sleeves to just above the elbow or shorter.

I ordered some stretchy cotton/spandex from Ebay for about $30.  The seller's username is koshtex.

The fabric was heavier than I wanted.  I was hoping for something thinner and drapier, but this will serve for the moment.

Working with stretch knits has been quite a learning curve, and there are definitely things I would do differently - like wait until the entire bodice was assembled to hem the neckline - but overall, this went together relatively quickly and easily.

For the skirt portion, I took a measurement around the ribcage:  36 in.  My intention was to create four trapezoid shapes with a gusset in the back for extra drama.  36/4 = 9, plus 1.25 seam allowance.

The back of the bodice ended up being a bit too big, but the overall shape of the skirt is fantastically full.  I think I will wait to make any tweaks to the fit until May.  Next up is a hooded scarf to go with it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

18th Century Wooden Fashion Doll

My dad was kind enough to carve this doll for me out of bass wood using the Mill Farm pattern.

It's a little rustic looking, but that's perfect.  She could be a home-carved toy version of the expensive French dolls that were not really meant as toys.

As soon as I finish painting the exposed "skin" with white acrylic, I was thinking of using silk spinning fiber to make hair.  It might be kind of fun to try to fashion a tiny pouf wig.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blue Silk Taffeta 18th Century Jacket

I based this 18th century jacket on the JP Ryan pattern.  It's made of gorgeous, thick, iridescent french blue silk taffeta with self trim and fabric covered buttons.  I have made several jackets from this pattern before, so it went together very quickly.  The only trouble came with having to wait until the last minute to fit the front.

There are two petticoats:  The under layer is a cream silk taffeta, and the outer layer is semi-sheer striped silk from Renaissance Fabrics.  It's so stiff, and stands out so much, I feel a little like a cupcake.  It makes 19 weeks look like quite a bit more.

The photos don't really do it justice.  There are some beautiful portraits that use a similar type of fabric, but they're all from 1785 or later.  Apparently it was all the rage in Russia in the late 1780s, early 1790s.
Portrait of a Lady with a Book, Next to a River Source, Antoine Vestier, circa 1785.

Emperor Pavel I’s Daughters by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun,1796.

Elena Pavlovna of Russia by V.Borovikovskiy (1796, Gatchina

Since the ruching is so wide, I needed a double set of hooks and eyes to close up the top.  It worked out rather well.  The only thing I didn't quite get to was adding ruched trim to the cuffs.  I may need to add more fluffles and details for the next time this jacket makes an appearance.