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planning, projects, site news

Well Hello There, Long-Neglected Blog!

I’ve been blogging about historical costume since 2002. Thirteen years later, and I think I’ve gotten burned out! Obviously. I’m still dressing up and performing, and still sewing, although at a slower pace than previously. I think I’ve just been at this so long, plus now there are so many blogs and other ways to interact with other costumers, plus maybe I’m old and tired? I also performed at Dickens Fair this year, which sucked up November & December. Plus, I’m also still recovering from the wig book!

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Accessorizing Challenge, planning

Accessorizing Challenge!

Want something a little more do-able?  Then Trystan’s Accessorizing Head-to-Toe Challenge will be perfect!

Essentially, the idea is to make one accessory per month.  This is the perfect chance for me to get to all of those fiddly little projects I put off in favor of the Next Big Dress, so I’m super excited!

The first three challenges are hats (September), bags & purses (October), and fans (November).  I’m not 100% sure what I’ll be making for any of those, but I’ll post my musings as they come to me…

18th century, planning

This Coming Year: Court Dress & Hair, Baby!

Costume College happened!  It was fabulous, minus the technical difficulties that happened during my class!  I promise to post about it soon, but while I’m getting mentally organized and waiting on photos…

I’ve decided to focus on two things this coming year:  18th century hair, naturally, because of the book project.  So I plan to blog about that topic.  Also, however, in my infinite craziness wisdom, I decided that I want to make an 18th century French court gown for next year’s Costume College gala.  It’s something I’ve wanted to make for forever, so I’m finally going to make it happen!

For now, I just wanted to throw out the idea — I’ve already managed to rope a few people into joining me — and call dibs on my dress:

Robe de Cour | Les Arts Décoratifs

So, expect a number of posts on court dress this year!  By the way, my interest is in French court dress.  If anyone wanted to take the lead on putting out info about court dress in other countries during this period — or hell, any period — I think that could be really interesting!

18th century, planning, projects, travel

The Plan for the Coming Year: all 18th century, baby

(Tell me you’re surprised)

I keep wanting to do a 2012 wrap-up post, but am stymied by the fact that I have yet to upload photos from the GBACG holiday tea last weekend and then to post about said event.  So in lieu of those posts, which are indeed forthcoming, let’s talk about the coming year!

I’m going to France!  Specifically, the same group of friends who rented a manor house in England a few years back are getting together to rent a petit château in the very south of France, near Toulouse.  I’m going to get to play dress up in this:

We are, as all sane and right-thinking people would do, making it all 18th century, all the time (for our costume events).  So while I have some things in my wardrobe that I may bring along (one of my françaises, my Turkish ensemble for lounging, my proper polonaise for sure; maybe the round gown, or the gaulle, or the riding habit, or the Brunswick — oh god, I need to start whittling!), I am of course making some new things.  Although after looking at that list, I am wondering why a bit…

For sure, I am going to make:

1. A 1770s camisole à la polonaise, this jacket filled out by this fashion plate:

Caraco, entre 1770 et 1780. Musée Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. GAL1992.177.X.

Camisole à la Polonaise, de Mousseline des Indes, doublée de Taffetas rose. Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français, 31e. Cahier. 1780.

2. This c. 1780 redingote as seen in this sketch of Marie-Antoinette:

Drawing of Marie Antoinette, about 1785, ink and color on paper, Artist unknown. From Lofstad slott, Norrkoping, Sweden. From the blog Fashion Is My Muse.

3. I’m also going to be making a hand tambour-embroidered waistcoat for Francis.  

If I have time, I may also make either this robe à la turque:

Wille, Young Woman Admiring a Miniature, 1778

Or a 1770s robe à la française from this striped fabric:

Phew!  I’ll be posting lots more about each of these projects — the camisole and redingote are actually under way — shortly.  Plus that tea recap, and the 2012 recap!


Well Hi There

Remember me?  I’m this person who used to make costumes.  No really, I swear!  Then life got stressed, and I got stressed, and stress got stressed, and not much happened around here.

But taking a break, and having a SUPER easy Costume College (no teaching!  only went to three classes!  didn’t wear anything more complicated than 1960s!  relaxed and admired everyone else!) has reinspired me.

I have gotten back on the sewing wagon, but scarily enough, it’s been modern clothes.  I’ve been inspired to find a few patterns for clothes that I have a hard time finding off the rack (ie they don’t ever fit well), and doing a lot of work to perfect the pattern, and then bang out multiple versions in different fabrics.  I’ve only made one thing so far — a button-down blouse from a Simplicity Threads pattern — but I like it, and I’ve bought a lot of fabric (oops!) to make more.  But I promise not to get too sidetracked from costuming!

Also, this weekend the husband and I are going for the first time to Tiki Oasis, so I needed gear for that.  I found one fab vintage dress, but then I made myself a 1960s blouse and skirt as well.  Once again, I am reminded of how slowly I sew.  I worked for about 4-5 solid days (maybe 4-5 hours a day) on that sucker!  The only way I can sew well, is to sew slowly.  Okay, that includes patterning and all that, but still.  I’ll post photos when we’re back.

In other news, I finally downloaded the Fabric Stash iPhone app and have been cataloging all my fabric.  Dude (yes I’m from California), I have WAY too much fabric.  I am vowing to only* make things out of the stash for the forseeable future, although the perfect combination is have-some-of-the-supplies + have-an-event-to-wear-it-to.  For example, someday I really do want to make that 1909 suit… but I am so not attending any Edwardian events these days!  So, someday.

*Okay, of course there’s an exception.  I picked up a museum catalog while at CoCo which has a picture of this gorgeous 1914-16 evening dress, and I just had to have it.  It’s green and poufy and super exciting!  And I love the above-the-waistband ruffle, which may not be the best look on me, but it’s too good that I have to have it.  So I’ve started picking up supplies, and will post soon about my early mullings.  I’m thinking of wearing it to next year’s CoCo gala (because where else would I wear it?).

Otherwise, I need to get busy and finally start trimming my 1760s Brunswick so I can cross that off.  Otherwise, the plan for this year is to finally get to the Maja costume, and a 1780s green redingote-type jacket and stripey skirt.  It’s still almost all 18th century around here!

Oh, and I’ve been watching movies — got halfway through Excalibur last night and had a blast scorning the Stevie-Nicks-goes-to-Ren-Faire costuming.  Are the men NEVER allowed to take their armor off (even during sex)?  So expect more reviews soon!

1775 maja, 1780s stays, gfd, planning, projects

Winter Break Is Upon Us

Which means it’s time for the sewing room to get cleaned and used!  I’ve been knitting a lot lately — it’s cold and I’m lazy, and knitting requires no getting up off the couch.  I’ve finished one mitt, from a very modern pattern, that will be used for 18th century, but now that I have almost two weeks off, I need to get more ambitious.

My early 2010 docket looks like this:

A medieval and/or Pre-Raphaelite dress, for a Pre-Raphaelite event.  I’m torn between doing something very historically accurate so that I can use it for SCA purposes, or going all Waterhouse-y because hey, no one’s going to kick me out of an SCA event for not being historically accurate!  I have some silk damask drapery sheer fabric (it’s weird, you can’t tell that it’s sheer until you hold it up to the light) that I’m thinking I’ll use, lined with linen.  I’m going to hire Sarah to drape the dress on me because it needs to be draped on the body, and my arms aren’t that long.

A man’s Elizabethan outfit — shirt, trunkhose & canions, doublet, and hat.  Sit down for this one – my husband is going to get gussied up for a 16th century event!  Oh, and HE chose the puffy pants option over Venetians!  Color me shocked! I’ve ordered the Tudor Tailor pattern as hello, boy clothes are not my forte, but until it shows up I can’t do much except for the shirt.

Those are the two things I NEED to make before May, and is probably more than enough!  So I won’t continue to ponder new 16th century and 18th century outfits for myself.  I am debating whether I want to make a machine-made version of my new 18th century stays, as the handsewn-outfit-from-hell Maja project is going to get pushed back to summer/fall.  I did start hand sewing a new 18th century shift, then realized halfway through that it was ridiculous to hand sew a new shift when I desperately need one NOW, and it will get a lot of heavy wear & machine washing.  So I finished it on the machine!  I’ll make the handsewn one once the Maja dress is actually made.


2008 Costume Wrap-up/2009 Plans

Since everyone’s doing it – what I accomplished in 2008! I appear to have been shockingly productive, although it doesn’t feel like it:

So what’s on the docket for 2009?

  • I am, as we speak, finishing up a new partlet and girdle as the final touches on my 1560s Venetian gown, which I’ll wear to 12th Night
  • 1775 maja costume for Costume College (definitely); maybe for the historical masquerade at Costume Con Baltimore IF I end up going?
  • 1660s Nell Gwyn dress for the Charles II project, for Costume College (and Costume Con?, again if I go)
  • I really need a new Gatsby dress, and as we’ve taken 2 years off, I can’t imagine we won’t go this year? So probably I’ll resurrect my 1920s day dress

Beyond that, I’ve got a ton of ideas but no firm plans. It’ll depend on which events happen and what puts a bee in my bonnet!