Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adventures in Draping

Headless got a makeover! 

I've had the same dress form for about ten years. She was really getting sad and broken, so I finally ordered a new one. While waiting for it,  I had the brilliant idea to experiment and take the duct tape mannequin concept to new lengths. 

Draping 18th century garments on yourself is hard. Really hard. Draping on a dress form only goes so far. Patterns are great, but it's still not really the experience of draping.

So, I put on my stays and enlisted my very jet lagged mom (thanks, mom!) to wrap me up in duct tape.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Polonaise and Some New Accessories

On Friday I had the good fortune of finding out my local group was doing a timeline event this weekend. Super short notice, but as I have been out of town for everything since last October, I was thrilled to have an excuse to get dressed up. And the timeline events are especially fun because you can represent any era you wish to talk about. Those are WWII tents behind me!

I haven't sewn anything new in months, but I did have quite a few things that have never been worn out, so I thought this was the perfect excuse. I wore my new polonaise jacket/petticoat outfit, my Christmas-present-to-myself Sarah Juniper shoes, a black silk bonnet made from the Larkin & Smith pattern, and I also brought out my linen/chintz mitts to protect from the sun. It was hot!

I mostly finished this Polonaise last year. I still want to trim it. That'll happen someday! It's very lightweight cotton with a woven stripe. The bodice is cut so the lining and front section are fitted to the body, but the fashion fabric layer comes away from the body, in the polonaise style, where the back seams let out into pleats.  

I also accessorized with a voile apron, a breast knot, my trusty sun-battling umbrella and a kerchief and cap I bought on my last trip to Virginia.

I always think the pile left from undressing is so pretty! 

And the shoes!! I have wanted to order a pair of Sarah Juniper shoes for years. I always thought it would be so complex and tedious, since Ms. Juniper is in England, but actually it was very easy. I just traced my feet, filled out her paperwork and sent the paper and fabric to her.

In no time at all, they came in the mail and they are beautiful! These are dark green glazed wool. Super comfy! And they look great with my American Duchess buckles.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Shoutout to my fellow costumers... I miss you guys!

What a few months I have had! Good stuff, don't get me wrong, but gosh I so miss sewing. I've been traveling, I have moved house, I've been doing lots of horse-related stuff, and sadly, all my sewing things have been collecting dust and I have so missed them! And I have so missed my blog and keeping up with everyone else's, too.

To add to it, I have had the most awful internet for the past couple months (it's like 1995 over here), which has made keeping up with the blog really difficult. But I will strive to work around it!

So, I just wanted to say hi to everyone and let you all know I haven't disappeared. Cheers all, and I hope everyone has had a lovely spring!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 101 Ranch Hat

Back around Christmas, in our shopping travels, my husband and I happened upon Colorado Mountain Hats, a custom hat maker. I probably would have never considered having a hat made (they did mostly cowboy hats), but my husband has wanted a hat like Wyatt Earp wears in Tombstone for ages, so we stopped.

Well, once I saw how the hat maker fitted you, I had to join in on the fun!

They start out with this fantastic machine that looks like something out of Jules Verne. It's a 19th century head measuring device. They still use the original because, like with so many things, the old way is just best!

A paper gets placed on the top of the device, then the top is closed (the cork piece) to hold it in place. The device gets placed on your head and the shape of your head displaces moving pieces inside the "hat," pushing corresponding pins through the paper into the cork.

Et voilĂ ! The paper becomes your head pattern, which the hat maker then uses to recreate your head in his shop, to fit your hat to. I think he said they use a second antique machine to "read" the paper.

So what did I pick? Well, he had a lovely assortment of historical styles to chose from. I ended up picking a style copied from photos of the 101 Ranch Girls, who, in short, were performing cowgirls, from the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma. The 101 Ranch was a working ranch that did a show, much like Buffalo Bill's, around 1905. What with Edwardian cowgirls being a bit of a passion of mine, I thought this style was perfect!

And so we waited and waited for our fabulous hats to come, and they arrived this week! And, of course, it fits like a glove!

I can't wait to have an excuse to don my split riding skirt, some big Gibson girl hair, maybe a horse or two, and take some awesome pictures! :)

For a look at the 101 Ranch girls, and other inspiration for the hat, take a peek at my dedicated Pinterest board. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stitch, stitch, stitch... Ahh...

What a nice feeling. I missed sewing!

My husband and I have been fixing up a house and we've been staying there for about a month now. It's been totally fun, but I started to really, really miss my sewing room. I finally went and got some UFO's to work on.

Most of last year was spent in the 19th and 20th centuries, so, it's been a while since I've been in the 1700's, and I really missed it!

I took some time today to get moving on my chintz dress remake. It's coming along!

The sleeves are pinned and ready to be attached and the shoulders fitted. The fronts are basted and ready to be stitched, and the skirt panels are hemmed, ready to be stitched to the bodice. They still have the pleats from before, so hopefully I can easily adjust them to fit the remade bodice. 

Is it bad that I kind of hate the fabric now? It's a little too... bold? I dunno... I will finish it, though!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sometimes the sewing gods smile upon you...

With the Jane Austen ball outfit behind me, I thought I would start my next project: a 1905-ish ensemble, in the spirit of the historical building my husband and I purchased last year. I found a period photograph from the town, showing ladies dressed for day, and I've been planning to copy one of the outfits.

As per usual, I thought I'd start from the inside out. I went into the stash, to look for fabric for a petticoat, but I didn't have any. I was about to go to the store, but thought I should check the petticoats I have first, just to see if anything would work.

Major face palm!

At some point last year, I already made the petticoat! How I forgot, I have no idea, but here it is!

The skirt I'm planning is fairly narrow, so I'll have to see if it needs a second petticoat, or if the chemise and drawers will add enough heft under there.

Yay! One down. Now on to the rest of the outfit.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Costume de Bal

I was lucky enough to get tickets again this year for Pasadena's Jane Austen Evening. It really is a lovely event. A nice mix of people. Dancers and costumers and those that do both. I was lucky enough to finally meet some ladies I have only met online, and also see some fantastic costumes. I must say, I think the most gorgeous outfit was an 1820's ensemble. Perfect hair, perfect dress. I wish I had thought to take a picture!

But isn't that just what happens when you're having fun? I totally forget about the camera. I wish I had gotten some better pictures of myself, too, but here is what I have.