Monday, May 29, 2017

Tudor England Era Corset

I have been obsessed with the clothing of the Tudor era ever since I was a young girl. In fact, at one point in time, I hand-sewed a self-drafted gown of blue velvet, at which time I was perhaps 12 or 13. (Yeah, I was very geeky.) And the very first costume I ever made with a pattern was this (laughably inaccurate) Purple Tudor Gown.

In those days, it was difficult to find reference books detailing the historical costume of the period, so I had to make do with guessing from portraits. Nowadays there is a significantly larger trove of details, in particular the excellent book "The Tudor Tailor" by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm Davies. Getting this book as a Christmas gift from my parents was a long-awaited dream come true. Now all that remained was to complete a full-Tudor ensemble...

When creating a historical costume, one must build from the foundations up, to ensure the correct shape and sizing of each piece. I started my Tudor Ensemble with this White Shift. Next, I needed to construct a corset. This ended up being a much longer project than I intended. Between health and home responsibilities, it took me about 9 months from start to finish - closer to a year if you count writing this blog post! 

(While the historical term is 'stays' I am so used to calling this a corset, that I hope stricter historians will forgive me for using that term in this piece). 

Although I have done boned bodices before, this was my first piece that really worked as a proper corset. Although I largely followed the pattern in the Tudor Tailor for shaping and structure, I had to make some additional modifications to accommodate a significant curve ratio. Thus my corset is not nearly as flat as the fashionable style of the period. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Downton Experience - Part 3

The time has come, my friends, to celebrate the final post of the Downton Abbey costumes that I was able to see in person. If you are behind, you can check out post #2 here! 

As before, all photos were taken by my husband, Nathan Hajek, and the clothing details were sourced from the pamphlet handed out by the Exhibition. 

My favorite Downton dresses usually involve velvet or beading, so it is no surprise that this piece was one of my favorites of the exhibition. Worn by Edith in Season 5 (1924), it features a gorgeous burnt orange velvet and a rose-hued slip of crepe silk. The draped velvet is the highlight of the dress, but a closer look reveals exquisite embellishment in a few key places.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Emma Swan's Wedding Dress

Sorry it took me so long to get my reaction up. Okay, two days isn't really that long, but gauging by the spike in visits I've had over the past 24 hours, I have a feeling some people are hoping for my reaction to this big OUAT costume!


If for some reason you haven't caught up with "Once Upon a Time," you ought to skip this post as it will definitely spoil some big things for you.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Refashioning is less of a modern fad than you'd think

"Refashion" and "Upcycle" are trending words these days. The ranks of Instagram and the blogosphere are swelling with people who give thrift store finds new lives by radically remaking them into trendy (or timeless), well-fitting outfits.

But did you know that, rather than being a new fad, this mindset was actually the norm for the large part of history? In the past, a garment would be remade over and over, sometimes for generations! When there finally was no longer enough material for a serviceable garment, the fabric would then find its next life as a quilt, rug, or rags. This is why we actually have relatively few examples of historical garments surviving today.

One blogger I follow is remaking a historical gown into another historical garment, and discusses what it is like to follow the footsteps of history. Although you see this happen regularly with modern clothing, it is not often documented with costumes because we modern costumers dislike pulling apart our works of art. Anyhow, I found it interesting and worth a look!