I am really surprised at how long it took me to make this gown! In my head everything is so simple, yet the execution took 50 times longer than I ever expected. Real life constantly interrupts me, and I need to find a way to deal with that effectively. .. and I can’t really whine about it, as this is a problem every seamstress in the world shares! If anyone has any tips– clue me in! I am already working on my next project, so this post will be rather prose sparse– but, as I took photos along the way, I might as well show them!
I have a lovely client named Alisa, from The Ladies of History, and for her next cosplay she would like to be Catherine the Great. She sent me three and a half yards of blue velour upholstery fabric and a vintage fur stole to make the cloak with… Only 3.5 yards? With a nap? For a cloak? That has to go over an 18th century gown? I just about fainted. It couldn’t be done! Cloaks need loads of yardage to look nice, a skimpy cloak just looks stupid, especially if you’re going to portray a Queen! I had no idea how I was going to make this work.
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??
The bodice fronts came together pretty smoothly, which is totally not normal!
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.
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!
You know, I couldn’t decide between two stomacher styles…
So I made both!
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.
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.
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.
Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild