1895 dinner gown DONE!

That project is completely done.  I put the gown back on and double checked everything in the mirror.  My lady’s maid is still on a bender or hates me so I had to do it myself.  Then I got my son to take pictures.  This is not the highlight of his life so I raced through it.  It wasn’t nearly as much fun as going out with “Lady Shirley”.

Mainly, I wanted to show the cape, the sleeve lace, the completed head-piece and the lapels thingys on the bodice as these were not done when I did the photo shoot with Lady Shirley.  I also couldn’t find my gloves so I didn’t have those for the shoot.

The cape over the sleeves brings to mind a football player standing on the side lines.

 Drat that lady’s maid.  Some how the cape spun a bit and is off-center and my Gibson girl hair doo was already sliding off the back of my head.  I haven’t decided if I like the ostrich and peacock feather sticking out of the back of my head or not.  Next time I will try it to the side.

The cape is off so you can see the lapel or brettels as I believe they were called.

 I like the dress better with the cape off.  Somehow, with my dress form Trudy, it looks good both on and off.  On me I look like a linebacker.  It can’t be a body thing because Trudy and I have the same body.  It is either a body issue thing where I think I look  bigger than Trudy or it is a double chin issue.  Trudy doesn’t have a double chin.  Trudy doesn’t have a single chin!  Anyway, the cape is only for getting from the carriage to the house so I needn’t look hot in it…I should only feel warm. 

That is not all my butt...there is a bum pad in there....

 I actually don’t mind this picture.  If the train would have been spread out it would be awesome.  An 18 year-old boy is not going to know to look for that.  I’m going to spare you the photos of the back because an 18 year-old would also not notice the skirt was crooked and neither did I when I was checking in the mirror over and over again!  I look like I have a spinal deformity.  I do actually, but it is not as pronounced as the pictures would imply!

Speaking of spinal deformity.  May be that will be my post for tomorrow.  Not really.  It will be about how my corset helps with that!

How I spent my New Years Eve…

I am thrilled to see a couple of people are following my blog now!  But,  I must say there is some icky spammers out there.  One had me needing to wash my eyes and brain out after moving my cursor over their name.  Hopefully, this blog will get more normal people watching and commenting than sickos!

Moving along…how I spent my New Years Eve.  SEWING OF COURSE!  I got my cape cut, sewed, ironed and blinged in one day!

I used a Truly Victorian pattern TV590.

Instruction page from pattern

And I cut the pieces out from material I had left over from the dress.

Cut pieces. The fabric is less blue and more mauve.

Cutting patterns out seems to be where I have the greatest problem.  The fabric would shift around so that straight lines weren’t straight and some places were cut to small and others to wide.  It made piecing together a real problem.  Another sewing blog (can’t remember which one-sorry) posted a photo of  their cutting process.  This person put her pins in parallel to the pattern edge.  I’ve been putting mine in perpendicular.  Changing the position of the pins seemed to work.  It came together like a dream.  Well not quite.  I failed to read all the instructions before I got started…

Collar with channels for the wire-ha ha

I cut triangles out of the seams along the curvy edge of the collar…cause that’s what you do.  Then I read “sew in channels for the wire”.  Crap.  Oh well, thanks to my sloppy job of trimming the seams I did end up with enough material to make the stupid channels!

Collar sewed, wired and turned.

Then I basted the collar to the cape.

Collar basted to cape.

 The lining of the cape is cut into 2 pieces.  I joined the two pieces  leaving a hole big enough to get my hand in.  (My dog is on the couch beside me talking in her sleep right now.  Too cute! And distracting!) Then I sewed the lining and cape right sides together.

Lining and cape sewed together and seams...ahem...trimmed.

 Then I turned the cape right side out through the hole in the lining.  I ironed the cape and laid it out on my floor to plan my beading.  I used the wired beads that I also used on my purse and my head-piece.

Beads pinned to cape.

 Once the beads and clasp were sewed on I tried it on Trudy.

finished cape

 At first I was disappointed that I didn’t figure out that both sides of the collar would be visible so I should have cut both sides in the fashion fabric instead of in the fashion fabric and the lining.  But the more I look at it the more I like it.  Besides, my head will be in there blocking most of that dark purple.

Tomorrow I have a day off of work.  I plan on cleaning the house, taking down all the Christmas decorations, getting more laundry done and finishing my dinner gown (I worked on it today.  All that is left is moving in the hooks and eyes so the bodice isn’t so baggy.)  But, before I do that I plan on hitting a fabric sale with some friends.  My next project I want to start is an 1850s afternoon gown and I need some notions, lining and a contrast fabric.  I’m pretty sure I have enough in my stash to do the main part of the dress.  I guess I better measure before the sale tomorrow in case I need a new game plan!



Have a great New Years Eve!

I had a wonderful New Years Eve.  I spent the morning playing with my computer.  Then I spent the whole afternoon sewing! 

I started and finished the cape for my 1895 dinner outfit!  I’m very pleased how it turned out.  There are some mistakes (which are not noticeable) and I wish I had thought out the collar lining material more but on the whole it looks good!  The pieces came together beautifully so I may have figured out what I have been doing wrong when cutting out my fabric!

I’ll post about the cape tomorrow.  For this evening I just want to say have a great New Years Eve and be safe.  I’m too old for that partying till after midnight stuff.  I’ll be knitting, watching movies and heading to bed at a nice sensible hour.  Till tomorrow….


1895 dinner gown-purse

All the blogs I love have little tutorials on how they did things.  Since this is my first one, I’m just showing you pictures of how I followed the instructions.  Duh.  Lesson one to you newbies out there…if it comes with instructions….follow them!

Step 1: Purchase the clasp for your purse.  I got mine at www.madamesmercantile.com.

Peacock clasp from Madame's Mercantile

 Step 2 is tracing the clasp and then drawing the shape you want under the clasp onto a piece of paper.

My pattern

 Step 3: Cut 2 lining and two of the fashion fabric.

Step 4: is the fun part…embellishing your purse.  I chose to only do one side (I was on a time crunch…I needed it done in an hour!).  I chose a beaded strand I had in my stash.

Wired beads.

 I used a length of these beads for my head band and will likely use the rest to decorate the cape for the outfit when I get to that…After Christmas perhaps?   This is how they look on the bag.

Beaded purse front.

 Step 5: Sew the sides of the lining together. Sew the bottom of the lining together leaving a 1-2 inch hole.  OK.  So I didn’t read that part about leaving the hole in the bottom and caused myself all kinds of grief later on.

Sewing the lining right sides together.

Step 6: you sew the  sides and bottom of the fashion fabric, right sides together.

Sewing the fashion fabric

 Trim the curvy edges and turn the fashion fabric inside out?  Inside in?  Outside out? Then stuff it inside of the lining.

Stuffing the lining.

 Step 7: Line up the edges of the fashion fabric to the lining and sew them together.

Sewing the top edge.

 Step 8 is where you find out that leaving a hole in the bottom of the lining is a good plan because that is where you reverse the bag so that the lining is on the inside of the bag and the fashion fabric is on the outside and all the right sides are visible and the seams are invisible.  You then hand sew that hole in the bottom shut.

Step 9: Hand sew the bag onto the clasp being careful to keep the hinges free.  Add a chain to the clasp.  I just used some chain I had in my stash but I believe you can buy some at Madame’s as well.

Ta da!

Photo shoot part 2

Okay so one photo at a time is working….lets try two….

Side profile in front of the seamstress' window.

Side profile in front of the seamstress’ window.

I don’t know if you can see it in the picture but I’m holding my semi completed purse.  Tomorrow I want to try a post on how it was made….

I'm pleased with how the train hangs.

I’m pleased with how the train hangs.

The material for this skirt was pretty but it will be awhile before I use a material like it again.  It is loosely woven so it pulled out of shape easily, frayed and snagged.  Distressing to say the least.  Do I dare try to add the third and final picture to this post?

A shot of laudanum before church starts....

A shot of laudanum before church starts….

A walk on the wild side.  Maybe there needs to be type in between each photo to keep things running smoothly….

Photo shoot

This is my third attempt.  For some reason my post on this photo shoot get chunks deleted or covered by bars of color and previous posts get distorted.  It all goes back to normal when I delete the post.  I’m going to try again only I will make 4 separate posts…1 for each photo.

Last Saturday a friend and I went to the Urban Gallery of my city’s main museum.  The Urban Gallery is a mock up of a turn of the century city.  I wish I could post pictures of my friend’s outfit but I have not asked permission.  Her outfit was complete where as mine was simply wearable.  She is also a more experienced seamstress so her outfit simply oozes quality.  Mine says “newbee”.  My goal is to get as good as her!

 My favorite photo...no double chin!

My favorite photo…no double chin!

Got my dress form up!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I got a steal of a deal on a dress form yesturday…the added bonus being that over half of that price was covered by a gift.  Oh happy day!  This morning I set her up.  To follow the fashion of one of my favorite bloggers, http://thedreamstress.com, I have named my dress form.  She is a True Form dress form, my blog last name is Victorian and my favorite patterns are Truly Victorian.  With all these inputs I came up with “Trudy Victorian”.

I set Trudy up in my bedroom.  I set all her dials and put a spare corset on her and I think she is good to go (but I think I will need to add some padding in the tummy area as Trudy doesn’t seem to squish out the bottom of her corset the way I do.) 

Trudy in all her glory!

Then I threw on the dress I have been working on…and glory be…I can walk around to the back and see that I can possibly take in the back a bit.  I can see that I can move the hooks and eyes over so it hangs better in the front and the hooks wont show as much!

Trudy all dressed up

 After some puttering I started to get ready for work.  (Drat work!  You get in the way of my hobbies!)  Being in work mode, I stopped thinking about what I had been doing for the last 2 hours and focused on what I had to do.  Twice I walked by my bedroom door and jumped because some stranger was in my room.  Duh. I decided she would have to go in my walk in closet when I got home from work.  Either that or I get rubber sheets for the bed because waking up and finding a headless woman standing at the foot of the bed can’t have good results!

Being the kind soul I am, I decided to call the hubby and warn him that Trudy was there lest she startle him too and she gets drop kicked out the bedroom window.  Guess what he did.  Moved Trudy so that the minute I opened the garage door I would be staring down Trudy’s headless neck!  Yes, I jumped!  That was a good joke!

Still a costuming blog…

So, I have not made any further progress on my dress that I need done by Saturday.  In fact I took a step backwards!  I fished the dickey part out of the dryer this morning.  Why do I need to wash a costume I haven’t even worn yet?  Because I was sewing on the hook and eye when I discovered my scissors were not handy for cutting the threads .  Instead of getting up off my butt to get them I bit the threads.  All well and good IF YOU ARE NOT WEARING LIPSTICK!  I noticed my gaff and instead of getting up to get the scissors I decided I would be more careful on the other side.  Yeah, well…I got lipstick on both sides and had to wash the dang thing.  This was the part when I found my step back.  One of the layers wasn’t completely caught in the seam and came loose. Sigh.  So instead of posting of my incredible dress progress while holding down a day job I will post a picture of my youngest son dressed for Comic Con.

Costume inspiration on lower left hand side.

His character is from some video game.  Heaven help me, but I can’t remember what game.  The helmet was last years Christmas present on which he glued horns that he molded from clay.  The neck thing, shoulder pads, sword and shin guards were taken from a store-bought knight’s costume.  He bought shoes at a second-hand store and spray painted them silver.  My husband has a friend who does graphics at his job and has a high-end printer so he made the shield on to plastic.  Young Son attached the handle (which is a dresser drawer pull).  I found a pair of leather work gloves at a garage sale and I dyed (and dyed and dyed again) them to get them less grey and more beige.  And I whipped up the tunic using cotton broadcloth and bias tape.  This proves two things…a family that works together can achieve great things (?) and that the nut doesn’t fall to fall from the tree.  Young Son definitely comes from my nerdy genetic pool 🙂

This is a Victorian Costume Blog after all….

I’ve been thinking that if I want a blog that mainly focuses on costumes I should talk about costumes.  Today, in the midst of the madness that is called Christmas, I took time during my lunch break to work on my 3rd 1800’s costume (sewing on buttons).  It is to be a 1895 dinner gown and it needs to be wearable by next Saturday.  One of my co-workers and I had intended to go to a museum (originally a house built in 1895) to take pictures of each other while it was all decorated for Christmas.  There was a glitch in that plan as the house/museum allows you to take all the pictures of the house you want but if you want pictures of yourself in the house it costs $100 an hour!  Hmmmm.  We made some rapid plan changes and we intend to do the same thing at the larger Museum of Man and Nature’s display of a turn of the century city.  The bonus is I have two free tickets because of a volunteer job I did.  (Note to self…that story is blog worthy.)

I found the inspiration picture below at the Metropolitan Museum web site.  If you have never been there you must check it out!  Paradise!

The fabric I am using is a huge piece of mauve/silver that I found at a charity thrift store for $14 with the solid pieces being a mauve fabric I found at Fabricland. 

Me reveling in my fabric find

I have no hot clue what the fiber content is in the patterned material (no label) so I decided not to worry about the fiber content in the other fabric and focus on the best color match.  I’m not thrilled with my final choice but it was the best one by far. I’m betting I will lose points in the authenticity department as likely there will be synthetic fibers in these but cheap is cheap and if it achieves the look I’m going for-yeah me!  I’m not entering a contest after all.

For patterns I am using the Truly Victorian 1892 Umbrella Skirt with Train (TV298) for the skirt and Truly Victorian 1896 Plain Bodice (TV493) for the bodice.  The pattern’s neck line is wrong so I had to alter that as well as widen the collar/lapel thingy (which likely wont be attached before next Saturday).  For the neck piece, I figured it was likely a dickey type arrangement and I just hacked and sewed materials I found in the remnant bin at Fabricland until I got something that looked right…worked first try amazingly enough.  So the dickey is done.  The skirt is done.  The bodice needs a few more buttons, hooks and eyes, the lapel thingy needs to be recut, sewn and attached and I am debating about the belt like detail on the front bottom/edge.  I’ll be happy if I get the buttons, hooks and eyes on by next Saturday.  I also want to make a dainty head-piece before Saturday. Ultimately, I’d like to make a hand bag and cape for it as well.  Those will have to wait for another day I’m afraid.