Sunday, December 9, 2012

Steampunk 3: Silvery Moon

The final ensemble (but not the final post) was for the formal ball, themed to our weekends "Trip to the Moon".  There was a grand Civil War era brass band playing while we walzed, polka-ed, did the Virginia Reel, and so much more.  This is where my skirt lifter became absolutely necessary, clipping the long train up so I could dance.  Though I did manage most of a waltz with it down!
The gown was based on Worth-style gowns of the late 1880s- particularly the infamous red one from Vintage Textile.  I am wearing a full length, very large bustle underneath along with an extra ruffly petticoat.  The base skirt, which is completely covered, is light blue silk taffeta.  Over that in front is a piece from a sari which I purchased six months ago and designed most of the dress around, keeping a starry sky in mind.  The back bustle and bodice are silk satin with a slight iridescence (the wrong side is mint).  Finishing off the bodice and peeking out from the skirt is changeable silk chiffon.  The jewelry is all family antiques- all starburst shapes.  I made the fascinator from coque and biot feathers which I found in the absolutely most perfect colors to mimic a crescent moon shape.  This was all meant to pair with Gwendolyn's Dark Lady of the Night gown.

The bodice lower edge is finished with piping, the interior flat-lined to a sturdy silk weave with bones on each seam.  The back spiral laces shut with silk cord and the drape hooks to the other side to hide the top.  The skirt hems (both under and top) have deep facings from cotton.  I stiffened the outer one with gum tragacanth, which I can't recommend enough.  There's also lace gathered onto the taffeta underskirts hem facing.  I'll eventually do a post detailing the insides and under structures of all of my outfits.
From here down there is no more text.  Gwendolyn and I went out to a local antique store called Charlies and spent quite some time taking pictures (be sure to check her blog for more!).  So much fun and the perfect location.  And, yes, that is a weeping angel.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Steampunk 2

Of course, I can't be caught wearing the same outfit twice, so the second day brought a completely different ensemble.  This one has its roots in numerous gowns and jackets of the 1890s.  The first pictures were taken in front of an antique desk that was steampunked into a cigar rolling factory- a combination of Dr. Grymm Laboratories and Foundry Cigars.  And yes, even the cigars have cogs on them!
The main body of the dress (which is two separate pieces) is claret worsted wool.  The sleeves are antique lace which had long since lost their bodice, the fur trim is actually dyed raccoon, the lapels are a woven silk mix, while the waist is based around an antique ribbon.  The skirt diagram came from The Cut of Women's Clothes while the top was patterned, inspired by this jackets lapels.

The sleeves were inspired by this image of Japanese lady in western dress.  The two items hanging from the waist are a small watch and a skirt lifter.  I found the lifter on Ebay, still with it's original cord.  It's not only beautiful, but saved my hem numerous times (and as you'll see with my ball gown, it was absolutely necessary).

The hat is probably my favorite part of the whole ensemble.  The shape was based on this rather infamous hat, covered in silk velvet.  The ribbons are all antiques, mostly sections too small to do much else.  Wrapped around the hat it's a checkboard with floral, while the bow is black and white stripes.  I worked in a hidden section of ribbon to hold the giant pheasant feathers, making them easily removable (necessary when sitting in talks and panels).

Though you can't see it in the pictures, the lapels are embroidered (mostly by hand).  I used a silver Aesthetic Movement picture frame as the basis for the design.  Some of the threads have metallic wrapped in, but all are silk.  The buttons are embroidered as well.

The sleeves are cartridge pleated so they aren't puffy on top, but lined with silk taffeta to keep them stiff.

The waist ribbon is backed by black moire taffeta and copper taffeta.  It wasn't very strong anymore, though it looks to have originally been a sash.  The center back peaks up slightly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Steampunk 1

This past weekend Gwendolyn and I attended Teslacon 3.  It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to attend next year.  We had never done Steampunk before and were struck by how welcoming the community was and how passionate.  Costumes ranged from airship crews to military to adventurers to chimney sweeps to ladies in bustle gowns.  Throw in a dalek, a unicorn, a Data Sherlock Holmes, and a few Star Wars characters.  With 1500 people, there was a lot of variety.  Of course, I took my inspiration from history, though I didn't want to make anything "normal".  My first outfit was inspired by a jacket sold by Augusta Auctions.  I've lusted after it for years, but never had it seemed right for the occasion.  But for this it was just perfect.  I made some alterations to the design for practical and preferential reasons.  Our character inspiration came from two sisters who were dancers at the Follies Bergeres.  We could be fashionable without having to be demure.  No one ever saw it, but the skirt has a ruffled can-can petticoat underneath with knickers that match my boots!

I split the bodice up into separate pieces, making it adjustable; a cotton short-sleeve blouse, a silk taffeta waist, a wool vest, and a navy wool jacket.  The hat is just a simple sailor hat made of buckram covered in silk taffeta and trimmed in grosgrain ribbon.  The trimming on the skirt is antique silk gimp; what was left over after I removed the rows of narrow gimp for trimming the bodice.

The collar could stand up or lay down as I'll show later.  Yet another adjustable portion of the ensemble.

The interior of the jacket was lined with silk taffeta, the edges from cream wool to match the vest.  All of the gimp came from the antique trim.  The vines and checkerboards were hand embroidered with wool floss and silk button twist.  The inserts of cream wool on the outside were piped to finish them off.  The buttons are all german silver.

The collar has five points over all, the gimp trim running in a fairly random pattern.  Not always easy to do for someone who is neurotic about symmetry!  The embroidery changed only slightly on the jacket, due to using my own trim (finding a perfect match would have been impossible).

The vest is cream wool with a polished cotton back.  The embroidery design vaguely resembles the original, though I chose to greatly alter the frog design.  You can see my fight for symmetry still winning in this piece over the original design.

The waist is silk taffeta backed in cotton.  The center front line has boning in it and hooks closed.  The buttons are decorative.

The jacket can be worn multiple ways.  This shows it closed with thread loops creating an asymmetrical front line.  Here you can see the inlays of cream wool in the front and sleeve cuffs.  Interestingly, I found this jacket to have no darts for shaping.  Instead, there is a seam which runs perpendicular to the inlays, just above them.  This allows for shaping the jacket to the body.  I can't say that fitting process was easy at all and I have a great deal of respect for the designer who came up with that idea!

The way I chose to wear the jacket was buttoned open with the collar flipped up in back.  There is a fair amount of interfacing in the collar for that reason, though I should have put in more.

Detail of how all of the trim continues around the neck line and pairs with the vest.

The inlays continue around to the back, extensions of the front overlapping.  Having the piped seam in front for shaping also allows the bottom section to extend out and become a buttoned down flap.  The tail is attached to the jacket, though it appears to have originally been attached at the bottom of the waist.  The buttons on the tail are wrapped with silk cord.