Monday, March 30, 2015

Pattern review: Pegee of Williamsburg cloaks pattern

I needed an 18th c. short cape to wear with my francaise gown for an event at the end of March. Evenings are still a little chilly, so outerwear is a good idea.  Something like this:

A google search led me to: 

Perfect!  Yeah yeah I could draft one using online sources, but I hate reinventing the wheel and this is exactly what I wanted.

I bought an old copy probably from the 1980s on Etsy.  It's printed on paper -heavier than the Big Three tissue, but not quite as heavy as Truly Victorian or the new Laughing Moon paperstock.  The directions have a few pictures, but nothing as detailed as Big Three patterns.  Basically, if you've made a cape before, you'll be fine because you know how to fill in the blanks such as clipping seam allowances, etc.  It offers a little information on cloaks of this era such as what each style was typically made of and for what events they were worn.

I made the capuchine view and it was pretty easy.  The hardest part was the pleating on the hood.  I believe there is an error:  Under "sunburst pleats" it says, "...making three pleats folded on top of each other."  For me, it was four pleats folded on top of each other.  Judy also used this pattern and had the same experience.  We either both misunderstood or it's an error.  Not a big deal.

back seam sewn up:

Turned right side out:

I repeated the same steps for the lining and sewed them together.

Here's the hood!

As you can see, it's not very large. You can't put that over a fancy tall hairstyle or wig.  So enlarge yours if you want to use it for such a purpose.  Simple solution!  Next time I will.

For the capuchine, they have 8 extremely narrow pleats to give it a curve around the shoulders.  I changed it to 4 slightly larger pleats because I was using a thicker style lining and it worked out just fine.  

So here it is!  Made of shot purple poly taffeta, quilted black silk batting for lining, black net lace trim, and black moire ribbon for ties.

Sadly, despite lining it with quilted batting, it was just not enough against the bitter cold winds the night of my event.  It was unseasonably bitter cold!  I ended up wearing my modern wool coat with the muff.  Oh well!  Best laid plans and all!

So here it is the next morning before we left to drive home...

Matching muff with rusched trim made using the pattern from The Lady Detalle

Hopefully Judy from Learning To Costume will post her experience making the full cloak version of this pattern!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Royal orders and badges

Making pendants and miniatures has enjoyed a long tradition in the crafting world.  Michaels, AC Moore, and other craft stores as well as dozens of online shops have sold the parts to make them for years, and there are countless websites and blogs dedicated to tutorials on making them.

Here are a few...



Gwen Stefani in a fabulous miniature portrait necklace

"I Am Who They Were" portrait necklace by Ashley Gilreuth

But I was particularly inspired by the project in Gina's blog "Beauty For Ashes" because I'm obsessed with royalty, Court life, and Court Presentation.  Remember the "Court Presentation" class I gave at Dress U and the court gown, feather headdress and train I made for the Dress U Court Dinner back in 2013? 

 Jessica wearing the practice feathers/veil and train I made while practicing the walk and curtsey (that many of you watched on last season's Downton Abbey!)

My Court dress inspired by that pink dress from The Met

 Well, her "Royal Family Order" recreations were RIGHT up my alley!  I'd been collecting "royal" badges for years whenever I came across them in vintage shops or even Forever 21.

Gina and I were chatting one night and she showed me a portrait pendant she'd made using supplies from her local Hobby Lobby.  I was in love, and she encouraged me to make my own, so I did!
I used these pendants from Michael's and AC Moore, a crystal jewelry connector, a friend's heat gun to remove the cabochons (Thanks, Steve!), some quality ribbon from Dames a la Mode and The Ribbon Store and I got crafting!

(not pictured in supplies, crystal crown pendant I glued to the top of the Alexandra order)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Met: Death Becomes Her mourning clothes and accessories exhibit

Beth and I share a birthday and Judy's was the 1st, so what better way to celebrate than with a trip to see the mourning exhibit at The Met.  Wow.  I mean WOW.  This exhibit was truly amazing! We descended into the Costume Exhibit...


Well, I now know how I want to paint my living room one of these days.  Love this!

Then we entered the exhibit room itself.  

I want to set the scene for you:  It was very dimly lit.  Not only to protect the fabrics from light exposure, but I suppose to enhance the mourning experience.  Projections of sound bites from 19th c. publications on mourning attire appeared and slowly faded away on the walls while Gabriel Faure's Requiem op. 48, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, played in the background.  The mannequins were placed on plain white platforms with floor to ceiling curtains behind with an ombre effect going from black at the top to white at the bottom.

Now go play that music while you look at my photos of the exhibit.

18th c. Hunting Luncheon

I was invited to an 18th c. Hunting/Traveling themed luncheon in late October, and the hostess requested appropriate hunting/traveling attire.  I grabbed the Nehelenia Redingote pattern, some heavy teal cotton, and got to work!

Since I had, um, expanded a little since I bought the pattern, I had to alter it for a slightly larger figure, which meant I had to alter the collars, too.  I copied the front piece onto craft paper, slashed it in the center of the collar area, spread it to the desired amount, added paper there, and I had my new pattern size.  I also added a tiny amount to a few other seam allowances.  I found the sleeves to be a bit tight in the bicep area, so I added 1/2" there, too.

I also made a Gainsborough hat, a big fichu, and a huuuge cap of doom.  I made up both patterns after looking around the internet for ideas on shape and size.

Downton Dress Re-do

Back in January I made a pink teens evening dress for the Downton Abbey themed birthday party at my house.  The dress was ok, but really plain.  I wanted to wear it again to a Downton Abbey themed cocktail party at a local house museum, and it needed to be spruced up!

I grabbed more of that black lace, some beaded netting, and a rhinestone buckle I had in the stash.

There was a costume contest and I won first prize!  So if you have a dress you made that you don't wear because you just don't love it, try re-trimming it.

Regency Tea: Dress from a blue sari

My friend Beth was hosting a Regency Tea to celebrate the end of her Spring Semester in Nursing school.  Laughing Moon had put out a new bib front gown (Laughing Moon #126), and I had a pretty blue sari in my stash, so I set to work!

Problem was there wasn't quite enough yardage in the sari for what the pattern called for, so I asked my friends over on Live Journal what to do.  Bauhausfrau said to cut off the border (including all the border rows at the end there) and lengthen the fabric.  Genius!

Another suggestion was the make the back pieces less full, which I did as well.  I squeaked by!

I flatlined the sleeves in cotton organdy so that they would retain nice pouf all day, but failed to take any more mannequin photos.

I wanted a "double pie frill" chemisette since it was a daytime event, so between the chemisette in the Simplicity 4052, and the collar instructions in Janet Arnold Patterns of Fashion 1, I came up with this

The gown was done!  Now as a middle aged married woman (omg when did THAT happen?!), I needed a cap.  All the fashionable married ladies (and unmarried ladies of a certain age) wore caps (see more examples here

so I picked up the Country Wives Caps of the Upper Crust and made View B "Marjorie".  It made up really fast!  I used some cotton swiss scraps (Shabby Chic sheer embroidered curtains from Target) I had left over from a previous project as I liked the look of the sheer, embroidered caps.

Here's the outfit in action

May I pass you a cup of tea?

Cameo swag necklace by In The Long Run Designs


Friday, January 16, 2015

Make your own printed fabric

I might be late to the game, but I just saw these print blocks for sale on Ebay.  What a great way to get our own fabric in just the right color and print!