Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1884 Gown: Steampunk Version

Wow...what a crazy few weeks it has been!  I'm so sorry for my long blogging absence.  We decided to put our house on the market, and for anyone that's ever bought or sold a house, you know the stress that brings.  

As you can imagine, I haven't been able to do any kind of sewing.  The Steampunk tea was this past Sunday, but my 1884 ensemble wasn't complete by still isn't.  The Gypsy Jacket isn't any further along than it was in the last post.  Between Realtors showing our house, and us looking for a new one, I haven't had the time to work on it, nor have I wanted to make a mess.

I did manage to make what I did have done work...or at least I think it worked.  I'll let you be the judge.

The party was fun, quirky and relaxing...great tea, costumes and a gathering of like-minded friends always is, isn't it.

Natalie's outfit was amazing.  But really now, should I have expected anything less from her?  There are many more photos of the event on her blog.  There are even a couple of the back side of my case you are curious as to how the bustle looked.

Carson was even brave enough to venture into the world of steampunk.  He wasn't supposed to be the only male there, but it turned out that he was.  Poor guy.  I hope we weren't too hard on him.  I think he might have liked all of the female attention.

My outfit consisted of all of my 1884 ensemble that was complete, plus my Regency habit shirt standing in for my unfinished Gypsy Jacket. 

 I accessorized with some chunky, Gothic style, leather boots, and a loose belt carrying all of my most necessary items (journal, sword, telescope and, of course, the elixir of immortality - of which I was charged to protect with my life, traveling through time if need be. Carson's job was to hunt me down, and to steal the secret recipe...I didn't go down without a fight...doesn't he look pure evil!)

We also had a steamship pinata...a very solidly made (my fault) steamship pinata.  SEVERAL attempts, and two sticks (because one broke) later, it finally busted open to reveal its bounty of candy.  

To catch a glimpse of the hilarity, check out Natalie giving the horrible thing its death blow.  
*Notice the exhaustion.*

Prayers and thoughts sent our way are greatly appreciated.  We've found a new (old) house that we love, and the offer we put on it has been accepted...but with the condition that we sell and close on our house first, by December 31st.  We need to find a buyer soon.  Once everything has settled down, I'm sure I'll be able to return to the Gypsie Jacket, and to life as I like it...predictable.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1884 Gown: Gypsy Jacket Mock-up

If you are new to my 1884 project, you can catch up by reading the previous posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

In The Wonderful World of Ladies' Fashion: 1850-1920, my inspiration jacket can only be viewed from the front.  But the description is fairly clear.  Here it is again, in case you have forgotten: 

"Costume of golden brown, dahlia or plum colored repped wool.  False skirt covered with a pleated skirt.  Tablier draped in a shawl point, and raised very high near the hips.  At the back is a small pouf coquettishly draped.  Gypsy jacket.  The fronts open widely, and are fastened only at the neck.  They are trimmed by a small round cord forming brandebourgs.  Buttons terminate each one of these.  The side forms of the back are slightly extended, and fasten over the box-pleated back in the same manner.  Red velvet collar, cuffs and Swiss belt."

I LOVE that it's called a "Gypsy Jacket."  I'm am more than a little bit in love with any kind of Bohemian style.  Again, I am not following the color scheme, but the front of the jacket is exactly what I want.  The back, however, is a little mysterious to me.  What do they mean, "The side forms of the back are slightly extended, and fasten over the box-pleated back in the same manner?"  What exactly are side forms?  Anyway, I'm only interested in making box pleats, so I guess it doesn't matter in the end...but I'm still curious.  

I used the Truly Victorian French Vest Pattern as a guide, but then altered the front.  I don't want the sort of wide at the top, narrow at the bottom look that the front of the French vest gives...I want the opposite. I want the look of the 1884 fashion plate that was my inspiration.  Another similar jacket, of a later date, can be found on the Met site, HERE.  My only hang up on this style is how open and loose it seems on the Met dress, but how tight and fitted it is in my original inspiration plate...yet both jackets obviously only close at the neck.  Is the original fashion plate an ideal look?  Is it impossible to keep the jacket from hanging open and loose?  Or is there a period correct way to keep this jacket fitted to the body?  Thoughts, anyone?  I know I saw one jacket, HERE that was buttoned to the plastron...that obviously would work, but I really don't want to do that.  HERE's another one that fastens at the neck and hangs open.  Is it just me, or does this jacket look like it might be fastened with hooks-and-eyes to the waist/belt/sash?  Anyone know anything about this?  I would prefer my jacket to stay snug.

My mock-up is a bit loose and wrinkly on the dress form, but on me, it's not so bad.  I also think that has something to do with the cheap cotton used in the mock-up.  The wool, and crisp lining will be a bit more stiff and drape better.

All of my wool and lining are now cut out. I haven't decided yet on the method of construction that I will use.  I need to research that a little bit more.  Did they do a sack lining?  But, then what about the box pleats on the back? I don't think that would work, would it?  I'm tempted to use late 18th/early 19th century seam construction techniques, because that's what I know.  But, the proper thing to do would be to put it together in 1880's fashion, right?  I seem to have so many questions running through my head today...more questions than answers.  I hope you have some answers for me.  I have yet to even begin on the sleeves (oh, dread!), and of course there are embellishments to come later.  I better quicken my pace...only 3 weeks until the Steampunk/Halloween party.  I'm sooooo excited about punking out this outfit!