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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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.

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1825 meets 1865 silly photos

While we where both styled to our teeth, we also took a few shots together, me and my sister.

Getting ourself ready

“Whats that?”¬†

I’v could have sworn it run in under here…”

Lets take a spin around the block…

Photos/filming: Elin Evaldsdotter

1865s Teal Evening gown (HSM 5/2017) – Photoshoot

The week before the ball my sister came over to do the final fitting and to take some photos.

She is wearing her new green corset, orange cage crinoline, petticoat and 2 pieced gown. Accessorized with black gloves, black lace-fan, a black velvet bag, silver tiara and necklace. She is also wearing a chemise, stockings, bloomers and dancing shoes.

Photos: Elin Evaldsdotter

Bonus:
Video of the gown in motion (shaky mobile video – sorry)

White Regency Evening Gown

For the upcoming ball, hosted by my dancing company, I knew I wanted a new gown.
After several hours on Pinterest, looking through dossins of beautiful fashion plates, I finally decided on a style.

1799-1800-dressesI used the left dress in this fashion plate as my inspiration.

Since time was sparce, I decided to use Simplicity 4055 instead of draping my own pattern.simplicity4055This may now be the pattern I made most garments from (my yellow regency gown, brown spencer/west, my sisters greecian goodes dress, and now this white evening gown).

I also had the perfect fabric in my stash. IMG_7086A white striped cotton voile, that started life as a pair of IKEA curtains.

I started by mocking-up the lining to get a foundation to build the rest of the dress.IMG_3675The neckline needed to be lowered a bit. It is after all a ball, and if there is ever a time to show some cleavage a ball must most definitely be it. IMG_3683

Then I cut the fashion fabric, making sure to get enough fabric into the front piece to get some nice gathering. IMG_3684I stitched the bodice together and basted it into the interlining before I gathered the front.

Then it was time for the next try on.
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The bodice fitted pretty good, and the wrinkles at the back comes from my boyfriends pinning me into it (sch, don’t tell him), and not from the back being to small as you would think.

After finishing up the bodice, I attached the skirt making sure to put most of the gathers at the center back.IMG_3702

The sleeves are regular pouf sleeves with a row of gathering stitches in the middle to create a double pouf.IMG_3703

And once again I needed to get help being pinned into the dress (see why I will never say anything about less then perfect pinning…)

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Since I didn’t had time to get hold of a long enough red ribbon to tie around the neck, crossed in back and under bust as in the fashion plate, I experimented wit a shorter red ribbon tied under bust.

I finished by attaching the sleeves, hemming the skirt and attaching the hook and eyes at center back.
I also decided to stitch on a ribbon under bust made from the same fabric – something I did at the location of the ball, just before getting dressed.

The finished dress:IMG_3871

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A pic from the ball of me wearing the dress, stylishly accessorized in burgundy and beads:IMG_3797

Just the Facts:

Challenge: nr 21 – Re-do. I choose to re-do challenge nr 9 – Black and White.

What: A white regency (year 1805) evening gown.

Pattern: I started with Simplicity 4055, but made quite a few changes to it.

Fabric: 3 m of white striped cotton voile from IKEA curtains. 0,5 m of white cotton for lining and interning.

Notions: Thread and 4 pair of hook and eyes.

How historical accurate: So so. The dress looks pretty good and the pattern are pretty authentic, but the construction are all modern with seing machine and bag lining. I would say about 6/10.

Time: I rushed the entire dress (starting only two nights before the ball) working the evenings after work, so I would say about 8 hours.

Cost: About 150 Sek (22 Usd)

First Worn: nov 8, to a Regency ball.

Final Thoughts: I really like it. The fit is good, and the dress looks both delicate and cool at the same time.
My only regret was not to have the time to make/buy the burgundy fabric/shawl that was to be draped across the shoulders and tied below the bust, as in the fashion plate.

 

Greek goodes Regency Dress

For the HSF challenge nr 20 РParallel universe,  I decided to enter my sisters regency evening dress.
I’ve been planing her dress for quite some time, ever since I talked her into attending the autumn regency bal, but only started working on it just this other week.
 We looked at some inspiration together and decided to make something similar on this lovely paining.
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The pattern I used was the regular Simplicity regency pattern (which I used for my yellow regency gown).
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I needed to make it quite a lot smaller to fit my petite sister.
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IMG_7083The fabric is a curtain I bought on sale last spring, which my sister called dibs on the moment she found it in my stash.
The sewing was pretty easy. I made the bodice and and stitched on the skirt.IMG_3284
Then I inserted the lining and hand tacked it down.
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Then I put it on my dress form to make some sleeve-design decisions.
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Red or white?
When looking at the dress like this, at the dress form I really hated it.
The fabric looked cheap and washed out, and the sleeves just looked ridiculous. But I decided to keep working, since I hoped the right trimmings and underwear would save the dress and give it some more shape and color.
So on to some more decisions…
White, ok – but long or short?
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Short, ok, but should I decorate it? (and so on)
IMG_3280I cut some of the lenght of and started working on a trimming design for he sleeves.
IMG_3282Using some golden trim I dew a scalloped design which I transferred to the sleeves and stitched on.
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Then I stitched on the sleeves, and cut the length of the skirt.
IMG_3288I hemmed both layers of fabric, stitched on hooks and eyes and finished of by attaching the whide golden leaf-shaped trim under bust.
The finished dress (and I forgot to take pictures of it on my dress form before giving it to my sister):
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And at the photoshoot:
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Just the Facts:
Challenge: 20 Paralell Universe
What: A Regency dress (approx year 1805). During the early 19th century ancient Greek aesthetics where all in vogue, and ladies wore sheer slim dresses to copie the gowns they saw in ancient pictures and statues.
Pattern: Simplicity 4055, with some alterations.
Fabric: 1 burgundy polyester curtain from Indiska (120 x 220 cm), 2 m of white polyester satin and 40 cm of white cotton.
Notions: Thread, 80 cm of wide gold trim, 2 m of narrow gold trim, 6 pair of hook and eyes, 30 cm of plastic boning.
How historical accurate: Not much. The pattern are pretty good, but the fabrics, trims and construction techniques are way to modern.
Time: About 10 hours
Cost: I would say about 350 Sek.
First Worn: This weekend for photos, but will be worn next weekend at a Regency Bal.
Final thoughts: I really like this dress (and think my sister feels the same), and the only thing I would change is to lengthen the front bodice a bit more to keep the under bust seam from riding up.

1880s Evening Gown – Sewing & Construction

In my last post I told you about my trouble with the pattern for my opera gown. Now I will tell you about the sewing and construction of it, and also show you the finished gown (bodice and train only).IMG_5007

So after I got the mock-up to fit properly I brought out my fashion fabric. The dress is made in a polyester golden brocade, which both feels and behaves a lot like silk. IMG_5304

I bought 6 m of it on sale before christmas, and now it was time to lay it out on the floor. IMG_4980

I also cut the lining, adjusting the lenght of the train to the 4 m long ivory cotton. IMG_4987

The different layers (lining, fashion fabric, interlining (cotton twill) and paper pattern piece).IMG_4988

Then I marked all the darts (as usual being very bad at marking the notches), and basted al the layers together. IMG_4989

I recently learnt a new trick, on how to sew darts on fabric and interlinning which I wanted to try. You simply baste the layers close to the darts, then sew inside the dart, very close to the original sewing-line.

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This way you can easy get a nice looking dart without any bulk, and the stiching won’t show once the dart is sewn.

I then sewed the whole bodice together, and dressed in corset and bustle for a try on. IMG_5021

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Hm, not great. Some changes are needed. Like taking the armhole and shoulder seams in a bit. I also need to re-shape the front a bit, and make the neck opening a bit lower and bigger.

Once all the changes was made, it was time for the buttonholes. I started by practice on a piece of scrap fabric, and it looks pretty decent (if you ignore the green thread).IMG_5070

So, on to the real deal. Marking the spaces and finish covering the buttons.IMG_5076

The buttonholes took about 3 hours (guess I’ve becoming faster), and when finished I sewed on the buttons. I’m really pleased with the way the front bodice looks, and are happy I took the time and money to buy 5 extra buttons.¬†IMG_5079

Then I pinned and sewed on some boning chanels (made from leftover cotton stripes) and put the cable ties in.IMG_5086

Then I once again got dressed to try it on.

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And even though it fit much better now, it still needed to be reduced a bit at the shoulders.

But the waist and the front clouser looked fantastic (if I may say so myself).IMG_5122

Now it was time to make the piping for the neckline. I used a cotton cord and some leftover fashion fabric (cut on the straight grain).IMG_5125

Pinning those pesky corners, making sure they look neat, and cuting the seam allowence to get the piping laying smoothly.IMG_5124

Then I sewed on the lining. I folded the allowence and sewed it on by hand at the neckline/collar and buttonhole stand.IMG_5127

Then I started on the back pleats. Using the pattern as a guide and treating the two layers (fabric and lining) as one, box-pleating the three back seams.IMG_5128I then attached the pleats to the bodice sewing into the interling by hand.

Next up was the lenght – cuting and heming the train.IMG_5145

After sewing the lining to the train from the inside, I snipped the seam-allowence, IMG_5148

and pressed them flat, making sure the lining was a couple of mm smaler, les it would peek out.IMG_5149

Heming the train would have been an easy step, if I’ve cut the lining long enough. But no, I had to skrimp on the fabric, leaving me no other choise but to piece the train (using scraps) to the desired lengt.IMG_5457

Then I mesured/draped the train to get the right placement on the laces for the “poufines” in the bustle back.IMG_5451

When wearing the dress you simply tie the stings together to get the right lenght on the train. IMG_5454

When the bodice was finished I brought out the fabric I saved for the apron, and got to work draping it on the dressform.

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I also decided the dress needed some more decoration. And finding this fringe trim the day before the bal caused me to re-visit the sewing machine, and using 8 m of it on the hem of the bodice, train and apron.¬†IMG_5247(And since this was a last minute change, I haven’t got any picture of the trimmed dressed).

Even with the dress finished I’m not totaly happy with the neckline – the fabric is being pulled in some ugly directions at the neck, caused by some fiting trouble.IMG_5363But It is to late to do anything about it now, and the bal room will be faily dark…

So here it is, the finished dress/bodice.IMG_5412

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IMG_5152Train un-draped

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Train draped leaving the sides straight/down, and then with sides tied up.

IMG_5166Train totaly draped (walking lenght).

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Facts:

What: A 1880s trained evening bodice.

Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 (totaly re-modeled)

Fabric: 6 m golden polyester brocade, 4 m ivory cotton lining, 0,5 m ivory cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, 15 buttons (which I covered in fabric), 2 m string for piping, 3 m string for busteling/draping the train, 8 plastic cable ties for boning, 2 m self made cotton bias tape for boning chanels, 8 m brown fringe trim.

Time: 25 hours

Cost: About 800 Sek (120 Usd)

Things I would do Different: I would definitely have draped my own pattern, and taken the time to do multiple mock-ups to get the fit over the shoulders and neck just right. I will also have changed the lines of the side/back piece which curved shape now causes it to pull a bit. And re-placed the straight boning with spiral boning in the curved side/back seam, for the same puporse.

Final Thoughts: I love the dress. I think it is cool yet elegant and I did get lots of compliments on it at the bal. The unusal neckline makes it so interesting and viasualy pleasing.

I would love to wear it again – perhaps at a steampunk convention, paired with brown throusers and some cool accessories.

Eastern Influences in 1914

I had¬†some difficulties figuring out what to make for the HSF Challenge 14 – Eastern Influences. I didn’t want to start a too big project, being so busy with the Titanic dresses at this time.

After much hesitation and changing my mind I finally decided to use the 1,5 m of light pistage-colored organdy already waiting in the stash. It is covered in a geometrical pattern in the shape of 4cm big grecian keys. So perfect for the challenge. But I’m not much of a print person, and feared that the geometrical pattern would be too obvious, too silly or just simply destroy whatever I made from it.

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Ok, fears aside –¬†what exactly was¬†I going to make¬†with it (that wouldn’t look costumy or¬†silly)?

I had not enough fabric for a regency-dress, and the fabric was not suitable for anything heavy like a round skirt or a stiff bodice. What to do?

The answer fell on me when searching the internet for inspiration for another project.

1912

A Titanic era evening-gown. It seemed perfect, and already being totally emgrossed by the early 20th century I didn’t hesitate.

I quickly made some sketches and played around a bit with the fabric on my dressform to get the basic shapes and cuts figured out.

Then I started drafting the pattern. I wanted a cross-over bodice with a short kimono-sleeve attached to a draped skirt. The bodice was a bit tricky and I decided to try the paper pattern on my dressform before cutting a toile. That impuls saved me making a useless mock-up.

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I tried but could not get the pattern and the dressform to co-operate, so I scratched the paper pattern and instead draped a bodice on the form. So much better.

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I then did the mock-up, tried it on and pinned all the necessary alterations. (It is not easy trying and fitting a back-closed mock-up by your self).

IMG_0284Ignore the huge seam allowance.

Since the organdy is so sheer I needed to make some foundation underneat – both for modesty and to get the right support and shape. I used the the same white skirt as for my late Titanic dress, and drafted a strapless dress-bodice to attach the organdy-bodice on.

Then it was time to cut the fabric. I sewed the foundation bodice and tried it on, then I stitched the organdy and draped the skirt on the dressform.

Everything went together fine and I just needed to make some minor alterations on the waist and shoulders. I tried the dress on and really liked it, but felt like something was missing.

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I rummaged around a bit for a suitable waist-sash, but neither white nor pistage seemed right. Then I found the vine colored sash for my sisters Titanic-rose dress, and it was perfect. So I used whatever leftovers I had and made another dark red sash.

The finished dress.

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IMG_0690Detail of sash and drape.

And the dress being worn.

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IMG_0522Photo: Maria Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge 14: Eastern Influences.

What: A 1912 evening dress.

Pattern: None, I draped my own.

Fabric: 1,5 m polyester organdy, 0,3 m white cotton voile and 0,5 m white cotton sheets for lining and interlining the bodice. And 0,2 m vine colored viscose for the sash.

Notions: Thread, plastic boning, hooks and eyes and snaps.

Historical accuracy: There are way too much polyester in it to be any good. But I think the look and the overall feel of the dress is right. And according to Arnold they did use foundation-bodices beneath sheer and slippery fabrics. Maybe 6/10.

Time: 15 hours (made it in a two days speedrush).

Cost: 100 SEK (11 Euro).

First worn: On the photoshoot July 5.