Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy New Year - We're Having a Ball!

I started on a new corset. It's not that I didn't like the first one, it's just that my sister was a bit behind on her sewing for the upcoming Federal Ball in February; she does not have experience yet sewing a corset, so I thought I would give her a head start and pass the first one I started over to her. She only needs to finish the binding. I initially wanted to take the time to show her how to construct a corset, but time is precisely my problem - the holidays stole it all from me! lol! 

I drafted the second corset a couple weeks ago, and right now they are laying on my sewing table 2/3 boned - hopefully I will be able to finish the boning work by next weekend so I can get to sewing on the binding. Although it is not shown in the picture, there is a stomacher to this corset - progress photos will follow shortly.

Yesterday I took a couple hours out and constructed the skirt to my 1770s gown, which I am very pleased with. I haven't yet pinked and pleated the ruffling for the skirt hem - I'm actually worried I may not have enough fabric to do this - we will see how precisely I can cut the caraco first before I can say whether the skirt will have any trimming at all. One aspect that I like about the heavy brocade fabric I am using for my gown is that it not only has a good weight, but it's crisp and holds its form well. I had the skirt on the dummy last night and it looked super and had good movement. For me, a larger part of the beauty and appeal of any apparel , whether historical or modern, are the design and structural aesthetics; it's really very technical - the wrong fabric can destroy the aesthetic integrity of a garment, and this is no good! 

Anyway, thank heaven my daughter had her gown for the Federal Ball designed and constructed months ago. Last night, I took it from storage and had her try it on to ensure that everything still fit (it's always good to check), and it fits as it should! The kiddo decided she did not want a ball gown but rather a riding habit. I admit that when she told me the color scheme she desired - red, white and blue - I was a bit put off. Don't get me wrong, I'm as patriotic as any American, but she was not being patriotic at all - these were just the colors she liked and somehow I had to put them all together without her looking like the American flag! I was certain the color combo would look hokie, but once I began constructing the pieces, I felt better about it - it's actually cute. The point is, the kid loves her costume and she wears it beautifully! (For construction photos, please view The Dressmaker's Album)

As for the hubby's costume for the ball, I haven't even so much as drafted the pattern yet! I was going to put him in a periwinkle brocade - breeches, waist, and frock - but now I am rethinking this. I need to start draping the fabric and playing with some other color choices before I make up my mind - but whatever I choose, you can be sure I'll post it! I'm lucky just to get the man in knee breeches, so I really want to be thoughtful of what color(s) I put him in! lol! 

So, Cheers & Happy New Year - we're having a ball!


  1. The riding habit is lovely and it will be warm for chilly Ohio. Did you make a shirt to go under it and does it have paniers under? I love the way it lays and I'm getting ready to make a set so I'm looking everywhere! LOL

  2. Hi Jenny - thank you for your comment (and compliment!) - :)

    I did make the shirt, and rather than construct panniers, I created a simple bean roll (named for its shape) to give the illusion of panniers under the petticoat. It's a viable option for those who do not have the resources to construct the cage needed for false hips.