Making a Mid Victorian Ball Gown

In the previous tutorial we dealt with undergarments (drawers, chemise and a petticoat), and the crinoline cage is explained here). So, it is now time to tackle the gown itself! Again, since this series is mostly dedicated to the guests of … Continue reading

Dressing Queen Victoria

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This one was a very exciting commission – a friend who often works as Queen Vic needed a new corset.. and a  new bodice and a train to go with the skirt she already had.

After a session of looking at different portraits and photographs of the Queen, with Eve pointing out which features she’d like to include in her bodice or train, we got some sketching done…

Fabric was next – and here we were lucky as got a length of beautiful silk brocade from Quartermasterie – all that i need to grab was silk taffeta for lining and pleats and some lace and buttons….

The corsets was made first –  and it is a rather jazzy affair,  so wont be shown here to preserve the dignity of the monarch, but i bet now a few people who’d meet Eve at work would be wondering what  lingerie secrets her clothes hide ;-0

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Bodice was a lovely blend of the 1880ties and earlier fashions – sporting a version of pagoda sleeves, apparently quite a favourite of the queen. we also added detachable under sleeves, for colder days .

The lace was simply lush, though applying it took some time, and the underside of the pagoda sleeves was also trimmed with lace, a  more modest version.

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The train was just fun.  The construction was simple – a slightly shaped rectangular fabric, plasted and with tapes and buttons to allow the wearer to bustle to up if needs be. But it was  recreatingthe pleated trim from one of the original photos that was interesting….

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The train has a baleyeuse ( the dust ruffle) made of black cotton lace  buttoned up  – they were  a truly delightful frilly affairs that made life so much easier –  you wash only the ruffle as your skirts are protected.

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The pick up day was also a shoot day as we offered Eve a mini session –  the results below! Hope you like the final result:-)

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train bustled up, no undersleeves

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Train flowing loosely, under sleeves attached

Eve’s  page is here – enjoy browsing!  Queen Victoria

Middle class, middle century – 1650-60 bodice and Blickling Hall Spring Faire

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 Another event and and yet again  I had to refresh my wardrobe – this time just augmenting my mid 17th century stuff. We were hired to provide interpreting services at a multi-period event at Blickling Hall – again, organized by Black Knight Historical. I was portraying  a lacemaker, whereas Lucas was delving into the realm of the alchemy, astrology and early science. The event was to be a 3 days one, so although I had some of my old kit, I though that getting another bodice would  not go amiss, especially if the temperatures are high…

 I set my hear on a bodice based on the pattern in Norah Waugh book.  materials were olive wool and mustard linen lining, with plain linen foundation.

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the innards, boned with reed

 

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‘have time to completely hand stitch the thing, but at least managed to finish the insides 😉

 

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sewing on the ribbon…

 

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foundation and top layer ready, now the lining

 

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lining in, finishing touches – eyelets n the cuffs, worked with a silk thread

 

Altogether I was very please with how the pattern worked – and it was relatively easy to put the things together – the most troublesome part was getting all the layers in the armhole working correctly – there are 4 layers: sleeve, oversleeve, the wing, and the bodice – so rather a lot!

I wore the bodice without stays, but found it was not boned sufficiently to support my bosom or my back ( 7 hours sitting  and making lace does make your back ache,…), but when worn over a bodiced petticoat, it  worked great!

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getting ready – lacing the bodiced petti

I even had time to make a matching skirt ( a simple affair- rectangular piece of fabric cartridge pleated to the waistband). With the  existing items, i found it was fun to mix and match the set so it was different every day:-)

day 1 – just my old set…  petticoat, a wool skirt, linen apron, and a woolen bodice

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day 2 –  the new bodice, on unbodiced petticoat, laced with green silk ribbon

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 and day 3 – bodiced petticoat,  2 wool skirt – but a different skirt on top 🙂 bodice laced with black this time, and I added plain linen cuffs

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mixing and matching was great fun – I also need to get a few more collars, neckerchiefs and cuffs as they will change the look of the outfit  too 🙂

 The hat was from Mike the Hat, btw :-), i simply added an antique silk ribbon to it, and a buckle. The cuffs, neckerchief, the coif, forecloth etc were all made according to Janet Arnold book ( Patterns of fashion 4)

 The event in itself was very interesting – we tested  our tent for the first time after the fire – we had to get bits replaced, including all the poles and the structure held – and didn’t  leak over the first rainy night and the thunderstorm on saturday…

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 outside was wet – but inside we spent 3 lovely nights, dry and warm on our wooden bed with fur and wool covers, listening to either the rain or the hooting of very active owls:-)

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after the wet beginning, the weather was fine – warm, sunny and  perfect for being outside, enjoying the fantastic surroundings, during the day we were both busy ( we were told there was on average over a 1000 people visiting each day!),  but even from our tent we could see the falconry display, shows, arming the knight and equestrian shows. after the public was gone, we took photos – and walked around  the grounds – a truly fantastic place!

a few pictures from the event:

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Lucas by day, drafting astrology charts, advising his patients and educating the young …

 

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and being dashing after hours…

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hard at work…

 

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Eve was telling the future using her magical crystal ball in her dark mysterious tent – but we managed to lure her out into the sun for a few photos – here she is wearing a Prior Attire outfit too 🙂

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Tudor kitchen was feeding the participant lavish meals…

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Eleanor looks like setting up a shop to flog the armour…

 

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horses were provided by Steamhorse

 

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the organizer, praying up for some smashing weather no doubt – successfully so too!

 

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Graham looking a bit scary….

 

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 and that’s all folks! more photos on Lucas’ photography page – Pitcheresque Imagery.

 and if you ever are in Norfolk, do visit the hall – it is well worth it! Blickling Hall

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Spring bride 2013 – Briar Rose dress shoot at St. Audries Park

   I am currently working on the Spring Bride 2013 collection – 6 frocks with a spring theme of pinks, greens and ivories. The big photosoot is scheduled for the 23rd of April, but since we were in Devon and … Continue reading