Monday, April 23, 2012

Real Tweeple Project - Stitch Up History

I meant to post this last year and it just didn't! D'oh! Iggy Pintado recorded me for his #RealTweeple Project in November last year after one of my classes.

Meet the blissful and bubbly Tailor's Apprentice (that's me!) Lorna McKenzie who is both the @StitchUpHistory and @OffbeatCeremony on Twitter.

This video taken in Hazelbrook near Sydney, Australia in November 2011 as part of Iggy Pintado's #RealTweeple Project.

IRCC 2 - Unknown Woman , National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown Woman,
National Portrait Gallery,
The lovely Bela of the Realm of Venus is running the Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge once again. I attempted to enter last year, but I chose a too early period and so didn't enter, though I did make the outfit.

This year I have decided to give it another go and have chosen the beautiful gown in the portrait on the left, Portrait of an Unknown Woman, held in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The gown is elegant and relatively simple in design and style. The base fabric is a dark green, I'm presuming velvet. Then there is the lovely embroidered ribbon trim on both bodice and sleeves, with slashes between the embroidery showing a second layer of green, I'm presuming silk.

The very pretty partlet of gold and pearls makes the gown I think and the lovely necklace and the waist belt add bling and dash.

The IRRCC 2 challenge 

Layer 1: A camicia/shift/smock/shirt or drawers or corset/pair of bodies. I don't expect you to make all three, however one item MUST be an underwear layer.
I'm making a new camica.

Layer 2: Either an underskirt or under-dress/petticoat, or doublet and slops.
For me its an under-dress/petticoat

Layer 3: The final layer will be either an over-dress, or a loose gown, or a cloak/cape.
The above gown for me.

Layer 4: An accessory - any one of the following: fan, pocket/pouch, hat/jewelled accessory for the hair, zibellino (also known as a "flea fur"), hanky, gloves, girdle, shoes, partlet, a set of Venetian shoulder/neck ruffs (if they are separate from the partlet), standing ruff/collar, parasol, and muff.
I'm making the beautiful partlet in the above portrait. If I have time I will also make the necklace and the lovely gold belt.

I am heading to London in the last week of August and I hope to wear the gown to the National Portrait Gallery and have my photo taken next to the portrait, that's if its not off on a world tour or something! So wish me luck and watch my progress as I pootle along.
Layer 1: Camicia

I am using the camica on the left as my design basis for the project. Its earlier than my gown, around 1520, however, the tight sleeves of the gown need less bulk to feel comfortable.

Another costumer also inspired me with her version of this camica with beautiful machine black work on Live Journal DressDiaries, made to go with a 1560s gown.

Also, seeing her machine black work embroidery I was inspired to try it. Now, I don't do embroidery, I'm a plain sewing type of gal and hand embroidery isn't an option and my Pfaff has very limited stitches available. But I chose some stitches and I think they pass muster.

You can also see how I pleated my sleeve cuffs that go up to just below my elbow

Camicia finished, I'm very pleased with the black work embroidery from my Pfaff and I love the pleated sleeves and how it creates the pleated cuffs.

Layer 2 - Petticoat
For the petticoat I am using the pattern from The Tudor Tailor, the 'braces' style, yes I know, English not Florentine, but I will get more wear out of it, so I am an English lady visiting Florence with her Diplomat husband, using her own underpinings.

So here is my front bodice pattern to give you an idea of the 'braces'

Back view of petticoat.

Layer 3 - Gown

The bodice for my gown has been drafted using a number of source texts such as Janet Arnold's Pattern of Fashion and The Tudor Tailor, plus I used a previous bodice draft from an earlier Tudor gown and a earlier period Italian Renaissance gown. It will be side back laced.

I haven't decided whether I shall use rope or cable ties for my bodice boning, I don't want it too stiff and I want a soft rounded front so I think rope will win out, with perhaps a few cable ties at the seams and lacing edges for strength.

Layer 4 - Partlet
I have used Festive Attyre's partlet pattern to create my own, I love this website, such a fabulous resource.

I want to replicate the ruching on the original, so I made the partlet larger to accomodate the gathering, here's my test toile

I found if I followed the lines of the partlet shoulder seams I ended by with diagonal ruching lines, which will work well with the overlay ribbon pattern, I wonder if this is why the original one's ribbons are placed on the diagonal?I was lucky to find a small piece of sheer silk in my stash, thought I was going to have to use linen. Love my stash, full of unexpected delights!

Front view, gathered.

So I gathered the silk and it turned out well, the silk is really soft so I am going to have to use either boning or interfacing for the collar so it will sand out like the painting.

Back view, gathered.

As I have no view of the back of the partlet, I am guessing its construction. I gathered each of the back pieces following the shoulder lines separately and then stitched them together.

Gathering completed on all pieces of the partlet, french seames at all seams. Next to lay the gold cord diamond pattern. I had bought gold ribbon for this but it was too wide and I didn't like the effect, so now I am using gold cord which does resemble the original, though my diamond pattern is wider. Now to hand sew it all on, a lovely 'in front of telly' task.

Monday, April 16, 2012

1820s archery gown completed ... well almost!

Me and Sam, mirror image
So I completed my 1820s archery gown for the 2012 Jane Austen Festival Australia, with the exception of the long sleeves.

Three of us took up the challenge of creating the gown and all made the short sleeved version due to time limitations.

My gown is a delight to wear, comfortable and it worked very well as an archery gown. I now understand the flat decoration at the front of the bodice, this ensures that the bow string has nothing to catch it when pulled back and released.

Each of us used a cotton Lincoln or sage green fabric, with salmon pink and black trims. However, our skirt trims are all slightly different. Variety is the spice of reproduction historical gowns :)

Me and Sam, front view of my gown
Archery with a modern bow

Antonia and I

More target practice

Did you see that, I hit the bulls eye, woot!

Shooting with a repro 19th century bow, much harder to pull back than the contemporary one, but I still hit the target

Me and Alex from the 95th Rifles, the Grasshoppers
I am extremely pleased with this project, it was fun to create, comfortable to wear and I learnt new techniques. I hoped you enjoyed coming along on the journey.

Earlier posts:
1820s archery gown for Jane Austen Festival Australia 2012
Back view of the 1820s Archery gown - Jane Austen
Toile for Regency Archery dress for Jane Austen Australia festival
Archery gown 1820s ~ making the dress
Archery gown, 1820s - the bodice
Archery gown 1820s - puffed sleeves and van dyke points

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Regency Bonnets for Jane Austern Festival Australia

Only two more sleeps and then its the Jane Austen Festival Australia for 2012. I have made my gown wardrobe, but I need bonnets to wear with the gowns and a lace cap. So I spent the Easter weekend constructing my 'Easter' Regency bonnets, from ribbons, lace, fabric and an old sun hat.

I used the tutorial created by the Oregon Regency Society, How to Make a Regency Poke Bonnet, which is very helpful.

I also researched period styles (aka 'drooled over delightful millinery') by viewing the delightful water colour sketches from the Ackerman's Repository.

As well as my straw boneet, I made a cloth bonnet from a 1920s sun bonnet pattern and it worked very well, this bonnet will be worn with my 1820s archery gown at the archery afternoon on Friday at the Festival.

I still have to make my lace cap as I am a respectable married woman after all, lol! This will be hand stitched on the three hour drive to Canberra.

So, here's what I created:

Lace bonnet made with an old sun hat and ribbons, lace and fabric from my stash, I wanted something that I could wear with all my gowns, hence the white and gold colour way.

... then I made a cloth bonnet from my 1920s sun bonnet pattern to wear with my archery gown, hence the lincoln green, black and pink motifs. I used a very stiff interfacing for the brim, but next time I will buy some buckram as it will hold its form so much better.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Archery gown, 1820s - the bodice

Front of bodice with trims
The bodice on the 1820 archery gown is lovely, the trims, pleats and gathers make it really interesting and gives a quasi military feel I think. Definitely suitable for a British Bow Woman in he 1820s.

My bodice is trimmed with bias strips of dark brown silk and cotton velvet.

The bodice is lined with salmon pink cotton.

Earlier posts on the puffed sleeves are here and then you can travel back through all the posts on this lovely gown.

More photos below:

Front pre-trim

Back pre-trim

Lining of cotton salmon

Back with shoulder and back stripes added

Back with sleeve added

Archery gown 1820s - puffed sleeves and van dyke points

So the sleeves, I love these puffed sleeves and they were fun to create, the van dyke points and the sleeve puffing through it are so Italian Renaissance. Early posts can be found here.

The sleeves are made with four layers, salmon cotton lining, middle layer of netting to hold the sleeve shape, green cotton fashion fabric, and the van dyke points made with the cotton velvet, salmon cotton lining and dark brown silk trim.

There's a lot of sleeve bulk to handle, particularly when gathered, but slow and steady and tacking wins the race lol!

Here are the images of how I put them together.

Get gathers of sleeve correct for armhole
Then attach van dyke points
Outside view of sleeve with van dyke points attached
Sleeve needed an extra van dyke point
Extra point added after sleeve stitched in, a tad irritating to do, but I wasn't going to unpick that sleeve!

Back view with bodice trim