This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun. most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**



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HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, member & Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, a representative of the San Diego History Center, & an honorary member of SITU (Someplace in Time, Unlimited) in Seattle. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

1903 Pink Voile gown


Started May 6, 2012/Finished July 3, 2012
This dress makes me happy. I should change the title to The Happy Pink Voile. The fabric is a cotton voile with bands of flowers and leaves on it. I purchased it a few years ago at Fabrics & Fabrics in the LA Garment District for $3.99 yd. It had to be lined with white cotton. I had other plans for it at the time I bought it but it was perfect for this dress.
The patterns I used were Truly Victorian’s #TVE 22, 1905 Circular Skirt & #TVE 41, 1903 Plain Waist/blouse.




























This dress is made to be worn with TV’s S-bend corset but I’ve seen it worn without, and I think it could work with just having a fluffy corset cover under the blouse, and a small bum pad at the back of the skirt.
When I started cutting the fabric for this dress, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have the band of fabric going around the skirt, and decided to wait until I had it sewn to make that decision. Because of the designs on the fabric, I decided it didn’t need that extra bit of interest. It’s quite pretty all by itself. It did get a little bit of lace on the collar and a solid pink silk taffeta Medici belt to add more color.
This entire outfit was a breeze to make. There’s not as much fitting on the bodice/waist required since it’s loose and flowing. As mentioned in my earlier post of “You Learn Something New Every Day” http://timetravelingincostume.blogspot.com/2012/06/you-can-learn-something-new-every-day.html I talked about my method of doing the closure first, then the side seams for a better fit. I just added a footnote to that today:   ** from Jennifer Rosbrugh of Historicalsewing.com---“When you're fitting your muslin, take into account that your flatlining/lining plus any bones if used, will take up some of the fabric causing it to be a bit smaller.”**
This applies to my method of doing the bodice closure first. At this point you should already have the flatlining (or possibly lining) done, but if you will also have bones & they’re not sewn it yet, take that into account.**  This continues to add to my “learning something new every day”.
The skirt, other than being one big piece of pattern and fabric to handle, was very easy to sew. I cut mine on the bias by opening the fabric up to its full width and folding it in half lengthwise. Once again without even thinking of matching stripes I cut out the skirt and magically I ended up with chevron stripes on the front and back. I think its sheer luck, and they’re not exact but this is not the first time the sewing fairies have graced me with this. This also made the decision for me not to do any other trimming on the skirt because even my other idea of doing a ruffle around the bottom would disrupt the pretty patterns it’s made. I didn’t do it this time, but my next skirt will have its closure done first too.
The blouse/waist was also very easy to sew. I flatlined all the pieces with white cotton, and as mentioned in my previous post, sewed the shoulders together first. Then I finished the back closure to the point where all it needed was buttons and buttonholes. These could have been done at this time. When I fitted it on me, I just safety pinned the back closed. Then I put it on inside out and by looking in a mirror, pinned the sides closed. It still came out with the half inch seam allowance, so my pattern fitting was pretty much spot on. I unpinned the neck line just enough to slip it over my head, then machine basted the sides and tried it on again, this time right side out. It was a good fit. I was so excited; I had to tell the world! So, all my costume friends and social groups have been spammed thoroughly. I can hardly wait to try this on a front opening bodice because I’ve gone round and round on getting an even front closure with no luck.  
The sleeves were funny and full at the cuffs, and they hang down a bit. The cuff has an extended overlap and the pattern showed two buttons on it. When I asked Heather about it, she said she thought it needed two buttons so that was good enough for me.

 The pattern gives you three neckline choices, just a round narrow edged neck, a pointed stock and a round stock collar. I was stalled, and couldn’t decide which I wanted. I cut out the round stock one and sewed it like I normally would have, and planned to sew it directly to the blouse. But the directions weren’t heading the same way I was. Good thing I stalled because when I saw Heather’s I noticed it wasn’t really attached to her blouse. And apparently I didn’t know what a stock collar was either. It’s a detachable collar. Her’s was attached at the front and back. But she said yes, I could just sew the collar directly to the blouse. Since I’m familiar with that, and I love to fudge, that’s how it was sewn on. I wanted to sew some lace on the blouse but every piece that I tried to sew in a curve across the front of the bodice just wouldn’t lay flat. So the collar got the only piece of lacey trim. I tacked it along the top and bottom points. It overlaps my buttons in the back but I’m able to still get to get to them through the lace openings. I used plain flat pearl buttons with a shank.

 Some of the fashion plates and photos of extant gowns showed a belt being worn which really adds to the finished look in my opinion. I originally wanted to have a nice big rhinestone buckle on mine that is strictly decorative but when I made the belt, I forgot about that and made one end pointed which wouldn’t work with a buckle on it. I made it using the same pattern I’d used on another gown, Timeless Stitches #525. I used a piece of buckram in the center to keep it stiff.




















So now was my first chance to try it on with my s-bend corset and its little rump pad to see what effect it had on my posture. Unfortunately I forgot to have someone lace me into the corset so it would fit me each time with some adjustments. So the bottom of the corset where it sits over my bum pad is really loose and I’m not getting the little bump in the back.
 I’ve been thinking on what kind of hat to wear with this and found this ad for 1904-1906 Summer hats.
 I realized I could re-purpose another hat I'd made of white tape lace placemats I made for my 1900 La Belle Époque gown. My cat, Chloe, contributed to this hat by knocking down a bag of vintage millinery flowers I had on a top shelf, and when I picked it up I saw a large pink velvet rose with leaves that I'd found at a vintage show. So I set the hat on my head in different positions and found the best spot to add the rose.


 A couple of my friends have commented that they always see me in costume wigs, so they don’t see the real me. So here is half of the real me, short hair and all.







10 comments:

  1. VERY pretty confection you've created! Perfect for summer!

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    1. Robin, you HAVE to make one of these! Quick & easy, and very flattering! Come on over and we'll make one together.
      Val

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  2. FABULOUS!!! I'm so happy to see this finished. It looks great on you, so summer-y and feminine. And I love the hat, it's the perfect finishing touch.

    I have a question for you. When you buy fabric for a costume, how much do you buy? I've heard ten yards is a good ballpark for Victorian costumes. Is that what you buy? It seems like you could get by with less for some patterns. Sometimes when I see fabric for a great price, I don't always have a specific pattern in mind, so I don't know how much to buy. I'd love your opinion!

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    1. I'm not able to figure out how much fabric a costume takes. I have at some times bought 8-9 yds, just in case, if I'm not sure what it will be used for. But 10 yds is an awful lot. All depends on how much draping and bustling you want to do. Those bustles take a lot of fabric. If you have the pattern already, you can always lay it out to double-check if its not exaggerating the fabric amounts. I'm strictly a pattern person, and go by how much it says to use. I used to have a list of patterns w/ fabric amounts but that got unmanageable, so I made up a little book to carry with my fabric swatches where ever I go. http://timetravelingincostume.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-pattern-organizer.html

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  3. Dear Val,

    Now there's a strawberry meringue confection for you: light, floaty, very cool, and flattering. The fabric worked to a "T". And the hat!!!! Thank you, Chloe kitty, for letting fall that rose.

    I've always been a little nervous about the S-bend era, but you've made me want to try it out again sometime.

    The early 1900s really did like to layer the decor. Had you thought of adding some narrow plain white bias banding to the bottom of the skirt, and also to the wrists of the waist and perhaps a little near the neckline, as a yoke? Alternatively, you could do the banding with more of the neckline lace. That will push the dress towards fancy picnic and afternoon wear. You could test it with pins just to see... :}

    Very best,

    Natalie

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    1. Never fear the s-bend because it's not really bending you to that shape. It does push down your stomach more to flatten it which it turn pushes your bum back. The loose full bust area of the corset is filled with bust plumpers, and a fluffy corset cover goes over it to fill out the pigeon breast bodice. The curve in the back is created by the mini bustle, or bum pad. So its an artificial illusion.
      "Strawberry Meringue". Hmmm, I may need to add some strawberries to that hat now. I like that name. :)
      Val

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  4. So someone knew what I had discovered! The lining and interlining and boning takes up all your extra slack. May be for my seventh costume I will have it right.

    Your dress is lovely! It looks so perfect for an afternoon garden party!

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    1. Thank you Wanda. I think each gown helps us learn something new each time we make one.
      Val

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  5. Really, simply splendid! I always wanted to see how the blouse and skirt pattern would look on someone my size (slender, but not a 23" waist, either), and you just showed me; it's absolutely, deliciously gorgeous! Thank you, and please know I will be using your photos to guide me in my sewing.
    Sincerely,
    rondadavidburroughs@aol.com

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    1. Thank you Ronda. I'm not slender, a 36" waist, but it's a very flattering style with using stripes.
      Val

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I would love to hear if this was any help to you. Pretty please!