Monthly Archives: April 2017

Orange Pet en l’aire

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Orange Pet en l’aire

In my last post I casually teased that I went to Jennylafleur’s AMAZING Big Ass Hat Tea, it was pretty overwhelmingly fabulous.

An invitation to a Jennylafleur party is basically the golden ticket of costume events, and I felt pressure to live up to the people I would be with. I was waffling around trying to decide what on earth I wanted to make for this era I don’t really feel good in and my awesome friend Adrienne plopped orange check silk in my lap…yes the largest part of it is earmarked for my Gettysburg ballgown this year buuuuuut…a minimal amount of debate later (I.E. 30min over tea and cookies at sewing day) a plan was concocted for a pet en l’aire or caraco jacket.

 

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I am a big fan of this one in the LACMA collection

I started with Katherine’s francaise tutorial. If you’ve never read it and ever wondered anything about how to construct a francaise gown I demand you stop and read it…hold on I’ll wait…It blew your mind and made it all make sense didn’t it?!

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draping the back pleats on top of the fitted lining

Basically I followed the francaise tutorial but in short. Instead of inserting full side panels I laid out my side seams about 8″ in from the edge of the fabric to build in the skirting.

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sewing pleats

I hand sewed all of it, mostly because I find period construction techniques just work better with hand sewing. Well that and I happen to find it really relaxing.

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Smoothing on the front panel..see that waist wrinkle?..more on that later

I did struggle with the waist dart, in the end, I let it win. I didn’t WANT to put in a waist dart, but there are originals that have one and sometimes you just gotta listen to what the fabric wants.

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Jerk. Please admire the AMAZING carpeting in my sewing room too.

In the end I was moderately happy. I need to insert a little gusset under the arm to increase movement. But it was comfy enough that I stayed in it for 12 hours without noticing the time flying by.

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I borrowed Jenny-Rose’s petticoat, Adrienne’s hat, Jenny-Rose’s cap, Bridget’s earrings…it was a team effort.

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I did back lacing down the lining for adjustability, and bonus tie peeking

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It’s hard enough finding pictures I don’t look dumb in..closed eyes is bound to happen…also my petticoat came untied playing aggressive Graces

A huge thank you is due to our gracious hosts Jenny-Rose and the whole White Family. They throw a party like none other.

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Modeling Jenny-rose’s hat. Tell me that’s not a confection of delight.

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Sometimes it takes a village

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I had the privilege of attending an amazing Big Ass Hat Tea hosted by Jennylafleur week before last, and while I had a wonderful time others have done a nice write up of the event and I’ve been thinking pondery thoughts. Specifically about community.

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Widdle baby Wobbin. In a class Simplicity number, please admire the variegated snood.

In the dark ages when I started costuming (1997…wow) I met a lot, and I mean A LOT of my friends through costume journaling on LiveJournal, and most people have left that medium. Some wandered off when Facebook became the monolith it is, some left when Livejournal became a Russian company. I see more and more of the costuming community on Facebook and Instagram and while yes I have and enjoy both of those mediums I feel a deep sadness for the 13 year olds looking to get into costuming today.

Why? they have even MORE access to costumers! You don’t need to scan things to find them online these days. I feel this because with the death of dress diaries and journaling you lose the reinforcement that NOT EVERYTHING IS PERFECT. The number of my projects that have turned out the way I wanted compared to those I’ve never admitted to on this blog or elsewhere is probably 10:1 in favor of the trash pile.  Having a rich community of people sharing their process helped me feel okay making mistakes and growing.  I worry that the costumers who come after me will think it has to be a perfect instagram photo before it’s worth sharing.

 

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Can we take a moment to admire the twisted sleeves, suuuper narrow skirt and baby face? also hello super heavy polyester upholstery fabric *shudder* 

Okay Robin but you were talking about an awesome 18th century tea. What on earth does this have to do with anything? You may have noticed that I don’t have many 18th century costumes on this blog (do I have any?)..and the truth is that I don’t FEEL pretty in the 18th century. Why? I’m not good at it, and I’m surrounded by people who are freaking AMAZING at it. When sewing for the tea I had some *ahem* struggles.

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The wrinkle ended up winning I put in a dart

But here’s the thing, I felt comfortable with an amazing group of women who’ve taught me so much, and I showed up and said HELP.  You see sometimes it takes a village.

33902012946_3208755ff9_oAlice sewed my waist darts to help it fit. Katherine sewed my sleeve trim. Jenny-Rose lent me her AMAZINGLY decorated petticoat and stomacher as well as a delightfully ridiculous cap. Adrienne let me wear her hat. And in the end? Well I won’t say it made me as giddy as if it was silly 1830s, but I felt a million times better.

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So I guess the point of this is two fold. 1. If you’re new to costuming and looking for some community the LJ group has mostly moved to Dreamwidth. I’m Robinsnest over there and please come on in. The water’s great and it’s so fun to have friends to really talk the details through with. and 2. If Instagram and FB and snapchat or whatever the cool kids are using is your jam? GREAT. But don’t hold yourself to what you think are unachievable standards. Sometimes you’re going to a party for a friend you love in an era that hasn’t clicked with you and it just takes a village.

Stay tuned next week and I promise an actual construction write up of my oufit (the 1/16th I made)