Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Pattern reworking on Simplicity 3782-Sizing up

To be 100% honest, I have never made a plus size gown before, the largest gown size I made was a size 12 and I didn't modify it one bit, I'm quite liking this challenge! Muriel is a size 20-22, and the pattern I have only goes up to a 20, which is in places, a few inches taller and a few inches thinner than she is. Obviously made for size 20 models who are closer to 6 feet tall, and not for a petite lady. So I have to do some clever reworking. I want things to be held in, supported, and fitted, and so I have gotten some spiral steel boning in addition to plastic boning I will be using for the bodice. I cut out a mockup of the bodice last night and added extra room for the bust and waist, and also modified the collar a bit so it will be a bit taller, and stand up more. I made a bit of a whoops though, and didn't cut it long enough to accomodate the extra width I added in the back, so I have cut another panel to add to the back of the neck. I am quite liking this challenge, larger size=more fabric which= more room to decorate! Buuut, she wants a fauirly simple gown so far, fitted sleeves with shoulder rolls, single skirt no problem, but not a lot of trim on the bodice. I'll add a touch more on the shoulder rolls :-) The light olive green tone should go beautifully with her olive/golden undertoned skin and dark hair too, I'm so excited! I am mailing out the bodice mockup tomorrow, and then I'll start work on the skirt, sometime tonight, or tomorrow. I am annoyed with the habutae silk as it is a synthetic and therefore tricky to work with. It flows and hangs beautifully but I need to iron it on a low setting. I'm torn as to whether I should starch it to make it stiffer, or sew it while it's all flowy, I may starch it on the skirt, along the pleats to help keep them in place...we shall see.....

I have made this one out of a stiff curtain lining fabric, and will stitch it together today and ship it out to Muriel tomorrow so she can see how it fits. Until then, I have Di's gown which I'll be cutting out the bodice mockup tonight and putting it together as well so I can hopefully ship both tomorrow. I'll then start work on the skirts for both of the gowns and Di's partlet.

Finally! It's 3D!

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Peacock Gown

I have a gorgeous green false silk fabric for the main part of the gown, and a 100% real silk cream coloured sheer fabric for the partlet, and bits of the sleeves. I also have a copper coloured false silk for the sleeves and forepart and stomacher, and I am going to be adding embroidery in green, olive, gold, copper, cream and royal blue, as well as beading in the same colours. I have several designs in the works, here is the first one, The partlet is sheer cream silk with embroidery and beading, the stomacher and forepart embroidered and beaded, I think I'm going to rework the sleeves somehow... 
The fabrics are below... 

Gown for you, gown for me...

I'll be putting some photos up here soon, but for now this post is only going to be text! I went to the fabric shop again today to get more of the satin backed dupion (false silk dupion) in the peachy blush colour, and I decided, on a whim, screw it, I'm going to grab some for a gown for me! So I got some of the same in a copper colour, and in an emerald green colour, and will soon be making myself a STUNNING gown. After I finish everyone else's. I am going to go more ornate with the sleeves and be making a partlet so I grabbed some 100% silk paj, a very fine, soft floaty silk in cream that I'll be using for my gown, my partlet, and for Di's gown, to puff through the slashes in her sleeves. I have been asking my hubby for about a week now to bring the vacuum to the top floor, but he's away for the day now so I guess I'll have to get off my butt and do it. The top floor has bits of faux fur littering it from a velvet pirate frock coat I'm working on, or was working on, and the green habutae and the gold velvet for the two gowns will not really look great covered in what looks like little hairy spider legs. Not to mention it will be a pain to get it off.

For now, I'm off to take a tiny nap, then when my daughter wakes up, a bit of cleaning, vacuuming, then I get to start ironing out the fabrics and laying out the pattern and cutting!

Photos and sketches to come soon....

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Gown updates Muriel and Di

Just got in contact with Di, she loves the blush silk so I can use it! I'm so excited, I love that fabric, I'm going to get another metre of it just in case, and some very thin muslin as well for inside the bodice and for the mock-up. She wants sleeves like the ones in this portrait of Isabel de Valois above. I am using a modified Simplicity payttern 3782, and making the pattern that is shown in the red gown on the cover. I have no idea whatsever how to do the longer black part of the sleeves in the portrait as I can honestly not see them very well, so I will be looking at other extant portraits from the period and trying to come up with a similar design. I already have a pattern mockup to try with the sleeves, we'll see how it turns out...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

New Gown project DI 1

I have a second gown on order for a lady named Di. She also chose the Queen Mary gown, but wanted it in a fabric that looked like a lovely blush pink colour. Upon arrival, the fabric was a vibrant orange. Yes, not pink, orange. Nothing like the photo. In my entire conversation with the owner of the company, while I described the fabric as pink, pinkish red, and blush coloured, he never once mentioned that it was orange, not pink. He only said it was 'darker' than the photo. I had to return the photo at a loss of £4.70 for their shipping, which they won't refund, and at £7.20 for return shipping. I am not impressed. At ALL. The original photo is this

The colour is closer to this above, only a little more brown. I was definitely NOT happy. Anyways, after that fiasco, she opted for cotton velvet. I managed to find one that set me back about £65 but it is, to me, a pretty light gold/fawn colour, and is fairly thin pile, but soft, easily workable, and pretty. I also found a satin backed silk dupion mix fabric in a slightley darker version of the pink tones in the first fabric, and it is gorgeous! I also found some lovely braid trim in the same colour and some ivory braided trim, as she liked the colours of my white gown in the Mary gown listing on etsy. The gold velvet I found is a bit less yellow than the gold in my gown, but the ivory colour is the same. I still am awaiting confirmation from her to see if she would like to use the silk fabric in the blush pink, which I think would look awesome! But it's her gown, so we'll see!!
The trims, satin backed dupion, and the cotton velvet

Random sketches for decorating with the braid trim. I will be using #3 from above for the bodice, with different sleeves....

New Gown projects! MURIEL 1

This is the first project diary post for a gown for a lady named Muriel. She had ordered my Queen Mary gown from etsy, http://www.etsy.com/listing/64035274/ooak-queen-mary-of-scots-elizabethan-era .
She wanted habutae silk, a false silk made in Japan that apparently looks like real silk. I am a little skeptical about those claims, but the fabric when it arrived turned out to be lovely! It is a lighter-tone olive green, slightly shiny, but not a lot so the gown will still look period, and it is going to be trimmed in gold (non-metallic) braid. I am lining the bodice with some soft khaki cotton muslin, and it will also be stiffened up with several layers of fabric as well and boned to keep her curves in place.
The fabric on the left, is the muslin, which is actually tan, not green. The bluish looking fabric, is actually the green colour that the muslin shows up as in this photo, it's the habutae silk. It's also not as shiny as it looks in this photo. The braid is the only thing that came out looking similar to real life!!
I got 2 metres of the muslin and 8 of the habutae, and finally the pattern, Simplicity 3782 arrived in her size! As it is, I will need to make adjustments to the pattern anyways, but her measurements are a little bigger than her size so I'll have to modify the pattern even more. I am cutting out and pinning the skirt today, as well as making the muslin mockup of the bodice to send to her for fitting before I start chopping up the habutae.

She only wants a little trim and a single skirt so the main challenge in this gown will be fitting it, not adding 'pretties'. More pics to come soon!
The center fabric is the colour I used
I am trying to sketch where I plan to put the boning.....Muriel has more than me in the frontal department and I want it supported, not sagging, for the overall look of the gown and as far as being period-accurate as well, it needs to be supported, and shaped, and dammit, against all odds, I will win. Eventually, I think. lol

Thursday, 9 December 2010

New projects, old year

With the year almost out, I have found not one, but two jobs, only one of which I will be keeping after the new year (I hope!) and luckily it is my favourite! I haven't had much time to do any projects because of them though, I am working 6-7 over-full days per week! Finally I have found a little time to set up my etsy shop and one of my gowns in particular has generated quite stir! the Queen Mary of Scots gown, which is a fairly simple one piece gown has had 4 detailed inquiries, one custom order request already made, and a second  and possibly third one on the way! Two gowns are green, one is olive green with tan trim and the other is a light sage green with berry red lining and trim, and the final gown will be red or white so I will be filling my house with festively coloured swathes of fabric soon! I am waiting on a fabric sample to arrive so I can make sure that the fabric I'm getting is the correct colour, then I'm off on gown number one! There will be a few difficulties with this one, first being that I cannot measure the lady myself and have her in for fittings, secondly, I have to alter the pattern possible quite a bit, and third, she does not wear a corset and is on the more voluptuous side, and has chosen a very thin fabric for the gown, and I do NOT want it to sag and look unflattering so I will have to be very creative with extra lining, and some extra boning. Gown number 2 will be a heavier weight twill, and gown number 3, cotton, so the fabrics will be much easier to work with than gown number one, which is being made with false silk. It will be a learning curve for sure, but I'm going to do my damned best!!! I'm using French seams on all the gowns, the bodices will be lined, trim hand sewn, and luckily, the ladies seem mostly content to have me use a hidden zipper...so far...