Tree Progress: Buttress Petticoat!

For me, the buttress petticoat is really one of the most fun and illuminating aspects of the structural design of this gown – and Charles James’ approach to couture overall.

This was also one of the trickier bits to get right … so far (I’m still terrified of the bodice and upper skirt pleated draping to come!)

This is one of the buttresses below with all layers quilted together – with pink silk thread, of course!

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“Tree” Progress: Bodice and Inner Petticoat Foundation

This isn’t the most exciting progress post there will be for this dress, but you have to start somewhere, right?  And while I’m currently much farther along on the dress than this, I think it’s preferable to keep the posts shorter and be able to publish them sooner rather than doing a single massive one that will take ages to put together.  I think these are also more digestible ‘bites’ of the process. ;o)

So, this is the very first layer of the actual dress that I cut and put together, where it all starts – the silk taffeta bodice foundation.

I think the photos show what’s going on pretty well, so I won’t write a lot about this step, except to confess that I’m still fine-tuning the shoulder straps and figuring out their exact placement.

And to say that I think this is quite a pretty design on its own that I’d consider using as an outer bodice sometime in the future (probably several years from now so I’ve had enough distance from this dress, lol).

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“Tree”: Materials!

Hi from Canada again!

I’m back home and now able to blog about how the Tree gown is progressing!  I’m still going to finish the V&A virtual tour, but thought I should get going with Tree since there’s been a lot going on with it!  I actually started this post a couple of months ago, but wasn’t able to get all the elements together until today.  So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

An interesting combination of fabrics and materials were used by Charles James for his “Tree” gown.  While I will mention what all of them are as they are incorporated into my version, I thought it might be useful to have a post that lays them all out in one spot as a sort of reference.  This also gives me a perfect opportunity to show off the amazing coloured silk I got for the fashion fabric, hee!

To make things even clearer, I decided to draw a little diagram of each layer of the gown to make it even easier to visualize what goes where and how.  I’ll be going from the innermost layer out.

#1 Bodice foundation

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V&A Costume Gallery Virtual Tour Part One

Hello again!  I know it’s been a long while since I posted, but life just got too frantic.  Since the new year started I’ve been sewing like mad on Tree.  I’ve been photo-documenting the process and will have lots of posts on it, but for time being the emphasis needs to be on the sewing!  Cause I’ve still got that other Garrison Ball dress to do while also working on a dress exhibit I’m curating and working on my dissertation.  Another part of the time crunch is that I’m not home right now, I’m posting to you from London, England!  I came over for a few weeks to speak at the University of Brighton as part of a seminar series then tie up some loose ends of research.  Since I can’t work on my sewing while away, I can blog a bit again!  I meant to finish a Tree post or two, but discovered after I arrived here that I didn’t have the right usb cord to hook my camera (where most of the photos still are) up to my laptop, d’oh.

Instead, I’ve decided to give you a couple of virtual tours of dress/costume exhibits in London.  Yesterday I went to the V&A and snapped photos of the ‘permanent’ costume display there from the 1700s to the 1950s.  I’m going to post this tour in several parts so as to keep the posts manageable sizes.  On Friday I’ll be popping by the Museum of London and will try to get pics of the dress on display there, especially the “Pleasure Garden” exhibit of 18th – early 19th century dress, it’s a really delightful display!

Unfortunately, the quality of the photos I got yesterday is far below what I would prefer.  The lighting is necessarily quite low and I only had my phone with me, so these are far from amazing shots, but at least you get to see what’s there and what’s said about it if you’re not likely to be visiting any time soon.  On the other hand, the poor photo quality may not be the worst thing, since I wouldn’t want to try and replace the experience of going in person.  And if it ever happens that the V&A is not happy with my posting a virtual tour, I will remove it.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our tour with Georgian and Regency era fashions:

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