18 January 2016

Blue Velvet Redux

new dress, for Candlemas 2016
In 2012, for my second Candlemas, I made a midnight blue velveteen gown that was more or less cotehardie-ish, with a shimmery leaf-green lining in the sleeves, embroidered with gold thread and tiny faux pearls. It had seen some wear, and was far too small for me, the last time I tried it on (six months ago), so I decided to adjust the sizing a bit, and to change the look of the whole dress.

In an awesome turn of events, when I tried the dress on a couple of weeks ago, before starting this project, it fit me perfectly!  Yay!  No re-sizing necessary!

Here's What Changed: 

1.      I removed all of the gold metallic embroidery and beading, steamed out the impressions left by the decoration and brushed up the fabric's nap with a soft brush to smooth it back out. 
2.      The original front lacing placket was removed and replaced with buttons. 
3.      I unstitched the neckline edges and flattened them out, then re-shaped the neckline at the bust. 
4.     The neckline was a wee bit deeper in the front than I wanted before, so I added a 1/2" edge binding in a linen the same color as the velveteen. 
5.      A twisted, blue, cotton, embroidery floss was couched in along the join between he body fabric and the edge binding. 
6.      I removed the green sleeve linings were removed and replaced with a blue washed-silk fabric from stash.
7.    Finally, I put smaller buttons onto the sleeves.  The size and design don't match the front buttons, but the metallic tones of both styles look great together, and I like having smaller buttons on the sleeves, anyway - less banging my arms on feast tables. 

The dress in 2012, made from a pair of
cotton velveteen curtains purchased at Ikea

Buttons and edge binding on new dress

One Last Thing

I tried out an embossing technique that I'd seen online - there are many tutorials on YouTube and on various blogs out there, this is one.  Basically, you wet the fabric with a spray bottle, place a rubber or foam stamp underneath it, and use a hot iron (without steam) to dry the fabric against the pattern of the stamp.  I thought it would be nifty to have a band across the lower hem, and one at the hips -  similar to the decorative bands in this image from Les Belle Heures du Duc du Berry.  At first, it looked fantastic: 


After a day or two, though, the embossed design simply disappeared from the fabric.  I tried it a few different ways (wetting the fabric on the inside, the outside, different iron settings, using starch, not using starch), but no matter what I did, the pressed pattern simply would not stay where i put it - after hanging for a couple of days, it just vanished. Oh, well.  It was a neat idea.  

Okay, Two Last Things

I thought I might "reupholster" my old red ear cauls for this outfit, as well, before I remembered that one had gotten badly crushed at war last year, and I'd thrown the pair out and resolved to make a new set when I needed one.  

Instead, since I felt like trying out something new, and didn't want to spend the time on making a new set of cauls, I decided to try my hand at making a bourrelet, or padded roll headpiece, instead - which, of course, ended up taking more time than a new set of cauls would have.  Whatever. :) 

Cotton/poly damask scraps from stash, over-embroidered along the fabric's design, with (plastic?) silver trim, plastic pearl beads, and a glass "ruby" and plastic pearl drop in the front.  There's a wire inside from an old Halloween witch's hat, and it's stuffed with the contents of an old bed pillow that had gone flat.  I love recycling old stuff!   

I may or may not end up doing some more embroidery on it.  The more I look at it, the less finished it actually looks.  Then again, 90% of it will be under a veil.  I'm not sure yet. 

I'll have pics of the finished outfit, with jewelry, veils, and other accessories, after Candlemas. 


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