mars 13, 2013

1909 Evening Dress - Janet Arnold (1st try)

I have been wanting for long to try and use Janet Arnold's book to make the "1909/1910 Evening Dress from the London Museum" (in "Patterns of Fashion 2 - c. 1860-1940").

I knew I making an attempt at something really hard for me, because the dress which is patterned is a small size, so I would have to make a lot of modifications to do, but I really wanted to try...
Well, now I think I shouldn't have ... It made me completly crazy and after hours of work, I decided to stop the project for the moment.

This is the beautiful drawing of the dress by J.Arnold.

It's a dress for an approximately 74cm (29") waist corseted women, so quite far from my measurments...

This is how the pattern looks like into the book.

The first step was to understand what all the parts were for and how they would match the bodice lining.

It took me some time but finally I went trough  with the great help of a friend of mine.

I used a printer to enlarge all the parts once (x800% considering the 1/8 scale of the book) and then I tried to ajust the underbodice parts. That's when my nightmare began ...
I knew what to do and how to do it, but nothing worked as planned so I stopped everything and tried something else, using the brassiere pattern of Festive Attire and after a long fight, the underbodice was done !

The next step was the drapped bodice and the sleeves parts.
Drapped bodice / undersleeve

As the drapped bodice is a round drapped part, it was quite easy to adjust. I added 1,5" on the center back (red line) and 3" on the back (red line).
That was a different kettle of fish with undersleeve part : as you can see I made 5 adjustements and was still not happy of the results.

Front skirt

So I decided to put the whole part above the waistline appart and started the skirt adjustements, far easier to me.
I only added a little bit in centers (front and back) and sides seams and I moved the front dart of 1", and a priori it's looked fine.

I say "a priori" because I was so dispirited that I didn't try to make a mokeup of the skirt...

after 2 weeks of a long work on this dress, I gave up... I don't need this dress for the moment (until September) so I will try again in a few months, I haven't said my last word !!  
I still have a lot to learn about patience... 

mars 03, 2013

Catherine the Great - Riding Habit

Here is my view of the "Russia and Catherine the Great" theme for Venice Carnival 2013.

I was looking for some uniform style, as I know that Catherine the Great loved this kind of dresses.
I found a "Catherine II's Uniform Dress Modelled after the Uniform of the Life-Guards Cavalry Regiment" picture on the State Hermitage Museum website.

Catherine II's uniform from the "State Hermitage Museum"

I really like :
- the blue and red blending
- the golden ribbons ornements
- the colar
I dislike :
- the length of the waistcoat
- the overdress (on the right picture)

I found the perfect matching color for the skirt, and 2 different shades of blue for the waiscoat :
- a coton steel blue (??) fabric (on the left)
- a watered dark blue fabric (Prussian blue I guess) , used on the wrong side (on the right)

The watered fabric should have been the main fabric and the coton, the lining.

But after I've sewn the waistcoat bodice in both fabrics, I finaly decided to switch.

After searching for hours at the flea market, I found a beautiful golden metallic ribbon and I tried differents patterns to match the quantity I bought (How mindless I was to bought only 5 meters... :x)

Nevertheless, I had a big problem with the skirt pattern. I don't know why I didn't make it with the pattern I usually use. The (bad) result is : the skirt is too short on the back (really !! the petticoat is visible) and the front pleats don't fall gracefully :/

Here, a picture from Venice to show you the completed project :


The beautiful lace jabot was made by Evelyne Bouchard (her blog in french :

You will find more pictures here : Clic !