gwendolyngrey: (well-lit tea)
I finally brought it out again and finished the portrait miniature I started a while back!

IMG_2965

More pictures and a detailed write-up on The Blog!
gwendolyngrey: (marie antionette meadow)
So tired right now, but my gown was finished in time (minus cuffs/sleeve trim) and so far I've had a wonderful time at UTR. 

The stripe in the fabric is quite small, so from a distance it sort of visually blurs into a light grey-ish color, but it's really a white and lavender/grey stripe with tiny black pinstripes in between.  I'll most likely do a more in-depth post about it on my blog later, but right now it's time for dinner and then later it's back out again for libations at Chowning's Tavern.



gwendolyngrey: (marie antionette meadow)
 Weee!  First time cross-posting from my blog!

New 18th Cen clotheses.  Or, more specifically:  new 18th Cen jacket.

I should preface this post with the disclaimer that the jacket is Not-Done-Yet and is still in want of trim. That said, I've worn it twice now to two different gatherings, and wanted to document its existence.



The jacket is made of a pink cotton homespun, lined with a natural medium-weight linen. This was one of those situations where I had both fabrics in my stash and really didn't want to spend extra money... Also, I'm trying very hard to move away from blue in my costuming, as about 2/3's of my historical wardrobe is in the blue family. Not sure how successful I'll be in the long run, as I still adore blue (and it never fails to look good on me).

Like the majority of my historical clothes, the interior seams are all done by machine, but everything visible is hand-work.





The fullness of the skirts is achieved with five inverted box pleats, one at each seam, which are whipped to the lining for stability.

The pattern is very loosely based off the robe à l'anglaise in Jean Hunnisett's book. I say "very loosely" as I looked at it for general sizing, and drew what I thought would work. Fortunately, it did. I didn't bother drafting a sleeve pattern though, and just adapted one of Nicole's personal sleeve bases.

I'll probably write more about research and general info once I really truly finish it, and can post pictures of it in all its trimmed glory.


I'll most likely be wearing this at Ft. Fred at the end of the month (hopefully by that time I'll have made a new petticoat as well, and won't have to borrow this one of Nicole's which I have on in the photos.)
gwendolyngrey: (marie antionette- blue smile)
Here's hoping they won't always be frogs...
valentine's day

(also, this marks the first time I've ever thought "Oh, I should do a painting/drawing for cards this coming holiday" and then actually went and did it.)
gwendolyngrey: (greater things)
 Sometimes when I look at my slow progress on personal projects, it's easy to forget that I actually DO sew for eight hours a day.  Up 'til very recently I was still in a three-month 'training' process at work, and it was only about two weeks ago that it ended and I became a regular member of the team.

This means that I am finally doing actual production instead of just daily maintenance, alteration, and finishing!  As a tailor (stitcher, really), I don't get to cut at all (sad face), but being able to sew entire garments is SO refreshing after three months of bits and pieces!  Of course, we all have to do a certain amount of daily maintenance and repair every day, but at least for half of the day things get interesting. ;)

And this past week I made my first military coat!

Fife and Drum Coat


Fife and Drum Coat

It's for a member of the Fife and Drum senior corp... so it had to be made as sturdily as possible so that it can stand up to regular wear by a teenage boy. 
 
Next up on my assignment rack is a livery coat with lots and lots of silver trim!
gwendolyngrey: (northanger abbey possibilities)
One thing I will definitely say for my new job, is that already my buttonholes have shown a marked improvement.  This is a result of the hours and hours I've spend doing a buttonhole stitch along worn edges and corners of garments.  In fact, I've done nothing but mend so far, and still have another week of mending ahead of me before I get to progress to alterations. 

Yet whenever I start to get tired of fixing yet another hem or patching another hole, I just remember that instead of sitting in a large, quiet room stitching I could be waiting on customers, and I instantly feel much better about life.  And in a week's time I'll be able to take on more interesting projects, but for the moment I feel like some sort of mending queen. 

Tuesday night I attended dance practice with the Williamsburg Heritage Dancers, and had so much fun!  We did several dances that were way more complicated than anything I'd done at previous balls, and for once I felt like a novice instead of the experienced one!  Every other Tuesday evening is sewing circle though, so I'll only be able to go dancing every other week unless I decide to try Scottish folk dancing which is apparently on Thursday nights... I'm thinking if I'm not too tired I'll go for sure next week.

And my mind is swimming with all the dresses I want to make for myself, but I'm just. so. tired.

I might work a little bit on my wool dress for Gettysburg before going to bed.  The skirt panels are sewn together, and I want to attach the hem facing yet tonight.

Right up after the wool 1860s dress though must be a new 18th cen outfit.

I have some pretty pale pink homespun look cotton that I think I'll make a little pet en l'eir jacket with.  Right now I'm thinking of doing something like this:
 

I also want a charcoal grey robe a l'anglaise, but I don't even have fabric for that yet.  And I absolutely need a cloak and mitts if I'm going to spend the winter in Williamsburg!
gwendolyngrey: (Dreaming)
I finished something!  I actually FINISHED SOMETHING!!!  Okay, so technically it's about 98% done, but all the real work is finished.

Way back at the beginning of spring I started crocheting a sontag for myself, adapting an 1866 pattern from Peterson's Magazine (re-printed in the wonderfully handy little book 'Basic Accessories in Knit & Crochet' by Lynne Bury).  I worked on it in bits and pieces, with the goal of having it done before the trip to Gettysburg in November.  It's the first real thing I've ever crocheted, which probably accounts in some way for my snail pace.

I still have to weave the ends in and add little button loops, but aside from that it's finally finished, and in plenty of time for Gettysburg!

Once the button loops are done (which'll probably take all of ten minutes), I'll have to take pictures of it on a person instead of the floor, but this is at least proof that I have not been entirely filled with sloth and idleness.

Finished sontag!  almost...

Totally unrelatedly, last Friday the Costume Design Center had an open house for the second time in its history, and it was decided at the last minute (due to my having the right measurements) that instead of having Lady Dunmore's gown on a dress-form, I would get to wear it!  (It was made of a specially manufactured fabric, which was a reproduction of a painted silk in the CW collection, and patterned off another garment also in the collection.)   They dressed me up head to toe in all the accompanying accessories, and I pretty much got to spend all day showing it off and talking about that style of garment and how the dress was made, etc.  I felt quite lucky!

Lady Dunmore's Gown

It fit almost like it was made for me, and I'm really hoping they'll be willing to print me up a copy of the pattern, as I now NEED one like it for myself!

Also, I am beginning to realize that my 18th cen wardrobe is sorely lacking.  I only have two outfits, and one of them isn't even mine but actually belongs to [livejournal.com profile] reine_de_coudre! Something must be done.
gwendolyngrey: (Anne- kindred spirits)
This past weekend was a kind of eclectic mix of reenact-y fun of different sorts plus some straight up non-historical good times.

I left home fairly late on Friday night and drove down to Mike's place where we both stayed up too late finishing our new Civil War outfits.

We were up early Saturday morning, and headed out to a timeline event at Ft. Meigs in Ohio where we met up with Tyler.  Since it was a timeline, we could wear whatever we wanted, and decided to go with the 18th century for the majority of the day.  Mike and Tyler hooked up with Daniel O'Connell from the King's 8th Reg and borrowed various pieces to complete their kits, although Tyler later on joined up with some other friends for an Australian WW2 impression. 


(In order: Tyler, me, Mike)

I wore my basic 18th cen ensemble, and finally got decent pictures of it. )

We met, and talked to, a lot of people at the fort.  It seemed we could hardly walk a couple of yards before someone else that Tyler knew came up and engaged us in conversation.  I quickly discovered that while hanging out with Mike and Tyler is great fun, spending time with a group of guys is very, very different from hanging out with a girlfriend or two.  The biggest difference was the style of shop talk.  All of Tyler's aquiantences are very knowledgeable, and care deeply about their specific time periods and crafts, and can wax poetic on the most mundane of topics.  The latest Big Thing within this particular group of people is the recent forming of an 1812 group, the 1st Regiment of Volunteers, which Mike, Tyler, and I are all planning on being involved with.  This resulted in what seemed like hours upon hours of talk about haversacks and cartridge boxes and buttons and coatees vs. jackets and hats and shakos and cockades etc. etc.

All of the uniform talk made me very grateful to finally get a chance to meet Ericka Osen, who I'd exchanged an email or two with, but had never spoken to before.  She was incredibly friendly and welcoming, and basicly offered to set me up with anything I might need at a reenactment with the 1st reg.  I felt fairly privilaged to spend time chatting and shopping with her, as she really, really knows her stuff having been head of clothing at Conner Prairie and Greenfield Village for quite a few years.

All the talking aside, we pretty much just mosey-ed about the fort all day. )

We ended the afternoon just relaxing with the WW2 guys, before heading back to Mike's home. 

Katie joined us there that evening, as did a couple girls which Mike had met at Greenfield village, and we tromped through the woods behind his house to the place where we had planned on camping.  It was incredibly soggy out from the torrential rain the night before, and it was a fairly unanimous decision to NOT camp and just have fun anyway.  We rounded out the evening with a swim in his neighbor's pool before the other girls left, and Katie, Mike, Tyler, and I crashed in the basement where we watched most of Zoolander before falling asleep.

Sunday the 21st was Mike's 21st birthday.

We went antiquing in the morning, and even though I hadn't planned on spending money, I found a really nice fashion plate from 1828, which was priced ridiculously low, that I had to buy.  I think Tyler got a print of a Remington painting, but the others came away empty-handed.

We got back to the house shortly before lunch, where we were joined by a couple others, and all got dressed in our finery for an afternoon of shooting flintlocks.

I wore my brand new Civil War day dress, which ended up not really resembling the dress from Cold Mountain at all.

True to form, it wasn't entirely finished (though I suppose I can cut myself a little slack this time as I had less than a week to make it in).  I didn't have time to make a collar and cuffs, which it desperately needs, and I'd like to add some more trim on the sleeves.

Katie ([livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon ) already posted pictures from the day, and I have a bunch of photos from the afternoon (and more from Ft. Meigs) on my flickr page as well.

We shot for an hour or two, and were completely dripping with sweat by the end of it.  The weather was hot... sunny and humid, and we were all grateful to strip off our many layers of clothing and jump in the pool again.  Swimming, brandy, chocolate cheesecake, and pipes filled the end of the day nicely before Tyler headed back to Ohio.  Katie and I left for home the following day, and that was that.
gwendolyngrey: (S.H. costume addict)
I just discovered that our camera isn't as completely dead as I had  thought... make no mistake, it's definitely mostly dead, but it has a saving grace. Apparently, it can no longer handle color in any shape or form... you get nothing but streaks of black with worbles of white and magenta. In futzing around with it however, I found out that it works like a charm if it's set to black and white or sepia. While the overall situation is a bit frustrating, it means that I'm able to make do until my Dad gets a new one (fortunately, he's actively looking for a good one, so it shouldn't be too long).

This means that I now have evidence of my Sleepy Hollow Stripey progress! Fortunately, the dress is black and white, so the no color thing doesn't matter terribly.


As you can see, I still need to trim the polonaise (and add ties to loop it up) and make the petticoat, but the bulk of it is done! I've actually been treating this whole project like a historical costume that just happens to look like Katrina van Tassel's dress, and it's been very liberating. It also makes me feel justified in my lazy dislike of sewing on fasteners, as I can continue to just pin the stomacher in place (like it is at the moment).

Oh, and I'm wearing it right now... that picture was taken about fifteen minutes ago...
gwendolyngrey: (S.H. costume addict)

Working at a fabric store can be inspiring, but customers never ever fail to make one doubt in humanity.

Customer:  Do you have any muslim?
Me:  Er, do you mean muslin?
Customer:  Yes, do you guys have any muslim?
Me:  *boggles* We have some MUSLIN in the warehouse...
Whereupon I kindly pointed out our muslin, and even more kindly didn't ask her if she was looking for any other religions while she was at it. 

But I have a dress! With sleeves! And lining! It might not have a petticoat, stomacher, or trim, but it's a dress and I'm wearing it. I seriously cannot wait to finish this project and have the thing... I really hope nothing goes wrong, because I'm in love with it even before all of the critical bits have been sewn. I only wish the camara was working...

And to round off the evening, I also feel compelled to fill out [info]sewphisticate's costuming meme.

1. Are you the type of stitcher who works on one project start to finish, or do you work several different projects at once?
Can I be both? I might have more than one project started, but I only ever work on one at a time. For instance, the Violet B. dress is in progress, but upon starting the Sleepy Hollow Stripey, I've worked on nothing else, and won't touch anything else until this dress is done. I think by nature I'm a start-to-finish sort of girl, but one who is easily bored.

2. How do you decide which projects to begin? Need? Whim? Herd mentality?
Whim. I've never really had a NEED for a costume (except for Star Wars stuff); and not being in physical contact with the costuming "herd", I would only find it depressing to follow a trend. Yeah, I make stuff totally on whims.

3. What are the sorts of things that will cause you to hurl said project(s) into the corner and consign them to the pit of Hades?
I haven't. The only time something like that happened was when I was trying to bag line the 3/4 circle V.B. skirt, and after the third try I finally got it right, only to realise I'd run out of bobbin thread at the begining of the seam. It was hurled into a corner, but only stayed there for an evening. I think at the begining of my costuming life I was happy with poorer jobs, and since becoming more perfectionistic, I've been very, very lucky.

4. Once consigned to Hades, will you ever return to the d*mned project and complete?
Er, yeah... see above...

5. What about those projects you complete, and then decide you hate for whatever reason (doesn’t fit, don’t really like how it looks on you, etc.) How do you dispose of them?
All of the stuff I made the first couple years of sewing is basicly crap, but I haven't had the heart to get rid of anything... I keep thinking that even the worst costume might come in handy in the future.

6. When disposing of old costumes, do you pick off the good bits (the nice lace, the vintage buttons, etc.) to use on future projects, or does the dress move on to the great wardrobe in the sky more or less intact?
I haven't disposed... all the bad stuff is just pushed to the back of my closet.

7. Of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but have you ever gone anywhere (including to various Web pages) and found a gown that looks suspiciously like one that you created? 
No... *sigh* I'm quite sure movie costumes don't count...

8. Have you ever lifted design elements from the gowns of other costumers? (Let me be specific: Not vintage garments, not film costuming, but gowns created by costumers you have come across, either at events, cons, or on the Web.)
Not conciously. If I have, I haven't meant to...

9. If you could pay someone to do one hated task involved in sewing, it would be…
IRONING! Oh, how I hate ironing... I seriously can't describe how much I loathe having to iron.

10. What are you working on now?
The Black and White Sleepy Hollow dress is my main project at the moment.
Technically, I'm also working on the Violet Baudelaire dress, though I haven't touched it since Dec.
Oh, and I'm putting together a Slytherin student outfit for July.

gwendolyngrey: (Elizabeth Bennet- irresistible)

I have decided that I will have to go to Costume College next year. It'll really be the last chance I have to do something like that before I have to concentrate on either building a career as a freelance illustrator, or go to grad school and THEN build up my career. Either way, after I'm done here at Grand Valley, real life is going to completely take over, and I have a sneaking suspision that I'll have to seriously cut back on the costuming front for the first year or two of trying to establish myself as a professional artist. SO, the point is, next  summer will be my last "pre-graduating" summer, and really will be the only opportunity, of my forseeable future, to do something like Costume College. Besides, I've never been to California.

Anyway, that's over a year away, but I've been thinking a lot about it (especially with CC 07 coming up so quickly) and I know excactly what I want to make for the gala... I was very inspired by a dress I saw at Killerton House in Devon, but I don't think I want to talk about it (the dress) too much... I don't want to jinx it.

The Sleepy Hollow Stripey is coming along quite well! I haven't made the underskirt, but the top part looks like a dress! Okay, so it's an unlined, sleeveless dress without much of a front, but hey, it's more than flat pieces of fabric on the floor, so I"m happy... not to mention the en fourreau pleating is over and done with. It wasn't as difficult as I had inticipated, but I have a gut feeling it would have been a LOT easier with a dressform. Flat drafting involves far too much careful calculating for my true enjoyment.

gwendolyngrey: (S.H. costume addict)
Not much to report, but I spent my evening working on the muslin for the bodice of the Sleepy Hollow Stripey. Our camera is almost officially dead (as in won't work for love or money) so you'll just have to imagine it. I'm almost scared by how smoothly the whole process went... I'd been quite intimidated by the prospect of doing en fourreau pleating without a dressform. I was lucky though, in that the robe a l'anglaise pattern in Jean Hunnisett almost exactly matched my measurements; so I was able to scale it up and with only a little tweaking (such as... oh, narrowing the back... like ALWAYS) make it fit. 

It's terribly exciting to be starting on the dress though... it feels like eons since I last made something big and fun. Underpinnings might be pretty, but they don't satisfy the soul.
gwendolyngrey: (five points to slytherin)
I've been sewing my butt off these past couple days... if I ever want to have an 18th cen dress to wear this summer to Mackinac, then I really have to get cracking. Happily, my stays (nifty link to website synop...) are now finished as of this afternoon. I still don't have a busk, but hey! It's wearable, and it fits... I'm happy. Unfortunately I have spent almost all my time sewing while watching Stargate (the seventh and eighth seasons specifically) and my inner voice is sounding very much like Jack O'Niel. 

Also unfortunaly, my camara is all out of whack, and the getting a good picture is so iffy that this one (although very green and...bright) is a wonder and a marvel.


Not to mention my Slytherin tie and white shirt have both recently arrived in the mail... the only thing now between me and the releases in July 
is a small, grey skirt.................... aaaand 34-44 days...

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