Friday, August 27, 2010

18th Century Notebook

This just in, from Demode (which means most of you already know about this):

The 18th Century Notebook

A vast and huge consolidation of 18th c. clothing from across the webiverse.  There are sections for men's, women's, and children's clothing, compiling images of extant garments from various museum collections, as well as paintings and fashion plates, all organized in an easy-to-use, easy-to-find manner.  Go, see, be inspired, create!
Read More

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Mad Miss L

Today, a fellow member of the Great Basin Costume Society, Stacy Ferguson-Standstedt, GAVE me a handmade, home-made vintage dress her grandmother made waaaay back in I'm guessing the 1950s, by the looks of the pattern.  It's a hot pink brocade with a subtle pattern of leaves...and I mean PINK!  I took it up in the front and back darts quit a lot, carrying the darts all the way up to the neckline all around, and curving the front darts to take up the fullness in the bust.

And then of course I had to wear it...and monster feather eyelashes, and a bouffant hair-do.  Can you blame me?

on top of the Eldorado parking garage, waiting for the neon to awaken.
Read More

Friday, August 20, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

, ,

SideCar: The Gatsby Picnic at Lake Tahoe

1931 Buick, in front of the Pope Mansion
What a lovely Sunday it was, at Tallac, on the lawn of the Pope Mansion, surrounded by 1920s and 30s automobiles, listening to jaunty music, watching the pretty people promenade around.  I'd been looking forward to this event all year - it's one of the only 20th century things to do in our Summer Season here in the Great Basin, and I had a great dress I was itching to wear.

My mother and me - trouble comes in 2s!
I got this summer lawn dress from a fellow costumer, Lady Carolyn, for - can you believe it - $10!  I wasn't so sure about it at first, but Carolyn and my mom talked me into it, and am I glad they did!  I LOVE this dress!

It has a little bit of damage already - some tiny frayed holes on the back - but it's in shockingly good condition for being about 90 years old and made of some weird stiff-ish voile-type stuff (cotton).  The pink slip was perfect underneath and gave me no trouble.

Mom wearing 1930s sporting togs.  How cute is she!?  She got this vintage tennis racket for just $10!

I managed to tear the dress a little, getting into the car.  There is a split at the top of the back right shoulder, about 1" long.  Heartbreaking! And I was on pins and needles all day after discovering it, trying not to tear the thing right down the back!  I get to devise some way to patch it now...patching a transparent dress...great.

All in all it was SUCH a lovely day.  Perfect weather, great friends, pretty dresses!

Read More

Saturday, August 14, 2010

, , ,

SideProject: The Worst Little 1920s Slip Around

This Sunday is the highly anticipated Gatsby picnic at Lake Tahoe, and I've got a GREAT vintage dress to wear.  Of course, it's transparent, so I had to make a slip to go under it.  This was the part where I realised I had no pattern, no time, and no idea what I was doing.

How about some pin-tucks?  How about a couple godets, then maybe I can get the thing on?  I think I was equipped with only 1/4 of a brain when I started slicing and dicing this thing together.  How it ended up to go onto my body at all, and to not fall off or be too tight or try to murder me in my sleep, I don't know.  LUCKILY it's underwear, and the dress that goes over the top is well-made (because I didn't make it!), and gorgeous...but those photos shall be for later :-).
Read More

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Gussets, Godets, and Gores ... and progress on the 17th c. Jacket

First, the progress - the bodice is sewn together, the sleeves assembled, wings on, and sleeves set in.  They still pull the tiniest bit at the shoulders, causing the shoulder seams to bow upwards at the neck, despite putting in a considerable curve at the top of the sleeve head.  Pooey!  I pinched in the shoulder seams at the neck, which will hopefully remedy this problem.

I have not put in the lining (sorry with this blown out and blurry photo!), but that's next.  You can see the godets sewn in, and the lining will be hand stitched around them.  I'll put it in by machine on the neck edges, turn it, and hand-sew down the seams.  Then it's just on to the placket (as if that isn't the HARDEST PART), the buttons, and turning up the hem.

So now, what I wanted to talk about.  The illustrious Jennie Page of New Zealand called to my attention "godets," as opposed to "gussets," ... and then there's "gores."  What are these things?  How are they different from one another?  Well here is the primer:

What is a Gusset?
A gusset is a square or rectangular piece of fabric set into the seams of a garment, to expand the garment and reduce the stress if it's too tight-fitting.  Gussets are used at the shoulders, under the arms, and at the hems of garments, and are functional insets.  A good example is the gussets you find under the arms of medieval tunics, gowns, and in later shirts and chemises.

What is a Godet?
A godet is a triangular piece of fabric set into the hem of a garment, typically a skirt, to cause it to flare.  Godets are usually rounded on the bottom, and create a more circular shape to the hem.  The triangular bits set into the 17th c. jacket are GODETS, not gussets, so I stand corrected!

What is a Gore?
This is a little more complicated, but in sewing, a gore is a trapezoidal or roughly triangular piece of fabric that when combined with others creates a 3-dimendional shape, such as a skirt that flares at the hem.  The flare is created of a piece with the pattern pieces, instead of by using additions such as godets.
Read More

Saturday, August 7, 2010


17th c. Jacket - Progress on the Final

With my client's 17th c. jacket toile back, unpicked, and the pattern altered, I cut into the lovely burgundy wool, and began putting the final piece together, starting with the gussets.

My what lovely gussets.  I machine stitched the lining and outer gussets fabrics together, then turned under and pressed the edges of the bodice pieces, where the gussets would be placed.  The gussets are hand sewn in (top-stitched), using backstitch, on the outside, and I will turn, press, and hand sew the lining into place on the inside using a whip-stitch.
The edges of the slashes, turned back and pressed.
Hand sewing always seems to go quicker in front of the TV, which in this case is on my laptop.

Next step, I'm going to make the sleeves in their entirety (outer+lining), and sew them to the bodice, before doing the bodice lining, which will be flat-lined.  Then on to the front placket, alllll those buttonholes and self-covered buttons (15 of them), and the last little bit of goodness is to turn up the hem with a bit of bias cut out of the red wool.  Sounds easy, huh?

I must remember that the jacket will no longer fit the dress form exactly, as it is now fitting my client, according to the changes she made on her toile.  I must trust the pattern now!
Read More