adjective:old fashioned, out of style, unfashionable [from French, the past participle of démoder "to go out of fashion," from mode "fashion"].

the concept

1910 evening dress
Lady Maud Warrender's 1910 evening dress

the fabric

the pattern

draped by me, based on Janet Arnold

the result

Lady Maud

Friday, September 07, 2007

It might be good if I actually put up some final photos!

Lady MaudLady MaudLady MaudLady Maud

posted by démodé 1:20 PM 0 comments

Friday, December 29, 2006

"I can easily finish this this weekend" -- famous last words! There's been lots more work, and lots more fiddling, but isn't that how it always is?

Mostly it was that I faked it when cutting out the overskirt. I used the pattern from my Wings of the Dove dress, but that had a wrap over and pleats in front, so I just sort of guesstimated where I should cut it. I ended up needing to fiddle a lot in fitting the overskirt, and it took longer than I expected (doesn't it always?) to attach the overskirts and waistband (hand sewing takes a while!) and closures.

So here's where I am, which is nearly done:


Last thing will be finishing closures on the skirt opening, bodice wrap over, and waist stay, and then making and attaching the hanging sash ends. And, obviously, either make a new set of combinations, or cut the back down on this one!

posted by démodé 7:02 PM 12 comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monsieur Computer is home (and still sick, so will have to go away again) and oops! I'm kind of almost done! (ducks)

When we left off, I was debating how to visually decrease my Tracts(TM), and looking for cotton sateen in a decent shade of green.

For the lining, I had decided I would deal with the annoyance of dyeing white sateen -- only to get to my local Crappy Joann's and finding they had no white sateen! Not caring THAT much, I bought some heavy quilting cotton (about twice the weight of broadcloth) in a vaguely appropriate green (I was a dork and forgot a swatch, although that wouldn't have helped much as there were only so many colors to choose from). The greens really don't match at all, but at least I won't have a flash of white at my neckline or armholes or other inopportune places.

Stylistically, I decided to go with the assymetrical high V. I thought it minimized the Tracts(TM) the most, and I agreed with those who said that they thought it looked the most stylistically 1910s. I also decided, after looking through all my book collection, to pattern the top as a kimono bodice -- a style I've seen as early as 1910, and which goes really well with the crossover V front.

I hauled out the pattern from my Wings of the Dove dress for the base of the mockup, creating the overlapping center front and back and futzing with the sleeve length:

bodice drapebodice drape

It looked quite good on my dress form...


... but somewhat crappy on! Fitting this was weird (on me), mostly because I couldn't get the overbodice to stay pinned to the lining at the side seam. I kept trying to test how much arm movement I would need vs. how much fabric I wanted bunched in there, and the pins would pull out or would stab me and I'd get pissy and my hair would get everywhere and... You get the picture. I finally ended up taking some length out in the armhole area (ie took a big tuck from the neckline towards the sleeve opening) which helped. And marked where I thought the sleeve opening should be. And then decided to go for it.

I think these pics were taken after the above fixes, as I can see the tucks I pinned in the front and along the top of my arm:


So then I put the lining together. Although I haven't yet posted pictures (coming soon, I promise) of my finished 1839 dress, I was traumatized when wearing it to find that not fitting it over my real Victorian chemise (I wussed out and wore a tank top) was actually a really bad decision. I ended up with extra bust fullness on top of my corset that wasn't really there (my chemise actually straps me in quite nicely). So taking a hunch, I went through the work of putting on my combinations under my corset when fitting this and found that my Tracts(TM) were actually smaller with the combinations (non-stretch fabric is your friend, I tell ya!). Whew -- so glad I figured that out at this point in the game!

Here's the lining:


I boned all the seams on the lining except for the CF, following the Janet Arnold Lady Maud dress. I had originally hoped to do a CF closure, but then realized that would mess up the look of the waistband, so I switched it to the back, and used hooks and bars to close the lining.

And after looking at my bodice mockup some more, and at the 1914 kimono bodice dress in Bradfield's Costume in Detail, I realized I'd better put some fitted sleeves on my lining so that I didn't have armhole gaposis (imagine the looseness of the kimono armhole -- you'd totally be able to see inside my bodice!). So I added sleeves, which I just basically cut out from my standard fitted sleeve block -- didn't worry about fitting the length yet:


And then I cut out the bodice (SCARY to cut a sari, as you know there's no ordering another yard or two!). I followed the construction of the 1914 kimono bodice dress in Costume in Detail pretty faithfully. First I sewed the bodice fronts and backs together, then put in the side seam, then put it on my mannequin and played and played to figure out the sleeve length. For some reason my perfectly fitted bodice pattern ended up with different lengths for the shoulder seam, necessitating cutting the sleeve higher than I wanted. I tried it on without a corset and the sleeve seemed to work, but... I'm scared!

Most of the attaching-the-bodice-to-the-lining was done by hand, as it was done in the period -- lots of backstitching! I sewed down the neckline fill in, sewed down one side of the bodice, then the other:


I purposefully made the bodice pattern longer than it would need to be, since I didn't want to end up with too little seam allowance when putting in the waistband. There's nothing worse than too little length! I'd draped the waistband when doing the mockup, but I really wasn't sure about it, so I redraped it again at this point:


And then I cut out the waistband from the decorative-edge-that-should-be-the-choli -- and found, to my joy, that I cut it backwards (with the wrong end overlapping at the back). Grrr. So I got to waste a significant portion of that piece of the sari, as the pattern ended up very curved. Once I'd gotten it right, I handsewed it down to the bodice at the top edge (the bottom edge will cover the skirt seam allowance, after that gets attached to the bodice lining).

As you can see from my concept drawing, I had originally thought I wouldn't have enough of the sari fabric to do the underskirt, so was thinking of doing it in a contrasting charmeuse. Well, I had WAY more than enough fabric! I decided to base the skirt patterns on the same 1914 McCall repro pattern that I used for my Wings of the Dove dress. I hate drafting/draping skirts -- the pattern pieces are huge, and the fitting is nowhere near as picky as it is in the bodice. I cut out the underskirt from the lining, then cut out the sari fabric to cover that as much as possible (I was using the short width of the sari, and I'm taller than the sari is wide). You won't see the uncovered lining, though, because that'll be covered by the overskirt:


I did most of the actual sewing this past weekend, and could have actually finished if I'd wanted to sew all Sunday night, but I decided to bag it in around 6pm so I could actually do some relaxing (weekend -- relaxing -- concept!). I need to run down to Crappy Joann's to get another yard or two to line the overskirt (I only have enough to do either the front or the backs, not both). Then I'll put together the overskirt and attach that, sew the waistband down on top, and do final closures on the wrapover in back. And I'll be done! Wahoo! It's making me all proud, as I feel like I didn't really accomplish a whole lot this year -- I can easily finish this weekend, and then I'll have one more project done in 2006 (and the fact that I snuck this in ahead of schedule won't really count!). Then it'll be on to... well, I have to CADD about that for a while before I can really commit.

posted by démodé 4:23 PM 6 comments

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Okay, so I should have a big post tonight or tomorrow documenting my progress, but in the meantime I've decided that I need a coordinating lining, as it may show. Which brings me to: does anyone have a source for colored cotton sateen? I'm trying to find something in a light olive green, and I'm just not finding a wide range of sources. I've checked: Denver, Fashion Fabrics, Fabric.com, Equilter, Hancock's of Paducah, and Trimfabrics -- and none have the right color.

posted by démodé 3:52 PM 5 comments

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Remember all that planning I just did? I LIED! Well, okay, I did say "maybe some other projects would sneak in"... Although I may not follow through with this, as it's becoming the What Not to Wear (UK version, of course) Dress.

So this was the plan: to make the 1910 Lady Maud Warrender dress that I have loved for FOREVER from Janet Arnold, out of a beautiful green & gold sari I got a few years ago in Toronoto.

Lady Maud

It reared its ugly head as I've realized that I'm not happy with my range of evening dresses right now. Besides my red & white stripey bustle dress, I don't really have much else that I'm excited about wearing to balls. And I've got some time on my hands (I think).

So a few nights ago I started draping the lining. I made many, many attempts, all of which I faithfully photographed, but they really just look like varying amounts of seam allowance (I drape with LOTS of SA). So I shall spare you all the iterations, and leave you with the version I made when I realized that I didn't need to faithfully reproduce JA's pattern (in fact, I probably can't as I'm way bustier than the original wearer), I just needed to cover the appropriate real estate:

lining mockuplining mockup

So, can you see the problem I've encountered? I'm not exactly what you might call "small busted." Rather, phrases like "huge tracts of land" tend to come to mind. My 1910s corset is a push-up-the-bust variety, which actually from looking at period Sears catalogs etc. seems to be what larger busted women did around 1910 (while the more petite went with underbust).

But I've got a shelf here. And a shelf isn't going to work very well with a big piece of trim across it. To wit:

trim testtrim test

So, obviously, I'm going to have to do something different. My faithful What Not to Wear (UK) viewing tells me I need to break up the Tract O' Bust with some verticals or Vs. It doesn't help that there are VERY FEW models out there (extant garments, fashion plates, portraits) that show larger busted women in this era (apparently, they all were running around with little A cups). The closest model I could find was Kathy Bates (yes, I'll take modern movie recreations at this point) in her Titanic evening gown, and they've got her pushed up and flattened and with a high V neck.

So, here are my experimentations. Note that the belt will be the shape in the original JA illustration (I'm going to piece it from the end-piece-of-the-sari-that-becomes-the-choli), so it'll be a bit wider than here:

square necksquare neck
Square neck
low Vsquare neck
Low V neck
higher Vhigher V
Higher V neck
asymmetrical Vasymmetrical V
Asymmetrical higher V neck

I'm liking the high V neck and the asymmetrical V neck, as they seem to decrease the visual Tract issue. But maybe I need an underbust corset?

What would you do if you were a Huge Tracts O' Land lady in 1910?

posted by démodé 2:16 PM 27 comments

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