1888s Purple Evening Gown – Photoshoot

Once at the ball, my sister and I took the opportunity to take some photos of her new dress (read about the construction here).
She is wearing her 3-pieced gown on top of her 1860s corset, my old Loster bustle, ruffled bustle petticoat, and stockings. Accessorized with black shoes and glowes, a black velvet bag and crystal necklace.

  Photos taken at Medevi Brunn

1888s Purple Evening Gown – Construction

Last year (about October) I got news of an upcoming late Victorian ball in a beautiful location close to were I live.
The opportunities to attend such events are pretty scarce for me at the moment (with my two small children taking most of my time), so I knew I just had to go.

And then I talked my sister into going as well 🙂

But then arose the small but delicate problem of “What to wear”…
I had a 1880s evening gown that I made and worn in 2014, that would work in a pinch. (And since I just found out I was pregnant (due to give birth merely 3 months before the event), the decision about my gown would just have to wait.)

But my sister had nothing at all to wear, so we started searching for inspiration.
We must have looked at hundreds of fashion plates, but finally decided on this one for our main inspiration.The draping on the bodice and pointed waist would both help to give her body the desired hourglass shape.
And also, who doesn’t love a big as bustle 🙂

I spent quite some time both online, and in actual stores to try to find a patterned fabric that would work for the design.
Finally I had to give it up, and once my sister decided she wanted a purple gown I thankfully already know where to look.I found both the cotton/polyester satin and the polyester chiffon on the bargain rack for les then 40kr/m (4 Usd).
The purple/silver lace was something I grabbed on Sale a few years ago, and never knew what to do with.

I knew this dress would have to be build during a long time, and preferably be finished well ahead of the ball (you know with work, the new baby coming, and the 1,5 year old kid taking my every spare minute), so even before I found the fabric’s I’d started working on the pattern.I used the “Truly Victorian 462 as the base of the bodice, and altered it to fit both my sister and the style we wanted.

The pattern required quite a lot alterations, so to see that I didn’t made any big mistakes, I also made a paper mock-up and tried it on my dressform.  Then I made the usual cotton mock-up, wich had some major fitting issues – like the back/waist lenght, to little fabric accomodating the back/bustle and the neckline being to high and weird.

So I went back to the drafting table, did the alterations and cut a second mock-up. This time the fit was so much better.

Then it was time to cut the fabric.
I used 3 layers to the bodice (outer purple satin, black cotton twill for interlining and regular cotton for lining), basted the 2 outer layers together and stitched the darts.Then I stitched the whole bodice together, added the bias tape for boning channels to all the seams and added the boning (cut and shaped from heavy zip ties). I also did a quick fitting on my sister at this point to see that I was on track.

Then I made and added bias cut piping to all the edges (upper, lower and arm hole), before inserting the lining by hand.

Then it was time for the bust draping.
I found this part really scary, and had no idea of what I was doing, but since I didn’t had any similarly weighted fabric at home to do a test run with, I just took the dive and cut the purple chiffon.I did hesitated a bit about if I should stitch the draping down, and risk it pulling, or to trust it stayed put and nice on its own. In the end I opted to tack parts of it down.

The skirt of the dress is in two pieces with a simple basic straight skirt underneath a draped layer fastened at the front.
I used almost my entire living room experimenting with the skirt drape.left side pinned up. With the train downAnd the train up for dancing

Once I was happy with the shape, I took it all down and copied the left sides drape to the right side to get them exactly the same.Then I hemmed the whole piece, added a small waistband and stitched the draped pleats on permanently.

While testing the second bodice mock-up I also tried the skirts on, to pin the length and pin the hook and bar placements.

The second most scary part on making this dress was to create the sick-sack border at the hem.
After some testing and a lot of thinking I decided to make it by cutting the skirt in sick-sack, using a cardboard template, edging it with contrasting piping and stitch a row of pleats to the bottom after.Here’s my calculation o each “sick.sack” and pleat width – something that of course didn’t keep.

So after some more math (like, how short should the skirt hem be if the sicks-sack was 4 cm and the pleats was to hang down 12 cm…), I finally cut the hem.

Then I made quite a lot of silver piping using store bought bias binding and left over cord.

My first attempt adding the piping to the sick-sack hem in the “regular” way was a disaster. Probably because I couldn’t get the needle as close to the cord that was needed.
So while cursing quite a bit, I ripped it all out and tried again.
This time I decided to stitch it from the outside. So I carefully pinned, snipped and pressed all the corners to get nice and crisp edges, before adding the bias tape.
Using clasp instead of pins, I slowly stitched the piping to the skirt, turning every corner and inner curve by hand, hating every minute of it.The result was far from perfect, but at this time (about 2 weeks before the ball) I just couldn’t stomach to re-do it all again. Hoping nobody would notice the wonky sick-sack once the pleats were on, I move on to pleat 9 m of fabric into 3 m of hem.
Earlier this year, when deciding to make this gown I started looking for an easier way to do the pleats. And while I found the “Magic pleater” it was way to pricey for me with the import taxes and everything, so I just had to bite the bullet and do it all by hand.

Marking, folding, pinning, ironing and taping every pleat took quite some time, and I was so ready to be done.Learning this trick with the masking tape from Isabella of Prior AttireI did however remember to hem the fabric before starting on the pleats – that got to count for something, right?

Once the pleating was done it was time to attach the strip to the skirt.

Then I added some lace to the sides of the skirt for decoration.

I did a final fitting on my sister only a few days before the event, and thankfully everything was in order.

Even the draping looked nice

Lastly I finished upp all the small but time consuming part like, adding hooks and eyes to fasten the skirt to the bodice, adding ties for the train and iron it all before pacing it up for the event the next day… 

The Finished dress:

The facts:

What: A 18880s Evening gown for my sister to wear at “The Officers Ball 2018”

Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 as a base for the bodice, but the rest is just drafted and draped based on images and how I wanted the gown to look.

Fabric: 5 of purple cotton/polyester satin, 1 m of purple polyester chiffong, 0,5 m of black twill for interlining and 0,5 m of black cotton for lining.

Notions: Thread, 6 m of silver bias tape, 9 m of cotton cord for piping, 3 m of lace for decoration, button hole tread for eyelets, 3 m of black cord for lacing, 4 m bis tape for boning channels 14 zip-ties for boning, 0,5 m black cotton ribbon to tie the train, 6 pair of heavy hook and eyes to keep the bodice from riding up.

Time: Way to long…
All and all I think I put about 40 hours of work over the course of 5 months into this gown, so not that much, but to me it never seamed to be finished.

Cost: Since every part of this gown came either from the sales bin or my own left over stash, it was a real cheap project. And I estimate about 500 Sek (50 Usd) all and all.

Final thoughts: I’m fairly happy with it. My sister loves it, and that’s really what counts, but there are things I wished I’d had time to do better.

The Day of the Big Crinolines 2017

After months of “planing” (which included me asking around for interest, sending a few emails, and making a quick poster/flyer), the “Day of the big Crinolines” (2017) was finally upon us :-).

A quick poster made from a photo from last year. 

Some of you (especially if you follow me on Instagram) might recall, I’d had a bit of a clothing dilemma the weeks leading up to this event.
But after lots of answer, and I really mean A LOT, (Thank you to all who took their time to give me their thoughts and opinions 🙂 ) I came to the decision, of which you’d probably already aware – To wear the white plaid dress with the white bonnet (pic 2 & 6), disregarding the fact I wore that exact dress last time.This pic was posted to my Instagram together with the question of which outfit I should choose, and generated about 50 comments. Surprisingly many of you picked matching outfits (green dress with green bonnet and so on), even though I originally made the bonnets to go with the dress right above in the picture (1 & 4..).  

*Ok, so this post contains a lot of picture (all taken by me or my sister, if nothing else mentioned), and I will not speak so much about everything. Just a warning 😉

The day started at 10am when me and my sister meet up with so me of the other early participants to get dressed, a endeavor that took quite a while.Clara helping my sister securing the hat properly. 

And by the way… Yay!
And with no last try on before the event I was relived to se that the outfit worked.

The day officially started at 11am with a picknick in the green, but the previous days heavy rain made us les inclined to get down on the ground, and instead we opted for a spot by the outdoor dance floor with several benches.  

The “low class” people helped sett the tables 😉   

One interesting element in our picknick (which I’m sure amused us as much as the other party) was the stride of runners from “Linköpings Half-marathon” passing us by.  I found it particularly funny, since I originally planned to enter the race, (yep, I’d doubled bocked myself) but a sore knee forced me to rest for the past month. My boyfriend however entered, and ran past us in one of the front crowds, to my, and a few more of us high applause and encouraging shouts.

Despite taking photos, looking for my hubby amongst the runners and making sure all newcomers was welcomed and everyone was comfortable, I did actually had a few moments to sitt down and have a bite to eat (and drink).

Kerstin and Sara visited the event as part of their project (or perhaps despite) their project to re-create their long past relative Agusta Lundin’s (a well known Swedish mid 19th century lady) travels through Sweden and Europe. Read all about their trip and project at: Agustasresa.se 

A severe case of “Hairnet stuck to PomPoms” 😀
Photo by: Kerstin of “Augustas resa” (more photos from her can be found here)

Some mingel

Pernilla and Denise in their beautiful new dresses.

This is how happy Pernilla is about her recently finished crinoline 😀

Sis 🙂

 Fixing some hair before the dance-recital

After the picknick we all headed onto the dance flor to get a lesson in 19th century dance.

Not everyone likes to dance though, sometimes it’s just enough to sitt and enjoy it instead.

Then the dance-team showed us some more complicated moves  I opted to stay sidelined since we were uneven to match the formation (besides No dancing = more photos)

Before it was time to “hit the town”, and for everyone to wander off as they liked we gathered for a group picture.

Pic by: Janne

Pic by: Janne

I also got some pictures of all of my 3 dresses attending the day.  “The brown ladies”
After finally deciding on my dress, and finishing my sisters outfit, I got an email from one of the new girls in the dance team, asking for advice/help on what to wear. After some questions about her approximate size, and armed with lots of safety pins, I dug my brown Paisley gown out from my basement, gave it a press and lent it to her for the day.

Then we all spent a few hours drinking coffee, walking around and shopping

My sister had a “dress-twin” in this lady (That fabric is divine!)

Maria and Ruth resting their legs

Apparently this event was sett on “The Knitters Day”, and since it was a bit chilly I made good use of my beloved mitts, that was gifted to me a few years back. 

Just like last time, we all gathered again before dinner to play some “Pinn-ball” (or is it Bowling?) on the old course.  

Clara in her beautiful lilac dress (and don’t you just love her bonnet – perfection!),
and Sarah who changed dress (and decade) before dinner, to a gorgeous natural form gown.

 “Have you heard the latest news…”

Then it was time to head in for the dinner.

And that was that. Testing out my new selfie-stick with some of the amazing ladies from the day.

I’m really happy about how the day turned out (even though the weather wasn’t exactly the nicest, but hey! No Rain :-)), and so grateful to all the wonderful people who took their time (and Awesome costumes) to come here and help make the day such a success.  Hope to see you all next time… 😀

And as a bonus: Check out this video made by one of the photographers who joined us in the beginning of the day.

1865s Kaki Walking suit (HSM 7/2017) Part 2 – accessorize

A dress does not make an outfit, and besides the skirt and jacket, my sister also needed some additional items
(part 1).
inspiration

I’ve made her basic undergarments earlier this spring:
 Huge elliptical hoop crinoline
mid 19th century corset

But one thing I hadn’t had the time for was a proper petticoat
(one that actually was wide enough to fit over the huge hoops).
So that’s where I begun.
Using 2,5 white cotton sheets from IKEA I cut and pleated a whole afternoon and evening, before I could call it a day and consider myself done.  

When the under-layers was done (I know, I know – She could easily have used her another petticoat, but this will have to do for now) it was time for the rest of the outfit.

On the same event 2 years ago, I made my sister a more basic version of this years outfit, so some of the pieces she needed was already waiting in the closet.  We re-used the shirt and swiss-waist she’d worn last time.
Added a longer silk-ribbon to the neck and that was that 🙂

Well, actually she still needed something on her head…

I’d warned her beforehand, that I might not have the time to come up with something new, but when I came upon this perfectly cheap straw-hat (IKEA, once again) a few days before the event, I knew I needed to give it a try.
I Started by picking almost the whole hat apart.

I only left a few cm on the crown, before I (with the fashion plate as a guide)started to pin the braid back in a different shape. It took me several hours and multitude of re-pinning and starting all over again before I finally had a shape that was good.

after a first try at hand-stitching, I decided that if it couldn’t be done by machine it was not meant to happen this time (since this was the night before the event).
Turns out, it worked like a charm.   It was a bit fiddly to turn the brim around inside my machine but with the right angle (and the use of free space ove r the table edge) the hat was stitched in no time.  
Once the base was done I started adding decoration, using the same braid as on the jacket & skirt. Note the braid stitched both to the upper and under sides of the brim.

The final touch was to add some flowers and I opted for a nice pop of color with a few of these plastic flowers.

The finished hat: 

Bonus pictures of my little helper, getting the hat to sitt exactly “right” on my mannequin head. 

And the whole outfit completed