December 12: Solstice
Yay for actually finishing a thing on time! No time for sleeves, but the dress itself is finished. Now its just a matter of adding another layer, getting some accessories, and sewing on some bling.
I love how this turned out. The silk is so light, but with the lining I was able to make the pleats look really sharp. I got a ton of compliments on it. I was scared to death to let anything stain it, but I managed with no messes at all, and just a bit of grime on part of the hem from all of my walking around.
Here's the back:
Ånd here's my new farthingale! I held up beautifully all day, though the tape on the topmost cord undid itself by the end of the evening. I just need to sew the ends together properly. 90" is probably the perfect size for me -- it gave just the right amount of poof and didn't inhibit my movement at all. Win!
Drew didn't look so bad himself, either. He made extra pieces for his court outfit (the hat, red hitoe and purple hakima) in about two days. He considered himself the best dressed Japanese persona there, and I have to agree.
He was almost kinda sad that everyone noticed the hat (that took 20 minutes to make and starch) more than his enormous pants (which took the better part of two days).
January 8: How Cool is This?
by "Master A.W", Portrait of a lady, c. 1536.
(I thought I'd found it on Wikipedia, but turns out it was from Kimiko Small's website)
I'm a total sucker for black and pink.
But not right now, with my latest project nearing completion. Focus!
December 16: Project Update
I spent a long weekend with my family out in New Hampshire for my little niece's baptism, and it was a great mini vacation. I was hoping to hit the ground running to complete my Solstice project, but after waking up at 4:30 am EST to catch my flights back, I was pretty much useless for the day.
I made a new farthingale, though admittedly I wasn't really intending it to be as such. I just got three free yards of dupioni silk and decided to make a 10-gore petticoat as something of a practice piece for my A&S kirtle. The gore technique is fabulous -- by just cutting 10 trapezoids out of every bit of the fabric, I ended up with a beautiful full skirt with a fantastic drape. Since I went along the width, it was super long, so I decided to gather it up into 5 2" channels for an Arnold-style farthingale, and I boned it with some upholstery cord from Home Fabrics. It has some issues but I'm pretty pleased with it. It's a smaller circumfrence than my first farthingale -- 90 inches around the bottom instead of 120, which I think will be an improvement. I might go even smaller in the future but I want to see how this one goes first.
I'm also making a new kirtle, out of a white stash silk. Looking through the little scraps of gold silk I had left to try to extend my hem, I decided it was a worthless cause and I made some quick cash selling the gold kirtle to my friend Anna (who is now the lucky recipient of TWO kirtles that I made but can't wear, *grumble*). But I took my time over Thanksgiving break making the bodice for this next one, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I had a successful mockup with two layers of canvas with just a bit of hemp cord to reinforce the lacings, so I'm playing with this concept for a bit -- it seems to fit better with the sillhouette of the 1530s-40s (especially with all of the layers expected of a court outfit), but I have to see how it wears on my body for more than a few minutes at a time. I plan to cut and pleat the skirt hopefully today (Pics to come up then, hopefully) and do some fun sleeves.
It's time to consider the jeweled bits on the neckline. I was trying to find some gemstone-type cabs at Hobby Lobby or Joanns, and came up empty-handed. The closest I could find were some acrylic flat-backed gems, but they were only in packs of multiple colors and sizes and it didn't seem to be enough of the right size or color for what I want (which is admittedly pretty nebulous). Currently I have some pretty metal jewelry links that will hopefully get painted to a nice gold color (I found some Testors spray paint that should hopefully turn out well) and some pearls, but it seems a tad plain -- I need something colorful and maybe a bit glittery. Stuff from Firemountain seems to come so close, yet miss the mark: Something like this could be nice, but 6 mm seems really small. Alternately, this could work, but I'd have to glue it on, which might backfire on me. This would be awesome, but way too expensive to actually get enough to glam up an entire neckline. Maybe I should check the thrift shops once more.
The kirtle is my only solid goal for Solstice, and while I can probably wear it with my black velvet overgown I don't know if I will (it has some issues). I thought I could manage a brand new overgown too, but that will have to wait until 12th Night.