Sunday, June 14, 2009

The successful 'Pulling a Pimpernel'

So, Lauren and I have this saying now, coined by her called 'Pulling a Pimpernel.'
If anyone remembers from my very first post the small anecdote about the 18th century gown for the Scarlet Pimpernel PEERS ball. I made the very random and strange mistake of last minute [the night BEFORE] cutting up what I had to remake it into a different gown, because someone made mention that my gown wasnt clear on the period. This made Maggie have a little bit of a freak out, as back then I was OBSESSED at always being period correct. It was hard back then because I knew nothing of 18th century gowns.

So, this is what the gown started as;

It was very nice and simple, and it fit great. The hoops not so much, though. [See thats me being ignorant.]

It was fine the way it was, but well I didn't like it, so I cut it up to turn it into this.

This is what made Lauren and everyone else realize that I am apparently not right in the head. The gown was great in theory, but it was HARDLY wearable or functional. I was sewn into it.
[That is a horrible thing for me.]

So, because of the frantic last minute changes, and somehow barely pulling it off, it became known that changing drastically your costume for an event the night before Pulling a Pimpernell.

As you know, There was the first Le Society de Pique Nique today and I had been planning the Polonaise, which took two different routes. The first one was a horrible disaster, and I hadn't been updating with the second, shame shame on me. I will tell you why, though. It has ALSO been a huge disaster.

Because it was too small last time, when I cut the pattern peices out this time, I scaled but about a half inch, give or take. This was a very bad idea, because of my bust. I thought that taking in the darts would make this gown fit like a glove. It didn't fix the neckline and bust, unfortunately which is always my problem. So it ended up being alot of top stitching and fraying.

The bust still ended up fitting horribly after I rearranged some seams, trimed into a better shape, then stitched. I apparently have not discovered the art of top stitching.
The back, as Usual, turned out fantastic, though.

Another problem I had, which I usually have a problem with are sleeves. I unforutnately lost the top part of my Polonaise sleeve so made the very bizarre and abrupt choice to grab a basic sleeve: from my Margo Anderson ladies wardrobe pattern. Fail. They fit a little strange, and dont fit into into the armscye very well.

This is one of those times where a costume did NOT want to be made. Any costumer knows really how that feels. It really has fought me every step of the way. So I didn't make it. It is sitting in my closet being depressed.

So this is where it all ties in; I pulled a pimpernell Saturday, with the ideas brewing Friday night. I had no idea what to do, but that I was going to throw something together with my already made, half finished parlor skirt. I thought I could make a bodice using the top of the polonaise, toyed with draping something, even thought of changing the fabric, or shopping up the polonaise, but that was stupid as the TOP was what was not working for me.

Then while digging through my patterns, I had a GENIUS epiphany. I have vests. Many many vest patterns, of varyin styles. Vests are sort of period! So I picked a nice and feminine shawl collar, and harrassed Lauren for swiss wasit help, and threw together in less than 24 hours my new picnic outfit, including the ruffle on the parlor skirt.

I have no pictures of it in process, because I was working insanely fast. Oh yeah, I also managed to make two hats the morning of the event; i.e. this morning. I also was sewing on the snaps for the vest IN THE CAR ON THE WAY THERE.

So here is the finised product, all courtesy of Lauren who took these, and whos facebook I jacked them off of.

Tada! The not really period correct somwhere between edwardian and bustle look. I think that I can take the bustle out and it will very much pass for edwardian.

These pictures were taken with the inspiration from a picture Lauren and I found on I also love Lauren's seeming skinny legs compared to the hair/hat size haha

There was a lovely beach area, not ocean but it was a nice river beach none the less. With alot of goose poop.

Close up of the new vest and the swiss waist as well as my hat. I kind of wish I had had a wig for this outfit, as I just chopped off my hair yesterday, but it was still ok. Everything fit so well! I can't even believe this. The success of this Pimpernel was multitudes better than the last, as it is wearable another time, and I was not sewn into it!

I think my bustle pad was a little too overstuffed, the right shape, but a little too stuffed so it made a bit too sharp of a bum.

Enough to put a cup on. And stay. Thats a sign.

And of course there was ice cream.

There are a few more things that need to be done, add closures on the skirt since it was closed with saftey pins, heh, and fix up the armscye and the collar, maybe add a couple of buttons.

Little things like that, and of course and overkirt so I can switch between edwardian and bustle.

One very successful picnic!!



  1. Glad you were able to pull together such a cute outfit!

  2. "skinny legs" lol, have you seen that photo of "the jump?" Yikes.

    This really did turn out beutifully. Just a little more clean-up work and it will be perfectly wearable :-).

    I agree about the bustle - just a little less stuff and you can wear it for Edwardian (picnic in August, PEERS), though you don't want to go completely puff-less...a little roundrump is appropriate :-)

  3. Hi! The girl in the second pic is my double!!!!My brother found the pic surfing the blogs!!!!Who is she? What's her name? Where does she live???I'm Maril├╣ and I'm italian!!! Is so funny found someone that look so similar to you, isn't it?