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This dress was made for Pam, a lovely lady back east.  She sent me the fabric she wanted her gown to be made from-- and I think it turned out so terrific!  It was an embroidered poly taffeta, and it was very pleasant to work with. The best part was she sent 13 yards, which was juuuuuust  enough! Any less and this gown would have looked very different.  I used up nearly every inch of fabric available!

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I have completed the underskirt for the robe a la Francaise I'm building over that pink lacy monster pannier I made a few weeks ago.  The photos really don't convey how enormous this thing is!  It is so gloriously ginormously gigantic, my client will feel like she should be roaming the rooms of Versailles. Well, that is, if she is able to exit her dressing room. The door is likely too small to allow this awesomeness to pass.

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Nov. 20th, 2013 03:45 pm
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Thanks to some invaluable advice from photography savvy friends, namely [ profile] jenthompson and [ profile] katexxxxxx, I have managed to take photos of this dress that make it look nice. THANK YOU! (a lot of photos here)

Let me know what you think, now that you can actually see the dress!

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I made these sleeves in a totally jackass sort of way-- sorry. They have no basis in historical reality at all, I made them so they would be super easy to wear and alter, meaning they needed to be one piece and have an inner seam that completly controls the size of the sleeve. I have thought of a better way to make them easier to deal with, but naturally I didn't think of it until everything was all done. Whoops. Always learning! I wonder when everything will stop being a prototype??
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The bodice fronts came together pretty smoothly, which is totally not normal!

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In the continuation of the Violet gown, I painstakingly cut out all the remaining pieces needed, sliced up and prepped the furbelow strips, and then was suddenly struck to make the stomacher first. I usually leave the stomacher until last, but couldn't this time-- with such a meager amount of fabric left, I had to make sure I had what I needed for the stomacher, and then I could fudge the skirt furbelows with scrap-pieced strips. Couldn't do that with the stomacher! It's such a focal point I wanted it to be lovely-- and I wanted it to be echelle.

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There is a distinct possibility that I will be able to attend Costume College next year, and have decided to join the Court Ensembles Project created by Kendra over at Demode Couture. So many people have already staked claims to so many amazing gowns! I hope they all come into fruition, because wouldn't that just be amazing?

Anyway, Here is the gown I have chosen to emulate:


Isn't it gorgeous?! I have been loving it for quite a while now, and finally have an "excuse" to make it!  It's sitting in the Museum of London, and I wish I could find better photos of it, but so far, no-- just tiny ones. I suppose I could buy a copy, and it may come to that!

I have no idea what color it will be, but I love fabric shopping so it will be super fun to find just the right thing! I have a lot of time to make this dress, and yet no time at all. Must stay organized and progressive!

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You know, I couldn't decide between two stomacher styles...

So I made both!


Clear your schedule-- it's a doozy! )
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I have sleeves!

They are not yet attached to the main gown, but will be tomorrow. I began to set them, scoffing at the people who call sleeves sleevils. And you know what happened? THEY TURNED SLEEVIL.  It's really awkward getting in there and I kept catching the lining in the seam allowance and enough was enough. Tomorrow I'll tackle it with a fresh head.

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Finally got the skirt fronts attached to the bodice fronts.  Took me all friggin' day, not sure why.  Probably because I fuss and fuss and do and re-do over and over again.  I wonder what it would be like to just slap something together and say, There! Done! and not notice the slightest wonkiness and waste the day trying to get rid of it. I just can't do it. I'm not even a perfectionist (obviously, I'm a total slob and nothing I've ever made has been perfect) So I don't know why I can't just get on with the project instead of miring up getting rid of a wrinkle or whatever. I'm not even successful! I just waste days trying to get it right. Oh well.

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It took me days and days and days to finish this-- end of summer with school looming next week is always a time sucker. Darn kids neeeding clothes and haircuts and school supplies and such.  Earlier in the summer I thought I could FOR SURE get these two gowns done-- ha! What a joke on me that was. Oh well, there is really no due date, I just want to get them done ASAP... so I will keep plugging along, even if it takes me days and days.

If you are looking for an authentic way to put together a historical Robe a la Francaise, you will be disappointed in me. I am cobbling this bodice together with a method I made up with no thought to historicality at all.  The gown is for a dancer, so she needs to be able to dress herself and not wear any stays. This is what I came up with to accomodate her needs.

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taupe robe a la francaise back asssembly

I am making the violet gown and this gown simultaneously, for the same lady, so you will see a lot of weird double posts in the future. Trying to get these done before school starts! 

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Purple Robe a la Francaise Back Assembly

The back is done! I love the saque backs, they are just so damn pretty!  The fabric, though-- yet another fabric that I can't photograph well! Ah well.

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Here is the underskirt of the second gown I am making for my dear friend Lucia, who is a historical dancer, artist and party organizer in Italy. I LOVE IT! Wow did it turn out nice. It is a violet dupioni silk-- a fairly rough weave, but I don't care, it's pretty.

Pics! Pics! More Pics! )
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Whelp, it turned out exactly as I saw it in my head.

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I love love love the subtle twinkle of the bugle beads on the trim-- looks so good!

I like pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. )

The second skirt is being worked on, leave it to me to pick persnickety methods of furbelowing! I never choose the easy way out, despite desperately wanting to take the easy way out. Ha!
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Aw, we had such a great time! [ profile] damekaris was completely awesome, she set us up with excellent seats in the balcony with a primo view. I managed to sneak a few photos, but they aren't very good-- but good enough to stoke the memory of the dress gliding around the stage! It looked so pretty! and GOLD! It was just a gleamy gold the whole time, hardly any blue showed up at all. After the show (which was delightful) we were at the meet and greet and damekaris introduced us to many of the key players- director, orchestra conductor, actors-- and we had a really good time. Unbelievably, both Karis and Janet (the actress who wore the gown) each gave me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I felt like a star! How ridiculous! It was awesome! I could get use to accolades like that, lol. There will be no living with me now, my head is so big. ::beauty queen wave::

More More More Pictures! )

So, does this experience make me want to be a "real" costume designer? People always tell me I should be in Hollywood, or working for an opera or something. Hhhmmm, lemme think... OH HELL NO. Are you kidding me? It takes a special kind of crazy/awesome to be a real costume designer. There is no way I could do what [ profile] damekaris and [ profile] fearga (and probably a few others reading this) do. I'm content to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor-- and such lovely fruits, this play had lots of glamorous costumes put together by Karis, especially loved the blingy rhinestone cream fringe dress! Wow! Anyway, I loved making the gown for the stage, and I loved seeing it up there, and I loved getting so many compliments from complete strangers, and I would absolutely do it again if asked. But, nope, I'm following a much smaller path and I'm happy. 

Thank you, [ profile] damekaris and Janet!
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Oh, the underskirt. Look at that thing! It’s a magnificent Rococo Monster! I’m not even using a full size pannier, those are just pocket hoops under there! It’s enormous and I adore it.

The pattern is my own, and still needs some perfecting, but I was inspired by these extant petticoat examples:

At the Met

At the V&A here and here

So, so much more! )

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I made a pair of pocket hoop panniers for Lina. I can’t build the dress without these little pretties as a foundation. I love pocket hoops, so easy to wear and maneuver around in. You can sit in chairs, go through doors, drive a car, squeeze by the folks blocking the buffet table and stash your swag… all real life stuff that needs dealing with while in costume. They’re brilliant little contraptions.

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