Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Over My Head?

Courtesy of Demode, I got pulled into the 18th Court Ensemble brigade. Though I don't have the budget to travel to the next Costume Con, I can post and share pictures of what I do. Price is also why I'm making it 60cm sized rather than for me. Like with the Meiji Schiap outfit, Kozu will be my model.

I did a lot of poking around online to see if there was any outfit that caught my fancy. The thought of making panniers and the appropriate petticoats didn't appeal to me. So I started looking at China, and found several male court tunics that looked pretty, but didn't grab me. Also, a tunic isn't a full outfit, and I'm not so familiar with the rank insignia that copying the symbols would feel disingenuous.

I turned to Japan, and went to the Costume Museum in Kyoto. The Edo period is pretty long and engulfs all of the 18th century. None of the dates listed for the outfits I was eying was any more specific than "late" or "early." Likewise, there were no Western years given. I have to estimate.

The formal court clothes of early Edo, looked nicer than the late. By this I mean it looked more lived in, and less a full body prop. However, to replicate this would mean I'd have to create a whole lot of layers, and find a way to replicate the patterned cloth. I seriously doubt my patience on this regard. Similarly, I liked the Ooku garb. It looked simple, but the patterns on the clothes were quite pretty. Again, I don't think I have the mental stamina to do it all without long breaks in between.

I could mimic the patterns with embroidery, but I'm also aware that it's easy for me to bite off more than I can chew. It's happened before. -_-; I could try and use brocade, and maybe I can find something in the right scale, though I doubt I'd find patterns I'd find suitable. Other options include batik, of which I have very little experience, or ordering custom fabric from Spoonflower. The latter would be pretty tricky, since the clothes don't have an obvious repeat and the patterns are asymmetrical. With lots of time and thought I can pull it off, but at the moment it doesn't appeal to me.
With these considerations in mind, I've settled on this ensemble. It's an informal court outfit, with easy to find materials and rectangular construction. Also, that orange is eye catching, as is the size of the model's ogoshibakama (posh trousers.)


When I was out and about earlier near the garment district, I decided to take the plunge and pick up some orange silk. I could use a cheaper material, or buy inexpensive silk and dye it. However, since this project is already much more frugal than it could be, one or two small indulgences can't hurt. At the shop, I found the perfect fabric at $39 a yard.

I kept looking. 

After a lot more looking around, price checking, and asking about minimum lengths, I got half a yard of a somewhat cheaper silk. It's slubby and hence unlikely to be worn by a posh courtier, but the sticker shock isn't as strong, and the color is fabulous.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Blue and Red and Heroic All Over

Late last year, I was participating in a winter themed swap. One of my partners had a tiny with no warm tops, and a fondness for superheroes. Off I went to dig up medium blue and cherry red material, the classic hero colors.

The shirt is a simple rectangular style top, trimmed in red. Details on this and other pieces are in the link.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Topping Off

I spent more time that I should anguishing over this hat. In my mind, it had to be teeny tiny, like many of the Schiap hats I saw. The trouble is, I'm not a milliner, so this would have to be sewn, rather than felt blocked, made from straw, or other milliner tricks. It didn't help that for ages I couldn't find a decent pattern.

Bleuette to the rescue! I found a 1930 Bleuette hat pattern that I enlarged, pinned, and tried on Kozu, in a plain wig for optimum streamlining. Initially she looked like an owl:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hakama Time

Time till the deadline is short. Thankfully, the hakama, a Japanese lower garment that was popular with Meiji schoolgirls, is pretty simple. It's all rectangles, with the front and back tops pleated to fit. I measured a purchased hakama I had on hand, but a little too late. Here's my first, partial attempt:

I'm not sure how clear the picture is, but the hem is cut on a selvedge, the circumference is too narrow, and the entire thing is so long that it extends above Kozu's breasts. The good thing is that these problems are easy to solve.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Study in Pink and Black

The bolero's design is heavily influenced by this ensemble here. In truth, much of my outfit is taken by the narrow black skirt and shocking pink with black bolero. Intense pink and black go well together in my mind, so why not go with it?

As for trim, I'm using a kind of looped braid initially bought for another project. The sleeves I'm very loosely borrowing from a Vogue January 1st, 1939 jacket, the front comes from nowhere in particular, and the back is from a (mumbles) Charles Worth sunburst gown. I didn't want this piece to be fully symmetrical.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bolero, Bolero

Now comes the little jacket for the outfit, draped and ready to go.

 Here's the back.