Friday, October 3, 2014

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling!

So I was satisfied about the bird, but not as wild about it as I wanted to be. I went through my box of sparkly embroidery thread and found the perfect threads for the sparkly bits and added them on today. And I like it SO much better. I think the bling (and all the added beads etc when I get to that point) will help marry it to the fabric so much more.  It may be subtle in this pic but it's actually fairly


 Next to the dress fabric.  It's a changable aqua/gold silk taffeta, not exact to Cersei's but trying to work from the stash and it was the closest thing.


I also belatedly realized that I had some silk organza in the stash that was a much better match to the dress fabric than this light blue.  That's what happens when you can't get to the sewing room for a few weeks!  So I'm going to do the subsequent birds on that and hope this one doesn't stand out too much once it's cut out and appliqued on.  Worst comes to worst I can always make another one...   :P

The birdy details

So the first bird for Cersei's blue gown is basically done!

I spent an inordinately long time staring at this image of Cersei's bird embroidery trying to get colors, ideas and what to stitch when in my head, when I suddenly realized I was seeing something rather unexpected.

Look at the mottled center part of the red breast of the bird - what I see there is red velvet, not embroidery.  Specifically something that looks a lot like red leopard print velvet!  So appliqued to the center of my birds breast is a tiny piece of red velvet leopard print!

But I'll back up a bit and tell you my process.

First I found images of the birds online, this exact photo in fact.  One I blew up for reference, the others I shrank down until I felt they were the right size. Then I used a light box and traced the outlines of the different parts of the bird onto my silk organza with a sharp mechanical pencil.


Next I stitched down the bit of velvet and a piece of aqua Italian mesh ribbon (cut open and stretched into the right shapes) to the bird.  The center of the velvet I wanted to show, but the mesh is there more to add body and provide color in case my stitches don't completely cover it.


Then I started embroidering on top of the mesh and velvet.  I'd brought my ipad with me to the embroidery store and picked out threads I thought would match the original, mostly I'm just "drawing" with thread using rather large single stitches, other times I'm doing outlines or chain stitches.


 I probably won't sew the feathers onto the bird until I've appliqued it to the gown.  I found the perfect source for the orange ones and am still poking around for the best ones for the tail.  I think too that Michele Carragher may have sewn feathers onto parts of the wings, a few areas look rather "fluffy" to me, but I think I'll pass on that, for this first one at least, or maybe add them later.  Although I do plan to go back over these with the silver striped embroidery thread in in the places you see it above I've gotten fir first bird basically finished.

This took 3 hours
This took an additional hour, and another hour finished it - 5 hours total

One kind of fun thing - having the Italian mesh as an under layer means that tiny bits of it shine though giving it a very subtle sparkle. I figure this first bird will be put down low since it's my first one and will probably be the worst of the bunch.  I just need to do two more left facing and 2 right facing birds then it's on to the dress!  :P

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bits and Bobs

*  Cool post from Two Nerdy History Girls on an 18th Century Scottish Highland wedding dress.  What I was most interested in was the pdf from the which shows construction details of the dress, not quite a pattern but close for anyone wanting to make their own "Outlander" style Scottish gown.

* Aubry of A Fractured Fairytale has a couple of great post on making an using a split bum roll.  It really creates the look we've come to love in so many of the "big butt" fashions of the 1780s.

*  Jennifer of Historical Sewing has a great article up on flatlining skirts.  She gives a lot of great detail on when to flatline and which fabrics to use.

* Spirit Halloween Stores have some nice, inexpensive Game of Thrones pieces for sale this season.  Joffrey's crown, the Hand of the King pin and Melissandra's necklace among others.

* Laura of Shear Madness found a great tutorial for patterning foam for costumes.  Some of the stuff Ludi has made with this method is pretty amazing.

*  Just FYI - I go in for my next surgery on Tuesday so I may miss doing Bits and Bobs next week, but I do have a few other posts in the works before then, including step-by-step pictures of my first embroidered bird for the new Cersei gown.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The HSF ’14: Challenge #18: Poetry in Motion - A Venetian gown inspired by Veronica Franco

My Dangerous Beauty movie-inspired Venetian
“We danced our youth in a dreamed of city, Venice, paradise, proud and pretty, We lived for love and lust and beauty, Pleasure then our only duty. Floating them twixt heaven and Earth And drank on plenties blessed mirth We thought ourselves eternal then, Our glory sealed by God’s own pen. But paradise, we found is always frail, Against man’s fear will always fail. ” 
― Veronica Franco

Like many other costumers I fell in love with Venetian courtesan costumes when I saw the movie Dangerous Beauty about the famous courtesan and poet Veronica Franco.  Long ago I made a dress in homage to the costumes from that movie.

But I'd long wanted to make a more accurately cut version of a Venetian gown.   A while ago I'd modified Margo Anderson's  Elizabethan Lady's gown pattern to make my version of this but had gotten caught up in other projects and had never finished.  I'd loved the pink of the gown in this painting of Franco and when I found some pink damask in a similar color I snatched it up.

Veronica Franco

So with two foot surgeries looming on the horizon I got things as ready as I could and settled in to try and finish the hand sewing parts of the gown during my recuperation.

I only had a few yards and barely managed to squeak the bodice, skirt and sleeves out of it.  I have no idea if it's accurate but I made the skirt like an 18th C petticoat with the front part tying to the back and the back sewn to the bodice.

I've only managed to get the gown finished for the challenge - the sleeves, partlet and camica are still works in progress, I hope I can finish some of them while I recover and will post more pics of the whole ensemble then.

The Challenge: #18 Poetry in Motion - A Pink Venetian Gown Inspired by Veronica Franco's poem to Venice (at the top of the post) 

(Please ignore the blue lacing ribbon, it was all I had in the stash!  Also I'm a LOT squishier than my dress form so this fits me a lot better than it fits her.  ;)

Fabric: Cotton Damask lined with linen
Pattern: Modified version of Margo Anderson's Elizabethan Lady's Pattern  
Year: Mid 1500s
Notions: gold trim, cotton interlining, thread, metal and plastic boning, glass peals, tapes for ladder lacing a la Jen Thompson.
How historically accurate is it? Fairly accurate in silhouette but there is a fair amount of machine sewing and modern trim and boning.
Hours to complete:  Hard to say since this is a UFO, sorry!
First worn: I plan on wearing it to several of the SoCAL Renaissance Fairs once my feet heal
Total cost: The fabric was a bolt end I got on sale as were the lining and trims but all were purchased long ago so I don't remember, sorry!  I've been trying hard to work from my rather large stash which means a lot of prices of things have been lost in time.