Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My second robe en chemise

This robe en chemise was a very quick and dirty project. The idea was to make something fast while trying out a pattern that I had been altering to fit. I was never entirely happy with my first robe en chemise that I had made for myself, so I wanted to make another. Design-wise it's really similar to the first gown, but there are some subtle, yet significant differences. Most notably, it's worn with a pair of 1780s stays, unlike my first robe en chemise that was made to go over my white 1760s stays, as mentioned in the original post about it. 

I've had the chance to wear this gown to an event twice already. The first time was to an informal 18th century gathering in February and I actually felt a bit overdressed for the simple occasion.

I wore the gown with my old bum pad that is smaller than the one I usually wear (for 1780s gowns). This bum pad doesn't extend to the sides so it's more appropriate for the early 1790s look that I was going for.

I'm not entirely happy about the amount of fabric in the back of the skirt because there's not much - with the bum pad it looks kind of sad. I had a very limited amount fabric so I ended up using every bit I had without having to piece the bodice or the sleeves. With so much gathering in the front, not as much material was left for the back.


Mia did my hair, as usual.

Photo: Jarno Manninen

Photo: Jarno Manninen

And then I also wore the gown to L'Amusette's annual spring ball last Saturday. The theme was French Revolution so the gown was accessorized accordingly.

There was no bum pad.

This time my hairdo was inspired by the simpler styles appearing in the 1790s as fashion transitions towards neoclassical style.

Under the gathered front, the gown has fitted front panels that are tied with five pairs of tapes at center front. This closure method is based on an extant dress in Musee de la Toile de Joyu. If you take a look at the photo in the link, you can see that the panels are unevenly stretched where the ties have pulled the fabric. To avoid this, I added bones to the edges of the panels.

Twill tapes were sewn to the underside of the center front panels to create casings for drawstrings.

The drawstrings are tied and hidden under the center front. 

The back is very simple. 

None of the photos of the finished gown so it very well so here's an in-progress photo before attaching the skirt and sleeves:

Oh, and there's a bonus - a little video clip that Mia took on her phone at the Spring ball! :) 

My Pinterest research boards related to this project:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Regency day dress (Laughing Moon Mercantile #126)

By arranging the Gustavian day event in Vaasa two years ago, Noora gave me a reason to make my first regency gown - so I finally did. She has been talking about how easy regency gowns are to make for probably as long as we've known so I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise that making a simple gown like this was quick and easy but I still couldn't help being positively surprised. Had I not worked on it a bit by bit in the evenings and mornings so that it took me a month or so to finish, I think the dress could have been done in much less time. It really had been too long since I could properly enjoy sewing so this gown really was a much needed relaxing project for me at the time, too.

The fabric was a remnant find from a local fabric store. I had seen it earlier there and hadn't bought it because at the time I didn't think I was going to be doing regency so soon but the second time I looked at it I couldn't stop thinking about getting it so I only had to ask for Noora's opinion before I could come to a decision. Looking back now I don't know why I hesitated so much because I think it's quite perfect for the era as well as a color that I love. ;)

Here you can see a close-up of the fabric, in a different lighting (indoors):

And later I even discovered an original dress that was made out of a fabric that reminded me of my find. Yay!

Knowing the fabric would make a lovely day dress, I simply started looking around for regency day dresses on the net and eventually found the following fashion plate (from 1801-1802), which became my main source for inspiration. 

Source: Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs via SceneInThePast.

I really like how the back side of this dress looks pretty similar to the fashion plate.

This was also my very first time using a commercial pattern for a historical dress. I had read a few positive reviews about the Laughing Moon Mercantile's stomacher front dress so I decided to give it a go. And yes, it was as great as everyone is saying. I only did some alterations to the pattern before making a mock-up and it fit perfectly. Construction-wise I deviated a bit from the modern instructions - although still making the internal seams on the machine - and added a third pair of ties to the middle of the closure in the lining (the pattern suggests only two pairs but I was afraid that it would cause awkward pulling).

To see other gowns made from this pattern check out Lauren's, Erin's or Dixie's lovely versions.

I would also like to thank to Mia for creating my lovely hair-do (as seen from the back above) and Noora for letting me borrow her chemisette, as I don't have one yet. :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Second Gustavian Day in Vaasa, August 2016.

 Last August, a week after the picnic in Suomenlinna, it was time to travel to Vaasa, to have another picnic. We did not have the same luck with weather as the previous year, and so it began raining already on our way to the venue. But that didn't stop us from having a good time anyhow! 

After everyone had changed into their costumes, we had a picnic in the indoors of the Old Museum of Vaasa. 

The rain stopped for a while, so we had the chance to do some outdoor activities in the end, too! We had a croquet match...

...while others danced for a bit. The event is public and you don't have to wear a costume to come so there's some audience on the background.

But soon we had to get back in because it started raining again.

Of course there was an obligatory regency wedgie attempt, as usual. :)

So then we toured the museum again. I already took several photos of it last time so I didn't do that this time. But the grey room upstairs had the best light (most of the rooms are too dark for photos) as well as the most fitting furniture for the era of our costumes, so of course we took some costume photos there.

(Is anyone else bugged by the fact the table cover isn't ironed?! Because I am. (And yes, I realize the museum probably isn't equipped with an iron...))

And before it was time to leave, we also took some similar stroll photos as the previous year.

 There has already been talk about third Gustavian day event again this year, so I really hope it works out again! It has been such an easygoing and pleasant event with a chance to see friends that I really look forward to it already!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Williamsburg print gown photos (Fig Leaf Patterns 101)

In the first post about this gown I only showed you photos of the gown on my mannequin (and a teaser). I've worn the dress three time since then this year so now there are plenty of photos of it being worn. Since I already shared most of my thoughts about this gown and pattern in the original post, this is going to be one picture-heavy post. 

The first time I got to wear this gown was at an 18th century assembly in March. 

Now here's something I don't think I mentioned earlier - I'm not sure I like how short the bodice is at the front bottom - as you can see, it makes the waistband of the petticoat to show. Also, the skirt of the gown starts from really far at the side so the pocket slits (of the gown and petticoats) do not align, thus making the gown pocket slits useless. Actually, both this and the problem with the petticoat waistband could be fixed just by moving the start of the skirt towards the center front. If you ever plan to use this pattern, you might want consider doing that.

Interestingly, the pattern envelope illustrations do not seem to show the side back seams (or not very clearly anyway). I originally thought the bodice would have just four pieces + shoulder pieces (well, actually it does, because the seams next to center front are tucks). Not that it matters but I figured I should mention.

 And the second time I had the chance to wear this gown was already posted on the blog, at L'Amusette's annual masquerade ball. With a white petticoat, gown skirt hem down, and a black belt the look was a little later than the one above. In the first photo below you can also see how roomy the sleeves originally were (as mentioned in my first post about this gown)!

The gown has a train. Another interesting thing about the pattern is that I didn't have to shorten the skirt even though I'm shorter than average. But the pattern has the original skirt length so I guess that means I'm the same height, from waist down, as the original wearer.

And the third wearing was on the picnic that I also already blogged about. This time the skirt was drawn up with tapes again, to keep the train from getting dirty. I had also made new more tight fitting sleeves (!) so here's how they currently look: