Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A lot of tv and a little sewing.

Still putting off Christmassy things, I've been ordering movies through my interlibrary loan coworker...all are supposed to be set in the 1700s but the costuming says otherwise in a few, oh well! A listing so far:

Tom Jones: I keep watching this one over and over because I love the lower class clothing! The upper class is hit or miss but the bed gowns, striped petticoats, checked aprons, caps and such on the less-than-gentry are awesome. Plot: a lot of lighthearted fun and drama with comical star-crossed lovers.

City of Vice: again, loving the lower class, someone did some good research. Fairly dark subject matter but compelling look at the beginning of London's police force. Sad there are only 5 episodes!

A Harlot's Progress: I really liked some of the caps the women were wearing, and again there was some great middling to lower class clothing. Based on what might have inspired Hogarth to sketch his series by the same name (kind of depressing, really, but I can sit through anything for good clothes).

Fanny Hill: oh Lordy, I think there's more clothing OFF people than on them, but what can you expect of one of the most racy novellas ever to be banned from sale? There are some really pretty gowns and I definitely want to take some screencaps of a few of the hats to reproduce them. Plot: the debauching of a young country girl who finds her love in a bawdy house, loses him, sleeps with a lot of people, and then finds him again. If you have the vapors over nudity, I don't advise this one. The producer is Andrew Davies of Pride and Prejudice fame, and I have to say this is pretty well done too, just very, very naughty.

The Brotherhood of the Wolf:  this had pretty much nothing to do with the 1700s, costume-wise..most of the female clothing looked like Halloween costume parodies of what uninformed people think 18th century clothing looks like, with some weird peasanty renditions of 17th century wear as well. Awful. But I've always been interested in the legend of the Beast of Gevaudan, the creature who prowled the mountainous region of France, so this fanciful rendition of one of the theories about it was fun enough to make me want to watch it again. Just not for the clothes.

And speaking of clothes I have made a tiiiiny bit of gown progress...in between all the tv. The sleeves are on and are pitifully set in but I refuse to tear them out and recut just because I didn't have enough fabric in the shoulder to prettily pleat along the top. Whatever. I'm so over 18thc sleeves *grumble*. The gown has robings down the front, and I think the back has turned out really pretty with the trim along the top. Going to bed happy tonight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A tippetuous time

This weekend I finished a tippet! With the weather having turned hideously cold (high of 29? really? I know I should give thanks I'm not in Alaska but this Midwestern girl likes moderate temperatures) I've been thinking about how 18th century folk had to deal with the cold....especially women. NO long gown sleeves for the better part of the century, mostly finger-less mitts, impractically short or thin-looking cloaks...ugh I don't think I would have survived, or else I would've been unfashionably wearing blankets everywhere.

But I quite like some of the winter accessories, like muffs, and especially tippets! Furry scarves? Sign me up. Now I should make the disclaimer that I do not like the thought of murdering tiny animals to wear them, but since my tippet is vintage I figure it's ok to recycle. Here's the inspiration for the tippet:

(Marquise de Lamure, née Charlotte-Phillippine de Chastres de Cange, by Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694-1752).) 

So much gorgeousness in this painting that I don't know where to look first. The adorable lace cap, the earrings, the fan, the gloves (WITH FINGERS thank god, at least this woman knew how to be practical) and funny arm-warmer things. Of course none of my clothing is anywhere near this fabulous or upper-class, but when I spied a bit of fur at the thrift store and realized it was about the same color as the tippet in this painting, I snapped it up.

Most likely it was a coat collar at some point -- the back was covered with satin and it was stuffed inside with some dubious batting, with a row of snaps along one edge presumably to stick it to the coat.

It had a row of netting along the other edge, which came in handy when stitching the fur shut into a little tube. No idea what kind of fur it is...it's not silky enough for mink, not rough or long enough for coyote...all I can think of is that maybe it's been chemically treated somehow, or faded in daylight. A friend said it looks like a furry snake now...it doesn't! Ok I'm not fooling anyone, it kind of does.

                                                             Tada! A tippet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holidays = progress

As I'm procrastinating cookie baking and finishing decorating the house, I suddenly find there is time for sewing now, despite being busier than ever...funny how that works. Granted, a GREAT deal of my absence lately can be blamed upon my darling new child --the iPad Mini. I almost can't bear to take a shower because of how far away from it I have to be for ten minutes (ok not quite that bad, but I feel strangely bereft if it's in another room for too long). The degree of obsession, I unwisely supposed, would be much less than that I experienced when first getting an iPhone, because surely I'd be used to the whole thing now and it would be old hat. Foolish, foolish me.

At any rate, at least it's got a slightly better camera than the phone so it's (unimpressive) picture time!!! I don't know how well pictures attach from the mobile Blogger app (edit: not embedded within text, apparently) but here goes!

I was watching The History of Tom Jones, which really has fairly attractive 18th century clothing (certainly a few doozies as well though) and working on sleeve drafting tonight because somehow I lost the last paper pattern I drafted.

My first en fourreau back is still a bit iffy and certainly needs ironing but I'm rather proud of it, like a kid with his first horrible glue-dripping, macaroni-encrusted, cardboard picture frame craft. I.e., I know it's kind of a mess but at least I attempted it (and without a pattern!).

In my overflowing stash I found a bit of matelasse fabric and whipped up a "quilted" stomacher to go with the dress and I think it'll be rather pretty when the edges are covered by the gown. That fabric was ungodly expensive so it's a good thing JoAnn's only had a teeny bit left.

And I'll also treat you to a picture of King Coal, Ravager of Frocks. He has already chewed small holes in the gown skirt and got the butt-spankins of his little furry life, because he knows well and good he isn't allowed near my fabric. Oh well, I guess patching is authentic.