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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Past Projects · 1780s Polonese Gown

This is an older project (back in Aug-Dec 2010), that I re-discovered and finally accepted this past year. :-)  I found out about Burnley and Trowbridge's Polonese Gown-Making Class back in 2010 and was just barely able to make it in- someone canceled 2 weeks before the event, and I was first on the waiting list!  I did have a bit of panicking to make a new pair of stays before the class, and thankfully I already had the right amount of silk in my stash for the dress. :-)  It was my first exposure to draping clothing and entirely hand-sewing a garment, but I was committed to learning!  It was SUCH a great class and I learned so much.  At the end of the weekend, I had the dress put together (minus the sleeves).  Once at home, I draped and made a dress for Gretel (which is now sadly outgrown!) so that I could cement the knowledge and Mom draped and set the sleeves of my dress for me.  I wanted a challenge for myself, so I decided to hand-sew every single part of my dress.  A LOT of hemming later, I had the satisfaction of crossing a new threshold in my sewing journey. :-)  After doing this dress, I am so much more likely to completely hand-sew my 18th cen clothing.  It really stretched me and pushed me to the next level!  After making the dress though, I was rather paralyzed by accessorizing it for the next 2 years.  I tend to hang out in the "everyday middling class" of the 18th century, so a silk dress was way out of my league!

After doing this dress, I am so much more likely to completely hand-sew my 18th cen clothing.  It really stretched me and pushed me to the next level!  After making the dress though, I was rather paralyzed by accessorizing it for the next 2 years.  I tend to hang out in the "everyday middling class" of the 18th century, so a silk dress was way out of my league!

We got silk organza to make caps and kerchiefs, but sadly my first attempt at a cap was very dis-satisfactory.  Waaaayyyy too 1760s, not enough 1780s.  I made this cap in Sept 2012, while we were driving through England.  By the time I got to the puffy trim, I found out that I could make amazingly minuscule hems- now I just wish I learned that at the beginning! ;-)

 I'm fairly happy with how the whole outfit has come together, but I'm still on the look-out for some new ideas to do with it.  And, since there are a couple yards of the silk left, I just might have to make a jacket at some point.... ;-)

Photos taken in Colonial Williamsburg by my fabulous personal photographer, Kathryn.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Past Projects · Black Eyelet 1950s Dress

Half of my projects are made from fabric purchased especially for the dress idea, the other half are created due to my underlying need to chip away at my endlessly replenishing stash.  This dress falls in the latter category.  We picked up this black eyelet at a great price years ago, but since black isn't technically our "color", it languished.  I was looking for a fall-appropriate 50s dress for everyday wear back in Oct. 2011, and I felt that lining and trimming it with yellow would make it more "me".  The design idea came from a salesman sample I found online, with a few liberties taken.  This has become one of my favorite dresses!  I never would have picked either black or eyelet for a dress like this, but I love how it all came together! :-)

These pockets are one of my favorite parts of the dress!
I used Vogue 1044 as my starting base for this dress.  I really love kimono sleeves, but the underarm seam of longer-sleeved dresses usually restricts movement and tends to rip out.  This pattern has a yoke that extends into an underarm seam that's basically the lower half of a normal armscye.  It is comfortable, non-restrictive, and doesn't rip out at all!
The cute vintage belt buckle was one from our stash.  After bringing the yellow fabric home, I discovered that it was fortuitously the exact match.  I love it when that happens. :-)
The trim was all hand-applied in order to have better control of the loops and miters.

And all pictures are courtesy of the wonderful Kathryn!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Past Projects · Mustard Linen Jacket

I've been harboring and nurturing an obsession with mustard linen colonial jackets for almost a year.  When our trip to Williamsburg this April was approaching, I was feeling the need to satisfy my new "need".  The only problem was- I have this nagging need to use up stash fabric if at all possible, rather than buying new.  I am fine making some exceptions, but another colonial jacket wasn't strictly necessary (considering I already had too many clothes for the number of days we'd be there!), so I was stuck.  I did find some scraps from Mom's Flemish kirtle a few years ago, and in just the color I was dreaming of!  Only problem was- there was far less than a yard left, and it was all in odd pieces.  But, when powered by an obsession, I'm not one to back down! ;-)  I mulled over my options for a couple weeks, and finally came up with this design.  I am proud to say that I was able to fit everything on the fabric and only had to piece ONE shoulder strap!!  Yes, I was rather smug. :-)  I chose the front lacing and the waist seam to save on fabric, but I really like how it pushed me out of my normal jacket ideas!  The printed kerchief was a very fortuitous happen-stance: Mom bought the fabric for a new jacket for herself, and it just happened to be the exact colors of my new jacket and new petticoat.  I'm still not totally sold on the green petticoat- I love it all together, but it seems a bit too planned and coordinated.  But, it's the best option I've got now and it wasn't planned to match so well, so it'll do for now. ;-)  The jacket is completely hand-sewn and lined in linen.  I used J.P. Ryan's robe a l'Anglaise pattern as a base, and made several modifications.

While I was working on this project, I was reading "The Dress of the People".  After wearing this, I realized just how subconsciously I was influenced by it- this ensemble is rather akin to the painting The Ale House Door!
· Pictures by Kathryn ·

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Past Projects · Titanic Evening Gown

With the anniversary of the Titanic last year, our dear friends the Yens hosted a ball as an excuse to make 1912 evening gowns.  So we obliged. :-)  My inspiration came from "Costume in Detail", one of my very favoritest books!!  I have always loved the 1911 evening gown, and this seemed like the ideal time to make it.  I was slightly limited, design-wise due to my desire to utilize my extensive stash collection.  I was rather pleased with the outcome, though- due to stocking up on fabrics during super-clearances and then putting them in the stash, I was able to make this dress for less than $25- all supplies included!  It's projects like this that make me feel like my attempts at using up the stash are futile- there are just so many benefits to having it!  The dress has a fitted, boned lining and the top fabric is draped in place over it (thanks to my wonderful mother!).  The sleeves and neckline are trimmed with a row of tiny beads.  The necklace was made with various jewelry findings from Hobby Lobby and JoAnns.

The back train buttons up for ease in dancing.  A close-up of the back skirt pleats.
I'll let you in on a secret about my fabric stash.  I have so many great stories about how "I had just the fabric I needed!" or "This project was so inexpensive!", but in reality, dark secrets lurk inside those Rubbermaid tubs in the closet....  This fabric would be one of those.  Yes, I love the fabric, yes, it was a GREAT price, but the plain truth is that when you're confronted with silk at $2-6/yd, you rarely know exactly how much to buy.  Case in point- I have 5 1/8 yds of this fabric left, and I have NO clue what I'll ever use it for.  It's just not terribly versatile for multiple eras.  But, it shall lurk on.... hoping to one day be the answer to another of my pressing "needs". ;-)
Photos by Kathryn and Laura

· Hello World! ·

Welcome to my blog!  After going through many name ideas, "mode de lis" ("fashion of Lily") stuck and seemed like the best way to describe what I want this blog to be. :-)  I have loved sewing for 12 years; historical clothing first sparked my desire for sewing and has spurred me on to greater heights and been my main interest throughout.  I love vintage styles too, and aim to keep my everyday wardrobe inspired by the 1930s-50s.  I've enjoyed and learned so much from the online community over the years, and after purely being a consumer I feel like it's time for me to step out and share my work, research, successes, and failures with others. :-)  I enjoy dabbling in other crafts and hobbies, so this won't always be strictly a "sewing" blog.


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