Friday, August 31, 2012

Portrait: Princesse de Broglie, by Ingres

Ages back, I did a poll on what sort of posts I ought to do, and while costume drama reviews came out as the most popular (and ... I've since done one), portrait costume analyses proved to be the second most popular choice.  Ive never gotten around to writing any, partly because I get anxious that I don't have anything really impressive to say, but I hope to get around that with practice.  Due to the chemise pattern I recently posted, I thought I'd start with a mid-nineteenth century example: Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn (1825–1860), Princesse de Broglie, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, ca. 1852; MMA 1975.1.186

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pattern Time: 1860s Chemise

For my 150th post ( \o/ ), a quick little pattern someone might find useful.

When I was working my way through a box a few weeks ago, I came across a chemise that didn't quite want to lay flat.  I took a closer look at it to figure out why, and noticed that it had a unique construction with the sleeves cut in one with the body and gussets inserted in the neckline.  I did a really quick sketch of the cutting layout and measured the important bits, so that when I got home I could draw it up in proportion on graph paper.


(nb. I messed up. I've been noticing it for a while, but didn't want to point it out from shame, but I accidentally gave the neckline length as it is when gathered - the horizontal cut should be much longer, to within about four inches of the side seam. Please correct for this when making your own version.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Giveaway Redux

I had a few posts queued up to do other batches of books for the giveaway, but the fact that nobody seems to have wanted the Marie Antoinette books made me stop and take a step back.  How's about if I just post the list of books/bundles I intended to post separately?  And if anyone wants them, just drop a line and I'd be happy to send them.

- Marie Antoinette, by Hilaire Belloc
- Marie Antoinette, by Bernardine Kielty

- Having Tea, by Tricia Foley - a really excellent recipe book with amaaaazing pictures and a 1930s vibe
- The Moorchild, by Eloise McGraw - one of my favorite YA books, a must-read

- Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, by Claire Tomalin
- As Her Whimsey Took Her: Critical Essays on the Work of Dorothy L. Sayers, ed. by Margaret P. Hannay

- The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, ed. by David M. Shapard, and a copy of P&P if you want it

- Knitting from the British Islands, by Alice Starmore and Anne Matheson
- McCall's Needlework Treasury (1963)
- A stack of knitting, crochet, and craft magazines from the 1940s and 1960s: Lacey's Baby Book, Womans Homecraft Needle Arts, McCall's Needlework and Crafts, etc.

Inside Having Tea

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Necessary Skill

So I've arranged to come in on Monday to the Chapman and start taking patterns!  I'm so excited - this project has been in the works in my mind for a long time and it was starting to feel a bit like a pipe dream.  I'd prefer to work in chronological order, starting with the eighteenth century, but the Chapman doesn't have anything that early, so my first pattern will be of a ca. 1845 mourning dress (very like the one in the first photo on my last post).  The second will be of a pink evening dress that's been confusing me - in an effort to figure out its date, I tried sketching it as though it were being worn.  What I got was kind of a hot mess that got me nowhere, and I realized I had a problem.

These days, photographing a dress on a mannequin (à la Costume Close-Up) would seem to be the best option to accompany a pattern.  Unfortunately, I don't know where there are any mannequins that will fit Victorian clothing - you may remember the issues with Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen?  So drawing is the only option.  But I haven't taken an art class since eighth grade!  Practice is necessary.



Monday, August 20, 2012

The Grand Project


I don’t talk very much about this project o’mine, because everyone knows the stereotype of the person who makes loads of plans to do something amazing and talks about it incessantly but never gets around to doing it.  I don’t want to fall into that trap!  But I do think about it a lot of the time.

 A mannequin I dressed with a partner at FIT

When I was taking a class in sketching extant clothing and dressing mannequins at FIT, I liked to joke that my ambition was to be the next Janet Arnold.  My sketches went from scale versions of the study garments to full-on patterns with directions.  I even did an extra one because I wanted to make the dress.  While I was researching my thesis, I took a couple of really quick patterns of garments that weren’t technically related to my topic.  (I’m glad I did, that set of stays made up very quickly.)  Then, when I was interning at the Albany Institute, it suddenly struck me that it would be a fantastic extra if the website for the exhibition could have patterns of the dresses on view for the .05% of the visitors that would like them, or if we could *gasp* publish an eensy book or pamphlet for the gift shop.  Can you imagine?  I mean, can you imagine?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Bundle No. 2: Marie Antoinette

The Marie Antoinette bundle contains two hardcovers, one by Hilaire Belloc and one by Bernardine Kielty. 


Belloc's biography was originally written in the very early twentieth century, and it's not an easy read.  However, it's also pro-Marie Antoinette and is considered a classic.  Here's a sample, given on the back cover:
She had preserved her carriage, which all who knew her had regarded since her childhood as the chief expression of her soul.  She still moved with solemnity and with that exaggeration but unflinching pose of the head which, in the surroundings of Versailles, had seemed to some so queenly, to others so affected; which here, in her last hours, seemed to all, as she still preserved it, so defiant.  For the rest she was not the same.  Her glance seemed dull and full of weariness; the constant loss of blood which she had suffered during those many weeks spent below ground had paled her so that the artificial, painted red of her cheeks was awful in that grey morning, and her still ample hair was ashen and touched with white, save where some traces of its old auburn could be, perhaps, distinguished.
Kielty's version is mostly for kitsch factor - it's from 1955 and looks it. The one review on Amazon calls it socialist and anti-Marie Antoinette, but a quick skim proves it to be as sympathetic as anyone else's.  The writing style is perfect for an interested older child.


As with last week, comment before midnight on Friday to win this pair!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1912 Project - Ladies Skirt, Pattern #0162

I received my first pattern for the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Project back in June, but didn't get around to starting because of Reasons.  I think I'd originally wanted to make it full-size for myself to wear, but, er, that would require getting myself some suitable fabric.  Whereas I have a lot of scraps in a bag in the basement, definitely enough to make up a skirt in the size that the original pattern pieces are.

I cut them out of a cute blue cotton I used several years ago to make a (very unflattering) sundress.  It makes it a bit harder to see the details, though.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Photos and Considerations


Lately I've been thinking about what I want to do re: costuming.  Several weeks ago, when I went to the Saratoga Battlefield for the Artificer's Weekend, I decided that I really was going to start going to events.  The next weekend was Defiance and Independence at Fort Ticonderoga, and I was all set to go ... but then I found out that there was an Iron Man competition thing going on that would make horrible traffic, and I thought about driving in my stays, and how the only member of the 62nd I knew wasn't going to be there, and the last few weekends had been really busy, so I didn't go.  So I've spent the last few weekends chilling, because I push myself at work and can't handle being "on" on the weekend as well.

Me at Saratoga, after having shaped my hat - much better!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Congratulations, Kelly!

Hey, Kelly!  You've won the Complete Family Sewing Book!  Please email me at aspiring.star@gmail.com with your address, and I can get it to you as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 2, 2012