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More fabric for sale!

Black wool gauze, perfect for a Regency mourning dress or anything else you can dream up. It really is BLACK in spite of the pictures.

4.75 yards x 48" wide
$80 plus shipping

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Utterly beautiful but synthetic! Please give this a good home! 6 yards x 44" $114 plus shipping.
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I undertook a lot of sewing for an event I did this past weekend. Once I get some better photos there will be an in-depth blog post on it all. Since I was essentially the focus of the program, I really wanted a new gown! But I also wanted to use all of the research that has been done and shared in the past 2.5 years I've been working in the 17th century. That meant new canvas upperbodies for my petticoat. More on that in the blog posts, so for now here are a couple of teasers!


Unfortunately I've been swinging wildly back and forth between being hugely inspired by the 16th/early 17th centuries and 1860s/Civil War stuff. A few weeks ago I did a Civil War event where I had my mourning collection on display, which got me all fired up to make new things for Gettysburg in November. But then I had to get ready for this past weekend's 1616 event, which threw me right into the depths of 16th and early 17th century feelings! I spent a really ridiculous amount of money on fabric for both time periods... Right now I want to go straight into a 1560s kirtle and gown but I've got to get back to the 1860s if I want to make my dreams for Gettysburg come true. I'm also thinking about a new gown for 12th Night in January, and I'm torn between doing a 1790s gown with the striped silk I got in LA and a 1760s gown from the imperial yellow silk taffeta, but I really can't be thinking about that until after Gettysburg!
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So here's a list of things I hope to do with the rest of the year:

*finish the commission by Sept. 24th. I've been dragging my feet on this but I should be able to get it all finished up next weeked if I'm good!
*I want a new gown for Henricus in two weeks but that is probably impossible with the commission and I should stop thinking about it!

*work on 1860s undergarments for Gettysburg: finish the drawers I started, make chemise and new corset, figure out under-petticoat situation. I finished my tucked petticoat except for the button and button hole.
*start the black evening gown

*finish black evening gown
*start fur-trimmed paletot

*make imperial yellow 1760s gown for 12th Night in early January
*take Felicity gown pictures finally!
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This ended up being my favorite gown to wear at Costume College. Comfortable and easy to wear!

The gown is entirely hand sewn using period construction methods and was draped on the body. I wore it with fine muslin wrist ruffles, kerchief, and petticoat, as well as the beautiful silk gauze apron that Emma made for my birthday.

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I meant to do a write up about Costume College, but it never happened... Doing it now seems too late! I had a good time this year but I still felt like I missed hanging out with people as much as I would have liked. For some reason I was exhausted the whole time and went to bed super early each night... which I really regret now but at the time I just couldn't handle it. Sad...

But I've been very busy since then with lots of sewing. I need to finish a commission for a museum by the end of September and then I can go full steam into my wardrobe for Gettysburg Remembrance Day in November. I plan to wear my black and white checked silk gown during the day but with a new black wool paletot trimmed in black fur. And I talked myself into a new ball gown for the Friday night ball!

Yes, it's a black ball gown. :) I'm making it out of silk/cotton satin and it will be trimmed with antique black lace and lots of ridiculous bows. It makes my little black heart happy! Here's my Pinterest board on black evening gowns: https://www.pinterest.com/reinedecoudre/black-evening-gown/

I also need to finish adding tucks to my petticoat, and I desperately need new drawers and a chemise as well. And also a new corset! So lots to do before November 18!
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My Gala gown is wearable! I would say it's done but I just remembered a few things I want to neaten up. But I'm really excited to wear it! It was a huge pain for the longest time and I'm still not completely happy with the fit, but oh well.

Can't wait to see you all at Costume College!

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I leave tomorrow morning for California to spend a week with my family before Costume College starts. I really want to have all of my CoCo prep done as soon as possible so that I can focus on my family and give my wrist a true rest from working. I was super good for the first two weeks after surgery but then I really needed to get stuff done, so I started sewing again... Mostly machine work and Michael was sweet and did some hand sewing for me. All that's left is to put hooks and eyes on my Gala gown, wrist ruffles for the Dutch print gown, four more buttons on the Oriental fancy dress bodice, and possibly three bows for the Gala gown as well. I'm partially packed. Not in a bad place!

While I wasn't sewing right after surgery, I was still incredibly inspired by the 17th c clothing conference, so I went slightly nuts buying fabric for future projects.

Today this amazing yellow silk came for an "imperial" yellow 1760s gown.

And this will be a 1560s gown (black silk satin) and kirtle (silk damask).

I also did some promo work for an event I'll be doing in September portraying Rebecca Rolfe. I want a new gown for that as well, probably out of the wool satin I bought a couple years ago. Should be quick to put together since it will be the exact same style as this green gown.
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I should have thought of doing this gown of Padme's as straight Elizabethan for the historical Star Wars group this year at Costume College! Even if I had, I wouldn't have had time to make it on top of everything else. Oh well!

ETA: Or a 1900s version of the "picnic" dress, to play on the art nouveau theme... Or a medieval version to play on the hair buns!

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I don't even know where to begin...

So much has happened in the past two weeks, but I don't have the energy or dexterity to write out a detailed post on it all. You may have noticed my previous posts about the 17th century clothing conference I helped organize. Well, it finally happened last weekend! It really was just my boss and me running this show, which was horrendously exhausting but so worth it in the end. The feedback we have had from our participants and presenters is just overwhelming. The conference included tours, workshops, lectures, and interpretive demos. Everyone had a fantastic time and learned so much. We assembled a veritable powerhouse of 16th and 17th century clothing historians and costumers, including The Tudor Tailor, and it all took place at Jamestown Settlement. We partied in the reconstructed fort and ate fantastic food, and watched the sun set over the James River from the deck of one of the recreated ships. It really couldn't get much better than that!

But right after a showstopping weekend, I went right into wrist surgery. It was just time to get it over with. That means all sewing has come to a screeching halt, and everyday tasks are pretty painful, including typing! So while I want to gush about what a fantastic event I helped put on and how much I learned, I physically can't. I also am desperate to sew but, again, I can't. My doctor is quite sure that the surgery will be the cure to my troubles, but I won't really know until everything is healed up. I'm less confident. I just hope I can finish the last few things I need to do before Costume College...

Here's just a few pictures from the conference, and links to other folks' albums. There are too many great pictures to share them all here!

Jen Thies' photos from the weekend: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52716085@N00/sets/72157670331598125

From the fort party, by Fred Scholpp:

By Victoria Dye:

And a couple of me in hospital and my wrist! :-P

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As part of the three day conference at Jamestown Settlement, The Tudor Tailor is giving an entertaining presentation on June 24 that is open to the public! After the presentation, you can shop at The Tudor Tailor store, chat with Jane and Ninya, and examine reconstructed garments, all while enjoying complimentary refreshments. Organizing this conference has been the biggest project of my short career, and I'd love for you to be there!

This presentation on June 24, 2016 from 7-9 p.m. by The Tudor Tailor is based on exciting new research to be published in their next book, The Typical Tudor.

'As I lie dying'

See inside the wardrobes of two Elizabethan women living in England in the 1570s and go through their garments to discover how very differently they live their lives. Barbara Bundock, a much-married merchant’s widow, and Margery Trollope, a soap and candlemaker, meet for a gossip and to enjoy their favourite conversation – the ailments they suffer and their imminent gathering to heaven, which they have discussed weekly for more years than either can remember. Each is blessed with clothes that represent their wealth and standing among their neighbours. They are competitively well-informed as to the relative value of their dress: the raw materials, where they come from, who made them and how they rival each other in quality and cost. But their clothes also carry a heavy burden of responsibility as tokens to be passed on to friends and family. Not only must they decide who is most deserving of their own garments, there are many items of their husbands’, which demonstrate their doings in more detail than is necessarily comfortable. Barbara and Margery assess which of their grasping friends and family may benefit from the best rather than the worst items on offer.

Join Jane and Ninya for this lively presentation and dressing demonstration which draws on the wealth of material gathered by The Tudor Tailor team since the publication of The Tudor Tailor ten years ago, and gives enjoyable insights into the exciting new content of their forthcoming book The Typical Tudor.

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Now that the museum commission is finished and delivered, I can finally start working on my outfit for the 17th century clothing conferece next month. For the past couple of months, I really wasn't feeling historical sewing as much as I used to, but my mojo is finally back. As a result, I'm seriously questioning whether or not I should go through with my fantasy gown for the Gala. I haven't spent tons of money on the supplies, and I'm sure there will be another event in the future where I can wear it. I just wish I hadn't gone and posted the picture! But I guess we all change our plans every now and then, right?

What I'm thinking of doing instead of a fantasy gown that I really don't "need" is using the time to make some nice new accessories and, more importantly, a new pair of 18th century stays. Mine are about four years old, many of the reeds are broken, it doesn't fit as well as it could, and it was made before my internship, which is when I feel things really changed in regards to how I approach researching and making historical clothing. I have much better resources now.

So... I think I've just talked myself into it! The 1610s silk gown will be plenty fancy and flashy for the Gala. I really want to wear my "old" white silk 1770s gown too, with a new big crazy cap and hair. But I'm not sure what to do for the Ice Cream Social... Does anyone not change for that?

Friday: 1770s white silk gown
Ice cream social: 1770s white silk gown
Saturday: 1780s Dutch print gown
Gala: 1610s silk damask gown
Sunday: Wedneday Addams

Because I don't like posting without any pictures, here are the inspiration images for my c.1616/1617 silk damask gown. I'll be wearing my rebato like the last two images instead of making a new ruff, but I will make matching cuffs. It will have a closed skirt and the long hanging sleeves in the first three images. The trim will be most similar to the green gown, with rows of silver lace. I need new bodies, too, since the neckline gets so low during this period. My current pair of bodies is better suited to 1600-1610. (Clicking on pictures will take you to the Pinterest source.)

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I'd been working on my 1780s Dutch print gown but had to set it aside to finish a commission for a museum. While I don't take commissions from private customers (I know better than that now! I genuinely dislike it...), I do make exceptions for museums. The gown just needs sleeves cut, sewn, and attached, and then it's done! The tiny pleats were a headache and they aren't as even on the inside as I would like, but the outside looks great and that's what matters, right?

Yesterday a bunch of the materials for my secret (?) Gala gown arrived! I'm so excited to start this, but commission first...

Other things occupying my mind and my time have been taking more time and care in my outfits and appearance. Some recent favorites...

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I bought seven yards of this silk satin because the price was good, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

Then Crimson Peak came out. :)

So someday... hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I'll make a gown inspired by Edith's!

Check out this FIDM blog post for some AMAZING detail and in-progress shots of the iconic costumes.

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I might regret this... but I went ahead and bought supplies for the potential fantasy Gala gown. No, I don't really have time for a frivolous from-scratch project but I'm feeling really inspired and I had some cash from finally selling my Belle cosplay. So some awesome fabric and tons of rhinestones are on their way to me! Luckily I do have fabric for the bodice of the gown already in the stash, and the rest of the fabric I need is dirt cheap (black tulle).

However, if I do finish this, I have to rearrange my plans for the weekend. Since my last post, I've had a few revelations about my original plans:

  1. Felicity: I've come to the decision that Felicity probably doesn't need to come to CoCo because I can do a fabulous photoshoot here at CW where she belongs, and because packing cane hoops doesn't sound like a lot of fun!

  2. 1842 apple green wool dress: I'm questioning finishing and bringing the 1842 dress, mostly because it means shipping a bonnet and starching and ironing my corded petticoat. Not to mention making at least one other petticoat to go over the corded one, which seems so painfully boring! And ideally I'd have a new corset for this, which I don't have time for especially if I go through with this crazy Gala idea... But I had been talking to nuranar and Maggie about 1840s fun, so I'm pretty torn...

  3. My white silk 1770s gown is one that I love and would like to wear again, and I'm almost done putting some more trim on it. This would be a "low sew" project that I would enjoy wearing. I've got some new accessories to wear with it too!

So my current potential lineups are:

Friday: 1780s Dutch print gown
Ice cream social: 1616 silk gown
Saturday: 1842 wool dress
Gala: fantasy gown
Sunday: Wednesday Addams

...or... if I decide not to be crazy and make a new Gala gown:

Friday: 1780s Dutch print gown
Ice cream social: 1770s white silk gown
Saturday: 1842 wool dress
Gala: 1616 silk gown
Sunday: Wednesday Addams

...OR... I nix 1840s and make a new Gala gown:

Friday: 1780s Dutch print gown
Ice cream social: 1770s white silk gown
Saturday: 1616 silk gown
Gala: fantasy gown
Sunday: Wednesday Addams

I think I'm leaning towards the last option...

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Getting the Costume College packet online and in the mail has me so excited to attend this year! Incredibly, both of my classes are back to back on Friday morning, which means I have the entire rest of the event to hang out and attend other classes at my leisure. There are a couple unlimited classes that have piqued my interest, but I’m on the fence about limiteds. The one I’d most like to get into is Cathy Hay’s corset patterning class, but it would take up half of my Saturday… and I’d hate to miss out on time to hang out with people! Although that has me worried too because even though I consider myself a well-mannered and well-spoken person in public, I get really self-conscious about “imposing” myself on people to hang out… I don’t want to be annoying! But Costume College is always more fun when I get to chat and laugh with you all. There’s also no guarantee I’d get into that class to begin with… I guess I have a little more time to decide.

I thought I had my costume line up all figured out, but I keep having terrible bouts of CADD along with being disillusioned with my current options. I was all ready to wear Felicity to the Ice Cream Social, but she feels so boring to me at the moment… But it would be a good chance to finally style that outfit the way I’ve been wanting to, with the right hair and the new trim now complete (she does need a new, wider tucker though). I also don’t know how the royal blue will look with my black hair… Do I need to get a red wig??

A major part of the CADD is an idea I got for the Gala, which involves an entirely new costume. I’d be able to machine and hot glue the heck out of it, though, so I don’t know if that makes it any better. But I'm putting so much work into my 1616 gown for the conference in June that I think I should be wearing that to the Gala... Although after the conference, I might feel differently about it.

So here is my potential lineup… And if you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see in person, please let me know!

Friday day: 1780s Dutch print gown
Ice cream social: Felicity or 1616 silk damask gown
Saturday day: 1840s green wool gown
Gala: 1616 silk damask gown or fantasy gown
Sunday: Wednesday Addams
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Longtime readers and friends might know that I have an obsession professional interest in studying 1860s mourning clothing. I first presented on the topic at the millinery symposium at Colonial Williamsburg in 2014, and have been continuing my research in my "spare" time. I was thrilled when I was asked to present again at The Mariners' Museum's Civil War Event, Battle of Hampton Roads in March. Along with giving my lecture, I set up an interpretive display of mourning items I've made or collected over the past year or so.

One of my main motivations in studying and interpreting 1860s mourning is that there are a lot of misconceptions about the topic. Some of the most prevalent are that every black dress/bonnet/veil/brooch/cap/etc was for mourning, and that all women were absolutely required to follow prescribed mourning customs and did so regardless of their circumstances. What I've discovered in my research is that process of mourning and the clothing or accessories worn for mourning were actually deeply personal, and the extent to which a woman followed mourning customs was greatly informed by her economic situation, the community she lived in, and her personal beliefs and feelings. I'm hoping to write an article on my research in the not-too-distant future, so I won't go into much more than that in this post, although I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. I've chosen to focus my area of study on the years 1850-1869 because practices and fashions change quite a bit throughout the century, and I don't believe in lumping them all in under "Victorian mourning."

My display was made up of original cartes de visite of women in full mourning, including a few widows identified by their widows caps; reproduction full mourning bonnet, veil, and collar; an original hair brooch with the name and death date of the deceased; mourning pins from At the Eastern Door; Lincoln mourning cockades; reproduction jewelry from The Victorian Needle; an original mourning envelope; a reproduction belt buckle from Aldridge Clothiers; printed cotton fabric suitable for half mourning (which I started a dress from); and a reproduction half mourning bonnet.

Full mourning bonnet covered in crape. Fiddly to work with, but well worth the effort to get something that's "right"!

Almost the whole display.

The light mourning side of the table:

The full mourning side of the table. Forgot I had a shawl in there too!

Crape full mourning collar with original hair brooch and repro buckle in the background.

Reproduction Lincoln mourning cockade made from crape and silk ribbon. Original mourning envelope.

My original hair brooch.

The back is engraved, "Jessie Ewart died 22nd May 1863."

I had hoped to finish the half mourning cotton dress AND make a new full mourning dress, but I ended up devoting my time to making a new cage crinoline, petticoat, and reworking my half mourning silk dress. My hope for the next time I can set up this display is to have both of those dresses finished and available to be displayed.

I had some excellent discussions with visitors, but the most interesting conversations were those I had with small children. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to talk to small children about death. Would their parents be offended? How much would a small child (say, under 10 or even under 5) really understand about death? So I turned the conversation to "How do we remember people?" and "What things do you do when you're sad or miss someone?". That ended up being the ticket, and my little visitors responded well. I'm really looking forward to setting up this display again and hope that I can do so sooner than later!

Along with having my mourning display set up, my friends had a display set up for a women's sanitary fair and were engaged in reproducing a flag in the collection of the Mariners' Museum. I was able to put a few stitches into it, and although we didn't complete the flag, we were still able to present it to Mr. Lincoln on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea, who came to help stitch the flag, was gracious enough to share some of the pictures she and her husband took during the weekend.

Check them out behind the cut!Collapse )
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Longtime readers and friends will remember this dress from 2014, when I went back to Greenfield Village in Michigan to see Tim Eriksen in concert to see ktlovely and attend one of my favorite Civil War events. I was not happy with how the dress turned out, but instead of trying to sell it as soon as I got home (my usual MO) I was actually determined to rework the dress.

And I am so happy I stuck with it! I absolutely love the dress now, even if it's not the fanciest or flashiest thing out there. It's well made and well fitted, and I can put it on and not fuss with it the rest of the day. I finished and wore the new dress for an event at The Mariners' Museum, where I had an interpretive display set up of original and reproduction mourning items and gave a brief lecture. The next post will be about my display and the event itself, so stay tuned!

The first thing I wanted to do was cut a new bodice. The original bodice didn't fit quite right and I wasn't happy with the double points. Also, the trim was fraying like nuts because I cut it on the wrong grain! So I reused the bodice back and cut new fronts out of the black and white checked silk. I toyed with the idea of entirely new sleeves but ended up just putting double puffs on the sleeves I had already made. The style is very pretty and it saved me time! I used buttons and buttonholes to close the bodice, since I can now do buttonholes in my sleep when I used to dread them (thanks sewing-for-a-living!). The buttons are antique black glass, inspired by the buttons on this extant dress. This time around, I went with a very simple trim: a lovely black fringe. While the lavender trim of the first version was nice, I was really feeling a more subtle direction for this version. And as with all trim, I can always change it later!

The next change was to lengthen the skirt, which was just a bit too short for my taste. I added about 5" to the top of the skirt. The plaid doesn't match but I find it charming, since plaids don't always match on originals and I think it adds that element of realism to the dress. I also added 20" to the circumference of the skirt because Michael and I worked together to make me a new cage crinoline! I finally splurged on the Needle and Thread kit, which is truly an awesome reproduction. Everything is a perfect copy of originals! I knew I wanted something bigger than my previous cages, which were always 108". My new cage is 116" and that bit of extra circumference really makes a difference. I am very happy with the shape and silhouette the cage gives. I'll do a post on the cage itself eventually, along with the new petticoat I made to go over it.

The rest of the images are here.

A few detail shots...

The antique buttons:

The buttonholes:

Sleeve construction. The sleeves are flatlined in cotton and then the bottom few inches are faced with the silk.

Double points, piped:

Back single point:

The center back of the skirt is gauged (cartridge pleated) to take up fullness.

The side back seams are topstitched by hand. Finger for scale

The dress laid out.

The skirt is faced with cotton and a wool hem tape applied at the bottom.
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This was an inexpensive and last minute outfit for Teslacon 2015, but it ended up being my favorite outfit of the weekend. It's comfortable and easy to wear (except I definintely need a slip or petticoat underneath since the skirt sticks to any tights I wear) and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.

I took the aesthetics of Wednesday Addams and tried to interpret them in the late 19th century. The dress is based off of children's dresses from the period. I chose the print wanting something other than solid black, similar to the dark print dress that Christina Ricci wears in Addams Family Values.

I think I might bring this to Costume College as a spare outfit... I just love wearing it!

And yes, the parasol and glasses are Crimson Peak inspired...


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It snowed today!!

I dragged my poor, sick husband outside to take pictures for me before the snowflakes stopped coming down. I really owe him one! But he's been sleeping all day and hasn't had an appetite, so I think the best I can do is let him continue to sleep... I did scrub down the kitchen and the bathrooms, though, so maybe that will be a nice surprise when he gets up!

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