Jenny La Fleur
Jenny La Fleur — LiveJournal
adventures in costuming
jennylafleur
I'm going to be taking a little hiatus from LJ for the next few weeks. I'm okay, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with life in general and my online/sewing life in particular. So I need a break, some time to reflect, and get a better perspective on some things. Then I'll be back.

If you need to get a hold of me in the meantime e-mail or texting are good. See you on the flip side...

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jennylafleur
Dress U stealth videos!Collapse )

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jennylafleur

Dress U pics - videos and thoughts to come...
(I'll be adding my favorite pics from others - since I was lazy about picture taking and have gaps in my photographic record of the weekend- and links as they are posted)

Jenny-Rose (me + favorites from others)
Aubry
Gloria - Friday
Gloria - Saturday
Gloria - Saturday night
Gloria - Sunday
Gloria - Sunday night
Kat - Friday
Kat - Saturday
Kat - Sunday #1
Kat - Sunday #2
Jess
danabren
Maggie
Stephanie
Isabella
Jackie
Loren

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jennylafleur
It's probably pretty bad that it has taken me this long to figure out what I want to wear to Dress U. What can I say; I'm very in decisive these days!

Friday: day: modern clothes or regency dress
Friday: evening: 18th century (Bellini Dress)

Saturday: day: Regency dress or pink Italian
Saturday: evening: (Titanic Dinner) Epic Titanic Dinner Dress

Sunday: day: (Tea) 18th century (a new late 1770s outfit if I can get it finished)
Sunday: evening: (Jampange Party) Evil Queen

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jennylafleur



For koshka_the_cat... it's so true isn't it? *wink*

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jennylafleur

My teens day dress plans have finally come together - yay! I'm calling it my "Auteuil Dress" since the look I'm going for is heavily inspired by all the photographs of striped gowns and large hats from Auteuil and other race tracks of the period.


The original concept for my dress was based on a fashion plate (the striped gown on the left), which I thought would look great made from a deep blue and cream striped rayon in my stash. I even had a lace that looked great with the fabric in the stash. However I was a little concerned about the shape of the skirt. I loved the band of horizontal stripes at the bottom but in all the experimenting I did on the skirts for my ETD evening gown I found that with my curvy hips and tummy a true hobble skirt or wasn’t the most flattering on my body. (Which is frankly why I went for a fuller skirt on the EDT dress.) So I was at a bit of a standstill on this outfit as I pondered what I wanted to do.


I looked around at other styles and dresses from this period but I kept coming back to that fashion plate. Then I found this gown from the Indiana State Museum (via Tumbler) and squee-ed with excitement. It solved all the problems I was having with the skirt by giving me both the dress from the fashion plate and a fuller skirt.


I went back through my images files and found some more dresses with the elements of both the fashion plate and Indiana gown, all in different combinations. Clearly I was onto something!


My biggest problem was needing another fabric for the full bottom skirt. My stash yielded nothing helpful and neither a look at Jo-Ann's offerings (surprise, surprise!). I thought about trying to do the top skirt with horizontal stripes with the bottom with vertical stripes (since I couldn't do horizontal stripes with a flared skirt). I pulled out the fabric to drape it on the dressform and see what I thought of that idea and realized that the stripe was printed and the "wrong" side of the fabric was plain blue. I already had the perfect fabric for the under skirt! Laaaaaa!


I'm still not 100% sure how I want to treat the bodice (do I want it blousy like the fashion plate or fitted like the Indiana gown? With the chevron braces of the Indiana or the little lace collar of the fashion plate? Or what about the cross-over bodice I'm seeing so much of in the other dresses?) but I'll figure it out as I work on the mock-ups. I'm going to construct it the same way I did my evening bodice, with a boned lining so that is what I'll be working on first...

Oh and yes there will be a big hat. A very big hat! :>

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jennylafleur


I have to confess that I only liked my dress at the Epic Titanic Dinner but thanks to the revamp that Bridget and I did I now LOVE it!

It's amazing how small fixes can change everything. "Small" not equaling little time of course, alterations always being time consuming. First Bridget and I pinned up the black chiffon skirt (while it was on me of course, B not having dress form), changing the angle on the side and making it more dramatically asymmetrical. I was way too conservative the first time. Once that was where we like it, we took off the black chiffon "scarf" that was on one side of my bodice along with all the beaded trim on the bodice. We moved the scarf over so it didn't end in the center front, changing the angle so it better matched the skirt. So much better!

I then had to completely remove the skirt, recut the top, fold over the top edge, gathered and hand stitched it to the boned bodice lining. Once that was done I stitched the bodice black chiffon back on and re stitched on the vintage beaded trim, keeping it only on the black this time. To balance out the decoration on the bodice I added a row of spaced gold seed beads to the ivory "scarf".


For such little changes it was a lot of work (mostly thanks to the evil natures of the fabrics involved) but so worth it in the end. Which of course begs the question why didn't I just do that the first time?! I blame the sleep deprivation and the fact that my brain had to keep track of too many things the week I finished the dress. Oh well - it's fixed now!


While I was working on the construction bits Bridget was going to town on the embellishment. She beaded the gold laces on the top and bottom then finished the beading by gluing rhinestones and sequins all over. Yay - bee bling!! *happy butt wiggle*

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jennylafleur

The GBACG Titanic Dinner on Saturday was amazing! It was one of the most magical costuming events I've ever had the privlege of attending. The venue was goregous, the food very tasty indeed, the live band such fun and the company completely fabulous.

The evening inculded the gentlemen at my table standing whenever a lady stood (squee!), couples dancing the Castle Walk to Too Much Mustard (I love that tune!), a very touching toast at the hour that the ship sank (thanks to the time differance it was right as we finished our meal) and some lovely conversations with friends and strangers alike in the drawing room after dinner.

I spent much of the evening just observing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, while squeeing inside of course. It was truely a night to remember. :>

I didn't take too many pics (too busy enjoying the moment) but I did manage to take a few videos:Read more...Collapse )

And the photos:
Jenny-Rose
Trystan
Loren
Richard Man

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jennylafleur
Today Bridget and I are working on the great ETD re-vamp while watching Lord Peter Whimsey DVDs.

I'm re-working the black chiffon side of the bodice and the angle of the black chiffon skirt, making them both more asymmetrical. The dress is looking much better - more of what I had in my head than what I ended up with at the dinner. Bridget is beading and embellishing away on the gold lace. If we have time there will be rhinestones glued on too.

Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?

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jennylafleur

The Epic Titanic Dinner – wow where do I start?!

It was everything I dreamed it would be, maybe even more. I can finally cross off "do a grand costumed Edwardian multi-course meal" from my bucket list. It wasn’t perfect by any means; we definitely had our shares of snafus, mistakes, unfortunate events and kitchen disasters but considering we aren’t professionals, we didn't have a staff of 15 and life happens really it couldn’t have gone any better.

I achieved what I started out to do – cook a meal that did some justice to the great Edwardian obsession with food and extravagance, create an atmosphere that set the mood for my guests and give all involved a chance to learn about a fascinating period of history first hand. Icing on the cake was really enjoying the process, that everyone looked amazing and the time I got to spend with dear friends.

Probably my biggest regret is the photos & videos that weren’t taken but in the case of my staff they were too busy serving (in more than one sense!), my guests were seemed to be too busy enjoying the experience (both of which I’m grateful for and take as a compliment) and I just plain forgot with everything that was going on. So I’m bummed about some of the gaps but oh well!

I’ll write more about the details and how we got there over the next few weeks but for now here are the all important photos. I combined my photos and those of Valorie Mundie of For Such a Time As This Photography as well as few of my favorites from others (*wink*). I broke them into a couple of sets ‘cause that made more sense to me at the time.

The Dinner & Absinthe Afterparty
Behind the Curtain (staff and in the kitchen)
The Food

Other's Photos:
Isabella
Katherine
Kat
Casey

And for more on the pretty frocks, here are their blog posts:
Nicole (Diary of a Mantua Maker)
Katherine (Koshka's Fashionable Past)
Gwendolyn (Idlewild Illustré)
Casey (Elegant Musings)
Aubry (A Fractured Fairytale)



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jennylafleur
YYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just scored a ticket to the GBACG Titanic Dinner!! I'm SO excited! A Titanic Dinner I don't have to do anything for but dress and enjoy - whoo hoo! This is just the motivation I need to get my dress done. (Well at least in wearable condition. I don't see the spangles happening for the ETD.) Maybe for the GBACG now though... :>

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jennylafleur
I had a great weekend in Lancaster PA at my Mary Kay conference. I took my ETD dress to work on but didn't get too much done. No worries, it was nice to get away and get a mental break from sewing.

I continued my sewing break yesterday, un packing, laundry and working on some MK, Titanic dinner spread sheets and personal stuff before getting clobbered by a headache in the late afternoon. I have a few non-sewing things to get done today but then it's sew, sew, sew! My guests arrive in 9 days - oy!

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jennylafleur
There are some days technology is annoying but yesterday it came in handy. I was whining to Bridget on the phone about my anxiety concerning my ETD layers, saying she shouldn't live on the other side of the country so she could give me her opinion. Then she said the magic word - Skype!

So after a very useful and fun Skype session where I draped my various fabrics in various ways and got some great feedback I'm feeling much better about the dress. It will be pretty! Bridget says so. :>

The skirt is now attached and the layer of gold lace on the foundation bodice as well. Today I'm off for a weekend of Mary Kay - going to a MK conference in PA. I'll have a bit of down time so my dress is coming with. I'd like to get the chiffon layer attached to the foundation and the hooks & bars stitched on but we'll see how much I really get done. See you Sunday!

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jennylafleur
I am still plodding along with the ETD dress. The chiffon sleeve layer has taken a lot of time since all the finishing is by hand and the fabric is so delicate and finicky (darn crinkle!) that I'm having to take my time at it. The neckline and back seam have had rolled hems, the side seams/kimono sleeves have been French seamed. Thank goodness I was able to use the salvage on the sleeves so no hemming there! I couldn't handle the thought of hemming the bottom of the bodice (especially since it will be covered up anyway) so I stitched a length of 1/8" ribbon along my seam allowance to stabilize the bottom. I sewed a second strip of ribbon onto the front section that has to be gathered, again for stability.

The demon fabric has continued to put up a fight in the skirt. Letting out all the seams helped but wasn’t quite enough so I inserted a placket at the center back and am just off-setting my closure on that until it fits. It’s still a tight fit, little ease, but luckily my corset is long so there isn't any strain there and I have layers of fabric to go over it so it shouldn't be noticeable. *crossing fingers*

So (after multiple fittings to double check everything) the skirt and chiffon layer are pinned in place on to the foundation bodice and I'm ready to sew them on, the skirt by machine and the chiffon by hand. Then it's onto the layers of gold lace and black chiffon. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about that part, since I'm not sure how that is going to work. I mean if the ideas in my head will look pretty on my body. But I'm trying to push the negative thoughts away and just get on with it... It will be pretty, it will be pretty…

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jennylafleur
I decided to flat-line the skirt after, it's just so much easier to deal with that way! So I found a cotton/poly voile in the stash (so happy to use this up!), cut it out and used temporary basting spray to baste the lining to the demon fabric.

I stitched all the seams, pinned the skirt onto the foundation bodice and it is too small in the waist. Ahh! I had the same issue with the bodice and think I have finally figured out what the problem is. My demon fabric doesn't stretch like the cotton muslin I used for the mock-ups. Actually I don't think it has any give in it at all. So what fit beautifully in the mock-up isn't working in the demon fabric. Awesome huh? :P

The only thing I can do at this point is sew the seams with the smallest seam allowance possible (like I did on the bodice) and hope it's enough. If not I'll have to add a panel or something, which even though it won't really show with the other layers of fabric I have planned I'd be bummed to do. I'll know it's there you see.

Moo!

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jennylafleur
After two days of futzing and frustration I finally beat the cream demon-fabric into submission and finished the foundation bodice (except for closures) - yay! SO looking forward to working on the skirt now (also made of the demon fabric)! *note sarcasm*

I'm re-thinking this issue of flat-lining the skirt with cotton. I had decided not to flatline the skirt, afraid that lining it would change the drape of the fabric too much, after all I chose this fabric for this project because of its drape. But now I'm wondering if it would help me avoid some of the demon issues I had on the bodice. I don't know...

While I'm pondering the skirt I'm trying my hand, for the first time, at hand-sewn rolled hems. Well I've tried them before but without success. After talking about my past frustrations with rolled hems koshka_the_cat was kind enough to give me a little private lesson on how to do them at Costume College a couple of years ago but despite her demonstration looking easy I was too intimidated (and lazy) to use the technique once I got home. However the only way to deal with this crinkle silk chiffon is with a rolled hem. So I refreshed my memory with this video on YouTube and started on the chiffon. So far so good, just mind-numbing. Well this project will give me lots of practice anyway... *sigh*

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jennylafleur
Clearly this project was going too well - it's now fighting back. I'm sincerely regretting using this dino fabric - it's is evil, evil stuff. Combine demon fabric with trying to do a bag lining on the foundation bodice and it's been hell.

This ladies and gentlemen is why I am a fabric snob. And why I hate bag linings. And why I don't bother with trying to make the inside of my costumes pretty. You'd think I'd know better by now.

Now I'm trying to figure out a way to get this to work without having to A) Hand sew tons or B.) redo EVERYTHING I've done in the last two days. Grrr...

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jennylafleur
I worked hard yesterday, although I don't have much to show for it. Darn you wiggly fabrics!

I got the skirt and the outer layer of the foundation bodice cut out. My cream satin/damask fabric is lovely but 100% dead dino, including I suspect some rayon, and really wiggly. So that was a tedious process. Blah.

I also got the crinkle silk chiffon sleeve layer cut out, finally. At first I tried to use the old trick of ironing on spray starch to make the fabric stiffer and easier to handle but realized that not only was this fabric a pain to iron but the ironing was taking all the crinkle texture out. That made me nervous - trying to iron the crinkle out again once the piece was washed (so the layer would be the right size) didn't seem like a fun prospect. So I had to hand wash and air dry the chiffon so I could start over. It then took a lot of gentle steaming and futzing to get the chiffon to be a uniform size so I could cut out the pattern piece (part of which is on the fold). Dude! I am never buying crinkle silk chiffon again; I don't care how cool it looks!

On the good side, both of these fabrics have been in the stash for 10+ years. It feels really good to be using them (and to never have to deal with them again!)- yay!!

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jennylafleur

The skirt toileing yesterday went really well. I played around with the seams using pins at first, trying to figure out if I wanted to go with the pleats all the way around (the way the skirt was intended to be made) or if I just wanted one in the back (more like the Cordelia). I decided I liked the slimmer front, full back so I played around with pins working on the fullness. When I was happy I stitched up the seams and tried it on.



Laaaa!!! I'm so happy with this skirt, I can't even tell you. It's flattering and makes me feel like a queen when I walk in it (It really has to be seen in action hence the crappy little video...). And that is in muslin! I didn't slim the hip area too much in the back, putting my dress definitely in the 1910-11 range but I'm fine with that. I can’t wait to see this in my fashion fabric!

I had Mom mark the hem (so my pattern could be more accurate) then started playing around with train options. Looking through my research files I’m mostly seeing pointed or triangle trains and squared off trains. Round ones are there too but the triangle and square seem to be more popular, the triangle especially so in 1912.


So I played around with the triangle. My first try was very slim and pointed, like a pennant flag. I liked it but pondering the train, it really was too long. This is an evening gown not a court dress.


So I shortened it, changing the angle of the train to more of a triangle. I like it! I should probably futz with it a bit more (I'm more hoping than anything that it will lay nicely when finished which makes me nervous) but mentally I'm really done with toileing. I need to move on with this project!

So I declared it good enough and starting tracing off all the master patterns - skirt, bodice foundation and sleeve bodice. I got everything but the skirt back piece done last night before bedtime. Today I start cutting my fabrics - exciting!!

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jennylafleur

The finial fitting of the bodiced foundation and the sleeve layer went well. The foundation has a few wrinkles that are annoying me but once I use a sturdier fabric than muslin and add the boning I think it will be fine.


The sleeve layer was good, I just need to lower the center back bottom edge another 5/8" to match the markings on the foundation. Yesterday I found a c1910 gown that I love the sleeve detailing on - I might try reworking my sleeves to something like this. I'm still pondering that though...

So I next turned my attention to the skirt. I'm going more 1911 with my gown so I wanted something a little fuller than a hobble skirt. What I really want is Wearing History's Cordelia skirt but the pattern isn't quite ready and I can't wait for it. Oh well - I'll have fun with it when it is ready! :>

In the meantime I analyzed the Cordelia to figure out what it is that I liked so much about it. For me it's really a great transition/compromise between the elegant sweeping Edwardian skirt and the slim more modern hobble. I love that it's slim at the top and flared at the bottom. I also love the pointed train since I was already thinking of going with that shape.


So I looked through my books, files and patterns and found a similar skirt in Period Costume for Stage & Screen by Jean Hunnisett. Hunnisett’s skirt is slim through the hips then has released pleats all the way around the skirt (not just the back like the Cordelia). So it seemed like a good starting point.


One of the things I love about Jean Hunnisett’s books are that the patterns are not only based on extant garments (don't let that book title fool you, these patterns are not just for theater) but they are sized for a modern body so adjustments are easy. Since this was a skirt I decided to draft it up rather than use the computer to blow up the image. So lots of math and measuring later I had a toile mocked up. It used a lot of fabric but I decided to do a full mock-up so I could play with the pleats, the flare of the hem and the ease on my body. The pics are of the skirt with the seams just sewn up, without the pleats being defined or sewed down. It’s a really pretty skirt as is but not quite right for my ETD.

So I started fitting the skirt to get that slim in front, full in the back look that I want. No pics of that step but I think I'm on the right track...

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jennylafleur

The second fitting of the ETD gown went pretty well. The bodice foundation just needed a couple of tweaks in the fitting here and there. After looking at my inspiration gowns and Arnold again (and referancing Nicole's & Katherine's versions of this bodice) I realized I probably cut the neckline a little low so I’ll need to fix that in the next toile.


The "sleeve" layer toileing, which will be out of crinkle chiffon, went pretty well too. I started with the under bodice from my now defunct Peacock Dress, which used the bodice from my Erte gown (which was in turn based on the Sense & Sensibility 1911 Kimono Dress pattern). Luckily for me I was smart and kept not only the master pattern I'd created for that project but the last toile as well so I was able to quickly sew that up and try it on yesterday. I noted the adjustments needed (the size - too small now - moo! and the sleeve length) and cut a new toile.


The updated toile looked pretty good, just tweaking really. So all that work on a dress that never was wasn’t wasted! The biggest change was to opt for gathers at the center front rather than the darts of the Peacock bodice. The gathered should be really pretty in the soft chiffon.


I quickly took off the toile, made some of the fitting adjustments (like bringing up the kimono sleeve under the arm to create a more fitted look), tried it on a again and marked further adjustments. The sleeves need to be shorter, the bodice bottom needs to be evened out. So new toiles were cut and sewn so I'm all ready for the next fitting...

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jennylafleur


I started on my ETD evening gown in earnest yesterday. I had piddled around with it last week but yesterday I actually did some fitting.


Since I’m building this gown from the inside out I started with the bodice foundation, using the lining from the Lady Maude Warrender gown found in Arnold's Patterns of Fashion. Using patterns from Arnold is always interesting because those patterns are taken from extant garments that were fitted to a specific figure. This bodice had a really interesting shape (that was nothing like mine!) and a pretty dramatic waist to bust ratio. So lots of adjustments, albeit simple ones.


I tried fitting from the front to the back but found that fitting from the back to front was more accurate. Also much easier to fit on oneself! I transferred all the markings, cut and stitched a new toile and that was as far as I got...

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jennylafleur

The Ides of march tea yesterday was great fun! Good company, good food, lovely frocks and the perfect weather! Thanks again for organizing the day for us isabelladangelo

Also a reminder that I really do need to break down and make a Spencer! :> I din't take too many pictures - I was too busy having a good time - but I do have a little stealth video...



Pictures of the event:
Jenny-Rose
Isabella
Gloria
Maggie
Stephanie

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jennylafleur

The Flying Wrap is going well. For a pretty simple garment it's been a time-eater though. Of course I'm not sure why it is that when I pick the most difficult fabrics known to the sewing world to work with I expect to breeze through a project! Silly Jenny!


Putting on the velvet bands was simple but meticulous work. All the bias strips had to be pieced together then seams pressed open (using a needle-board so as not to crush the velvet). For the sleeves I had to sew the strip into a circle to go around the sleeve edge - you can bet I triple and quadrupled my measurements on that one! Then the band had to be pinned onto the edge – so time consuming! Luckily this velvet wasn’t too finicky and I didn't have to hand-baste it as well. I then sewed the band on as well as sewed a basting stitch along the other edge.


The bands were then carefully pressed, first on the underside (to create a sharp edge at the stitching line) then on the "right" side (creating the finished edge.)





I then carefully smoothed out the taffeta and using the basting stich on the raw edge turned the remaining raw edge under to create the hem. That was pinned and later stitched down by hand.






The skirt band was slightly more challenging as I decided to do an interlining of cotton twill to weigh-down the garment. I took the further precaution of stay-stitching the hem edge and used the basting stitch on the opposite side of the band to slightly gather the top to adjust for the curve of the hem. Finicky but so worth the effort!


The twill interlining did the trick, adding just enough weight to help the wrap turn the corner and look lovely and elegant. No more Stay Puft woman!


I've also worked a little on the embellishment. I stitched a mixture of bugle and seed beads to the edge of the sleeve to add some sparkle and weight there. I’ve also been making beaded tassels - but that is the subject of another post...

I still have the neckline/front and belt to finish/hem/attach and the rest of the beaded tassels to make. So it's all hand work at this stage, which is the perfect sort of work for headache and travel days. So while the wrap isn't quite done I'm moving on to other things.


Oh and I'm so excited I don't have to make anything to go under the wrap because I realized last week that I already have the perfect Edwardian nightgown - my 18th century chemise gown! It looks perfect under the wrap and is of course really comfortable. Yay!

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jennylafleur

What is better than a lovely new Edwardian blouse pattern being available? Getting it for free!

Info on the giveaway can be found here, while more info about the pattern can be found here.

I love that Wearing History is branching out into the Edwardian period now; there just aren't enough good patterns from that era out!

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