To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Royal Order Sash Bow Tutorial

Hello all!  Just a quick tutorial about how to make a Royal Order Sash Bow.  I made these years ago, for my trip to Costume College in 2014 and then Port Townsend's Victorian Festival in 2015. Somehow I forgot to write about how I made them.  With this year's Costume College's theme being royal and all, I figured it would be a good time to do just that!

The ribbon I used was 3" wide moire ribbon from this store on eBay:  Ribbon Store.  It offers many colors, made of rayon and is fabulous to work with!

I have a nice Pinterest board dedicated to Sashes:  Royal: Order Sashes where all kinds of inspiration can be found.

The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor has 2 wonderful posts dedicated to sashes:  Sashes and Stuff Part 1 and Sashes and Stuff Part 2
that explain the meaning of sashes, countries that give sashes and orders, how to wear them and other fun things!  Plus, the blog is just fabulous to look at if you like me and adore all things royal!  

Port Townsend, WA for their Victorian Festival.  I loved the way the light blue of this sash went with the pale yellow of my natural form ball gown.

More images here:  Port Townsend Victorian Festival

Costume College 2014.  The first time I went as royalty.  I attended the gala as Empress Gina and my fabulous costuming bestie attended as Queen Josie!

More images here:  2014 Costume College Gala

On To The Tutorial!

Take two lengths of the ribbon and fold them so that the ends lap over each other about 1/2" in the back.  The finished, folded piece should measure 5 3/4", so perhaps the length of the ribbon pieces before folding would be 11.5"?  I apologize for not measuring that....  Mark the very center with chalk or a disappearing pen and secure with a pin.  You will have two separate folded pieces of ribbon.

Place the two folded ribbon bits one on top of the other, overlapping sides facing each other so that you don't see any raw edges on the finished product.  Stitch up the marked line.

After you have stitched the two folded ribbon pieces together, iron the edges so that they are flat.

Now you get to make the template for the "pinked" edges of the next layer.

Cut a new piece of ribbon 5 3/4" long and transfer the "pinked" edges to each short (cut) side of the ribbon and cut out.

Fold the "pinked" piece in half and iron so that you can see where the middle is.

Place the "pinked" piece on the two folded, stitched and ironed pieces.  You'll want the ribbon to gather nicely when you pull the string, so use my stitches as a guide.  The idea is to have the ribbon gather in deep gathers and not shallow ones like you have when gathering a skirt into a waistband.

Sadly, I didn't take photos of the next steps, but they are easy.  Gather up the hand sewn running stitch in the center of the three layers as tight as you can get it and knot it off.  Cut a piece of ribbon about an inch to 1 3/4" wide.  Tri-fold it into a piece about 1/4" wide, or a bit more, and wrap around the center of the ribbon over the top of the gathering stitches.  Sew to secure in the back.

Next, drape the rest of the ribbon over your shoulder and overlap it at your hip and mark where they meet.  I can't remember how far the overlap point was from the end...maybe 3 or 4"?  Pin the overlap in place.  While it is on you (or your mannequin), pleat the ribbon at your shoulder so that it lays flat against you.  If you don't do this, it will stick out and look weird.  Secure with pins so you can sew the pleats down when you take it off.  When you take the sash off, either gather or pleat the marked bits so that when you overlap them, they flare out from each other.  You don't want them laying on top of each other.  Stitch points together.

Sew bow to the spot where the sash points have been stitched together.  Now you can decide how long you want your tails.  Looking at actual images of real sashes will help a lot here!

Now you can totally add whatever "Order" you want to!  Since Josie liked elephants, this was our Order of the Elephant!  Denmark is the country that has an actual Order of the Elephant!  I put the ring of the medallions under the "knot" of the bow and stitched to secure!

I won a lot of heraldic pendants on eBay and fell in love with this one.  It also matches my order star so Huzzah!!  Perfect match!!

Some of my "order stars" that I have collected over the years.  The top two were ones that I altered using stars off of eBay.

Please note:  When you make the sashes, remember that the back side of the ribbons need to be longer that the front side as the bow sits at your hip, whatever hip you decide that should be.  Most sashes go from the right shoulder to the left hip with the exception of a very few.  But if you are planning on making your own "order of....." sash, you can decide what shoulder to what hip you go with!

I hope this tutorial made sense!  They are super easy and fun to make!!

Blessings to you all!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

1860s Elliptical Half Mourning Dress Complete!

The 1860s Elliptical Half Mourning Dress should actually be called "The Dress of a Thousand Hours" dress.  This thing has taken me sooooooo long to complete!  It looks so simple.  Well, that is totally deceptive.  The bodice was chock full of fiddley bits, like the fact that the upper sleeves not only boasted two puffs, but a mancheron!  Then there was all the beading.  Ugh.  I know that beading makes a project or dress look extra cool, but my eyes and fingers and hands were getting ready to disown me as I got close to completing the trim.  Sheesh.  I think I'm getting old because body parts are starting to seriously chat about rebelling against me and taking part in a coup.  Stupid aging!!!!!

Anyway, the dress is complete and I am so very thrilled with it!  The inspiration came from Whitaker Auctions.  It was dated to the 1850s, but looks more late 1860s what with the elliptical skirt and all.  Whatever the date, I fell in love with it when I was searching for inspiration for the silk that I've had for years.  I bought the fabric from a fellow costumer who has since passed away from complications of pancreatic cancer, so I think it only fitting that I chose to make a half mourning dress!

I am working on a lace and net day cap and a soft bonnet to wear with it.  So happy this dress is done as now I can add it to the line up of The House of Whyte's "6 Dresses in 60 Minutes" fashion show!!! (My ultimate costuming goal is to have dresses, with underwear and head wear, in all of the silhouettes from the 1830s to the 1930s!)

The Dress and Inspiration

My version of the Whitaker Auction dress.

Isn't this beautiful!  I so love the fabric!!  Photos of the original dress inspiration used with permission from Charles Whitaker. Thank you!!!

The two puffs and one mancheron per sleeve was a totally pain in the rear, but in the end was worth it!

The original's armscye was way down on the upper arm as was the way of a lot of the 1860s dresses, but because my shoulders are "claustrophobic" and because I have to use my arms in sweeping motions during my programs (you know, tie my hands behind by back and I can't talk) I chose to move the armscye up further on my upper arm/shoulder.  I really don't like that pinned down feeling.  But, I was happy to find many examples of shoulders that weren't as low in my research!!  Huzzah! 

I was thrilled when I sewed the bodice together to discover that the flowers on the fabric lined up perfectly!  Like the middle flowers are exactly down the center of the bodice!  Happy accident indeed!

I love the medallion on the back of the sleeve!  Isn't the fabric just stunning?  I love the blue and off white print against the silver!

In this view you can especially see the elliptical-ness of the skirt.

The original didn't have a belt or a collar so I had to use my imagination to complete the look.  I decided that a belt the same width as the sleeve cuffs would look good with a medallion that was the exact same as the ones on the bodice. I think it looks rather fetching!  I still need to make a collar and am trying to decide what it will look like.

Close up of the bead work.  The original used cord and beads.  I didn't have any cording, so used soutche which actually worked well with the beads resting in the channels!

The medallions were a pain to create as there weren't any tutorials on how to make flowers like these.  After 4 examples and around 2 hours, I came up with these!  The center beads were from my Great-Grandma's bead stash!

The Pattern(s)

Since this was a Franken-patterned dress, there were 4 different patterns used!!

Sleeve Puffs:  Simplicity 4400 (altered)

Now to finish the lace day cap and decide if the making of a soft bonnet needs to be done....

Well, I hope you have a wonderful next week!!!



Sunday, October 22, 2017

1850s Wedding Dress!

Good Sunday evening to you all!  I hope this week was a fabulous one for you!  For me, I finally got around to feeling like tackling my next project...a half mourning, late 1860s, elliptical gown!  I am almost done with the petticoat so Huzzah!

Today's post is about the last of the wedding dresses I made for the Dressing The Historical Bride program.  And it ties with my favorite for first place.  I don't know why this one makes me so happy, it just does!  The fringe would have put it in dead last just last year, but I think since I made the fringe out of the fabric itself, it didn't look so "fake".  Don't know what that means, but there ya go.

The dress was made out of 70/30 cotton poly and is a beautiful moire!!  I adore moire and think it's interesting that both of my first 1850s gowns happen to made out of moire (MET Moire Mourning Dress).  I know that I should have used a lighter weighing fabric, but when Mama made her 50th Wedding Anniversary Party Dress there was a ton left over.  She let me have it and there was almost enough to make this dress! I do not what we were thinking, buying so much.  Like I have said before, math is not my strong suit and so it is the norm for me to buy too much fabric, but this was ridiculous! Anyway, the skirt of this dress alone weighed 8 pounds!  So note to self, when next making a flounced 1850s dress, use a sheer fabric!  hahahahahahaha!!

I just loved how this dress turned out and now I am wanting to make a ball gown in the future!  Out of lighter weight fabric...

The Dress

A word to the wise...if you plan on making a flounced dress, please decide that you want fringe BEFORE you sew the flounces to the underskirt!  I decided AFTER I sewed all the flounces on that the skirt would look better with fringe.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr...

The pattern called for a pointed back bodice, but I had so much trouble with it laying flat, that I decided to do a straight across the waist back.

I love the long point on this dress and the way the seams work together to give the illusion of a super long "V".  I borrowed Mom's faux wax orange blossom corsage for the decoration on the dress.  I though it looked fantastic!

Hand fringed self fabric fringe actually makes me happy.  I think the world is going to end tomorrow.  hahahahaha!  Just kidding!

The Inspirations

I spent a long while searching for an 1850s wedding dress to use as inspiration.  The one below from the V&A Museum totally made my heart happy and was going to make the whole outfit similar to the original dress.  However, I had never used the pattern I purchased to make the bodice and so was really stressing out over it, even though I intended on making a mock up.  Perhaps one day I will make a bodice similar to it!

1857 Wedding Dress.  Source:  V&A Museum

After I decided against making a long sleeved bodice, I had to go on the hunt to find a short sleeved bodice.  Happily I came across this fabulous example from Kerry Taylor Auctions (Sold December 3rd, 2013.  Lot #45) Thank you Kate for permission to share the image of this fabulous dress!  
You can see more images of the dress Here.

Wanting to make sure that short sleeved bodices were used in weddings in the 1850s, I also searched for photographs from the era and found many.  Below are a couple.  Such beautiful brides!!

"Martha Pickman Rogers in her wedding gown"

Source:  mfa Boston

Source:  Skinner Auctions

In Progress

One of the most time consuming parts of this project was the making of the fringe.  Below you can see how I did it.  I laid the fabric on the floor, put heavy books down on it to hold it down and started pulling the weft threads, sometimes two at a time!  And yes, it was also a messy business!

Each strip, and I had to make 10 strips of over 5 yards, took over an hour to "pull".  I spent a lot of time on the floor!

Other tools used were a seam ripper to start the threads to be pulled and a comb to comb the fringe when it got knotted up.

A short video on how simple it is to make your own fringe!

All the fringe rolled up on a fabric tube. 

Bertha before being trimmed with ruffles and fringe

The Pattern

This pattern was a fabulous one to use.  I will most certainly be using it again!!

Well, I'm off to bed!  I hope that you all have a most wonderful week!



Sunday, October 15, 2017

1920s Wedding Accessories and Underwear!

Good Sunday everyone!  I hope that your week was a fabulous one!  Mine was busy, but it's over and I'm looking forward to next week when hopefully I start a half mourning, 1860s elliptical dress!

Today, I'm sharing the accessories and underwear that was made for the 1920s Robe de Style Wedding Dress.  And also my Mama's puppy, Chloe!

The Bridal Bouquet

I was so busy and really under the gun to get things (namely dresses) ready for the September "Dressing The Historical Bride" fashion show, that I just didn't have time to do the flowers that I wanted for three of the dresses.  Having done floral things in the past, and being so beyond excellent at making my visions come to life, I asked Mom if she would do the 1850s, 1914 and 1920s wedding bouquets.  I'm so happy she said yes, because as you will see, they were magnificent!!!

Isn't Chloe the cutest thing?  She is so fun and silly and happy and loving!  I want to steal her and bring her home, but Mom would be crushed and Greg would not be pleased.

And my Mom...she is just the cutest thing ever!  She made the bouquet out of new maiden hair fern bushes from Hobby Lobby, Boston fern bushes from the dollar store, beautiful bridal blush roses from Michael's, and antique lily of the valley that I pulled off of an antique hat...there were over 45 of them on the hat!!!  The style of bouquet in the 1920s had become ENORMOUS and for some fun reason, knotted ribbons, sometimes with flowers tied to them, sometimes not, were added to the bouquet.  As you can see in the following inspiration photos, Mom hit the nail on the head perfectly!!

Bridal Bouquet Inspiration

I just love the shape and size of these bouquets.  Many of them had asparagus and maiden hair fern and just a few flowers, usually roses.  The look was something very whispy and airy

The Veil and Gloves

Keeping with the look of the cloche in the 1920s, wedding veils became caps that resembled skull caps.  They were many times made of a lovely silk veiling and decorated with tucks, silk ribbon, silk ribbon flowers, waxed orange blossoms or fresh flowers.  Elastic was sewn into the edge to hold the veil snugly to the head!

The hem of the veil is embroidered with a serpentine, chain stitch.

To go with the dress, I chose antique, ivory colored, kid leather opera gloves!

Veil Inspiration

Many of the veils from the 1920s were exceeding long, probably to make up for the short skirts that were now in fashion, but on occasion, brides wore short veils.  Happiness for me, as my veil was on the shorter side!

The Underwear

For the underwear for the dress, I wanted to make a set of  "step-in" combinations and tap pants.  I should have made them out of satin, but I was out of money to purchase some and had pretty cotton on hand, so that's what I used!  I will, in the future, be making a satin set.

The underwear was edged in antique lace.

I patterned the lace decoration on the front of the step-ins after an image that I can't find right now!!  ACK!  I hate that.  It came from an antique catalog, so when I find it, I'll sneak it in!

The pattern used for the step-in combinations and tap pants was Past Patterns 501

Robe de Style Panniers

I must admit that I was most excited about this project because I could finally make these panniers!!  I think they are ridiculous and marvelous and jolly and fun!!  Plus, I can now make other Robe de Style dresses!  Huzzah!

I really wanted mine to be sheer with a pretty ribbon boning channel, with lace at the bottom flounce!

Pannier Inspiration

I really liked how this pannier was attached to a bodice.  Sort of like an extra element of modesty for the satin bodice of the dress.  Source:  The MET.

The lace at the hem came from this example from The MET.

I just loved the over all look of this one.  Also from The MET.

The pattern I used for the the panniers was the fabulous Laughing Moon 128

To finish out this post, one more look at the lovely Miss Adalea wearing the 1920s dress!  I could not get over what an incredible 1920s bride she made!  Almost made me cry!!

I hope you all have a wonderful next week!

Be Blessed!