Apr 152011

– Edited to add:
During to a flood that hit my house, the fabrics and partially completed costume parts were destroyed.
So until I decide to actually redo everything with new fabrics, the pages for this gown only serve as a documentation and memory of what I made; not as a dress diary.

Alright… this will become a project likely to the Pelican gown, it seems.

I have by now ordered some (whereas ’some‘ refers to 8 yards of 60“ wide) fabric of double sided acetate taffeta – the same as the one I used for the ‚Moulin Blue‘ gown, with one exception:
One side of the fabric is light aqua blue, the other ivory.
By now the fabric, which I had until then only seen in pictures on the internet, has arrived. It’s in fact, a *very* pale aqua blue, almost gray and *dark* ivory, almost brownish – I’d call the color ‚mushroom‘. I am – in short terms – not so sure if this will work for this gown; I’m still thinking about it.
Another update:
I have thought about it and test dyed a swatch – yes, I will use that fabric for the ‚orange‘ parts of the gown. It will work, though the ivory lining of the portrait will be, well, ‚mushroom‘ on my gown.
This fabric will be used for the slashed doublet, sleeves and skirt – as I don’t have to wear them on my skin, the acetate taffeta is acceptable to use, I guess – if not from the historical aspect, then at least from the look aspect. That stuff *looks* like Duchesse silk; it *feels* like Duchesse silk, *frays* like Duchesse silk and *drapes* like duchesse silk – just that it’s a lot cheaper; so if, at some point of time, I should lose the patience for this gown, I will at least not have wasted too much expensive fabric 😉

I will have to look out for some natural fabric for the ‚white‘ parts of the gown – undersleeves, underdoublet and petticoat. As they *will* have direct contact with my skin *plus* have to work as a membrane between my body and the acetate clothing items, they have to be of natural fibers.

So… what do I want?

‚Just‘ everything I have listed on the ‚Studying‘ page; and just the way I have described it there. This also included the embroideries on slashed doublet, sleeves and skirt.
And this is why I have said that this will become a project likely to the ‚Pelican gown – I estimate this gown to take about 300 hours of work, just like ‚Pelican‘.
I would like to have it finished by my 35th birthday, which will be at the end of February, 2006 – though I don’t hold my breath for that date – if it takes longer, I will also be satisfied – as long as I finish it at some point of time. Which brings me to the scare factor of this project:

I’m utterly scared to give up on this gown before I have finished it. The embroideries will test my patience’s limits, I guess. I’m really, really scared to start on this gown – I’m scared to have it end up as yet another UFO (=UnFinished Object) in my stash.
This is why I am already publishing my planning – to have something that will keep me going, as I can still think that too many people will think I’m not patient enough if I don’t keep going.
So… expect to see *lots* of pictures of the embroidery in the making during the next months 😉
I will – you might have already guessed it – hand embroider the whole garment.
I couldn’t do most of the embroideries with a sewing machine, anyway; so I have decided to do *anything* by hand – even the parts (golden thread embroidery) that my machine could have done.
Wish me luck – *lots* of luck and even more patience – I can use it!

I have also decided not to start on anything else on this costume before I have finished those darn embroideries on the ‚orange‘ parts – *if* I should lose my patience for the gown, I would have at least not wasted any other fabric than just the acetate taffeta. I think most of those embroideries will be made during the time between Christmas and new year, which I always spend at my parent’s house. Those are just a few days, but if I have nothing else to do, I will hopefully find the time to embroider like mad.
I will, however, probably also work on other gowns on my list while I am making those embroideries (not during that vacation time, though) – to distract myself from that really, really boring process.

I’ll use Margo’s pattern for the gown – though I have to change most pattern pieces and also have to make at least the ‚orange‘ doublet in a larger size so that it will fit over the white one, I think Margo’s pattern is a very good start.
I can change it to my needs with the help of Alcega’s pattern book from 1589, which I also have and which will hopefully help me to achieve a ‚period‘, Spanish look.

I’m still seriously contemplating hand sewing the gown. There are so many areas on the gown that can’t be sewn by machine, and I would like to give a completely hand sewn gown a try.

You can either read the boring materials estimation below, or jump right to the slashed doublet page.

So… as always… the material estimation.

Materials I’ll need (or already used) for this gown (constantly updated with further planning and making):
(This includes a price breakdown for the materials – I’ve made the experience that people are incredibly curious as to how much one would have to pay for the materials if they would make such a gown themselves.
Remember, however, that the below shown costs are *just* the plain material costs – so if you would have someone make you such a gown with the above listed jewelry, you’d have to pay their work as well.
Considering that I estimate this gown & jewelry to take roughly 300 hours of work, and considering that a *good* costume maker should earn at least $15 per hour (remember, she must pay taxes from that, *plus* make a living somehow!), *plus* adding some funds for research, shipping of materials and the finished gown, notions etc. – about $150 or so….
This means the price for a gown like this should have at least $4650 *added* to the below listed, plain material costs, if you would want a professional costume maker to make you this gown.)

Status Item Cost
Material for the ‚orange‘ parts of the gown – 8 yards of double sided acetate satin at $2.99 per yard (including shipping to Germany and taxes, sigh…) ~ $ 60
Material for the ‚white‘ parts of the gown – 7.5 yards of I-have-no-idea-yet-what-to-use… (perhaps I’ll order more of the double sided acetate satin, and use the ‚ivory‘ side for the white parts. I will most definitely have to line that with a natural material, though) ~ $ ?
Golden trims for ‚white‘ parts of the dress – estimation: at least 200 yards, if I also decorate the petticoat with trims, which I intend to do ~ $ 100
(hopefully ‚just‘!)
Lining for both ‚orange‘ and ‚white‘ parts (for the ‚orange‘ parts – just for the skirt, as the slashed sleeves and doublet will be lined with the double sided acetate) – about 10 yards of white linen and 5 yards of black wool (for the ‚orange‘ skirt) ~ $120
Embroidery materials – *silver* thread (instead of gold, as on the original gown – silver matches aqua blue so much better), silver cording and white pearls – I have decided to completely hand embroider the gown ~ $ 50
Corset steel boning to reinforce both doublets ~ $ 10
Small buttons for ‚orange‘ sleeves ~ $ 5
Material to make pearl buttons for ‚orange‘ doublet – pearls, pewter – I think I’ll need to make about 50 buttons; and if each just weights 10 grams, that’s one pound of buttons… *sigh*… ~ $ 30
Aglets for bodice and skirt – I guess I’ll need 56: Eight pairs for each sleeve – makes 32; plus 12 pairs to tie the skirt – makes 56. I’d better order 60, if I should lose any so I can replace them when I need to. Pillagedvillage carries some nice ones, but so does Grannd Garb. Comparing them:

Pillagedvillage Grannd Garb
Aglets 3 inch $2/each
Aglets 2 inch 4.50/Dz.
Aglets 1 3/4 in. $1.50 each

While the 3-inch aglets from Pillagedvillage are definitely perfect in size, the 2 inch aglets from Grannd Garb are definitely cheaper…
And there *is* a price difference between (Pillagedvillage) $100/60 aglets and (Grannd Garb) $22.50/60 aglets… Though Grannd Garb has listed them as ‚reordered for February‘, so I couldn’t get them right now, anyway (which I also couldn’t afford)… Hmmm… will think about this. There are a few items that I would like to order from Grannd Garb, among them the pattern for the ‚Cranach‘ gown, so I would have to wait until I have saved up some money anyway…

max. $ 120 including shipping
Pewter to cast the jewelry from ~ $ 5
Swarovski stones in various shapes to decorate jewelry, the cross she’s wearing on her breast could probably be bought in a fancy jewelry shop ~ $ 50
Pearls for the jewelry ~ $ 20
Clay / plaster to make the molds for the jewelry ~ $ 5
Some jewelry hooks etc. for the belt and necklace closure ~ $ 5
…so just the material will (did) cost:
(This *has* to become a long terms project – for the items that I don’t yet own I would have no idea how to pay them right now!)
~$ 575
…if you’d have this gown made, add the above explained ‚costume maker‘ costs of… ~$ 4650
…and get to a total price of… *drops down unconscious* ~$ 5225
…which makes this costume the most expensive I have ever created and / or have on my planning list; except perhaps the ‚Pelican‘ gown which took about the same time; but I have never made such a price breakdown for it.
And, remember – I’m still using a shamefully cheap material for the ‚orange‘ parts of the gown *and* have no idea yet what to make the *white* parts from, which is why they are not yet included in this calculation…
: already have that material
: ordered that material
: don’t have the material (yet)
Costs are calculated by the material price; no shipping/handling fees for those materials are included here.
The above listed ‚costume maker‘ calculation was made just to satisfy one of my biggest needs:
To show people that *good* costume makers are often underpaid or undervalue their work (or the amount of work that goes into a gown).
I’ve experienced that myself when I was still a professional costume maker and *still* heard often that my prices are ‚too high’… just because people don’t take into consideration (or are simply not aware) how much time, work, craftsmanship and research go into making such gowns. I myself often miscalculated the costs for a customer’s gown, in the sense of me thinking that I wouldn’t need so much material / so much time, ending up with doing very much for considerably little.
So – the calculation is for ‚those‘ people as well as for myself, so that I might know what exactly my spare time, in which I make these costumes, is worth (I wish I had made those very exact breakdowns when I was still professional – would have spared & gained me much at the same time)

And now… off with you, to the slashed doublet page!

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