Wednesday, May 8, 2013

HSF#10 Literature Inspiriation - Anna Karenina

As soon as I heard that literature was one of the challenges for the HSF I knew exactly what my inspiration would be.  I've been trying hard recently to make my costumes do double duty - mixing and matching petticoats with different gowns in the 18th C, using the same jacket with a myriad of bustle gowns, etc. because one only has so much closet space!

So when I started on my "Black Bird" fancy dress costume I began thinking of it the same way, imagining what else I could pair with the pieces of the costume I was working on.  Almost immediately I thought of Anna Karenina since black is a color often associated with her.  In the book (and the movie versions) one of the most striking scenes is that of Anna dancing with Count Vronsky at the ball in her black ballgown.  And in the (far superior) 1997 Anna Karenina she wears a beautiful black outfit of fur at one point and at another a gorgeous black hat and veil.

1997 Anna Karenina - fur outfit
1997 Anna Karenina - hat with veil

The 2012 version also has Anna in black in many scenes.  While I'm not a fan of the new movie I do like this black hat and veil Anna wears! 

I think the "Black Bird"costume minus the feathered accessories would make a nice Anna ballgown look.  And paired with the black velvet jacket I revamped for the Edwardian Ball with a new black vestee, and a little black hat and veil it would be reminiscent of the Anna looks above. 

With Myth Masque coming up soon I probably won't have time to create this entire look in time for the HSF deadline but I DO need to finish the overskirt and bodice for the "Black Bird" and will hopefully at least have that in place by then.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Feathered collar supports

Because you asked...I'm going to describe it too in the hopes this isn't too confusing!  :P  I put one feather bone along the base of the collar, perpendicular to the feathers (along the ribbon line) then three standing up perpendicular to the original ones, encased in black bias tape so they wouldn't show, then one more bone crossing the three.  The marabou is glued on top of these bones to both cover and help support them.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #9 Flora and Fauna: Feathered Collars

The Historical Sew Fortnightly at

So my husband and I will be wearing Victorian-esque Fancy dress Black Bird costumes for Myth Masque (think Crow or Raven) and I'd wanted to make some rather striking feathered accessories to go with our costumes.  I loved some of the big feathed collars I ran across online but they seemed very pricey and like something I should be able to do myself.  So I did.  I first tried sewing the feathers but after breaking 3 needles in about 6 minutes I decided to go for the hot glue! 

I separated the feathers and layered them with the black turkey feathers underneath and the irridescent black coque feathers on top.  I sewed feather boning supports for my collar, which is standing, at the center back and about an inch on either side, glued the feathers down to the ribbon then folded it over to cover the ends of the feathers and glued that down.  I glued the marabou on the back of the collar to help cover the supports on the back and to give them extra strength.  The ends of the collar will be tied under my arms at the small of my back. 

For my husband's collar I did the same thing (but not supports) then sewed snaps onto the collar and the underside of the collar of his coat.

Husband's collar front

Husband's collar back

The Challenge: #9 Flora and Fauna
Fabric: No fabric
Pattern: No pattern
Year: Victorian-ish
Notions: strung coque feathers, dyed black turkey feathers, black ribbon, black marabou feathers, thread, feather (aka plastic!) boning and hot glue!
How historically accurate is it?  Not very!
Hours to complete: Maybe 4 for both collars?
First worn: To be worn at the Myth Masque Ball on May 25th.
Total cost: About $50 for two collars.