Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Aaaaand … breath


The reason I have been making these costumes was a for an event put on at Wollaton Hall by myself and several others as our second term project. There was a performance one day, and a tour the day after. I don’t have the performance pictures yet, but here is mine and Hanna’s little section of the tour.


Hanna' made the model, Wollaton Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan country house, it had some tower rooms that were tucked out of the way and used for secret parties 100 of years ago. This was her version of what one of the rooms may have looked like in the regency era.


We also made up some regency food from authentic recipes. Not all of it is here, above is seedcake, stilton, dried pineapple, pistachios, walnuts, and little shots of syllabub. The syllabub is a kind of thick desert drink, it was absolutely delicious. We also made beetroot pancakes (definitely an acquired taste) and chicken, bacon and parsley miniature pasties, which were a little odd.


The performance and tour both went really well, we had some very positive feedback and loads of people asking for recipes. The house shuts early and we were about 5 flights of stairs up (3 of those being tiny stone spirals) so we had a really rushed pack-up. But after that, it was such a beautiful day, and the grounds of the house were so gorgeous, it was definitely time for a snooze.

Finalised Footman


Capturing perfect faces is clearly not a strong point of mine. Anyway, here is the finished footman outfit. I got the wig off ebay, the necktie, tights and shoes from the costume department in uni. The necktie isn’t quite right, its a bit small, but it should be okay for the performance, I plan to make a bigger one for the degree show.


Lee became strangely attached to the tights, he seemed happy to walk around in them for far longer than necessary.


Completed Lady

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Well here it is, the final outfit. I really should have ironed it before taking the pictures.

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The back seems to be bulging out in a slightly strange way, I didn’t notice it when she was wearing it, so maybe its the angle of the photo, or maybe it just needs smoothing down.

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I prefer the dress by itself. I’m really pleased with the sleeves and the piping.


She looks like she is floating when you can’t see her feet, but even though you can’t see them I found the perfect little pair of matching gold pumps.

Remember the right underwear.


Here is the nearly finished spencer, sewing the velvet was not actually as bad as I expected it to be, the walking foot on the sewing machine saved my life. If you don’t have a walking foot I would strongly advise it, it pretty much eliminates layers of fabric sliding in the wrong direction.

I forgot to put the corset on underneath for the fitting, and Hanna had a padded bra on, this is the reason for the pulling across the front. I need to remember the correct foundations next time.

Just the buttons left to do.

Sunday, 27 March 2011


Hello blog-land, I have not forgotten you, I just left my camera with all photos of resent work inside a room at uni that they have locked up for the holidays. Not the best bit of forward planning I have ever done. In the mean time, here is a little teaser picture for my next big project.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Dressed in gold

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Sorry for the appalling picture quality, my camera has wandered off somewhere, and my phone isn’t quite up to the job. Here is the dress, mostly done, just hand finishing on the bodice, and taking up the bottom to go. The black around the neckline is just a t-shirt underneath, not part of the dress.

She doesn’t have the corset on underneath this, I’m part way through it, but I can’t put it on Hanna until the eyelets are done.

Starting work on the dress.


I finally started work on the actual dress, I wanted to get the footman out of the way first because I was less confident about that one.


I cut out the pieces the other day and set to it yesterday. The outside is embroidered silk, the inside is brown cotton. I was going to just stitch it together, no embellishment, but it looked a bit plain, so I thought I’d add some piping.


I’ve done a little bit of piping before at work, but not much. I used the brown cotton of the liner to make it.


It was definitely the right decision, the edge is a lot smoother.


The puff sleeves look really cute, they keep their shape better than the toile because I puffed the lining as well.


Though I did get a bit carried away stitching the liner, so I have to hand sew round the cuff edge rather than the shoulder seam.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tunics – Not quite one size fits all…

One of the tunics we made today, (knee length, short sleeved) in case you can’t tell, its not made for me.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Enter the Footman

Here it is, very nearly in all its shining glory, the footman costume.

I have another pocket to add to the coat, and more buttons and button holes to sew than I care to count, but other than that (which I’ve successfully ignored for now) its finished.

Oh La La Tea Party



It’s been speedy speedy working on this costume, a pretty short deadline. Not quite finished here, still work to do on the skirt.


I didn’t do much on the finishing off of this, mainly making very very long tubes for very long ruffles.


But I had to post the finished result all the same.


Not quite a shirt.


I don’t have the time, or the money to make a full shirt for under the jacket and waistcoat. But the collar is a very important part of the costume and it can’t be completely forgotten, so I’m making a false shirt top. This is only the toile, which is the reason for the the oh so lovely floral fabric.


Fairly simple in pattern, but I still haven’t quite got the hang of the construction technique yet. Curves have never been my strong point and this one is really tight. Adding interfacing really helped stiffen it though.

The Vanishing two Inches


Well the toile fitted, I know it fitted, I have photographic evidence that it fitted. So I kept the pattern exactly as it was, and made the real thing. And…tah-dah, 2” magically disappear somewhere, I can’t even close it! How it happened I just can’t work out, the seam allowances are right, it matches the pattern. Lee said he’d had a big lunch, but you don’t store food in your chest? It’s a puzzle I can’t solve, so I moved on, and made another one, with added inches.


Much better, this one closes; and he can breath, always a bonus.


Something to keep her Warm


The performance I am making the lady and footman costumes for has been lengthened slightly, it now involves the two characters walking outside for part of it. It’s only for a short while so the footman costume is warm enough, but the lady only had a short sleeved dress; not suitable for a March evening.


So I made a very quick toile for a spencer. As usual the pattern doesn’t go small enough, so I reduced it further. It’s still a bit big, but I’m planning on making it out of velvet which is obviously thicker.


I know they’re right, but the sleeves look a bit ridiculous to me, maybe its the green, but they’re really not the most flattering.

More green for the Waistcoat Toile


I started off with a historical pattern for this, but it was absolutely massive, and way too long, so this is a estimated combination of a much reduced version of that, and the jacket body.


It needs enlarging a bit around the arms and neck, but other than that its pretty good.

Kermit the frog Breeches


Here is the toile for the breeches, I used a historical pattern. Its lucky they came with instructions because working out the flap at the front took me a while. I shall take this opportunity to say thank you to the inventor of the zip fly, well done, brilliant invention, why did it take so long?


The waistband will lace up at the back. The arse is absolutely massive, but apparently that’s accurate, even if it does loo strange. The legs are not uneven, I only pinned one of them closed.


I’m absolutely loving using green for my toiles, nothing like a pair of Kermit the frog trousers to brighten up the day.