Thursday, March 11, 2010

Up to my old tricks....or....Long time, no post

Yup, months and months got by me again. Probably just as well as creativity has been at an all-time low around here.

It's going to take a very forceful, deliberate push to get my creative side back into action. I'm starting with working my way through my least favorite part of sewing, getting the pattern tissue ready. I've been cutting out, or tracing off, the pattern pieces for an assortment of garments that I know I'll want to make in the weeks and months ahead. Some are mundane or fashion items. The rest are costume pieces.

Yes, I'm still pursuing the idea of making a costume for each chapter in the History of Fashion textbook. It will actually be only those chapters that we cover in the class, not including the introduction/overview. I don't really see any need to go to class dressed as a cave woman! I'm afraid that every student in the class would immediately drop out! hehehe For that same reason, I probably won't ever go to class dressed as an Egyptian woman. They just did not wear enough. And we never get past Chapter 14 - the Bustle Period and the 1890's, so I won't need to do any 20th C. for a while.

I've had lots of suggestions that I should consider doing this project in half scale, with very valid arguments towards that option. Students could handle pieces, look underneath the outer layers, and get a better idea of what makes up a complete period costume. Good point. I'd also save time and money... another good point. So maybe I'll do 1/2 scale TOO, or some of each. I guess the really big dream would be to have one half scale and one full scale for each of the chapters. Ever optimistic aren't I?

I do have the Truly Victorian half-scale patterns, and a half-scale form dressed in dark blue, crushed velvet. I'd love to see her dressed in those half-scale garments. I also have some patterns from Texas Tech University Press. These patterns were called the Amanda Series and were based on “Authentic Fashions of Pioneer Times in Texas, 1838-1889”. They are sized for 15" and fashion dolls, but I think I can scale them up to 1/2 scale and make them work with hopefully minor fitting adjustments.

For now, I'm going to work on building a few fashion pieces to upgrade my current working wardrobe, in my current size, regardless of whether or not I'm going to get my weight back down. I should be able to sew for any size, I need clothes regardless of my size, and my students should see me wearing my work no matter what!

I'm also aiming to have completed 3 period outfits, in time for Costume College in August. I'm starting with the chemises and corsets for the 3, so that I can get all the fittings done in as few sessions as possible. Once the corsets are fitted and mostly finished, there will be some petticoats and such and then...the fun parts. I've got an embroidered red silk for an 18th C. caraco, probably with a contrasting petticoat. Inspiration is the Snowshill caraco from Arnold, and this caraco in the collection at Colonial Williamsburg.

It will be like the one on the right in the picture. I'm looking at either drafting the pattern from the Snowshill garment in Arnold, or using a period pattern that I picked up on e-bay.

Then, I want to do the 1857 Promenade Dress from the Wisconsin Historical Society Patterns of History collection. This is the pattern that Simplicity republished, shown on it's envelope cover in blue with black trim. It's also the same pattern from which I developed the green dress for the ballet. My fabric is a narrow seersucker stripe in white and shades of soft and pale green. It will have more of a summer-time look, or so I hope.

Third will be the outfit from the cover of Garment Patterns for the Edwardian Lady by Mrs. F.E. Thompson. This outfit is not among the many for which specific patterns are provided in the book...what a shame. However, there is a skirt for another outfit which should work quite well, and there are parts (sleeves, bodices) for other outfits which can be adapted. Fabric is not yet decided as the skirt takes more than what I have of any one piece appropriate for this. Shopping ahead!

Pardon this picture, please. I took it with the digital camera instead of the scanner so there's some glare.

If time were to permit, I'd like to build one more outfit, an 1893 evening gown. This first appeared on the cover of Harper's magazine. There's a copy of the cover in the Dover book, Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898. You might have also seen it in the Dover paper dolls book, Great Fashion Designs of the Belle Epoque Paper Dolls in Full Color, drawn by Tom Tierney.

Corsets....well, I want to improve my familiarity with the corset options out there. Students are fascinated by corsets and one student produced a gorgeous Laughing Moon Dore-based corset last semester. Her first time out at corset sewing and she did wonderful work. As more students want to try corsetry, I want to be able to make good pattern recommendations, so I'm going to cut the Laughing Moon (Dore), the Trudly Victorian 1880's, several of the options from the Big 4 - mostly Simplicity and a couple of reprints from lat 1800's magazines. I'll also need a mid-18th century corset and am still debating my options for that one.

So, the base plan for an ambitious undertaking, but I need something to get me excited and get me moving and creating again! I know I may not get everything done on schedule, but without a goal and a deadline, I won't get anything done at all. Off I Go!

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