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Now the boring part, the proof-I-wasn't-nekkid-part. I mean it was a GREAT party but it wasn't thaaat kinda party. I owe a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge thank you to two LJ people. Firstly [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat for her amazing tutorial which I found incredibly helpful. I also used her petticoat tutorial, so really I owe her double thanks. Secondly [livejournal.com profile] hirami came over on Friday night and majorly helped me finish. She helped me tidy my sewing room for it's overnight guest, and sewed all the trim on my stomacher. So ladies I express to you my utmost gratitude. 

Now that being said I didn't get a ton of good pictures of me in the dress. Rob seemed more interested in the group as a whole...and when we were all standing well I was behind the camera, so lets see what I can scrounge up...

Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] madamekat:




In the end the fit turned out ishy, but I promise the sleeves don't wrinkle that much if I'm standing with my shoulders back and my arms not at my sides. This is BEFORE I laughed till I broke the pins holding gown to stomacher. I had a wardrobe malfunction! 



ookay maybe my sleeves are balanced too far back...but I hate to break it to y'all I'd have to unsew A LOT to swing them around and it ain't happening. I still can't quite figure out what the robings are supposed to do after they hit the waist, they just kinda explode into the skirt at the moment. You can also admire my stomacher coming off from my broken pin. 

Looking back at pictures it ain't all that, but I sure as heck FELT pretty so that's really at all that matter right? and I do think the last min addition of the silver trim (yay Jomar) did help to make it feel fancier. I have a wider version of the same trim to *coughsomedaycough* use along the skirt sides and petticoat. 
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Okay I have so much to say (okay photos to share) that I'm gonna break this into a AWESOME event post and a What I wore post. And really the AWESOME EVENT post is more interesting anyway right? Right! Glad we're on the same page.

Let me start by saying how crazy beautiful everyone looked! I'm running out of adjectives for how stunning and vibrant the company was!




I had far too hard of a time picking out my favorite photos )


I had such an amazing time I have to heartily thank everyone who came and shared this special evening with me. I felt honored to share the company of such amazing, talented, beautiful, and FUNNY people. I laughed to the point of breaking the pin holding my stomacher on! I smiled till my face hurt! So thank you all for sharing such a wonderful experience with me!! 

The complete album of my photos can be found here

butterflies

Feb. 4th, 2012 03:00 pm
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The dinner is in a few hours, my hair is done (lets not discuss what's happening in the back, I can't see it so why should I care), the house is clean (relatively), The dress has as much trim as it's getting, and I have about thirty min till anyone's due to show up. and holy cow but I have a serious case of the butterflies! I feel like it's the first time there's been a big 18th century event and I was invited! They have to let me in I'm coming with two people and the place cards! I'm going to be in such awesome costuming company I'm more than a tad intimidated! 
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And things are starting to come together!

I am officially NOT Nekkid! Although I have a few things still to do.

1. Sew down the waist darts. I keep putting these off as EVERY time I try it on they move. bah.

2. take darts out of the CB 


3. Ruffle on the petticoat (I had a major case of the dumb when I made it and it's 5" too short *facepalm* 

4. shorten the sleeves

5. sleeve flounces

6. Trim Stomacher.

7. sew down the top few inches of the pleats in the CB so they stop spreading so much.

8. LOSE 10LBS! Holy Hell this thing is SO unflattering! I thought it was great till I looked at the picture Rob took, I'm a freaking COW! blech, doesn't help my self esteem much. 

I also think the hardest part of this whole dang thing is going to be trying to get the stomacher on remotely straight. proving harder than I thought it would be.


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Well I've been sewing all morning and I feel like time is speeding up and I'm sewing slower. Like I'll never finish this dress, get my house presentable, study for my test tomorrow etc. I've reached that wall I hit before every event where I just plain don't want to go, my dress will never look as nice as I want it to, and I'll never look as fabulous as everyone else. I think it's mostly social anxiety and intimidation at how fabulous y'all are. And EVERY TIME I go through this, push through and go I have a WONDERFUL time. And rationally telling myself helps, but it didn't help the mini-melt down over lunch. I'm contemplating which is better completely un trimmed francaise, or just suck it up and wear the brown jacket that fits like a sack...and not the Sacque, a potato sack. 

As it stands here's this list. Which had some things added due to fitting issues, nothing major but you know it happens. 

Things that MUST be finished by Saturday or I'm naked:
whip stitch down shoulder seams
bind back of the neck
sew down robings
hem
sew side seams the rest of the way down
hem front edges
turn under and sew down bodice lining
Make a petticoat
Stomacher
take darts out of back neck so it doesn't stand out so hideously
actually sew the side pleats so they're not just pinned
sew down waist dart
Things that I would LIKE to have finished
sleeve flounces
ruffle on the petticoat
SOME trim of ANY form
an actual chemise
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AND I made major progress on the cleaning front.  So lets have a mini update:

Things that MUST be finished by Saturday or I'm naked:

whip stitch down shoulder seams
bind back of the neck
sew down robings
hem
sew side seams the rest of the way down
hem front edges
turn under and sew down bodice lining
Make a petticoat
Stomacher

Things that I would LIKE to have finished

sleeve flounces
ruffle on the petticoat
SOME trim of ANY form
an actual chemise

However now it doesn't fit Polly at all and I'm not sure if that's because of the differences between Polly and I or because I fecked something up...I'll have to try the whole get up on tomorrow to find out. Plus mark the hem and finalize the robings, and drape a simple stomacher.  *sigh* fingers crossed it's that Polly doesn't corset at all and not that I screwed it up somehow...cause if it's not I might bang my head into a wall repeatedly. 


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Ack I went to bed in January and woke up in MAY! it's 65 degrees and sunny outside! I missed the Francaise dinner, Matt's graduation, all my exams, papers and class work...maybe if I take a nap I'll wake up and it'll be January again? worth a shot right ;-)

Okay to help motivate myself on the Sacque lets do a little breakdown.

Things that MUST be finished by Saturday or I'm naked:

whip stitch down shoulder seams
bind back of the neck
sew down robings
hem
sew side seams the rest of the way down
hem front edges
turn under and sew down bodice lining
Make a petticoat
Stomacher

Things that I would LIKE to have finished

sleeve flounces
ruffle on the petticoat
SOME trim of ANY form
an actual chemise


hmm that didn't do much to make me feel better. I got up this morning and haven't sewed a stitch yet, I've just been working on cleaning things. Rob and I loaded up the car and went to the bank, put the last box of Christmas in the storage unit, dropped off a bag of donations to the thrift store, dropped three boxes of recycling, picked up my shoes from the cobbler and ate lunch. My Victorian boots are so pretty and shined now I want to wear them to the dinner :-p 
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It's a mutual loathing...I'm working away at setting sleeves the 18th century way which involves sewing the bottom half of the armscye then fitting the top over the shoulder...or in my case on the dress form, take the dress off try it on, take it off move pins, try on again, lather, rinse, repeat. I've gotten them to the point where it looks perfect on the dress form, and it fits wonderfully if I stand with my arms slightly out in that  quintessential 18th century pose..but if my arms are straight down I have wrinkles!! And I'm starting to think that's just the nature of it. Looking at extant dresses the sleeves DO seem to stick out a bit and not hang straight down. 

At THIS angle they're perfect 

Same as this:



So I'm starting to think that's just the nature of the beast? Silk taffeta isn't stretchy enough to be perfectly smooth in every angle, so you have to pick one and this is their favorite? If I made it perfectly fitted with my arms down I wouldn't be able to life them at all, and while you'd never wear this dress for manual labor you still have to lift your arms to get a fork to your mouth! 

I hate sleeve. 
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My first Biology quiz is tomorrow so I spent the morning studying and did do as much sewing as I could have. 

I pinned my mock up sleeve on and it seemed to have fit pretty well all things considered. I added several inches to the width of the sleeve as I've found that sleeve tiny before, but while it fit great at the top it was huge on the bottom and also far too long. Rob very nicely put sharpie dots on me where I pointed and I took it off and copied off a real pattern. and I *gulp* cut my sleeves out of silk and linen lining. I decided to finish the bottom hems before setting them, seemed simpler to not deal with the whole giant dress. And that's what I've been poking at on the couch tonight. 

Tomorrow after class I set these suckers...*crosses self and makes offering to the costume gods* 
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I had a really hard time getting myself going this morning, didn't feel great. Then I found out that [livejournal.com profile] kass_rants and Bob's awesome dog Sebastian passed. And you know, you wouldn't think  I'd be a sobbing mess over my ex boss' dog's dying, but dammit I spent a lot of quality time with those dogs! I can't say I was surprised to hear the time had come, he was an old man, but I certainly wasn't expecting to hear that today. Between that and an IBS flare I spent more of the afternoon watching TV than I probably should have.

But I did make some dress progress. I got the bodice side seams sewn, and I created a Frankenstein sleeve pattern. A Franken-sleeve. I started with the Simplicity 3637 sleeve which has the seam down the back, and looking at PoF and Costume Close-up the seam goes straight down the underarm so the pattern is almost symmetrical. So I traced off a copy of the Simplicity pattern cut it out and then cut off the extra from one side and taped it to the other. Then I compared it to the marquis.de sleeve pattern, which was actually a lot smaller than the simplicity one, but I have huge arms so I didn't scale down, I just borrowed the curves from it. 

I made a muslin and it appears like it's going to work...granted I need to do a fitting before I can really know that, and an IBS flare and a corset don't really go together. So I'm sitting watching hockey making another pair of baby booties for etsy.  I'll try to convince myself to try it all on tomorrow after class. 
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After putting off trying this sucker on for the better part of the day I sucked it up and tried it on. I HATE first fittings. I have this ridiculous anxiety that it's not going to fit, it's all going to be horrible etc etc. And these fears are valid, it's TOTALLY HAPPENED! 

But after Rob's hockey game finished I no longer could come up with a valid excuse to avoid trying it on ( I even did all the dishes! that tells you how creative I was getting), so I carefully took it off Polly with 9 billion pins in it, suited up and even more carefully slid it onto me.



I swear we're not pigs, I have a very small apt and piles just seem to appear somehow. 

Anyway it fits! well mostly. After much fussing I realized what it really wanted was a dart at the waist. I have some vague memory of this being period, and whether it is or not doesn't really matter to me right now, that's what makes it fit. So that's what it's getting. Now I just have to go through and SEW it together. Much though showing up with a dress completely pinned together would be fun...



I think I may make the back pleats narrower, I know the width is fine historically I'm just not sure I like it aesthetically as much. I shall ponder. 
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I cut a long strip 10" off of the front edge. And folded down the robings...I think I've got it! and that makes think I'm doing something wrong...this was easy...and aren't these dresses NOT supposed to be easy? I know I know I haven't touched the evil sleeves, or any of the trim etc etc but so far...rather smooth sailing..so what am I doing wrong? I know damn well nothing I make ever goes this easily...

Pretty Please give me your input! 






I think my plan is going to be to get both sides to this point and then try it all on before I sew the dart or the side seams so I can tweak it to myself. Plus if I leave the lining whole and uncut for a last fitting I won't have to fuss with a stomacher stand in for the fitting. I think I'm most worried that I don't have the waist in the exact right point, but I went off of where I marked the waist on my lining which does NOT correspond at all to where Polly's waist hits...which only makes me more nervous. 

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So I was cruising along quite well with this francaise gown, but now I've hit a wall. I think  I know what the solution is..but it involves cutting things..and that's scary because if I cut wrong I can't put BACK.

Here's the deal. I did the right side skirt panel, no problemo, and decided instead of doing the left side I'd move on and futz with the right front. I thought it would make me feel like I had made progress. And it sort of did, but I'm pretty sure my front pieces are just plain too wide. I know you fold them back a couple of times for the robings, but I just used a half panel of my fabric which is probably 28 or 29 inches wide. They seem enormous, and in my mind I suppose they were typically made with a width of silk that was what 20 or 22 inches wide? and I think I need to cut about 10 inches off so that would kinda add up...right?

A few pictures to illustrate what I mean. You can see that I had to fold the fabric like 8 times to end up with normal sized robings, so I think the problem is my width and if I cut it down it'll work perfectly...but if I cut wrong I'm screwed!!



and a back view, just to show that I did in fact make SOME progress today.



and just in case you were wondering, I am in fact draping this in the middle of my apt as it's a very small apt and this is the only place it fits! good thing Rob is a patient man.
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So I've been using [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat's amazing tutorial to drape my new francaise gown. Tonight I did the back panel. I know it's not a ton but the goal is to keep chugging on this dress a little bit every night. I think the pleats actually look pretty good but I'm really worried that I have the side seams to far back. But all the diagrams I can find do appear to have more of a side-back seam, so perhaps it's okay that it's not directly under the arm? Thoughts?





Do you think my pleats come to far out to the outside?
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He's playing some new Xbox game were he's a cowboy and the man can't steer a horse to save his keester. 

ANYWAY, I've promised myself I'm going to post every night about my progress or lack of progress, it will serve two purposes 1. It'll keep me honest about working on it every day. and 2. Help me be better about posting more.

So today I sewed together the pieces of my lining and Rob very graciously helped me fit it. We're getting steadily better at this, no meltdown was had this time. I don't need to make THAT many changes. I need to shorten it all around, especially in the front. And cut down the armscyes as always. But in general the fits decent. 



Please pay no attention to the pizza boxes on the table from dinner..and the sewing basket from yesterday...



After I sewed the shoulder seams I padded up my dress form to get it close to my measurements. It doesn't really get all THAT close but I'm using [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat's tutorial   and I think I've got it close enough. Tomorrow I cut silk! EEEK.

And now a random question. So this is like my second or third pair of spiral laced stays and I STILL haven't figured out the magic trick to easily and firmly tying them off. any tips?
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So there's been a lot of radio silence out of this journal lately. Mostly because I don't want to whine about how much being broke and unemployed stinks. And the being broke and being anxious about it has put a serious peg in the wheel of my creativity BUT last night I went to an awesome party and spent most of the time talking to awesome costume people. That and the fact I was forced to make something for said party that turned out REALLY well got me in a far better place. (It was just a ruffly apron but sometimes a really simple project that turns out perfectly can be a major confidence booster). 

I need to complete a sack back gown by feb 4th (really I'm shooting for feb 1st so I have time to clean up the mess AFTER the sewing).  which on the one hand is EEEK but on the other I'm STILL unemployed so I STILL have more time than most. (Although I had an excellent job interview on Monday so please keep your fingers crossed for me)

Because I just can't bring myself to spend money on fabric when I'm not working I'm sucking it up and going back to the carnival gown I plotted last year and never made. I confess my attention and desire for it has wandered. So this is a bit of an exercise in self-discipline.

I finished the pocket hoops but that's pretty much as far as I got. I pulled it out to look at it again this morning and I got a bit panicked and overwhelmed, so I decided to just start at the beginning. Put one foot in front of the other and start with the parts I know.

Just two days ago my awesome upstairs neighbor handed me a giant pile of linen in varying weight. I fished out some nice heavy stuff to use for the lining, and started with the lining pattern I used for the evil teal anglaise. It's a good place to start as I've made it so I know where I need to change it.  Today I folded under the CB edges and sewed all the eyelets down each side so it can lace up the CB. Tomorrow we tweak the fit and move on to the silk!

And now for your entertainment I present a goofy photo I found while cleaning at Moms last week.



You see I have actually made a francaise gown before. Well sort of. In one of my Costume Construction classes we had to make half sized gowns over pocket hoops. And it turned out really well, or so I thought at the time, but that was 8 years ago and I completely forget how I did it!  This was also the dress where I learned a major cutting lesson, on one side of the dress the birdies fly UP on the other side the birdies fly DOWN. D'OH!  Hopefully this one turns out better.
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But more on that later.

First I must introduce the project! As you may or may not have noticed Reconstructing History is hosting a Carnivale themed salon of February 6th, and I have nothing to wear! I posted several of my favorite inspiration images yesterday but my primary inspiration is this gown from the MET



The photo isn't in color but the detail is )

Onward to the Grand Plan )

In which we start Pocket Hoops )

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