Jenny La Fleur
Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
jennylafleur
I find myself in need of some corset-making supplies (steel bones and lacing cord) but thanks to a deep stash it's been so long since I bought corset supplies I don't know where to go! Where are you buying your corset-making supplies these days?

Edited 7-8-13:
Thanks guys for all your recommendations! I really appreciate it!

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jennylafleur

I'm so excited, my first article published on Your Wardrobe Unlocked is now live!

Survival of the Fittest: how to fit yourself by yourself is based on the classes I've taught at Costume College and Dress U. A paid subscription is required to read YWU articles but there are lots of other goodies on the site if you are into this sort of thing... :>

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jennylafleur
It's yard sale time!

http://www.jennylafleur.com/sale.htm

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jennylafleur
I should be in bed right now but I wanted to say a quick thank you so much for all your well wishes this morning! *feels warm fuzzies* They really helped my nerves! I had a great first day including a welcome pancake breakfast with the whole school, getting to know my classmates who all seem lovely (I make twelve in my class), and getting my kit! Can I just say wow?! It's hard not to feel like a professional already wielding my fabulous new blow-dryer of doom. Now I just have to learn how to use it properly...

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jennylafleur
Up with the dawn this morning but I'm still excited - my new life starts today! Paul Mitchell The School here I come...

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jennylafleur

I've started a new blog to host all my chatter about beauty and cosmetology! So far it's mostly re-posts from my Costuming blog but there are a couple of beefed up articles about my RED hair adventures and my thoughts about Paul Mitchell School. If you have tutorial or article suggestions I'd love to hear them too!

Stylin' à La Fleur

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jennylafleur



{photo courtesy of Kat}


I just realized I never posted about this event - bad Jenny-Rose! I had an uber FABULOUS time partying with my Fabulousity Club peeps last month. Kat hosted a lovely tea on her lawn, with shopping provided by The Bohemian Belle & Dames a la Mode, much silliness and an endless supply of champagne!

The next day Robin hosted my Mary Kay "Cosmetics for 18th Century Costuming" party (lovingly now referred to as "Whore Make-up") at which we all rouge-ed up, drank more tea and wore tiaras. *sigh* It was such fun - I didn't want to come home!

Photo Listing:

{JennylaFleur Photos} - my photos & my favorites from others
Gloria | photos | (flicker)
Kat | photos | (flickr)
Robin | photos | (flickr)
Julia | photos | (facebook)
Amanda | photos | (photobucket)


  
{photo courtesy of Julia}        {photo courtesy of Kat}

    
{photo courtesy of Kat}        {photo courtesy of Kat}


Videos:



I only took one stealth video but it captures the "after-party" and some of the trying on of Julia's lovely hats...

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jennylafleur
Ahh... getting ready to cut my first ever piece of silk satin. I'm rarely afraid of fabrics but this is one of them! I'm only making a hat but still, it's such expensive fabric I'm terrified to waste it. I could really use a costuming buddy here to hold my hand while I cut.

Okay deep breaths - wish me luck...

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jennylafleur

It's official so I can finally share the big news I have been DYING to tell you 'all!

The Bad News: I won't be attending Costume College this year after all. So if you know anyone who needs a membership or a gala ticket I'd love to sell them mine! (memberships can be transferred until June 24th)

I'm incredibly bummed out about not seeing my far-flung costuming friends, lounging in Roman dress with you guys and missing the first ever making bobbin-lace class I've seen offered at Costume College (razenfrazen!) but I'm really excited about the reason I can't go...

The Good News: I will be attending The Paul Mitchell School in Woodbridge to become a licensed cosmetologist!

It's something I've thought about doing for YEARS but my fears and doubts always held me back. As I've been doing a lot of deep soul searching over the past few months, I finally found the faith and the courage I needed to follow this path. It's time to stop standing on the sidelines cheering on friends as they take risks and follow their dreams; it's time I followed their example. Things have fallen into place every step along the way so far and I feel an incredible peace and surety that this is what I'm supposed to do.

I start school on June 18th. It's an intense 11 month program, Tuesday-Saturday, so there are lots of costume events this year that I simply won't be able to do and I don't know how many sewing projects I'll have time for. But it's only a year and my new mantra is short term pain for long term gain!

Wheee - have I mentioned I'm SO excited?!!!

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jennylafleur
I was too brain-dead to post when I got home last night but I had an uber FABULOUS time partying with my Fabulousity Club peeps this weekend. madamekat hosted a lovely tea on her lawn, with shopping provided by Julia of The Bohemian Belle & tayloropolis of Dames a la Mode (I may or may not have bought a ridiculous amount of ribbon) and an endless supply of champagne!

The next day sewloud hosted my Mary Kay "Cosmetics for 18th Century Costuming" party (lovingly now referred to as "Whore Make-up") at which we all rouge-ed up, drank more tea and wore tiaras. *sigh* It was such fun - I didn't want to come home!

Now it's Monday and the crashing thud back to real life, blah! Photos to follow...

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jennylafleur


A Week of Williamsburg

{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos plus my favorites from others
Aubry | photos | (flicker
Katherine | photos | (flickr)
Sara | photos | (flickr)
Nicole | photos | (photobucket)



 

Let me esplain. No it is too much, let me sum up...



I won't say the week didn't have it's challenges (which for me included a nasty migraine day, monthly cramps, an extra trip to Fredericksburg to exchange vehicles, the series of unfortunate decisions, money stress and the disappointment of sewing goal failures) but the low times are already fading away in the bright haze of the awesome times. One thing I can say about this group of ladies is that for our low-lows we balance them with very high-highs.

    
{photos courtesy of Sara & Niccole}


Highs include beautiful gifts given and received, a wonderful dinner at the Blue Talon, a raucous card party (complete with tispy late night dancing and lawn marathons), the All-Hands sewing marathon to finish my Française Noir (the Committee-Made-Dress!), the carriage ride and the following stroll around town with Nicole (the weather was glorious and we all looked so GOOD!), being granted access to the behind the scenes workshop at the Milliners, the conspiracy of the Rumtoptf label, our evening of great sparkle & merriment at the Tavern and a lovely drive home the back way.



I also learned some important things:


1. Katherine cheats at cards. Don't let that innocent demeanor fool you! Guard your chips and cards at all times!



2. Staying in one of the Historic Houses is pricey but worth it. It was so nice to walk out one's door and already be in the Historic Area. It was equally wonderful to be able to pop in and out throughout the day to relax or grab a bite to eat or just get off ones feet and away from the crowds. It was also great to be able to walk just about everywhere we wanted to go. Having our own sitting room was also pretty awesome. We are so spoiled now!




3. The larger the group of costumed friends around you the more you get stopped by tourists for photos. We learned to split up, go a back way or to simply not be in a hurry to get anywhere.



   
{photos courtesy of Aubry, Jennylafleur, Sara}


The pictures tell only part of the story of course, the parts that make me so glad we went on this crazy adventure were really the quiet ones, the moments we enjoyed quiet companionship, our lunches of PB&J sandwiches in our little house, the turns doing dishes (paper plates are for peasants!), lively conversations, little sewing sessions, the teasing and the free borrowing of feathers, bling, caps and everything else. The company of good friends that knew when to let me do my own thing and when I needed company or to be pulled out of myself by force.




{photo courtesy of Sara}


It sucks when your friends are so far-flung but it makes it even more special when you are all together! It was a crazy week, it was a wonderful week. It’s certainly a week I will never forget and one I will cherish for a very long time.

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jennylafleur


Starting with the most important thing – the photos! I didn’t take many, partly due to not being in the mood at first and then lack of maneuverability in my frock. Damn train! Also as we are wont to do in costuming there was much standing in circles - something I never noticed until my frustrated photographer at the Epic Titanic Dinner pointed it out to me. The practise is good for conversation sucky for photo taking!. So end my feeble excuses, on to the photos:


{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Gloria | photos | (flicker)
Judy | photos | (LJ - locked post)
Kat | photos | (flickr)
Stephanie | photos | (flickr)
Isabella | photos | (flickr)


Videos:



The Card Trick






The Scarlet Pimpernel






The American Duchess Shoe Shot




The Tale of the Impossible & the Party:

The Tale of the Impossible & the Party:Collapse )

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jennylafleur

The demon pannier are finished!! These have been the bane of my existence for over 2 weeks now, oy I’m so glad they are done!


I don’t really like pannier. That is to say I love them on other people and in movies but I don’t love wearing that side hoop silhouette. It just doesn’t make me feel amazing the way layers of petticoats, a 18th century bum roll or a Victorian bustle do. However, with the exception of a few late century American sacques just brought to my attention, all my research says some form of side hoop was ALWAYS worn with the robe a la Française. Annoying but true.


So after inspiring myself with a watch through of Slipper &the Rose and Dangerous Liaisons I decided to suck it up and just go with it. My previous experiments with pocket hoops were frustrating thanks to my waist to hip ratio (Kendra had the same issue, which made me feel SO much better about it!) so rather than mess with making it work I decided to make a full hoop version. 'Cause I lost my mind and thought that would be easier and faster. Riiigghhtt!


 


I used Simplicity 3635 (now sadly out of print) for the pannier of my Queen of the Night as the pattern is practically the same as the ones in Corsets & Crinolines. As nicely as they worked for a dramatic costume they are a little big for restaurants and crowded rooms so I decided to make a smaller pair for my Française Noir. When Megan visited a few years ago I tried on her adorable ruffled pannier and really liked the scale on me. So I measured them and tucked the notes away in case I ever needed them. I be smart!


Only problem with the Simplicity pattern is that it is a one size fits all affair. I had been hoping that it would be an easy cutting it down to the smallest size but no luck. So I debated whether I should size down the Simplicity pattern or re-size one of the scaled patterns in Period Costume for Stage & Screen or Corsets and Crinolines, - there are very few differences between the three patterns. Eventually I decided to use the Simplicity pattern with the books as reference. Looking back I think it would have all been about the same amount of work. Sizing pannier is a pain no matter what you do!


 


Then the endless math began as I tried to figure out then reconcile the ratios of the Simplicity pattern vs Megan’s measurements. Finally I had some reasonable numbers and started work sizing the pattern down.


 


The real problem with pannier is that they are like stays – you don’t know if they work until they are practically finished. So after hours of patterning, cutting, sewing (felled seams - we hates them Precious!) and stuffing in reluctant boning, I finally was able to try them on.


 


They were a hideous tragedy. *sigh* I suppose I was overly optimistic that I could change the pattern so much and have it right on the first go but really it was a mess that I knew will take me days to re-do and fix. To say I was discouraged is an understatement.


 

After a few days of pouting and feeling sorry for myself I ripped about 60% of my work out and tweaked it. The big changes were to rework the top yolk and redo the dramatic curve of the boning channels at the side seam and change the top piece of boning from one continuous piece to two separate pieces.</p>

 


The continuous piece was something Hunnisett did in her book and I found several examples of the method so it wasn’t a crazy idea, but it didn’t work for my boning – too stiff perhaps? It was too bad as the separate pieces required a lot more work. I learned on my QotN pannier than simply running a row of stitching at the bottom of the boning. There is too much strain there and mine ripped out. So this time I reinforced it with a piece of bias tape, which had to be finished by hand. Secure but time consuming - blah!


 


Good thing I'm very accomplished with a seam ripper!


 


The finished result if far from perfect (that top yoke is still really funky) but it’s wearable and functional – yay!


 


I spent another day (that I don’t have *sigh*) creating a deep pleated frill at the bottom, This was a suggestion from Jean Hunnisett, she recommended it to weight down the hoop and make it less likely to swing about wildly. It was so much work (starching, pleating, pining and sewing) but I do love pleating striped fabric and it came out looking spectacular. It also does all the practical things Hunnisett mentioned too which is awesome.


 


Up next was trying it on with some petticoats on top. I tried my standard ruffled under petticoat hoping I could use that (no go!) then my fullest 18th century petticoat – the Diva petticoat. That gave me a good idea of how many panels of fabric I needed for the Petite Pannier under petticoat and the Noir so that was good. I’m a bit concerned that it’s too small at the very top, maybe I went too conservative with it. But I’m going to wear it to the dinner and see how I feel. I can always adjust it before the next time I wear it if I need to.

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jennylafleur


And so it begins - a crazy couple of months filled with an overly ambitious list of dream garments. If you hear hysterical screams or despairing whimpering from the wilds of Virginia between now and April you will know why...



  



First up the Française Noir. I posted about this a few months ago but haven't done more than dream about it since. I did find a few more images of black gowns from the period, including a spectacularly fashionable one quite close to the vague notions of what I wanted in my head. Yay!



 


My new hero Aubry stayed on after the Regency Card Party to help me drape the front and back of the Française.



 


It was my first sewing day in my new sewing room and we had such fun, despite a very late start. Draping to Mozart while drinking pink champagne and eating chocolates is totally the way to go!



 


Aubry left me with a beautifully fitted pile of silk taffeta and pins, which on the dressform looked rather un-impressive and intimidating. It took a week to work up the courage to work on it again (yep I'll admit it I'm scared of this dress!).




So I found an interesting podcast about the book "Queen of Fashion" to listen to and got to work.



 


The first thing I worked on was sewing down the robings on the front. The pins were wanting to come out most there so I figured that was a good place to start. Interestingly Aubry didn't do a full pleat all the way to the edge so I came up with a way of creasing the taffeta with my fingers so I could see where to sew. Silk taffeta is great for this sort of thing!




There was also a little tuck taken under the robing, from about the bust to the waist. This adds just a bit of fullness to the front skirt, allowing the front to fall nicely. Clever!



 


As I went along I found using a pressing ham underneath helped me smooth and crease the robbing since it was fitted to me and I'm not flat!




Once I got the fronts all sewn down I decided to take the lining apart. I found working with the everything attached very awkward (this would have been less of a problem if I'd been about to work in a more methodical way but we had to get as much fitting done as possible in on day). I also fully intend to alter/re-fit this as I lose weight and to do that more easily I wanted the lining and fashion fabric lined up perfectly at the seams rather than over lapping. Saving myself some work down the road!




Also I had a mistake to fix and I thought it would be much easier to deal with flat. The mistake - this ladies and gentlemen is why you do not cut fabric late at night and/or in a rush or bad things can happen. Aubry made the cut but really it was my fault. I was entirely to blame for the late start, along with the slow sewing and drafting of the lining. When I originally saw the cut (after Aubry realized what she had done) I thought, no problem! It's under the arm and having done the exact same thing before my plan was to patch it and keep the secret to myself.



However seeing it in all it's bare and undisguised glory last night, I don't see how I can do that. The cut is much deeper and more ragged than I realized, and the top part of the lining is also uncovered. A patch is totally going to show right there. Merh.



That realization made me come to a complete stop. I stared at it for a couple of hours and have slept on it. I think the only thing I can do that I'm going to be happy with is redo the whole panel. I can use it as my guide for the fitting and robing, then use the fabric for my sleeves and/or trim. It's a bit discouraging as I spent several hours sewing down the bodice front, robing and tuck with pretty stitches - I really wish I had looked more closely at the mistake before I did all that. But I've come to the conclusion that I would rather redo the small stitches than have some ugly patch or silly looking faux seam on my bodice. Sigh.



Since I'm going to redo half the bodice anyway I'm wondering if I should just cut the bodice front separate from the front skirts (rather than the all one piece with a waist dart I was going with). Both seem to be completely valid ways of constructing this type of dress. Any opinions?

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jennylafleur


What a crazy year 2013 has turned out to be! It's been chock full of all sorts of good things, but not much costuming/sewing. I didn't even attempt to make anything new for my Card Party, thank goodness for a Costume Closet already full of pretty Regency things! That is going to change though as I have several events coming up that the Costume Closet isn't going to help me with. But before I get into those projects I'll catch you up with what I have been working on since Christmas...


bling, sewing room makeover and the non curtain-alongCollapse )

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jennylafleur



{photo courtesy of Nicole}


Saturday's Card Party was all I wanted it to be - yay!




The food ended up being more work than I originally intended (this is what happens when you do things like roast a hunk of meat for your roast beef sandwiches, hand squeeze 12 cups of citrus juice for your punch and make over 100 filled pastries!) but it was worth it.




We tried some new period recipes and while they weren't all keepers it was a fun way to add adventure and period atmosphere to the evening!




I was so pleased so many people braved the snow flurries, filling the house with 21 guests! That is officially the max for my house I think. Luckily we are a friendly bunch and we were wearing small frocks.




Cards were played, food was enjoyed and there was never a pause in the conversation and laughter.




We even had Kat, who was convalescing at home, Skype in for a couple of hours - that was so fun!





{photo courtesy of Aubry}


I also learned several important things. 1) I really do have the best parents in the world. They are so generous and game to cook and prep for days with me! 2) Rumtopt is quite possibly the most fabulous drink ever. (We cracked open the crock we have been throwing fruit, sugar and rum in for months - so good!). 3) Cocktails made of punch + rumtopt + champagne is even more fabulous but it bites back. Yeah I did not take Brian's warnings to heart about the power of punch. You know that scene in Vanity Fair where Jos Sedley orders the punch at Vauxhall and laments it the next day? Well it's easy to do - beware the punch! 4) Leftover shepard’s pie is good for a punch hangover.




5) I love playing dress-up in candlelight. Seriously nothing beats it.



{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Gloria | photos | (flicker)

Gwendolyn | photos | (blog)

Kristen | photos | (LJ - locked post)

Maggie | photos | (flicker)

Kat | photos | (LJ - locked post)

Isabella | photos | (flickr)

Videos:



I only took one stealth video but it captures the moment pretty well...








And the party from Kat's point of view on Skype...





{photo courtesy of Aubry}

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jennylafleur
And LJ eats another post... didn't notice it was switched was to the new version, hit the wrong button and poof, gone.

This sucks.

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jennylafleur



"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved."
John 3:16-17



A very Merry Christmas to you all!

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jennylafleur

I have been such a slacker with the Happy-A-Long this year - bad Jenny! I have all sorts of lame excuses but to sum up I've been crazy busy and rather lazy. I've so been enjoying all the "happys" on my Friend's list though - they make me smile every day!

One of the things I have been crazy busy with is sewing. I had a serious conference with my "to-do" list and after the initial panic, comparing it's length and the time available to me before March, I have been knuckling down and getting to work on it. First up was my wool capelet but thanks to my decision to trim it in fur I'm at a standstill with it until my fur arrives. So I moved on to my second capelet - the silk one!

 

A few weeks ago I discovered that once again my Stash had anticipated my wants and desires - I had all the elements to make this capelet that I have been drooling over for months sitting in the house. I love it when that happens!

 

Originally I draped a pattern (in miniature, using my Franklin Mint Titanic doll to save fabric) so I could make an exact reproduction but eventually decided I liked the pattern I'd developed for my wool capelet better. Doing straight reproductions isn't really my thing anyway.

 

Cutting it out proved to be a challenge thanks to my fabric restrictions. I had 3.5yds and I used every millimeter of it trying to fit in the cape body, a self-lining layer of the body, the huge hood, a matching muff and a bit of bias tape to finish the neckline. It took a couple of hours, a seam in the center back (like the original) and lots of fiddling but I managed it in the end - whew! I so added an interlining of cotton flannel for warmth, which I'm still a bit iffy on. It definitely made the cape more practical but also stiffer. But then again the fabric itself, a silk blend I picked up in LA a few years ago, is a bit on the stiff side so maybe the flannel doesn't matter that much. Oh well, it's done now!

 

The capelet was about half machine sewing, half hand sewing. Basically anything that showed I did by hand. I was just in the mood!

The feather boas (my big splurge during the Ostrich.com going-out-of-business sale) were all sewn by hand of course. They were a huge pain in the butt to deal with but the results are SO worth it. Even if my room is covered in marabou feather fluff (I thought silk velvet fuzz was bad!).

 

I still have the muff to make but I adore the finished results and I can't wait to wear it!

 

 

 

 

 

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jennylafleur

Capelet, Mantelette, Small Cape. I'm not sure what the correct term actually is but whatever the proper title of this garment one thing is clear - it is kicking my butt.

I started this project a month ago and have been working on it in fits and starts ever since. Heavy emphases on the "fits". Really this should be a simple project. You know, a nice easy garment to ease my way back into costuming after what has turned out to be a long hiatus from personal costuming. A quick project to cross off my costuming list and get the ball rolling on my very ambitious costuming schedule for the coming year. But no, of course it's turned out to be anything but!

I started out by following the example of girliegirl32786 & bauhausfrau by scaling up the lace mantelette in Costume Close-Up.

I scaled it up to the original size, cut out a mock up and tried it on.

HORRIBLE! Clearly the sizing was off but more than that, the proportions were totally wrong. Plus it really wasn’t what I had in mind when I pictured my perfect capelet. It's not fair how it could look so cute on my friends and yet so awful on me! Merh.

Unfortunately for my sanity this project is one that I am not willing to be anything less than perfect. Why? The fabric. I was generously given a length of the most amazing cashmere/wool by a non-sewing friend. It's a wonderfully warm but lightweight fabric that is unbelievably soft to the touch. The color shifts from a slate-gray-green to a bottle green depending on the light. It's a fabric far above my normal budget and one I will probably never be able to replace. So I wasn’t going to waste it on anything I wasn’t 100% happy with.

So the question became do I alter/fudge the CCU pattern to both fit me and the stubborn vision in my head or should I start with another pattern and work from there. It was going to be about the same amount of work, so it came down to what did I feel like.

I pondered that for a few weeks and as I pondered I researched. My main question was did the capelet in my vision even exist in the 18th century? Largely thanks to Pinterest (and the links/museums/collections it lead me to) I found many more capes/mantelettes that I had ever seen before. I found a very interesting variety of construction and styles. It seems capes are like everything else in the 18th century - made by a variety of seamstresses, in a variety of ways, for a variety of bodys. There aren't really any rules, only the restrictions of the technology of the day, the skill of the seamstress and the mindful cost of fabrics. In the end I found all the elements from my vision, although not all in the same garment. Still it gave me the confidence to break away from the only extant pattern I had in CCU and create the capelet I really wanted.

One of the main elements I wanted was a full back. I thought proportionally it would look better on the curvy me but also I wanted the more luxurious feel of extra fabric. No skimpy capelets for me! Costume Close Up, in addition to the lace mantelette and woman's wool cape also has a 1780s men's cape. The men's cape was fuller, cut in a generous half circle. After finding some women's capes that seemed to be cut the same way in my research, I used that as my starting point.

But rather than going to the bother of scaling CCU up I cheated. I trolled through my Mom's pattern stash (pattern hoarders in the family do come in handy sometimes) and pulled out every pattern that had a cape. Then I looked at the pattern shapes and found one that matched the men's cape in CCU. I'm so lazy!

I basically laid that out on some muslin and, with the help of a couple of measurements, I lengthened it overall and drew in the elongated front. A quick try on and it was pretty much perfect.

I tweaked the shape of the elongated front a bit, futzed with the pleating of the neck, trimmed the angle of the front (so the edges met nicely) and worked on the shape of the hem (my shoulders hiked up the hem in an odd looking way so to even it out I had to trim the back, cutting off the perfect circle in the back) but one toile later I was done. With my heart skipping a beat or two, I cut my amazing fabric. That was too easy!


My next challenge has been the hood. I have found a few 18th century capelets without hoods but the vast majority seem to have them so even though I will probably never use it (hoods destroy carefully styled coiffures in my experience), I need a hood.

I've always loved radiating pleats on the hood on my red cape so I started with that. In making my red cape I used the hood as-is from CCU, making no changes whatsoever. The one thing I was never happy with was the awkward way it hung in the back. So I started tweaking and toiling, trying to get a hood that looked good up and down.

So far it's been nothing but frustrating as I can't seem to get it right no matter how many tweaks I make. I've lost track of how many toiles I've done, having given up on documenting every change. So now I'm trying to decide how anal retentive I'm going to be with this. Should I keep tweaking or is it time to say "good enough". Or should I just forget the whole thing and make it without a hood. I'm pondering.

Also in the pondering pile are the questions of lining (I've pretty much decided on a black silk taffeta lining, although my budget may dictate China silk instead) and trimming (black silk ribbon or vintage fur - again more of a budget question than anything).

thinking... thinking...

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jennylafleur

Yesterday's Pumpkin Tea was wonderfully fun - thanks again sadievale for hosting! Sadly Bridget wasn’t feeling well so I took her home early but joined the fun again for dinner at the Pub* and champagne afterwards back at the house. *Note if going to a costume event with Kat always bring a tiara and some bling - at some point it will be needed! This is the last time I'm unprepared!

The day inculded:
joining the 'Campaign to Save the Tiaras',
helping in a small way with sewloud's official hazing into the Fabulousity Club (it's not over Robin!),
rocking some of madamekat's rocks, drinking champagne out of a can, with a pink straw
and of course scheming about costumes and future events.

Everyone looked so great and it was so nice to hang out with you'all - I can't wait to do it again!





{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Gloria | photos | (flicker)
Amanda | photos | (photobucket)
Robin | photos | (google+)
Kat | photos | (flicker)
Maggie | photos | (flicker)
Jean | photos | (LJ - locked post)

(I'll add more links above as more photos from the day are posted...)





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jennylafleur

I had a truly delightful day yesterday at Kat's Victorian Picnic. Bridget came with me (so happy I had something she could wear that she liked!) which of course made it even better! :>

{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Kat | photos | (flicker)
Gloria | photos | (flicker)





Bridget wore my Poe Dress, which looked amazing cute on her. It fit really well except for being a bit short in the skirt and the sleeves, Bridget being my younger but taller sister. So I added a ruffle to the bottom of the skirt and moved the top ruffle on the sleeves to the bottom.

Luckily for me the new skirt ruffle was already cut out, the result of running out of time the last time I wore the dress. The plan was to add a total of 9 ruffles to the bottom of that skirt but I only got two on. That was in 2009 so it felt good to get that lone half-prepped ruffle out of my pending bin.

I still have the fabric for the remaining 6 ruffles although as I was working on it last week I remembered why that hasn’t happened yet. What a pain! This fabric is a rayon-poly-something and while it moves nicely on the body it is slippery and shifty to work with when cut on the bias as these ruffles are. Oy. I still say "someday" to the ruffle madness (it will be such fun to wear!) but probably not someday soon!

I wore my Black & White Bustle. Thanks to the twill interlining with silk taffeta combo that I used (I was silly enough to actually follow pattern directions for once, silly girl) it's definitely a cold weather outfit so I haven't gotten to wear it very often. It was fun to wear it again and it was perfect for this autumn outdoor event.

It also looked awesome with my very un-Victorian RED hair. I do love this hair color - and all the compliments I get on it - but of course the disadvantage is having to start all over with hair pieces.

Ebay was good to me in the form of some cheap Cosplay "dark red" wigs that were a great match. So the wigs were taken apart and I used some of the resulting wefts of hair to assemble and curl into Victorian submission. In the end I was really happy with my hair styling but I do need to refine the pieces a bit. Which is good for you since I'll be taking pictures of the process along the way next time. This time I was too busy trying to figure out what I was doing!

After the drudgery (dramatic sigh) of the shifty ruffles and the seat-of-my-pants hair piece making I decided to have fun by trimming a new hat. This 18th century hat from the National Trust popped up on my Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love right away. It then occurred to me that I had a small black straw hat & striped ribbon in the stash and could wear the resulting cuteness with both 1870s and 18th century frocks. Sold!

Originally I was going to use some black & white striped ribbon I have in the stash but when I pulled out my ribbon bin I found this tan and stripe ribbon that is almost an exact match to the original photo. Clearly this hat was meant to be.

The black straw hat blank is very nice quality but rather floppy for my taste so I added some millinery wire to the edge of the brim before covering it with the ribbon.

The pleating along the brim was done by just eye-balling it and pinning it on the brim as I set the pleats to make sure I got the shape right. All of the ribbon was sewn on by hand using a straw needle and silk thread.




I'm really happy with the results! It's a little plainer than I usually go for with my hats (my philosophy being one can't put too much crap on an 18th century hat - I've tried!) but it's charming and will go with so many of my costumes. It helps that so I'm tickled with the fact that I saw a picture on Pinterest and was able to recreate it from my stash on a whim! It totally makes me giggle inside...

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jennylafleur

I've been spending more time lately on Pinterest - what a great resource! I've been trying to limit myself to sewing and costuming (although I'm finding myself slipping into food and crafts too) but I'm been pleasantly surprised at how much good (cited and documented!) stuff there is. What has really surprised me is how many tutorials, how-tos and general info can be found there. And I thought it was just for inspiration boards and pretty pictures.

Through all this I just realized that my website is totally unfriendly to Pinterest. All those lovely thumbnails that are the foundation to my spiffy and fast-loading site? Un-pinable. So some revamping is needed to bring my site into the new age of linking and tutorial resource finding. I've already started on the précises, the dress diaries will be next then the study pages.

Maybe it's time to do a complete overhaul of the site, which as painful as it is for me to admit is a bit of a dinosaur. I've even considered switching it to a blogger or wordpress platform. 'Cause I have so much time on my hands right now. *rolls eyes* Perhaps I will just continue to patch thing and wait for the next big change in internet interaction to re-package my content.

*ponders*

What do you think - do you find my website un-wieldy or un-pleasant to troll through? Should my blog and site be more interlinked or is it okay the way it is? For those of you who have switched from a static website to blog format, do you like it, was it worth the effort? (I'm looking at you Jen and Sarah)

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jennylafleur

Yes!!!

I just wrangled Mom's share of the black silk taffeta in the stash. So my black Robe à la Française is officially a go. I don't know why but I've gotten my heart set on making a Robe à la Française for the Française Dinner and Costume College next year. Maybe because my attempt with a synthetic taffeta last January went so badly. Or so many of my friends are making one this year (or did last year) - I am a sheep.

Black honestly isn't my first choice but I'm poor and the only silk taffeta I have of any quantity in the stash is black so it's black or no Française. So black it is. I have found a few portraits of black gowns but it seems to be wishy-washy whether they are mourning or not. All the references I'm finding for black fabrics being specifically for mourning are matte blacks, not shiny ones like my taffeta. I am finding lots of black accessories which surprised me a bit so black was clearly fashionable that way. I'm not doing living history anymore so I'm not sure I care but in general I like to know when I'm entering a "gray" area in my costuming.

I actually have some really great black trims in the stash for this and I'm getting really excited about the possibilities, whether I can document them or not. I've just resigned myself that it won't ever photograph well and I'll be a black void in candlelight. Still it will look awesome with my RED hair at Costume COllege, and if I add enough spangles I can live with being a sparkly void... :>


So not only is my sewing muse making her presence known again she is very much decked out in 18th century, specifically the 1770s. I'm just in the mood again and have been having way too much fun researching. Lately I've been looking at 1770s images/garments thinking - that really is cute and I need that. Not that I'm abandoning my beloved 1780s and it's awesome hedgehogs and long sleeves completely but it's time for something different I think.


If money were no object I would totally make every outfit in the "Sharp Family" by Zoffany for CosCol next year. Wouldn't that be fun? Instead I'm going to be inspired by it (and some of his other family paintings) and make at least a Robe à la Française, a Riding Habit, a mantlette, a pouf wig of doom and some of those ridiculous caps to go a top it for next year.

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jennylafleur

Thanks for all your support on my hiatus. I'm feeling much better about things and actually WANT to blog now - a sure sign it's time to come back! So what have I been up to while I was gone? Not much of interest, apart from getting a new look. I've been "Red" for a month now and I love it! I probably won't keep it forever (so much upkeep!) but for now I'm loving it.

Costume College officially starts today and I'm not with all my peeps this year, which is making me incredibly sad. This sucks!

Luckily there is a lot going on around here to keep me busy and I've set aside a big chunk of my weekend to do some actual sewing (something I haven't really been doing since the ETD in April). I have lots of projects to choose from but I started yesterday by cleaning my room from top to bottom and re-arranging my bedroom/sewing room. I was hoping my sewing muse would re-appear with the dusting and the moving of furniture, I have missed her!

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