Thursday, October 2, 2014

The "Shell'd" Gown: At Last!

They're not the best pictures, but they are pictures!

This print is so awesome for mimicking 18th c "shell'd" prints. Although it looks surprisingly modern, check out these originals:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/75153887506338817/

https://www.facebook.com/foundlingtokens/photos/pb.142916505743501.-2207520000.1412136854./157379224297229/?type=3&theater

This type of one color, simple print would have been a nice, cheap fabric for a gown. Nothing fancy here!

Hillary Rizen has been doing some awesome research on 18th century prints. Wm. Booth, Draper is even carrying some of the prints she designed. Burnley and Trowbridge have also been researching and making custom prints heavily inspired from original prints. They are currently out of stock but are expecting more, new prints soon! Stay tuned!

I hope I get another chance to wear this dress and take good, proper pictures of it...

It's lined partly in white linen and partly in checked linen, for added anti-fancy-ness! :)



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Monday, September 22, 2014

17th Century Undergarments Photo Shoot



Another post already, can you believe it?! Today I got the pictures from the awesome photo shoot I did with Frederick Scholpp, which I posted a teaser of last week. We had a great time, and it was so fun working with someone who has such a great eye for capturing shots and could perfectly understand my inspiration. Both of us being artists in different mediums, I think we worked really well together!

I fully intend to do a separate post on the pair of bodies and smock with construction detail pictures and more historical notes, but for now here are "overview" pictures of how the undergarments looks when worn all together.

First is the linen smock, completely hand sewn and trimmed with reproduction lace from The Tudor Tailor. The pattern is an amalgamation of shapes from Patterns of Fashion 4.

Next is the petticoat, which is red wool broadcloth bound and guarded with black velvet. The waist is bound with red silk taffeta and worked with eyelets so that it can be pointed to the pair of bodies. Based on a few portraits (particularly the Elizabeth Vernon portrait) and a video of Jenni Tiramani showing a reproduction pair of bodies pointed to a matching petticoat, AND this old but very interesting conversation on this question here, I made the decision to do this bodies-pointed-to-petticoat method. It works wonderfully well for helping to support the relatively heavy wool broadcloth. The points were custom made for me by Francis Classe (available through his etsy shop, and I have a pair for my American Duchess Stratfords as well.

The pair of bodies are from The Tudor Tailor, the Elizabeth Vernon style. I can't tell you just how incredibly comfortable these are!! I love them so much... They are silk taffeta, interlined with heavy linen and lined with white linen, boned with reed. More info in the construction post, I promise!

All of the materials (smock linen, all threads, wool broadcloth, silk taffeta, linen interlining and lining, silk paduasoy ribbon binding), except for the lace, reed, and points, are from Burnley and Trowbridge!

I hope you enjoy. :)

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Domo arigato, made a rebato!

(Michael insisted I use that as the title for this entry...)

So I decided to make a rebato to solve the ruff issues I mentioned previously. The latest Patterns of Fashion was an IMMENSE help, since they have quite a few examples in there. 

Rebatos in the period tend to be completely wrapped in silk and gilt thread or wire... which I definitely wasn't crazy enough to do. So I used black thread-covered 21 gauge millinery wire, although I did then wrap every piece by hand with fine gold wire on top of that (some things I am crazy enough to do...).

My darling, wonderful husband cut and shaped the millinery wire pieces, then I wrapped and assembled them. It was really neat to see these crazy pieces of unruly wire come together into something useable! The "spoke" pieces radiating out from the neck are not just decorative; they are central to keeping everything sturdy.

The inner arches are actually one piece of wire that snakes back and forth inside of the outer wire. I thought that was really neat, although it was a pain in the neck to do in practice... But we persevered! The last really difficult part was the out "frill" as I call it. Each of the wire arches supports a particular point of the lace. It took quite a bit of careful measuring to get everything to line up, and I did get off a tiny bit on one side, but it's hard to see. For the most part, they line up perfectly!

And so, I am one piece closer to inadvertently recreating the 1616 woodcut of Pocahontas! I never set out to recreate it, but here I am... Next up will be the loose gown, but probably not for a while... We'll see!


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another Tease...

I always seem to underestimate how long it will take me to actually get images in hand after a photo shoot! I've shared some teaser pics on my Facebook, but I thought I would share one of them here to whet your appetites for the big blog post that's coming up on my 17th century undergarments, once I get all of the pictures from our awesome photoshoot. 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Follow Me on Facebook!

I've created a Facebook page for my blogs where I'll be posting frequent progress pictures and random musings. I noticed I was posting things on Facebook but not here to the blog because they weren't things I deemed "blog-worthy", but my Facebook friends still found them interesting. I think the blogs will be for big, nicely photographed posts of completed garments, and the Facebook page will be for in-progress shots. 

https://www.facebook.com/thecouturecourtesan 

Come find out what I've been up to!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Riding Habit Construction

Unfortunately, I didn't take construction pictures of the entire process... I got too caught up in everything, and learning completely new ways of doing things! But here are a couple images of some of the early steps, and some pictures of it after it's done to highlight a few interesting things.

I must take a moment to acknowledge the incredible generosity of my husband and his master, Mark Hutter, for helping me with the construction of this. I feel blessed to have them in my life, as mentors and friends!

The very first thing I did was sew the center back seam of the jacket. This was done by putting all four layers together (2 wool and 2 silk lining) so that they could be sewn all at once. Make sure the two wools are right sides together, and the two silks are right sides together. 


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I sewed the seam in non-matching (totally period!) silk thread with a tiny, tidy backstitch. 
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Once it's sewn, you can unfold the layers like so, revealing a fully-encased seam.
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Ta-da! Make sure to press it so it's nice and neat. Pressing is your best friend when it comes to tailoring. That, and chalk.
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Another interesting (and very different from mantua-making!) aspect of tailoring is all of the interfacing! There's no pad stitching anywhere in this garment, just a heavy, coarse linen (I could/should have gone the extra step and put a couple layers of gum tragacanth on the linen to create buckram, but...).

The interfacing is tucked under the seam allowance of the front edges. Press, press, press!
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Then I basted down the front edge so everything would stay in place. The lining gets folded under to meet the edge, and then is felled down.
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On the outside of the jacket, the outer edge of the interfacing gets tacked into place with a very widely spaced backstitch. Yes, it shows, but it's helpful and period, and if done neatly, it looks quite nice!
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All of the body seams (side-backs, shoulders, armseyes) were sewn twice: once with a back stitch, and then again with a spaced back stitch on top. I pressed the seam allowance to one side, and then did a spaced back stitch along the seam.
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Eighteenth century stitching (in fact, stitching from ALL periods!) is NOT always pretty! Especially when it won't show. :) This is how the lining is attached to the back skirts. It is done from the outside with a spaced back stitch. The underside looks shoddy...
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...but the outside is very neat and tidy! But no one will see it unless they are scrutinizing your bum...
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The side-back seams of the lining are folded on top of the center back lining and felled down, just like on women's gowns. That was at least something I was familiar with!
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Buttonholes... Oh, buttonholes. I love doing them now! I never thought I'd say that. But they are quite satisfying to do, making the little knots. These buttonholes were done using a "proper" buttonhole stitch, not a blanket stitch. I totally did not know they were different things before doing this project... I'd never needed to do buttonholes before! Now I do thousands by hand for work...There's a good tutorial here on Youtube. I can't remember if he says it in the video or not, but WAX YOUR THREAD! You will thank yourself... And use silk buttonhole twist, too. Having the right materials makes a world of difference, and it makes things easier!
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I hope this has been useful! I don't usually do construction write-ups like this, but this was such a fun, different experience that I had to share. If y'all like this kind of thing, I'll try to do it more often. :) Cheers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

17th Century Middling Outfit



I got to go "play" at Henricus yesterday for work. It was awesome! I'm so addicted to the early 17th century... I'll be doing a separate post about my pair of bodies and smock once I get good pictures taken. Those pieces, and the coif, were entirely hand sewn. The actual doublet and petticoat are not, because I made them at work, on work time, for eventual inclusion in our inventory. Thus they are a mix of machine sewing (where you can't see) and hand sewing (where you can, like all the button holes). It's definitely a time saving way of making things! And it greatly helped my wrist as well. My outfit is essentially the "prototype" for new styles of women's clothes for our female interpreters. They are very excited and so am I!

It was going to be me, Michael, Mark, and my boss, but my boss got called away on work-related business, and Michael went to Canada for the battle of Ft. Erie. However, we still had a good time! The visitors were great and asked excellent questions. They were very open and receptive to new ideas about the comfort of our clothing, etc. I had a wonderful conversation with two Muslim women about covering up completely in the heat. One of them said she often gets asked if she's "hot in that" just like we historical interpreters do!

My slate frame arrived yesterday (unfortunately not in time to be dressed for the event), so I'll be able to start on my blackwork coif in the near future. I also have fabric and trim on the way for my upper class/noble 1610s gown. I had originally thought to use that wool satin, but it was never a color that was speaking to me for that project... So I caved and bought what I really wanted, green silk for this outfit:
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Anyway! Here are pictures! :)

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