Archive for November 19th, 2008

Sage Elizabethan Dress

It had been a while since I’d made an Elizabethan dress from scratch and I was starting to get the itch to sew. The end result is this sage dress. (Although I will admit I scavenged the beaded sleeves from a previous dress.)

The sage material was originally purchased for and made into an Italian-style Renaissance dress. I was happy with that incarnation, but the material called to me, begging to be made into something more extravagant. So after being worn only twice, I had a photo shoot and then took the seam rippers to it.

One of the little details that pleases me to no end, but isn’t generally noticed by others, is the blackwork collar. The chemise was originally created several years ago when I was just learning to do blackwork. And I foolishly picked the back of the collar for this piece. I then decided that adding blue glass pearls & beads would be a fabulous idea. A lot of work went into this piece.

Most of my other bodices are modeled after the Eleanor of Toledo bodice in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion (c1560 – 1620). The downside of that model is that I have to have someone lace me in. For a change I went with a front opening on this bodice. Which left me with a bit of a conundrum. How do I fasten it?

My answer arrived at the last possible minute when I recalled how I had fastened some other garments. I simply sewed buttons on alternating sides of the split and then added ribbons opposite the buttons. Easy to fasten and holds tight. Problem solved.

The glass pearls on the overskirt,  bodice, skirting & shoulder tabs were all sewn on individually. It took quite a bit of time, but the end result was well worth the effort.

The underskirt worked out by happenstance. I’d run across it at a fabric store on the remnant table. For years it lived in my fabric closet until desperation sent me to excavate for a suitable fabric. I suspect that eventually I will add beading to it.

The overskirt will also receive some additional embellishments. As it was I ran out of not only time but glass pearls before the dress’s debut. I am nothing, if I am not a procrastinator. I used the cheaters method for cartridge pleating, having done the entire method by hand at least four other times. For this skirt I used drapery tape that gave me even pleats and reinforced the overall effect.

chris on November 19th 2008 in Creativity

Burgundy Corset

A veteran creator many Elizabethan stays, I thought I’d try my hand at what was billed as a Civil War period corset.  I happened to be at a local fabric store when the Simplicity patterns were on sale. So for 99 cents I snatched this pattern up.

The end product didn’t exactly match the cover art, but I was pleased with the results.

What I should have known from previous experience sewing from store bought patterns was that:

1. the size I measure for is always too big

2. the pattern pieces don’t always fit together

3. i don’t like store bought patterns.

The good news is after some adjustments I ended up with a garment that fits me fairly well. I changed up the front a bit as I couldn’t find a busk anywhere in town and was under the gun to finish it up. So I improvised and put in grommets. But instead of lacing the front and back, I then added silver buttons up both sides of the front opening. The silver buttons were attached (by sewing through the grommet holes) to plain buttons on the inside of the bodice. Run a thin ribbon around the buttons and the corset is closed.

Double Click on the individual photos for a full size view.


chris on November 19th 2008 in Creativity