Lady Greensleeves's Velvet Undergown

The tailoring misadventures of a histerical costumer

Friday, June 30, 2006

Do I Like Butter?

Hold up the fabric to my face and see....

I may have found it! The gold damask for the shepherdess overgown! This is a cotton blend damask called "Coriander:"

Which I find amusing, given my recent love affair with the cover of a novel called I, Coriander.

The color is called "pale gold;" the site describes it as "pale yellow." Butter yellow is one of my favorite colors to wear. Several years ago I had a butter yellow sundress that I adored; how fun would it be to have a new one for Fair?!

I think when I hit my next revision quota (which was going to be the Red Sock Quota), I may order four or five yards of this.

My one concern right now is how this pale yellow will look with the violet. Purple and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, so in the wrong intensities they can fight each other. However... still tempted. Hmmmm.

ETA... Browsing the Coriander pix reminded me that Hobby Lobby always* carries this lovely soft drapey sage green chenille in a similar diamond pattern that I've loved for a while now. That might also look well with the violet... and not quite so Easter egg-ish.

*Always, meaning "every other time I've been in, until I decide that this is the fabric I want, when they'll be out. For good."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fabric Cravings

It has long (well, OK, not that long) been a dream of mine to recreate Eleanora di Toledo's unbearably gorgeous gown in this portrait by Bronzino:

I knew the biggest stumbling block (aside from my sewing skills) would be finding a match for that fabric. That fabric!! I swoon for that fabric! I figured that by the time I found anything even close, my sewing skills would have caught up enough to attempt such a gown.

Well. Yesterday, while helping an online pal hunt down fabric for a fairy bodice, I saw this:

For the perfectly reasonably price of $13/yard. Now, I realize I just said that I never spend that much on fabric... but truly. Even I knew I wasn't going to get away with being that miserly on Eleanora.

Now, obviously that fabric is NOT an exact match. But look how pretty it is! It has the green swirls! It has the medallions! It's only $13 a yard! It's called Venetian Room, for pity's sake!

But. The medallions are green and purple; not that wonderful golden orange in the portrait. And the background is much duller than the bright white of Eleanora's gown. And possibly most significantly (which you've no doubt already noticed), the fabric is railroaded--meaning, the pattern goes sideways. Which would mean a lot of piecing. A LOT.

So... I shall probably pass, and forever rue the day I did not buy the almost-perfect fabric. Sigh.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Early Musings

A while back, while doing research for my real job, I ran across this image: What's so exciting about a woman shearing sheep, you ask? Why, that blue undergown, Lady Greensleeves replies! Because Lady Greensleeves HAS that blue undergown already: Mine is actually more of a violet, than a blue, and even *I* draw the line at shearing sheep in velvet (though not in purple), but I was nonetheless filled with a desperate longing to recreate that gold overgown. This would be my very first portrait reproduction! Huzzah for me!

Now, there are some obvious issues, here... firstly, my blue gown's neckline is much lower than that shown in the painting. Secondly, I don't know what kind of corsetry she's using, but it's fierce... and no amount of binding is going to give me her shape. (And when I bought this gown I did *not* realize what it would do to my own, ahem, assets... and am currently exploring my underpinnings options for something more flattering... and trying to ignore the little voice whispering corded corset). But, still. I think this is entirely doable, and will make my off-the-rack Sofi's gown (much as I love it) a little more special.

So... what is she thinking? She is thinking to take the Simplicity "Ever After" pattern, view C, as a base, and alter the pieces to more accurately reflect the silhouette shown in the painting (making the bodice longer and eliminating the little upward point-thingy that it does at the waist seamline). That pattern is in my stash already, thanks to some pattern sale gluttony last summer.

Fabric... I'm thinking a gold damask. I'm not actually at all certain how I look in gold, and I suppose I could go with ivory, or a soft green... but gold would also go with the Flaming Orange Chemise. My first thought was to buy a couple of the biggest gold damask tablecloths I could get my hands on, but then realized that was the equivalent of spending $10/yard on fabric... which I never do. So I'll have to keep my eyes open for alternatives.

In the meanwhile, I am still recovering from the McCall's bodice fiasco (and no, that will never be documented here), plotting the doublet for milord's father (and possibly new breeches), and my Ren-friendly Rainwear project. I'm off now to Hancock for the doublet patterns to work with, plus yards and yards and yards of muslin for mockups... but my next post will outline my scheme for the Rainwear.

The Inaugural Post

It smacks of hubris for me to begin a dress diary, but I somehow can't stop myself. It isn't as if I don't spend enough time online already, or as if my tailoring skills were anything worth showing off, but perhaps this will inspire me to greatness. One can dream, at any rate.