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

Maja Done – at Least Enough for Now!

Whew!  I sewed and sewed those last few weeks, but I got there!  There are still somethings I would add/fix if/when I decide to call this Officially Perfect… but aren’t there always?

On the bodice, I:

  • Decided the back seamline spangle patterns should match the sleeves (ie 2 rows instead of 1), so I ripped out the CB and redid that.  Yes, I’m a dork, but I’m really glad I did it, as I think it looks great.
  • Put the sleeves together and attached them.
  • Ripped out the spangle trim around the arm when I realized that 1) the angle actually parallels the neckline trim, and 2) I didn’t have enough spangles to do 2 rows on the CB.
  • Hemmed, hawed, and hemmed again about the armhole trim.  You can see that it definitely Vs, and I couldn’t figure out a way to do that that didn’t involve doing the flying geese pleating pattern.  It looks very similar to this trim on an extant Spanish man’s jacket, except somewhat looser.  I followed that as a model, but spaced things out a bit more.  I also added the occasional spangle on top of the trim, which you can see in super high res versions of the painting.
  • I finished the 10,000 miles of lucet cord.  Why did I ever think it would be a good idea to make my own cord?  Ok, I’m glad I did b/c it looks really great, but it took FOREVER.  And, of course, now that it’s done I think the silk cord I picked is too cream.  Bah.
  • I attached all the pompoms and cords.

On the skirt, I:

  • Hemmed and hawed about how the skirt trim would be attached.  You can see very clear scallops on scallops, and they almost look flat against the skirt.  However,  you can’t sew the trim on in a wave pattern without some kind of gathering/pleating (unless you cut the skirt trim in waves, which is SO not an 18th c. thing to do — such fabric waste!).  I looked at a lot of extant pieces and was hoping I’d be able to slightly gather and then ease the trim… but no such luck, as it pulled when it went over the curves — so I had to officially gather it.
  • Pleated the skirt and sewed it to 2 strips of linen tape for a waistband.
  • Hemmed the apron, and pleated and sewed that to a strip of linen for a waistband.


  • I bought some marcasite earrings that had the same look as those in the painting (altho those are very fuzzy, so there was guesswork involved).
  • I strung a gazillion pearls into a choker, which ended up sitting a bit too loosely on me, but oh well.
  • I could never find a silk organza/gauze/chiffon that had the right satin plaid, so I used my on-hand striped silk gauze for the fichu.
  • I attempted to drape the cap, which took WAY too long and was WAY too annoying.  Finally, I drafted up the men’s cap from Costume Close Up and messed with that.  I sewed the cap in the car on the way to CoCo, and attached some vintage millinery trims.
  • I originally wanted to skip the Dorky Pink Snood, but Trystan said I had to have one.  Now, she did say I could buy a crappy renfaire snood, but you know I couldn’t do that!  I’m guessing the original was knotted, but I didn’t have the time or mental energy to figure out how that would work, so I went with knitting since I already know how to do that.  I got some pink lace weight alpaca/silk, looked high & low for a snood pattern that would work, couldn’t find one, used a DOILY pattern instead… so yes, I am wearing a pink doily on my head.  And I knitted it in the car/at CoCo!  I found some pink satin/shantung at Stone Mountain that I used for the band.
  • I tracked down makeup (particularly a light peachy lipstick) that echoed the look the Marquesa is wearing in the portrait.

And it all came together in the end!  I think those who’ve read my blog obviously knew what I was doing, but I think those that don’t may have been scratching their heads a bit.

I did get some really nice photos taken where I am pretty closely posed the same as the original painting, although those aren’t yet online — I am, however, irritated to realize that the people I had posing me didn’t notice that she’s holding her jacket open with her fist — so the jacket is laying differently.  Bah.  I will have to dress up in all this and get my hubby to take pics.

So, until the fancy pictures are available, here are some from my camera (and 2 stolen from Jen)!

(And, here’s all my CoCo pics)

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  • Reply sewaddicted August 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Wow, superfantastico! I love the pink doily, and Trystan is right for insisting on it :)

  • Reply Zora August 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Brava! Bravissima! The fit is superb and the handsewing meticulous.

    Teensy nitpick: the picture may have had a pink snood, but the ensemble would look better with a black one, crocheted from thin, shiny black thread.

  • Reply Trystan August 4, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    The pink snood TOTALLY MAKES the outfit — I mean, really, you need that tiny touch of contrast, c’mon!

  • Reply Andrew August 5, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I agree with Trystan. Rock the snood!

  • Reply The Aristocat August 5, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Unique and sexy, I love it! Amazing amount of detail! And I can’t believe you made all that, the CB changes and accessories included, in time.
    And Trystan was right insisting on the snood.

  • Reply Emma August 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Ai-ya, my eyes boggle from the sheer amount of handwork involved. Looking at the outfit, especially the bodice, is quite humbling.

  • Reply Cathy August 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    You look absolutely fabulous! You look like you just stepped out of a painting.

  • Reply Emily August 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Your dress is amazingly detailed and you look great in it!

    I was looking at your photo set and I had to ask: The woman in blue, with the multibraid – do you know if that is her real hair?

  • Reply mala_14 August 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Looks amazing! The time and effort you put into this really shows. It’s spectacular!

  • Reply Isis August 7, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Wow. Just wow!

  • Reply kendra August 11, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Thanks everyone! You guys are too nice!

    Emily: that’s Bridget Bradley-Scaife, and nope, that’s fake hair that she braided into her own hair! I think she and Lana Bailey taught a workshop earlier in the day on how to do it, but I couldn’t go.

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