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1775 maja, 18th century, Costume College, events, projects

Maja Sleevage & Closures

Been plugging away on the Maja… first, in peering at the painting, I realized I had forgotten a section of embroidery on the waistcoat, along the neckline, on the “underside” piece (which doesn’t have any other embroidery).  Whoops!  So I opened the edge seam up and fixed that.  Then I took off the jacket facings/turnbacks, as I’d mismeasured and was missing a tiny corner of black near the bottom of the facing.  I had originally thought I would just piece in the missing square, but I hadn’t liked how I’d finished the edge.  Obviously the CF and bottom edge are bound in contrasting black; I assume the neckline is just sewn shut like a standard bodice.  I couldn’t figure out how best to finish the scalloped edge of the facing, though.  I had tried clipping and turning in the SAs, but that looked like crap, so then I tried continuing the binding all the way up the CF… and that looked like even more crap.  So, I pulled off the binding and the facing, made new black facings and re-embroidered them, reattached them, and then redid the finishing.  I ended up doing the SA turn in thing, but this time I basted the turn line, then basted the SA down, then edge stitched, then pulled out all the basting.  Lots more work, but it looks WAY better now!  I know this rework may seem silly, but I’m really trying to make this a “absolute best I can do” project (versus “I just want a pretty dress” projects, which I am giving myself permission to bang out).

So!  Amongst all this I worked on the sleeves — first embroidering the spangles on the sleeve and cuff, then putting it all together.  I couldn’t tell for certain whether the black under the sleeve closures (decorative? functional?) was an underplacket or faked by laying the black on top.  I decided it was a weird place to split the sleeve open — wouldn’t it make MUCH more sense to have a placket along the seamline?  So I applied the black on top, as that seemed easier.  I’m going to make the closures “functional” in the sense that they’ll tighten the sleeve up a bit at the wrist, but I’m not going to slit anything (ie I can get the sleeve on over my hand without needing to open anything).  I similarly wasn’t sure about whether that was a “real” cuff (as in lined and separate from the sleeve) or again just laid on top… when I peered at the painting, I didn’t see any real dimension to it, so I decided to just lay it on top and stitch it down.

I’ve also been on the hunt for the right closures.  I’d been peering at the painting again, plus Alyxx had some good comments on a previous post… so I’ve decided we’re looking at pompoms and toggle buttons with some kind of tufty action.  No problem, I thought!  I’ll just get some beads that are the right size, and thread something through them to make the tufts!  Except duh, how will I then attach the beads to the jacket?  So, I’m going to accept that the “right” toggle isn’t something I’m going to be able to achieve, and tracked down some vintage glass buttons that look very much like the toggles and will be ignoring the tufty bits.  I was surprised to find that there are many instructions for making pompoms online, and they’re really quite easy.  I wanted to use silk, so I went over to Needle in a Haystack (I’m lucky in having a really nice embroidery store in my town) and got some silk embroidery floss.  I made about half as many pompoms as I need (somewhere between 24-30, depending on what I assume is going on in sections I can’t see in the painting) before running out of the floss, so I need to go back and get more.  I’m also going to follow Shelly’s excellent suggestion (on a previous post) and make my own lucet cord.  It’s period, it looks like the painting, and it’s not too hard.  In order to see what it would do, I made a ghetto lucet tool by cutting the shape out of cardboard.  It looked good, so now I’ve ordered a real lucet tool and am waiting for that to show up.

I am considering what I’ll do if I can’t get this done enough in time for the CoCo gala.  I’d really like to wear this, and I probably will… but then I’ve wanted to make this outfit for SO long, and see again about this being an “absolute best I can do,” and I don’t want to have to skimp.  Right now, I’ve got done:  most of the bodice, the sleeves, base skirt is cut and assembled (minus pleating/waistband).  What I have left to do:  redo one more bit of embroidery on the bodice, make more pompoms, make lucet cord, attach all the closures, double check the bodice fit and then sew down the straps, attach the sleeves, cut out the skirt trim and apply it, cut out hem and attach the apron, pleat/waistband the skirt, knit the dorky pink snood, buy black velvet and make the montera cap, attach vintage flowers to the cap, cut black ribbons for the shoes.  Phew!  I THINK I can get most of that done — the big work is closures (making lucet/pompoms and attaching) and the rest of the skirt (trim/apron/pleat/waistband).  I COULD forgo to the dorky pink snood for this wearing, but I don’t think it’ll take too long to make.

If I can’t get this done in time, I guess I’d wear the 1787 roundgown… but while that’s pretty, it’s not really gala-worthy!  So I’ll focus on trying to get this done enough to feel like it’s wearable.

Costume College, events

Costume College Plans

Or, I ain’t got much!

I am taking this year off at Costume College.  I’m dealing with some life crap, which is what I think is causing me to feel totally “meh” at the idea of dressing up.  I’m totally looking forward to going and hanging out with friends and meeting new people, but I don’t want to have to wear 30 pounds of clothing to do so.  I have many costumes I could wear, even some that are new from this past year, but the idea of it makes me want to put on my PJs and crawl in bed.  So, instead, I am putting my feet up and wearing a dress I bought to the gala!

Of course, this is not to say that I’m not excited about dressing up at all… but I’m planning a whole lot of comparatively comfy 1950s-60s Mad Men-esque silliness.

I am also not teaching any classes this year.  I actually have a couple of ideas of things I’d like to teach, but no energy to prep the classes or teach them.

In the meantime, I look forward to having the time and energy to do what’s important — hang out with old friends and make new ones.  Oh, and go to the one limited class I’m in (and one is more than enough) — Janea Whitacre’s fly fringe class, which I’m really looking forward to.

Next year, I’ll make a decent showing!

Costume College, events, workshops

Costume College Plans!

This is going to be an interesting year for me, because I am not teaching at Costume College!  Not because I don’t love CoCo, or love teaching, but because I need a break.  I’ve been teaching there for a number of years, and while I started with one class per year, I went off the deep end and have been teaching generally about three classes for the past few years.  Not only is it a huge amount of work to prep a class, but then if it’s a demo or hands on you have to source and haul all the materials.  But what’s hardest is when you teach multiple classes, they invariably conflict with any class you want to take!  So while I really enjoy teaching, and will I’m sure return to it next year (maybe at a lower roar), this year my schedule is wide open and I actually have a shot at taking a few classes that I’m excited about!  This will be very novel.  I also plan to sleep in and generally be more relaxed.  (I was starting to think I’d take fewer costumes this year, too, just to be more relaxed, but then I started counting the Friday night 18th c. ice cream social, the gala, the Sunday tea…).

So, I’m putting in for the following limited classes:  Janea Whitacre’s fly fringe class (will have to skip the tea if I get in — but DUDE, how cool would it be to learn how to make 18th c. fly fringe???), Mela Hoyt-Heydon’s hat class (not terribly thrilled about early Victorian, but I would like to learn the techniques of wire framed hats to repurpose for other eras, and Mela is an immensely talented and experienced costumer), and Lisa Vandenberghe’s silk ribbon embroidery (she’s studied as Lesage in Paris!  And the pieces she’s made are really gorgeous).

Who knows which classes I’ll get into — if I get into the fly fringe and/or the hat class, I’ll be really happy.

Costume College, events

Costume College Report & Pics

Right! Costume College! I went! I taught some classes! I went to parties! I dressed up! I didn’t sleep much! I kicked people out of my room at ungodly hours!

The longer report: the classes I taught went well — I ran out of time to do an actual GOOD styling job in the wig class, but it seemed like people were happy with getting the theory. Phew! I taught “Turkish Influence on 18th Century Fashion & the Zone Bodice,” “Draping the 18th c. Robe a la Francaise,” and “1770s Big Hair – How to Style a Wig into a ‘Pouf.'”

I only managed to sneak in a few classes: “Stays and the Body” was quite interesting, especially as I haven’t studied early 18th c. stays very much. Looking at the changes in silhouette and patterning was quite interesting. Sally Queen’s jacket lecture touched on some of the points I made in my 18th c. Turkish class, plus listening to her talk is ALWAYS great. And Trystan’s Macaroni class was fabulous — I love men in crazy late 18th c. costume! – even if I almost fell asleep at the end from lack of sleep.

The socializing was, as always, fabulous, altho everyone at my gala table was ready to fall asleep (too much fun the night before, plus the snoozerific music didn’t help — hello, it’s dinner at Versailles! Ever heard of playing 18th century music??), but once we got up and started dancing things improved. It was lots of fun to wear my Nell Gwyn costume, even if as soon as I put it on I had an overwhelming desire to be wearing jeans. Besides that costume, I really didn’t dress up (okay, wore the 1920s dress on Friday, but didn’t bother on Sat. & Sun.). Too tired!

All in all, it was fun if not 1000% fabulous… but that was mostly my burnout from Costume Con. However, as you can guess from my last post, shopping was great and I have tons of ideas for this year’s costumes!

And, most important – pictures!

Costume College, events, teaching

Costume College Prep

I think I’m going to take it easy this year at CoCo — I’m bringing Nell Gywn for the gala, but I think that’s it for big costumes. Otherwise, I think I’ll be in random vintage-y/comfy bits. I’ve been contemplating bringing my turque for the class I’m teaching on this, but then I started to list all the components I’d need (plus the fact that my hedgehog is in desperate need of restyling) and I started to feel overwhelmed… On both Saturday and Sunday I’m teaching classes where I need to be able to move and/or get grubby, so costumes are out those days. And for Friday night, I’ve got a last minute secret project… but more on that at/after!

I’ve been working LIKE A MADWOMAN on my classes… and I still have more to prep. Remind me why I do this? I wrote out a shopping list today and am trying to stick to the idea of getting supplies to fill out projects that I already have fabric for, but it’s amazing how much you need once you start to list it all out. Luckily I’ve got a 3 day weekend ahead of me, so hopefully? I’ll be able to get it all done by Sunday, and then have Mon. & Weds. evenings to pack!

Costume College, events

Costume College Class List Up

For the first time that I have ever seen, and I’ve been going to Costume College for many years now, they actually have their classes listed on their website BEFORE memberships have sold out. This means, if you haven’t yet bought a membership, that you can see which classes will be on offer before purchasing – for the first time ever. You don’t get to see the class schedule (which hasn’t yet been mailed out, and only goes to those with memberships), so you don’t know which classes overlap and which ones have limited attendance… but you can get a much clearer idea if the classes will appeal to you. So if you’ve hemmed and hawed about going, you’ve got some more information to help you make that decision!

(And note: memberships WILL sell out ahead of time, so if you’re thinking of going, get your money in soon… plus that way you will get into some of the limited classes. If you wait too long, you probably won’t, and those can sometimes be some of the coolest classes).

Costume College, events, teaching

Costume College classes

Since everyone else is posting about them… just got my confirmation on the classes I’ll be teaching this year at Costume College. I’m super excited that it’s one per day, which means no day will be particularly stressful! Yay! I’ll be doing: “Turkish Influence on 18th Century Fashion & the Zone Bodice” (unlimited, Friday), “Draping the 18th Century Robe à la Française” (limited, Saturday), “1770s Big Hair – How to Style a Wig into a ‘Pouf'” (limited, Sunday). It’s all 18th c., all the time around here, kids!