Friday, July 24, 2015

The Purple Pet en l'air: Part 2


So I have been working on the pet en l'air for the past few days and have made good progress! I have the main body of the pet en l'air together and today I cut out the sleeves! Now I know what you're thinking, they didn't use bias tape like that in the 18th century (that is what you were thinking right?) However, the cuffs will be fully covered by trim shortly!


When it comes to making historic costumes, I have a sorta 50/50 relationship with historical accuracy. I try my best to make the finished piece look accurate, but when it comes to sewing, I just am not patient enough to do everything correctly/accurately. I can hand sew, but I like things to move along fast, which means I use the machine anywhere I can get away with it. It also means I will use bias tape to finish an edge if I know it will be covered in the end, c'est la vie!

I have had a progression in my historical sewing from incredibly inaccurate, to now aiming for a much higher level of accuracy. This stems from me knowing nothing about historic costume in the beginning and having learned a ton in between then and now. My first 18th century dress, which my mom made and I helped a tiny bit with, was from a Simplicity costume pattern, with no stays for structure underneath! To say the 18th century silhouette was missing would be an understatement! Now silhouette and the correct under-workings are very important to me as they are the only way to achieve an accurate look. I also know now to use natural fibers, and how to pick textiles and prints that actually fit the period I am trying to re-create. When I make concessions now, it is knowingly, and mostly because of budget! (because silk is darn expensive!)


Anyways, I guess that was my little "hey, I know some of this is inaccurate" disclaimer! To be fair, I don't think they had silk in this violent shade of purple either. The threads in this iridescent fabric are bright magenta and electric blue. They may have had purple, but I have yet to see a natural dye that creates electric blue! Still, I think this pet en l'air will be one of my more accurate looking costumes in the end, and I can't wait to wear it!

I have a few major steps left to finish this project. I have sewn the trimmings onto one of the sleeves, so I still have to trim the other. I have to sew the sleeves on (yikes!), hem the bottom edge of the "gown", and then lastly I have to make and sew on the ruched trim for the gown. I am happy to say I have plenty of fabric left at this point so I won't have to skimp on trimmings! I also took a break from the sleeves today to make the matching stomacher, so that is all ready to go. Though my black striped voile petticoat from last year's 18th century project (here) would match this pet en l'air , I plan on making a new ivory/off-white cotton petticoat to pair with it. That will be the last step towards completing this ensemble! I can't wait to show you guys the wig and hat that I'll be wearing with this outfit, because both are huge and ridiculous!

Sadly I have had to stop sewing for the night, as I have run out of thread! Hopefully I can pick up some more tomorrow and can get going again shortly. I'll have more updates for you all soon!


6 comments:

  1. Who cares if they didn't have that particular shade of purple in the 18th century - it's gorgeous! Good luck with your sewing. :)

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    1. Thanks Ellie! I know some people do really accurate recreations with period correct fabrics, but sometimes the violent purple silk is the one that is on sale you know? I don't even remember what I paid for this fabric I have had it for so long, but I know it was super cheap considering that it is 100% silk! I am a frugal mantua maker in the end :)

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  2. Personally, as with the wearing of vintage, I think that if you're making a piece for your own pleasure and are not intending to wear it in a setting where extreme historical accuracy down the the very last thread is a must, why not have a blast and use the colours/fabrics that speak to you most of all - or that easy on the ol' wallet!

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Seeing as there are no 18th century reenactments here in Colorado, I should be safe from feeling anachronistic! One day I'll save up and invest in some serious silk and do a full on real deal 18th century gown, but that dream is a ways off!

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  3. I love that colour, authentic or not. They totally would have worn it if they could have done. This looks like it is going to be a wonderful costume.

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    1. Thanks Kate! I'd like to think they would enjoy this vibrant purple too :)

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