Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Curtains for Me!

I am in love with PicMonkey's new collage feature. No more ghetto photo-stitching in Powerpoint!

Pink seam binding on the inside, practically invisible on the outside!
I finally got my American Duchess Astorias, which meant that I could finally hem up the skirt from my newest steampunk outfit. I ended up not using horsehair braid, mostly because of how many yards the skirt hem is, and how many yards of horsehair I had left. Instead, I sewed on a strip of seam binding, then stitched a blind hem by hand.

It's been a while since I sewed up this skirt from a pair of donated curtains, but I never wrote my final notes about that skirt, as it technically wasn't finished, so if you were curious (not you, I know, Shayna!), here it is!


I am in love with this waistband.
Summary:
Fabric: About 4 yards of 60" wide (or 1.6 curtains' worth) 70/30 viscose-polyester blend striped fabric. It's impossible to get it to hold a crease, but that also means that it doesn't wrinkle. And the relatively large amount of viscose means that it still breathes fairly well.
Notions: Seam binding, interfacing, hook and eye, snaps, 7" metal jeans zipper
Hours: For the main skirt construction, about five (but that includes drafting and fiddling with the waistband), but then there was an additional few hours of hand-stitching the yards of hem. It was fine, though, because I discovered that Tom Hiddleston/Loki recorded a YA audiobook, The Red Necklace, by Sally Gardner. He has the most amazing reading voice; I could seriously listen to it all day*. As it was, I sat through Disks 1-3 while hemming.
Very non-period closures. But the zipper is lapped,
so at least it's more or less hidden?
Will you make this again? I only need so many long skirts, so probably not. Also these trained, full skirts eat fabric like nobody's business.
Total cost: The fabric was free, so I'm going to say less than $2 once you throw in all the notions.
Final thoughts: I have yet to wear this skirt out, as steampunk-appropriate outings have been scarce, but I love swooshing about the apartment in it! Walnut approves, too, as the skirt is full enough that he can hide inside it comfortably. I love the train, the chevrons, the colors, and the relative luxuriousness of the fabric, considering that I didn't have to pay for it and the curtain material is pretty substantial. I've been wearing it with a long, ruffled bohemian skirt underneath as a petticoat; considering that nobody's going to see it, and that it does just fine fluffing out the skirt, I really don't see the need to gather yards and yards of white fabric to make a "real" petticoat. Incidentally, Cecily is not wearing a petticoat in the top picture, so the skirt looks more columnar.

For those of you who were wondering (which might very well be none of you), the pattern was supposed to be the OOP Simplicity 8375, but I ended up modifying it so much that I don't think I can really say it was that pattern anymore. And besides, it's not even available anymore except from a few scattered online sellers, so I thought I'd share my "pattern" with you all. I've included the actual pattern for the waistband with the higher back (meant to accommodate both the weight of the pleats and the short backs of 1910s blouses) and chevron front, and instructions for drafting the skirt panels to fit your waist. My actual sewing directions are more on the skimpy side, as the construction is just like any modern skirt with a center back zipper and waistband. So if you've ever wanted an easy, vaguely Victorian/Edwardian, long, full skirt with a train, here the pattern download link: 

Chevron Waistband "Bustle" Skirt Pattern and Instructions

It will take about four yards of striped fabric (curtains are a good option) and the extra length in the back will accommodate a small bustle pad. It's a good option for costumes where you don't need to be historically accurate, but still want to give off a vaguely historical air. But lest my assertions seem totally unfounded, here is proof that I wasn't just being fanciful; I did have these gowns as inspiration for the smooth front with a pleated train in the back:

From this book, Harper's Bazaar, 1898.

Back view. My pleats don't fall quite as nicely, but I'm going to file this away as "Ehhh, good enough."

*Why is it that fantasy movie villains always have the best recitation voices? I am, of course, basing this observation off of my very excellent sample size of two, that being Alan Rickman/Snape/Judge Turpin (reciting a poem here) and Tom Hiddleston (sample of his reading here). Does anyone know of any other villains reading literature that I should be listening to?

22 comments:

  1. He's only a part-time villain, but I'm pretty sure Benedict Cumberbatch has recorded a couple of audiobooks. Of course, I'd pay to listen to him read the phone book. Alan Rickman, too - that voice should be illegal.

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    1. Oh Alan Rickman! I swoon every time I hear his voice. I think I would have a hard time taking Benedict Cumberbatch seriously...I just keep thinking of otters that look like him ;)

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  2. Great job on your skirt! I love the waistband, too! And the closures are very theatre costume shop. =)

    It is interesting how villians usually have great voices. And those who do have great voices usually play a villian at one time or another - like Anthony Hopkins. (Almost all the Star Trek men have great reading voices!) Come to think of it, pretty much anyone with a British accent makes a wonderful listen for audio books!

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    1. Thanks, Brooke! I figure I'm not going to wear such a sewing-by-the-seat-of-my-pants skirt to a historically nitpicky event, so I might as well make it easy to put on!

      Oh, I love it when Leonard Nimoy does documentaries. And those British accents always get me!

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  3. Well, Tim Curry is vaguely a villain in the Disney 3 Musketeers movie (he plays Cardinal Richeleau), but he reads the audiobooks for Garth Nix's trilogy of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, which are utterly fantastic. They are the first audiobooks I've successfully listened to. I would recommend them 100%.

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    1. Thanks for the rec! If I see them at the library, I'll definitely check them out. I tried reading that trilogy in elementary school, but couldn't get into it then...I figure I'm old enough to try again now!

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  4. I Love the interplay of the stripes. Well done!

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    1. Thank you! I was pretty pleased with how they came out too!

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  5. Love the chevron waistband!!!!

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  6. I am so in love with this skirt. And now I am so in love with the images you posted. Want 1890s seaside dress out of gingham now please!

    And yes, smooth fronts + pleated bustle back = totally historical for the 1890s. I have dozens of patterns that all do that. And am making a ca, 1900 dress where the skirt does that myself right now!

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    1. Thank you! And I can't wait to see your skirt! Yeah, I looked through my book just to make sure I wasn't doing something *too* anachronistic or fantasy. I just love all the seaside fashions in that book!

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  7. Hi Cindy, I have a question not related to this post.
    I read a post of yours a while back about a dress u made and u had wierd wrinkles which u put down to "not having enough butt to fil it out" or something like that...

    I have been getting that issue lately with skirts that are not full. Have u found a way to fix that little fitting issue?

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    1. Neeno, I'm not sure exactly how/where your butt isn't filling it out, but on my perfect McCall's 5845 dress, I ended up deepening and shaping the back darts. If that doesn't make sense, let me know and I can email you a diagram of what I did.

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    2. I looked at my Readers Digest book and think its because the skirt is too small... which is strange because the finished measurement is bigger than my hip/butt measurement. :( They suggest to enlarge the area over the buttocks and making the darts deeper .. cutting through the centre of the dart.

      The thing is, the dress is finished! So i can't make those adjustments.

      In one of your posts, you mentioned "sway booty" which I think is what I may have?

      I am thinking about letting the darts out, because extending the darts didn't help.

      The wrinkles point down towards the centre, shaped like a V

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  8. I am so interested in your steampunk creations. I have been costuming a play taking place in a 1916 circus and need all the helpI can get! What alovely skirt. I bet it looks fantastic on you too!

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    1. Thanks, Justine! I look forward to seeing your circus costumes; it's one of my favorite eras along with one of my favorite costume genres!

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  9. have you tried spike (james marsters) reading the dresden files? the books are a little weird, especially at first, but they really get going and i could listen to marsters read the phone book. the books are sort of like if joss whedon wrote raymond chandler novels instead of television shows. :-)

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  10. Beautiful skirt. I love vintage/antique clothing.

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  11. omg love the design of this skirt....what pattern did you use?

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    1. If you read the entry, you'll see that I heavily modified an existing OOP pattern, but I do provide a link to a pattern/tutorial for what I did.

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  12. Richard Armitage has a voice worth dying for and he has done many audio books.

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