Aaaaah...accessories. How I love you!! In my humble opinion, I believe that accessories are the cream of the "Era Costumer's" wardrobe. They are the finishing touch that can totally make an antique inspired costume look utterly fabulous! So it was with great excitiement that I learned that the theme for this year's Costume College would be "Finishing Touches: The Art and Craft of Accessories". Can you say "Huzzah"? Oh I did...over and over. Along with "Yahoo"...and "Hot Dog"...and "I'm soooo heppy!!!"...and "Oh my giddy Aunt!" Ahem....As you can tell I adore accessories.
My Lizzy Bennet wedding ensemble was looking a little low on the accessory side, so I came up with the idea that she would have hidden in the carriage taking her and her newly married Mr. Darcy to their honeymoon destination, a sweet little wedding reticule that she had made after the epic walk of awesome-ness. You know the scene. Mr. Darcy looking ever so dashing in his beautiful clothing, hair curling around his temple just so, top hat, long coat...speaking so eloquently the words that Elizabeth (and admit it...all of us watching, perched on the edge of the couch...) longed to hear, but didn't know if she ever would. Le sigh....
“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Oh, how I remember watching this scene with my fabulous friend Kay at her house in Robie Creek at about 4:45 in the morning! My tummy tickled and my smile about cracked my face. What a wonderful romance! Sweet, frustrating, sweet, irritating, sweet...AWESOME!!! That Ms. Austen knew what she was about.
I perused Pinterest for some Regency Era reticules and found some wonderful examples...here, here, here, and here. All of them employed wonderfully fun tassels, embroidery, and all but one used piping. I fell in love and knew that I had to make one for this outfit. I was trying to talk myself into drafting a pattern for one when I remembered that the La Mode Bagatelle pattern kit included a fabulously shaped reticule pattern! Glory be! I was saved from the frustration of getting the dimensions just right. The pattern set also included some iron on transfers for embroidery patterns...another huzzah!
The embroidery pattern I chose for my reticule. I think this resembles sheaves of wheat! Extra Huzzah as I adore wheat!!!
I used an embroidery hoop that belonged to my Great-Grandma Cornelia Walters...It is so fun when I use items that the ladies of my family used. I feel very close to them when I do so.
First couple of stitches. I hadn't embroidered anything serious since I was in grade school, so I was a bit apprehensive about this project.
But in the end, I think all turned out ok! I used a back stitch, satin stitch, daisy stitch and a French knot stitch. It was actually a nice relaxing project.
For embelishments, I purchased a length of upholstry gimp that included 9 tassels...about 18" worth of gimp. I cut the tassels of the gimp and sewed 4 sets of 2 together and left one single. The inspiraton for this is was taken from the reticules linked above.
Completed reticule! What a fun project and one that did not require a fitting!!! Huzzah!!!!
Next came the shoe decoration. I fell in love with these sweet shoes from Worthing Museum and Art Gallery Costume Collection. I felt the bow with its pleats and loops would be perfect!!
I purchased some Mia Sweetness shoes via eBay and decided that I needed to decorate them. I was going to wait and see if I could find any petersham in ivory in the LA garment district when I visit there after Coco, but decided that I would use the silk I used for the reticule instead. I looked to American Duchess and how she decorated her Pemberely Shoes and set to work. Again I failed to take photographs at certain steps of the decorating, so I shall endeavor to describe by word what I did!
I started by taking a piece of silk 2" x 16". Using a 1/4" seam allowance, I sewed the long edges together and after pressing the seam open, turned it inside out. I would use this to make the bows for the fun little embellishment. As you can see in the pic, there are 4 sections that I gathered and knotted off. This makes it easy to create the bow. I didn't have enough fabric to make the 6 loop bow in one strip, so another strip was used for the other two strips.
A 4 loop bow...two loops were added just after this picture...
And here is where I forget to take pictures. After I made the 6 loop bow, I cut the loop ends off to make 12 strips. Using a pin, I unravelled the ends of all 12 pieces. I cut a strip of bias cut fabric 4.25 x 10". I then made small pleats lenghtwise...just eyeballed the pleating. Using a gathering stitch, I sewed in the middle lengthwise and gathered it up to fit the "knot" of the bow strips.
For the whispy parts of the center of the embellishment, I took a piece of silk and unravelled a bunch of it...
Zig-zag the end so it wouldn't unravel any more and sew a gathering stitch. I then gathered it up tight into a little puff ball.
Here is the finished produce for the embellishment. Cute huh?
I also forgot to take pics of the pleated pieces that are under the embellishments....grrrrrr....but they were quite easy. I used strips of bias cut silk and made some double fold bias tape, unfolded it once so there was the nice fold in the middle and pleated the pieces. A stitch lengthwise up the middle of the pleating and those strips were done!
Next I glued all the silk to the leather shoes!
Completed embellishments on shoe...
Oh yes...I made double fold bias tape for the tops of the shoes and the side and back seams.
Fun decorated Regency shoes!! Huzza!!!
And with that, I believe I am done with Miss Eliza Bennet! I am seriously happy about that fact!!!
Be blessed my friends!