I had such a lovely, lovely time today at the GBACG Little Women picnic that I had to post my photos right away! The venue was just as lovely as the last time I was there — a beautiful 1870s home with a large lawn with HUGE shade trees, plus beautiful gardens with flowers, a gazebo… Everyone just looked a picture — such beautiful dresses and dapper suits. Lots of sheer dresses that were frothy and fluffy and bonnets you could have eaten with a spoon. The weather was perfect, the food was yummy. Best of all, I got to be Meg March for the day! My day was really made by my fabulous friends, who played the other March sisters, Marmee, Laurie (well, Laurie slept on the lawn all day but we still love him), Kate Vaughn, Belle Gardiner, and more. We played parlor games, lounged under the trees, wandered the gardens, and took LOTS of photos. Just the most perfect day ever. Yay!
I am oh so woefully behind — about a month ago GBACG went to the Gaskell Ball, and I did actually take some pictures! Our theme this year was Victorian fantasy, and only a very few of us dressed up. Bridget wore her fabulous fairy costume, I wore my 1830s evening dress with elf ears and my LOTR circlet, and a woman whose name I’ve forgotten came as the sun (am I forgetting anyone?). Sadness! Next year I may have to just make it no theme, or just pick something along with whatever I want to wear — if I’m the only one wearing it, it should be something I’m excited about! I did think seriously about how much I want to sell off all of my non-natural fiber costumes. This dress is an acetate taffeta, and while it wasn’t horrible because of the low neck/short sleeves, it was definitely uncomfortable. Anyway — pictures!
Okay, so I got distracted and busy over the weekend, but I am so getting back to my Little Women dress tonight! Saturday Sarah and I geeked out watching Marie Antoinette, and my thoughts are filled with making SOME kind of exciting 18th century fabulousness for the Costume College gala. But I’m being hampered by my desire to reproduce some sort of period portrait (I want the challenge of doing hair/accessories/etc.), and needing to get over my aversion to blue and pink (everything is blue, white, and pink! aaaaaa!). Could I handle a white with groupings of narrow pink stripes? Would I look like a total dork? Is there a reason most of my costume wardrobe is green and burgundy (yes)? I’m also thinking about making one of the dresses from Marie Antoinette, but most of them are either in a color I don’t like or have something inaccurate enough about them to stop me…
Sunday was Costume Academy — I taught a class on bustle era hairstyles, which included a demo that went very well! And I took a class on working with feathers, and successfully was able to curl an ostrich feather, which made me unnecessarily happy.
In the meantime, I was randomly inspired to take a photo of my 18th century pocket, made years ago when I was in the mood for some embroidery. More interesting updates soon!
So I haven’t done one jot of sewing in forever — work has been crazy, and my weekends have been totally booked. Booked with costume-y stuff, but nothing huge to report! Let’s see — I taught a workshop on bodice draping and will be doing another in April, I went to the GBACG Elizabeth and the Pirate feast which was much fun (but I didn’t take many pictures – I wore my same old, same old courtesan dress. I REALLY need a new 16th century dress!) And I went to the GBACG Little Women Costume Salon, where we geeked out and looked at 5 million photos of extant sheer dresses.
I absolutely, positively will work on my Little Women dress this weekend. I have to get cracking, if for no other reason than I’m itching to sew! I got lots of tips from Lynne on making a drawn bonnet at the Little Women Salon, and I really should start on that soon before I forget everything.
Sunday is Costume Academy and I’m teaching one class in the morning (hairstyles of the bustle era). See? Busy with costume-related stuff, but no sewing!
One bit of interest — I noticed the Whitaker Auction people are going to be doing a huge auction of Tasha Tudor’s collection this November. They say a book will be available, so I’m definitely going to have to look for that.
Oh, and I recently got this book: Gazette des Atours de Marie Antoinette. It’s really amazing — it’s one of the swatch books (this one from 1782) that she used to select her gowns. All in French, of course, but a gorgeous reproduction and I really recommend it. What I found most interesting is that the gowns are separated into different categories: grand habits (court dresses), levites, turques, anglaises, gowns for “petit paniers” (as opposed to the big ones worn with the grand habits). Brings home how different styles would be worn for different occasions (and probably 3-4 dresses in one day!). The swatches themselves are not that exciting, in that many of them are solid taffetas (lots of purpley colors) — only a few stripes, a few ikats, a few small scale embroideries. But it’s still really cool to see some scrap of ANYTHING connected to Marie Antoinette’s gowns!
Yesterday was the GBACG Open House, which was very much fun. The fashion show was really impressive, and seeing everyone and talking about everything coming up got me reinvigorated and excited about the coming year. Yay! I love my geeky hobby and the fabulous people who do it with me!
I’m now having lots more fantasies about lots more dresses, including some kind of late 18th c. mourning for the Guillotine picnic in July. Someone slap me now.
Also, if you were thinking of taking my bodice draping workshop but didn’t get in, Katie is checking to see whether there is enough interest to do a second one. If you are interested, email her at workshops at gbacg dot org.
In other THRILLING news, I thoroughly cleaned my bedroom (aka the sewing room I let my husband sleep in), so things are ready to go for post-work costuming (nothing is worse then trying to sew when you have to push away all the crap and sit in one tiny corner of the room trying not to let the piles fall on you).
And, um, stuff! Can you tell I’m finally over being sick and am mentally awake for the first time in forever?
If you’re in the SF Bay Area, and are interested in such shenanigans, I’ll be teaching a Bodice Draping Workshop (for the Victorian era) for GBACG on Feb. 11th (advance signups required). I’ll demo how to drape a basic dart-fitted bodice, then students will pair up and drape each other. You’ll learn how to drape, plus we’ll go through all the mockup stages so that you leave with a perfectly fitted pattern that you can adapt to most eras of the 19th century. Should be fun!
It’s only taken me about 3,000 years, but I’ve finally posted my pictures from GBACG Day at Dickens Fair.