Sunday, 27 September 2015

HSM 15 Challenge 9: Brown - The pierrot

I'm finally done with this project. It was supposed to be a quick project, but it's taken me most of the month. The main reason for that is that I decided to do it all by hand, I stalled when I couldn't decide on certain design choices, and I find it too cumbersome to get in and out of the stays when I wanted to test something.

For those who haven't seen the previous posts of the project here is part 1: Start; and part 2: bodice and sleeves. By then it was mostly finishing touches left, but those are always the things that take more time than planned. First I had to decide on how to close the jacket. In the end I decided to close it with pins, hoping that will make it more flexible in adjusting after my body compared to hooks and eyes. Then I had to decide on trimming. I love the look of ruffles and all other 18th century trimmings, but looking at original pieces I felt that those kinds of trims were a bit earlier than my late 1780's aim. Most jackets seemed to have been pretty plain, that made me also decide on not making any cuffs for the sleeves. I'm also thinking that it's easier to add trim and cuffs at a later stage, if I feel that the jacket is too boring.

Now on to the pictures, and as usual I'm sorry for the blur.

Me in the jacket, from the front.
And from the side, showing the peplum.

I then took off the jacket to get some better pictures, but my dressform is too big and curvy compared to me in my stays, so instead I got a lot more wrinkles. So disregard the wrinkles, the fit is a lot better on me than on the dressform.

There are a couple of things that I'm extra satisfied with and those are the sleeves and the fit of the bodice. The sleeves aren't optimal yet, but they fit well in the armscye and there is no poofiness. I think in order to refine the fit of the sleeves it's more about rotating them in the armscye, rather than changing them, they do pull a bit towards the back now. The fit is really nice, I haven't added any boning to it, and it still sits really snug and doesn't move around the boy. I'm hoping that pinning it together will help with that as well.

This is the first tightfitting garmet that I've sewn totally by hand, my Edwardian blouse didn't have nearly the same strain on the seams. I'm hoping this will prove that my handsewing is good enough to stand up to the wear. Still if I do a jacket like this again I'm not sure that I would totally handsew it. I want the visible seams to be handmade, but there are a lot of seams that aren't visible and there is also the lining.

So just the HSM facts:

What the item is: A pierrot jacket

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: 1,75 m of brown quilting cotton, 1,75 m of unbleached linen

Pattern: My own, from the basic bodice pattern I made in challenge 6

Year: 1780s

Notions: Sewing thread in brown and white, white cotton bias tape to cover the raw edges on the inside

How historically accurate is it? It's my most accurate 18th century thing so far. I did cover the raw edges with modern bias tape, since I hate raw edgest. The fabric is an 18th century reproduction quilting cotton, so it doesn't have quite the same drape as cotton in the 18th century, still I would say 90%

Hours to complete: Hard to say but around 30-40

First worn: Not yet, all my 18th century stuff has been packed away for the winter so I have nothing to wear it with.

Total cost: $50, the cotton was $30 and the linen $20

Saturday, 26 September 2015

On stage with Weird Al

Last Thursday (September 24) I got do to something I have dreamt about as a Star Wars fan, but thought I would never be able to do, since I live in Sweden. I've heard about the 501st being invited to be on stage with Weird Al Yankovic, but I never thought he would come to the Nordic countries. When it was announced that he was going to perform at Gröna Lund, and the Nordic Garrison got invited, I of course volunteered to be part of the show. The preference was for Vader and stormtroopers, but as long as you had had a character with a mask you could sign up for it. My jawa got into the team, and so I took half of Thursday off to go to Stockholm.

At Gröna Lund I met up with the rest of the troopers, and we even had time go on a couple of rides. I loved their wooden rollercoaster, much more fun than their "big" one. We also got instructions from the stage manager on what we were supposed to do, I guess you could call it choreograpy. We did practice a few times, with and without masks/helmets on, but on the street behind the stage, not on the stage itself.

The Nordic Garrison was just going to be on stage for The Saga Begins, which was the first encore. So we had time to watch the beginning of the show. A lot of the show is showing clips of him and other funny things, and a lot of his performance is trying to mimic his classic music videos. We had to leave to get changed before any or my favorite songs came though (White and Nerdy, Amish paradise).

Then it was time to get dressed. I think this picture shows what quite a lot of trooping is about, cramming a bunch of people with oversized luggages and plastic stuff into a small room and wait. The jawa is a very easy costume for transport and getting changed into, so I only had a small soft bag with me.

Then it was time to go on stage. Only one problem, it had gotten dark. I realized that I couldn't see a thing in my mask, except for Thomas that was in front of me. Getting on the stage wouldn't be too hard, but I got really nervous about getting off, since I was supposed to walk off first and lead the way. Still getting out on stage in front of 6000 cheering people was so much fun. If you want to see me in videos of the performance you have to look carefully though. I'm standing to the far left, out of the main spotlights, in a dark costume, so the only thing you really see are my glowing eyes.

In the end it wasn't so hard to get off the stage either, I guess they are used to taking care of characters with limited vision. There was a guy standing there blinking to me with a small flashlight, and when I got close to him he grabbed my arm and led me down from the stage.

The show was being over, and then we waited, and waited and waited, but finally Weird Al showed up, thanked us for being there and signed some autographs.

Had I known that we were going to get autographs I would have brought my "Running with scissors" CD, the one with The Saga Begins on, that I have some fond memories buying in a record store in Ireland when I was there with the family on holiday and got exctatic about finding.

I'm happy that I got my stage pass signed at least though.

Then it was going back to Falun again. I'm very grateful to my aunt who had planned to go from Uppsala to Falun on Thursday, and she waited until evening, picked me up in Stockholm and then drove to Falun, so I was home and in bed around 3 am.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Pierrot bodice and sleeves

The work on the pierrot goes on. After I had finished the muslin I decided that I was going to make the pierrot as accurate as possible, meaning fully by hand. I have done handsewn garments before, but this is the first really fitted garment where the seams will be under some strain.

This is what the finished pattern looks like. The one major thng I did was to shorten it with around 3 cm, so that the peplum will be at the proper waistline.

I started with the bodice, and it went together quite easily. I'm using the method in Costume Close-up where you sew the two outer layers and one lining together from the outside, and then then fold the second lining over the raw edges.

The bodice was quite perfect over the bust, but I need to take it in a bit at the waist when I finish the front edges.

With a nice bodice it was time for the sleeves. I've never managed to make a sleeve that I've been happy with. They've always been both poofy and restrictive at the same time. I've said that one of y challenges this year is to create an actual working sleeve pattern. I've spent quite a lot of time googling for sleeve trouble shooting, and the one tutorial that comes back, and is linked back to from various other sites is ikatbag's. Then The Dreamstress linked to a tutorial on medieval sleeves from The completely dressed anachronist. And even if was a medieval sleeve I read through it and there were a couple of things that I got out it.

From ikatbag I took, among other things, the notice that the armscye needs to be snug, you don't get more mobility by making a bigger armscye. From the other tutorial it was the realisation the upper arm's is usually widest a bit down from the sleevehead, meaning that you need to make allowance for that. Looking at the sleeves I've tried to draft it was clear that they were way too narrow in the sleevehead. I wasn't sure on how to start making a new sleeve, but then I realise that I do have a working sleeve pattern that I could adjust. looking at the shape of the sleeve from TV493 it had the same basic shape as a the two piece sleeve in Creating Historical Clothes, just wider. So I traced the smallest size of that pattern and cut a muslin of it. The sleevehead was still bigger than the armscye, but I kept cutting it down until they fit each other.

My new sleeve pattern is in blue, and you can see what a difference it is compared to the previously drafted sleeve pattern. The old sleeve pattern also had a giant dart at the elbow, since with a better fitting sleeve I could make it more snug even without the dart.

The sleeve isn't perfect. Ther are some issues I need to work with when it comes to the fit around the elbow, it's actually bit too big and bunchy there. It's still the best sleeve I've ver made though, and I have gotten rid of the poofyness around the shoulder.

I set the sleeve according to the instructions from American Duchess. I have not finished the neck edge though, so the strap is only attached over the sleeve. For the net time I would like to make the strap longer as well.

I finished the sleeves by covering the raw edges with tape. Not necessary, since the edges were quite often left raw, but I think it looks so much better.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Pierrot jacket start

This week I've packed away my 18th century stuff on the attic. Autumn is Star Wars costume season for me. Still I am a member of the Historical Sew Monthly, and I really want to finish all the challenges this year. The September challenge is "brown", now it's not really a favorite colour of mine, but two years ago I picked up a quilting cotton with a nice 18th century pattern on it, and it's brown wth pink roses. It was quite expensive so I didn't buy more than 2 m (I think), but since then I've always tought it would be wonderful to turn it into a pierrot jacket.

The pierrot jacket was common during the 1780's, exactly where I try to focus my 18th century wardrobe. It's a short jacket with a peplum in the back, but there are some without peplums as well.
The hard thing was to decide what kind of peplum I wanted in the back, and that I would be able to pull off. There are som pierrots where the peplum is cut in one with the bodice.
and there are some where there is a visible waist seam and the peplum is pleated into that.
When I asked around for advice I got the tip from Åsa to make a compromise, and have the back piece go into the pepluem, but attach the rest of it at the side seam. She has done that in her 18th century caraco. Later Johanna also showed me her jacket constructed in the same way. 

So with that done I got my basice bodice pattern that I made in June and cut out a muslin. I was happy with the back piece, then it was time to cut out the rest of the peplum. On this it was mostly a case of guess work, looking at the kind pattern pieces that Åsa had, and what they look like in Patterns of Fashion, but basically just cutting an elongated piece of fabric and pleating it in different ways until I was happy. I cut the length and shape of the side of the peplum when I was happy with the pleats.

Ignore the bad fit of the muslin. There is no chance that I can get my stays onto my dress form, so it's quite useless for 18th century fitting, but it's still good when I want to attach skirts and the like.