Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on January 26, 2014
I have just put together an eleven minute video taking you on a tour of all the Pride & Prejudice film locations I visited in England last fall, along with some video clips of the Grand Regency Ball from the Jane Austen Festival 2013! I have set up this video to run in chronological order, as if you were watching the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice (minus the words, of course).
In each location I wore a costume reproduction of either Elizabeth Bennet’s or Georgiana Darcy’s film wardrobe, though in the room where Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth I had to wear a reproduction of a Jane Bennet Regency day dress, and at the interior of Pemberly I had to wear my Georgiana Darcy costume for the Elizabeth Bennet “scenes”. (Because I could only wear one outfit a day, I was not able to change for each location.)
Traveling to all these locations on various days and realizing how many different places were used for even just one scene gave me a tiny glimpse into what would have gone into the making of Pride & Prejudice. And once I started making the video, I realized even more how much the scenes “jump around” from place to place! For instance, Mr. Darcy’s letter begins at “Rosings Park” (Belton House in real life), then transitions to the exterior of “Pemberly” (Lyme Park). Next we see Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham at “Cambridge” (the interior of the Lacock Abbey in real life), then it cuts to the interior of “Pemberly” (Sudburry Hall) where Mr. Wickham receives his check of 3,000 pounds from Mr. Darcy and bumps into Georgiana. And the funny thing is that we were at those locations on four totally separate days – so you can see how it would be difficult in making a film to keep the continuity with all those different locations! (NOTE: The video is embedded in this blog post below, but in case you can’t see it the link to the video on Youtube is here.)
Do be advised that if you are not a diehard Pride & Prejudice (1995) fan, you may not understand the pink swirling fabric at the intro, or the change of locations during Mr. Darcy’s letter, or the skipping at Longbourn…. But I sincerely hope that everyone who follows my blog is as big of a Pride & Prejudice fan as I am, and will get the point of why I did what I did with the music, pictures, and video at the exact timing that it was in the film. If you don’t recognize all the shots, I would recommend watching all four episodes of this BBC adaptation ASAP.!:) It is one of the greatest pieces of television of all times, and will surely lift your spirits.
I hope you all enjoy this trip into the English countryside, and I hope you can feel as if you just visited the spots I saw in Jane Austen’s beloved England along with the rest of our group. And for any of you who didn’t follow my blog while I was in England, I have very detailed posts about the tour and about my costumes that I recreated if you go back to the “Archives” section from September 2013-November 2013 (in the sidebar of this blog).
Have a marvelous week!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 29, 2013
Merry Late Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. This week I am very excited that my mother is joining me on this blog to show not one but two Christmas dresses! I made both of our frocks which we wore to Holiday High Tea at a grand hotel here in the Pacific Northwest, and it was truly a sumptuous occasion. There’s just nothing like getting all dressed up in rich holiday colors and fine fabrics, donning fur capes and gloves, and heading out in the cold to a palatial hotel for high tea. It was an occasion that we will have to make an annual tradition!
A Victorian Style Suit ~ Simplicity 8947 Pattern Review
I love sewing for my mom (though I don’t have time to do so as often as I would like), and since we’re the exact same size it’s quite easy to fit her outfits. This Victorian style suit, which is made of a resplendent forest green silk slipper satin, comes from a vintage “Gunne Sax” pattern that has been in my collection for some years. (This pattern design abounds on Etsy and Ebay, so those who wish to find the pattern online should have no problem doing so.) It is Simplicity 8947 by Jessica McClintock, a designer who created so many feminine styles back in the ’80s and ’90s. I sincerely wish that her designs today would be as romantic and frilly as they used to be!
The lavish jacket features a long, flared, back which is almost reminiscent of a peplum or bustle. I chose to omit the center slit down the back of the jacket for a much more Victorian look. Puffed sleeves give this garment the air of an 1890s jacket, though the pattern was actually released in the late 1980s, I believe. If I remember correctly I may have added more width to the sleeve cap to create fuller gathers, but I omitted the shoulder pads as they just weren’t necessary for a proper fit.
My favorite part of this ensemble was the opulent Venice lace trim which exactly matches that gorgeous shade of forest green. I applied the lace entirely by hand around the sleeve hem and at the neckline. I was very careful to match the ends of the Venice lace at the neck back when finishing it.
Finally, here’s a back shot and an image of the pattern I used.
The Black Watch Plaid 1950s Dress
Some of you may recognize this pattern from the ivory eyelet version I sewed earlier this spring. This plaid Christmas dress was fashioned from traditional black watch plaid fabric using the vintage pattern Butterick 6835. (I’ve had lots of requests on where to find this pattern, and unfortunately it is quite rare so I can’t offer any advice on where to find it.)
The bodice contains lots of pleats which are almost invisible in the pictures because the well-matched plaid hides the tucks. I swapped out the pattern’s circular skirt for a gored, gathered skirt, and used a textured taffeta for the waist panel.
What makes this plaid fabric so perfect for this 1950s dress is that it is actually a voile, not a cotton broadcloth or taffeta like most plaid materials. So the thinness of the fabric helps the kimono style sleeves drape nicely, rather than bunching up under the arms. Since the material was so featherweight, I lined the garment with the same blue taffeta that was used for the waist panel. The Peter Pan collar was created from this material, as well.
My favorite part of this dress is the choice of “buttons” down the front! In all actuality I cut off individual clusters of Swarovski crystals from a by-the-yard trim in my stash and stitched them on by hand. The front closes not with buttons, but with hidden snap closures. The best thing about these “buttons” is that they look almost exactly like Princess Diana’s (and subsequently Kate Middleton’s) engagement ring! It is a mock sapphire in the middle surround by tiny Swarovski crystals.
And as for the holiday high tea itself, it was positively sumptuous! Our table overlooked the Columbia River, and the dainty china and impressive spread of pastries made for an absolutely lovely afternoon. And though it’s just a few days till all the holiday decorations come down, I take comfort in knowing that in another 11 months I can pull out my Christmas outfits once again!
Hope you all have a blessed New Year,
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 8, 2013
The 1950s “Sisters” Costume from White Christmas
“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…” So sang Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen (albeit with dubbed lyrics), in the classic Irving Berlin musical that was adapted to the screen in 1954 –White Christmas. Amidst a glittering room their voices mingled with the sound of the lilting orchestra music, the swishing of their crinoline petticoats, and the taps of their bejeweled high heels. Enormous feathery fans and coiffed hairdos jazzed up the scene, but the real stars of the show were those glorious creations they wore – the blue lace 1950s dresses designed by none other than the legendary Edith Head (one of my favorite costume designers of all times).
For decades this film has been watched again and again at Christmas time, and it undoubtedly owes much of its success to the breathtaking costumes that Edith Head designed. And my favorite outfit out of all the costumes in the film is the brilliant blue dress worn by Rosemary Clooney (and Vera Ellen). And it was this dress that I was determined to recreate.
The style itself is not so uncommon for a 1950s party dress – it features a strapless sweetheart-necked bodice overlaid with lace, and a full, mid-calf length skirt topped with an overlay of gathered tulle. What really made the costumes stand out was the fabulous shade of blue that Edith Head chose and the dazzling sparkles on the lace overlay and skirt.
The neck line was rather high, with scalloped lace edging finishing it off in an almost mandarin collar shape. I copied the look by choosing a lace that had scalloped edging on the selvage, then clipping the edging off and applying it to the neckline very carefully.
I trimmed the waistline with the same double sash effect used in the movie, with both sashes hemmed diagonally as Edith Head’s designs were.
This style of dress always looks best when worn with a crinoline petticoat under the skirt for fulness!
~ The Design ~
Edith Head’s original sketch for Rosemary Clooney’s blue dress.
As you can see from Edith Head’s original costume sketch, the design changed slightly from the initial drawing to the final product. The back sash/bow was omitted and was replaced by the two smaller sashes hanging from the skirt front. The lace overlay was not made as a separate bolero but instead was used to cover the entire bodice. Both the sleeves and skirt were shortened, but the general silhouette remained overall the same. You just can’t top a 1950s dress made with a fitted bodice, gigantic skirt, and gorgeous fabrics!
Because I am used to making my own patterns, I more or less made up the design as I went along. So there is no pattern on the market for this costume I sewed. I began by sewing the bodice foundation of blue crepe-back satin before attaching the lace to complete the top. The skirt was fairly easy to sew, but I’ll admit that the lace neckline took quite a bit of work! And while I absolutely love this finished version, I think the pattern drafted would work just as well for any other 1950s dress in a different color or material, not just as a White Christmas movie replica. So someday I hope to use the design again!
Until then, I will have to think of excuses to wear this Christmas costume and continue to watch White Christmas all year long!
~ Note: The original movie costume worn by Rosemary Clooney was recently rediscovered by a museum, and I previously blogged about this lovely costume here. ~
So to all of you who are getting ready for Christmas, I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas season ever! May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white…