Friday, 21 April 2017

Bunka Doll: Part 1

Guess what I'm finally making - a bunka doll! I've admired these dolls for a while now, but never really thought about making one until now. I've seen a few fabric dolls on an 18th Century sewing group on Facebook, and it made me want to make a doll out of fabric too - however I thought that the style and clothes of those dolls would be too difficult for a newbie like me, so I settled for a bunka doll after browsing through some websites. 
I found this website on Blogger, which had a free pattern to copy and some very clear instructions, so I thought I would use that to make my doll. I doubled the measurements given in the diagram, as I wanted a bigger bunka doll, and cut my fabric from white and red cotton (red is the traditional colour of bunka dolls as it is thought to protect children from harm, so I made the shoes and some of the outfit red). 


Here you can see how I stitched the shoes to the legs. The red is very striking! I don't usually sew with red for some reason (probably because I mostly make clothes and don't tend to wear red), but here it was really fun. It looks great with the white of the doll's body.

Legs sewn together and turned inside-out with a knitting needle.

I added rolled-up card and stuffing to the insides of the legs and arms (not photographed for some reason). It's funny, because in the photo below they remind me of the Wicked Witch of the East when Dorothy's house dropped on top of her. They're like tiny ruby slippers!

Sewn to the beginning of the body. It was a bit difficult to sew the legs to the body with the card inside, so I would recommend trimming the card quite a lot before stuffing them inside the body and sewing. I did trim mine beforehand, but I found that it needed more cutting off of it, as one of the legs didn't catch to the body and I had to do it again.

And that's as far as I got today, as I had to go back home! It was really quick and fun, so I could have done a lot more in one sitting. I'll update my process as I go along. For now I have to think of other fabrics to use for the dress, bonnet, face and hair. I'm thinking black embroidery thread hair, and a dress with red, navy and pink flowers. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Manchester Gallery of Costume Research Trip

Last week I traveled to Manchester with my Dad to see the gallery of costume. From the reviews I saw, I wasn't expecting much, as quite a few of them seemed to be rather negative or indifferent - but when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it was than I imagined. For one thing, it was much bigger than the reviews made out, and the costumes were absolutely gorgeous.
I was floored by how wonderful the costumes were, as they had everything from the 1600's-1960's (though unfortunately no 1950's dresses that would help with my college project). My favourite was the Victorian room, as everything in there caught my eye and made an impression, but I also loved the 17th Century and 18th Century displays.
There was an exhibition downstairs centred on Mary Quant, a designer from the swinging sixties, which I also particularly liked as it was bright, featuring quotes and day and evening dresses from the Ginger Group collection. She was one of the designers I researched at one point to see which era of fashion I wanted to explore for the final project.

Playsuit by Mary Quant, black with white stitching - 1968-70.

Two mini dresses, one black and white cotton ticking (1967), and the other acrylic/wool grey check tweed (1967-9). I love these two dresses, and can imagine wearing them with some brightly coloured, bold tights. Maybe mustard or burgundy?

Sac coat, 1967-69. Dogstooth-check rubberised wool.

Then came the Victorian room, which I ADORED. Here we have a day dress from 1863-65 made from tartan glace silk. It's a two-piece dress, trimmed with silk piping and black and white satin bands. I can also see some kind of colourful tassels on the shoulders, though I didn't get a close up photo of it.

Sorry for the bad photo here, I couldn't get one that wouldn't reflect on the glass because of the windows. This is a day dress from 1855-56, made from white muslin, and printed from a roller in purple spots and a floral pattern. The flounces were printed à disposition, meaning that the pattern was printed to fit the flounce. 

Now this 1870s dress was my absolute favourite in the whole museum! I love the 1870s and princess line dresses, as well as the duck egg colour of this gown, so it was just my cup of tea! It's an afternoon dress from 1878-80; the description says that it's a trained princess-line dress made from pale green wool/silk mixed fabric, trimmed with blue satin and silk embroidery.

Isn't the embroidery and shape divine?

Even the train is embroidered.

Afternoon dress, 1883-85. It's a two piece gown fashioned from green/grey silk satin with a boned bodice and trimmed with beige lace.

Detail of the bodice. I really like how the colour goes with the lace.

Day dress from 1894-96, in two pieces with a very pale green flecked and corded silk, trimmed with a darker green velvet. I couldn't get a good photo that had all of the gown included, but it is just plain/the same fabric as the rest of the skirt all the way to the hem, without any trimmings at the bottom.

Corset, crinoline, chemise, drawers, and cap. 1860-70. The red is very fetching!

I just love this demi-bust corset, the colour is fabulous and it has cute diamond-shaped stitching patterns! Looks like I've found a new dream corset.

A man's doublet. 1625-35.

I think the fabric is all hand-done French knots from what I can remember, though I may be wrong!

A gorgeous pair of stays with a stomacher, 1620-40.

A pale pink woman's bodice embellished with black beading. 1650-60.

The feathered details, which were apparently uncommon for clothing at this period, but featured heavily in home textiles such as curtains and rug designs. I think it looks beautiful and delicate with the pink.

I didn't take a photo of the date or description of this one for some reason, but I wanted to include it because I really liked the shape and embroidery of it!

Is this called blackwork embroidery? It has tiny little sequins/spangles too.

Two candy-coloured men's waistcoats from 1780-1800. Love the salmon pink and pale blue!

This was my second-favourite dress in the whole museum, and one that received a lot of positive attention on the 18th Century Sewing group on Facebook when I posted it. It's so delicate and sweet in a shade of powder blue. Sackback dress, 1766. Striped blue and white figured silk. Trimmed with silk fringing, silk flounces, ruched bands, and double-tier silk sleeve ruffles.

I had to get many photos of this for all the details and because I adored it.

Chintz dress, 1775-80. Open robe of glazed cotton, printed with rows of stylised sprigs in India and then printed again in England with alternating bands of floral wavy lines.

Skirt looped up à la polonaise style.

I don't think I got a description of this one, but I'm guessing that it's a round gown from the early 1790s with a vandyked flounce at the neck, drawn together by ribbon through a channel. Sorry if I'm wrong, please correct me.

Evening dress, 1798-1800. White cotton muslin open robe, embroidered with tiny metal stars all over, which the sign remarks would have been very costly at the time to make.

Open robe of brown silk satin, 1793-96. It's printed with a warp print (chine) motif in stripes of white and green.

All together! It was crowded, so you might see why it was hard to get good photos, and I was also pushed for time. Which gown is your favourite? Comment below!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My Final Project for College

I knew I wanted to do a costume project for the final project, as previously I had been doing print and illustration, and I'm not quite sure that it makes me feel all warm and passionate, as fashion and costume design do. In a previous project, we had been doing a period of research/self-study and I had looked through my inspiration journal and found that a lot of my research and print-outs tended to be centered around fashion of the 20th Century, from the 1920's-60's.
I researched a vintage fashion exhibition in my hometown, and an exhibit at the Lady Lever gallery of 1930's fashion, but it was a visit to the Walker gallery in Liverpool that made me realise that I had my heart set on the 1950's.
In there I saw an extant Dior dress, which you can see below. I've always been a big fan of Christian Dior, and especially after reading his book The Little Fashion Dictionary I began to crave the New Look of the 1950's. It really inspired me, and I was so excited to see a Dior dress in person. This was what made me narrow down my choices of the whole 20th Century to the 1950's.

My photo of the Dior dress at the Walker Gallery

But then my tutors suggested I make my costumes for a production of something specific. Obviously I don't have the time/funds to produce a movie for my costumes, but then I thought back to my writing of my novels When the Summer Ends and Mansions of Glass - WtSE is set in the late 1950's and also has a character that likes historical clothing and costume design! I got the idea to produce and design costumes based on what my characters of When the Summer Ends would wear - specifically Aika and her mother Celeste Fleuri, as both have styles as different as night and day.
Aika is fascinated by the past and wears clothing to reflect that despite standing out. She wears Victorian dresses and 18th Century clothing based on fashion plates that she collects. Her mother Celeste is an extremely fashionable model, wearing the latest trends of the 1950's, and often has designer clothing.

For my final project at college, I'm planning on making a small collection of garments fit for use in film or theater performances based on the middle of the 20th Century, and what my characters would have worn. I'm going to base the clothes on their personal tastes, personality, and fashions of the time and past eras. Expect to see a lot of my progress on here in the upcoming weeks!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Plaid Honoria Knickerbockers and Waistcoat

A while ago I started this project, but have only just recently finished it! It started with looking at Ouji/boystyle in Lolita, and I decided that I wanted some long-ish knickerbockers to experiment with the style, but it soon started looking more like a historical sewing project, like the cycling shorts that Angela made for her 1890's cycling ensemble. So I went with that instead, and made a matching waistcoat with a men's pattern by Simplicity.

It all went together relatively easily, and even the waistcoat wasn't much of a challenge! It was the first time I had lined something, and made a welt pocket. And they actually work as pockets! 

Even the button holes worked out okay, done by machine. Usually buttonholes are my nemesis.

Cuff of the bloomers, which reach around the top of my calves. They fit really nicely.

I feel rather spiffing wearing it! I think in the future I'll make a matching Edwardian jacket and a blouse/shirtwaist, so that it can become a cycling outfit a bit like Angela's and I can take a photo for my portfolio, but for now, expect lots of 1950's dresses!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Romantic Mourning OP at the Graveyard

Finally, I've got some finished photographs so that I can put this dress in my portfolio! It's taken a while, but I've finally got round to it, inspired by the purchase of my headdress from Pina Sweetcollection and platform shoes (from Montreal) on the EGL UK Sales. I was really going for an Old School look here, to match the old school look that I love so much and designed with the dress. I really miss those early Gothic Lolita Bible trends, so I wanted to express that with the dress and styling. You can see it in my portfolio here.

The graveyard has always fascinated and inspired me, it's such a magical place with abandoned, bricked-up Victorian buildings, overgrown tombstones and brilliant architecture with angels and crosses.