Monday, February 29, 2016

Done Enough! An 1890s Outfit

Over the fall and winter, I've been plugging along on an 1890s outfit.  It's kind of morphed as I go, from something with a sailor theme, to something with more of a city park picnic sort of feel.  I suppose a lot will get decided when I figure out exactly what I want to do for a hat.  But until then, the outfit is at that wonderful yet frustrating stage of "done enough" where I technically have enough pieces to put together a reasonable outfit for wearing, yet haven't gotten to the finishing touches that really make a costume pop.  Ergo, I share my progress with you all to help inspire me to quit letting myself get distracted with other things.

I started with the blouse, or a shirt waist as it was called at the time.  I used the 1894 Shirtwaists pattern from Truly Victorian and the fit was amazing.  Perhaps largely because the toughest thing for me to fit is my upper arm and shoulders, and the shirtwaist has a lot of, well, you could probably smuggle a moderately sized woodland creature in that sleeve without anyone being the wiser.  They are kind of ridiculously huge.

TV 494: 1894 Shirtwaists
The fabric is a silk/cotton voile with a beige and white pinstriped pattern from Fabric Mart.  One of those acquisitions that I purchased for a project that I never got around to doing, but it worked great with this.  It was nice to have something other than a flat white, which is what everything looks like in the old black and white phots from the era.  I flat-lined everywhere with an off white quilting cotton.  The oompf in the sleeves is held up with a strip of folded over silk organza layered under the arc of the sleeve head.

For the skirt, I used the 1898 Walking Skirt over the appropriate version of the TV170 Victorian Petticoats.  The skirt fabric is a lovely dark teal wool/rayon suitting, also a Fabric Mart find.  This one was one of those "I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I have to buy this fabric" kind of purchases.  It always makes me happy when I can go back into the stash and put one of those to good use.
TV291: 1898 Walking Skirt
The skirt was a bit cumbersome to assemble, due mostly to the size of the panels and the weight of the fabric.  The skirt is fully flat-lined with cotton and an additional 12" deep facing of cotton and some obnoxious purple stiff linen-like thing I found in the bottom of a bin.  I think it was an online fabric purchase gone horribly wrong that I was too lazy to bother with returning.  Makes a great substitute for horsehair, though!  The petticoat and flat-lining are both done with the striped cotton from that epic roll I picked up in the scholarship sale at Costume College last summer.  We unrolled it in the hotel room to try to fold and pack it into the luggage and came up with 72 YARDS!  Not bad for a $55 donation to the cause.  And for the record, we did make it all fit into the luggage of two people.  There was some packing magic going on right there.

I regret nothing.

Speaking of no regrets.  OMG, MY SHOES!  I picked up a pair of the Astorias from American Duchess on imperfects sale.  Both pairs I've gotten this way have been damn near flawless.  I think I cause more damage on my first day wearing them than they come with, but hey, I'll take that discount.  I used the Angelus leather dye in Brandy, which was way more straight forward that I had expected.  With a little sweet talk, I even got my Army vet spouse to come give them a spit shine when I was done.  So shiny!

Astoria Edwardian Leather Shoes from American Duchess

Put it all together and Viola!  An excellent historical hall costume for wearing around the convention. It worked well for an outfit that I could wear during my office hours in the programming nexus at Arisia. The layers kept me warm but not too warm. And the shoes were incredibly comfortable for someone who almost never wears heels.

Detail shot of the fabric and buttons.  I have no provenance on the buttons beyond being
"Czech" and "antique", but they were bought off eBay as a gift and I never found out any more.

Look at the shine on those toes!  Thanks Honey!

The belt was made with a bit of ochre gabardine of dubious content that I found lingering in the stash. I made a few folds to emulate a bow and wrapped them around the ends of one of those novelty buckles that interlock.  Not sure about the historical accuracy of that kind of clasp, but it worked in a pinch. I've found myself a bit more sympathetic to that nasty shade of yellow after watching Crimson Peak.  The bit hanging from the strand of red rick rack is a pair of folding snips I inherited with my Nana's sewing stash.  They were actually kinda useful to have at hand when at con.  I'm still pondering what else the outfit needs to finish it off.  A hat, for sure.  Perhaps a hand bag.  I have the pattern for the 1898 Eton Jacket that could certainly work, but I'm hesitant to try to stuff all that sleeve into all that sleeve.  The original plan was to do something of a nautical theme to take to Costume Con 36 in San Diego.  But like most embellishment projects, there are so many choices out there as to make picking one impossible.  I keep hoping that I'll stumble across something that will sell me on an idea.  If nothing else, I have a ridiculous roll of narrow, natural colored twill tape that I picked up in the Fashion District in LA.  If I could just pick a pattern, I could certainly do that to my heart's content.  

TV498: Eton Jacket
Some of the inspiration photos I'm working off of:

April 1898, Standard Designer
Love, Love, LOVE the way the embellishment is done on the dress on the right.
If  I can find the right trim in the right amount, I think I'd like to do something big and angular like this. 

Walking suit by Jacques Doucet, 1895 Paris, the V&A Museum
Can't get much plainer than unadorned khaki.  But the silhouette seems to make
up the difference.  I was comforted that you can clearly see the stitching line of the
hem facing, even from a distance.  Makes me feel less weird about my own.
1890's Studio Portrait
No reason I have to have a jacket at all, really.  This lady looks quite put together,
finishing her otherwise simple outfit with the parasol, belt, bow tie and hat.
Oh how I wish I could get a better look at her belt.  It looks intricate, even from afar.