Thursday, 16 February 2017

Full Circle (part 2)

When I made my first crinoline day dress I left out the boning and chestpadding. This time I want to try and do everything as authentic as I can. Just ingnore the fact that  I used my serger when flatlining the fashion fabric to the lining fabric.😉

The boning center back.

The chestpadding it was quite hard to figure out where to place them.

Looking at lots of pictures of original dresses
like this one found on the  All the pretty dresses blog
helped a lot! 
You can find my collection of images here:

The Chestpadding and front boning in place.

The sleeves are sewn in, the button holes and the black glass buttons are in place. Next on my to-do-list is sewing in the band in the waist.

When I tried the bodice with the sleeves sewn in on I felt like I looked like a football player. The poufs on the sleeves make my upperbody look huge. That combined with the width of the crinoline skirt will hopefully make my waist look tiny. A very neat optical illusion trick, but for now I have my reservations about the poufs!

The first version of this costume
without the poufs. 
To pouf or not to pouf, that's the question!

I didn't like my original crinoline it was too big for little me. So I am going to alter it into a smaller version which will be "only" 110" in circumference. I will be using the Truly Victorian pattern TV142, 1856 Walking Cage. Which is more the size of a crinoline cage for daily use according to the information on the History of Fashion and Dress website: " When it comes to the crinolines of the 1860s, bigger is not always better. Contrary to popular belief, the crinolines worn by women of this period were not as wide as folklore (or Scarlett O'Hara) wants us to believe. While the largest period crinoline I have found documented measures a whopping 225" in circumference, the majority of 1860s era extant cages only measure between 90-105" in circumference."

 The larger TV141, 1858 Round Cage is better suited for use with a ball gown if you ask me. At least when your as short as me!

The difference between the circumference is only 16", I hope this is enough to make me feel more comfortable and less like a battleship.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Full Circle (part 1)

Eleven years ago I started working on my first Victorian costume, a 1858 plaid crinoline day dress made with Simplicity #4400, the Fashion Historian pattern. I didn't know at the time that many 19th century outfits would follow and that my sewing skills and patience to use them properly would increase. This year I have decided to make the dress I started with again.

Simplicity #4400

The finished dress in December 2006

I have worn this dress twice before moving on to another Victorian era, the second bustle period 1883-1891, I was never really comfortable in the crinoline cage, not that there was any physical discomfort but it felt out of proportion. I am quite small and the crinoline cage, made with TV141 1858 Round cage crinoline (excellent pattern by the way), with it's 126"circumference made me feel huge!  Several of my friends have worn this costume and we all had the same problem. So I decided to convert the dress to an earlier dress by taking out the excess fabric in the skirt and wearing it with a quilted petticoat. The added bonus of wearing a quilted petticoat is that it's really nice and warm. Which is nice because both our Victorian events take place in the winter.

This is how the costume looks now.

The fabric for bodice of the current version of the crinoline day dress had been cut eleven years ago as a mock up model. It had been seen together hastily, as it is a lovely woollen plaid fabric, I took it apart and put it back together again this time with more care and much more years of sewing experience. When I made this pattern the first time I left out the poufs on the sleeves because I thought they where to difficult. This time I did make them as a challenge and to make the new version differ from the old version. I thoroughly dislike it when it's too visible that people, especially within a group, have used the same pattern.

Here are some in progress pictures:

Front in progress

Back in progress.

Working on the pouf on the sleeve.

While I was working on the pouf for the sleeve I was watching Victoria, the television series with Jenna Coleman, and to my great delight it was the episode with the Queen Victoria Privy Council dress! The sleeves on this dress have much more poufs but it was inspiring nonetheless.

Jenna Coleman in Victoria wearing a reproduction of Victoria's Privy Council dress.

The original gown has faded from black to the color is has today but you can still see that they made a wonderful reproduction.

Here a picture of the original dress on display

finished sleeve

I am quite happy with how my sleeves turned out but it probably would have been easier to work with thinner fabric, like silk or a lightweight wool.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Dickens festijn 2016,Deventer)

Dickens festijn in Deventer is for me the best way to get into the spirit of Christmas. These pictures where made just after closing time when there wasn't much public left. Although the atmosphere is already magical in the daytime it becomes even more magical when it's dark and all the christmas lights are on.

The costume without coat and hat.

Victorian mailman by day,
photographer by night.
Thanks Richard for the pictures!

This photo was taken on Sunday by Rob van der Laan, Shoppen in Deventer.
Who on Saturday had also made these lovely portraits of two other Gracieuse members.

Friday, 16 December 2016

All squared up and still now throw

When I was in the hospital my husband brought me my crochet stuff so I could continue to work on our Granny Square Christmas Throw (or Afghan). He knows that having to sit still drives me nuts, so having my crochet stuff there was really great.

I started working on the throw September 2015, when I knew we where going to move house. I liked the idea of working on something for the new house but couldn't do any big projects because I needed to start sorting and packing stuff. Those little squares are nice little and fast projects you can work on in between other things. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn and the colors I needed weren't being sold anymore.
Fast forward to a year later. I remember the throw and start looking on secondhand websites for the yarn and lo and behold I stumble on the right colors in the right amount of yarn!

Now I have enough to make a throw I start getting annoyed with the small size of my squares. If I have to make a whole blanket with them I will have to make an enormous amount of them to get the right size. So I decided to add another row of stitches.



Around the 10th of  November I had enough squares, a 170 of them to be exact. Then it was time to block them to get a nicer shape.

a granny square, after blocking, in the proces of being blocked and before blocking.
The difference is subtle but the blocked square does look neater.

I tried two methods of joining the squares together and decided to go with the bottom version.

But after making two pieces like this I decided the end result is too wonky. So I am all squared up but still now throw! (Bad pun I know but I can never resist one)


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Het Straatje van Emma

The weather was soft, the company was good and a merry time was had by all. The first t' Straatje van Emma ( The Street of Emma) was a succes. The name honors the Dutch Queen Emma, the wife of King Willem III. Who became Queen Regent for her daughter Wilhelmina after his death on the 23th of November in 1890.

The (in)famous blue coat in action. I think the best part 
of the coat are the pockets.

Greeting Queen Emma 

picture taken by Paul Veldhuis.
Roel and Noortje in there home for the day.
I think they make a lovely couple.

picture taken by
Making wooden neckties

picture taken by Matthieu Besteman
With Alice, my son, my niece in our living room for the day.
A lot of really nice people came in to say hello.

My son with his cousin who ofcourse played his sister.
They had a lot of fun together.

I was a very proud aunt!

Our group De Gracieuse.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The (in)famous blue coat.

Is it just me or does Murphy's law always apply for those pieces of costume that need to be made in a hurry?

It all started December last year when my son decided that he wanted a grown-up 19th century costume. I feel like making such a complicated outfit for a growing young man is a horrible waste of time so we decided to purchase most of the costume pieces second hand. Vintage is still more affordable than making myself. So it seemed like a good idea and it was! We bought a set consisting of a coat, vest and a pair of pants. The pant weren't in my son his size, he quite long and slender, so a pair of pants needed to be made. As I had been promising my husband a new pair of pants, I decided to not work on a costume for myself this year and concentrate on making my two handsome men look even better.

The trouser for son were finished on schedule and the trousers for my husband were also finished on schedule somewhere at the end of September or beginning of October. After looking for months we decided that the overcoat or cloak needed to be made. We couldn't find a suitable one that also fitted my son. When asked he told me that he wanted a coat not a cloak. We plenty of time until the event I agreed to making a coat for him. I had already ordered the fabric when disaster struck. I got ill, it started out harmeless enough but it turned nasty and I was even hospitalized for five days. After that I needed time to recover. All in all I lost more than a month of sewing time!

I had previously bought two coat patterns, one Victorian style (Simplicity 2517 The Sherlock Holmes Coat) and one Edwardian style (Simplicity 2581 Edwardian Driving Coat).

To my great dismay my son wasn't really interested in either one of them. When I asked him what kind of coat he wanted he showed me this picture.

He wanted the blue coat from Fantastic Beast and where to find them. I wasn't really thrilled about it because the film is set in the mid nineteen twenties but as we consider ourselves lucky that he still wants to join us at events. We thought that a little cheating wouldn't be that bad. 

I ended up combing the patterns I already owned and I am happy to say the coat is almost finished but it has been a real struggle. The event is this Saturday and there is still an awful lot to do! First things first, finishing the (in)famous blue coat.

For those of you in the neighborhood. Our group will be attending this event:

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

My Victorian Traveler Bag

My Traveler aka Carpet bag is finally finished! I am quite happy with how it turned out. Still want a bigger version though :)

When I made the bag I was looking at the measurements of originals, reproductions and ofcourse the original Mary Poppins bag movie prop and wrote down the measurements. So I could scale them down to fit my bag frame. Later on I wanted to check on how big, a bigger version would have to be. If I wanted it to be same size as the movie prop but couldn't find the measurements anywhere on-line anymore! I did find my own notes, but I wrote down the sizes of a lot of bags without naming them. I do remember the movie prop as being the largest one. So if  (big if people!) I remember correctly the measurents are: 21 inch wide, 17 inch tall and 7 inch depth.

Please correct me if I am wrong or tell if you know I'm right!

The original Mary Poppins bag

For more pictures of the Mary Poppins exhibit 
at the D23 Expo 2013