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Long-term project: Padmé's wedding gown

 
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:49 pm    Post subject: Long-term project: Padmé's wedding gown Reply with quote

Here's something that I would consider a (very!) long term project - Padmé's wedding gown.

Now, I know that basically I shouldn't wear a wedding gown; because seriously, for myself, I see no chance of ever getting married.
But I find the original gown so very beautiful, with all its antique Maltese-, Brussels- and Battenburg lace. So at some point of time I started collecting antique laces for the gown.

So far I have:
- the Battenburg lace trim that's on the "cape sleeves", which also runs down at the front sides of the gown;
- a Maltese lace collar; which is too small to even be remotely worked into the veil, but I wanted to get familiar with Maltese lace which I - until then - never saw in person; and maybe I can work parts of it into the "cap" part of the veil;
- Edwardian Wax flowers for the already mentioned "cap" part;
and my latest find is this:



Ten beautiful, antique Battenburg lace appliqués for the front and back decoration of dress and coat. They are not exactly like those on the gown; but I think they are rather similar in shape and type.

What I'm still lacking is the wide, geometric Battenburg- or Brussels lace trim on the side front openings of the coat; a good rectangular piece of Branscombe- or Bedfordshire lace plus Maltese lace trim for the veil.

For the geometric trim I'm regularly running searches for either antique tablecloths or, as on the original gown, bedspreads which have those lace insertions.
So far not successfully though because seriously, they all have more or less floral or swirly patterns - not the geometric type of trim that was on the original gown.
Just ONCE I have seen a bedspread that would have worked very well. Unfortunately I decided to "think an hour" before buying it, as I always do, and guess what... by that point of time it was gone. Grrr.

The length of Branscombe- or Bedfordshire lace that I would need would have to be at least 1.5 yards long and approximately 20 inches wide; plus at least 4 yards of Maltese lace trim for the edging of the veil. Or I'd have to find a rectangular piece of Maltese lace (tablecloth?) for the entire veil.

Oh and tulle for the dress overlay and the coat; though I cannot yet decide between cotton or silk tulle. I will do that as soon as I have found the geometric trim, to estimate the weight.

As I said... long term project.
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Dally ()
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure it will be wonderful, even if it takes while to collect all the pieces.
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you! Dresses like this one take time.

Here's another acquisition: 1900-1920's wax flowers and teardrops on stems for the veil; compared to the original veil:


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Dally ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are exquisite!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This dress and the veil are so elegant and beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing you project move along. This is one that takes a lot of talent, time and patience.
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucky finding:

I acquired an antique Battenburg lace curtain, which I can modify to become the side front trim for the gown.

Here's what it looked like when I acquired it:



The dense part of lace at the center is really the same as the trim on the bottom, just that it's two rows of the bottom trim with the zigzag parts facing and intertwining where they meet.

And here's what I got after separating the lace and the net (which, just like the lace by the way, is handmade from linen threads!):



Separating lace and netting, because of incredibly tiny stitches, took almost two weeks. I had to be very careful to not damage the actual lace.
The measurement tape is in the picture because I needed it to photoshop the optimized layout of how I will assemble the trim to proportionally match what's on Padmé's gown before cutting into the lace.That's centimeters, by the way - each color part is approximately 4 inches.



Digitally created (read: photoshopped) lace cutting layout - I thought it safer to play with the trim in Photoshop before actually cutting it up to create the trim, lol!

1. What I got after separating lace and net.
2. What a single one of the lace symbols would look like if cut up.
3. What the trim on Padmé's wedding dress actually looks like, with measurement tape (which is adjusted to match my own body height) so I can work proportionally.
4. What I came up with as a layout for the cut lace pieces and netting.
The straight borders for that trim will be shaped from the lace tape which I cut away beneath the large bottom center "flower" of each lace motif.

It's not *exactly* the same trim as on Padmé's dress, and the finished trim will be approximately 5 cm (2 inches) higher per motif repeat than on Padmé's gown, but the overall shape, layout and particularly the lace type will be the same, which is a good thing.

By the way, by cutting up the lace trim of that curtain, I got exactly 38 single lace motifs (which, as seen in 1.), are currently still connected as a trim).
Guess what... I calculated that with that trim layout, I need EXACTLY 38 single motifs.
Now on to not harming a single one when cutting them apart...
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Blue (Beth)
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great find. I don't think you can get much closer to the original.
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue wrote:
Great find. I don't think you can get much closer to the original.


...well, actually I contemplated to make my own Battenburg lace.
That lace is pretty much the simplest type of lace in terms of making it; and making my own would have enabled me to precisely reproduce the original pattern.
But that would have taken (very!) much longer; also, the supply for the tape required to make that type of lace is rare and expensive.
I'm all for getting as close to the original as possible; but sometimes you have to take shortcuts.
Using 100 years old lace of exactly the same type (but not pattern) as the one that was used on the original gown isn't exactly the worst shortcut though Wink
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Dally ()
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using antique lace will give the gown even more of an heirloom feel. It will be stunning! What a lot of painstaking work, but it is a labor of love, right?
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it begins....



I declare that I have officially started to work on Padmé's wedding gown today.
It starts with the cording of the center front piece.
You cannot really see it in the picture since it's so damn delicate and fine and therefore almost invisible, but there IS a layer of tulle beneath the Battenburg appliqués and the cording, which I both arrange over my lifesize, printed template.

See that roll of cording in the background?
That's 350 meters (almost 400 yards) of pure cotton cording. Since the original gown used 300 yards and I'm much taller than Nathalie Portman, I expect the roll to be pretty much empty when I'm finished.
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Dally ()
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, looks fantastic!
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dally wrote:
Wow, looks fantastic!


Thank you! Smile

By now I have finished the cording on that first front piece.



Left: The finished piece draped over my Red Invasion gown (and this time you can actually see, or at least guess, the tulle to which the cording is sewn!), right: original gown.

Seeing the direct comparison picture, maybe I should have gone for 3mm cording instead of 4mm. Or maybe even 2.5mm - my cording is quite a bit on the thick side.
When I noticed that, I instantly knew how I had calculated the wrong thickness - instead of measuring one cording strand on the original, I accidentally measured it in a place where it is doubled (which would be pretty much everywhere in those swirls).

I contemplated for a moment remaking it with thinner cording, but seriously?
I already have that huge spool of pure cotton cording (aka "french braid") in 4mm which wasn't cheap. Redoing it would mean to pick apart what I have already corded (to at least salvage the Battenburg appliqués), plus buying and waiting for thinner cording.

I therefore decided that I can live with the thicker cording.
After all, seriously, if you don't have a comparison photo like the one above, you will probably not notice the difference if you just look at my own gown.
Also, my appliqués are not quite like the original ones either; so I will just stick to my thicker cording.
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Dally ()
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my goodness, I can't imagine doing all that work again. I think the thickness is also made more apparent because it stands out on the red background. I think it will look fine when complete. Gorgeous work!
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SongofAmazon (Jenna)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incredible work with the lace and cording so far! I can see that the thickness of the cording is going to be something that will drive the costumer crazy, but no one else will notice. It really looks great. I look forward to seeing what else you do with this.
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Lora Skywalker ()
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are crazy! But what a start to the project! Very Happy

I'm sure this will be as awesome as your other costumes when done.
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