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Saturday, February 22, 2014

· Winter Wool Vintage Plaid Skirt ·

It's kind of funny how much personal style and preference changes over the years.

For almost my entire life, I've been one of those people.  You know- those people who can't stand plaid.  Even now, I can't admit to liking plaid.  That would take too much acceptance of a variable, unpredictable design with a marked tendency to the unattractive.  BUT, I am pleased to report that I have now progressed enough in my Plaid Rehabilitation to say that I like this skirt and that I am partial to a precious few other plaids. ;-)  After all, one cannot immerse oneself in vintages photos, patterns, etc. without gradually becoming accustomed to the look.  And maybe almost fond of them.

Consequently, I never made a plaid garment.  This is the inaugural event!  Over a decade of sewing later, I can now feel like a well-rounded seamstress. :-)

All things considered though, plaid was a very handy thing for me to hate!  Designing was so much simpler without having plaid's foibles to take into account.  Pattern layout was so much easier without its pesky intersecting lines in both the horizontal AND the vertical.  Body imperfections loved not being highlighted by plaid's unforgiving nature.  Seamstresses appreciated not having to use 384 pins on each seam.

After finishing this skirt, I wondered why I didn't just revert to my former hatred and save myself any future frustrations.  And more importantly- why I had 3 more fabrics in stash set out for making in 2014?!

In all honesty though, I am so glad I persevered through the struggles and succeeded in making this skirt.  It has become a wardrobe staple, and I really don't know how I made it though every other winter without it!!

I was originally going to do a reproduction of an amazingly cool 1930s bias skirt with interesting seaming and insets- with this 2 yard piece of vintage wool that I picked up at the antique store.  Reality eventually set in after attempting 5 different layouts and thoroughly confusing both Mom and myself, and I reconciled myself to a plain, pleated skirt.

(Oh, and I must mention my newly-found and instantly-beloved arrow brooch!!  It is so perfect.  I LOVE it.  And it pairs quite nicely with my equally-beloved arrow hat. :-) )

The pattern is an 80s pattern with a suitably 1930s vibe- McCalls 2638.  I added the bias strips above the pleats to console myself over the loss of my original plan. ;-)  I wanted to keep this skirt "lighter", so I focused the visual attention on the white stripes.  The pleated insets were pleated to the white stripe, the center front of the skirt is a white stripe, etc.

The layout ended up working to assemble the skirt "to the sett" so that the plaid is undisturbed all the way around.  Due to fitting tweaks during construction, some of the stripes ended up needing to be a bit larger than the original, but all-in-all, I like the way it turned out. :-)  The front seams drove me nuts with their shaping!!  I made it up, it fit perfectly, but the stripes were chevroning in an unpleasing manner. :-/  Try again.  Still not good.  Try again.  Same.  Put in drawer.  Return next day.  Try again.  Still bad.  Use 247 more pins.  Pout.  Try again.  Success. (finally!)

And then there's the length.  All of my 1930s stuff ends up the same length!  And I feel like they're a bit too short.  So with this skirt, I was going to change that!  But despite all my good intentions, it ended up being the same length as everything else! :-/  Bummer.  It's still a perfectly acceptable length, I was just hoping for longer.  Next time. ;-)

But for now, I'm just going to bask in the accomplishment of successfully making my first plaid garment.  And the even more major accomplishment of liking it. :-)

· Pictures by the marvelous Kathryn! ·

Saturday, February 15, 2014

· Introducing.....! ·

It's been quiet on the blog this week, and with very good reason:

After braving the perilous Waters of Indecision and Confusion (commonly referred to under the un-assuming title of "Etsy Policies and Listings"), I am pleased to finally introduce you to the source of all my agony. :-)

Today is the launch of my Etsy Shop!

Mode De Lis will be focusing on vintage-styled children's clothing for the time being, and I am so, SO very excited to create and share all the ideas I've got floating around!

Ducks · Kittens · Flannel Bonnet & Booties · Rosebud Bonnet & Booties
Vests · Newsboy Caps · English Driving Caps

My business plan is to use scraps and leftovers from our ever-plentiful supply to make new items each week.  Consequently, most of these listings will not be repeatable; so first-come, first-served!  The current offering is a small start, but I have lots of adorable vintage patterns and some of my favorite fabrics just waiting for their turn to be used!!

To make this a success, it's crucial that I receive feed-back from my customers and potential customers on what they'd like to see.  I can't make this a success without all of you, and I would eagerly welcome hearing your ideas!  I'm also open for custom work, so please drop me a line! :-)

Velveteen cape · Regency · Velvet 19-Teens · German Renaissance · Wool cape

On a related front, in order to make room for my current projects I need to pass on my older historical clothing. It's a bit bittersweet to say goodbye to many of my first projects, but I'm looking forward to seeing them receive a new life with someone else! :-)

I have several boxes of older costumes waiting to get listed, so check back for more listings over the next few months! :-)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

· My Favorite 1930s Dress ·

Well.... Favorite so far. :-)

Going back through the archives of pictures we took in early December....  The landscape has changed considerably since then- we're covered in a beautiful blanket of snow now! :-)

I made this 1930s dress last February, after I had come across the fabric the previous autumn.  It was such a very fun print, and looked like it was perfectly suited to this style. :-)  I looked through a few books for inspiration, and eventually decided on imitating a collar design from an old Sears catalogue.  The dress was patterned from a mismatch of various bodices and skirts, so I don't really have any helpful information regarding that!  The fabric ended up being a royal pain to work with, as it was printed dramatically enough off-grain and the design turned out to be not-quite-square! :-/  I also ended up underestimating the yardage required *ahem*..... so that necessitated some careful squeezing- especially with the design to worry about.  But, all's well in the end.  The slightly crooked design and the un-planned and not-desired center front and back seams aren't terribly noticeable after all. ;-)

These pictures were taken the same day as all the other 1930s posts I've done recently.  Kathryn, Tara, and I went out for the afternoon and found lots of fun locations in a cute downtown. :-)  We brought along several different outfits, with the idea of changing in the restroom located in a shopping mall.  Best laid plans were foiled when the restroom was locked. :-/  We asked a nearby worker about it, and she stated matter-of-factly, "Well no it's not open- It's Monday!"

Oh.  Point taken.  I should have known Monday was "No One Needs a Restroom Day". :-P

A nearby Starbucks ended up serving the purpose, and I don't think we got too many odd looks going in there 4 times in 45 minutes... ;-)

This small vintage mother-of-pearl buckle was the best match in the stash.  I initially thought it was too small, but I ended up not having enough leftover fabric to make anything wider- so it all was for the best! ;-)

The skirt is based off of a Vogue re-print, with the top of the pleated inset shaped into a V.  The worst part of this dress- ironing all those pleats.  Since it's just a quilting cotton, it's starting from square one each time it comes out of the wash. :-/  Good thing I like ironing, right??

And I saved my favorite part for last. ;-)  This collar was such a fun challenge to figure out, and I'm so pleased with how closely the execution corresponds with my expectations!!  The collar is made from one piece of fabric, folded with 1/4" tucks to achieve the aesthetic of a triple collar without all of the bulk and shadow-through.  It is lined with a flat piece of fabric to hold its shape.  I debated which layer to put my fusible interfacing on, as I've found pros and cons for both.  I eventually decided to put it on the under layer, and that's been a perfectly acceptable choice.  I did have a major panic moment after pulling this out of the wash for the first time though; the upper layer of the collar doesn't stay creased and is a crumpled, droopy mess!  The pleats tend to "remember" where they're supposed to be rather easily though, so ironing is a breeze. :-)

Oh, and the brooch was a happy antique find right as I was finishing the dress. :-)

The cuffs follow the same construction principles as the collar, and close by a hidden snap placket.

· I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear this, but these fabulous photos were taken by the ever-unsurpassed Kathryn! ;-) ·

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inspiration · Regency Sleeveless Spencer

If you've been following my Pinterest board, you might have noticed a recent influx of sleeveless Regency spencers.  Next month we'll be attending a 19th century ball, and what better excuse is there to whip up something new to wear??  This year is busy enough not to allow time for an entirely new outfit, but since I already have an appropriate white gown, all that is needed are some new accessories. ;-)

I've been rather fond of the idea of sleeveless spencers over the past few years, and we have some very lovely velvet scraps that would be just the thing!  I'm so thankful for Pinterest- so many "Sleeveless Regency Spencer" boards just a click away. ;-)  The downside.... I can't find solid information on many of the pictures. :-/

But for now, here's a compilation of some of my current ideas:

Jean-Francois Soiron, 1799
This is a good example of essentially what I'm hoping to achieve. Although I'm aiming for something a bit less plain. ;-)

Too late for my dress- just including this one for velvet-bodice evidence!

Costume Parisien, 71 - Turban and Spencer a L'algerienne
The trim on the back is such a very fun idea!

(I'm not sure why this one got so pixelated....)

Norsk Folkemuseum (Norway) item NF.1959-0070 1815, silk bodice

I love, love, love the decoration on this bodice.  Perfection!  The only thing that gives me pause is the fact that it might be more of folk-costume attire, given the museum it's from?  At any rate, I think it's too late of a style for my dress...

Centre de Documentació i Museu Tèxtil - 1795-1808

This bodice, though sleeved, is just so lovely!  The sequined embroidery is a fun touch, and I really like the trim on all the seamlines. (as an aside- I can't quite figure out that closure.  Seems odd.)

London Full Dresses, Jan. 1800
Museum of London
This is one of my very favorites.  The peplum effect is very fetching- I think I'll be going that route. :-)

I'm liking the interest added with the zig-zag hem, and I think it would tie in nicely with the vandyked trim I have on my dress.  However, I have doubts that my velvet would cooperate well- I think I would need to use a fabric that presses better.

Silk bodice, Met Museum
I really love this one!  The trim around the neckline is nice, and I love the peplum! :-)

The spencer is still in the planning stages so far, but I can't wait to dive in! :-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

· Mode de Lis is now on Facebook! ·

I'm pleased to announce that I started a Facebook page for Mode de Lis!  Follow me over there for quick updates throughout the week on my latest work and things I've found interesting! :-)  I'd love to see you all over there, too!

I've also got some exciting news up my sleeve. :-)  I'll be sharing updates on the fb page, and I'm looking forward to revealing it next week!  For now, here's a sneak peek. :-)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

· Everyday Regency ·

· Edit 6/2016- due to closet shortage, I have to pass along some of my clothes!  This dress is currently for sale in my Etsy shop ·

I hope you are all staying warm this week!  It's been a mighty chilly and windy week here, but we finally got a snowfall yesterday to make it all worthwhile. :-)  Winter is my favorite season, but it really does need a good snow to truly qualify. ;-)

These pictures, however, were taken on an unseasonably warm November day and they seemed like they would be a fun break from a continuation of my slew of 1930s posts! (my current re-reading of Pride and Prejudice might also have had a slight bearing upon the choice... ;-))  I had a hard time choosing which pictures to include, but as you can see.... I ended up keeping most of them after all. ;-)  What can I say?  The lighting was just so pretty and the setting so very "English countryside"-ish!

I made this Regency dress back in, oh I don't know, 2008? 2007?  Time flies.  At any rate, it was at the height of one of my "Regency Phases".  Regency gowns have such an innocent appeal to them that I keep being drawn back into the allure of them.  It is an easy matter to find oneself in a "Regency Phase". ;-)

This dress was heavily influenced by the c. 1798-1805 gown from the Salisbury Museum, depicted in Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion 1".  At the time, I was overwhelmed and confused by the thought of using the gridded pattern in the book, so I purchased an extremely similar pattern from Period Impressions.  Looking back, I most certainly had the skills to use the Janet Arnold pattern, but oh well!  Live and learn. :-)  The Period Impressions pattern was fairly easy to use, and produced a suitably charming garment. ;-)

The hand-stitched, chevroning pin tucks add interest to the bodice back.  The bib-front ties are secured at the high waistline by thread loops.

This was my very first dress to utilize hand-stitching on the actual dress construction.  I have always been committed to hand-sewn hems and trims, but the tiny bodice seams of a regency dress convinced me to give it a try. :-)  I used the lapped seaming indicated in "PoF"- or at least as much as I understood then... ;-)  Now that I've done a lot more with period construction, it all makes SO much more sense!!  I really only did the bodice construction by hand; at that stage, sewing armscyes, sleeve seams, or *horrors!* those achingly long skirt seams, was beyond my contemplation or interest. ;-)

The sleeves are long, fitted, and flare out over my hands.  The reticule is a ribbon-embroidered, tasseled one I made a bit after the dress.  It is darling, and almost impracticably small. ;-)

The skirt is gathered in the center back, smooth in the front, and has a couple deep pleats on the sides to add hip room without shaped seams.

This hat/bonnet was my first Regency headwear, and after a brief period of distaste, I think I've come to love it again!  It is in dire need of trimmings, though!  True fanatics of the 1995 Pride & Prejudice will recognize this hat as being inspired by Georgiana's. ;-)

I cut off the crown of a felt hat from Wal-Mart, and added a gathered rectangle of silk.  I ran a cord through a casing in the other edge, and pulled it up tight.  A strip of silk finishes off the seam where the silk attaches to the brim.

This was my first bib-front gown, and I was struck by the similarities to the "round gowns" of the previous century!  One of the things I find most fascinating about studying fashion is observing the gradual evolution and adaptation of construction.

The dress was made from a cotton print that, while not terribly period, was a favorite. :-)  The dress is plain enough to leave lots of room for variations in accessorizing!  I have had fun mixing and matching the dress to freshen it up over the years. :-)

The dress isn't a "regal" regency style, but seems more "homey".  I love how it makes me feel like an "everyday" Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot. ;-)

The "bib" is cut on the bias and features groupings of hand-sewn pintucks.  The edges of the bib are finished off with fabric strips, and then fastened with straight pins.

Three hand-sewn tucks add interest to the skirt hem.

Thanks for visiting! :-)

· Lovely pictures courtesy of the inimitable Kathryn! ·

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