Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wedding Dress Update

Actually sewing on my wedding dress now!

One of my original sketches for the dress, experimenting with different sleeves. I feel safe in posting this because I unexpectedly made some radical changes in the design of the this is actually not current....but still gives you an idea. Silk taffeta under dress with a sheer white dress over. I'm getting so excited! I hope it turns out like what I have envisioned.

It's taking me longer than I thought because I decided to hand-sew the entire sheer dress. It's alot....but I know it will be that much more special when it's completed.

Reasearching styles and techniques from the 1860s has taken longer than anticipated as well. I always have so many little questions and quandries about method when I actually get down into a project, and they must be answered before moving forward!

A sneak-peek. This is *part* of the dress. The silk taffeta part. It took forever to finish - didn't help that after painstakingly hand-sewing the gauged skirt to the bodice, I decided to make a 1/2" fitting change, and had to re-do it all! But, now it's finished, and I am well on the way with the next part of the ensemble.

No sleeves or overskirt yet, but one of my first fitting looks in the mirror at the gown beginning to be complete! :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Sewing Week with Rebecca

Last week was a wonderful time with my dear friend and maid of honor, Rebecca.
It had been a long time, really almost a year, since we had spent much time together. This 5th (I think?) traditional annual 'sewing week' was cherished by both of us. Sort of the 'end of an era', you know? We've had so many wonderful adventures at reenactments, and visits back and forth, I'm sad to see them go.
Though I hope we will have even better and new adventures in the state of Tennessee! I've made her promise to visit me after I'm married and moved away. :)
Someone has to occupy the spare bedroom, after all!

We talked late into each night, sewed up a storm, and even though we can quote them almost by heart, we re-watched some of our best-loved films including
Wives & Daughters, Quality Street, and Tammy & the Bachelor.

It was a wonderful time. We made lots of plots for the future, and I hope they all come true!

During the week we worked on Rebecca's bridesmaid dress, and my wedding gown.
Neither of which are finished yet...

But, the most delightful (and finished!) project from the sewing week, was, hands down the flower crown wreaths for the wedding. I decided since I was going to wear a floral wreath to accompany my wedding dress, it would be fun for all the girls to have one too!

Each wreath turned out beautifully different and unique. We agreed that loved every one! I can't wait to see them with the complete outfits and hairstyles. I think they will be lovely at the wedding. Just what I was envisioning.

Little sisters (and also best friends) Carolina and Michelle invaded the sewing room and went a little wild with joy at the prospect of their very own flower crowns.
Yes, the little sisters had much too much fun.

As I posted earlier, I decided not to wear a veil on my wedding day. I chose a floral crown just because I liked it, but then became delightfully aware that it was quite common for brides in the 1840s-1860s as well! Both with fresh flowers and paper/fabric. See lots of examples here on my wedding pinterest board.

Monday, January 21, 2013

70% off Modcloth Sale

Modcloth is having a sale! Go check it out!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wedding Corset Finished

A few 'sneak peek' pictures of my {now finished} wedding corset:

Boned with steel and stiffened with rows of quilting.

White cotton coutil and heirloom netting lace.

Back lacing and hand-sewn eyelets.

Top and bottom edges bound with cream colored silk.

I'm actually working on my wedding dress now! It's the strangest feeling, and I'm still really scared I'm going to make some huge mistake....but I really can't put it off any longer! The wedding is now less than 3 months away.....

Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Coral Necklace

Hello again after a long Christmas break! Jordan is now back in Tennessee building our house, and I am getting busier and busier with wedding preparations, and getting woefully behind on my blogging!

I know its long past Christmas now, but I wanted to share a special gift I recieved with you, as I thought it might be of interest to other historical costume enthusiasts!
I mentioned once to Jordan, many months ago in passing, that I had always wanted a real coral necklace to wear with my Regency dresses. Well, he remembered, and guess what he got me for Christmas?

This darling coral bead necklace, in the loveliest shade of pink.

I had never seen coral in person before, it was quite different from what I expected. I thought it would be lightweight, almost like some kind of organic plastic. (don't know where I got that idea...)
But the beads are very heavy for their size and feel just like polished glass.

I had seen portraits and heard of simple coral bead necklaces being popular during the 18th Century and Regency era, but once I started researching, I was astounded at how many eras in which this simple piece of jewelry seems to be fashionable!
Basically from what I've seen.....ancient times to modern...(correct me if I'm wrong!)
 Isn't that incredible??

Here are a few paintings from different periods to illustrate:
Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494)
Portrait of a Young Woman
Portrait of a girl by Domenico Ghirlandaio c. 1485

Regency Portrait

Portrait of a Young Girl Wearing a Coral Necklace
and Holding a Red Rose,
  c. 1815
(apparently coral was deemed especially appropriate for children)

Late Regency Portrait - Coral Necklace & Earrings

Princess Murat, 1854 Winterhalter portrait. Coral necklace and brooch.

Mid 19th C. Portrait by Jean-Jackques Henner

Maria Sawiczewska in coral jewlery, 1861 Löffler portrait.

'Girl with a Coral Necklace' by Eugene Edward Speicher (1882-1962)

                                                         Carved coral necklace, c. 1860

Coral bead necklace c.1818

Carved cameo coral necklace c. 1860

Further reading on historical coral jewelry:

Where to buy: 
Red coral Renaissance necklace

So, expect to see my new favorite necklace inclulded in many different historical ensembles!


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