For the wedding I of course also wanted make something for myself. In my stash I had a piece of this wonderful gold/blue brocade that I had gotten from my sister and her (now) husband when they visited Cambodia and Thailand. It's gorgeous fabric, but I had really no idea what I should make with it. It's splashy with all the gold, and the fabric is quite stiff as well. It had always screamed corset to me, but I couldn't justify making another party corset, without knowing how much I could use it. Now when my sister decided to get married I felt that it would be a great opportunity to actually make something out of the fabric. My plan all along was to make a corset, skirt and jacket. The idea is that I can combine the pieces with other things, and then I might get more use out of them, compared to if I had made a cocktail dress out of it.
The skirt is B4451, the same pattern I used and tested for the HSF14: Plaid and Paisley challenge. The fabric has a very distinct border with three different rows of pattenrs before going into the main pattern of the fabric. Since this pattern ended with the selvage I didn't hem it but kept that selvage as the bottom of the skirt.
The corset is once again Truly Victorian TV110. I lengthened it a bit at the top, but if I'm making another corset that shouldn't be worn with anything under I would lengthen it a bit more. I couldn't lift my arms over my head without some serious spillage happening. For this corset I actually splurged out and bought a busk with gold fastenings. It just didn't feel right with the ordinary silver ones compared to all the gold of the fabric. The foundation layer is coutil and the boning channels are sewn between the brocade and the coutil. I've used two spiral steels on every seam, except for the back where I used spring steel around the grommets. It's bound with purple bias binding and I also used purple lacing. This corset has totally converted me to using spiral steel instead of spring steel everywhere but around the grommets. It's easier to move and bend in it, and it still laced just as tight as with the spring steel.
For the shrug I didn't use B4451, but instead a drndl-inspired pattern from an old Burda magazine. The fabric is some kind of shiny polyester that I stumbled upon when I discovered that there is actually a really good fabric store in Mora, only an hour or so away from here! I cut out pieces of the border of the fabric for the edging. The original pattern came with a very puffy sleeve, and I wanted long fitted sleeves. I decided to actually draft my own sleeve pattern for this. I used the instructions in Constructing Historical Clothes, and now I have a base pattern to work with for sleeves. It's not finetuned, and I definitely need to work more with learning how to shape the armscyes to make the whole sleeve fit better, but it's a better start than in a long, long time when it comes to sleeves. I should also say that this took a lot of trial and error, and at 00:30 the night before the wedding I cut off the sleeves that I had worked with and started over. For that reason the sleeves aren't lined and I couldn't find any buttons to close the cuffs.
Now as I mentioned in the post about the wedding I didn't get any photos taken with me and the bride, or even of myself.
Here I've dressed up my dressform in the outfit, and I could only pin the corset on so you can't really see the fit. It's also quite wrinkled and crumply after a day/night of dancing and being thrown into a bag when I decided to skip the corset and shrug and continue with just a tanktop and skirt.
Fabric: 2 m of gold/blue brocade, 1 m of white coutil, 2 m of poly satin (?) (it was good that I had bought some extra when I needed to redo the sleeves), 70 cm of blue lining for the skirt.
Pattern: Corset - TV110, skirt - Butterick 4451, shrug - Burda drndl bolero and my own sleeve pattern.
Notions: busk, spiral and spring steel boning, bias binding, lacing, zipper
Hours to complete: 3 days
First worn: my sister's wedding August 9
Total Cost: The main fabric was free, since it was a gift, most of the cost was for the coutil, busk and boning. In total I end up with probably around $70
What I learned with this project
I drafted my own sleeve! It's not perfect, but it's not worse than any of the commercial sleeve patterns that I have used. I have written quite a lot of comments on the sleeve so when I implement them I hope that I can finally make nice looking sleeve.
Now when I've made this outfit I want to use it again. I happen to be invited to ball, it's the 375th anniversary for a student organisation I was part of, and my first plan was to use some of my old ballgowns from those days or one of my 18th century gowns, now I'm thinking about using this corset and shrug and sew a late 19th century inspired skirt for them.
Fun story from the wedding day
The wedding was in the afternoon and I was going to deliver the wedding gown to my sister when she was at a hair salon in town. I did that, and then of course we wanted to eat lunch, something that was easy and not too messy. I ran down to a sushi place dressed in this and when I came in the women working there immediately recognized that the fabric must be from Thailand/Cambodia, it's apparently quite a special pattern on it.