I had decided that I would redo my Italian Ren gown I made to wear to last summer's Ren Faire. The original gown was very basic, and I even had almost 2 yards of leftover fabric, so reworking the gown should be a piece of cake (hopefully!!). I changed the design from a 1540s Italian gown into a noblewoman's gown from the late 1540s/early 1550s. It'll still be Italian, but just fancier. :) I based it on several portraits and came up with the final design:
My plan is as follows:
-- Remake the corset. The new style of gown I've chosen has the conical shape of the later part of the century, so I'm just going to use a pattern from the Custom Corset Pattern Generator. I think I'll probably end up using cable ties for the boning, as descibed here. I'll be using a yardstick cut down to the proper length for the busk.
-- Remake the bodice; the style I want to do doesn't work with the current bodice shape. This is no big since I have plenty of leftover fabric and the basic pattern still fits and will only need some adjustments.
-- Repleat the skirt into larger knife pleats instead of the carteridge pleats.
-- Make a partlet similar to this one; sans the pearls. I think I might splurge and buy some silk for this. *grins*
-- Add trim to bodice
-- Make sleeves
-- Make some sort of head covering--possibly
I know this looks like a lot on paper; but I've managed to do a couple of thing already today. Because I'm not having to construct a whole costume, from scratch, and test everything before cutting it out of the gown fabric, I think it's going to be easier for me.
I marked the boning channels, stiched those, and then attached the binding along the bottom edge; I just used a self-fabric (in this case, I was using linen for the corset) bias tape. I next worked the eyelets along the back edge by hand. I reinforced these with small brass rings that I found at JoAnn's in the jewelry supply section. They worked perfectly, and should help keep the eyelets from ever ripping due to tighter lacings.
After I finished the eyelets, I inserted the boning in the boning channels. For this corset, I decided to use cable ties (or zip ties) from the hardware store instead of the more conventional metal boning (which would have been too heavy and too hot to wear), which I had read about here. It's easy to cut with a pair of scissors, yet seems strong enough not to bend easily to the body. I was very pleased when I put the corset on after inserting the boning how well it shaped me. For the busk, I used a cut-down yardstick.
June 28, 2004
June 28. 2004
I basted the bodice together to try on because I couldn't wait to see what it looked like! ;) The neckline needs to be lowered a touch, and all the edges still need to be turned under, but this gives one a good idea of what it'll look like in the end...
June 30, 2004
(Note: I apologize for how sloppy the bodice looks; I have the skirt pinned to the dressform as I'm trying to decide the widths of the pleats.)
So, my options are:
- Use the narrow gold trim, but carry out the more ornate scroll pattern. This would mean probably echoing it on the sleeves as well. The only problem is that I don't have all the time in the world, and I think it would be overkill on the sleeves.
- The other option is to try to find a narrow flat braid like this and use that in one row on both the bodice and sleeves. The questions that arise from this option are: can I even find anything remotely similar at JoAnn's? Should I go with the gold, or try for something like cream?
- The final option is to nix these ideas all together and go with something totally different. Something more along the lines of here. Maybe I could find a braid or ribbon of a darker shade of blue and use that?
July 1, 2004
I did work on my sleeves yesterday, drafted a pattern and made a muslin. As is typical for me, the sleeves were way too small. I figured it could use about 4” or 5” more inches around (they would fit my bare are perfectly, but with a camica underneath, it’s a little too snug ;). I have decided to do the ribbon/cord on the sleeves as well, only using a narrower ribbon. I don’t think that 5/8” would look too good! I still need to find blue cord to tie the sleeves to the bodice, but my JoAnn’s had every size and color imaginable but the size I wanted in navy blue. Will have to go hunting somewhere else…
July 8, 2004
I made up another sleeve toile this afternoon, and now it's too big! However, too big is better than too small, in my book. So my next plan of action is to slightly adjust my pattern, cut one sleeve out of the fashion fabric, and adjust it further as needed. Hopefully, it'll work out. *keeps fingers crossed*
July 12, 2004
July 13, 2004
It looks a little corny at this point, but I think once with all panes are finished, attached to each other with pearls and tied onto the bodice it'll really look good.
July 19, 2004
I have to admit, I have very mixed feelings about the sleeve; maybe I'll like it better once I have the other finished. I think this is mostly due to the fact that it took me so long and I spent many hours the last few days working on it; I feel like all my life is revoloving around sleeves! For right now though, I'm going to take a break for a couple days and try to recharge my enthusiasum for this project. I'm also waiting for the silk gauze I ordered to get here; once it does I'm onto making the parlet and hairnet.
July 20, 2004
I was looking at Jen Thompson's most recent dress diary and read about how she faced the top of the skirt with flannel to pad the hips. I'm wondering if doing something similar might add some 'lift' to my skirt. At this point, it just kinda hangs limply and looks pretty pathetic, imho.
August 23, 2004
I finally found the navy blue velvet ribbon that I've been searching for to use as ties for my sleeves. Of course, because I bought it from a local chain, it costs 2 times as much as JoAnn's, but we're not going to go into what I think of JoAnn's. Suffice to say, I'm one *very* happy seamstress who just can't wait to finally sew the ties onto the sleeves so they'll be *done*!
August 31, 2004
July 23, 2004
But my visit wasn't in vain; I found a 1 3/4 yard piece of sage green cotton canvas on the $0.99/yard table. Woohoo. For under $2 I got a nice piece of fabric that'll work well for underlining something... who knows what at this point. ;) Probably a corset... or maybe stiffening for a forepart?
July 28, 2004
My newest frustration, however, is trying to find a pendent to attach to my pearl necklace I plan to wear. I've checked every concieveable store I can thinks of--even looked in a couple of second hand shops and Michael's while I was there today. I came close, but nothing that was worth using. Either it looked majorly tacky, or it just wasn't 'Italian Ren' enough. Though I could kick myself for passing up a $1.00 gold chain necklace at a second hand shop that would work for an Elizabethan accessory. Just because I didn't have any cash on me. I'm so lame. Oh well...
July 30, 2004
I'm going to make a muslin mock-up of the partlet to test before working on my gauze. Though the gauze is pretty, I can forsee how it will probably be frustrating to work with.
August 21, 2004
So, I won't be wearing any kind of neck covering at the Faire, simply because I don't have time to make another one. At this point, my spirits are pretty low, and I'm feeling very cynical about the whole thing. I'm worried my idea for the net caul won't work (using the ribbon to create the 'mesh') and I'll be stuck with a half-hearted attempt at a costume again this year. At least I'm going twice, so if everything isn't finished this time round, it will be next time. But right now, I'm starting to really hate this costume. I think I just need to take the evening off and try to get everything in focus again. Maybe I'll work on the fan--hopefully that won't be too complecated. :p
August 23, 2004
August 26, 2004
All Content Copyright © 2003-2004 Miss C.
Modified July 21, 2004
° Cable (zip) ties
° Small brass rings
° Velvet ribbon
° Narrow gold cord
° Flat gold braid
° Silk Gauze
° Pearls (imitation)
° Silk thread, blue
° Medium weight linen
° Thin cotton cord
° Decorative chain
° Belt findings
° Mode Historique