Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — part 7

To quickly recap what’s been happening over the past couple of weeks, although in reality it’s only been three, four days of limited hours of sewing…

Corset: We have achieved corset, but not without making the first one two sizes too small, which I supposed had much to do with the fact that I took two people’s measurements at the office on the same time and had the petite-er of my two petite co-workers in my head at the same time.  My corset pattern is The Mantua Maker’s 1550-1630 “Quilted Pair of Bodies — the same pattern I used for my own a few years ago.  The pattern is a dream and props to the person who drafted it.

Because my current victim is well-endowed with vast tracks of umm… [insert Monty Python reference here] to make a corset that will fit her frame and accommodate the girls, the straps have to come off as they hit her in the wrong place…for example the back of her arms and generally force the corset up too high on her.  Other than trimming the waistline up about a 1/2 inch across the back and sides things have worked out well.

Camicia: For those not is the know a camicia is a shift or what is more commonly referred to as a chemise.  The fabric of choice is 3.5 oz. linen which comes from my favorite online fabric source which is surprisingly a local vender — local meaning the greater Los Angeles area, though the lady for whom I am sewing from kept saying ‘This feels just like the linen I’ve seen in the Ukraine.  This is just perfect, I already feel at home in my costume.”  [me: Gotta love the neophytes …but she should know as she’s basically from there.  *rolling eyes*]

I following the instructions that came with the pattern for 1540s-60s Florentine Lady’s Outfit from Reconstructing almost verbatim, the exception being is I made my own bias for the neck band.  While this is most likely not 100% period, it does give it a much nicer, smoother and cleaner look and finish.

People, take the time to learn how to cut and make your own self-bias, it will make all the difference in how professional you finished garments will look and you’ll feel awesome that you finally did it.

Farthingale: Completed and I’ve ranted about it already in my post about Simplicity’s 16th Century Underpinnings.

The Gown: It’s under-construction and worthy of its own pattern review rant.  I will say this n the interim: “Kass, I love you but the slacker girl in me would readily pay an additional $10 for skirt pieces on separate sheets of paper rather than trace them off separate. I just don’t have the time to do it every single time.

Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — part 6

It begins.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

Okay, here’s my sewing frenzy work plan:

Today:  Ordered what I hope will be a 20 yard piece  of a very nice black and silver-gray jacquard ribbon that has the feel of the original trim work on Eleanora’s gown.  Humorously enough it’s from a vendor on Etsy from my next of the woods [go figure.]

New Black & silver trim

Next stop is to order linen from for the lining because the Thai silk is a bit lightweight to stand by itself.

On the sewing front, it’s underpinning day so it’s time for corset making, chemise and with any luck, I’ll find my farthingale pattern… well, actually any farthingale pattern will do, mine, the one I bought from Mantua Maker or heck, even the Simplicity one will do.



Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — part 5

Fast forward 9 years . . .  Yes, nine years and a brief “retirement” from costuming and I finally back on track for making this gown and it’s going to get done in the next month.  Instead of being for me, it is part extravagant birthday present and part reciprocity for proof-reading a novel I am writing for a friend and co-worker [Yes, I am a victim of NANOWRI disorder.}

Also since so much time has passed, I’ve been able to rethink some things about construction and linings and stuff and by luck, my friends at Reconstructing History have taken the time and inclination to create a pattern for the EOT gown so now I don’t have to spent hours swearing while drafting patterns from the scale graphs in Patterns of Fashion.

Wish me luck as I’m changing body type gears from a BBW Californian to a very buxom, petite Russian import.

Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — Part 4

A slight change in plans . . .  (cira. 10/17/2004) About a month ago, I went ebaying to see if I could track down more of the original lime silk because I wanted to make sure that I had enough for the sleeves. The merchant had some, their last piece in fact, but the dye lots didn’t match when it arrived here. *pout* So rather than trying to over-dye it to match. I decided to go hunting again and see if other Thai silk merchant (the one from Singapore that sends fun little nic-nacs in their package) still had some more of what they call “Plunket Blue” and behold they did – bonus, the dye lots match. Thus, I’m switching my primary colors and making the deep blue-green to the gown and the lime (or “Gooseturd” to be period-proper) petticoate. Oh yeah, I found some lace for my camica too. Here’s a scan of the fabrics.

I’m also still trying to figure out how to use my scanner and the “special HP photo tools” that came with my new PC so the scans are kinda crappy . . . sorry.


Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — Part 3

All things work together . . .  (cira. 8/3/2004) My silk arrive from Singapore on Saturday. The second piece of the lime green is more celery and it have to be will be dyed down a tad and the turquoise is considerably darker than the photo, much teal, sorta that rich deep Aegean sea blue-green. Its by far less stark and “constrasty” than the Turquoise would have been. It should make wonderful guards, but now what do I use for my corded petticoate? [Can you tell I’ve been watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on DVD, again?]

Since I was ironing, I had to take the lime silk out and iron it out and drape it on the chick. This fabric is very lightweight and almost sheer so I will have to underline the whole thing. I’m thinking bleached muslin because I want to keep the outfit on a whole very light but still have enough opaqueness that whatever color petticoate I end up with doesn’t distort the lime, which is less neon with the new teal trim.

Photo ops will appear shortly.

Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — Part 2

Yipes, that’s loud!  (cira. 7/30/2004) I’m an impatient person occasionally, when it comes to wanting to jump in a start a new project, especially this one as I’ve had the trim for nearly 20 years. In lieu of starting the gown I’M waiting for my petticoat fabric and another piece of the lime silk to arrive, I whipped out my copy of POF and made a photocopy of the dress. Then I carefully matched the silk to my Prisma colour pencil and colored away.

After I regained my vision, I was quite pleased with the initial result. When the turquoise silk arrives, I’m going to do the same thing and color in the guards. Back in the day, I once made an orange, yellow and mustard oversized-hawaiian print (on a white background) “Jackie O” style outfit and wore it after hours at faire site. (It was a final exam project for FIDM. The garment design was, the fabric was my own twisted sense of fashion sensibility.) The boys from Queen’s Guard threatened to call HazMat on me – it was great fun. Ah those were the days.

I’ve done a little research into Period Venetian colors. Thanks to one of my favorite places in cyber space and the woman that convinced me that BBW can still wear period attire and look marvelous, Oonagh’s Own. Her article on period color got me thinking. While my Lime Green is fairly close to being dead on, the Turquoise has me confused. I can’t think of anything Italian, especially Venice, without thinking brilliant blues and greens.

Posted on

Eleanora of Toledo Gown — (aka “the gown that took me 25 years to finally make.”)

The Beginning:  (cira. 7/22/04) The infamous Eleanora of Toledo Gown – The gown the was 30 years in the making . . .well, not really; but I have had the trim since I worked for House of Fabrics since 1986 or 1987. [Seriously, I could never bring myself to part with it.]

elenoraLike everyone else, I feel in love with this gown the first time I opened my copy of Patterns of Fashion. So the winds of fortune finally blew my way clear to make this delightful gown . . . in 70’s colors so hideous, it screams 16th Century Italian across three counties.  Back in the day, next door to this HOF (that I was babysitting) was a JJ Newberry’s and they were having a clearance sale (they were closing out their fabric department) and lo and behold, I picked up this trim for 50 cents a yard. I couldn’t resist.  I was going through my rebellious RPF costuming phase and wanted to see how farI could push the envelope before they threw me out for clashing or fainted . . . or offered me the head costumer’s job because I knew more than she did.

I had an epithany this afternoon while ironing when I glanced up and saw this Lime green Thai Silk and “bink” a light came on and I ran to my office and rooted through my boxes and found the trim and they match, perfectly. Even my husband is amazed. [“I wouldn’t normally go for these colors, especially not together, but wow!” ~ Bryan] This silk is another one of my ebay steals and even with turquoise that I picked up for a corded petticoat, this whole outfit’s going to cost me less than $50 and its all going to be silk!

lime_silk turq_silk

I’ve also got some hatobi silk that I’m going to be making a camica out of for my Venetian gown and it will work out perhaps even better for this gown. I’m thinking that this will be a good outfit to wear to Devore next spring, so I’ve got tons of time, which is good because I’m on a “diet” and with some luck and perseverance, will be about 75 lbs lighter by then.