Friday, 10 January 2014

Costume breakdown - Revolutionary

It's time to launch my big spring 2014 project, and at least get my thoughts and planning about the gown in writing. I also want to see if I can fit as many HSF challenges into this as possible, so that's a good reason to have a time plan.

General Time plan
I want to finish this dress for the end of June, since there are a couple of 18th century events taking place then. Plenty of time, shouldn't be a problem right? No, I don't think it will be a problem, but I also know that I have all weekends up until the end of March booked for other things* and I'm usually bad with sewing on week nights.

Layer by layer
1. Stays
I want to make a new pair of stays for this one. I love my purple 18th century stays, but due to how I placed the boning they ended up a bit too early period wise, and I want to be able to wear the white gown by itself, and I think dark purple might shine through.
Pattern and materials - I have the RH833 pattern for 1740-1790s stays, and I want to use the shortwaisted pattern. I might have enough cotton canvas to squeeze another pair of stays out of it, but I need to order more boning.
Time plan - HSF 2014 challenge 4, due Marsh 1st, is called "Under it all", so a pair of stays would fit that really well.

2. Gaulle
The main part of the costume will be the white gown. I want to be able to use the gown on itself so I want to make a proper gaulle dress. I like the fitted bodice of the gaulle, rather than just gathering a lot of fabric I'm not exactly a tall column when it comes to body shape so I need to use as much tailoring as possible to hide my curves. My main inspiration for the gaulle will be this portrait
I love the tight fitted sleeves and the quite light gathering in the bodice, so it's not too bulky or blousy.  American Duchess has made a great costume analysis of this gown, that I really recommend.
Pattern and materials - materials is easy, I will use a lot of natural cotton voile. For the pattern I will need to draft a pattern more or less from scratch for the first time. I have the sleeve pattern, my 18th century sleeve, and for the main gown I'm going to use the drop front regency gown on page 48-49 in Arnold's Pattern of Fashion 1 as my main inspiration for the bodice. It's later, 1798-1805, the bodice needs to be lengthened among other things.
Time plan - some time in April/May. I need to buy a proper dress form before beginning to draft a bodice, and I'm not going to do that this month.

3. Coat and Vest
This is the part of the outfit that I've thought the least about so far.
Patterns and material - the closest pattern that I have to work out from is the men's coat on page 92 of Costume Close up, there are also a couple of vest patterns in that book that I can use for inspiration. For the red coat I want to find a nice red, but thin, wool. My dream would be to find a nice striped cotton for the vest, but so far I've had no luck in finding that so I might settle for a solid coloured fabric. I'm not a big fan of green so I will likely change to another colour.
Time plan - this could fit into the HSF challenge 5, due March 15, "bodice". But I don't think I'll be able to finish this part of the project so soon after the stays. Also it would of course be better to finish the gown before adding garments over it.

4. Hat
One thing that makes this whole costume stand out is the huge, ridiculous?, hat. I have never made antyhing resembling a hat in my whole life, but I have the Lynn McMasters pattern for a universal round brimmed hat and that's a starting point.
Pattern and Materils - the Lynn McMasters pattern, for materials I will go with what it says in the pattern, I think it's felt and buckram. I'll also need to find some nice ostrich plumes.
Time plan - HSF challenge 7, due April 15, is called "Tops and toes" so perfect for making a hat.

The little gauntlets on the wrists, the little things hanging from the vest, a huge hedgehog hairstyle, those will be the finishing touches when I've done everything else.

*I'm busy working with world cup/continental cup contests in ski jumping and nordic combined throughout February/March

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