Monday, June 17, 2013

Delayed....yet again!

So I had *finally* started talking about how I made my 1775 francaise for the competition.

Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to have to pause yet again.
It's a good reason, really!

You see, I met this couple at Costume-Con in the historical masquerade. The gentleman was dressed in a VERY good late 18th century suit so we took a few pics together. The lady was the one that created the incredibly detailed (and hand-embroidered) outfit. They were so nice!

It turns out that he is the editor of the Virtual Costumer - the quarterly online costume magazine put out by the Silicon Web chapter of the International Costumers Guild. I love that magazine and have all the back issues saved on my ipad.

He has since informed me that the August issue is focusing on Regency and Georgian periods. And he asked me to write an article about how I put together my francaise!!
Fangirl squeal!

So I'll be putting those particular blog posts on hold until after the issue comes out, naturally.

In the meantime, I think I'll start posting pics of the other costumes that I wore to Costume-Con this year.

Here's a couple of sneak peeks:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Engageantes? What are those?

I started backwards on the dress…

I didn’t jump in to the dress construction right away.  I started with the accessories. Huh?

“Why?” you may ask.

Well, thank you for asking.

I was kind of putting off doing the stays, which intimidated me. And I couldn’t do the dress until I made the stays.

So I started with the accessories.

First up:
Engageantes (or sleeve ruffles)

(Close up of a painting from the MET)

These sleeve ruffles were made of lace like this one from the MET:

or fine embroidered cotton like these from LACMA:

They were basted to the end of the sleeve and were removed for cleaning or switching to a new dress.

They are cut in a wavy pattern and the ends are stitched together. Then the top is gathered and basted to the end of the sleeve. The skinny part fits in the crook of the elbow. The long part hangs down in the back.

Most of the ones that I’ve seen on the museum web sites appear to be around 39-44” long and around 8-9 inches wide at the widest part. By the 1770s they had multiple layers, 2 or 3. I decided to make mine with 2 layers. A 9” wide one and a smaller one about 6-7” wide. 

I thought about getting a pre-embroidered cotton and making the ruffles out of that. But I *really* wanted lace. Such beautiful silk taffeta deserves it, but I figured that I’d never find a good enough lace for a price I could afford. The lace had to be at least 9” wide. And it had to be soft and drapey. Most lace today is stiff and scratchy. And I needed about 4-5 yards.

Then I decided to try searching for cotton lace on etsy and I found this:


Looks soft enough to gather.
Seller says it’s soft. Seller says it’s cotton (probably with a synthetic background, though). The pattern is a little heavier than most 18th century examples I’ve seen, but not outrageously so. I honestly know next to nothing about lace, but it looks good to me.

And it was only $12 for 2.5 yards.

So I took a chance and ordered 5 yards.

I waited for the shipping from China, tracking it all the way.

Then it finally came!

Wait…”that package is too small for that much lace” was my first thought.
But it wasn’t. The lace was just THAT soft and drapey that it was folded up into a very small envelope.

You just can’t believe how soft and flowy this stuff is!

Here's what it looked like finished.

The lace may not be exactly period, but aren’t they yummy?

The Fabulous Fabric

Okay, now that Costume Con is over, I can start posting all of the entries that I wrote way back when I started this blog. You remember --- that's why I started this whole thing?

When I talked about it, I put up the intro and talked about the pattern (which I ended up not using actually).
Now on to the things I wrote back then:

Got the fabric! Yay!!!!!

Beautiful, smooth, shiny, crisp ….
So many adjectives, so little time.

The color isn’t as peach as the picture appeared on the web site. It’s more of a beautiful cross between peach and baby pink. “Pinch” or “Peak”, maybe? (grin)

And it’s nice and tightly woven, too. Just like a good taffeta should be. No raveling at the ends at all. I showed it to some costumers here and one of them said that it looked almost plastic because it was so smooth and reflective. No slubs on this silk!