Monday, November 30, 2015

bits of progress

I've started in on the bodice - this is the (first draft of the) plan for the underlayer

Downton Abbey, season four

The current plan is for a beaded chiffon overlay, somewhat similar to this.  I am going to use the Anna dress for the upper bodice, to get the cap sleeves and boat-neck, but there will be an under-bust seam and discrete midriff.    (Also, the tiara, headband, sparkle-hat she's wearing?   I have that too.)  (Its kind of too much, but its also kind of amazing.  I was trying to find something similar to what Mary wore in her wedding - a wreath like look, and found the actual vendor for the above headpiece.  In the description, it is listed as 'as seen on Downton Abbey, season four, so off to google I went, in a giddy frenzy.  It is stupid sparkly in person.)

Jenny Packham wedding dress

My plan for the beading is a little closer to this -- more twisty branches than geometric patterns.

I would say it looks a lot more exciting in person, except after getting one of the five skirt panels beaded (quite a bit more than this) I decided it was all getting hidden in the drape, undid it, and am planning to do the beading on top of the gathers around my hips, so it shows.   The beading will continue up to the neckline, but avoid the skirt, so the chiffon can still billow about.

Not really dress related - but fun - Greg is practicing calligraphy, and if he is happy with the result, will be doing our invitations.

Monday, November 23, 2015

holy bias-stretch, batman!

measure measure, cut cut

and then hanging until the bias stops growing.....

Monday, November 16, 2015


Silk shrinking worked out well, and the first three panels of the skirt are cut out (chiffon is kind of annoying, so I'm taking it slowly)... but I still haven't decided on what the bodice will look like.

current thought:
Charles James - 1945

Maybe something along the lines of ....

super photo shop skilzz

I'm already set on (and committed to) the flowy chiffon skirt -- but most of the bodices I've been thinking about don't really need chiffon -- in fact, they are better with something sturdy and structured.  But a gathered sort of a bodice, with an opaque something or other underneath, could look rather nice.

hrmm hrmm hrmm     I keep changing my mind every few days, which is why I started with the skirt.   The way I see it, this will be my most photographed dress ever, so it had better look good.   (Plus everyone, their brother and their second cousin twice removed has been asking me if I'm making my dress and then saying they are looking forward to seeing what I come up with.  So I need to collectively stun them.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shrinking Silk

free, with the breeze running through my fur....

The theme of my wedding is stress free and happy.   (Even if I have to kill everyone to make it happen)   This means my dress can't be so delicate I'm spending the entire day worried something will happen to it -- so I decided to investigate pre-shrinking all the silk chiffon I'd gotten so that the water that I *know* will get spilled on it when I get excited, forget I'm holding a glass, and start talking with my now-empty-because-I-dropped-the-glass-on-my-skirt hands doesn't ruin everything,

I popped a sample into the washer on hot, and then into the dryer on no-heat fluff.  Total shrinkage is at about 14% in each direction.

The process changes the texture and the opacity -- as everything has tightened up, its a bit thicker and not as smooth.   While I prefer the look of the untreated silk, the shrunken is still very nice and will be a lot more robust to whatever I throw at it over the course of the day.    (Although, realistically, I am 100% going to be wearing a full length bibbed apron during whatever part of dinner I get to sit down for)

So-- as its time to start the skirt, I figured out what I needed, added 14% to the length and popped it into the washer.  (This is sounding so much more carefree than it actually was.)

and now I wait as 15 yards of silk rumble around where I can't see them.....

so many yards.....

soon to be 12.9 yards.....

Sunday, November 8, 2015


We went as a black plague -- Greg was a doctor and I was the patient (victim / body / whatever) or.. more accurately, I got lazy and didn't feel like doing the 1400s giant horned hat, veil and gown I'd been planning and just made myself a shift instead and declared it a couples costume.

Greg's coat is a combination of a (highly modified) simplicity 2333 for the coat and simplicity 5840 for the hood.   In order to fit comfortably together, we removed the collar and lapels from the coat and changed it to have a center front opening.

He made his own mask -- it is composed of two layers of craft foam, a muslin backing and held together with rivets and waxed thread.   He used the lenses from welding goggles for the eyes and sneaky air holes on the bottom.

The pattern is his own design, based on a combination of tutorials online and images he's seen.   It was a fairly entertaining evening as he tried various ideas and wandered around with a giant cardboard beak.

My costume is actually a civil war era shift - simplicity 1139.   I'm aware its 400 years off - but, I had it (the pattern, not the shift) and I figured no one would actually notice.  (Besides -- how much did shifts really change?)  Anyhow, it is SUPER comfy... so I might see if I can dye it, wear it with a belt and work it into  my regular wardrobe.

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