LA Garment District Shopping Report

Bunny is right, Costume College IS new year’s for costumers… what’s with this end of the (calendar) year wrap-up? CoCo is when I finish things and make evil plans for the coming year. With that being said, we went fabric shopping! (Yes, photos and recap of CoCo coming soon).

I was mostly good — my plan was to fill out planned projects for which I already had fabric, and I mostly stuck to that except for one big failure… I need new corsets for every era that I do, so I bought some green and gold (greener in person) silk damask at Home Fabrics, as well as some dark red silk taffeta ($6/yard!!) at Valentine’s to go with the red and white indienne print ikea cotton that I have slated to be a polonaise. I was being good, I swear, when this cream and cherry striped silk taffeta jumped out and bit me at Home Fabrics (okay, Mela agreeing that it was perfect and Sarah nodding so hard she got whiplash didn’t help)! I’ve ALWAYS wanted a stripey silk francaise, ever since I saw the 3 striped francaises in Revolution in Fashion (and the Kyoto fashion book) — and that stripe was just such a great color, plus the groupings of the stripes were so much more right for the period than most striped taffetas… so then I went back to Valentine’s to get the cherry (less bright pink in person) silk taffeta also in that picture for a petticoat. Stripes! Yay! Oh, and Sarah bought the same fabric in yellow and true red, with a true red solid for the petticoat… while normally I would die if I had the same fabric as someone else, I actually talked her into buying it, because – hey, we just need one more and then we can recreate that Kyoto/Revolution in Fashion 3 striped francaises photo!

So the plan for this year, so far, is:

1. New 16th c. corset. I need it – my current one is on its last legs. It’ll actually be patterned off my Nell Gwyn bodice, but psh I say to those who sneer. It’s a great pattern, more flattering than something with straighter bones in the front, and I don’t care if it’s not period — it’ll give me a good shape. (And besides, with only 2 surviving LATE 16th c. examples, we don’t really know enough about how they did it!)

2. New 18th c. stays. This is what’s on my mind right now. After admiring the tone on tone damasks that Trystan and Loren had Sarah use in their new effigy corsets, I looked everywhere in the garment district for something similar — only to discover that embroidered silks are in and damasks are out! So I got 2 yards of this silk from and it’s on its way to me. Am I crazy to think about handsewing these? I really am. But then I’m also debating linen (evil stretchy!) versus coutil, and I’m definitely using metal boning, so then I’m wondering if handsewing is superfluous. But then I’m trying to costume for ME, right? Not for anyone else’s expectations. Hmm. I want to bind it in cream and use cream ribbon/braid on the seams, but I’m hemming about what exactly to use — linen tape is period, but is that too middle class-y with the silk? Maybe use petersham? I’d love to use something silk, but it’s so hard to find silk ribbon that isn’t semi-flimsy satin.

3. The cherry stripe francaise will be for next year’s CoCo gala (the theme is Steampunk, to which I say meh!). I’m looking for a good cherry-colored faux-fly-fringe, and contemplating making my own (someone hit me!).

Somewhere in there, I need a new 18th c. shift and new 16th c. roped petticoat. Nothing exciting about those. I’m also thinking about the maja dress, the red & white ikea polonaise, and this fabulous very 18th c. silk sari that needs to be something 1780s, but I’m not sure what… the fabric lends itself to a gaulle/chemise, but I only have enough fabric to make a fitted bodice. Hmm!

Okay, this was long!

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  • Reply trystbat August 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Pretty!!! Part of me wishes I'd gone to the garment district, but hey, I still have fabric (lots of fabric).

    But you already know what you're making for the Gala next year?!?! Overachiever ;-)

  • Reply Kendra August 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Trystan – no, it's called giving myself a year deadline, as opposed to something crazier/shorter!

  • Reply Kate in England August 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Pretties! And wait – Ikea? That cotton is from Ikea? I need to suck up my Ikea-fear and take a trip there.

  • Reply chloeandrudy August 7, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you so much for telling us about the silk taffeta for $6yd. We were giggling all over it, and couldn't make up our minds, there was so much. Didn't help that we were exhausted to start out with, and needed feeding.
    I bought a dark teal color, but can't remember what the other ladies bought. Plans may be for an 1830s evening gown but won't know until it tells me.

  • Reply chloeandrudy August 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I forgot to say, even tho I taught Steampunk 101 this year, and I love to dress in it, there's NO WAY I would wear it to a fancy ball/dinner. Maybe have a chronograph hanging from my neck, but that's it.

  • Reply Katherine August 8, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I'll be blue! Ooo! Ooh! Pick me!

  • Reply Katherine C-G August 8, 2009 at 1:13 am

    I love how the silk damasks are all becoming different things. It's so pretty! I'm way too excited to use it :)

  • Reply harmanhay August 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I also say, "meh". A theme is a wonderful guide to what everyone else will be wearing next to you, therefore what are you going to wear yourself to look fabulous next to them?

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