gwendolyngrey: (bk- cheerful)
I just placed an order for the patterns for my secret spring project!  I already have most of the fabric for said project, and since time seems to be literally flying out from under my feet, it's high time I finished amassing goods and got to work!

There are plans afoot, and they involve the Civil War and things-I've-never-sewn-before and a good dose of fun, but that's all I'm saying for now.  ;)

Also, what I've gotten to see of the accessories conference etc has been really good so far.  Lots of new ideas and mental connections and general info to let simmer.  Not to mention, this afternoon we basically learned where the evil reenactorism of the "bodice" came from... and yes, one can blame the 70's and 80's lack of research and the fact that Williamsburg sold off its old bodices once they were eliminated from the site (which were then used in many small historic sites and were patterned and spread around by reenactors and sutlers) pretty much equally.
gwendolyngrey: (Anne- happy)
It doesn't really feel like Thanksgiving or the end of November.  Partly because of the weather (the trees are still bright yellow and red and it's been nearly 70 the past few days!) and partly because I've never been away from my family for the holidays before.  One of the ladies from my Tuesday night sewing circle has invited me to her house for dinner today, so I at least won't be alone on Thanksgiving, but it's really not the same thing.

Also, it's been my habit to put up my Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving evening or the day after, and I feel really strange thinking of decorating for Christmas when it's still so fall-like outside.  There hasn't even been a proper frost yet!  I suppose I'll just have to get used to living in the South and adapt... and after all, it's not as though I'm in Florida like my brother where it's still next door to summer.

Last week was crazy busy as I quickly made my wool dress for Gettysburg in between friends' visits and several dates (though there's nothing exciting to report on that front).  As usual, I was up incredibly late the last two nights before the event getting it done, and the final stitches were put in at the hotel room the morning of the event!  Of course, now that I've actually worn it I want to make changes so I hesitate to call it done, but it's a complete dress so it's technically on the finished project list.

Even though the wool is a light, tropical weight, it ended up being super bulky when box-pleated into the waistband which threw off the fit of the bodice.  The bulk of the waistband causes there to be a gap between my body and the dress right above the waist and the bodice doesn't quite close at the front point.  I'm thinking of taking the skirt off the waistband and re-doing it with cartridge pleats instead and will probably add a couple bones to the bodice as well before the next major event.

IMG_2305

I'm really happy with how the trim on the sleeves turned out though!  I used a narrow, velvet ribbon which I applied before the sleeves were completely constructed.  I used one of the discontinued Martha McCain patterns from Simplicity to get the shape of the pleated sleeve, which ended up being much easier to make than I had anticipated.

We match!  Sort of.  :)

100_0807

And a couple more dress photos:

IMG_2307

IMG_2303

Katie and I both got quite a few compliments over the course of the day, which was naturally very pleasant, and in spite of fitting issues I'm really pleased with the dress in general and had a lot of fun wearing it.  I think it'll probably see quite a bit of use in the future.
gwendolyngrey: (jo in a topper)
I suddenly realized today that the Gettysburg trip is just under two weeks away, and contrary to what my subconscious likes to tell me, I don't have an indefinite amount of time to finish my dress.

I'd been dithering for weeks about how I want to trim this dress, but the realization of a strict deadline forced me to promptly make up my mind as to what sort of trim I wanted, and to even more swiftly place an order from M&J Trimming.

The plan is to use a dark, slate blue lightweight wool, and make a dress with an asymmetrical closure, more or less trimming it like this CDV:


I quite like that sleeve style too, although I'll be adding long-ish, white cuffs that come to a point. 

The original idea was that Katie ([livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon) and I would use similar wools to make dresses with mirrored asymetrical closures... her's will be closing on the left and mine will be closing on the right.  I have no idea what sleeve style or trimming she'll use though, so there's still a great deal of potential for the dresses to not look like mirror images of each other.  I'm honestly really interested as to how both of our dresses will appear side by side.

So far I just have the skirt panels sewn together and the hem faced, so there's a lot to get done in the next week and a half!  Eel!
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: (Dreaming)
Am home again from a long weekend at Greenfield Village and have spent the day in a sort of weary daze.

The event was great though!  [livejournal.com profile] reine_de_coudre (Samantha) had came out from California to spend a week and a half here in Michigan, and camped with [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor (Mike), [livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon (Katie), and myself.  I'm too tired to go into depth right now, but in spite of very hot, humid weather we had loads of fun.  Did a lot of sitting in the shade, but also got to see and meet a lot of people, did a bunch of touristy Greenfield Village things (including riding the carousel twice), took part in the fashion show, and danced nearly every dance at the ball.

Due to the awful cold I had a week before the event, I barely got the windowpane dress done in time, and was in fact stitching the trim onto the neck during the drive there.  I didn't manage to sew the trim to the sleeves as well, but the dress was wearable and, I thought, rather cute anyway.

New dress!





Wore the windowpane dress on Sat, and the Not-Cold-Mountain dress on Sun.  The new apron came in very handy as I actually did a fair amount of the cooking.  The weather on Monday turned a bit nasty... hot and rainy with scorching sun and pouring rain by turns, and the hem of my dress (cotton Not-Cold-Mountain) got quite wet and muddy.

I was quite excited to find this picture of myself on flickr that someone must have taken at some point on Sunday.  I rarely like how my face looks in photos, but I feel as though this is what I see when I look in the mirror...


I'll let some of my favorite pics from the event speak for themselves... )I'll let some of my favorite pics from the event speak for themselves... )

There are a whole lot more of pictures on my flickr page here.

And yes, both of my 1860s day dresses are made of fabrics with white backgrounds and blue patterns.  It's clear where my tastes lie, but I think I'm going to have to change things up a bit for the next dress... although the steel blue wool dress I'm planning still falls into the same color family....
gwendolyngrey: (Anne in tears)
So I've had a cold since Monday, and it is totally kicking my ass.  In spite of getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of fluids, and generally doing everything "right", this cold continues to wreak havoc on my system and is winning.  My whole head is completely congested, I'm developing a nasty cough, my ears are clogged and achy, and I've pretty much lost my voice.  In fact, I sound kind of like a geriatric frog when I try to speak.

I even had to cancel spending time with several good friends, who I rarely get to see any more, because of this cold.  I'm hoping I'll be mostly back to normal for Greenfield Village next weekend, but I'm not counting on it.  I've had colds like these in the past, and even if the congestion goes away after a week or so, other problems (like hearing loss or a nagging cough) tend to linger.  I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

In spite of fighting off the plague, I've been getting some sewing done. 

Bonnet!  The ribbon there is just pinned on at the moment... I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to trim it.
   

And an apron.  Not very exciting, but necessary.


And now I'm think I'm going to sit in my armchair for a little while and stare blankly off into space before summoning up the wherewithall to work on my windowpane dress.  Yeah... that sounds about right...

Undies Day

Apr. 4th, 2010 05:37 pm
gwendolyngrey: (oh- tiles)
Katie and I had an underwear day yesterday... and it wasn't nearly as exciting as it sounds.  ;)

I have a decent corset for 1860s which I made last spring, but I don't have much by way of 1860s underwear in general.  I make do with a tank top or 1812 chemise, didn't have any drawers, and only have one petticoat.

Yesterday was spent addressing this sad state of affairs, and I had grand plans of making a pair of drawers and a chemise in one day.  Of course, reality never quite matches expectations, and I didn't even start sewing until 2 in the afternoon. 




However, I now have a brand new pair of handkerchief linen split-crotch drawers made from the free Elizabeth Stewart Clark pattern.  The pattern was really easy to draft, but I had to alter the overall shape and put them together a bit differently from the instructions to make them fit properly.  Less of an overlap in back (though there's still decent coverage) and gathered in the center back instead of flat, plus changing the front open edge from a straight line up and down to angle inwards.  I ended up only minimally gathering the front and leaving most of the fullness in the back.  As I said to Katie, I think the pattern was designed for someone with a bit of a paunch and not much ass.

The legs have two tucks each and are edged with cotton lace.  I think I'll be putting in more tucks though, as I'd like them a little bit shorter.

 

Next up?  Chemise!  If I don't get distracted by a bonnet or sontag...
gwendolyngrey: (Default)
This afternoon I finished putting together the buckrum form for my early spoon Mildred Augusta bonnet.  I haven't decided yet exactly how I'm going to cover it though.  I know I'll be using some blue silk taffeta that I got from Katie, but it's the style I'm stuck on... I'm leaning towards a drawn bonnet but I just can't decide.  And how much wadding should I add to the tip?  And do I interline or not?  These are the questions. 

And after all that is done there'll still be the trimming to figure out, but that's the fun part.  ;)

 

And speaking of the Civil War (which I kind of was... obliquely... fashion counts) I'm in the middle of reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, which the movie Gettysburg is based on.  It is phenomenal.  I tend to assume that books which are centered around a battle are rather dull affairs filled with a lot of wordy descriptions of tactics and maneuvers.  The Killer Angels is anything but, being very well written and fleshing out incredibly compelling characters.  I was also pleased by the unbiased 'political' stance, as both the North and the South are portrayed sympathetically.  Shaara lets the characters speak (and think) for themselves, instead of using them to preach to the audience.  I still have to finish it, but I had to gush.
gwendolyngrey: (W&D Cynthia and Molly bright)
It seems like I've done nothing but application stuff recently... for grad schools and summer stock work; and when I DO sew, it's on a veeerrry late gift for somebody which is taking an age to finish.

I haven't put a stitch in a new dress for myself since last June!  This, however, is about change.



Quite a few of you are probably familiar with this dress of [livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon's which she made for the annual regency ball last spring.  The other night, however, Katie surprised [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor and I with a declaration of her dislike for the dress and her plans for getting rid of it.  Preferring not to sell in on ebay, Katie was wonderful enough to give it to me along with the extra yard and a half of left-over fabric so that I could make a new dress for Greenfield out of it.

I am, to put it bluntly, thrilled.

Silk taffeta in white and blue windowpane check?!  Nothing less than awesome!

The skirt of the original dress is made from three panels of 54" wide fabric, and as such, is a great width for going over my hoop.  I'll have to let the hem out a little, but aside from that, making the new skirt'll be really straightforward.  I figure the extra yard and a half will be plenty for a bodice and sleeves, and I can use the fabric from the original bodice for trimmings.

I'm planning on making something similar to these:
   

I love the v-neck style, pagoda sleeves, and ruched trimming, but I haven't quite decided yet whether I want a straight waistline or a pointed bodice... would one be more fashionable than the other?

Also, Katie bought me an early birthday present... a bonnet kit from Timely Tresses!  I'll be making the Mildred Augusta bonnet in the early spoon style.  So.  Excited.  I adore all manner of hats, bonnets, and headdresses, and as of yet, I don't even have a single 1860s bonnet!  But, thanks to Katie, this calamitous state of affairs will shortly draw to close... I'm quietly gleeful.  :D

Also.

Yo no soy marinero.

Bonus points for guessing which song is stuck in my head... ;)
gwendolyngrey: (Default)
It's been nearly a week now since I got back from Remembrance Day at Gettysburg, and it's high time I posted something.

First things first! The paletot was done in time... well, sort of. I didn't bother putting on the red velvet ribbon trimming that I had planned, although I'll probably add it on later. I got the paletot to this wearable state several days before the trip, but kind of enjoyed wearing it out and about too much to "finish" it entirely. It's made of brown wool obtained from [livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon 's impressive stash, and lined with tan silk taffeta also from said stash. Mike and I joke frequently about "shopping" at Katie's house only because it's true. ;)



And a back view.


We arrived at Gettysburg on Friday evening, and as we drove into town we went over a hill and I suddenly saw the Lutheran Seminary silhouetted against the twilight sky. My heart nearly stopped as I thought "Gen. Buford was actually IN that cupola. Wow, it's just like Gettysburg... OMG, I'm IN GETTYSBURG!!!"

And it all kind of went up from there. The town of Gettysburg is such a wonderful mix of cool history and frightful kitsch that I fell in love with it immediately. Of course, it probably helped that the streets were nearly constantly filled with a steady stream of colorful figures which made for some prime people-watching. Touring the battlefield was amazing in a totally different way. On one hand, it was really educational to see it first hand, as simply reading about the battle and watching the film doesn't really give one a remote idea of what the actual scale and scope of events was. Nonetheless, it was impossible to forget that this was a battlefield, and that thousands upon thousands of people died on that very ground. It was rather sobering and awe-inspiring and something that I'm not likely to forget.

Anyway, Mike, Katie, and I all drove out together and met Tyler (who was coming from Delaware) there in Gettysburg. I was already acquainted with some of the guys in Tyler's unit, the 116th Pennsylvania, and it was great to get to see them again and chat a bit. Mike and Tyler went off with the unit on Saturday and did military-ish things and marched in the parade while Katie and I moseyed about town shopping and taking in the sights. The parade was rather impressive and rather noisy, and nearly every other group was followed by a drum corp or a drum and fife corp or brass band. Most of them were so close that you could hear the music from the next group coming before the first was out of earshot. Still, it wasn't too cacophonous, and it was fun to watch the troops march by. We didn't watch the whole parade though... after about half an hour spent watching row after row after row of the Union guys there didn't seem to be much point in sticking around to see the Confederates.

Saturday night we all got dressed up and went to a soiree at a private home in town. It was a lovely little place, all lit by candles and lamps, and the hor d'oeurves and champagne were delightful. Sadly, we didn't stay very long as Katie was rather tired, but it was quite fun nonetheless.


Once we got back to the hotel after the soiree Katie crashed out, but it was only about 10:30, and I did not want to stay cooped up in a generic little room. After half changing into 'normal' clothes, Mike, Tyler, and I went back out... popping into a tiny little bar called the Mineshaft for a few minutes before walking out of town. We sort of followed the fence along the road through the dark battlefield, most likely scaring the occasional moterist the few times that we dashing across the street and over the fence. It was a clear night, all the stars were incredibly bright, and in spite of the soggy ground it was rather magical. It seemed like such a shame to turn back and head for town and the hotel, but reality always manages to intrude sooner or later.

And then on Sunday we toured the battlefield and headed home. The end. Sadness.

I didn't take very many pictures over the weekend, but what I did take (plus one or two that aren't mine) are here on Flickr, and Katie has a pretty good write-up with a bunch of the photos that she took.
gwendolyngrey: (SBP- air is filled with exclamation poin)
Ugh. I just made my first student loan payment a moment ago. Since I only work part-time and don't make enough to afford the monthly payments, I've applied for hardship deferment. I meet the requirements, but it hasn't gone through yet in time to avoid the first payment deadline. I hate that I have loans... that my net worth is in the negatives... and most of all that I'll likely have to go deeper in dept for grad school. Needs must I suppose, but still. Money, or rather, the lack of it, is stupid.

On the bright side, GETTYSBUUUURRRRGGG!

We leave disgustingly early tomorrow morning. I'm meeting Katie at her apartment at 6:30(am), and driving to Mason to pick up Mike at 8 and then it's straight on out to Pennsylvania.

I'm nearly ready with everything. Just have to whip up a collar for my day dress and trim the paletot cuffs, but aside from that I think I'm set. It would be nice to have been super-motivated and have a new day dress for the occasion, but I've only worn the Not-Cold Mountain dress twice before so it hasn't yet acquired the "this old thing" status.

Speaking of new day dresses, I don't know when I'll get around to making it, but the blue dress from this 1860 fashion plate is totally going to be my next Civil War project. I pretty much love everything about it, but it's the neckline that has truly stolen my heart. I never like things up close to my neck, and while I tolerate jewel necklines, I don't like them. This, on the other hand, this is perfection. Perfection in blue.
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: (W&D Cynthia and Molly bright)
For the past couple of days I've been looking at all the pictures being posted from Costume Con, and have been quietly seething with jealously.  The more I looked, the more I told myself that I HAD to be there next year, and WOULD be there, by hook or by crook.  After all, I won't have school or finals to interfere with my plans and drain all my finances.  Upon looking up CC28, I discovered, to my great joy, that it's being held in Milwaukee.  Compared to the east coast (and west coast last year), that's practically local!  I can drive there!  So yes, unless there is some sort of horrible tragedy I will be at CosCon next year.  This thought now gives me comfort as I continue to be bombarded by the fabulousness issuing from all you lucky attendees this year.

Speaking of fabulousness, the civil war ballgown saga continues.  As in: I am making one after all.  Katie (my lovely [livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon ) took pity on me, and purchased the silk I needed as a birthday present.  It hasn't arrived yet, but I can't wait to get started on the dress!  I'm adapting the bodice pattern from my 1840 dress as it already fits and the neckline is appropriate for CW evening wear.  If it turns out as I want it to, this dress is going to be the ultimate confection... light pink and creams, with oodles of lace and trim and ruffles.

I'll have less than three weeks to actually make the dress, but after putting together my senior show, that sounds like cake.  Of course, I say this now... we'll see how I feel as the deadline draws ever nearer and I still haven't finished trimming the thing...

gwendolyngrey: (1825)

I feel as though my entire life right now is one massive checklist.  On the bright side, I'm continually checking things off... I'm at school now though, so no pictures.

The blue velvet spencer is finished.

The 1830 dress just needs a hem, and I'm waiting on that until I finish the petticoats and frilly bustle.  (I'm still a little shocked that I made a whole dress in a week flat!)

1st painting still needs a day of work, but is Getting Somewhere.

Artist Statement is written.

Show postcards are being mocked up.

And then sometimes it's nice to realise that my life isn't ENTIRELY consumed by my senior project.  I'm going swing dancing tonight, which I'm really looking forward to as I haven't been dancing since the end of November.  Aaaaand, um... I'm planning on having fun in March? 

Am also knocking around the idea of making a Civil War ballgown this May for the Greenfield Village Remembrance Day.  Being a born over-achiever, the only dress that really appeals to me is one that is utterly gorgeous and rediculously complicated.  Right now the only thing holding me back is that I really would want to use silk net or tulle, and I can't find any for less than $75 a yard.  Of course, I could take the original dress as a sort of jumping off point of design, and simplify elements, but where, I ask you, would be the fun in that?  Just look at it:  http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/scripts/imagedownload.php?accessNumber=M14797.1-2&Lang=1&imageID=149288&format=large Of course, my finances being currently somewhat non-existant, I might be forced to do something simpler or use a different fiber.  I wonder if cotton netting would work...

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