Saturday, 21 January 2012

Jane Porter

In December of 2008 I was going to a dress up party themed “Movie Characters”. For this some friends and I decided to dress up as various Disney girls. I made all the costumes; Belle (well, I’d made that one the year before), Briar Rose, Esmeralda, and Jane Porter. Now, at the time we didn’t take more than a few pictures that didn’t showed of the costumes very well at all, intending to take better ones later. That didn’t happen, and when I and two of the others married we moved away from the town we lived in, so I don’t have the possibility to make a photo shoot either. Ah well.

I did take some pictures of Jane’s dress the summer after. I have since planned to change a few details on the dress (add a better bustle and more petticoats for more poof, and altering the sleeves a bit) and take new pictures in a more interesting setting, but at first I couldn’t find the fabric, and then, what with being pregnant and now having little B, I haven’t been able to. So, since I don’t have much else to post about right now, I took some detail shots yesterday and am posting about it now, as it is.

The dress is the yellow bustle Jane wears when hacking through the jungle in Tarzan. I used 19th century-inspired construction and sewing techniques, but deviated a bit from what is period correct, as this is just a dress up costume.

The main fabric is a cotton blend jacquard with a leafy pattern, which used to be curtains bought at a charity shop. The lining in the bodice is plain cotton, light linen lines the sleeves and the draped sections of the skirt, and another linen fabric (slightly padded) trims the overskirt in the back. The collar and tie are also made from linen. The embroidered edging peeking out from under the skirt was once part of another charity shop bought curtain. It’s trimming a petticoat attached to the skirt waistband. I’m afraid it’s got torn at some point, but I suppose I can blame the jungle undergrowth for that…

The bodice front has two darts on either side, and closes with self fabric covered buttons and hand sewn buttonholes. The collar should be tacked on, but since taking it of for starching once, I never got round to sewing it back, and it’s only pinned on at the moment.

The back has shaped seams, and the bodice is boned with cable ties. The “polonaise” is sewn to the back of the bodice.

The skirt is cut to lie smooth in front, is gauged in the back, and has a draped apron in front.

It closes with ties.

It has two sewn loops at the seam joining the skirt and waistband in front, which keeps the skirt and bodice from separating by two corresponding hooks on the inside of the bodice.

I also made boots for this costume. I bought a pair of second hand shoes, made the fake suede uppers and sewed them on at great pain and some bleeding. I also dyed a pair of tights lilac (hardly shows in this picture, though), as I couldn’t find any in that colour.

I wore the dress over a corset, a make-do bustle made from tulle (time and space limits in my suitcase prevented the making of a real one at the time), and a couple of petticoats. I had found short, white leather gloves to wear at the same charity shop that had the fabric and shoes.

The only thing I felt I really missed to complete the costume was a pith helmet…

Friday, 13 January 2012

One Month

It’s been a month already since I had my baby. We have named him Birger (type it on Google Translate, choose Swedish, and you can listen to how it’s pronounced – it does not sound similar to burger…), an ancient Scandinavian name meaning something along the lines of “the one that helps” and “protector”; hopefully a fitting name for a future elder brother and, in the more distant future, husband and father. This first month he and I have mostly spent on the sofa, as he wants to breast feed pretty much all the time. Tobias has been wonderful, taking care of most of the cooking, washing up, laundry, taking B once in a while so I can get a nap, etc. He’s a brilliant husband and father. Now, slowly, B and I are getting into something of a routine, and I can get a few minutes here and there to do housework, or even a tiny bit of sewing.

For the time being, I keep to a very simple hand sewing project, which I can take up when I have a minute (usually when B takes a short nap in my lap before returning to his eating), and don’t need any thinking as to what I should do next. It’s a log house patchwork block, which will be made into a pillowcase. Traditionally, the middle square should be red or black. Mine is not traditional, and I use strips of fabric left over from another project, so I have to accept that I only have short strips of some fabrics, and so can’t always use them in the order I’d have preferred.

Not the most artistic piece of patchwork I’ve ever worked on, still, being able to sew again is a delight, even though I just manage to make a few stitches here and there. I use running stitches as decoration (there is no batting to quilt), which ads a nice finishing touch, I think. I’m thinking of adding some embroidery on the two light strips (which I don’t like) in the brown corner, to give the illusion of a darker shade that won’t stand out so much.

I do have a lot of time to plan future projects, though, so as soon as I have the time I’ll get cracking. I’ll need to make another 14th century shift for myself, a complete outfit for little B, some new things for Tobias, and I’d like to make some new summer dresses, fit for nursing.