Sunday, August 31, 2014

title pic Scarlett O’Hara Ballgown Part 2 – At the Civil War Ball!

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 27, 2014

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Last week I shared photos of my Scarlett O’Hara Ballgown while it was under construction.  So this week I am very excited to share pictures of the finished gown which I wore to a Civil War Ball!  I loved working with the vintage 1940s pattern to make this Gone With the Wind inspired costume, and I used an 1860s reproduction print from Moda Fabrics for the gown.  Since I focused on all the details of the garment in my last post, this time I think I’ll just share more pictures and less specifics. :)  Hope you enjoy it!

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The ruffles in the back are probably my favorite part of the costume!  It did take a lot of work to hem 10 yards of circular ruffles, but it was well worth the effort!  One can never have too many ruffles. ;)

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Some very kind ladies took a few pictures for me at the ball location, and here’s one neat behind-the-scenes shot.

This location was so stunning, and it was just a gorgeous day!

This location was so perfect, and it was just a gorgeous day!

The Civil War ball I attended was held at a very period correct location which included buildings from the mid-1800s.  The dance began inside one of the larger “barn” like facilities, but by the end of the evening the whole group moved outside to dance on the lawn.  It was marvelous!

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So here are some dancing shots! :)  (Thank you to some very kind ladies – Dana, Chris, Alicia, and Sarah – for letting me use these pictures!  I was too busy dancing the entire evening to think about grabbing my camera.)

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The only thing that was a bit tricky with my costume is that I hadn’t made the skirt quite short enough.  And that’s kind of a problem when you need both hands free to dance!  For the most part, though, I was able to maneuver around in it fairly easily.

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Most everyone came in 1860s attire.  There were varying levels of authenticity, of course, but most people looked like they stepped out of the Civil War time period.  It was so fun!

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The dancing itself was mainly English country dancing, so it was basically like doing Jane Austen dances in hoopskirts.  I loved it!

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My favorite dances from the evening were probably “The Spanish Waltz” and a very lively number called, “Aw Shucks”.  (The dance is a lot more promising than the title.) ;)

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After the inside dances we took a short break outside to walk around the lawn, and then the dancing resumed on the grass.

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It was such a gorgeous day out!

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Then the dancing resumed, and it was a blast!  Somehow dancing outside surrounded by pioneer-era buildings is *almost* more enjoyable than dancing in a ballroom setting.  It was so fun!!

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{Photo Credit – Sarah of Pintucks & Pinafores}

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(This picture above shows “The Spanish Waltz” in action.  There are a number of videos on Youtube that show a similar version of the dance, but the music was much livelier than any Youtube version shows.)

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One more picture from the Spanish waltz.

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This was the “Aw Shucks” dance which was such a gigantic amount of fun!

This photo above was from the “Aw Shucks” dance which was so lively and energetic!  You can watch a video here that shows almost exactly what we did at the dance.

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Then the ball was pretty much over so I assumed it was time to leave, but as it turns out there was still more “post-ball” dancing which was great fun!  A number of us waltzed (it’s not too easy to do Viennese waltzing in a hoopskirt on the grass, so I didn’t feel like I did as well at that as I should have.  But it was still so wonderful to do waltzing after mainly English country dances!)  Then the very last dance was called the “Post-Jig Dance” which was outrageously fun once I got the hang of it.  (Ahem – it did take me a while to pick up on since I hadn’t learned the dance…  But I didn’t do as bad as Mr. Collins’ dancing from Pride & Prejudice – “Other way, Mr. Collins!”)   If you watch this video on Youtube you can see the dance I’m referring to! :)  

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All in all, it was possibly the most fun dance I have ever attended!  (And that’s quite a statement, considering the fact that I was at the Jane Austen Festival’s Grand Regency Ball last year at the Assembly Rooms, and that I also did English country dancing *inside* the Pride & Prejudice film location of “Longbourn”.)  I am so thankful I could go!  It was just a blast.

And here’s one final full-length shot of the Scarlett O’Hara gown:

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Happy sewing!  Hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Katrina

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title pic My Scarlett O’Hara Ballgown Part 1 – Hollywood Pattern 1988

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 20, 2014

The Gone with the Wind Picnic Dress – Hollywood Pattern 1988 Pattern Review

Hello, Readers!

Ever since I found a copy of vintage Hollywood Pattern #1988 on Ebay a couple months ago (one of the rarest patterns in the world), I knew that I would someday recreate the Scarlett O’hara picnic dress.  But I had no idea that I would sew it so soon!  While I’m not really a fan of the film Gone with the Wind, (I like happy films!), I have long admired many of the movie’s Civil War ballgowns and day dresses which I’d seen pictures of for years.  Scarlett’s ivory and green flowered gown with it’s billowy ruffles and green velvet sash made for one of the most elegant and iconic costumes to ever grace the screen. :)

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Hollywood Pattern #1988 was released in 1940, from everything we can tell, just a year after Gone with the Wind was released in 1939.  The designers of the pattern did an amazing job of recreating the bodice, but when I measured the bottom of the skirt circumference, it came up at around 130″, if I remember correctly.  The issue here is that while the skirt may have made a lovely 1940s evening gown, it just wasn’t going to come anywhere near the width of a Civil War era dress, and certainly wouldn’t fit over period hoops.

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So throughout the whole sewing process, I was often faced with the choice of: “Should I do it just like the pattern says, or should I make it look more like the actual film costume?”  Then again, the actual film costume itself wasn’t even entirely accurate to the era – Scarlett’s dress was a one piece combination of bodice and skirt, whereas a dress from the 1860s was nearly always made with the skirt and bodice separate.  I believe that in early Hollywood movies, they were most likely concerned more with “How will this look (or function) on screen?”, as opposed to, “Will this be period authentic?”  And sometimes the costume designers would even take the problem one step further by conveniently using styles inspired by the popular fashions at the moment.  For instance, the lovely Olivia de Havilland wore bias cut, silk charmeuse gowns (which were totally inspired by evening fashions of the 1930s) in the 1938 Robin Hood, rather than only medieval looking brocade dresses…

But back to my costume!  The only main change I made to Hollywood Pattern 1988 was widening and lengthening the skirt pieces to accommodate a hoop skirt underneath.  As for the fabric, I didn’t have time to order an exact replica of the movie material online and wait to get it shipped.  So I just went to my local fabric store and found an 1860s reproduction print by Moda Fabrics which at least had the same thing – an ivory background with green flowers and leaves, albeit much smaller flowers than on the original version.

Below are pictures of the sewing process.  I knew this would be a project I’d want to remember, so I managed to snap quite a few photos:

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Above you can see the two neckline ruffled before they were hemmed or decorated.  Both circular ruffles were to be hemmed of course, but the upper ruffle was supposed to be trimmed with the beading.  And the 5 yards of beading, in turn, was to be laced with 5 yards of green velvet ribbon.

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It was not an easy feat!  I think it took well over an hour just to lace the ribbon through all that beading lace. :)

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Then this was what the bodice looked like prior to get the ruffle treatment.  (Above)

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And finally, after all the ruffles were attached, it really started to look like the movie costume!  The gigantic, pouffy ruffles were totally worth all the intricate work it took to make them!

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Next, I made bias binding from the same Moda reproduction fabric to finish the armhole edges.

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Applying bias binding to circular edges is one of the finer moments in sewing. So fun!

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At this point I put the bodice on my mannequin since it was just waiting on the skirt.  I was so excited with how it was coming along!  Those ruffles are really what make the design, I think.   And up above is a prime example of when I chose to copy the movie version, rather than follow the pattern precisely.  It’s just a small change, but a change nevertheless – the movie costume had three velvet ribbon bows at the neckline: one at the center front and one at each shoulder seam.  The pattern however, omitted the two bows at the shoulder.  I decided to keep all three bows.  :)

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The next day I didn’t take a lot of photos of construction because it was just one day before the ball and I was sewing at top speed.  But once the skirt was on (and skirt lining as well), the next step was to insert the zipper.  And with nine yards of fabric in this dress by then, it was no easy task to maneuver all the material through the sewing machine!

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So then, the very day of the ball, I finally wrapped up the final steps on the project and I was ready to go!  I have TONS of photos from this most amazing Civil War Ball I attended while wearing the gown, but I will be sharing those in a few days.  :)

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Until then, here are just a couple shots so you can get an idea of what it looked like.

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{Photo Credit : Sarah of http://pintucksandpinafores.blogspot.com/ – Thank you, Sarah!}

It’s not very often that there’s a real, bonafide reason to make a Civil War costume like this, so it was so nice to have an occasion to wear it to!  The ball I attended was quite possibly even more fun than the Grand Regency ball in Bath, England.  So stay tuned for more pictures later this week!

Happy sewing,

Katrina 

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title pic A 1950s Dress at the Beach – Vogue 9114 Pattern Review

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on June 2, 2014

Vogue Pattern 9114 Pattern Review

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Hello, Ladies!

I am happy to share pictures of a 1950s dress which I actually sewed last year, but just now had photographed!  I made this dress last fall in anticipation of my England costuming trip, and you might remember seeing it (albeit topped with a lavender lace bolero) in the blog post about my visit to The Ritz for tea and to the Victoria & Albert Museum.  It was a marvelous dress to wear around London, but I thought that without the bolero it would look just as at home on the beach!

 

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As you can see, this was the dress I wore while at the V&A last fall. I got so many comments on it!

Thinking back to when I wore it at the V&A, I remember that people commented that I looked like I was part of the costume exhibit. :)   You can’t quite tell in the two above photos, but with the huge crinoline petticoat underneath the skirt was ginormous!  But since I only make it to the V&A every several years or so, I like it just as well without the bolero for a more casual, sun dress look.

Vogue 9114

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Vogue Pattern #9114 caught my eye right away because of the beautiful floral print on the dress and the oversized sunhat!  What distinguishes this design from your average 1950s dress pattern are the very unusual diagonal tucks under the bust, the square neckline, and the buttons down the front.  It also has the loveliest ribbon bow hanging down the front that looks so elegant and feminine.

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When choosing my materials, I picked a fabric whose print was as close to the pattern cover as possible, only in lavender instead of rosy pink.  And pearl buttons were exactly what I had in mind with this print!

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Pattern Review

On a scale of 1-5, I would probably give this pattern a 4.5.  It is slightly trickier to sew than a standard 1950s dress, but the finished results are well worth the effort.  The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was how huge the waist was.  I had to take the waist in about 3 inches I believe, and even then it wasn’t quite fitted enough.  Of course, I do like my bodices to fit snugly so that it makes the contrast greater between the skirt and the bodice, but if you don’t take the waist in it won’t look like the pattern cover unless you’re larger in the waist than the pattern calls for.  The tucks/darts were a tiny bit challenging, but they certainly were fun once I got them to lay properly!

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I chose to omit the short sleeve just because it would not have worked to wear the lace bolero over it otherwise, but if it wasn’t for that reason I think the short sleeve would be just adorable with the dress!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos taken on a very windy day at the beach!

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A Close-up

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 For all the beach pictures, you can’t quite see the effects of the crinoline petticoat underneath because the wind was blowing so hard. :(   So you’ll just have to take my word for it that this skirt really *is* much fuller when it’s not all windy. :)   Also, because this fabric is a twill, the heavier weight pulls the skirt down instead of fluffing out as much as something thinner would.

So there you have it!  Vogue 9114 worked really well with this fabric, I think, and I’ve had so much fun wearing this dress the last several months!

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Well, I hope you all are having a wonderful week, and I’m looking forward to sharing some upcoming projects with you in the near future!

Happy sewing,

Katrina

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