Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Contouche!

I'm excited! I'm finally working on some historical costuming again! It seems to be increasingly rare these days since I'm usually working on anime commissions. x.x Anyway, quite a while ago, I came across a bolt of embroidered red taffeta on the clearance rack at Joann's. It was so delicious, I just had to have it to make a robe à la française. I bought it and brought it home, where it languished in limbo for a few months while I worked on other things.
Well, it was staring at me. It wanted to be ma
de into a robe à la française, and it wanted it now.
I used La Couturiere Parisienne's contouche tutorial, my own experience with past projects, and Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion to draft a pattern for the bodice lining. I cut out a mockup in canvas duck, and it fit perfectly! Thank goodness, too, because I had to keep myself from pulling my hair out while I was drafting it. x.x
I used the lining pattern to cut out the gown, and I used Janet Arnold's pattern to cut out the skirt. I went ahead and pinned the pleats in the back so I could get an idea of where everything fell.
Instead of stitching everything together at this point, I decided to start decorating the skirt panels now so I could have a flat panel to work on and not have all the rest of the gown fabric in the way while I was attaching the ruching.
Ah, ruching. I do love it. And I wanted a big, flooshy, elaborate gown, especially since most of my gowns were relatively simple. So, I used the Boucher painting of Mme. de Pompadour as inspiration and started to cut out ruching. I cut out 8 inch wide strips of fabrics, pinking the raw edges - one edge was straight, and the other was scalloped. I gathered the straight sideof the ruffle about 1 inch in from the edge, and applied the ruffle to the skirt panel in a serpentine pattern. I had to tack down the wider edge of the ruffle in several places just to keep it from flapping around everywhere. I'm really thrilled with how it turned out, but I wanted to do a bit more. So, I hit the fabric store and bought some nice looking lace and some wired pink ribbon to make ribbon roses.


I used this tutorial to make the roses. Each rose took about 15 inches of ribbon, and one spool was enough for one side of the skirt, or 8 roses. I added a 3mm rhinestone to the centre of each rose to give it a bit of sparkle. But, after applying the lace, I'm not really sure on the final look of it against the red fabric, it seems like too much of a contrast. I'm thinking of adding some fly fringe in a different colour...gold, or green maybe, but I haven't decided yet.

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