Thursday, May 26, 2011

Timely Tress ~ Lucia Regency Bonnet ~ Update #2!

I finished my bonnet today! Or, at least, the basic form of it. Now the fun and endless possibilities of various trims looms before me.

For now, I have a black ostrich feather. I wanted a white one, but black seemed to go with this better for some reason. I think a white one would really just blend in with the fabric too much.

Or I could wear it plain without the feather. I like both looks. The one without the feather is more "me". But if I don't go with the feather, I will need to go with something else!

I do want to find something red to wear on the bonnet. A flower, a rosette, something. My shoes are red leather pointy toe slippers and my shawl has threads of red in it and I plan to make the reticule either white, dark blue or red. (I think a red one may be too matchy-matchy though?)

I really, really recommend this pattern from Timely Tresses. As usual, it was easy to work with and the finished result looks just like the photos on the pattern cover. The only thing I had a bit of a problem with was the markings on the lining pieces to which you are supposed to match the gathering for the "poufs" on the outer fabric. I couldn't figure out just how to do that easily, so I did the easiest thing of all - I eyeballed it ;) - and it seemed to come out fine. I think I could have more evenly distributed the gathers, but will do that next time! I love how this pattern is SO versatile - you could make a more tailored style with using the lining pattern as the outer crown, or you could make a plain gathered circle for a simpler style. Plus there are 3 brim variations/sizes so there are quite a few options, really!

It's been very nice for me to have this project to work on. It has been a very hard week for me so far as I found out on Sunday night that two people I knew were in an accident and did not survive. Working with your hands to create something useful and pretty is very soothing and I emerge from this project feeling far more cheerful than I did when I went in.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Timely Tresses ~ Lucia Regency Bonnet ~ Progress Update #1

In my costuming world I flit from one thing to another. Whenever I get bored with a project, I will finish it as quickly as possible and move on to something I find more interesting. With our first 1860's reenactment conveniently under my belt and full wardrobes functional and proper for all of us I can turn to more interesting things.

Last week, I got my birthday present from David in the mail, a copy of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion by Christina Barretto. Yes, it is a birthday present I picked out for myself. David would not have thought of it on his own since he did not understand how badly I needed it. He thought I should get a waffle iron or food processor or something useful. But when I assured him I'd love him forever and ever if he got me this book he humored me and ordered it. And I love it. It's a fantastic resource.

That book has put me in the mood to work more on my regency ensemble for the Jane Austen festival that is now only a few short weeks away. David's outfit is very nearly complete so I felt no guilt in postponing starting his coat so I can work on some fun, small projects for myself.

I have my shawl almost finished and so yesterday started my bonnet. I ordered the Lucia pattern from Timely Tresses quite a while ago and have been looking forward to making it up. I bought buckram for a covered bonnet but when Malachi took a huge bite out of the brim of a very pretty Amish straw hat we found at the thrift shop, I decided I needed to salvage the straw braid so I took the entire hat apart and picked out the fishing thread it had been sewn with and remade the straw into the brim for my bonnet.

After the brim was done I realized that I don't know if a straw brim with a fabric crown is period correct. : / I've seen what appears to be a straw brim with a fabric crown in fashion plates but perhaps I am interpreting it incorrectly and the reality is a full straw bonnet then with the crown covered in fabric. Oh well. It's too late and I don't have enough straw to make a whole bonnet.

For the brim, I traced the shape of the paper brim onto cardboard and then pinned the first row of straw into place along the back edge. I overlapped the second row of straw onto the first row and sewed them together using a backstitch that was long on the inside and short on the outside as you can see in the photo below. It went rather quickly and I finished the brim with three rows of straw sewed all around the front edge to make a nice border.

Today I assembled the lining from natural undyed linen. The lining is rather fitted to the head so I will need to wear a simple hairstyle with this bonnet, I think. It is made of 8 triangular shaped sections with a circle sewn in the middle.

The outer layer of the crown will be a big poufy circle of white windowpane checked sheer cotton voile with gathers  across the top so there will be 3 poufy sections down the head, which kind of reminds me of a lobster body. So far I'm really happy with the shape and the fact that the brim offers some sun protection! This is Brim 2 and there is a deeper brim included in the pattern which is even larger and shadier. I may try a bonnet in that style if I have time before the festival!

I went to the thrift store today and found some really pretty gold metallic trim that I might try to use to make a headdress or something for the ball. I will need to do some more research to see if it would be appropriate to use or not. Does anyone know? I thought it was too pretty to pass up for $1! The ugly chunky metallic gold piping that came with it can be tossed though. Ick. It's nasty stuff.

Alas! Off to make supper. We may get some severe weather later too. A stormy warm evening is always exciting!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Naper Settlement Civil War Reenactment 2011

This past weekend we headed a few hours north to spend the weekend in the picturesque historic village of Naper Settlement. Despite it being located in the heart of a big city, it is a very pleasant place and it is amazing how you can go from fast-paced 21st century life and fast food restaurants and bars to tranquil 19th century rural village in a few yards of sidewalk.

The weather was very nearly perfect. Despite the forecast calling for cold temperatures and rain the weekend passed with warm days and nights and only a light sprinkling a few times - nothing at all like we had prepared ourselves for.

Good company and pleasant scenery made for an enjoyable weekend. Here are some photos from the event; for more, please visit my facebook album here: Naper Settlement 2011

Chesnut Light Artillery - these guys (and Monica!) really know what they are doing. They are a great looking unit and on the field move like clockwork. It is poetry in motion, truly. :) I am not "into" military stuff all that much but I am VERY proud of these guys! It is an honor to be associated with them.

Judah watches other children at play on Saturday before the battle. He wasn't feeling too great this weekend and is going through a shy stage, but he definitely liked watching the other kids run around.

And David. I'm so thankful their tunics from last year are still fitting well this year. Praise! Joy!

Mr. Malachi climbing on the doors to a cellar on one of historic buildings.

My friend Laura sews with her little girl.

Another friend, Anna, livens up the camp life with some fabulous banjo picking.

Malachi and I by the church (aren't these bushes gorgeous? We got to look at them all weekend since our camp was right behind the church).

Inside the church for Sunday services. I always love going to services at reenactments. There is a comraderie and family feeling that is not often felt other places. The strong voices raised in worship, singing the dear old hymns, is a beautiful sound. A beautiful 90 year old woman, still reenacting (!) was honored at this service. It was a joyful time.

Malachi fights tiredness on Sunday afternoon.

Laura in the garden. I just love this picture of her. She looks so perfect and romantic. :)

My only regret is that it was not cold enough for me to wear my new paletot! Oh well, at least I now have it all ready for fall. I'm sure it will see plenty of use before the year is out!

After all that 1860's sewing I'm ready to dive back into our regency stuff. The festival is in about six weeks! Yikes!! So much to do still!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Teeny Little Post Before I Creep Back Into My Blog-free Break

I know I wasn't going to post til after our first CW event, but, then, I wasn't going to sew either. And I did.

I just want to thank you all so much for your advice, suggestions and encouragement. What great cheer leaders you all are! When I wrote my last post I felt miserably discouraged with David's regency outfit and was ready to give up. But thanks to you all, who contacted me both here and via email, I was inspired to try again. David's stuff is still not perfect, but it's a lot better than it was, I think! Now I feel like I can take a deep breath and move on. You all are AWESOME.

So here are his breeches, newly refitted. I took quite a bit of width out of the crotch and also the inner leg, on the fronts. The back I left pretty much alone. David tried these on at least a dozen times last night while I fitted and finnagled and fretted with the seams. At last I got them to where I was much happier, and he wasn't complaining about them being too snug anywhere. Actually, he freaked out a bit last night when I snugged up the center seam and we got that nice supported rounded shape starting to go on.

"They're touching me!" he exclaimed, horrified.
"Um, David, they're supposed to!"

A side view:

A butt shot:

For Jenni - here's what I did with the leg placket. I don't know if this is how it was done as I was working from the Cut of Men's Clothes and there are really no instructions that come with the diagrams. Just a basic buttoned placket with a buttoned band at the knee instead of a buckle. I think I could have made the placket a bit taller and used 4 buttons instead of 3, but these should work.

Here's his new shirt. Yes, he is being silly and indecent not buttoning it up. :P Do not Fear. The Cravat and Waistcoat are next on the list and he will NOT be seen in public places (except blogger) in this attire.

And just for comparison purposes, here is a pic of the breeches and the old shirt taken last week, that left me so discouraged:

Yes, despite the imperfections of the current version, I think it is MUCH better.