Artist Talk at MOWA Saturday, Jul 22 2017 

Several months ago I was approached with the prospect of giving a presentation on 19th century undergarments at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, and I happily accepted!2017-07-11 (2)

The crowd was much bigger than the usual for these events, I was told, and they needed to bring out another couple dozen chairs. There were between 60 and 70 people, all told.(!! No time to get nervous!!)
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They had two mannequins available, and I utilized both. I gave an overview of the entire century, though my favorite period is Late Victorian. (Which I may have mentioned a couple of times)

I was able to pepper in some socio/cultural facts regarding the reasons for and impact of changing fashions, which I find to be just as fascinating as the garments themselves.

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I also used some images of my own finished gowns, in a shameless display of pride and self promotion. ūüėÄ

I did make a brief mention of men’s unmentionables, but there has been much less substantial change with men’s undergarments than with women’s.

I wasn’t used to using a handheld microphone, but I had a good time!

The crowd was responsive and had some good questions for me at the end of the talk.

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I closed with a scandalous (!) undressing of a mannequin in Victorian garb, to visually illustrate the logistics of all the layers I had been talking about. I also brought in several books I’ve referenced in my work and samples of corsets, bustles, and boning.

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It was a great experience, the people who worked with me to make it happen were very pleasant and professional, and I loved seeing the exhibit afterwards!

I’ve linked to the powerpoint below- please note that non-vintage images in the slides were used specifically for the purpose of this presentation and are not licensed for redistribution or sale.

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You can see the Powerpoint I put together for the presentation here!19th Century Undergarments

TC7- Teslacon Victorian Silk Day Dress Saturday, Jul 1 2017 

First: the bulk of my Master’s program is complete! So, here’s a post, finally!

I made several new items for the Teslacon 7, 2017, Fashion Show, Paris Edition.  The crowning glory among the new pieces was a grey and cream striped silk Victorian day dress. My inspiration pic:

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I set my sights on making a fancy day dress. I’d fallen in love with a beautiful sample of cream and grey striped silk while visiting a tailor’s booth at Teslacon but he didn’t have any yardage left. He admired the dress I was wearing, and I believe if he’d *had* had any of the fabric he would have sold it to me.

So I set out to find a reasonable facsimile of that lovely fabric.

I knew I’d be looking for a drapery weight fabric, so I delved into Google and branched out from there… I ended up finding a striped silk in three large pieces all from one seller on E-bay. The colors, weight and finish were perfect, there was just one problem…
The stripe was twice the width I needed.

However, I’m not one to be dissuaded by a challenge.
I decided to buy the silk and create narrower stripes myself. I cut each stripe in half and then sewed them together. Here’s a picture of me with $300 of shredded silk (eek!)…

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Nope, not nervous at all…

I had chosen two Truly Victorian patterns to start from; TV466- 1887 Alexandra Bodice and TV367- 1887 Cascade Overskirt. The Alexandra bodice had the appropriate level of Victorian repression I was looking for, and the overskirt would show off the stripes wonderfully.

I was creating the look as part of (mentioned above) a line for the 2016 Teslacon fashion show, with a theme set in 1884 Paris. The color scheme I developed for my looks consisted of black and white, grey, cream, and deep purple, with silver accents. Specifically, I tapped a highly talented jewelry maker, the owner of Rogue Maille, to design and supply the jewelry for the line… they were all highly detailed, sumptuous chainmaille creations and each piece took my breath away.

For the cream and grey dress I decided to use some of the eggplant silk crepe from a gown I was making for myself as an accent for the bodice collar and cuffs. But the very first thing I needed to do was shred 8 yards of silk and sew it back together, alternating the stripes. Then, so much ironing of seams.

A before & after shot:

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Big stripes, little stripes!

I cut out the bodice first, with special attention to matching the stripes, because I knew I didn’t have a ton of fabric to work with. For the bodice, I wanted to made an offset front closure, with decorative buttons down the front. I gave the front panel additional reinforcement with a sturdy interlining, and used a hook and eye closure. It’s mildly cramp-inducing to close, but it lays beautifully.

The actual fitting was done with the skirt on as well, but I didn’t want to put EVERYTHING on for a quick pic of my progress:

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Before setting the sleeves in, testing out how the front closure sits. I decided to add the purple accent after this fitting, for shoulder mobility ūüėČ

The overskirt was cut out next. It seemed that there were discrepancies between how my cascade overskirt was laying in the back, the image on the cover of the pattern, and the image inside the pattern instructions… so I just decided on an aesthetically pleasing arrangement and called it good.

The skirt was a different challenge. Even knowing there wasn’t excess yardage, as I laid out the pattern pieces for the basic 6 gore underskirt, it was going to be closer than I thought.

I did everything I could, playing with placement on the pieces of fabric that were left, and I knew I’d have to sub in some cotton for the top half of the underskirt. After the cutting and stitching was complete, the seams between the cotton and silk were close enough to the hem of the overskirt to warrant tacking down the outer edges to keep them from peeking out during the runway show.

When all was said and done, I I barely had enough silk left over to make a pocket square.

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You can see the placement of the offset closure for the bodice…. it was a little tricky.

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Dat bustle!

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I lined the underside of the pleats in the back with the eggplant fabric also. this is before I put in the eggplant accent at the top back center.

Some adjustments I made to the pattern:
Besides the usual adjustments for fitting (done over the corset, undergarments and finished skirts, of course), in the end I decided that the classic high-necked Victorian style was a little stuffier than I really wanted, so I changed it to a modest V-neck, with a decorative cameo at the base. I interlined the bodice, but did not bone the interior. I may go back and do so to avoid the bunching seen at the waist in the picture of me in the outfit.

For the hat, I took an ivory 1950’s hat with netting I had in my collection and trimmed it with extra eggplant material and a purple butterfly.

Overall, the outfit was a success, though I really could have used just one more yard of fabric.

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The eggplant accents in the back really popped.

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A view of the front of the bodice, finished with bias tape of the same material and tiny silk buttons. Shawna, stand up straight!

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A side view.

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The full collection that day, with beautiful jewelry from Rogue Maille on nearly every lovely model.

TC7 Paris Runway 1- Foundation garments Tuesday, Sep 13 2016 

In preparation for Teslacon 7, the grand journey to Paris circa 1884-ish, I’m designing several looks inspired by the period for the Teslacon Fashion Show. I decided to make three sets of corsets and bustles, and two or three new petticoats to serve as foundation garments for some of the looks.

The corsets and bustles were made from a champagne/golden taffeta embroidered with fluer de lis… so appropriate!

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I made two double layer corsets with interior boning channels and closed fronts, and one triple layer corset with boning channels sewn into the layers, lined in ivory silk and with a front busk. A matching bustle accompanies each corset. I’ll keep the front closing corset and one bustle, and if one of my models from the Teslacon fashion show wants to buy their foundation set I’ll offer a good-buddy price.

I made my own bias tape for the edging, 1 1/2″ strips cut at a 45 degree angle.

Thought it would be lovely to make matching petticoats, but when I searched for this fabric online I couldn’t find it for less that $20/yd… and I just know I didn’t spend that when I got it… either at the Discount Textile Outlet in Chicago or at a JoAnn Fabrics with a coupon, I don’t recall.

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In the meantime, the foundation garments for the Highborn Collection are done, and I’m on to the first gown!

 

Teslacon 6- The Evil Queen Tuesday, Jan 26 2016 

Corsets, leather and Evil? ¬†Read on…

With the usual craziness of the Halloween season, being one of the designers for Milwaukee Fashion Week’s Couture & High Fashion evening, and new outfits for Teslacon, it was a *very* busy summer and fall. It’s not an excuse for neglecting you, but it’s as close as I’ll come. So, what have I been up to? Here are the highlights:

Check out this article about my Milwaukee Fashion Week collection, “Retrospective”, here.

Two costumes (in 9 working days) for Halloween this year… Cersei and Jaime Lannister! Just the right amount of wrong ūüėČ ¬†More details to come in the next post, but for now, a picture:

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Jaime and Cersei

 

And new outfits for Teslacon, as well as bringing two friends- and newcomers to TC- and dressing them for the duration of the con. Did I mention they entered and won the Group category of the costume contest while wearing my designs? Another picture for you:

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The new outfits I created for my husband and I were a…. departure…. from our usual. For mine, I was inspired by the film Maleficent, and I wanted to create an outfit that had a darker tone but still incorporated Victorian elements, while playing to the year’s Teslacon theme (Wild Wild West, and Dark Circus) as well.

In the meantime, I had promised Jim a new frock coat and possibly a vest. I’d also cut out a new pair of pants for him, so I had to finish all of that- after Halloween, mind you- before starting my own outfit. I knew that once I started mine I would be unlikely to pull myself away to give proper attention to anything else. He ended up with the new pants in a fine dark grey and charcoal stripe, a vest in a striped purple woven material, and a dark grey waxed denim frock coat lined with the vest’s fabric, and patterned from an 1890’s frock coat from “Men’s Garments 1830-1900; A Guide to pattern Cutting and Tailoring”, by R.I. Davis. The results:

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My own outfit would consist of a black and red striped silk corset (from an 1890-1900 pattern in “Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques”, by Jill Salen”, a heavily edited version of the “1887 Corsage w/Pleated Surah Vest” by Ageless Patterns, and a pair of black pleather pants of my own design. Additionally, I planned to tart up a black velvet and tulle vintage hat with some antique French millinery feathers, and make a ridiculously epic hairpiece to top it all off. Judge for yourself:

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The Evil Queen

Continue to scroll below for details on red leather inserts, chiffon screened to look like muscles, and details on that hairpiece.

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1887 Corsage w/Pleated Surah Vest

Inspirations for the new design:

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Jacket and sass above, pleather and split sleeves below.

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I extended the jacket ¬†to make it full length¬†and created an under-skirt for it. I made the sleeves fuller, as I planned to open them and have the pleather/chiffon details underneath. I made piping and lined the jacket and both sleeves with it. Some personal design touches include the red leather diamond insert in the back, and a full 9″ of black leather encircling¬†the hem. The split sleeves with the chiffon and pleather undersleeves were also a personal innovation. The jacket was lined, boned, custom fitted for my corseted measurements, and fully edged¬†in handmade self-fabric piping.

The red and black silk corset was created by taking a 1/2 scale antique pattern, re-sizing it in Photoshop and printing, then modifying it to my corseted measurements. I used garter straps to create two tie-on “pockets”; a holster for a small LED-lit pistol that started life as a pirate-y butane lighter, and a sleek red leather pouch for holding money & ID, etc.

The pleather pants have a sailor-style front closure, wide waistband and matched curving seams along the legs. All the pleather I used in the outfit is embossed with a black-on black rose design.

But really, can I show you the back?

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That is a red leather diamond, with the collar portion pattern matched to the back portion. Yes. And very fancy- I tore up a thrifted $6 red leather skirt for the fabric… it doesn’t ALL have to cost an arm and a leg!

I also incorporated hidden hooks and loops to enable the skirt to be “bustled” up, a look that plays peek-a-boo with the red satin lining. (Will have to add a bustled image later)

And the hairpiece, which was dark blonde with an elasticized attachment for over a bun. I took two red-to-black ombre hair falls that I’ve had FOREVER¬†(see proof) and twisted them into the blonde hairpiece, to create a massive and impressive final structure. I also used a hair rat I took a year to collect beneath the center of the hairpiece for added volume, but the majority is fake hair.

Some images of the hair, at the end of a very long day:

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I needed the hairpiece to be high enough to tilt my hat forward, and also for the bottom to be high enough off the nape of my neck so as not to interfere with my jacket collar.

The chiffon is screen printed with a red and black pattern that is reminiscent of muscles sans skin, and I used it to make the gathered sleeves spilling out of the jacket’s split sleeves, and headed by black fitted pleather “gauntlets”, a’la Maleficent’s battle costume sleeves.

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This outfit was a lot of fun to make, and it was helpful to have the original vintage pattern to use as a starting point, though it barely resembles the original when all is said & done.

More to come soon, I promise ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

Corseted Edwardian Skirt, or Adventures With Dutch Pattern Translations Wednesday, Aug 12 2015 

I have wanted to created a corseted skirt for a time now, and meandered into a search on Pinterest along those lines, coming up with this:

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So, this looks lovely and during a fabric shopping excursion to Chicago I found a delicious spring green fabric (unusual, I’m not a particularly “spring green” kind of gal) that prompted me to jump into this with both feet. Note, of course, that this pattern is in Dutch. And that the image quality is approximately 72 dpi, which is shite for printing. I printed an 8″x 10″ of the pattern and it was difficult to read, even that small.

The first challenge, besides translating the dutch, was switching the measurements from centimeters to inches. Not necessary, but I find it easier to work in imperial units… what can I say, I’m used to it. ¬†Several numbers were difficult to read, so I guessed at times- a six or a five, an eight or a three…. at times I ended up with a curve that didn’t quite make sense, so I went back and checked to see if the number was questionable, and replaced my first guess with the second choice.

It went pretty smoothly.  The measurements lined up pretty closely with my own, so I drafted the pattern as-is, after adding seam allowances.  The one adjustment I would make is giving a tad less generosity to the hip measurements- you can see in the images to follow, there is a visible line at the bottom of the corseted portion which I may still creatively disguise, but am dealing with for now. If it were just a tad smaller, I believe the line would flow more smoothly. Another layer of interlining or a thicker fabric may have also helped with this issue. Something to keep in mind when choosing a fabric- mine was pretty thin.

I also have not inserted pleated gores, as pictured in the last image… debating on whether to add them until after I decide on a hip-line cover-up.

For the interlining I used two layers of canvas and sandwiched the boning between them, and a thin cotton for the lining. If you know how to make a skirt, and how to make a corset, this pattern is not terribly challenging…. historically, however, it wouldn’t have been all too common for one person to have made both. Usually tradespeople had a specialty, and would have stuck with it…. corsets or skirts, linens or hats, shoes or hose, etc.

I was really slacking on taking pictures because this outfit was created in a fast and furious blaze of inspiration, but I lined the grommets on both sides with spring steel, made my own bias tape and hemmed each skirt panel individually so that if I chose to insert gores later I wouldn’t have to re-hem the whole thing. I also hand-stitched a beaded applique onto the bodice and did some (very little) decorative stitching at the seams… possibly more in the future. I would say this outfit is still officially evolving.

It was interesting, but knowing what I know NOW, I’d suggest checking out Truly Victorian’s 10-gore Edwardian princess skirt… beautiful, same look and period, with (knowing Truly Victorian) clear instructions and extensive directions on adjustments. Just saying.

So, without further ado, here is the final product- photo credits to Kathy Berger Photography.

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For October: Victorian Skating Outfit, with much more in-progress detail!

Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Nomination Thursday, Apr 2 2015 

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UPDATE!!

I did it! Thanks to all you wonderful readers who voted for me, I won the “Best Dressed- Female” category! Winners were announced at the International Steampunk Symposium in April! I’m thrilled to have received this honor, and will work even harder on future efforts… which you’ll see *very* soon!! ūüėČ

 

Exciting news- I have been nominated in the Steampunk Chronicle’s “reader’s Choice Awards”, in the category of Best Dressed Female!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know how much work and pride I put into my designs, so this is a great honor. ¬†If you’re inclined to vote for me, the link is here, but even if you don’t it’s worth the jump to check out all the other fantastic categories and nominees- ¬† Thanks so much!

(A note, you do have to register/log in,  in order to cast your vote.)

PS- Next outfit is almost done, Victorian ice-skating costume, watch for the post!

The Paroxysm of Fashion That is Teslacon Saturday, Nov 22 2014 

So, if you don’t know that I attend Teslacon in Madison each year, you must just come here for the pretty pictures. Which I’m fine with. ūüôā

However, I do go, and it’s a great time- for panels, music, (of course) steampunk storyline and character immersion, shopping, and ultimately for the people-watching.

From Victorian-era reproductions to astounding Dieselpunk contraptions, from¬†re-purposed Renaissance Faire get-ups to… *unique* Furry costumes, you will see it ALL.

An outfit I wore- a favorite of mine that I’ve worn to the last three Teslacons¬†but with new additions this year- was mentioned favorable in a blog post¬†by Geek Fashion Week that was (I acknowledge) much better at attributing photo subjects than I am about to be.

Now, I will humbly admit that in 2013 I unceremoniously leapt¬†from the table where my husband and I were having dinner with two friends, rushed across the room, nearly¬†tripping on my skirts, to stop a woman walking by in a ridiculously beautiful re-imagining of the black and white “wrought iron” Charles Worth dress…. only to realize I didn’t have a camera. Seriously.

I later also realized that, as this was dinner time before the ball, she was likely in her ballgown and I would -likely- see her later and did not in fact need to make a silly goose of myself.  But if I must be a goose, then it shall be for ridiculously beautfiul clothing.

For your edification:

The worth gown.

Click on the image below to see her blog post about this dress, and the other looks she sported over the weekend.

Nearly face-planted right in front of her. Srsly.

The re-imagining of the Worth gown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her blog post says “I was moderately happy with how it turned out, although it was well received.”

I wonder if she was thinking of the chick in the blue and yellow dress who nearly face-planted in front of her.

For your further edification:

Afore-mentioned potential Faceplant

Aaaanyway, back to the point- There is a lot to see! I premiered my new gown as detailed in my post “Victorian Orient-Inspired Dress“, I brought out a “casual” safari outfit repurposed from thrift-store finds- complete with a flashy gun and holster made by my husband and I, and I made a Victorian style “ermine”¬†muff and mantle for the chilly part of the Journey to the Center of the Earth! ¬†I also wore a¬†bodice I made to go with¬†an existing skirt, essentially creating an all new ballgown this year!

Now, my own sphere of interest as a “maker” runs heavily towards straight neo-Victorian, with the dashes of steampunk left to gadgets and accessories. But¬†I always appreciate creativity and give credit where credit is due, at all skill levels.

So, without further ado, the rest of the post will be picture highlights from the weekend (click for a larger image)- some things you should know:

1.There were dinsoaurs! (and they drank tea… particularly the Tea-Rexes)

there were dinosaurs

2a.Lord & Lady Winslet, the Duke and Duchess vas Normandy, funded the mission to the center of the earth, presumably to find new stores of thorium, aided by an ancient navigational stone.

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2b. Lord Bobbins dropped the stone.

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3. We were surrounded by many unusual folk. Some had gadgets strapped to their backs.

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4. Some of the gadgets were on their shoulders, or heads.

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5. Some were covered in leather and brass.

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6. Some seemed to belong to another universe altogether…

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7. But either way, there were many explorers gathering artifacts.

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8. Even entertainers!

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9. And lovely dresses abounded!

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I must make a note here- the lovely dark-haired bundle of talent pictured with me in two of these photos, and featured in a third, is Heather Dawson, who operates “The Duchess Collection”, currently on Facebook and soon on a dedicated site. Simply beautiful work. Julie Feirtag,¬†in the third photo from the left, also had a lovely dress!

10. I had some wardrobe debuts:

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The center outfit wasn’t new, but styling it as a “Steampunk 7 of 9” was. I also made a fur mantle and muff for it, shown above in #2.

11.Some notable figures attended…

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The Admiral

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Steampunk Pope

 

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Mark Twain

 

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Amelia Earhart… and her questionably effective co-pilot

 

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And the Tea Lady, sporting a new hat!

12. Did I mention all the FANCINESS at the ball??

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Well, I should have- it was a damn good time.

Event the dinosaurs wanted to see the pictures!

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But in the end, it was really all about the Epic Primordial Flowers we found in the Center of the Earth. (yes, the pink thing is a primordial flower)

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Thanks for watching! I’ll be back soon with another creation….. up next is a¬†velvet and satin double breasted 1880’s jacket!

 

 

 

 

 

Victorian Orient-Inspired Dress, instead of Florentine Costume Intensive Tuesday, Oct 21 2014 

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The beginning of the second dress I made, now with the poorest choice ever for piping fabric!!

So, I had planned to do a series of posts about my experiences doing the Artistic Intensive in the Costume Shop at the Florentine Opera Company… I was terribly excited when they said I could participate! However, the absence of any structure and a distinct lack of communication led to, basically, a disappointing experience.

Upon arrival I was foisted upon a draper who said she’d never done anything like this before. After a day of stitching I asked about the program setup & was told that I was stitching in exchange for the experiences to come- stitch first!

As the costume shop portion of the intensive was finishing (circumstances kept me from participating during the week of production; my immediate relation of those¬†circumstances resulted in the implication that I was unprofessional), I voiced my concerns that all I’d done was stitching & hadn’t learned anything new, I was informed that I should be learning by osmosis, that “being in the environment is a learning process”.

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The magic of osmosis!- Who needs syllabi, lesson plans or rubrics anyway?

Yes, and being at a sewing machine is usually a paid process.¬†Now, I didn’t expect a step-by-step learning process, as this was created in the veins of a “professional development program”, but I did expect some semblance of structure, just¬†something, from the term “program”. ¬†Turns out that they had never done the “Intensive” in the costume shop before, the closest they’d come was a split between costumes and wigs/makeup.

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Yay internships!

I met some great people, and (in making 2 dresses) practiced some finishing techniques that usually aren’t a part of period fashion, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss. But it feels like a wasted opportunity because the program could be great, and it isn’t even a “program” in any sense of the word.

SO.

On to the new dress I’ve been promising you!!

Now, I happened to receive 13 yards of this beautiful, heavy, steel blue satin from my mom when she was visiting- she got it for a steal after seeing it and thinking of me! ¬†I took it to my sewing room and starting pulling out possible accent fabrics, and rediscovered 3 yards of an imported silk brocade in a deep gold dragon pattern that I’d bought years ago, with the original intention of making a gold silk corset dress. Good taste won out on that one, and there the silk sat for a very long time. But next to the blue satin it looked rich and, to make it even better, I had some perfectly matched dark gold “silkessence” from drapes I made in another life.

It was the beginning, and time to come up with a design. Though the dragon pattern would influence the direction, going in I simply knew I wanted to do a day dress with a high neckline.

My inspiration was drawn from a few sources; film, historical examples, even an online mention of a technique I’ve never used before.

Some inspiration pics:

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The¬†first two¬†images are extant period pieces, the third is a reproduction of a costume from the film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, and the fourth is an image from the film “Moulin Rouge”. ¬†You will be able to identify the elements I borrowed from these looks¬†to create a clean design, pulling inspiration from both military styles and far east influences. ¬†For the skirt, I came up with an original trim design, and used a period pattern from a book.

book pattern

However, as you can see from this pattern, the back is a mystery…. from the instructions it sounds as if the back is simply gathered. I like to create visual interest in the back of my looks, however, and a gather just doesn’t do it for me. After much research, I discovered a little post about burnous pleats on Truly Victorian’s site. And it was the perfect addition- elegant yet echoing the lines of the pleated fan shape which would adorn the back of my jacket. Hooray! So what if I’ve never seen/made one before!

So, here’s the skirt process:

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With burnous pleats pinned in place.

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The waistband- french seams.

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Very important- my dress form is set to my  corseted measurements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Complete- Note that the hem is done WITH the bustle that I intend to wear on the dress form! (I wasn’t being too picky with the hem because the trim going over it is about 4″ deep.)

Just look at the graceful drape of that pleat! You can also adjust the angle of that pleat so the triangles formed by it are larger or smaller. I really am just in love with that burnous.

Here is the tab trim, more on that later, maybe. ūüôā

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Now that the skirt was done, I could move on to the jacket. I had my plan- I would start with a pattern I’ve used before, for the summer dress and for the blue and yellow dress, but alter it to make it high-necked, and create a hidden front closure beneath a decorative panel. ¬†So I pulled out the pattern & began making adjustments.

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The left image is the original, and the right is the new one, before the mock up. I made some anticipatory adjustments based on my previous experience with this pattern.

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And still had to make adjustments- I took too much from some waist seams and not enough from the back/chest area. (I had lost 30 lbs since the last time I’d used this pattern) On the right, the adjustments were made to the pattern before cutting out all layers (with a rotary blade, it’s hard to get accuracy through multiple layers with scissors). And then, fun:

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I flatted every piece- the fashion fabric, lining and interlining, because I had decided to sew the jacket with exposed finished seams, for easy future alterations (which is good, because a few months later, I’ve lost about another ten pounds and need to take the waist in a tad). Flatting the pieces keeps them from moving around/stretching independently of each other as you sew them, ensuring all your edges line up.

bodice 7 bodice 8

 

The first fitting went well, if a little full through the hips. It was imperative to create the front closure, though, before doing any further fitting.

 

bodice front 2

Skipping a little ahead here (I forget to take pictures when I’m making a lot of progress, which is why there are virtually no images of the long, complicated process of the trim going together). I put in a zipper, facing one side of the hidden front with blue. (If I did it again, I’d probably face both sides with blue¬†just because it looks nicer, but practically speaking, no-one will ever see it.) I used the gold silkessence on the front panel, gathering a double thickness to be sure it wasn’t too thin.

 

 

 

bodice front bodice front 3

Sewed it in, shaped and pressed the bottom- those are simply two triangular shapes pleated inward. I attached the front panel at the far side with several hooks and thread chain eyes. I also made some bias tape for the hem and cuffs, and custom piping for the skirt hem and silk sleeve bracers.

front closure custom piping cuff bands

 

To make the bands, I took measurements across the width of the front panel at the correct heights, reinforced the silk with interfacing, drew the bands, cut, stitched, pressed, then placed them onto the bodice.

 

 

 

 

front closure 4 front closure 3 

front bands front bands 2

Like so.

front

(At this point, yes, the front pleat points were uneven & driving me nuts, but I resolved not to fix them until later. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t that bad?)

I made the fan for the bodice back, interfacing both the fashion fabric and the lining. Just a simple rectangle. I’m keeping the folds pinned in place when not being worn, to keep them crisp.

back fan (1) back fan (2) back

 

Finishing touches, added a hat, and there you go!

hat (2)hat (3)hat (1)

I purchased a felt hat base in the right shape from Zulily (it was not advertised as a base, it was being pushed as a finished hat… with some black ribbon and a piece of netting hot glued onto the grey felt base), and made a pattern from it to cover it in satin. As a matter of preference, I don’t use glue in making my hats- I stitch it all. I added a length of millinery wire to the edge as well. After the covering was on, it was really just draping some gold fabric and curling the 10 ostrich feathers.I had an adorable old pin that I fixed up with enamel paint, and after everything else was done I added a couple chain stitch loops at the sides for securing the hat with bobby pins.

 

hat (5) hat (6) hat (7)

 

And one of my former students modeled it at the Milwaukee Public theater’s 40th Anniversary “Metamorphosis Steampunk Circus” fashion show, along with myself and another student.

 

IMG_20140919_205213_082

 

Intermission- Steampunk Circus of Metamorphosis Monday, Sep 8 2014 

I have a new post- featuring a NEW DRESS- coming up soon, but in the meantime, you can see one of my older creations in action in this news segment discussing the upcoming celebration of the Milwaukee Public Theater’s 40th Anniversary!

I hope you enjoy this little intermission…

Steampunk Circus Fox 6 segments

A teaser:

10599301_10152410449888237_296129783577881990_n

 

PS- The new dress will be featured, along with a grand ballgown inspired by a Worth gown for the Russian Imperial Court, in the Metamorphosis Fashion Show the same evening!

Photo shoot and New Website- VictorianBallgowns.com! Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

Big news this month!

I organized a photo shoot for my entire collection of Victorian and Edwardian gowns, and it was a great success.  The gowns were showcased perfectly by my stunning models and captured wonderfully by our talented photographer.

Photo shoot credits and thanks:

Photography: Shelly Wittstock Orlandini

Models: Rebecca Brummer, Heather Dawson, Lina Pashkova, Melissa Simonis

Token Victorian Gentleman: James Opalewski

A pretty epic image from the day of shooting:

Out for a stroll

Victorian Photo Shoot

 

To see details on these gowns, and the other half (there were 10 in all), you can go to my NEW SITE! VictorianBallgowns.com

Yes, that’s the other half of the exciting news- I have a site up dedicated to my Victorian/Edwardian sartorial pursuits. For those of you who are stalking me, you already know that my Twilight Attire.com site is more of a personal portfolio showcasing a variety of costumes, artwork and corsetry as well as linking articles I’ve been featured in and interviews I’ve done.

There are tons of pictures, so go check it out & share with anyone you think might enjoy some eye candy!

Now, for those of you who actually *are* keeping track, you’ll notice a new outfit- the striped dress with lavender there in the middle of the picture- that does not have a blog post yet.

That is my bad…. I wasn’t as vigilant about photographing during the process of making it, but I WILL post what I have, as well as the pattern I used and my inspiration. ¬†Also details on making the hat, because that involved (omg) making silk roses in 3 sizes. So, that’s coming, but this is the big announcement for today, and takes precedence.

I hope you enjoy all the pictures!

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