Monday, January 23, 2012

1912 Evening Gown 3

The silk chiffon swatches arrived today.  To my horror and pleasure, I found two very close matches.  One fits perfectly with the salmon charmeuse, the other with the peach charmeuse.  So, it didn't help me decide between those two at all!  I tried taking pictures of them both, but you can hardly see a difference that way. The salmon is darker than the peach by a decent amount when not under the sari net, rather similar when they aren't exposed.  The best I could come up with are images of these two gowns which I think represent the colors pretty well (the salmon may be just a smidge darker).


I've been doing numerous other projects in the mean time, including a nearly finished 1812 day dress.  I've also given in and decided to do proper undergarments for 1912 since I can't get away without them for the 1912 VPLL project.  I ordered some pretty cotton that looks like it has lace inserts for a combination and I started a corset which I'll be using some left-over peach striped silk for.  I'll take some pictures of it all when the cotton and some lace arrives.  I still want to find some more lace trim anyway.  I'm also planning a linen 1910s day dress based on a picture of my Great-Grandmother, Katie.
I found some vintage eyelet lace for the trim around the neckline.  I'll match it to linen when it arrives.  The neck piece I'll probably just get plain silk net and do some lace trimming and embroider dots on it.  I haven't found a better option yet.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Second Pair

With another workshop held at my house this weekend, I've gotten a good start on my second pair of shoes.  I already had the outer soles ready and one of the uppers finished.

I covered the last and outer sole with paper, then lasted and tacked on the upper. We added in re-inforcement pieces to the toe area, unlike last time.  You can see the small marks of the stitches.  It's inserted between the leather and fabric, but only stitched to the leather.  All of that took most of day one.

A combination of a better sole leather, larger awl blade, smaller awl haft, and using 7-strand thread instead of 9 made this seaming go much faster and look much better than my first pair.  I still need to work on strengthening my grip in my left hand.  I think this inseaming took about 2 hours (someday, maybe it'll be 30 minutes; that would be glorious).

I also started carving down the heel to be the proper shape.  It's lost some length since this point.

With the stitching done, we removed the last from the uppers and started carving out the insole.  I still need to put a hold-fast in the heel area.

The upper was turned (not easy!), then I skived down the remaining flap of the outer sole so it would curve into the heel nicely.  I still need to finish binding the second upper before I can start on that shoe (it's such a pretty blue wool).  I have today off to recover then it's back to work on it tomorrow.  I'm hoping to have this pair done by mid-February.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Twelve Months

The 1912 gown is on hold until the chiffon swatches arrive (the first set didn't work) and the La Mode Illustrée pattern comes from France.  I've picked up an 1810s day dress in the mean time which will start to look like more than just pieces by tomorrow.  I took a break to wander through the British Museums prints and found a lovely set called The Twelve Months, dated to 1781.  Now, if I could just find 11 other people and an event this would make a great group costume idea!  The artist seems to have been a little color-happy, splitting garments into two or more tones when it doesn't make sense (has one ever seen a parti-color mantelet?).  Still, I'd wear every one of them.  Particularly August, who has given me inspiration for some pumpkin silk I have!

January looks quite toasty nestled in her pile of silks.

February is trying to stay warm and keep entertained.

March must be sewing together one of the next ensembles.

April showers bring out umbrellas and a plethora of colors!

May has hung up her mantelet and is ready for warmer weather.

June has taken a brisk ride through the country and still looks perfect.

July shows us how to protect our fair skin while still looking fashionable.

August doesn't give up being fashionable just because she's carrying a bucket of worms.

September is the time for harvesting grapes and vibrant colors.

October knows that fall is the perfect time for a fashionable riding habit.

November is taking a final stroll through the country before the weather turns cold.

December doesn't want to admit that the days are so short, staying up long after dark.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1912 Evening Gown 2

Unexpectedly, the peach sari arrived today!  Very unexpected considering there are two other saris that haven't made it here yet which I ordered before it.  I guess I should also refer to it properly as a Dupati (like a shawl).  It's even more beautiful than I could have imagined!  I'm going to blind people with all of those tiny mirrors.  Yep, that's right, mirrors.  Those 5/8" circles every 3" or so are mirrors.  And there's gold bullion of course (both checked and smooth), silver sequins, and glass bugle beads.  So sparkly....
There's going to be repair work, but I'm going to wait until I've cut it to do that.  I'll use the cabbage for it's bullion and fix/replace the work which has snagged and come off.  Only one hole in the net though, so that's very good.  I'm still going to tack it all over to chiffon so the weight won't damage it more with time.
I also have to decide between peach and salmon charmeuse.  The chiffon swatches should be here in a couple of days, so I can see them all together first.

I also looked around online for interior shots of 1910s gowns that didn't have boned, structure bodices like the JA one.  They all have a lining (some more sheer) and a wide waist tape.  After finding these and a link to an online pattern I have a much better idea of what I'm going to be doing.
Waist tape on gold hobble dress.

Waist tape in a 1912 white satin gown.

Waist tape in a sheer 1910s gown.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1912 Evening Gown 1

The design for my gown has finally culminated!  I spent a lot of time looking through the original designs and finally came up with something about a week ago.  I still like it, so I suppose it's a winner!  I know there are tons of people making 1912 gowns this year and looking for advice/information.  So, I've promised myself (and now you) that I will try to post every detail of my process this time.
First, the design:

It's a combination of the two gowns in the middles from La Bibliotheque des Arts Décoratifs:

The next question was what to use for fabric.  I already know the middle layer, since the whole thing is really based around the peach sari I mentioned in my last post.  I decided on silk chiffon for the top and silk charmeuse for the base.  I figured these would give me the proper drape.
The fashion plates I've found have mentioned charmeuse, satin, mousseline, lace, net, velvet, voile, and chiffon. In colors like white, vanilla, cream, praline, rose, cherry, citron, blue, raspberry, green-gold, pearl-grey, turquoise, and black.  Many are embroidered or beaded in gold or matching tones (some with soutache), some have sequins, some have gold lace.  Edges are decorated with tassles, fringe, fur, or rosettes.
I'm going to be purchasing my fabrics from Decorative International Silks (which is the usual for me).  They have a salmon charmeuse which is just the right tone.  I still need to order the chiffon swatch book to decide on the color for that, though.
The bottom edge of the sari should be trimmed in Zibeline (Sable), but I can't possibly afford that!  I did find a store on ebay selling rabbit fur cording, available in a dark brown.  I'd rather have something a little more smooth coated, but it's a practical option for now.  I can't easily use faux fur since it's such a small strip and a fabric base would unravel without finishing the edges (not easy).
I'm not sure what the neck chains will be, I have to do more research on that.  Possibly pearls, beads, or rhinestones.  Same goes with whatever I use to hold back the chiffon at the hip.  I'm not big on fake flowers, so I'm looking for alternatives.

The next question is "How in the world is this thing put together??".  Frankly, I really don't know.  My previous gown was of slightly earlier style and used a boned bodice to anchor everything and keep the stiffer shape.  I would think there would have to be some sort of structure like this so the gown doesn't pull down on the bodice (that "sagginess" on top would allow the high waist to drift down).  But how structured?  And does it need to cover the bosom, or could it be more of a waist cincher?  Most of the images have a tube-top look as a base or a very wide sash.  Looking at photographs of women in gowns of this style doesn't give a definitive answer either.  Some look to have a hard shell, others a snug tube, some clearly have nothing holding them in.



Original garments don't help much either, since I can't root around in them.  Some would very easily have a structured, or at least stiff, bodice to hold them together.
 Worth 1910 Gown which is probably the only early style I'm considering scraping my whole design for.  It looks like it could easily be bodiced like my earlier style.  I bet I'd have enough fabric for both.....*slaps hand*

Paul Poiret 1910-11 Gown.  This might be one of the earliest style to go without a structured bodice, being a Poiret.  But, I would think something would have to hold up that waist seam.  Especially over the smooth figure corset most women still wore.

Callot Soeurs 1915-16 Gown.  Maybe bodiced, but when you zoom in you can actually see a color difference between the center front line (what appears to be a seam) and the slightly darker tones to the side of it under the lace, showing the black mannequin through the sheer layers!  This bodice would have to be out of the chiffon, which wouldn't provide support for the gown at all.  Yet, the satin appears to have soft pleats at the waist which would strain without support of some kind around the waist area.

1909-11 Dress. Another case where it really doesn't appear to have any stiffness around the bust, but the top blouses out nicely.

Weeks 1913-14 Afternoon Dress.  I can't tell if it's the velvet sash giving the flat gown some fullness or if there might be something thicker inside.

Jean Hallée 1913-14 Gown.  It's almost infuriating how close they come to showing you the interior with the shot of the tag.  Clearly the ivory satin seen under the lace continues all the way around the body.  Whether it had structure or was just snug I don't know.

So, I will continue my search for gowns.  Hopefully finding some interior shots of this style.  In the mean time, I've ordered a La Mode Illustrée pattern from 1913 in hopes that it might give me a bit more insight.  These are two of the gowns in the pattern:
 They have the loose, draping bodice I'm looking to understand.  The one on the left has no waistband or sash to hide structure in.  They both have multiple layering of draped skirts as well.
I've also gleefully signed up to do the Vintage Fashion Libraries 1912 pattern review.  So, there will be a 1912 garment every month this year for me to post about!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vintage Dresses

I finally got around to taking pictures of a great many of my vintage dresses that I've made recently (ok, so some are two years old).  Posting just after all the pictures of my relatives in vintage dress made sense!   I'm planning on an entire 1930s wardrobe for a long Hawaiian cruise I'm taking this Spring, so be prepared for a lot more of this sort of thing.

Late '30s or early '40s in wool plaid. Simplicity 3162.

'30s in a poly suiting material.  I based it on Hollywood 832, though I couldn't afford the pattern!

 '30s in a sheer wool (the buckle is 19th century).  Butterick 7879.

'30s in very light printed cotton.  I don't know what pattern this is based on, but I found an image of a torn-up fashion book online that I liked!

Late '30s in some sort of Rayon or Poly.  A mail order pattern.

'30s in cotton seersucker.  Another mail-order pattern.

'40s in sheer rayon/poly.  A well-worn DuBarry pattern.

 My reception gown for my wedding.  Silver silk lamé with glass beads.  Inspired by Ginger Rogers gown in Roberta.  And yes, we did do a Astaire/Rogers style first dance.


 My wedding gown.  Stretch silk charmeuse with a silk velvet Spencer.  The buttons are death heads of course!  Based on a 1950s gown, but I think it evokes an earlier time as well.


Our "rehearsal" dinner was at a Hawaiian restaurant, so I made up the classic '40s/'50s sarong dress from a cotton batik print.  Unfortunately it was below 50* out that night (record cold in Florida that winter).  I froze, but I still wore it!