Tag Archives: norma shearer

norma shearer gowns progress

I worked on both my marie Antoinette gown and Upstage gown today. For Marie I cut the silver lamรฉ to fit the skirt. It will need to be stitched in a specific order so no pics today as it’s a bit of a mess. It will be all overlocked tomorrow though as the weave is very loose. Not too bad on the straight but the diagonal.. I’m worried.

I went a little overboard with the length. BUT I DON’T CARE!!! (Marie Antoiette is folded and hanging up on the wall behind. Not very exciting stage!)

I am totally redesigning the skirt front as I am not a fan of the short underskirt. This will overlap at mid thigh and I will maintain the stretch of the line using hand and machine stitching. Honestly, mostly hand because the long pile of the velvet had already proven it cannot walk a straight line.

The upper half was draped in pink crepe earlier so I may transfer that to the lime green and just tidy it a little, the dress will be silk velvet with a lining of either silk charmeuse or rayon charmeuse- it depends on how much I need. Probably the silk as it is already terrible pinky-beige.

I was going to make my magic Flame inspired bodice switch out with the Upstage but there may be enough velvet for both!!!

yep, I am obsessed by slinky velvet dresses from a time where slinky is not remembered! But I do have a full post on slinky dresses already!

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Upstage gown draping

Well also my Magic Flame inspired bodice ๐Ÿ™‚

This is my Magic Flame inspired gown, I may actually have enough to make both gowns, but hey.

I’ve been using 1920s appropriate fabrics (silk charmeuse lining, silk velvet shell) and techniques (which are just weird, really weird. I have an entire post dedicated in my mind about the weirdness!

It’s kind of even weirder than bias as it’s not bias and it’s not based on a system.. it’s just.. weird.


So this was a nightmare, but I have the shell mounted to the lining and a lovely cotton tulle border ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up I decided to use my pink crepe intended for draping to actually drape ๐Ÿ™‚

The skirt front is an inverted V which helps with shaping (as per my last blog post) but it’s not the most flattering of options so I have decided to use the top most line of the feather details to hide a hip level seam.

So this means the entire front is cut in one and all shaping is achieved through the points at the side of the bodice. I am also using the photos of the back of the gown as a guide- I prefer how they appear to sit further around the side of the ribs.

I started by pinning the fabric to the CF line. This is the anchor for all the stretch and all the shaping. The second anchor is the hip, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll manage to keep the hip seam nice and horizontal and on the grain but that is the aim.

I then pinched a dart from the side hip to the side of the bust point. This is based onย Draping a Magic Dance Frock, and Art in Dress. In Art in Dress there are a few bodices where shaping is achieved with darts or slashing at the side waist.

Detour for obligatory helping photo.

I then started to push the excess fabric at the side waist up to smooth the fit over the lower front. ANd then cut the fabric close to where I wanted the upper arrow shape to sit.

There is a bit of guess work in draping and I know I will have to try this again, my cut is slightly misaligned.

A lot of shaping relies on the seam allowances to be cut to allow the fabric to ease into and around curves. However once you cut the fabric it of course spreads and can spread further than you expect. This is especially true when using the natural stretch of woven fabrics.

Even pinning from one direction will pull the fabric off line.

Just a little further smoothing and easing.

By this stage I decided I really should have put in the straps that appear at the back of the gown as these are very not stretchy and need to be more accurately tested.

After a bit of adjusting I was happy with the shape and curve and used the excess fabric at the shoulder to drape the shoulder arrow.

So yes, my side arrows are slightly uneven. But tidying that will be in my next test pattern. It will be fluoro-green charmeuse.

And finally I tested my half circle skirt to see where I could arrange skirt flare. I think I’ll actually cut the back on a slight diagonal as there will be a seam there anyway.


The shaping is quite pronounced!


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Cards on table: current costume obsessions

I’ve been looking through my stash of fabrics with a calculating eye and have finally settled on a few absolutely desperate to make right now projects. Most of which use my stash in some way or another ๐Ÿ™‚ This is all locked in and I have plans for what occasion each will be for ๐Ÿ™‚

freya2 freya3ย norma_shearer_-26

Freya from Hunstman: Winter’s Warย (robes and armour) & Norma Shearer from Upstage

The armour can be from my stash (so lucky!) so can Norma’s gown. It’s the robes that is currently making my brain itch because I need to calculate and create my patterns precisely.

But that slinky velvet. Obsessed. There is a preview that has survived and it’s at the NZ film archive! The skirt front of the gown isn’t so exciting but the rest is. And I have many options to adapt the front of the skirt. And a lot of research as slinky gowns abound in the 1920s.

mantuamolย 76c655368e1abea996bf521c24afb1a3 kjole

An early mantua.ย 

These are illustrative only, I am trying to debate between my stash options of black ribbed silk or a shot pale blue polyester. 9m of each!

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Sheer 1870s

I have about 12m of cotton net. Now that I have my fluffy Robe de Style in lace I can put it all towards a fashion style that has had a dedicated folder for over a decade!


These are “new” projects. I am still working on my wall of things but these are mostly stash busting so really just a shifting around in my workroom ๐Ÿ™‚



To finish:

Marie Antoinette: thought I’d forgeotten? AHAHAHAHAH! All my trims are here so time to start patterning and washing sizing out of trims ๐Ÿ™‚

Cleves red velvet: this is long term hand sewing. And fiddly. But everything is put aside.

Valois: the skirt needs hemming and I am worried I have been rushing the stitches. Also the silk is insanely difficult to work with. I have scrap silk that is less difficult to try!

Silver Spanish: it’s lining, so much lining. I also took out some extra weight from the skirt to make it wearable.

Princess de Cleves: You’d think a doublet would be easy. Nope. But I figure I can couch some braid over the existing braid for some extra texture!


Hannibal gown: reassembly!

Phantom wedding gown: in storage with the Hannibal gear, no rush, but it is silly to leave it this long!

Mina: I have toย make the lining absolutely perfect as the silk has zero stretch and all my bodices have had some stretch. I now have the same ripstop cotton as for the bustle so it will be done!!! For my birthday? Maybe…

Worth Sunburst:ย on hold, I did just find my 9m length of pale aqua silk chiffon so I may wind up with my own interpretation of the gown seeing as there are two extant versions already.ย Also I have glass pearls set aside and that is more of the Kyoto style than Met style ๐Ÿ™‚


Ahsoka: lost a bit of steam on this. Still want to finish her ๐Ÿ™‚

Mothma: my dress shrank :/ I’m thinking of passing on the fabric parts to just reset.

Darth Talon: New bikini is fantastic! ANd I do need new lekku. My 2nd set are just too heavy ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashara: potentially be remade into my own SWTOR jedi knight Neimhaille ๐Ÿ™‚

Nyreen: With Andromeda coming out and more female turians running around I dug out my robes for her that were about to be thrown out. So resizing them ๐Ÿ™‚

Leia: my senatorial robes have just gone into the wash, I got new photos for my tutorial, and finally found a pair of soles that work! SHe has no heel, her shoes are made with that really gummy rubber and there are so many cool seams in her boots anyway.

Draenei: slightly on the back burner again. I have a habit of wanting to figure out how then figuring it out andย then not really wanting to finish ๐Ÿ˜‰


So at the heart of it I love patterning, and figuring stuff out, not so much the final stages. Ah well ๐Ÿ˜‰

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