Friday, April 15, 2011

My new Russian dress is going to be Italian.

I made the shiny new blog to put my SCA craziness on with the intent that I would focus on my progress on the A&S 50/50 Challenge and the development of my Rus persona. And then it sat here. And sat here. It's not that I haven't been doing projects; just that I haven't been taking pictures and talking about them. Everything seems sort of little and rushed and not important enough to blog about. I'm turning over a new leaf today and I have a beautiful Italian dress to thank for it.

I've been turning the idea of making something really beautiful and fun to wear to celebrate me recent and ongoing weight loss around and around in my head. I'd pretty much just decided to bag the idea and wait until I'd lost more weight, but then Realm of Venus decided to sponsor the Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge I love a challenge. Not because I have any hope at all at winning, but because I'm competitive enough that the deadline will actually get me to make something. Its so much fun to know that someone else is sewing along with you. It always seems to help me focus when people are looking over my shoulder.

I also totally fell in love with this portrait. Camilla Gonzaga and her 3 sons. The dress is nice. It may not be the most fabulously cool dress ever, but its beautiful. I love the slashing in the sleeves, the beauty of the shape of sleeveheads, the dimensionality to the partlet, the color of the velvet, and its general fit and such. I freely admit, however, that that is not why I picked it. I fell in love with it because she's a mom. She's dressed to the nines in something gorgeous and her children are hugging her, fiddling with her outfit and playing with her jewelry. What is there not to love about that? I've gotten lost in her facial expression more than once. There's such strength, character, peace, and humor there. It's reassuring, even if I'm only imagining it. She's me and there's hope that I can be both the woman that is interesting and elegant, but also the mother with the patience to survive those children. So, I want her dress. To make me feel good about my body with a good and figure flattering fit, and about the place I am in my life right now. It's freeing to understand that you aren't alone; that this has been done before. So often portraits show the unattainable ideal. This one makes me outrageously happy.

The dress is pretty plain, relatively, without a lace or embroidery. I'm going to have to find a really plush and pretty velvet in the right red. I'm kind of hoping I can afford silk velvet, but it will depend on what I can find and how motivated I can get to work and make a budget for this. It might have to be cotton velvet. Which would be more washable/spot cleanable which might just be the reality of my life. There's the nice gold trim that I may braid. No buttons which thrills me since I'm still in the midst of making dozens of buttons for my Elizabethan Loose gown.

The really exciting part is her accessories. The balzo (hat) makes the Russian in me thrilled. I couldn't imaging not wearing a goofy hat. This one has lots of fun embellishment. It is a bit calm and small for a balzo, but I may or may not make it a bit larger. I think I have some pelt like objects from the stuff my friend Kyoht gave me when she moved that can be transformed into a zibellini and that is cause for rubbing hands together and giggling. Pretty, pretty. Not as cool as Aine's stuff from Sable Greyhound, but I wouldn't get any bonus points for buying one. I might need to get one after the challenge is over though depending on how mine turns out. I've got to figure out how to do the partlet. It seems dimensional but I'm clueless on construction since I haven't researched Italian enough. I need to pick some of my costuming guild's brains.

Not sure if I've got anywhere near the time to do any embroidery at all on the undergarments since I'm going to need to build a corset, camicia, and drawers just to be able to wear this and I still have some blackwork collars to finish for Queen Esabell. We'll see. I was drooling over drawers in Patterns of Fashion 4 last night and sort of thinking about painting a pair that I could then later embroider. The set with the blue blackwork acorns that declares"I want the heart" is just so very pretty. That's a six month project on its own (or more due to my rather ample derrier) so if embroidery becomes an option I'll do something with just embroidered cuffs.

So much to think about. not to mention having to get patterns for things drafted. I'm very, very, very grateful that Serafina agreed to help me with patterning for the dress. I just have to get some measurements and start fiddling with corset sizing. Just as soon as I get the kid's clothes for Easter done. Thank goodness I'm not allowed to start this week. There's no way I could.

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