Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vespertine Winter Ball Gown

The Vespertine Winter Ball was held on 20 December 2014.  It’s a ball celebrating winter and the solstice.  It was held in the same ballroom and produced by the same woman as The Vampire’s Masquerade Ball (vampireballpdx.com), which is a gothic ball held every March.  Instead of a gothic theme, the Vespertine Ball is wintery decorations and costumes in white, silver and blue.

I made an 18th Century style vest and knee-length pants for my friend Orange (I hope to have pix soon, as well as GEARcon fashion show pix) out of (not metallic) silver duppioni silk.  He did the buttonholes and buttons because my machine needs to be serviced–everything else on it works fine.  He also made some alterations to a silver Chinese brocade knee-length coat.  He gave me a white wedding dress, which I covered with peacock blue/turquoise synthetic organza, blue and metallic silver lace, and winter white tulle that has nearly clear sequins on it.  This took a LOT of work, as I had to do a ton of hand sewing.  I normally don’t do a lot of hand sewing and my lower arm right by my elbow hurt for days.  Photos of me in this gown are below.

This is my sister on the left and I'm on the right.

This is my sister on the left and I’m on the right. Photo by Orange.

Another view, but I should  have turned the other way.

Another view, but I should have turned the other way. Photo by Orange.

A close up of the front.  Photo by M.H.

A close up of the front. Photo by M.H.

The process of creating this covering for this dress was this: I draped an upper front piece over the bust and sewed it and sleeves on.  For the back of the skirt, I just sewed a couple widths of organza together and gathered them at the top then sewed this to the back of the waist under the part where the corset top overlaps the skirt (they made the dress look like it was a separate corset and a separate skirt).  Then I draped fabric on the back of the bodice and sewed that by hand.  The back doesn’t look very fancy.  Then, for the front, since I was copying a dress from the book Style and Splendour: The Wardrobe of Queen Maud of Norway by Anne Kjellberg and Susan North, which has photos of what Queen Maud wore from around 1901 to 1938–I copied the style of one of her evening dresses from 1908, I pinned narrow ribbon to make the line for the asymmetrical overlapping front.  The book’s ISBN is 1-85177-454-8.  Then I draped the smaller front underlapping side then the larger front overlapping side.  Before I hand stitched the fronts to the dress, I sewed the blue and silver lace onto the organza.  Then more hand stitching.  It was simple but took a long time and I had to make sure I draped it right so that when I put it on, nothing was too tight or too loose.  Below is the photo from the book.  I copied the green one in the middle.

Book's caption is Three evening gowns, 1907-9, centre gown by LaFerriere, Paris.  I really would love to make a better version of it, it's so beautiful.

Book’s caption is Three evening gowns, 1907-9, centre gown by LaFerriere, Paris. I really would love to make a better version of it, it’s so beautiful.

As always, I welcome comments, questions, suggestions and constructive criticism.  If my explanations aren’t clear, please let me know so I can simplify them.

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Time Travelers’ Ball Gown

Dear readers, yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  I’m still working on getting photos for the costumes my models modeled for me at GEARcon in July (new photos, not photos from the original photographer).  In the meantime, here are photos of me in the gown I made for the Time Travelers’ Ball on October 18, 2014.  One or two of the photos are by my dear friend Orange (who also helped me do some of the sewing) and the rest are by this guy whose name I can’t remember who was taking pix for free.  This gown is the same pattern as one I’ve previously done. It’s made from synthetic-fiber Chinese brocade and dupioni silk.  I didn’t have enough brocade to make the whole gown; fortunately I had enough silk in the matching color.  I already had the lace, so all I had to buy was the ribbon and gold trim.  The skirt was made from some polyester-nylon taffeta left over from another project.

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Filed under Garments, Misc.