Sunday, November 3, 2013

HSF #21: Color Challenge - Green

From our Challenger: Make a historical garment or accessory in any shade of green from palest spring green through to darkest pine green, and from barely-there eu de nil, to vibrant chartreuse.  (due October 21)

Well, so much for getting this done by the 21st, but with a Halloween party to host, the Masquerade entry for challenge 22 had to take priority.  Now that the Halloween is over, though, I've had the chance to go back and finish up this entry.

It seems like the 1920s have been all the rage lately.  In fact, the bid parties for the 2016 World Con (hopefully to be held here in Kansas City), have embraced a Speak Easy sort of theme.  I've spent the better part of the last year thinking about prohibition and the roaring twenties, and I felt that it was high time I made myself a 20s outfit.  Now, this decade didn't hold a lot of great options for a lady of my size, so I went into this project looking for something that was more fun than flattering.  I picked up a copy of Folkwear #264: the Monte Carlo dress for a different project and thought I'd try my hand at making one for myself. 

I pulled from the stash a synthetic olive leopard print charmeuse and when I couldn't stop laughing upon picturing the finished project, I knew that I had to go with it.

Did you know that you can make a skirt with 8 sides?  I do now.  The pattern came in an XL, but had to be sized up for my own shape.  Unfortunately, my pear-shaped body just isn't going to be displayed at it's best in this thing. 
The concept for the dress itself is fairly straight forward, but I wasn't super impressed with how it went together.  The pattern calls for separate small rectangular pieces of fabric to make the straps, but instructions have them placed so that the seam is facing the side and totally visible.  Using self fabric for the straps also left them looking weird and puffy.  I ended up scraping their plan and instead using a black velvet that was first sewed into a tube and then placed so that the seam is on the center underside of the strap. 

I also used the pattern pieces for the facings as a guide for cutting a full lining for the bodice of the dress.  That charmeuse is pretty unforgiving on the bumps and a lining was necessary.  It turned out to be a good thing, too, as the finished dress fit pretty unflatteringly over the hips.  (I think the problem here is that I up-sized the top and bottom unequally and, where I thought I was gathering the skirt to fit the bodice, it was actually the other way around, which made the dress cinch tight under the hips.)  I was able to cinch up the outer layer with some ruching up the side seams and then tack it to the lining. 

I suppose that overall, I like this well enough.  It'll be fun and I'm not looking to grace any magazine covers in it.  I do think I'm probably going to go back and make up the tunic that comes with the pattern in a black velvet burnout of some sort, to give myself a bit more coverage and add some business back up in the shoulder area so I don't feel quite so bottom-heavy.  I've also thinking of adding a bit of sparkle to the bodice with beading or rhinestones, but have put that off until I can garner up a bit more of an opinion about just what I want to use.  For now, I'll have to get myself a super long string of black pearls or cut glass beads and call it good.  Luckily, the person I originally bought this pattern for is tall and slender, and I think the cut will flatter her quite nicely.

Just the facts:

The Challenge: #21 Color Challenge, Green
Fabric: Olive green leopard print synthetic charmeuse, black polyester lining, scraps of black silk velvet
Pattern: Folkwear 264 Monte Carlo Dress
Year: 1920s
Notions: Olive green polyester thread,
How historically accurate is it?  Meh, C+
Hours to complete: About six.
First worn: There's a Monte Carlo themed masquerade coming up in December that I'm saving this one for.
Total cost: $15 for the pattern and about $20 for the fabrics.

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