Monday, 26 November 2012
You may notice that the bodice is not green as planned, but purple. That is because I found that I had too little of the green silk- one of the dangers when you buy fabric first and make the pattern after. Luckily I have a lot of cotton sateen that I inherited from my grandmother, so I could make a last minute change. I also managed to go down with a temperature for two days so my sewing got behind schedule. So I’m sort off pleased with my costume. I like the colours and I do think that I have managed to evoke a Victorian feel to it. I’m pleased with the yellow fringe that very nicely took up the colour of the parasol.
However, the fit could have been a lot better. I fitted it on myself with no help, apart from J placing a few pins after my direction. The back was a bit too loose and the bodice was a bit too snug around the hips. It would also have benefitted from a crisper lining and a few well-placed bones. The plan is to evolve the bodice into an 1880’s ball gown, but it will need some re-work for that! As usual I had great fun. The guests had really outdone themselves; I really think that more and more people dress up after the current theme for every new event. It is also such a nice club. Everyone is so friendly and I have never been to a place where you get spontaneous compliment by strangers. And I have always loved masquerades and now I have reason to think up new costumes several times a year.
Klara the Lion, who won price for best costume and Pimpinett. The other winner was a wonderful bearded lady in a striped bustle dress.
The best costumes won a bottle of champagne, but other good ones got a free drink. And I got one! And so did Betty who looked really great as a snake charmer with a truly Victorian Cleopatra-flair.
The rather limpid latex snake. There were other snakes around, but no one as big as Betty’s!
A rather bad picture of the smallest animal on the party. My friend Ragnar had captured a ferocious rhino and caged it. Unfortunately it drunk too much beer and fell of its peg.
A few pictures of the fitting process. I drafted the pattern myself, using a bodice template in Patterns of Fashion as a guide. It evolved a bit as you can see.
Saturday, 17 November 2012
Here's a little collection of 18th century paintings that depicts clothes that are a bit unusual and interesting. First of is this wonderful portrait. Isn't it amazing? An old woman portrayed with dignity and beauty. I also find her cap interesting. I can't recall any other 18th century portrait with such a peak down the forehead.
|Portrait of An Old Woman |
by Balthasar Denner (or possibly Christian Seybold),
probably the first half of the 18th century
Plaid isn't all that common on 18th century portraits, but they crop up from time to time. I really like the kitchen maid's plaid apron, but her spotted caracao even more. Not to mention the colour combination. I think I need this outfit!
|Plucking the Turkey by Henry Walton, 1776|
This girl was a member of the Moravian church. Click on the link for more paintings of Moravian women, they have a rather distinct front-laced bodice that you can't see here because of the neckerchief. This girl is the only one in plaid, though.
|Young Moravian Girl |
by Johann Valentin Haidt , painted before 1780
A Scottish lady of a Jacobite inclination, so her choice of fabric for her riding habit is not so surprising.
|Portrait of a Jacobite Lady |
by Cosmo Alexander, 1745-50s
This fabric in her brunswick is just gorgeous! I wouldn't mind getting my mitts on something like that.
|Princess Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina of Orange by Johann Georg Ziesenis, 1768-69|
|Maria Luisa de Parma, later Queen of Spain by Laurent Pecheux, 1765|
A very clever use of the fabric here, I think.
|Infanta Maria Josefa de Borbon by Giusseppe Bonito, 1758-59|
|Victoire of France by Jean-Marc Nattier, mid-18th century|
|Brita Christina Appelbom by Georg Desmarées, painted before 1757|
|La Belle Strasbourgeoise by Nicolas de Largillière, 1703|
Does anyone know anything more about this rather curious layering? To me it looks like a chemise, probably stays, a (padded?) jacket with another jacket, or gown, laced over it. I think it is pretty and it ought to add warmth. I know I have seen more paintings than the two here and I think all have been French. Seems to me to be a bit too practical to be just an artist's imaginatiopn so I am apt to think it was an actual fashion, but perhaps a rather regional one.
|Portrait of Mlle Lavergne, the niece of the artist|
by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1746
|Portrait of a young lady with a courtly letter in hand |
by Jean-Baptiste Mallet
|The Broken Mirror by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1763|
There are several extant examples of stays with tie-on sleeves. Here is a somewhat rarer example on them in a painting.
|Detail from Women Working on Pillow Lace by Giacomo Ceruti, 1720s|
Thursday, 15 November 2012
The Hard-working Mother
by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, 1740
Fabrics: My one and only organizational triumph. I found this system somewhere online some seven years ago and spent quite some time putting it together. But it works! For seven years I have known exactly what I have and where it is. Nowadays when I don’t have room for my fabrics in the apartment it is even more useful. Here’s how to do it:
It is a card system so you need a box and cards + big boxes with lids. Number the big boxes so that the number is easy to see. Take a fabric and iron it if you need to. Then measure it, both length and width. On the card you pin a fabric sample, write down what kind of fabric it is, the measurement. If you have an idea or have earmarked the fabric for a special project, write that down as well. Fold the fabric and put it in a big box and then write down the numberof the box on the card. Continue until all your fabric has been processed.
The beauty of this system is that you don’t have to sort your fabrics or have them visible to have an overview. When I need something or just see inspiration I go to my cards, find what I need and go to the right box and get it. No more digging through boxes and shelves, leaving most of it on the floor. After the first time when I sorted all my fabrics I have only need to keep up when I buy something new and remove the card (I use a pencil so I can erase and re-use them) when I have used up something for a project.
|Sewing Girl by Antonio Amorosi, ca 1720|
I made four categories: 18th century costumes, historical costumes from any other period, the 40’s wardrobe project and then one for everything else. That made four lists and on every list I assigned every project an A, B or C. A is for projects have started and need to finish ASAP. B is for projects I have started but can wait a little and C is for projects planned but not started.
They looked like this (they are in Swedish, sorry)
Then I took the A’s from all the lists and made a new one, giving them the same treatment, A, B or C. Voila, a list with all my most urgent projects, listed after urgency. The plan is to work through the A’s and then elevate just one project on each list to A status. Wish me luck!
|Women Working On Pillow Lace by Giacomo Ceruti ca 1720|
That mess is cleared now, but most of the rest of the room looks like this as well. A large part is due to sewing notions without a home. A massive de-cluttering is really due here.