Project 7: Anne Boleyn Gown - Part Four

Anyone want to take a bet on how many parts
this project will have? My estimate is ten. 
The Anne Boleyn gown continues its momentum, with embellishments adorning the neckline. Stitching away in the car only resulted in one major needle wound and subsequent bruise, one that caused a dozen or so inquiries. "My, Shannon! However did you get that bruise?" Oh, well, you see, I really enjoy Tudor history and...
 The matching skirt silk is loosely wrapped around me
for photo purposes, but I was thrilled with how it looked
when I saw the two pieces together.

Up close and personal... 
The front stretch across the bodice alternates royal purple and black Swarovski crystals on gold florets, playing off the purple lining. The pattern of four-pearl clusters is based off of Jane Seymour's Holbein portrait.
Seeing Red: Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour,
sports an excellent example of 16th century dress. 
Of course, it is interesting to note that her bedazzled neckline is actually the peek-a-boo kirtle and not her gown, but we're fibbing just a bit with our historical accuracy. This may lead you to notice that I took out the white ribbon across the front of the neckline, my version of a mock-kirtle. It simply wasn't right. I'll have to try something else.

Another change in The Plan is opting out of using gold ribbon around the neckline. I decided that one) my florets were too lovely to blend in with a golden background, and two) it seemed to keep more with the period style without. I'll still be able to use the ribbon as part of the French hood.
Sound the trumpet {sleeves}!
One little detail that tickles me is the trio of florets holding the trumpet sleeves folded in place. I believe there may be a few more future appearances. The gold florets were actually purchased as part of a chain, jump rings linking each together. They were indeed the perfect setting for the crystals.

Stay tuned for Part Five: pleating, ruffling, and attaching the skirt.


Project 7: Anne Boleyn Gown - Part Three

The addition of trumpet sleeves instantly gives the Anne Boleyn gown a regal air. The moment I slipped the bodice on, my shoulders rolled back, my chin lifted, and I found myself using the queenliest expressions as I promenaded throughout my apartment, fabric swinging beautifully about my arms. I become increasingly thrilled with each component added.

The weight of billowing trumpet sleeves certainly pulls the bodice to a different position, up and to the side, though the skirt’s volume should bring things back in place. The contrasting fabric is actually sewn to the upper sleeve lining, which is revealed as it flips back.

Tonight I start the skirt, and one can only imagine what the addition of all that fabric will do to the overall character of the gown.


Project 7: Anne Boleyn Gown - Part Two

The bodice of the Anne Boleyn gown is ready for sleeves and trinkets. My hope is to have the sleeves sewn on and, cross your fingers, the skirt attached by Thursday, leaving it ready for hand-stitching on the upcoming nine hour car ride to Knoxville. After a Friday trip to the craft store, I'm all the more excited to add the beading details around the neckline, but I'm getting ahead of myself. (Side note: you can see the on-hold octopus painting sneaking out of the right side of the second picture. Hello, Octopus!)

I'm quite pleased with how the fit came out. Originally, I had hoped to wear the corset I made a few years ago underneath and took the measurements accordingly. Unfortunately, the cuts of the two are completely off, the corset back rising about three inches higher than the dress and the sleeves set in another inch or so. The bodice's shape comes from its boning, which sits between the lining and canvas interfacing, inserted thrice across the front panel and next to the grommets. This doesn't lift and tuck like the corset, but Tudor women didn't wear corsets, so all this talk of them is superfluous.

I almost sliced the top of my finger off when I was putting the grommets in, but they are a necessary evil.

A white looped ribbon across the front of the neckline mimics the exposed portion of Anne's kirtle. I'll add a bit of blackwork embroidery detail to help blend it in with the rest of the gown. That's another car ride project.

What's next? One sleeve is constructed and ready for stitching. The second is on its way. After they're attached, eight skirt panels need to be lined, connected, pleated, and added to the bodice. All by Thursday. It's going to be a busy week.


See America

The graphic designer and backpacker sides of me were delighted to come across a series of vintage U.S. Park Posters on National Geographic's website. I particularily enjoy the combination of straight vertical lines traveling through this poster with the wave-like font of "See America." Ah, design. I think they need one for Michigan's breathtaking Pictured Rocks National Park.Ooo, could that be a new project?

See them all here.

Meanwhile, on the Anne Boleyn gown front, I went to the craft store at lunch today, discovering a treasure trove of on-sale beading trinkets perfect for the neckline. I'm thrilled beyond belief. I will be taking pictures of the progress and posting a detailed update soon.


Yoga Doodle Thursday

The series of three warrior poses are, for me, a source of strength. Whenever I enter into one of them, I can hear echoes of a previous yogi calling out across our outstretched arms, “You are strong! You are a warrior!” I would plant my feet deeper, reach a bit farther, and set my eyes forward with more determination than ever. “You can do anything!”


Gorey's Desk

"Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that's what makes it so boring." 
Edward Gorey


Yoga Doodle Thursday

Each Wednesday night, I grab a beach towel and my boyfriend and merrily trek to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan for yoga class. What a joyous, rejuvenating practice: the sound of the waves, the feel of the sand, the sight of our great lake stretching out before us while you bend, twist, and turn within. I’ve been practicing yoga for five years now (albeit inconsistently), and setting it in an environment such as this brings an entirely new perspective to the movement and meditation. I feel more inspired than ever, ready to take on the multitude of projects and pieces flooding my mind at an alarming rate.

For a bit, I have wanted to post yoga doodles, quick sketches of my favorite poses or those that stood out in the evening's practice. Simple and quick, they’re definitely nothing fancy, but fun for me nonetheless. It can be our new Thursday thing, eh?

To the right is Tree Pose, or vrksasana. Personally, I'm drawn to balance poses in general, but this one is a gem. Keep your hands at heart center or spread them out like limbs on a tree: either way, you'll feel surprisingly grounded and strong. Favorite, favorite, favorite.

In other news, I have decided not to finish my octopus for now and concentrate on the more time-sensitive Anne Boleyn gown. Oh, who knew that was going to happen? {hands raise} With everything cut and ready, I get to start sewing tonight, and the excitement is pounding in my chest.

Also, I read an interesting post this morning on one of my very favorite blogs, Raucous Royals. Have you ever wondered what the connection was between vampires and corn? The wonderful author/illustrator Carlyn Beccia fills us in here.