Proposed project: 18th century bodice

Remember this fabric, I found what it has to be made into.
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“A LADY’S BODICE OF BLUE SILK BROCADE
POSSIBLY DUTCH, FIRST HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY “

I’m hoping I’ll have enough for this bodice since it looks very simple but still have enough yardage to be able to make a later style 18th century jacket to go over my blue quilted petticoat. I’m hoping they will have more photosif I buy the auction catalog. Maybe not…

Pisa, Italy: Renaissance dress & textile sample

The third dress we were able to observe showing the center front seam:

The gowns were handled by the curator to show some specifics of what they found. Do not worry that wasn’t a stray hand reaching out to touchy touchy.
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Red Silk Wedding dress: fabrics

This gown was completed and delivered last week. I hope she enjoyed wearing it on her big day: 10/31/2008. Here follows the beginning of the dress diary:

Starting out my client knew she wanted a red wedding dress. She had examples of heavily ruched and pleated dresses as well as with some gorgeous 1950s dresses. Another gown in her examples featured a decorative petticoat that was intentionally showing. We decided the dress would definitely be knee-calf length with a decorative petticoat and a pleated bodice. We poured over pieces of fabric and lace in my workroom.

These are an example of the general idea of what was going to be sourced for the dress:

Of course the color would have to be the exact right “shade” for her complexion and taste. And the lace or embroidered netting needed to be light and airy not heavy or crocheted.
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Fabric Sample : test swatch

My client took a trip to LA fabric district and picked out this lovely peach shot-with-white silk and white silk for binding.

I’m testing out a color for flossing (not completed on the swatch) which was later abandoned because it was too cream and blending in too much with the base color. Thread, ribbon, and grommets are tested. The swatch also provides information on the actual turn of cloth for the final construction and patterning adjustments.

Fabric stash additions

A lovely, deep & rich purple-shot-with-black silk taffeta:

I have a limited amount of this but can buy more if a project demanded a lot of yardage.

Blue & Silver with floral design damask:


I fell in love with this fabric, as it screams “make me into an 18th century gown!”, but alas, there was only 5 yards total on the bolt. We searched the store in hopes of finding another remnant hiding between the cracks. No such luck. I have to nix the robe a la fran├žaise style or make it for a child. A miniature sample gown isn’t such a bad idea…

Quilted doublet test sample

Here is an example of a quilting sample that was used in picking the right combination of fabrics, batting, and extra padding for an arming doublet that is in progress:

The Venetian hose made of a lovely medium gray wool linen in white linen were completed last week but I have yet to photograph them at all! I will try to get some photos at the next doublet fitting as they already went home.

Wedding dress diary: lining

Okay I give up, I need to show you guys some of the pretty:

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I’ve been holding secret all my sewing progress on the gown for 5 months now and I’m about to burst (with a few exceptions of people involved with helping with the gown, hair, and make-up who have seen the gown). I guess I’m most proud that I got it done exactly on schedule and that I can say “Oh yes I got it done last year”. That really feels good.
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Partlet mock-up & sleeve progress

My client’s main concern is to maintain the lightest garment possible (for temperature as well as medical reasons) while attempting to still have a true Renaissance feel to her gown. In this vein we decided to do detachable sleeves with a separate blouse partlet of a fancy embroidered silk. I’m calling this a partlet but I’ve also heard it called a tucker.

Partlet pinned (box-pleated ruff to be added during final construction):
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I was super excited to work on this project when she showed me this embroidered fabric. At $60/yard the patterning was done very carefully to minimize fabric usage.

Sleeves in progress:

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