venerdì 20 ottobre 2017

1912 purple dress: worn and loved!

Hello guys! In my previous post I talked about my new 1912 purple dress, all made of cotton using a Butterick #6093 pattern. Now that I made and wore the dress twice I can say I totally LOVE how it turned out! 
But let's take a breath and start from the beginning. 

As anticipated, this pattern as some fitting issues. The chart is purely indicative, the skirts are really tight so go ahead and plan to use at least 1 size bigger than yours. I ended in enlarging them of 10 cm to fit comfortable. Maybe they're a little too large but now but at last I can move in them without risking to rip the seams off! 
The bodice has also lot of ease in it. My suggestion is to measure yourself from side seam to side seam across bust at front and back and choose the best size. I used a size 12 for the front and size 6 for the back so yeah, measuring is totally necessary. The bottom of the bodice is then machine gathered to fit. Gathers can also avoided but you will need to use some math and draft a new bodice. 
A mock-up is strongly recommended, do not skip this step. Despite that, the dress went together really easily and straightforward. 

I used some black cotton in my stash to make collar and cuffs. They're both interfaced. 

I also pleated the skirts at front and back and added two more pleats in the upper part of the overskirt. The pattern calls for two overskirts for view A which in my opinion are a waste of fabric; if you have enough go ahead and add the other one and ignore my words, but if you don't have enough yardage skip it: the dress will look great the same and it will lighter to wear! For sure you don't have to skip the underskirt. 
I also shortened the upper part of the skirt about 3.5 cm to fit my body shape better simply folding the pattern and tracing a straight line onto the fabric. 

Now the best part: I have a zipper! Yes, you read it: my dress closes with an invisible zipper. I hate sewing hooks and eyes AND with the last 1912 I had some problems in dressing by my own. So I didn't bother about accuracy and inserted a discreet zipper in the left side seam of the dress. So easy!

The belt has the last step. It is interfaced and decorated with a bow. It closes with hooks and eyes. 

The dress is worn over chemise, corset and petticoat and a lace shirt. I'm planning combinations asap. I completed the look with vintage accessories and hat. 

And that's all! The whole thing took about a week to be completed, all by machine and serger. The only hand stitched parts are the black cuffs and the black bias tape in the overskirt. I sew for others and I work on my projects just when I have the time so I would say this dress would take about 2-3 days to be completed on a normal schedule. 
I'm so happy with this dress, it's comfy to wear aaaaand I didn't have to shorten the skirts: they were of my exact length! Yay! Plus, they're not super long so I don't have to keep them up while walking. It's definitely one of my favourite costumes ever. 

sabato 23 settembre 2017

Planning a purple 1912 dress with Butterick 6093

Hi everyone! Fall has finally come so it's time to think to incoming projects, such as heavier dress, coats and shawls. Awwwwwwww!! I love autumn so much! 
So, next week or so I will attend a vintage event set in different eras and my group will be involved into the 1800s and 1900s part; I decided it was the perfect occasion to make a new 1912 dress after getting such lovely commnts after my pink chiffon one. It seems you guys really like this style on me and I have to say it fits my body type kinda good (my hips are not of the same opinion lol).

I have been gifted of Butterick #6093 pattern for my birthday. It has been released a couple of years ago in their Retro line and I'm so happy to have it in my own collection. My boyfriend gifted me the complementary jacket pattern as well but I just had the time to look at the instructions so for the moment I won't talk about that. The envelope suggests two different layouts, a dress with single lapel, lace and long sleeves and a simpler one with collar, short sleeves, cuffs and double skirts. They're both lovely but I want a simple, practical dress to walk in. I chose view A but with a single overskirt. 

Before getting into the cutting stage, I obviously did a little bit of research. I wanted a purple dress from ages after finding a beautiful cotton at my local fabric store so I didn't have doubts about the colour of my dress. It seems purple was a popular colour back then and I found very lovely photos: 

Kent State University

Kent State University

Kent State University

Kyoto Costume Institute

V&A Museum

Oh look! Downton Abbey!

I will add black collar for contrast but I'm unsure about the cuffs. The white/purple version worn by Lady Sybil in DA is really lovely but being a gothic lady the black/purple combo is so fascinating! 

After looking at the photos I started to read online reviews. The Pragmatic Costumer has the most detailed and technical reviews for this pattern; she made several versions of this dress and she has been my bible for this project. The dress has a very slim, columnar shape of the skirts which is accurate but kinda impractical - especially if you have large hips like me. She suggested to chose 1 or 2 sizes bigger for the skirts and she was absolutely right! I measured the pattern and I immediately realized I could never, never, never step into my usual size. For the rest, the pattern instructions are really straightforward and easy to follow. 

The pattern is labelled as "easy". Nah. It's definitely not an easy pattern for beginners. You have to know how to install zippers or hooks and eyes, use facings, apply collars and linings, make gathers or pleats. Not the first steps in sewing. 

The dress is designed for lightweight fabrics like cottons or silks but I think a medium weight fabric would work good the same. My fabric is 100% cotton with white cotton lining in the bodice. 

And that's all for now! Now off to cutting! 

Thanks for reading! 

giovedì 21 settembre 2017

Ancient Roman conference "The fer and the fury" for Imagines Project

This is one of the posts that mysteriously disappeared from my blog. I don't know what happened in the past month but more then 4 entries have been deleted, including the one about the latest event with IX Regio, so I have now to remember what I wrote and publish it again. Ok, let's try. At last.

Before being a costumer and a reenactor, I'm mainly a history bachelor. Last year I wrote a short article with professor Filippo Carlà (University of Exeter) about the role of women in ancient reenactment. There's a long story between us. I had my first Ancient Rome exam in 2006 (gosh) with Filippo himself and after then, we kept in touch with Facebook until I switched to my new profile a couple of years ago. He contacted me again last year, asking if I wanted to write an article with him concerning the gender roles in modern reenactment. How could I say "no"? 
It took me a while to send my essay due to the work but I did, and the article came out a couple of months ago in digital format (you can read it here for free) with the title "Performing Empresses and Matronae: Ancient Roman Women in Re-enactment". I was absolutely excited when the article was published and after a couple of months Filippo contacted me again, asking if I wanted to join Imagines project for a conference in Turin about my costuming and reenacting activity. Eeeeeeeek!!

I immediately accepted so I start to work during the summer to my attendance, explaining many aspects of my work and so on. I was absolutely delighted when the guys of Imagines publish a lovely article about me on their website, introducing my participation as guest; ok, I admit: I felt  a little bit out of place among all those professors and experts.

I asked my friend Sara Miao to modelling for me during the event to show another example of Ancient Roman tunic and palla. She wore the blue while I wore the green one. The event was great, I talked about 45 minutes and the public did a lot of questions about costuming and I could also introduce my incoming Byzantine project. I also showed a making of video of my green tunic and palla. 

Then some weeks ago I got a parcel in my inbox. It was the paper version of the article! Squeeeee!
I definitely felt important. Someone asked me on Facebook if I was going to teach on Costume College in Los Angels too but - for the moment - this will remain just a dream. 

A 1740s brown linen jacket

New event, new creation! It seems I'm getting addicted to jacket and lower classes outfits. They're so practical, easy to make and lovely to wear, plus they're fast to draft and assembly. For the event in Villa Manin (UD) I decided to portray a lower class woman again (although not-so-poor) and I needed a new jacket since my previous one isn't designed for pocket hoops. The event was set in the late 1730s-very early 1740s so I needed something to go over large pocket hoops and with fashionable winged cuffs.
Unfortunately the day was really cloudy and rainy so the photos I took didn't show the dress how I want; the following images have been taken the week after in Marlia, Tuscany. 

I had a lovely remnant of the same brown linen of the skirt in my stash and I couldn't be happier: I love that colour! I had enough to make a jacket with very lovely wide skirts, plus  I found a ruffled cotton ribbon I made a while ago to go over the sand stomacher - which would have been really simple otherwise. 
The construction has been really straightforward so I didn't take many photos. I simply took my blue linen jacket pattern from Janet Arnold book and elongated the pieces to create wide skirts. I used as reference a lovely diagram by American Duchess for the drafting process (you can find it in the online .pdf she shared after releasing her Outlander inspired patterns) and it worked great. I basically measured my side length adding just 1.5 cm for the armhole/sleeve seam and then I drafted the elongated pieces without adding a waist seam. The skirts are 20 cm long but you can make them longer if needed. The larger the skirts, the wider the circumference of the jacket so experiment with math! Remember to make them large enough to fit your pocket hoops/hip pads. 
The rest of the jacket is the same but I omitted the front lacing and went for pins. 
I forgot to say the jacket is fully lined in white cotton with visible top stitching. 

Now the cuffs. Winged cuffs were extremely popular in the first half of 18th century and they're kinda easy to make. They're a simple rectangle with optional lining (but I recommend it) which is sewn at sides and then pleated to fit the arm crook. Easy, no? You can made them with or without interfacing - mine are made without.

I wore the whole thing over my reed boned pocket hoops, a cotton shift, a cotton petticoat and my stays. The stomacher is pinned over the stays and the jacket over the stomacher. 

By Vincenzo Scarfone

By Andrea Simi

By Roberto Buonafina

By Roberto Buonafina

Thanks for reading!

martedì 5 settembre 2017

A 1912 pink chiffon dress

At the beginning of July me and my group (Le Vie del Tempo) had a wonderful time during our latest event in Viù, a small mountain town which was really famous  between the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century as holiday location. Faculty people left the town during summertime to enjoy the fresher weather of this lovely place which actually is still surrounded by woods. One of the most important celebrities of the town was baron Raimondo Franchetti, who married Sara Luisa Rothschild and set the building of this marvellous villa in 1861. 

We had the honour to reenact here, where is told Puccini composed part of "La bohème". For the occasion I could finally restyle my old pink chiffon dress, which was a very personal version of the famous Titanic "swim dress" worn by Kate Winslet.
I don't like to repeat myself, so you can find all the details about the old version here.

Read the previous post? Now forget everything. I basically changed fit, shape and finish of the dress.  The construction has been really straightforward and happened in a couple of days only so I didn't take lot of pics.

First I made a new bodice, altering a little the fit; I covered it with a layer of lace and lined it in cotton, throwing away the old satin; armholes and neckline were then finished with bias tape on the inside.

Then I started to work on the skirts. The upper part of the skirts have been cut according to my lower bust measurements and the seams have been serged.
I added an extra chiffon layer using a leftover which was unfortunately not in the same ivory shade but brightly white, and shortened the old one a bit; then I added the pink overskirt last, always using  a leftover. When I was happy with them, I serged the hem with a very thin rolled hem.

When the dress was finished and skirts sewn in place, I started to hand sewn the lavender taffeta sash and the hooks at the back. The pink sash is made from the same fabric of the over dress and is kept in place by two belt loops at the back.

The overdress has been unaltered, I just hemmed by hand some edges which tended to fray.

And I was done! I added a hat and a natural pearls necklace to complete the look. The whole thing was worn over chemise, corset and petticoat.

 And my hairstyle at last!

I definitely have to take better photos of this dress 'cause I really love how it turned out! It was perfect for the summer weather although it turned out a little bit dirty but it's the price to pay when wearing a white dress outdoors! 

venerdì 2 giugno 2017

New Ancient Roman stola and veil in linen

It's been a while since I updated  this outfit, I admit. Things are getting really busy here, including a big new: we're moving in a bigger flat! So this means we're surrounded by boxes everywhere worse than usual (lol), displaced furniture and so on. The shop is still running though it's really hard to combine work and moving. Anyway, we decided to celebrate this moment introducing a new discount code which gives you the opportunity to get free shipping on every order above 100€!

Let's talk about the dress now. Last April we introduced the Roman world in our events since some of us already had experiences in this field. I was planning an update version of my outfit from a long time and this event was the best occasion to sew a stola and a veil.

Some costume history...
The stola was an outer layer worn by married women to indicate their status; it was usually sleeves and come from a rectangle of fabric draped on shoulders and secured with brooches or pins. The veil was worn over the head by every woman when she was outdoors (sounds
familiar, uh?) and could be replaced by the larger and longer palla.

So I just had to make a stola and a veil, nothing difficult. The stola  is made of lightweight blue linen with handsewn finishing and same for the veil, which is white. The day was very hot and sunny and I'm so happy to have worn the veil on my head.

And the stola...

The red palla and the under tunic were already part of the outfit. I'm sorry for the lack of hairstyle but I was waiting for  my turn to be brushed ;) 

And that's all for now! I didn't take more photos that day but I'll use this outfit again next September!

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