I've been in love with the gowns of the mid-late 18th century for a while. Each one was a piece of wearable art with it's gorgeous fabrics and intricate details. As a costumer, I love with watching movies with tons of gorgeous costumes, so of course I had to see Marie Antoinette. I fell in love with quite a few of the gowns from the movie, but was still not ready to tackle a gown like one of those. I waited a few years and honed my skills until I felt I was ready. I researched online, and reached out to friends in the costuming community for pattern advice. While researching, my mother gave me 9 yards of this beautiful light aqua silk she got from an antique dealer. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect for MA's "Daydream" dress with the red velvet belt.
I made everything for this costume. I made the stays, pocket hoops, petticoat, robe, shoes, wig, and trims on the dress. The stays have about 20 yds of plastic boning and I hand sewed all the eyelets on them (first time for me). They are quite comfy too. The pocket hoops aren't anything fancy, but boy do I love how much STUFF they can hold! I went to a MA themed party and had a bottle of Framboise Lambic in each pocket along with all my own things lol. I'm considering sewing smaller pockets inside to organize things like my fan, mirror, lip gloss, and cell phone and wallet. My hubby was very happy that he didn't have to be my purse for a change. The shoes have their own write up http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=397609.0 and are so much fun to wear. The wig I made from a Marilyn Monroe wig that I teased up a bit and then sewed a ponytail extension to the back. I added a giant flower pin and jeweled hair clip to the back.
I used the JP Ryan patterns for the stays, hoops, and the robe/petticoat. It was definitely an experience using the patterns. It took a bit of patience with the sleeves because they weren't exactly made too clear on how to set them properly. I ended up sewing them in backwards the first time in the good fabric and had to unpick everything and do them again. I made the sleeves long to match the movie costume and came up with my own cuff that snaps in place. All the trim was pleated on my machine, steamed, sewn down, and then fluffed up a bit. I think I used a whole 30yd roll of organdy ribbon on this dress. I made the front close with hook/eye tape that is reinforced with boning along the edges to hold the shape and not bunch up.
Overall I'm kind of happy with how it came out for my first attempt. The lower sleeves are a but tighter than I'd like, but I'm going to partially blame that on weight gain during the process and partially on the pattern being too small even after adjusting my muslin. I also need to soften the lines of the hoops somehow, probably with another petticoat underneath the nicer fabric one. Ignore the bunched hem, I hand sewed it and the decorations on my shoes caught the thread right before the photo causing it to pull. I've since ironed it back flat.
I gave these as gifts and they were a huge hit with my coworkers! I also made one for my niece, and am making a poodle one for my friend. I've had two more coworkers come to me know and want one too :-D I'll take pictures this time as I go. I'm going to try and create a PDF of the pattern when I find some time. So it may be a while. I'll update here when I get it done. Hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy new year!
also: did you just have that fabric laying around from where you worked, or do you know of anywhere that i can find longhair faux fur at an affordable price?
I work in the NYC Garment District, so I'm lucky that I have dozens of places to shop for various fabrics. All the long fur I was finding was pricey at $45/yd or more. I found this gorgeous long black fur that I wanted to make a cat from, but it was $75/yd and they wouldn't do 1/2 yd The lower pile furs are okay at $5 - $15/yd. This leopard fur was only $8/yd for a 60" wide fabric.
I may do a tutorial, but I'll have to alter the pattern since it was based off the one for the company I was making samples for (not my pattern).
These are beautiful. They are close enough to satisfy most anybody but the most demanding history buff. And you'd hate period accurate heels as they are set much farther forward under the shoe and make walking a lot awkward until you get used to them.
Did you check to see if the heels were nailed on or screwed on before you covered them? Pull up the insole and peek at the beginning. if you see screws it's no big deal to take the heels completely off, cover them and put them back on. Just a little contact cement and replace the screws. Makes dealing with those seams a lot easier. I just wish boots were done the same way.
Thanks. I definitely wanted comfort over accuracy. Finding that perfect french heel is what took the longest. I knew I'd have to remove tip and was hoping that it wasn't nailed in. This luckily was pegged in and easy to pry off with a little work. After covering the heel area, I put a spot of epoxy in the peg holes and hammered them back in. I was pretty pleased with myself on these beauties when I was done. As a costumer and seamstress, I'm always looking to expand my horizons, shoes have become my new expansion lol.
So when you did the vertical ribbons, how did you hide the raw edge at the bottom? Did you just tuck it under the horizontal ribbons or is it somehow stuck in between the sole and the shoe?
They are just sewn to the inside of the back of the shoe. I should say that I first glued them in and then sewed along the top edge to secure it. However, gluing those in place first on the outside and then covering the shoe is probably a better idea.
Thanks everyone! I had so much fun making them too, though I had one heck a glue high when I was done (forgot to open a window). I have another 18th century gown, more court styled, planned for next year - so there will be another pair of shoes in the future. Covering them was interesting, but not hard. I started with the heel first, covered it and hammered the heel tip back in place (it was only pegged in, so it was easy to remove thankfully). I then started covering the body of the shoe at the toe area going with the bias of the fabric so that I could shift/shape the fabric better to the shoe form. I glued along the bottoms of the shoes and shaped it as I went, keeping the fabric smooth. I then glued the top sections, pulling the fabric taught as I went and using binder clips to hold in place. I let this dry for several hours, removed the binder clips, and then epoxied the sole back in place. I wanted to be sure these were not falling apart anytime in the soon. I folded the raw edges of the fabric to the inside of the shoe, trimmed it close to the edge, and covered them in silk satin ribbon for a more finished look. There are some spots where the glue leaked through the fabric and stained it, but not terribly so. I was using my fingers with an epoxy type glue to smooth it out and make it tacky before setting the fabric on top, some spots weren't dry enough though, so they showed through the fabric. I can't wait to make the pair for next year's costume. I see lots of pink, lace, feathers, and more rhinestones in my future.
Another pair of shoes for one of my many costumes. I didn't want to post it in the costumes section since it really is all about the shoes ;-)
I made these by taking a base pair of leather shoes from eBay and ripping the sole from the bottom and removing the heel tip. I then recovered them in silk to match my dress and glued the sole back on and hammered the heel tip back in place. They were then decorated with pleated velvet trim, rhinestones, a cameo (which I also added "jewelry" to), and vintage silver lace. These were my first pair of "reconstructed" shoes and I LOVE them. They really add the finishing touch to my costume and are quite comfy too. They aren't historically accurate 100%, but they have the feel of the era.
They started out as these bargain shoes from eBay...
This is a dress I made in 2009 to wear to my sister-in-law's wedding. My SIL is a women's fashion buyer, and was having a pretty swanky afair, so I needed something that would fit right in. However, I do not have the budget to fit right in with something off the rack. I browsed the internet for about week, checking all sorts of different styles of dresses. I decided that I would then check the Red Carpet fashions of awards shows past. I instantly fell in love with the style of Marchesa's gowns and knew I had to have one of my own. I finally settled on a gorgeous empire waist dress in silk chiffon (my favorite!) with heavy beaded trim on the bodice. Working in the garment district of NYC and working for M&J Trimming at the time, gave me a great advantage in making this dress. I found a beautiful 60" wide black chiffon with a slight texture to it that wasn't super airy light. The trim was a gorgeous bullion embroidered and beaded 3" wide trim - that was $60/yd (yay discount!). I used Vogue Pattern 1079 because it had the right form for the dress (the original package has a HORRID looking dress on the front). It only needed a little modification to "make it work" for my needs. I added a built in bustier to inside to help the dress hold its shape since it would be strapless and have all that heavy beading on top.