Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The more I study and wear vintage clothing...and the older I get...the more in favor on body shaping I become.
Sure, a variety of underpinnings is historically accurate for the first 60 years of the 20th century (yup, the 1920s and 1960s too!), but I know on more than one occasion I've skipped them. I've thought, "oh, my modern bra will do. Oh, I'm thin, I don't really need to wear a girdle. Oh, I can get away without a petticoat." But I never feel or am "fully dressed" when I go half-way on a costume, and ultimately the silhouette just isn't quite right.
Enter the shapewear. We call it "shapewear" these days, but it doesn't have to be particularly squeezy. My review today is of one such item that does a nice job, but isn't uncomfortable - the Rago 721 Waist Cincher, from Hourglass Angel.
This waist cincher (AKA girdle) comes in pink and black, which is kindof cute/sexy, and works very well as a smoother-outer. It didn't reduce my waist measurement hardly at all, but gave a nice trim line from about about the underbust to the high hip.
One thing I really like about the Rago 721 is that you can pull it up high under your bust, or pull it down lower over your hips, depending on where you want the shaping to be. The central zig-zag stitched band is the squeeziest part, and can be used to control belly or love handles, whichever you prefer.
The materials are good quality, with stiff lace over the central panel. The majority is a polyester stretch satin. It's not a garment you might choose on a really hot day - I wore it out in the heat and found it quite sweaty, and it also stretched out a bit by the time I took it off.
One thing I didn't like was that the boning in back pokes up at the top and bottom. For a dress with a loose skirt, this isn't a problem, but for a thin wiggle dress or bias-cut '30s gown, this might cause unsightly bumps on the outside.
The cincher hooks closed at center front and has removable garter tabs. I was impressed with the quality of the garter tabs, which isn't always the case. I do recommend wearing the cincher with the garters and stockings, as it helps keep it from shifting upwards as you wear it.
All in all, I 'm pleased with this item. It's easy to wear and provides just a little shaping and smoothing, nothing crazy, and is a good introduction to vintage foundation garments. Pair it with a vintage style long-line bra and full fashioned stockings and you're good to go.
Rago 721 can be found here at Hourglass Angel for $44.
Friday, July 24, 2015
I'm *deep* in Costume College prep fog, but I have been winding down my nights watching Season 2 of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries," an Australian series that is everything you would ever want a detective show set in the 1920s to be.
|Geometric blouse + solid pleated skirt and matching beret or cloche hat = Insta-vintage!|
|Via Fashion in Nostalgia|
|This coat is my *everything* - could you pull this off in today's world, I wonder?|
|My favorite outfit from my favorite episode in Season 2 - "Blood at the Wheel" - taking place around ladies' participation in racing rally cars, 1920s style!|
|Chiffon dress or blouse + cloche hat = insta-vintage|
For more Miss Fisher Fashion, check out my Pinterest board with tons of glorious inspiration!
Friday, July 17, 2015
After posting about where to find patterns for Robes a la Francaise, I thought it time to share the one I'm working on.
This is "The Silver Ghost," and it's huge. I found the warm silvery brocade in a forgotten corner of our local mill end warehouse and bought it all, immediately seeing this gown in my head. Here's hoping the real one matches my imagined one!
So far so good.
Gowns like this definitely start from the underpinnings out. I'm using the Simplicity 3635 grand pannier I made awhile back, with some alterations, primarily that I added an extra hoop into the hem, and a ruffle to help hold the skirt out. This is very important - without the extra hoop on the bottom, your sacque skirt will not hang in that attractive trapezoidal shape.
|Simplicity grand pannier pattern - out of print, but still available on Etsy or eBay.|
|My grand pannier made from the Simplicity pattern - I added a hoop in to the hem and a ruffle at the hem too.|
I picked up a tip from Starlight Masquerade on using the pannier pattern to cut the petticoat for the gown. This is a *fantastic* tip - it uses significantly less fabric that a pleated petticoat, reduces bulk, and fits over the pannier absolutely perfectly. Historically accurate? No. A really good idea? YES.
|Using the pannier pattern to cut the petticoat. I had to extend the hem to floor length and pink up the sides a bit.|
|Trimming went on the front skirt panel before stitching it to the rest of the petticoat|
|Petticoat all trimmed and put together except the hem. I interfaced about 8 inches up the hem all the way around, which helps keep the trapezoidal shape|
She's not done yet, as you can see, but the most challenging parts have been accomplished. The first step was the basic linen lining, with adjustable lacing at the center back, and lacing across the front of the body, which the stomacher will cover.
|Basica pattern for the bodice lining|
|The back length - I ended up cutting quite a lot of this off.|
|The Watteau pleats stitched to the lining at back, with the bodice piece cut out around the sides.|
|Pleating the back widths around to the side of the pannier. Easier said than done.|
|Front skirt panels in progress. These pieces are interfaced and lined in lightweight silk taffeta.|
The trim for the whole gown is alternating pinked-and-ruched self-trim and puffed "candy wrapper" self-trim, framing large puffs of gold tulle in a circular design. This is all put on by hand and has been the most time-consuming on both the petticoat and gown so far.
|Trims - finished on the petticoat and in progress on the gown front panels.|
Now I have the bodice, sleeves, and stomacher to do. I draped the bodice piece with the robings extension last night, and will mount the fashion fabric tonight. I've never used the method of robings + pins, but I'm looking forward to the adjustability this offers, both in construction and wearing.
|Draping the pattern for the bodice front with robings, which will be faced and trimmed. The stomacher is pinned under there robings, which then fold back (as shown) to cover the pins.|
Costume College, the first weekend in August. I have about two weeks to finish, eeeek!
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Happy Bastille Day! For me, Bastille Day marks the middle of the year. It says, "you've come this far, and now it's time to look towards the Fall" (may favorite time of year). Phew!
It's also the time for our big 18th century sale! There are some great Ba-steals and Ba-deals to be had (har har har) over in the SALE section at www.AmericanDuchess.com - free buckles or stockings on 18th c. shoes, Antoinettes, Nankeens, and Highburies on sale, 25% off Cavendish buckles, major reductions on Imperfects, and even a few deadstock Exclusives. Go check it out.
And now for the pretties. Sales are a good excuse for photo shoots, and I've been itching to show you "proper" pictures of the Midnight Chemise a la Reine. I bribed Abby, a historically-inclined young lady, to model (it was her first time!), and trussed her up in the full complement - chemise, stays, bum pad, ugly puffer, petticoat, neckerchief, gown, sash, beret, and of course....that hair!
What a good sport. It took 2 hours to do hair, makeup, and dressing. With the exception of the little curls down the back, all of this is her own hair! For makeup she's wearing a pale foundation (Ben Nye "Clown White"), with Heirloom Haircare's 18th century rouge on the cheeks and lips.
|Abby is wearing "Kensington" 18th century leather shoes in "Oxblood," arriving in stock very soon|
|Vive La France!|