Saturday, 24 December 2016

Plans for a New Year of Sewing

2017 is nearly upon us! That means making sewing plans, yay! I thought I'd share with you some of the things I wish to sew next year, which is really exciting.

  • First on the list is a waistcoat. I already have some plaid wool left over from a project which I shall be blogging about soon, for my waistcoat. This should be achieved by February, though preferably sooner.
  • Secondly comes my long-neglected 18th Century Indienne gown, which I shall also make stays, panniers and a shift for (good Lord, this is going to be a killer of a project, especially seeing as I dislike making foundation garments!). I love the 18th Century, but let's hope it agrees with me to cooperate and go to plan! 
  • Then I'm planning on finishing off my 1860s-70s Prague Opera Gown with the bodice and a fluffy petticoat. This should hopefully be done by May, though I may have to abandon my 18th Century project for a bit to get this done.
  •  I'm thinking of making a range of six or seven 1950s and 60s dresses for every day of the week in summer, so that I don't have to think about coordinating things much, or worry about getting too hot, all whilst being effortlessly vintage. There are some designs in my sketchbook, inspired by images on Pinterest that I have saved. 
  • Then there is also the 1900s "Autochrome" Fairy gown that I had described in my last post.
  • Also, the 1860s Sunshine Yellow Quadrille Ballgown that I've had planned and designed for a while now. Because you can never have enough ballgowns from the Victorian era. 
  • And for winter, I have a 1870s Monochrome Day Dress, which consists of a black velvet or cotton button-up dress with a striped black and white petticoat or skirt beneath, inspired by the image below. 
Circa 1868 

Writing a list of all the things I want to achieve for 2017 was something that really set my mind at ease, especially with all my unfinished projects that are begging to be put out of their misery and photographed, ready for my costume portfolio! I think 2017 is going to be a year of finishing off costuming projects, as well as building a bit of a vintage wardrobe, perhaps with some Lolita and lingerie thrown in.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Edwardian Photographic Inspiration For the "Autochrome" Gown

For 2017, I really want to get more into photography, as looking through my pictures of Prague (which I have yet to post on Miss Morris!) and some old photos I took in the local graveyard, I remembered how satisfying it is to get a good shot. Being honest, photos of people interest me more than architecture - the emotion, the makeup, the clothes! - especially if those photographs happen to be Victorian or Edwardian. I have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to photography, and most of those images happen to be of pretty ladies in costume.
Whilst I was showering this morning (yep, I get my best ideas in the shower, which is actually quite inconvenient as I can't write them down whilst I'm in there) I remembered this photo that I took of myself on my phone (a selfie, okay... I hate that word).

I'm wearing a vintage Laura Ashley dress in bright pink with a sailor collar, which reminds me of Edwardian children, and a gorgeous flower headband that Rosa made me for my birthday. I purposely styled my hair and makeup to look as natural as possible, whilst being slightly curled and ruffled, which is something that I've noticed in a lot of Edwardian photos. The photo that I took reminded me of an Edwardian fairy kind of look - which sounds kind of vain now that I think about it - and makes me want to take more in the same kind of style, in a new costume.

Looking through Pinterest and Tumblr, here are some images that I will use as inspiration for my future gown. I want something flowy, fairy-like, ethereal and soft, like an Edwardian peignoir or something.

Miss Phyllis Monkman above and below.

Portrait - c. 1910 - by Reutlinger

The hair here really inspires me, though I know there's no chance of me getting a wig or something like that! Mary Garden as “Melisande” in Pelleas & Melisande - Davis & Eickemeyer - c. 1908

Above and below, Delores Costello from the 1920s.

Maude Fealey.

Photographer F. Künzl, České Budějovice/Budweis (Bohemia, Czechia) - Cabinet Card, circa 1905

And some inspirational gowns! Evening dress ca. 1915 From the MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY. I love the colour, and texture of the bead-work and fabrics here.

Fairy gown by Zuhair Murad. This definitely isn't Edwardian, but I love the look and feel of it.

This is one of my main inspirational gowns. Evening dress by House of Clergeat, 1890s.

As you can see, the eras of my inspirational images are all over the place, so I need to find a pattern that settles on the year. 

This will be a project for the new year, possibly in spring! I'm quite excited to see how I can pair costume-making with my own photography, rather than relying on somebody else to photograph my costumes. 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

1930s-esque Vintage Lingerie: Tap Pants and Bralet

Hi everyone! I haven't been posting much recently due to some changes in my life - mostly very happy changes, but also for a negative reason. If you've been following Miss Morris and my other blogs, you'll see that I haven't posted for what feels like months; this is due to college being very busy, and my chronic fatigue getting a lot worse. As well as that, I've also had a trip to Prague where I met the lovely Rosa! I've been busy, so I haven't had time to sew, blog, write my novels, draw much (except I recently got a new graphics tablet, which I'm currently experimenting with), or design.
The Christmas holidays are coming soon, and I have a couple of exciting projects lined up for when I have the free time; some boy-style Lolita shorts out of some fabric I had stashed for me. I'm looking forward to making these masculine-ish items, as it will be a lot different from making dresses!

But for now, here is a project that I've been considering blogging about for a few weeks now. I recently finished some vintage tap-pants, to match a bralet that I made last year out of my Nana's old slip that she gave me to repurpose into something new. The fabric is an old pink satin, which was very thin and soft to the touch, and feels very luxurious worn.

For my 18th birthday this year, I got a course book on making lingerie, which was what prompted me to make them. I love lingerie anyway, especially by What Katie Did, and a pair of tap pants that I ordered from them are so lovely that I wanted to make some more. The book contained instructions for drafting your own patterns, however, my poor, frazzled brain couldn't figure out how to do them, so I ended up printing off a copy of VeraVenus's pattern, which worked like a dream.
I adapted the pattern to my size, and instead of adding a placket with buttons and using the waistband, I made my own waistband on the bias and made it a drawstring channel, using satin ribbon to keep the tap pants on my waist.

The French seams on the inside.

(very messy) Flat-felled seams on the inside.
 All the seams are either French seams, or flat-felled seams, the latter of which is a new technique to me that I learned in my lingerie book. I made the pattern even bigger by inserting a panel of broiderie anglaise lace on both sides - which on the inside were made into flat-felled seams. Then, I added two rows of lace to hide the seams. I think the lace looks very pretty together!

When I made them I didn't have a specific era in mind, just that I'd like some shorts to go beneath my vintage dresses, but when I tried them on together I thought that they looked rather 1930s. They're very comfortable, and I love how they look together; the ties on the bra match the look of the ribbon ties on the tap pants, which makes them look quite uniform, I think.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

1860s-70s Prague Opera Gown: Part 1

Today's post will be focusing on the skirt of the dress. Originally I intended the gown to be late 1860s- early 1870s, but in the end it's turned out as less of a bustle skirt and more of a mid 1860s skirt, with a crinoline that I already have. The bustle isn't very big at all, and I don't think I have enough time to make a bustle petticoat/more underpinnings... This way I save time, though I'm a little sad that I have neglected to make it slightly 1870s, to match Rosa's frock.
My patterns from Truly Victorian arrived quickly, though it took a while to make my corset, and almost equally as long to get over my exhaustion, so I was slow starting on this gown. I started with the bustle skirt, which is worn over my hoop skirt from IKEA (of all the places, haha - it's made for children but only fits me because I'm so short), as you can see here on my mannequin.
The instructions were rather vague with few pictures, so I mostly relied on things that I had already learned from previous projects, such as embellishments and trimmings. This was rather disappointing, especially seeing as there was a couple of mistakes in the pattern itself that left me scratching my head (though don't let this put you off ordering from TV, as apart from these small things, it was very good - just perhaps not for beginners).
I used French seams for all of the seams, to make it extra sturdy and secure, seeing as I was working with a rather slippery and fraying polyester satin. This was long-winded, but I rather enjoyed it seeing as it is a new technique for me, and always ends up with beautiful, secure seams.
I trimmed with pleated burgundy, satin ribbon (which took forever) and some self-trim ruffles. Later on I may add some silk ribbon embroidery, but I'm not sure yet.
Aside from spending extra time on the seams, it did not take long to make, and actually felt rather simple after doing my Maude's Edwardian day dress. I had a lot of fun making this!

Here are some pics:

You can see my dog, Cleo in some of the pictures my granddad took of me, haha. Due to the camera settings, the fabric looks a little bit shinier than it is in real life.

Next, I'm planning on starting the bodice.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

1860s-1870s Aqua Linen Corset

This corset is made out of linen-look fabric I picked up from a remnants bin at my corner fabric store. I just loved the colour and had to get it for a corset project, either a pair of stays or a Victorian corset! Seeing as I'm planning a Victorian, late 1860s- early 70s project that I've bought metres and metres of aqua satin for, I thought I'd contribute to that project first seeing as I have a deadline, and college may get in the way after the summer holidays.

The pattern I used for this was Simplicity 1139, seeing as I already had it in my stash and couldn't afford to buy any more patterns. I'm guessing that it's 1860s-70s, though I may be completely wrong. I decided that I wanted it to be aqua, to mirror my future gown, with white contrast stitching, binding and lace.

It was relatively easy to put together, though rather long-winded in places, especially sewing the bias binding by hand. I'm quite pleased with it, for my first corset! I did take a few short-cuts though, such as using fray-check to finish the grommet holes, rather than sewing them by hand (how naughty of me, haha). I may regret this in the long-run, but for something that is going to be worn once or twice, I'm sure it will be okay. Famous last words!

Funnily enough, when I finished it and tried it on, the busk didn't want to line up properly, and it took a lot of coercion to slot the two sides together. Some of the loops fitted onto the studs, though a couple were a few millimeters out - I'm not sure why this happened, as when I tried it on before completion, it fitted together really well and without difficulty. Could it be the holes in the back not lining up properly when laced? Something else? Either way, it fits after a bit of fiddling, and gives me the silhouette I want.

Hopefully the bodice I make to go over the top of it will fit nicely enough!

Monday, 29 August 2016

1860s-70s Prague Opera Gown: The Planning Stages

It's official, my parents and I are going to Prague this October for my birthday! I'm going to see my dear friend Rosa and have fun dressed in Lolita and historical styles together with her and her sister. We're going to see a Czech opera called Rusalka, for which I have planned this aqua opera gown ensemble. Hopefully I will finish it in time!

I wanted something late 1860s to early 1870s to match her own sewing agenda, but also because the early bustle era is a new fascination for me, especially since I found this fashion plate on Pinterest. I fell in love with the colours of both of them, especially the aqua gown, which I based my design off. It won't be an exact replica, though I'm hoping it will have the feeling of the original design.

Thus, I have bought some early bustle era patterns from Truly Victorian - 1870s Trained skirt ensemble, a Grand bustle, and an 1860s ballgown bodice that was in fashion until 1873, which is when the fashion plate above is from. 

It's going to have lots of aqua self trim, and perhaps some silk ribbons to decorate - so very ornate, I hope!

It's going to be tough - I may not finish it in time, even though I'm way ahead of schedule - but I will make it wearable, at least... Currently I've already made the corset, which I shall be sharing with you soon, and the chemise.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Maude's Summer Edwardian Day Dress at Botanic Gardens

My Dad and I went to the park for some photos and words can't describe how happy I am with the results! This is my best costume yet, and I actually have decent photos, some of which I'm smiling in - I usually feel so camera shy and uncomfortable wearing costume, but today I could hold my head high and talk to people and smile. Quite an achievement for me!

Testing shot to see if my hat was in the right place. Strange, but my hair looks brunette here - I'm blonde.

I'm wearing a belt and gloves with this ensemble, which really makes the outfit, I think.

My hat blew off at this point and I was laughing at what a spectacle I was making in the park! Some nice people asked me if it was for my communion, so I told them that it's for my costume portfolio as I made the dress. I also got some girls calling me Mary Poppins!

 The back view, at the lake. I'm not too fond of how my costumes look at the back, but here I think it's okay. Not perfect, but okay.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Maude's Summer Edwardian Day Dress Part 3: The Skirt and Hat

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I used French seams to seam my skirt. This was relatively easy, though I ended up with a front panel that was far too small to go around my waist. Therefore, I did the back panel seams normally.

The rest of the skirt was fairly straightforward, however when I came to sew the lace onto the skirt, the lace was short by three inches - very, very annoying! So I sewed it in anyway, and made the skirt less full so that the lace would meet by narrowing the centre back seam. And that's the skirt finished!

Next came the hat, which I used a straw hat I bought from America a couple of years ago as a base, seeing as it was still laying around. Yay for stash busting! The flowers came from IKEA and the netting around the brim was used on the sleeves and overlay on my Maude's Summer Edwardian Day Dress. I simply glue-gunned the embellishments to the hat, as the straw was far too thick to sew through and work with normally. It's plain and a bit boring, but I think it fits in with the casual day wear and summer aesthetics.

Here it is finished! All in all, it's been a great project to work with and relatively straightforward, and it gave me confidence for future historical projects.