Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | Sins & Virtues Masquerade Ball

The event is finally over. The stand-up collar I ended up using a piece of creased cardboard covered with silk with a silk-covered plastic cable tie reinforcing it at the center. The feathers are hot-glued on, and the seam at the neck and the glue mess are covered with a pleated band of the silk. The idea behind this whole costume is pride. Hopefully the massive amounts of peacock feathers get the point across.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009: Hoops or no hoops?

(As always, click on the tumbnails to see the the larger images hosted at Chugging along on the Pride dress for the second weekend in November. Now the big question is: pocket hoops or just a quilted petticoat?

Also, adding another line of stitching on the ruched sleeve trim made all the difference. I also took out some of the volume on the recommendations of the readers of a certain LJ group. Now all there is to do is hemming.

October 7, 2009

I decided to take off the ruched trim on the overskirt. I didn't plan ahead for it, and I couldn't figure out how to manage it with the pleats without completely taking the whole thing apart. I added Ruched trim on the sleeves, all along the neckline and down the front. The only things left to do are finish the hooks and eyes and a few other fiddly bits.

The white linen flounces with Venise lace trim are detachable!

As for the trim on the sleeves, I'm still not sold. Any other ideas out there that might help to disguise the fact that the sleeves are pieced together at the elbow with an extension?

September 28, 2009

Today I re-attached the amputated lower part of the sleeves. I thought that the above-the-elbow look would be a good one, but then I couldn't find any period images that supported it. I'll cover the seam with ruched trim eventually.

It was then time to address the trim issue. I had been trying to put 4 inch wide ruched trim down the front of the dress as an after thought. This failed. I didn't pleat the thing in a way that could accomodate the trim without completely dismantling it. Rather than give myself a headache a month from the deadline, I scrapped it. Maybe I'll use it on the petticoat.

September 22, 2009

With school now in session, things are slowing down, but I managed to get considerable finishing work done in the last week and a half. I put bones in the front (plastic cable ties), and a strip to hide any gap between the two front edges. I started putting on hooks and eyes, but I can only do so many at a time - tedious work, that.

I took off the sleeve flounces. I didn't like how the pinked scalloped edges were fraying. I may put them back on, or I may leave them cut above the elbow. Time to consult period artwork.

August 30, 2009

Still on the list for things I'll need for the project:

Pocket hoops - smaller than the ones I made from the JP Ryan pattern a few years ago out of the same red Chinese silk my stays are covered in, which I found online from Good Orient

Bum roll made from the same Chinese silk

Trim: I think I'll go with a ruched trim of the same fabric as the dress about 3 inches wide at the elbow and down the front of the gown, narrower at the neckline.

Black lace and light weight silk for detachable sleeve flounces.

Boning down the front center, hook and eye closures

The petticoat

August 19, 2009

Cut out a lining, shaped the neckline a bit. This horrid, garish purple silk dupioni was calling to me at Jo-Ann's today when I went to look at black lace for sleeve flounces. It's very thin, and runs if you're not careful, but for a costume entitled "Pride", I can't think of anything better. I'm considering top-stitching around the neckline so the lining stays in place.

August 17, 2009

Fitting finally done, I pleated three yards of the fabric to the bodice. I decided to approach the challenge of the back point a little differently this Anglaise. Instead of trying to pleat around the weird shape, I pleated a straight row across with the idea that I'd stitch the actual point over it. I also attached the sleeve flounces with pinked edges.

August 15, 2009

I got DN to help me with the seams I couldn't reach. At first he was scared, but after a little coaxing, he did a fine job fitting the center back and shoulder seams on the new pieces for me. It's terribly difficult to explain how to do it if the person you're explaining it to doesn't know any sewing terminology at all, but all things considered, he did a wonderful job. I decided to do the intelligent thing and try the new mock up on with sleeves attached. It's just a tad tight, but nothing unbearable. I'll salvage the sleeves from take one, and see where that gets me.

August 11, 2009

GAARRRAGH!!!! WTF. I cannot believe I have to re-cut!. I thought I had a spectuacular mock-up that fit well. The silk arrived, and I got all excited and cut into it, pinking the edges and everything. I tried it on over stays after a quick assembly and... disaster. I could not move my arms, and the back neckline looked like I had a bone density problem. I think the issue is that the back pieces are too narrow, and the shoulder seams are placed too close to the spine. Hopefully I'll be able to save the sleeves at least.

After collecting myself, I had a little adventure in draping. Using the existing pattern pieces as guide lines, I lined up my own brand new back pieces using a piece of white cotton pinned to Norma Jean. Now the shoulder seams line up with my actual shoulders. Comparing with the drawings in Patterns of Fashion and the work of other costumes, I'm pretty sure that's what needed to happen. Now I just need a little help tweaking a few things that I can't reach myself. Next round, I'll fit the new mock-up with the sleeves actually attached, so there will be no surprises.

August 7, 2009

Well, the good news is the neckine fits, but that's about it. First, I sewed the shoulder straps on backwards. Then, the armholes were way too small, and I couldn't move my arms in it. I cut about an inch off the armholes, sewed the sleeves back on, and... still too small. Not. Fair. The cotton in the mock-up stretches, the acetate brocade does not. I'm trying to get the kinks out of this pattern before my emerald green silk arrives. On a positive note, we did shorten the strap on the front piece so that the horrible gaping problem is no longer an issue. We'll see if I can defeat this damned red and gold acetate.

August 4, 2009

In preparation, I had S.G. help me with the bodice fitting. The re-cut mock up was then immediately applied to some spare red and gold brocade I had to create a new bodice for this three-year-old travesty. As soon as I get more fabric for the sleeves, we'll be good to go. She took in the side seams a bit, left the two back pieces as they were, and re-shaped the center front. All in all, easy enough. About an inch was taken out of the side front piece, an inch added at the bottom of the center front, and the shoulder straps were shortened by about two inches. Hopefully this will mean the neckline no longer does that unfortunate gap thing.

Fabric: Emerald green silk taffeta from

Pattern: J. P. Ryan Robe l'Anglaise, heavily modified.

This dress will be doing double duty for the Northeast Event 2009 and various reenacting events. Inspired in part by ball scene in Bath in The Duchess combined somewhat with the striped dress from the scene in the park. I have every intention of re-inventing the Peacock Dress from 2004, but I wanted to do it as an actual period piece to which I could add things. I also plan on making a pair of hair clips reminicent of the headdress Nicole Kidman wore as the Hindu Courtesean in Moulin Rouge. There will be many peacock feathers involved.