Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Back into the Fray

My sister called me Sunday morning. She said that she wanted to talk to me before I donned the Crazy Pants yet again, and lost touch with reality for awhile.

What she means is- Iron Dress 2012 has started.

Here are the rules:

The competition runs from April 1 to July 1. The winner will be announced on July 15.

The outfit must be made using Margo Anderson's Historic Costume Patterns. The outfit must be made using only what is in the contestant's stash plus $25 for "extras." So anything that is needed like more trim or fabric or embellishments has to come out of the $25.

Underpinnings like a corset, smock, bumroll, ect do not count for the competition, but must be worn.

Pattern may be modified for another country, like Italy or Germany.

The Plan:

Honestly, the hardest part was not the stash diving, but choosing a model. I didn't want to sew for myself because the inherent difficulties of measuring and fitting a dress from the chair just make competition sewing that much more insane. My sister, who is my ideal renaissance model, lives five hours away and is busy with school right now. And I was interested in trying to fit for a new body and new personality. So my choice fell on Kat, Morwin's girlfriend. It was an interesting conversation to call up my best friend and ask if I could borrow his girlfriend's body, but it went pretty well and she's excited and I'm excited, which is a good way to start off a major project.

The next step was design. I knew that I wanted to go Italian courtesan. Not only because I love the look of the v-front dresses, but also because the opening in the front of the dress allows for a little wiggle room when fitting someone who lives two and a half hours away and isn't around at the drop of a hat for fittings. Kat also works at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire on the pirate ship, so I wanted something that she could potentially wear to work as well. Apologies in advance for any SCA-ers who are currently cringing at the thought of a Pirate Courtesan. If you've been to the PA Ren Faire, you might have noticed Historical Accuracy isn't exactly on the top of their Ye Olde Liste of Priorities. Also, for the first time in maybe ever, I want to work on a project where I'm not pouring over a picture of a portrait with a magnifying lens, trying to figure out exactly how many stitches are on each pleat of a ruffle. Rule #1 for this project is that it must be fun.

The stash dive produced a LOT of fabric so the current plan is:

Look 1:
Black velvet v-front gown with red silk underskirt and paned sleeves. White linen chemise. Gold veil. Flag fan. Girdle belt and jewelry. Very traditional courtesan.

Look 2:
Same black velvet gown and chemise, but with paned breeches and a hat and caul. Pants under a skirt has been documented in drawings from period, and I wanted something that might be more comfortable for her to work in when she's on the ship. I'm not sure exactly what I'm making the paned pants out of yet, but I'll figure it out when the time comes.

I like the idea of Kat being able to switch up pieces for two completely different looks depending on what she's doing at the faire and I'm really looking forward to being able to mix pattern sets for the competition. And having fun. This project needs to be FUN.