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Friday, August 10, 2012

Adventures in Costuming

I should probably start with a picture of the muff from the previous post actually finished.  I think it's quite pretty.

Next is one of my costumes for Salt City Steamfest (which was a blast, by the way).  It's actually just my Regency dress that I have previously posted on here with a fun corset I got from www.coset-story.com over the top.  I also wore one of my vintage cameras around my neck most of the day, but I took that off for the ball because necklaces swing a LOT when you do Victorian dancing, and I was pretty sure no one wanted my metal-bodied camera to their face.  I wore my pretty mask on my head because I rather like my mask, but it wasn't, strictly speaking, a masked ball, so no one else was wearing them, which made it a lot less worth it to me to just deal with the fact that masks make my face feel crazy after a while.  (Yes, my face has emotions of its own, completely independent of the rest of me, so it is the one who goes crazy.)  Regency isn't typically what people use for steampunk costumes, but this struck my fancy, so I decided to try it.  I like it, and it went over quite well.

I don't honestly know why Jon wanted all the extra accessories for the ball when he wasn't going to keep them on for more than a few minutes.  The inverness (I made that--it still needs buttons on the cape part, and a few other finishing touches, and then I will post about it properly) and hat would make him way too hot while dancing, and the cane just gets in the way.  Well, I suppose I do know--he really likes to make an impression.


This picture shows Jon without the extra accessories and me full-length.  I don't know if the fan is good, bad, or indifferent, aesthetically, but it was an absolute necessity.  The hotel got quite hot with several hundred people packed in, and besides, Victorian dancing is a lot more vigorous than you might think.  Every time I got to stop dancing for more than a second or two, I unhooked it and used it.

I'm pretty sure Jon is only still wearing the Harley boots because his dress shoes somehow didn't come with the rest of his clothes for his costume change.  The other two lovely ladies are my nieces.  I can't take much credit for their outfits because a sari is a sari (though I think Anna looked very pretty in it), and Emily is wearing her own clothes except my belt and aviator goggles.

Next up (trumpets sound): my Elizabethan gown!  The underdress/chemise is finally completely done, and the entire outfit is wearable, though I still intend to gradually do more to the outer gown.

Here's a couple close-ups of the neckline of the underdress from the inside--one of the front corners and the center back.  It is one long strip of fabric (actually there's a seam to get the length I needed out of the piece I wanted to use) cut with the grain and turned at the corners.  I machine stitched "wrong" sides together at the neck edge and whip stitched the other edge on the inside with the raw edge turned under.  I made it so wide because I felt my finish would be less noticeable if it were wider than the amount of fabric that would show with the outer gown on.

This shows the neckline from the outside.  The sheerness of the fabric is the reason it shows so prominently from the outside.  Again, that's why I made it wide enough that the edge of the neck facing wouldn't show when I'm wearing the outer gown.

 
And the full-length view of the chemise.  I'm very pleased with it.  These pictures don't really do justice to it, but it's way too sheer for me to model it on my real body without the rest of the costume over it.

The bodice is three layers of fabric--two layers (brocade and heavy twill) for boning channels, and one more of the brocade for the outside.  To finish the armholes, I trimmed the center, twill layer away from the edges to reduce the bulk.  Then I turned the other two edges toward each other and stab stitched very close to the edge.  I used a heavy black thread so it would be strong enough, but I made very small stitches so it wouldn't show. 

I did this part weeks ago and then realized just recently that the curves of the two armholes don't match in the front, which is only noticeable at all because of the trim.  But it's not extremely noticeable, and it will be even less so once I add the shoulder rolls, so I probably won't bother to fix it.  I'm normally plenty picky enough to fix that sort of thing, but I just don't think it's going to end up being worth it this time.

So this is wearable now (and I intend to wear it), but I still want to add shoulder rolls to the armholes and thousands of pearls to the trim.  Other things are going to come before that, though.  Jon needs a new, informal 19th century shirt, and I'm working on some fun mundane sewing.  (That sounds like an oxymoron--"fun mundane"--but for anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, "mundane" just means "non-costume" or "modern" in this context.  It's pretty common terminology in the SCA.)

To keep this from being a super long post, I'm going to give my Victorian corset its own post.  I have worked on it, though, and it's finally almost done.  I just need Jon to do a little more work, and then I can finish completely.  It's really pretty, though, and I like the fit better than the Corset Story one pictured above because it is actually made for me (small boobs and all) rather than ordered based on waist size and then made to a standard curve (Corset Story apparently believes most women have bigger boobs than mine, which is probably true).

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