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Project: Empress Josephine Ballgown

30 Mar

Once again, grad school has taken all my time and while I had planned a ballgown to wear to a recent costuming event, I just didn’t have the time to make it without fearing I would lose my mind. However, there is an actual Regency Ball coming up in June which gives me another chance! I am so excited about this ballgown and I can’t wait to start it. I don’t want this to be haphazardly put together, so I hope to start it soon to give myself time to do it well because this material deserves it.

My inspiration is Empress Josephine. I’m not recreating an exact dress, but I do have jewelry that is a passable reproduction to the pearls she wears in many portraits, including this one.

Victor Viger du Vigneau, L'Impératrice Joséphine, Rueil-Malmaison, musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau

Victor Viger du Vigneau, L’Impératrice Joséphine, Rueil-Malmaison, musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been collecting:

Ballgown

I would never wear this much gold and bling in real life, but that’s the beauty of costuming. I feel like in this case, it’s okay to be a little over-the-top. The base dress taffeta is a gold/ivory shot and the rose and gold stripe organza will be the sheer overdress. The other gold organza is for trimming as well as the lace panels for the bottom part of the sheer overdress. I’m hoping to figure out a standing lace collar out of the smaller pointed lace, but we’ll see how that goes. Lots of starch??? I was able to find some gold flats on ebay that will pass for Regency once I trim them and then there’s the ivory kid leather I ordered to make above-elbow gloves… so you can see that I have my work cut out for me. Here’s hoping I can get it all together and fulfill the vision that’s in my head!

c. 1898

6 Dec

1890s Plan

The semester is almost over and I am looking forward to working on a new project.

Accumulation

12 Aug

I doubt I’m the only one who gets super excited about planning new costumes and the slight frenzy of collecting materials. Here’s what I’ve ordered so far:

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Yes, I’ve decided to do the lavender scheme. I was worried that the red would turn out too “christmasy” with the white and I couldn’t find a good darker purple that I thought would work. I’ve also ordered some ivory silk organza for the front panels and underskirt, and decided to trim it in silver instead of gold. I’ll have to learn how to make silk flowers and tassels at some point as well.

The only part I’m not 100% sure is what the back should look like. Should it be a “sack gown”/robe a la francaise? Should it be an en foureau anglaise? Neither? I just don’t know. Suggestions welcome!

18th Century Court Gown

10 Aug

Alternatively titled: “I have officially lost my mind”

I sort of just committed to making an elaborate court gown for next year. It’s all Kendra’s fault, you see. She came back from Costume College and had this great idea to make one and thought she’d rope everyone in to join her. I couldn’t resist, especially since I’ve already decided that unless something unforseen happens, I am going to CoCo next year. It looks like so much fun.

Official Page: http://demodecouture.com/18th-century-court/

Anyway, now I just have to decide on which color:

This is probably the original.

This is probably the original.

Red

Recolored by ekduncan.com

Recolored by ekduncan.com

Fabric Love

19 Jul

Some new fabrics came in the mail this week and I’m so excited about them.
Both were eBay finds.

This is a silk brocade that I am absolutely in love with. It’s so soft and has the most amazing drape. I only have two yards if it, so I’ll have to find something that won’t take a lot of yardage, like a caraco or pierrot jacket, but I’m worried that the large scale medallions will be lost. Definitely says 18th century to me though.

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Next is an embroidered peach silk that I thought was a taffeta but is actually a dupioni. While it may not be entirely period appropriate, I’m still going to use it because it’s beautiful. The photos wash it out quite a bit. I have 4 yards of it, so enough to work with, but not enough for a huge project. It would look nice with a light green silk. Maybe a bustle dress?

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1930s Butterfly Blouse

20 Jan

As I am giving a recital next month, I need something to wear. I’ve already purchased a skirt, since I had a 40% coupon to Talbots, but have been unable to find a top (blouse? sweater? SOMETHING!) to wear with it. I didn’t want to have to make something since I will be stressed out with practicing, but I found this pattern:

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It’s the 1930s Butterfly Blouse from Decades of Style and I have ordered 3 yards of black silk chiffon in which to make it. Note to self: I hope you like making baby hems…