My MMM’14 Challenge Exception

In my first MeMadeMay post I mentioned that I’d allow myself one exception to the ‘sewing with only Indie patterns’ part of my personal challenge because I’d already planned & started it.

This post is about that dress.

Which was inspired by this dress I saw on Modcloth (probably one of my favourite places for idea shopping, I must confess)

Night Brunch Dress in Fern | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses | ModCloth.com

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MMM’14 (My) Week One Round-Up (yeah, it’s really late)

My post may (heh, May, geddit? yeah, that was bad) be late, but my first week of the challenge went well.  I wore not one, not two, but 3 pieces of made-from-an-Indie-pattern clothing this week!

On Tuesday I wore this ensemble:

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Dressing for a Canadian Spring

Especially pertinent this year, amiright!?

Anyway, a few years ago I came up with a method to help with the end-of-winter-everything-is-grey/brown-and-gross blahs.  As soon as March arrives I start wanting colours, pretty colours!  Spring fashions start arriving in the stores at that time, but there’s no way you can wear them without contracting hypothermia because it’s likely still below zero temps and there’s still snow on the ground (and at least one more good winter storm on the way during March, even when it’s not a polar vortex year).  The stuff in stores doesn’t matter to me much since I mostly don’t buy clothes anymore – it just makes me laugh to see spring and summer dresses in shop windows when there’s still lots of snow on the ground, lol.

Spring/summer patterns and fabrics start coming out at this time too.  It does make sense since it usually takes more time (and often planning) for spring/summer sewing than buying clothes, but I want something spring-y to wear in March/April!

My solution? Sewing clothes for “Canadian” spring.  Basically, this means making winter-weight clothes in spring colours!  I kind of can’t believe that no clothing line/brand has hit on this idea for Canada and other “climates of extremes”.

I also try to include making pieces that are transitional, such as fully winter colour clothes that are neutral enough to be combined with spring-coloured pieces and clothes that may not be heavy enough for deep winter weather, but work for that period transitioning between cold and mild (ie April – most years, not so much this one).

I don’t have a huge Canadian Spring wardrobe yet as I find the necessary materials tricky to source.  I like best to use woollens, and acquiring them in pretty spring colours doesn’t happen too often for me as I exist in a constant state of “I’m not really supposed to buy fabric” and only pick up pieces as I happen across them and feel I can’t live without them.

So, I’m adding to this segment of my wardrobe bit by bit each year and thought I’d show you the types of pieces I’ve got so far.

It really all started with these two skirts:

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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:

2014-02-10 11.18.06

2014-02-10 11.12.13

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #2: Fur Muff

My Regency Blog ensemble posts must seem very out of order or terribly teasing.  The reason is that I’m posting items according to the remaining 2013 Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges.  By a happy coincidence, this ensemble fulfills the criteria for the final four challenges of the year.
Here’s where the fur muff fits in.  What does a fur muff have to do with a Regency Ball ensemble, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Although according to the calendar Winter doesn’t start until late December, practically speaking it starts late November where I live.  I knew there was going to be a little walking involved in getting me from the place where I dressed to the Ball itself and wanted a cohesive whole.  I’m sure you can now start to see where I’m going here.  Because I had lots of the main fabric for my dress left over (it was the original choice for my upcoming Garrison Ball gown so there was 9m of it at 54″ wide) I made a matching/co-ordinating hooded cloak and a fur muff lined with scraps from the dress fabric.
Here are the HSF deets:
Challenge: #24: Re-Do – Challenge #7: Accessorize

Year: Made to go with Regency attire but almost any, really

Pattern: None

Supplies: Silk fabric, wool batting, recycled (reclaimed?) fur from an old coat/jacket

Historical Accuracy: meh. It’s a combination of machine and hand sewing

Hours to complete: about 2-3 hrs

Total cost: all made from leftover bits, so I’m gonna say $0

First worn: November 30, 2013 to the local Regency Ball

Here is what I started out with:

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UFO Fall Coat, Vogue 8307

Hot on the heels of finishing my UFO fall dress from last year the other week I finished a UFO fall coat, also from last year.  I had hopes to finish it to take with me to the UK for last Fall/Winter, but it didn’t happen.  A winter coat happened instead, which was probably for the best.

I used Vogue 8307:

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UFO Dress from last Fall: McCalls 6433

I started this dress a little over a year ago, but didn’t manage to finish it before I considered fall over.  As much as I love wearing fall colours, it somehow doesn’t feel right to me to do so once December arrives.  It may seem silly in a time when most traditional sartorial rules have been thrown out the window, but I also follow the ‘no white after labour day rule’.  So, I left off this dress and focused on more wintry sewing.  Going through my UFOs a couple of months ago I found this and decided it should be finished.

Here is McCalls 6433

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