Sunday, January 19, 2014

The finished 1780 Zone Front Dress

I finished the 1780 gown this past Monday and I really meant to get pictures up sooner but as usual when you have a project that kind of takes over your life for almost a week I had to catch up on everything else.

All my inspiration and research is here, on my pinterest board for the dress. My hair is kind of a mess... I tried my best to get  a simple style with some height in the front but it didn't turn out well haha!

I didn't have time to add trim to it, but I'm thinking of going back to add it. My only concern about the trim is that when I added the small bit to the hat it frayed pretty horribly and I don't want to add it to the skirt and have the same thing happen.

I do really love how the dress came out. The silk purple lavender fabric was wonderful to work with I would recommend Renaissance Fabrics to anyone, especially if you want a fabric you know is accurate and 100% silk or whatever! I still just love the colors of the dress too, I'm so glad I went with purple and white instead of blue and pink!

I like the look of the skirt down but I love that it's so easy to loop up onto the buttons in the back if I want too! I also ended up using the purple velvet ribbon for the hat because as much as I really wanted a belt on the waist it just didn't look that great on me :( Maybe I'm too short waisted for it.

It's really pretty hard getting a picture with this hat on because it was at just the right angle to always cover my eyes.

There's perhaps a little too much wrinkling for me on the bodice and sleeves but I am pretty sure I've read somewhere that's pretty common to see in period paintings.

and without the handkerchief tucked at the neckline

... and a pug to complete the outfit 

Fabric: White Silk and Lavender Silk and linen lining

Pattern: self drafted

Year: 18th Century, 1780

How historically accurate is it? all hand sewn and accurate silk fabric and linen lining so I want to say it's really pretty accurate

Hours to complete: lots, a whole week of sewing any minute I could

First worn: for pictures

Friday, January 17, 2014

HSF 2014 #1

HSF #1: Make Do and Mend

I really wanted a hat to go along with my silk 18th century dress so I took a horribly inaccurate old 1860 hat I made out of cardboard and covered in silk, and used the silk to cover a new straw hat! Well a blue straw placemat that I molded to become a straw hat! 

Yes that is the finished 1780 dress but I'm really really trying to keep up with the HSF challenges this year so since this one was due, I think two days ago, I wanted to get it up! Pictures of the complete dress are coming though! 

Completely inaccurate but to help make it a tiny bit more stiff I ironed on interfacing. It actually ironed on well too.

The Challenge: Make Do and Mend

Fabric: White Silk and Lavender Silk

Pattern: None

Year: 18th Century

Notions:Velvet ribbon, thread

How historically accurate is it? It's a straw placemat molded to a hat shape and covered with silk. I read somewhere that they did cover straw hats with silk but they probably weren't blue straw... The fabric is accurate and I hand stitched it all down. There is some interfacing in it though to make it a little stiffer.

Hours to complete: 2 maybe

First worn: for pictures

Total cost: $6 maybe, since the majority of it is the white silk from the old hat

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Zone Front Part 3

I need to have my dress done by tomorrow to take pictures of it but thanks to horrible awful sleeves, I spent the last day and night trying to get my sleeves right and it put me super behind schedule on my dress! 
I literally have made 11 different sleeve patterns trying to get it right, I tried everything. Originally I planned to do long sleeve, but the one I tried fit horribly so I went to a elbow length sleeve. What I really wanted for that length was the kind with seam at the elbow like the jacket in Costume Closeup. Unfortunately that sleeve pattern didn't fit the first time I made the jacket and no matter how I tried the pattern I couldn't get the size right this time. So I just finally somehow got a basic sleeve with no extra seams. I don't love it as much but at this point I'm just glad it works. 

I did cut out the skirt and made buttons (first time ever! I lovee them!!). 

I plan on putting two buttons on the back to loop up the skirt with. I also ended up with plenty of fabric to trim the skirt with! Now I just need to decide on how to trim it, and the bodice, sleeves, and hat! Tonight's probably going to be a long night trying to get this finished up but at least I'll have pictures soon! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1780 Zone Front Dress Part 2

I've discovered that to enter my dress I've got to turn it in by January 15!!! I'm a little nervous because I just ordered the fabric yesterday but I think most of the time consuming work will be in drafting and getting the pattern just right which I can be working on now. I do want to add trim to it but I'll have to see how much taffeta I have left over since I just got 4 yards. 

I did make the white silk petticoat!  
Simple and fast! Yay!!

It's shorter than any other petticoat I have but if I can convince myself to take apart my old 1860 ballgown of the same fabric I'd have enough to add a pleated ruffle to the bottom which would make it longer.

I made a second mockup of the bodice. Unfortunately I'm reaching the end of my old scraps pile and had to use a zebra print which means you can't really see the zone front, on the left at least.

I plan to make up a lining today in some scrap fabric just to make sure that fits fine and hopefully I'll have the actual linen lining cut out and started today too. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

1780 Zone Front

Beginning Construction and Fabric Plans

Originally I planned to try to use a pattern scaled up out of Patterns of Fashion or Costume Closeup but since I made a basic 18th century bodice block a few months ago and I would have been redrafting any patterns from those books anyways, I figured it would be easiest to make my own pattern. 

First I had to figure out the right shape for the front section. I went with the left side which is a little rounder and goes further out to the side. In the back of my mind I keep wondering if I should do the more pointed zone front than the rounded... 

In this pretty rough first mockup, once again, the left side of the zone front looks better even though I cut them both the same. I think it was just a mistake in the sewing on the right side folding over a little too much of the top piece. It was too large so I ended up just taking out the very side back piece and I'll extend the front piece just a little bit to wrap around. The neckline also had to be cut lower and widened. I also added more shape to the waistline. 

The back bodice will be disconnected from the skirt and have a point. 

For a fabric color and fabric update, I found some beautiful silk taffetas but for how much I'll need and how expensive it is, the cheapest color option was actually the lavender and white. Luckily, I found about 2 1/2 maybe three yards of white silk left over from an 1860 ball gown 6 or 7 years ago! Yay! I hope mixing a rough silk (the kind with those lines and whatnot in it) with a silk taffeta will look alright. I ordered the Lavender taffeta today from Renaissance Fabrics, I can't wait to see it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Contest Dress

I'm making a dress for a contest due by February, and it needs to be within the time frame of 1780-1829. My first thought was to make another 18th century gown like the Patterns of Fashion, 1775-85 Snowshill Manor gown,  and use my moire fabric since I have so much of it but I have a few problems. 

                  The Original Plan (The faint zone front was added later when I began to think of doing one)

1. I feel like this dress is so easily early 1770's and because the date starts at 1780 and not 1770 I need to make something that definitely stands out as post 1780. 

2. I know moire fabric has been around since before the 18th century but I found the huge role of fabric I have from an antique store and I am no expert at fabric and couldn't tell you if it was moire silk or a synthetic. For this it's important that the fabric is accurate. 

I considered making something from the regency period but I already have the undergarments needed for the 18th century and I don't have a huge amount of time to start a new period from scratch. After looking at ton's of dresses I decided on a zone front, I'm hoping will look very 1780's-1790's. I also am going to go ahead and do long sleeves for it which I'm pretty nervous about. I have enough trouble with 18th century sleeves as it is! 

Since I don't feel 100% on the moire I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with new fabric, and I'm thinking a blue and pink color scheme. I've seen the color scheme in period paintings. I really love the idea of a belt and played with the idea of it being dark blue.  I also liked the idea of a lavender color with white contrast and a plum or dark purple belt.
Inspiration for colors via Pinterest so I don't have any info on what it's from :(

The trim for the petticoat I wanted to keep simple and was thinking something similar to this gown from The Kyoto Costume Institute. As for trim for the overskirt, I have no idea yet. I know I want to do something with it though! 

I'm actually leaning more towards the lavender color (the inspiration for the color came from the dress in Costume Close Up that is now faded to pink but used to be lavender). I did order the American Duchess Antoinette shoes in blue though... which makes me want to do blue so they can be worn together. I do know though, that matching things like shoes in the 18th century wasn't a concern so maybe they would be fine with a lavender dress. The color in the end may depend on what fabric I can find! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Review

I meant to post this New Year's Eve but better late than never! 

2013 in Sewing

My two most popular posts this year seem to have consistently been:
How to make a Dirndl Apron (which makes me wonder if I should really make a more complete tutorial with pictures and more details since that one is really not that great). 

My favorite sew's of the year have been:
The Patience Tabitha Dress: an 18th century Robe a l'Anglaise
1916 Lucile Dress: not 100% accurate or exact copy of the original but I still love it!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Table Runner

Before Christmas I watched, The Great British Sewing Bee Christmas special  and was inspired to make a christmas table runner as a gift. It was super easy, used up small bits of fabric and allowed for lots of creativity and options! I want to make more of these for all sorts of occasions and seasons! 

I kept this one pretty simple with just the presents, tree, and an ornament. I used a green glittery satin fabric to make it more festive though I think it would be better to use a cotton to get a crisper finish without the little wrinkles. 

The Presents are flannel and fleece fabric with different kinds of ribbons. The tree is the same green satin and the ornament is a cotton flannel. Both red backgrounds are flannel but the white is cotton, since the white has since wrinkled, even with ironing, I think next time I would back the cotton square with interfacing.

I would love to try making a longer one with four or even five squares and perhaps one time quilting the squares might make an interesting design. There is so much you can do with a table runner, anything you can cut out you can applique onto a square!