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24 January 2013 @ 10:34 pm
More Yellow Venetian Pictures & Thoughts  
Alrighty. Sewing room finally back in order, and I was able to roll out my photo background and get some more detailed pics of my yellow dress. 

My overall thought about this dress? LOVE LOVE and LOVE some more. I think it turned out so pretty. It was a total pain in the ass, though. Once it was on and I was all trussed up inside, it was excellent to wear. Comfortable and everything (nearly) stayed neatly in place.  I had very little trouble while wearing it at Twelfth Night, and what little things did go wrong, well, it was my own damn fault, not the dress's. Getting into and out of this gown, however, was a complete and total bitch. One must be very very dedicated to wearing a Venetian to wear a Venetian. Plus, being stone cold crazypants helps. I absolutely could NOT get in and out of this gown without my husband's help, and I'm an expert. There is no way I can sell this style gown to the general public. I need to figure out a more user friendly version. 

Anyway, here are pics:
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i just really really love how this gown looks. PRETTY! and MINE! It's really mine. I don't have to ship it off to anywhere but my own closet. 

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The ladder laced front: again, with loving grateful thanks to   jenthompson  .  I didn't use her two ribbons, but I was working with her excellent theory. I used a single very wide grosgrain ribbon instead of two thin ones. I thought it worked out better, frankly.  More secure, very solid, easier to install, held up like a champ through several rough lacings and lots of tugging and pulling. Loved it. *bows down to Jen

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I made a classic triangle design on the bodice with the trim, you see this arrangement a lot on Italian gowns. Gives the illusion of a smaller waist! I'll take all the help I can get!

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My girdle is pearl overkill for sure. I'd like a new one without cabs-- a future project I'm looking forward to! I enjoy making gigantic pieces of jewelry. 

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Oh, here is my lovely silk organza partlet with the delicate gold trim criss cross. No? Not what you see? That's because I totally destroyed it in my panic to get everything done on time. It was bad. really bad. I don't want to talk about it.  I had to make a late night last minute dash to Joann's and get this weird cheap lace stuff and make it work. Tim Gunn would be proud,  'cause I made it work. 

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Do you see my secret invisible pocket in this picture? Of course you don't!  It's secret and invisible!

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Here it is! Sneaky, I know. I placed a deep pocket in the seam of either side. Not historically accurate, but damn useful. What the heck am I suppose to do with my keys and ID and money and phone and face powder?  Reality trumps fantasy, I gots to have a place for my stuff. Gots to. 

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The sleeves are just straight old sleeves-- I usually like to do a more historically correct curved sleeve, but that gets complicated when you want to cap it with the little panes and linen puffs. You wouldn't think so, but it does. I had very few brain cells to devote to this project. I didn't have time to puzzle it out, had to be made fast, so straight plain old sleeves it was. 

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And here is where I had to add more garbage to the dress to cover up my terrible terrible hand sewing skills. I whip stitched the sleeve to the strap, and O.M.G. it looked sooooo bad. Hideous! Like a monkey did it! I had to dumpster dive and cobble scraps together to make this little pearl and pouf thing you see here. Now no one will know my secret shame. 

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The back pointed waist line, with the girdle secured there so it wouldn't ride up and look silly. 

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I was also not planning to put pearls on the hem trim, but I COULDN'T STOP MYSELF. I just kept pearling and pearling and pearling. Aaaaalll the way around. I thought I would run out of pearls, but I never did. Because I'm a pearl whore. I mean, hoarder. Pearl hoarder. I hoard pearls. I'll never run out. Never. 

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I stiffened the hem with a 1 inch plastic horsehair braid. Best thing I ever did. As I said before, it really elevated my skirt out of Amateur Hour. It made such a big big big difference. I think I got the Italian skirt silhouette down pretty good!  I stiffened the hems on both skirts, and it was just the right thing to do. I will now do that on all my skirts, it just made a huge positive difference.

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You know why I love Venise Lace so much? Because you can topstitch the hell out of that shit and no one can see what you did. I think there is more machine thread holding this lace down than there is actual lace. Round and round, criss crossed and up and over every point. That lace is now permanent. 

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Here is the hemline I totally fucked up and had to repair with garbage scraps. Seriously, out of the garbage. I was out of fabric to rectify my horrible mistake, and had to make do with the merest wisps of scrappery. But then I fucked that up, too, and had to make do with even the meriest wisperiest scrappery of any scrap who ever scrapped. It was very harrowing. There was so little left I could not even sew that on correctly-- it was serged to barely extend the edge, then TOPSTITCHED to the very edge of the hem. I had to cover the whole mess with trim. Trim I wasn't planning to use on the hem. Surprise! I have a trimmed hem. I'm not mad at it because it looks so pretty. 

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Are you impressed with how I mitered that corner with see-through trim? It's quite perfect, with no messy tucked under undersides showing. *beauty queen wave*  

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Ah, the deeply cut back of a Venetian Gown, vexing costumers around the world. Or maybe just me. Most just skip it and make a high back to get the right shape in the front. Not me! My shoulder straps are actually so secure I could have cut it even deeper. But, well, I didn't want to show off. Too much. 

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I loved the way the skirt moved and swished around. It was really quite awesome. I used the Eleonora skirt pattern, the same one used for the Pisa Dress, but I packed it with loads more fabric. I used 4 panels of 60" wide cut like Eleonora's. At first I thought I overdid it, but no, it was perfect. 

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I did not lose a single pearl, despite kicking the hem around for two nights. I thought for sure they would be springing off me like fabulous fleas, but no, they all held fast. Thanks, GemTac! 

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Notes about this gown:

*Too damn hard to get into. Must figure out a way to make it more user friendly. Once I was in, it was totally fine, but getting there took hours... arranging and rearranging the camicia, the laces, the partlet, the straps, making it all work together was a total nightmare. No way an ordinary person could do all that. Only a Venetian Nutball could stand for it. 

*Need to lower the bodice height-- it was STILL too tall, it sat about an inch higher than it should. Man, these suckers are LOW. 

*Need to lower the armpit. It was fine just loafing around looking pretty, but it was killing me when I had to drive to the hotel. Driving in this thing was awful. On the way home I decided to loosen the laces so it wouldn't be so bad, but OMG that was the worst thing I could do, that drove it up into my armpits even more. So, I tried to unlace and get the hell out of it, but then I was all tangled up and couldn't get out and I was stuck for a few moments in the parking garage, all trussed up like a helpless staightjacketed goofball with no one around to help. Yeah, classy. I'm glad no one saw me. Maybe hotel security, but they were probably too busy laughing and trying to upload the video to YouTube. 

*I didn't fit the shoulders right, they sat just a little too high and gave away my secret. I think if they were a little lower they would have snugged up to my arm and no one would ever know how I achieved Magical Venetian Shoulders. Ah well. My boning method worked wonders, I just didn't take the time to really make sure they were set at the right level. An easy fix, though! I made the gown to be adjustable, so the next time I wear it it will be the right way. 

*I like that I can change the whole look of this gown by adding shoulder ruffs and a partlet with a big tall lace collar. *rubs hands together gleefully*

I guess that's all. I have a few more Venetians coming up in the near future, always tweaking the pattern and improving!
fitchwitchfitchwitch on January 25th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Venetian gown
OMG it's gorgeous! I'm planning on making one in the near future, so I may be contacting you about closings (and openings), etc. Lovely work!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Venetian gown
Thank you! I'm always up for in depth discussions about Venetian gowns! Looking forward to it!
padawansguidepadawansguide on January 25th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
That's really lovely - I have fabric for a Venetian but almost don't know where to start with it! :-)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I always seem to start with the sleeves. If I save them for last they always seem to be a chore to make. Make them first, then they are ready to rock when the bodice is done, like a nice little surprise-- Hey! Sleeves are already done! Alriiiiight!
mrq_laurellenmrq_laurellen on January 25th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
This write-up had me snorting mocha out of my nose... there should be a warning.

Overall, I think the gown achieves the line you're looking for; you may see all the 'flaws' but when you wore it, it looked fabulous and you looked comfortable. So beautiful!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I actually was quite comfortable wearing the gown, once I was in it. Even sitting in the gown was quite comfortable-- it was just the driving that was so so terribly wrong. And, the getting in it, so awkward! Took waaay too long and a lot of frustration. My poor husband.
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on January 25th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
Yay for guided tours of garb! This is delightful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Can't get into (and out of?) this gown without assistance, h'mm...? Now I'll have to think carefully and plan carefully, because I've been wanting to make and wear a Venetian gown and, good help being so hard to find these days (at least at reasonable rates!), I will have to---have to!---get into it and out of it all by my little lonesome.

Is your photo background which you roll out a professional photo studio accessory kind of thing? Or is it something one might be able to duplicate, or at least jury-rig, at home without having to spend a gazillion bucks?

Thanks again! :^)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! My main goal when making costumes is to be able to get in and out without fuss or help. This one, technically, I *could* do by myself, but wow, not easy. I'm working on a few different methods to make it easier to wear. Stay tuned!

Yes, it is a pro photo paper back drop. It cost about 50 bucks, and lasts for many years. I have it hung on the wall with a metal closet pole and drapery finial-type things from Home Depot. Overall, I don't think it was an expensive set up, considering how long it lasts and how useful it is. If I had wooden floors I'd be happy with just a plain painted wall.
(no subject) - virginiadear on January 25th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - virginiadear on January 25th, 2013 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - virginiadear on January 25th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mrq_laurellen on January 25th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 26th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
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starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I know, right? I think it's the one big taboo to talk about what a bitch some of these costumes are. "I look fabulous! You just don't want to know what I had to go through to get so fabulous!"

You did look fabulous, by the way! You made it look effortless.

Loren: gree florentinebauhausfrau on January 25th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
It's gorgeous and I love this write up about it. Not only is it a laugh riot but I love hearing about people's tricks and tips and mess ups and last min fixes.

I've never made one of these although I really want one. I have what is probably a really idiotic question as a result though: The front dips down so low but appears (and maybe it's faked?) to show the camica under the lacing in front but then the skirts seem to go higher to a waistband under the camica? Or???? How DOES that all work? And are you wearing a corset or is it boned or??? Thanks!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Yeah, Venetians are hard to figure out. I've been vexed for years trying to get it right. In portraits, there are two types clearly seen-- a faked stomacher (either ribbed linen looking or embroidered fabric) or just the camicia showing. Cant really tell if the skirt dips to expose the camicia or the camicia is just tugged up and folded down over the front of the skirt but under the laces. What you see above is a faked stomacher, which I think looks really good! What I did when I actually wore the gown was the tug up and tuck down method, which also worked quite nicely. Problem with that method, though, is that you have to have a very nice and tightly gathered camicia to expose, and you have to be very meticulous with arranging the gathers to look right, and that takes a damn lot of time and isn't easy. Plus, it changes the line away from most of the portraiture of the time. Usually, those bodices lines were straight as a rod, indicating a stiff stomacher. If it is only the camicia, then the opening edge kind of collapses and hugs your curves, making a waved line instead. (you can see what I mean comparing me actually wearing the gown vs. the dress form.) Corsets were not worn with this type of gown, it was the bodice itself that was stiffened within an inch of its life. I just used boning, but back then they used pasteboard. Venetian ladies were insane.
countess_ecountess_e on January 25th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
Even if I wasn't interested in your construction techniques (which I am, intensely, BTW) the prose would be worth the read. I love your writing style.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love these gowns, but they are stupid crazy. Maybe that's why I love them so!
Kendrademode on January 25th, 2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
So gorgeously beautiful and sparkly. I LOVE the trim -- it adds an extra glow with all those pearls.

Now I wanna know your shoulder strap secrets -- TELL ME! B/c I'm about ready to give up on the on-the-shoulder strap, which when it falls down is super binding and annoying.
Kendrademode on January 25th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
PS Love all the things you did on the sleeves -- the tabs with the hanging pearls, I will try very hard not to steal that idea! And I love the gathered poufy bits across the top!
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - demode on January 25th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - demode on January 25th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 26th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starlightmasque on January 25th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - demode on January 25th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ghost_ofa_roseghost_ofa_rose on January 27th, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
Love love love this gown! It's so gorgeous and you looked absolutely beautiful in it. And thanks for all detailed pictures, because now I want to make a venetian too :D.

And I have to thank you for the tip about the horsehair braid on the hemline. I'm going to buy lots of it and add it to the hemline of my tudor gown. It keeps curling up to the inside, so hopefully this will help.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 28th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Stiffening the hems is an absolute must. Back then the Italians called it Doppia, and usually was done with felt of some type. But, horse hair worked wonders and was super easy to use!
Fortuitous Destinydragonfly_sidhe on January 28th, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's physically possible to dress properly without help. I can get mostly into many of my dresses (unless they're back laced), but always need help with the finishing touches. Le sigh.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on January 28th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
It is my main goal to make a Venetian that one can get into and out of without help. I'm going to cheat my ass off historically to do it, but I'M GOING TO DO IT. I don't like the fussing and worrying. I don't like being trapped in a costume no matter how historically correct it was.
Sylvie Vicenza on January 12th, 2019 12:04 pm (UTC)
Love the dress
I really love the dress. I do not think some of the language does match how beautiful the dress is. Maybe omitting some words would be better.