Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Victorian style bag

I was very happy to find this victorian style bag for sale on the internet today. It's from a lovely Dutch internetshop de poppenkraal . They sell lovely Gothic/Victorian things.
I have finished my overskirt, my mockup for my skirt which will become my petticoat because it turned out so well is also almost finished and I have started working om my red velvet skirt. I have to finish a lot of things by hand, but it is turning out really nice. My living room looks like it covered with red snow from working with the red velvet.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Overskirt is almost finished!

My overskirt is almost finished, some details have to be sewn by hand and lace has to be added to the edge of the red layer but I already love the way it looks!

This is the lace I ordered for the edges of the red with black lace layer. It's about 5 cm wide.

This image is an indication of how my costume (back view) will hopefully look when it's finished.

When the overskirt is complety finished I will start making a white cotton mock up version of the skirt. This way I can try the pattern and if it turns out right it can be used as a petticoat for over the bustle.

Friday, 15 August 2008

My Bookshelf

with books with information about Victorian Costume and sewing techniques.

Authentic Victorian Dressmaking Techniques
Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, A Complete Lady's Wardrobe
Groot Handwerkboek, uit Grootmoeders Jeugd - Ilonka & Leonard de Vries & Margrit Reij
Handboek Kostuumaccessoires - Marian Conrads (Dutch)
Haute Couture & Prêt-à-Porter, Mode 1750-2000, Ietse Meij (Dutch)
History of Costume - Blanche Payne
Ik kan kostuumnaaien - Henriette van Wessem (Dutch)
Mr. Godey's Ladies Book, Being a Mosaic of Fashions and Fancies
Traditionele Voorkeur, Time Life books (Dutch)
Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Plates and Tailoring Techniques - S.S. Gordon
Victorian and Edwardian Fashion, A Photographic Survey - A.Gernsheim

Patience makes perfect

I was looking for red taffeta with a pattern, but I couldn't find it. I came up with this solution. A base fabric of strawberry red taffeta (picture doesn't do the color justice) with a layer of black lace. In order to be able to work the layers as one they have to be sewn together.

First I tried to sew them together with my machine, but the taffeta is very slippery and the lace stretches, so it didn't turn out well. Now I have to sew them together by hand with large stitches and then sew them together with my sewingmachine. Hopefully this works. But it takes a lot of time, work and patience... And I am not a patient person ;-)

These panels are going to be the sides and back of my wash overskirt.

Costuming Book has arrived

Today my copy of an old dutch costuming book " Ik kan kostuumnaaien, translated I can sew costume's, written by Henriette J. van Wessem (ca. 1900) came in. The outside shows it's age, but I don't care it's the inside that counts.
For me it is very useful as I haven't had any education making costumes and there are a lot of sewing techniques that I need explained.

Also I really love the fact that my grandmother probably used this book when she learned making costumes as well as she was a seamstress.

Besides sewing techniques there is also a lot of information about what was appropriated to wear when. For example it tells the difference between morning wear, day wear and evening wear but also between mourning wear.

I really recommend this book to all Dutch seamstresses especially if you want to make Victorian and Edwardian clothing.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The First Cut is the Deepest

Yesterday we came back from our vacation. Although we had a great week, I was itching to get started with my costume. I didn't help that the long black satin gloves and the long black lace gloves that I had ordered before we went had arrived. So I spend the day washing clothing, tidiying up and the evening tracing pattern pieces on to paper and cutting fabric !

(l) An original dress from red fabric with black lace decoration. It was for sale at Bustledress.com. It is from the early bustle period ca. 1872-1874. The combination red with black wasn't very common in Victorian times, so it is nice to find an example. Click here for more pictures of this dress.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fabric shopping

One of the things I like best about costuming is shopping for fabrics and trims. So today was a great day for me. I already had the red velvet fabric, today I bought red taffeta and black lace. I couldn'r resist the feather roses for decorating my top hat and the very cute black lace trim of which I probably need much more....

Friday, 1 August 2008

Patterns and stuff...

Some costumers can draft there own patterns, I envy them. I do not have this skill and have to search for commercial patterns that will help to create the right look for my costume. Luckily enough there are some very good patterns available. Some of my favourite patterns are Laughin Moon and Truly Victorian.

(l) Riding Habit, ca 1883 from Truly Victorian

I didn't like the look of the riding habit available by Truly Victorian but as I had decided early to create the look of an riding habit but not a real riding habit this wasn't to much of a problem.

The foundation of my 1885 costume will be the underwear I made for my 1860's costume, for more information about that costume visit my website A Victorian Wardrobe. It consists of a chemise, drawers, a corset and a petticoat with bustle. Which is made, in white cotton, by Victorian Elegance with TV 101.

I must admit that I feel a bit like a centaur in this picture...

These patterns I have purchased, again from Victorian Elegance , to make my riding habit style, 1885's outfit

TV460, 1885 Cuirass Bodice. I will make the "Jacket" bodice with full length sleeves first and hopefully later I will have enough fabric left to make the "Evening" bodice with ball gown (puff) sleeves.

TV261,1885 Four-Gore Underskirt, which I will make plain (without the ruffles) and wear without the back bouffant. As I like a "cleaner" look better and it is more in keeping with the riding habit style I have in mind for this costume.

TV362,1884 Wash Overskirt. I can "up"or "down" this outfit by simply adding or removing this overskirt. I intend to make it for use with the ball gown bodice to be worn as the evening variation of this costume. But if it the overall look with the jacket bodice becomes too strict or too boring I only have to add the overskirt to change the look.

The Beginning

It all started when I watched the television movie Ruby in the smoke on the BBC at christmas. My husband and I had just participated, for the second time, in the Anton Pieckparade in Haarlem. It 's an event based upon the Dutch artist Anton Pieck his work which focused on painting wonderful scenes from the Victorian and Edwardian era's ca. 1837- 1911.

Both years we recieved a lot of compliments for our costumes. I had made, with a lot of help, the year before. It had been an awful lot of work and caused a major costume make burn out, I haven't done any serious costuming ever since. When we watched the Ruby in the Smoke I was marveld by all the wonderfull costumes. I had nine meters of red velvet in my fabric closet, which initially was for a 1490's transition gown. The project was never finished, for it was to complex and to much work. So I thought that an 1885 Victorian gown would be a great use of that beautiful and expensive fabric.

The first image that came to my mind was the truly gorgeous red dress that Michelle Pfeiffer wore in the movie "The Age of Innocence".

Somewhere around March I bought a tophat in a thrift shop. It turned out to small for the man I bought it for. It was no terrible set back as I always had wished to own one of my own. I decided almost immidiatly that I wanted it to use it for my new victorian costume. The costume I was going to make had to be riding habit style in order to be able to use my hat. I looked at the availabel pictures of victorian riding habits especially those around 1885.

Elisabeth "Sissi"of Bavaria, Empress of Austria, in a riding habit, 1884

Ofcourse they where made of much more practical fabric than my red velvet, they where made in wool mainly in dark blue's, grey's, brown's or black's. As I was set on using my tophat and my red velvet fabric, I deciced to make the costume riding habit style instead of making a true riding habit costume. The costume will have less frills than the costume's of that age generally have and a more sober and strict look.