Costuming wise the end of 2017 was pretty laid back. December is a packed month for me in general. Our youngest son has his birthday in December and both our sons have piano recitals. That, along with all the other activities can make for a pretty busy month.
Dress #1: TNT Decades of Style Hazel Pattern
At the beginning of December I attended an intimate tea with some of my costuming friends. It was a 1920s tea so I decided to make a new frock! My 1920s wardrobe is all summer related so I wanted something more cooler weather friendly. I found this gorgeous embroidered black floral lace fabric while at the fabric store. It was a double scalloped border print. You can bet I used the borders for all of my hem finishes.
I broke out my TNT Hazel pattern and whipped up a simple frock. With this type of densely embroidered fabric you want very simple lines. I even removed the bust darts. The easiest 1920s dress to make is a simple shift dress. You can easily add a sash at the hip to create that drop waist look. There was no reason for me to add the handkerchief pieces on this Hazel dress since the fabric was so fancy. Sometimes less is more.
I knew I was also going to want a kimono type jacket since my dress was sleeveless. I used a Big 4 pattern and just drafted a dolman sleeve onto the bodice front and back pieces. There are lots of tutorials around on how to do this. I used a lovely black rayon and added the last of my floral lace fabric at the hemline. It turned out really nice.
I also made up a cloche hat. It is a new pattern by Elsewhen Millinery on Etsy. I really recommend their patterns.
December part 2: My brave step into Nehelenia Patterns!
A small group of my friends decided to meet up the Saturday before Christmas at The Fairmont Four Seasons in Seattle. The Countess and I made a trip to the MOHAI Museum before our designated meet up at the Fairmont. I was still feeling a bit light in my winterish 1920s wardrobe I decided to make another frock and kimono.
Nehelenia NP E203 Party Frock:
This pattern is one size (41.5 inch bust). No other measurements are given. This pattern is 4 pieces. The skirt you just cut to the measurements provided in the instructions. The dress is an outer dress attached to an under dress (slip) at the waist. The under dress is a two piece shift with straps, like a slip. The outer dress has a deep V neckline in the front and a shallower V in back. The skirt is just 2 rectangles.
Fabric I used:
Non historically accurate Grey leopard print stretch velvet burnout knit. RAWR!
Changes I made:
I did a 1.5 inch FBA and rotated the dart into the shoulder gathers on the outer dress bodice. The slip I just measured flat and realized it would fit just fine. It's not snug but it is fitted. If your bust is any bigger than 43 you will want to do an FBA on the slip as well. In truth I'm not 100% sure I needed the FBA on the dress, but I don't have any regrets about doing one. I did wind up shortening the skirt by several inches. I think the length they have you cut (36 inches!) it to is meant to be adjusted based on height. The pattern wants you to use a hem facing but since my fabric was a velvet knit I decided to just do a 1 inch top stitched hem. For the slip I used some black cotton sateen I had in my stash. A slinky type fabric would be better but I didn't want to spend any more $. I also changed the back neckline to a regular curved one.
Putting it all together:
The instructions are sparse but clear. The most tricky part is stitching the finished dress waistline to the finished slip waistline. It's kinda fiddly. Make sure you clearly mark the waistline on your slip. My dress form came in very hand for this step. I was able to pin thru both layers while she was wearing the dress matching up my waist lines as I went along. Once I finished that I carefully removed the dress from my form and sewed thru all layers. I think the reason the pattern wants you to attach the finished dress to the finished slip at the waistline is so you get that nice blouson look where the waist is. Otherwise the weight of the skirt would pull it down. This is just an assumption. I used some black satin ribbon as my waist sash.
The dress is really pretty! I am going to tack the bodice V neck to the slip at the top. It shifted around a lot. This dress is super comfortable to wear and I will be making it again. Not a beginner project just because of the sparse instructions. You need to know how to finish necklines and arm openings on your own. No pattern pieces are given for this stuff.
I used another Big 4 modern pattern for my kimono. That style of jacket is very popular these days so you have lots of choices.
Folkwear Poriet Cocoon coat #503
Pattern description and fabric:
I have actually made this one up in a slinky velvet knit at the beginning of 2017. I wore it with my Downton Abbey Peacock dress. I decided I wanted one in wool since it was pretty darn cold. I bought this lovely wool from Renaissance fabrics, jewel green. I used nice black satin for the lining and collar. The collar on this coat is sort of a faux collar. It's piped and completely stitched down around the neckline.
Sizing and changes:
It is generously sized. I used the size large. I shortened it by 2 inches. I'm 5ft 4 inches tall. It would have hit the ground even with 2.5 inch heels on if I hadn't shortened it. I used my black satin lining for the collar piece as well. I did decide I wanted a removable faux fur collar. I used the collar pattern piece and added some length and width to it. It is just basted on to the coat. I omitted the weighted cording that goes inside the hem at the very back. It's meant to help weigh down the hem. The wool was going to be heavy enough. The lining on this coat is very prone to bagging out. In the directions they have you stitch some petersham ribbon all around the completed coat on the lining side. It's a weird step and even after all that work the lining my still bag out, so you might have to tack the lining invisibly to the coat. I decided I didn't care if my lining bags out a bit. Personal choice. If you are planning on forgoing that step make sure you have a lining you like.
Putting it together:
The directions are easy enough to follow. I had no issues.
This coat is pure drama. I love it! Fairly easy to make but not a beginner project. Chose your fabric carefully as you do want some drape. The sleeves are average length. If you have long arms you will probably want to lengthen them a bit.
Well 2017 was a fun year! Thanks for following me on my costuming journey. Now it's time to start gearing up for a Regency Ball (January), Victorian Festival (March), Vampires Ball (May), Costume College!!! (July) and so much more!