When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Little Red Riding Dress

The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society have several events coming up this summer.  My goal is to make several cotton bustle gown pieces for the warmer months, with fabrics that I can mix and match.  As a Victorian Rose, we wear colors that are the color of roses!  Red, pink, white, peach, yellow, purple, etc.  I started with this red and white outfit.  We use the Truly Victorian pattern "Ripple Skirt" as its very full and fits over a horse's rear and covers your legs at the same time. The first time I made a skirt for horseback riding, I used a different pattern which ended up not being full enough, and I didn't find out until I got on the horse for a parade and it was too late!  Lesson learned. This is my red horse skirt (without underpinnings), which I can also use as a walking skirt for events.  Very simple, with pleats around the bottom, topped by red-flecked, white rose trim.  I can use this skirt as a base for other bodices and overskirts.

I found this cute 100% cotton floral print that I really love. It was actually free, as I had a Joann Fabric gift card from Christmas.  The pattern for the over skirt is Truly Victorian Summer Overskirt.  This took 5 yards of fabric.  It took me a few tries to get the folds correct on the sides, and sewn to the inside tapes.  I chose this pattern because of the split front - seems practical if you are astride a horse.  To finish it off, I added ball trim around the edges. It was the most expensive portion of the outfit but again, I had a gift card from Beverly Fabric, so no cost to me.  My family knows what to give me for gifts   😀

I used the TV Day Bodice pattern, as I like the square neck and peplum on the back. I changed it up and added a red faux vest down the front.   I made the sleeves 3/4 length and basted them in until fitting time.  I had some red ball trim left, so sewed it on the bottom of the peplum.  On the rest of the bodice, I used a raised red ribbon trim on top of white lace, around the neckline and down the front faux vest pieces, and around the cuffs.  I used round pearl buttons down the front.

Below is a picture on my mannequin.  I can't button the bodice (manny's chest is too big), so it looks a bit funny in front.

On Saturday, April 29th, we appeared in the Del Mar National Horse Show, and performed during intermission.  LaDonne, "Grandma Rose" and I "Shenandoah Rose" rode in the cart for the performance.

Below left, Dyan, "Margarita Rose" in her patriotic outfit.  She rode her horse Cefiro in the opening 
 ceremonies carrying the American flag!

Above Right and left, this is Hulk, a sweet paint who pulls the cart I ride in.  LaDonne drives him wonderfully!

Here is Karen "Misty Rose" in a gorgeous gig, driving her horse Scout.
The next day, I attended the Lakeside Rodeo in the same dress.  Its pretty dusty now, and needs a good cleaning.  Here I am with Theresa "Harmony Rose".

Cost breakdown:
Floral fabric  -  Free with gift card
Red fabric - Approximately $15
buttons - $6
Trims - Free with gift card except for white rose trim around the top
of the pleats - $7.50

TOTAL   Just under $30

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Houses of Callot Soeurs and Boué Soeurs

These two fashion houses, both established by sisters, made beautiful, delicate, airy and feminine gowns in the early 20th century.

Callot Soeurs (Callot sisters) was a prominent French fashion design house which opened in 1895 in Paris.  The fashion house was operated by the four Callot sisters: Regina, Marie, Marthe and JosĂ©phine.  The eldest sister, Marie, was trained in dressmaking and they were all taught by their mother, a lacemaker. The sisters began by working with antique laces and ribbons to enhance blouses and lingerie.  They were among the first designers to use gold and silver lamĂ© to make dresses.

Three of the Callott sisters.

Right, 1907
Left:   Callot Soeurs, ca. 1926. Silk, silk and metallic lace, and imitation pearls and opals. Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Right:   Two evening gowns circa 1912.

Left, Callot Soeurs Negligée - detail - 1898-1902 - by Callot Soeurs (French, active 1895-1937) From the Met Museum

They designed day wear, lingerie, exotic gowns with an Oriental theme, and evening dresses made from antique fabrics and lace. Their gossamer silk lingerie creations were embellished with bands of exquisite lace and bouquets of silk flowers. Callot Soeurs were among the first designers to use silver and gold lame during the 1910s and 1920s for evening wear, thus their vintage designs were popular with actresses and high society patrons Source

The piecing to refashion antique laces into a garment requires the skill and sensitivity of "couture hands," such as those that sewed the renowned lace-embellished Belle Epoque dresses from Callot Soeurs. 
 -quoted from The Met website, where most of these images were sourced.

Marie served as the primary designer for the house until 1927 when her son took over the business. However, he could not survive in the highly competitive market and, in 1937, the House of Callot Soeurs closed and was absorbed into the House of Calvet (Marie-Louise Calvet) under the Callot label. 

EDIT:  Adding this beautiful Link  about these gowns found in pristine condition!

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The house of BouĂ© Soeurs was established by sisters Madame Sylvie Montegut and Baronne Jeanne d'Etreillis, who worked together under their maiden name BouĂ©.   Their establishment opened in Paris in 1899, with a New York house opening in 1915.

Their designs were extremely feminine, incorporating fine hand-made lace and delicate embellishments such as embroidery and the ribbon flowers seen on the FIDM Museum example (See link for photos). Filet BouĂ©, a floral patterned lace worked on a mesh ground developed by the BouĂ© Soeurs own lacemakers, became a signature of the house. The sisters were also noted for use of gold and silver textiles, which they had to purchase from theatrical supply companies.   FIDM link

Here are some beautiful examples of delicate ribbon rose trim.



 Sylvie and Jeanne BouĂ© took an interest in design at a very early age. In a 1922 article in Arts & Decoration magazine, Jeanne wrote:

"From our earliest childhood Madame Montegut and myself have craved the beautiful: our desire first took shape in the collecting of dainty ribbons, soft silks, all luxurious materials, flowers, laces – everything that expressed beauty in form and color. We began by dressing our dolls in the prevailing mode and later found an outlet for our love of the beautiful in creating our own attire."

Signature elements included fine Alencon and Duchesse lace, embroidery, ribbonwork, and gold and silver textilesWhile some of their evening dresses retailed for $145-150 in the 1920s,  designs with more exotic materials could cost as much as $2,000. Among the house's more elegant offerings was the robe de style, a design popularised by Jeanne Lanvin, which they continued to produce into the 1940s.    Wikipedia

Left:  Les Modes (Paris) January 1926 Robe de Style par Boue Soeurs

Right:  Beautiful Robe de Style

Left:   Paris Fashion - 1926 - Dress 'Aurore' by Boue Soeurs

Bottom Left:  Les Modes (Paris) May 1928 "bouquetiere" robe du soir par Boue Soeurs

 Bottom Center:  Embroidered lace dress by Boue Soeurs, French, winter 1925-26.
Bottom Right: Les Modes (Paris) November 1927 "Serenade" Robe du Soir par Boue Soeurs

Left, Portrait of Baronne Jeanne d'Etreillis and her
children, published in Les Modes in 1913