Monday, July 25, 2011

Regency Ball Gown

Remeber the Jane Austen Convention I am attending this fall? Still finding time here and there to make Regency items to set aside for my booth in October!

So - a few pictures of a white cotton voile ball gown I made last month.

This particular dress is an apron-front style, which means the front bodice and skirt are actually like an apron or a bib which fastens with straight pins and buttons to the shoulders and waist.

The base pattern was from Janet Arnold's book. Note the very small back!

I apologize for the ridiculously un-regency tan line! :(

The skirt back is very full - the most material I have put into a Regency dress yet.
I like it!

Sleeves are very short and full-gathered. Look closely and you can see where the waist buttons and the bib neckline is pinned.

Catherine Morland wears a dress very similar in the 2008 film 'Northanger Abbey'.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Sale at Ness

Summer sale from Ness of Scotland!
Click the banner above to take a look!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fall 2011 Trends

What is in store for fashion trends this fall?
First of all there are some very interesting colors gaining popularity...

 Have you been seeing these colors??....I certainly have

Kate Spade

 Anthropologie                         Mod Cloth 

 Anne M. Cramer                                     MillyNY

Retro looks from the 60s and 70s
 are everywhere! Personally, I don't like this as well as the 50s inspired looks that were so popular last year, but there are still some nice elements to be seen...
Pencil skirts, fitted blouses, a-line and shirt dresses, long and short jackets.
In combinations of muted tones or bright, unexpected colors.

             J. Crew Fall 2011

                  Yoana Baraschi                                            Anne M Cramer

       Paisley and Peasant
Bohemian: another retro trend still in vogue. Lots of flowing layers, leather accents, and maxi lengths.

      Forever 21

 Plaid and Tweed add a bit of British flair to your wardrobe.
Again - seems to be in bright, popping colors or all muted shades.

                                 Irregular Choice                              


Socks.....and Heels?
Rather an interesting trend that's been around longer than I thought it would, and seems to be continuing this fall. Hmm. Not sure I will try it. :) What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Historical Dress for 'The Oaks' Museum

This winter I was contacted by 'The Oaks' House Museum in Jackson, Mississippi about making an 1850s dress for display. Needless to say, I was honored and delighted as could be to take on such a wonderful project! As you probably already know, even though I do alot of costume work for Etsy, historical reproductions are my true sewing passion!

'The Oaks' is one of the few remaining houses in Jackson that wasn't burned down during the War Bewteen the States. Isn't it lovely? I'd love to visit someday!

The first sketches, trying to decide what style/years of dress to choose. In the end we decided on a fan-front style, similar to the green fan-front dress shown.

Eliza Ellis Boyd (a later portrait)
The target years decided on were 1856-7, when the lady of the house, Mrs. Boyd, would have been in her mid-thirties. We also decided to use sheer cotton fabric for the dress. Something that would represent a 'nicer' summer dress, but wouldn't be as stuffy (or expensive!) as silk or wool.

Inspiration pictures of 1850s-1860 original sheer dresses:

Fabric chosen: deep purple, yellow, and white cotton floral voile. Sheer fabrics are always so lovely!

Pre-sewing dress sketch:

Fan-front bodice, separate lace collar, double ruffle on full gathered skirt and pagoda sleeves, with white barred voile undersleeves.

I used a combination of Past Patterns Fan Front and Darted bodice patterns...

All seams and stitching visible to the outside were hand-sewn. That meant the hems of the 2 skirt ruffles too. Let me tell you, that's alot of ruffles....seemed like miles when I was in the middle of it!

The whole process was really great - I just loved every minute of it!! The material was great, and I loved doing all the little detail work.

The finished ensemble:


Fastens up back with tiny white china piecrust buttons.

The lace used on the collar and cuffs was sent to me by the museum curator - it's an absolutely gorgeous creamy lace netting - just perfect to finish off the dress!

I also used it as an overlay for the undersleeve cuffs:

I love the way the full pagoda sleeves drape! So elegant...

The dress was shipped off to the Museum just this week! I hope it does well in their display, it was such a pleasure and a priveledge to work on this piece!


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