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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Annie Oakley costume

I have been sewing a few items for an Annie Oakley themed photoshoot. I decided to make two skirts,  two blouses, a dickey collar, and shoe gaiters. Annie was taught how to sew at an early age and made all her own shooting outfits. I was especially drawn to this short number with roses and fringe. This was worn during an age when skirt lengths tended to cover ones ankles. When women began to do sporting events like bicycling, long skirts became a safety hazard. Bloomers were born, much to the dismay of the male crowd who ridiculed wearers of the short puffy pants. Shorter skirts, or split skirts became popular, as one could sit astride a horse, or prevent the hem of a long skirt from getting pulled into bicycle spokes.
I used Laughing Moon's pattern number 110. This had options for a skirt, two kinds of bloomers, gaiters,  and basque blouses. I changed the pleating on the skirt to imitate the one Annie Oakley is wearing.
I used a heavy weight cotton twill fabric. It came to me in a very white shade. I wanted it to look more like old worn in chamois, so I dyed it.
Her skirt has wonderful chenille thread embroidered rose motifs. I don't know how to embroider (yet!) The only option that I could think of that was quick, cheap, and dirty was using iron-on appliques. The very thought of it brought back bad memories of awful 1980s craft projects-namely a jean jacket with patches. This skirt is being made as a photo shoot prop, not a museum piece, so something that passes in a photo shoot is going to have to do.
My roses came facing the same direction, so I tried to arrange them in the most natural balanced fashion.
The fringe at the lower skirt edge proved to be a problem as well. I hunted for some fringe trim in a natural fiber but could not find any that resembled something intended for clothing. A sofa or curtain, but not a skirt. The more I studied the photograph, the more it looked like it could be leather fringe. 
My pile of scrap leather was meager. There were not any lengths longer than a foot or so. The edge of her skirt fringe has a black ribbon above it. I took every scrap of leather and glued them to a piece of twill tape, which was in turn covered by the black ribbon and sewn to the skirt. This covered up the joins in the leather pieces, making the fringe appear as a continuous length.
This fabric glue is a great tool to have on hand. I don't use it in place of sewing, but as a temporary means of tacking something in place.
The black ribbon is antique cotton twill. Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder, it's like shopping at your own personal store. The only problem is locating where that special trim has been hidden away.

The upper part of the skirt is finished with a foldover waistband and hook and eye closures. The back has pleating like the pattern directions.

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