Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Single fabric challenge - Shear Madness - Lisa


When Laura announced a single fabric challenge on the      Shear Madness FB page, I was all in.  The fabric is cotton   with a floral/vine print and lots of birds.  All in shades of blue and white.  By 'single fabric' the costume is supposed to be made with the chosen fabric as the focus.  I came back from Costume College with a strong desire to make a jacket/curacao/casaquin targeting the 1780's (which I'm not sure I did, it might be earlier).  I'm not terribly worried about historical accuracy and the fabric 'reads' 18C but clearly is not.  In addition, during our spring trip to Morocco, I suffered a little anxiety on a camel that enjoyed his liberty a little too much.  We took to yelling 'liberte' every time he pulled loose from the line, with me on his back.  Happily, he never took off across the desert.  So for me it's all  about French Revolution and freedom seeking camels from a (previously) French speaking country, and birds.  I'm a part time birder.

See the faded birds in the center...print matching the bodice

Everything but the stays had to be made.  The jacket is the focus, and is made from the challenge fabric, plus a little of the solid blue left over from my Neried skirt.

aww, look...they're kissing!
Jacket.  I started with the Mill Farm pattern that I used for Queen of Clubs.  I made a muslin and started drawing lines where I thought the zone front should go.  The I cut along the lines.  Thing is, this pattern is designed with a stomacher and I wanted to make it meet in the middle so this was a little more complicated than I expected.  I might have yelled 'I don't know what I'm doing' on a variety of occasions, and it took me longer than I expected.  I didn't have enough fabric to make mistakes.  The print is VERY directional and I wanted the birds to be facing each other front and back. Each piece was cut individually. I was worried about doing the Anglais pleating in the back because I didn't have Robin to help, but it wasn't that bad.  Steaming as I went really helped set the curved folds. I stitched them in place with a running stitch.  I left the center back piece long as a sort of 'swallowtail'.   Fitting the side back was the hardest part because I was in stays, and I'd put the sleeves in backwards.  I really, really didn't want to fix that, you know, when you're tired of looking at the same thing and are ready to be DONE.  But I did.  
Finally, I decided to add a faux belt in front because I like the look of the dress at left.  I even made my red ribbon striped by sewing some thin white ribbon over it.  

And I left a little gap where the print meets the blue at the center front so I could pull my fichu through.  Which I then forgot to do in all the pictures

pull fichu through here, unless you forget
finished skirt and shoes

Petticoat and petticoat - because we have to call them the same thing?  Both were made using tutorials from The Fashionable Past (Koshka)  The under petticoat was made from old sheets and really should be remade since it's too limp.  The skirt is white cotton voile with a big ruffle.  I don't have any construction photos available.  Oops.  I also made a rump pad.  It's a largish stuffed rectangle that ties around my waist.  I may remake that too since I'm not super happy with the shape.  Or not, because I'm not sure how often I will need it.

Kerchief/fichu- based on 10 minutes of research, typically 36 in square.  Quick math gives a hypotenuse of 51 inches.  Just about perfect unless you're rather tall with a large chest.  Quick estimate with a measuring tape yields 55 inches, plus seam allowance = 56.  Reverse the math, 39 1/2 inches on each side.  I used some beautiful sheer cotton voile and hand hemmed it.  Hand hems are much softer and more fluid than a machine seam.  Also much, much slower.  Now that I have this, I will be less concerned about my necklines.  I can make them lower and not worry about massive cleavage since I can cover it up.

The hat.  It's made 
from an ugly party sombrero that I deconstructed and sewed back together in the shape I wanted.  Then I spray painted it blue.

I made the birdcage from some wired burlap stuff on sale at Michael's.  I cut it, shaped it and set it with white glue. I cut out a square for the cage door, and used scraps to MAKE a cage door which I tacked on. Then I spray painted it gold.

The bird was the challenge.  I wanted a bluebird, that was flying free from the cage.  And I assumed that one could simply buy a bluebird with outstretched wings.  But NOOO.
So I got a wingless bluebird and a made wings.  

 Here is the sad little wingless bird with the wings in progress.  I made craft foam wing shapes and glued a wire on the leading edge so I could shape them a little.  Then I used a variety of blue, or blueish feathers and started gluing them down.  I tried to use white glue because it's not as heavy as hot glue.  I gave up pretty quickly.
 Gluing feathers was...interesting?  My kitten succeeded in running off with one of the wings but I caught him before too much damage was done.  Once everything was glued, I trimmed them into wing shapes.
Finally, I glued them to the sides of the bird. They only fell off twice.  And I'm only a little bit bothered that they aren't anything like actual bird wings....

I'm actually really happy with my bird.  I got it done, attached it to the cage and the beak fell off.  Oh happy, happy glue.

The final parts of the hat are the banner and the cockade.

The banner is blue grosgrain with wire sewn in.  I painted 'Liberte' on both sides and added gentle folds to make it 'float'.  This is the shout out to my charming Moroccan camel.

The cockade was a last minute addition.  I needed something to echo the red in the belt and I had taken a class in the spring on making cockades.  (A class from Candice Kling who is the most amazing ribbon worker, bar none)  This red cockade was one of my trials from the class.

And, finally, after a bit more glue and wire, some ruffles and ribbon, I got it done.  I tilted the cage because I will tilt the hat when I wear it.

Here is the final dress.  Pictures taken at sunset with horrid light, by a man who cannot figure how to work my camera.  I needed to wait for the rain to stop, and for my hair to dry so timing was awful.  and I made him take a lot of pictures and almost none of them are actually, totally in focus.  And my secret and very fun shoes don't show (just a little in the skirt picture).  They're red and white stripe Moroccan mules made from camel leather.