Sunday, March 29, 2015

Truly Victorian TV462 Victorian Tail Bodice

The last piece of my Victorian evening dress. I used TV462 but made some modifications. With any of her bodices you will need to make a muslin. I have never made a boned bodice before and I was not sure how long this would take me to do. The answer is, a lot longer than I thought. I used her instructions for choosing my size. Forget any modern fitting methods you use. This is a different creature all together. Even with what fitting knowledge I have, I still had many struggles. We all do because all our bodies are so different. What I love about fitting over a corset is my waist/bust/hip measurement is static. Even if I have eaten a big meal. Love that.

After choosing my size I traced off the 3 main pattern pieces. I proceeded to make my muslin. I knew there would be many different fitting changes. However, per her instructions you should not make any changes to the back. I found that the back fit perfectly, except the armhole area where it always poofs out. I think this is because I have a forward shoulder. I may, in the future try to pad this area out. Also, based on the size I choose my armhole is too low/deep. My armhole measure is 17.5 around. Where as the size I need in the front bodice increases the armhole size. Anyhow, I won't delve too much more into my personal fitting of this bodice.

A side note: What I do notice about her patterns is the shoulder to apex area is always quite long. So if you are short from shoulder to apex there will be some adjusting in that area. I decreased this area by almost 2 inches. For reference, my torso is short and my legs are long.

The bodice needs 3 layers of fabric. Fashion, underlining (twill, mid weight/bottom weight fabrics) and a lining. You will not be underlining the sleeves. The construction of the bodice is pretty easy. Even the pleats. Just check her diagrams on how the pleats should be formed. And make sure you mark the fabric where you will be able to see the pleat markings clearly. What was time consuming was boning the bodice. It always takes longer than I think it should. But you REALLY need the boning. It gives such nice shape. I know, seems redundant having a boned bodice over a boned corset.

 I did make some changes to the bodice neckline. I left off the collar and used a pleated ruffle of silk and finished the seam with striped bias in my fashion fabric. I also added a lace ruffle on the inside of neckline. I didn't want to show too much cleavage.
Since I could not be bothered (too damn lazy) to match my stripes I decided to use bias trim on the seam lines of the back bodice. I did not realize this was an uneven stripe until I cut my bodice out. Well, necessity is the mother of invention. So I just rolled with it.

 Me and my BFF. Yes, I made her costume too. :-)
Saucy!
Me and my flower!

So, in the end the things I need to improve. Underlining skills (too many wrinkles). And fitting the shoulder/armhole area. My range of motion is somewhat limited. But I was happy with the end result and my dress garnered much attention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Taking a detour! 1880s bustle hair and hat AKA I use fake hair

A bit of a detour here. I have been working on another bustle costume for a fashion show. Since it is a day dress I knew there would be a hat involved. I used a Lynn McMasters pattern for late bustle era hats. I chose view A because it would be the quickest to make. It is meant to sit forward on the head. The hat body was easy to make. I find with hat decorating I need to drape and walk away. In doing so I can get a feel for what looks good and meh... But first, fake hair.

I used to have really long hair. Right now it is above shoulder length. So extra hair is needed. Now, even Victorian ladies who had long hair used hair pieces. Most women did not have the hair volume for many of the more fancy styles. Right now I use 2 pieces. An accordion wiglet and a fake braid. The wiglet is very curly and has 4 combs. The braid has a clip on one end.

Please bear with me as this is a somewhat quick tutorial and a bit messier than normal.
First I part my hair ear to ear. Then I pull my hair up into 2 pony tails, leaving the front free. That way the top and bottom combs have a base to hold. Shown below.

I then use a small diameter curling iron to curl the front of my hair. Since I am brushing it out I am not super picky about the curl placement. I did not do a real good job here of parting my hair ear to ear. But you get the idea.
A VERY crooked part!
Curled. Now I comb it out and divide it into 3 parts. I twist it, pin it and fluff a bit so it doesn't lay too flat.
I find it best to use second day hair. It has more body and is easier to work with. Now I will put on the wiglet. I secure the top comb above the top stubby ponytail and the bottom comb under the lower ponytail. Then I pull the wiglet wide and insert the combs at the back sides of my head. I secure with extra pins. Here is how it looks.

Now I will wrap the braid around my head in front of the wiglet. Starting at the base of my neck, up and over to the other side. I use many pins.
Now ideally I would have done a better job of parting my hair. The wiglet needs to be a bit higher as does the braid. But this was a quick go around to see how my hat would fit on my hairstyle.

Yay hat!!! I used a brand called Look of Love for my fake hair. Bought via Vogue Wigs. The color number is 6 and quite a good match for me.
Above is a picture of my hairpieces in action at a fashion show. It does a good job of creating a nice look for the bustle era.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Truly Victorian Corset TV110

My first TV110 was too small. But being practical I knew I was going to need a well fitting corset before I made up the bodice. What was nice about screwing up the first one is that I was prepared for the second one. The corset took me about a full week to make. What is time consuming is cutting and tipping the boning as well as setting the grommets. Oh, and stitching all the boning channels. For my second one I used 1 layer of quality coutil and an outer layer of corset brocade. Corset brocade is different from the regular brocade fabric. It is stiff like coutil. Really nice to work with.

I went one size up from my last corset. And I followed TV instructions regarding cup size. Basically your waist/bust ratio will determine cup size. I normally wear a D cup bra, but sized down to a B cup for the corset based on my waist/bust ratio. Just read her instructions on sizing carefully so you don't wind up with too large a cup.

The other thing I did differently for this version is use a spoon busk. For gals with a tummy it really makes a difference. You can see in the pic below.

You see how the bottom of the spoon busk is nice and flat against my belly.  The standard busk in the other corset actually swooped out a bit at the bottom. I didn't care for how it looked. The other nice thing about a spoon busk is how heavy duty they are. Very substantial.


 Back of the old one laced to a 36". Just too small.

And the new one. Perfect, laced to a 36 with a 2 inch gap.

And here is my Mantua Maker 1880s short petticoat. It is a yoked petticoat meant to be worn under the corset. I used a pin tucked cotton fabric from Joanns. It gave nice body to my skirts and no bulk to my waist.




Up next: The BODICE!!







Truly Victorian Cascade Overskirt TV367


This over skirt is very well suited to vertical stripes. It also is fairly easy to put together. Like the Imperial, it uses burnous pleats in the back. It is perfectly suited for the Imperial bustle. The only challenging part was gathering the fabric to the back waistband. Even for one layer of cotton it took a lot of really tight gathers to fit it all. So be aware if you are using a heavier fabric. You may have issues. When I first started trimming this skirt I realized I was using too small of trim. It was getting lost in all the fabric and stripes. So I decided on bright and dark purple as my accent color. A bit unexpected, but the Victorians seemed to enjoy throwing color around. One I got a grasp on bigger is better, I had a lot of fun making fabric flowers and ribbons accents. My flowers are made of poly organdy. You can see the back of the skirt and the small flowers I had sewn on earlier. The front of the skirt trim was unfinished at this point and I had yet to trim the side swags. However, I really needed to get going on my bodice because I knew it was going to be a PITA to fit. Because of that I held off on the trimming until the end.

Up next: the bodice. Just kidding, we are going to revisit the revised corset.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Truly Victorian Imperial Skirt TV263

I am happy to report that this is a delightful skirt to make. And the reason I like is so much is because of the bournous pleat. It is essentially a large fold of fabric that will lay over to which ever side you prefer, on the back of your skirt. This gives you a lot of fabric volume at the back of the skirt and no need to try and gather it all to a waist band. There are 2 sets of ties inside the skirt that pull the fullness to the back. The most time consuming part was hemming. I decided to use a deep hem that was hand stitched. Had I put some ruffles on the bottom I would have just machine stitched.
Here you can see the pleat of fabric laying over to the side. I waited until I had finished my entire costume to hem this skirt. I was undecided about my shoes and whether I wanted a train.

 Back view. Normally when I am in the middle of my process I just use safety pins as my closures. Once I am done I will mark my fabric where I need the hooks and sew them on.
Front view. Love the vertical stripes. I look much taller than my 5 foot 4 inch height.

Up next, The Cascade Overskirt.