Thursday, November 18, 2010

The "Grey-clyfffe" Dress

This is the most recent of my completed projects. This dress I designed January 2010 for my continued portrayal of Mistress Mary Radclyffe at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
photo by Vicki Callahan

 I found the grey fabric for the main at the Textile Discount Outlet (aka LZ's aka Saul's) in downtown Chicago. The fabric was unmarked but it is predominantly cotton light upholstery weight. The trimming is all self-made (no manufactured trims). I cut strips of burgundy silk velvet and teal cotton velveteen and made the pipings out of grey or burgundy silk cut on the bias.

 The sleeves (which some of us fondly refer to as "michelin-man style" are made from grey silk from Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago gathered onto a linen/cotton lining with the banding made from bias strips of the same fabric as the forepart with a burgundy silk "cuff".

photo by Steve Spitzer
                                                   photo by Vicki Callahan

The piccadils (at waist and shoulders) I made from cutting around part of the grey pattern and piping in both the burgundy and grey. Because of the bulk of the piping, I ended up lining all 18 pieces by hand to get the precision around the shaped edge.

photo by Vicki Callahan

 The forepart I decorated by embroidering the chevron pattern with a light grey floss and used small teal and grey bead and pearls. The teal cording at the guard is the only pre-made trim I used.

photo by David Hails

The hat I made is an escoffion made on a semi-flexible based covered with burgundy silk over which I laid a teal organza by knife pleating it to the outer edge and gathering it to a point at the back.

All of my dresses are spiral laced with a silk tie. Special attention in the cutting stages allowed the pattern to be nearly perfectly matched at center back.

photo by Vicki Callahan

So there is the Greyclyffe dress. I began accumulating the materials in January. Construction in earnest began in July, although I had decorated the forepart almost entirely by then, and the dress debuted for the 5th weekend of Bristol on August 7th. I'm remarkably pleased with it despite some hijinks the last week of its creation wherein on top of stitching 8 1/2 hours for work, I was up working an additional 6 hours each night mon-wed until Thursday after work I sat down to work at 6:00pm and crawled into bed around 9am the following morning, woke up at 12:00pm to work until 6:00pm when I had to pack up and begin my journey down to site putting the finishing stitches on the escoffion while my brother drove. Phew! Sorry for the run-on-and-on sentence but I feel it properly represents that week! 

So once again, thanks for tuning in! I appreciate and welcome any questions or comments. Next up: a peek at my working set-up and maybe even a peek at the new up and coming projects (hint: lots of pretty pretty fabric is guaranteed!).