Friday, March 25, 2016

Regency 'fichu' mustard yellow silk w/ black silk trim - March HSM 'Protection' Challenge

For March's Protection challenge, I decided to create a piece that protects from the cold, in this case a small 'fichu' to go with my Regency mustard cotton cross-over gown. These fichus were meant to cover the neck, shoulders and decolette in order to provide coverage and warmth, in essence 'protecting' one from the cold!

The finished early 19th century silk 'fichu':
Silk Regency 'fichu' - mustard yellow w/ black trim
 I went to PureSilks in India in order to find a mustard yellow silk taffeta. Once it came, I used the draped pattern that I created late last year while making this version, to cut out the fichu (all one piece on the fold) and then cut out a lining in a yellow silk or silk/cotton blend I picked up recently. I had some black silk taffeta bias binding already made for another project that was not used, so this was a quick project to put together and hand sew.
The back of the 'fichu' which protects the shoulders, neck and upper back from the cold
Historical Sew Monthly MARCH challenge:

The Challenge: Protection - make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling, etc.).

Material: Mustard yellow silk taffeta from PureSilks. Black silk taffeta from the stash (L.A. Fashion District purchase a few years ago). Lining is a silk or silk/cotton blend picked up last year.

Pattern: TheLadyDetalle (drafted my own pattern based on a Regency fashion plate)

Year: early 19th century

Notions: N/A

How historically accurate is it? Very: the pattern is based on a Regency fashion plate you can see if you follow the link to my previous version (link above) (although you don't see as many of these types of outerwear fichus made out of solid fabric versus lace or organza, they do exist) and the garment is hand sewn.

Hours to complete: 2 hours to prep fabric, iron, cut it out and create bias binding, 4 hours to pin and sew it all together.

First worn: Not yet. Planned for wear at CoCo 2016 in July!

Total cost:
$18 a yard for the mustard yellow silk, bought 2 yards but only used 1 and 1/4 yards. Black silk taffeta trim used for bias binding is from the stash, but used less than 3/8 yard bias cut at $16/yd).
Regency silk 'fichu' by TheLadyDetalle

Sunday, March 20, 2016

5th Annual Francaise Dinner

Whew, well, the 5th Annual Francaise Dinner has come and gone (last weekend) and by all accounts it was another success! Thanks so much to my fellow co-hostesses, Maggie and Gloria!

Initial group picture by Beth of BWPW photography with edits by Gloria:
Group picture at 5th Annual Francaise Dinner
We had 33 people this year and again rented a private room in historic Gadsby's Tavern for this event: everyone brought their A game and looked fantastic! We had so many beautiful dresses, new and not new, including lovely ladies from the Fabulousity Club and also quite a few new faces! The food was delicious and the company such fun. I spent much of the evening fulfilling hostess duties and doing some vending towards the end (it's always so rewarding to share my love of 18th/19th century muffs and tea!), which was fun but meant that I didn't get to talk to everyone as much as I wanted to. I had such a wonderful time still though!

Here's a pic of my outfit (courtesy Maggie).

What I'm wearing: my Red & white striped silk Robe a la Anglaise, cranberry faux silk petticoat, dupioni cream silk under petticoat over pocket hoops, red 'Kensington's shoes from American Duchess, hair by me, clear rhinestone earrings & black fan from InTheLongRun Designs, necklace from Charming Charlie's and black sparkly eye swirls, courtesy scrapbooking supplies from Michaels! I wore by black silk mourning cape for warmth on the way in, with black vintage gloves.

My striped Robe a la Francaise is still in a pile of cut silk with my pink lining together (work has been intense lately), so I opted to re-wear my red & white striped silk Robe a la Anglaise, worn for the first time over pocket hoops with a cranberry faux silk petticoat and a golden silk sash.

I built big hair for the evening using various hair pieces, but not ahead of time on a wig/half wig, I did my hair 2 hours before the event: first I left down a good portion of my front hair and put the rest up in a tight bun up high on the top of my head towards the back. Then I pinned on top a half wig with clips removed folded in half to create height. After that I teased my front hair and pinned it up over the half wig. Then I added two more hair pieces to add small braids, a little curl and some more body/height. Finished it off with a few feathers, a lovely bee pin from a friend (a thank you hostess gift from Angela the evening before: thank you, I love, love it!!!) and a few little faux flower stickers and voila!

I also finally got buttons and buttonholes on my honey's waistcoat, with machine buttonhole help from my mom on 90% of the buttonholes (thanks Mom! we missed you at the dinner this year, but maybe next year?!). My honey wore his late 18th century blue jacket, blue waistcoat, blue pants (recently bought in Williamsburg) and red clocked stockings, with black shoes and black wool tricorn. He looked great! (Photo below of my honey and I, courtesy kaesha_nikovana)
My honey and I
I took very few pictures, just a few general shots of the room, but seriously everyone looked so fantastic! It was awesome to meet a few of you I've not met before in person (Beth, Bethany), and also find a new friend to recommend to LJ so there is no need to costume alone (Ashley)...Oh wow, Angela, you & Bethany looked FANTASTIC, and just getting to spend some time with friends, new and old, was wonderful. Isabella, it was great to meet your sister-in-law, and wow, such fun evening!

There was delicious food, wonderful company, a fun raffle to raise money for future Francaise Dinners, and even vending by TheLadyDetalle on Etsy, Bulldog & Baum, and InTheLongRun Designs. (Photo courtesy kaesha_nikovana)
TheLadyDetalle on Etsy vending at 5th Francaise Dinner
Everyone looked fabulous! Seriously amazing, there were so many beautiful and amazing and gorgeous dresses to look at, it was really fun to admire all the lovelies!!! 

It was a wonderful evening, both my honey and I were pretty exhausted though, so while I really enjoyed the evening, was happy to have a quiet day on Sunday to recover. Thanks again to my co-hostesses, to our husbands for their huge help and support, to Beth for coming and taking fabulous photos again, to everyone who came, wore dresses new or old, looked fabulous and make this event possible, and to the founders of this event, Kat and Judy, who made all this possible in the first place: we missed you this year, but hey, we know 'life' happens and hopefully next year. Next year the three of us are stepping back to let others take a turn at hosting, so the location and venue are likely to change again, but a huge big THANK YOU to all our attendees, who make this event worthwhile! 

18th century Robe a la Francaise - progress

My latest project is to finally tackle a style of gown from the 18th century that I haven't attempted yet: a Francaise gown or Robe a la Francaise. I'm super excited about this project because it's been a long time coming.

My fabric is a lovely smooth striped brown with pink and yellow striped silk (leftover scraps that I'll use for trim pictured above) that I picked up in the L.A. Fashion District a few years ago: $8 a yard bolt end, and I have 7 1/2 yards. My mom also picked up another 3+ yard piece of the same fabric from another source around the same time, so we swapped fabrics (she scored an 8 yard piece of a lovely burgundy striped silk from me in exchange) so I would have enough to SQUEEZE out a Francaise! Ideally for this type of gown with a matching petticoat and self trim, you want 14-15 yards of 54-60 wide fabric if you're around my height. I have 10 1/2 yards of 54 wide, so a matching petticoat is out (instead I'm making a coordinating one out of gold silk taffeta) and my self trim will be franken-stiened together: we'll see how crazy this drives me!

I'm lining this in a bright coral pink linen I got from puresilks ages ago. So far the dress is all cut out, and I've sewn all the lining together, minus setting the lining sleeves. I was so hoping to get this done in time for the 5th Annual Francaise Dinner last weekend, but work/life got in the way, so instead I'm hoping to get it done by CC! But I definitely lost some steam since the planned event just happened last weekend and now I won't need this until end of July. So I may work on some other inspiring projects in the meantime, we'll see.