Friday, October 26, 2018

Halloween: Vannozza Cattanei's gray/green archery dress in the Borgias Part 1

The problem - because there is always a problem before the start of a project: I wanted something Venetian for Halloween - living here in Veneto- but I didn't want to do the 1550's/1560's thing because I'm trying to lose weight again. I wanted a dress that will fit for a while - which are typically the higher waisted gowns. However, I have a TON of the early 16th C gowns and didn't want to add another to my already bloated collection. Solution?


I saw the gown and was immediately in love. It's very similar to many 1520's/1530's styles. Also, I happened to have a nice five yards of a lighter gray silk stashed away that was perfect for this gown. I'm not coping it exactly - mainly because I'm trying to go with mostly stash fabric - but I'm trying to copy most of the lines. So, the back...

The sleeves are detachable. There is a seam at the back sides but it looks like it has a zipper (not very Renaissance...) up the center back. Because I want to wear this to SCA events later on, I'm just doing lacing at the back sides. Also, it helps with losing/gaining weight that way. The skirt is gathered around and appears to really be just the typical rectangles with maybe some extra in the back. Again, SCA events, I'm just doing rectangles because trains and SCA events do not mix. Ever.

To start, I'm using a base I made from McCall's pattern 2806:

Really, the only thing you need to do to the above pattern to make it perfect for 1490s/1500s is take out the darts in the bodice. That's really it. The skirt is already just three rectangles put together.

I modified it slightly more than that - the shoulder straps are a bit long and the neckline is umm...more early 1520s and not sensible for anyone more than an A cup? So I raised the neckline, cut the straps slightly, also made the width a bit tighter, and I drafted out the darts so I could use this as a base.

The base!   I knew I had to add an inch or two to lengthen the bodice; I also wanted to move the side seam a bit and square out the neckline.  So, first, I drew around the existing base in brown marker.
Then, I took a red frixion (the kind you can erase!) marker and matched up the existing base back with the brown outline I just did.  I wanted to mark where I was moving the seem on both pieces and make sure the curve of the armscye was preserved.  
I only moved it over an inch, really.  You can see the new "red" outline for where I moved the seam over too.  
Inversely, on the back piece outline, I drew a red line to mark the new back side seam.
This picture is a bit hard to see but I squared off the back neckline.  I ended up doing the neckline in the back even deeper than this once I tried the mock up on.  However, the red lines mark the new template.
Front side bodice piece!   It has the new squared neckline and is lengthened.   
However, I realized when I tried to draw the correct length for the back piece that I didn't have enough room.  I ended up erasing the back piece and redrawing it all a lot higher on the paper.  
New back piece as well!!!
Comparison to the original bodice front, with the dart pinched and the new bodice front for the 1530's dress.  It's a lot longer and the neckline is higher.  Still, I realized I had a couple more issues that needed fixing still.  The underbust/rib cage waistline was 2" smaller than my actual rib cage.  My ribs do not shrink like my waist will.  They just don't.  So I ended up adding a bit to the bottom of the bodice so I can breathe.   Also, I didn't like the shoulder strap angle on the front bodice piece so I changed that as well.
The lining fabric!   I'm using teal silk dupioni for the lining.  The actual dress is out of the fabric pictured below.
This is going to be the skirt front.  It's just a 45" cut of the fabric.  The pink silk is silk I had on hand that I thought went well with the lighter gray/silver silk.  The dark lines are hunter green velvet trim.
This is the fabric for the upper sleeve as well as some trim ideas for it.  I like the idea of the pink with the silver trim.  I ordered some light green trim but it's not good for anything more than knitting or crocheting - it's recycled sari ribbon that was sewn together hastily.  I might check out the trim store here in town but, this is the direction I'm going so far.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Teal Pumpkin Project

Although Halloween in Italy is very different from what it is in the US, I thought I'd still do this PSA. Some of you might see this a couple of times because I'm trying to get the information out before everyone buys up their Halloween treats.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

The Teal Pumpkin Project is all about food allergies. My nephew has it way worse than me. (It's not like people regularly hand out buckwheat and tomatoes at Halloween.) Oldest nephew is allergic to peanuts and eggs. No reeses, no mr. goodbar, no paydays... he typically has to give up on well over half his bag if not more because of allergies.

By putting out a teal pumpkin, it means you have allergy friendly treats available. I always gave out play-do in the States (80 cans are about $35. Even the big kids love play-do) but other fun things are Halloween Stamps which are 50 for $10.95 or whistles or even those spider rings that I scared my Mom to death with accidentally when I was a kid. :-) The Teal Pumpkin Project has a lot more idea for fun treats that aren't expensive.

Btw, I've been told that Target has teal pumpkins if anyone would like to get one. :-)