Monday, October 26, 2015

Tickled Pink

You might recall that last year, I made two dresses from Frozen. One was Elsa's ice queen dress and the other was Anna's toddler dress. I purposefully made them a little larger than the specified measurements and used a tie to make them fit better until the little lady grew into her dress. Because of this, both of the young ladies were able to wear their dresses a year later to see Disney on Ice's production of Frozen, and honestly, I'm thrilled that they were able to wear their special dresses for this long. :) 

Until next time!

Monday, October 5, 2015

1808 Ballgown - 'Caroline'

It got finished in time for the ball!!! 
Granted, it was finished the day of the ball after I had stayed up til 11:30 the night before working on it. 
All that trim.
Hand sewing.
I have gained a new-found respect of seamstresses of old. 

The construction of the dress and open robe was pretty straight forward (it helps that I've done these patterns in the past). For the dress, I sorta came up with the pattern as I went since I was changing the Regency Simplicity pattern as I went. I wanted a drop-front gown so that I could dress myself and not have to worry about having someone else lace me into my dress. The open robe is an altered version of the spencer/pelisse pattern from Sense and Sensibility. I can't leave patterns well enough alone, can I? ;) 
After I finished the machine sewing portion of the open robe, I set that aside to do all the hand-sewing while watching TV, listening to sermons, taking my break at work, or sitting the resource room at school in between classes.  That dress was hauled all around town in my project bag along with my portable sewing 'kit' and the invisible thread. Oh yes, all that gold trim on the train is tacked down with invisible thread. That added a whole new dimension to things. Why did I use it? The trim is gold and the fabric is teal. I didn't want thread to show. There are my reasons. 
How many hours in the open robe? I have no idea. The day of the ball, I timed myself. How much time am I actually spending on this thing? Turns out it was about 15 minutes for 10 inches. Whaaaat? Multiply that by 5 yards 10 inches... I'm not going to do the math. All I know is that I love how it turned out. Just like I imagined it would be, even better than the sketch that I drew (because I don't draw very well). 
While I was hand stitching in the evenings and in spare moments, the dress was being machine sewn whenever I had a moment in the craft room. Rather simple and straight forward. Using sketches from the Hungarican Chick, I drafted pieces from my Simplicity pattern that would be transformed into a bib-front. After working out the kinks in my pattern, I chopped up the sleeve pattern (don't worry, it was a piece that I traced from the original) to make the slits and button closures work. And it worked on the first try. Since when does that happen? 
The final result? 
There is an insurance building across the street from the ballroom that had these fantastic pillars. We just had to use them as a backdrop for pictures. 
And the open robe has a loooong train. :Squee!: But how is one to dance with such a long train and not trip? I attached a strap to the hem so that I could sling it around my wrist to keep it out of the way. After I did that, I was going through some fashion plates from the era and realized that they bustled it at the waist (Regency waist - not actual waist) to look like a chunky flower. Kinda cool. But I had already done the work, so the wrist band was going to stay. 
As I was spending goodness-knows-how-much-time sewing all that trim, I came up with a name for the dress. I've decided to dub it 'Caroline' because it strikes me as something that Caroline Bingley would have worn to a ball. 
Until next time!