Monday, April 29, 2013

Shopping like Jay Gatsby

Happy Monday all! A quick one today, but a fun one. 

I was with my husband this weekend, shopping at the Forum at Caesars, when we walked past Brooks Brothers. I've never been in before, but apparently it's America's oldest menswear brand. I always dig stuff like that. 

What caught our attention was the big Gatsby display in the windows.

As you can read below, the costumes in the movie were greatly influenced by the Brooks Brothers' archives. In the spirit of the film, the store created a collection based on the movie. Very fun. 

My husband ended up buying the green sweater on the left mannequin. He was super excited about it, saying how vintage 20's it looked. I think he's secretly a costumer, too, though he just hasn't realized it yet ;)

It really is a good looking sweater.

I love vintage trophies!

Now, can the ladies please just get a Mr. Selfridge display so I can buy an amazingly huge Edwardian hat off the rack? Guys have all the luck :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gibson (Cow)girl


With all the horseback riding I have been doing lately, I've been quite inspired with the old west. I was browsing good ol' Pinterest recently and came across a bunch of great old cowgirl photos. I totally fell in love with the late Victorian/early Edwardian ones. Think Annie Oakley. Very stylized cowgirl. Very cool. 

Annie Oakley

There was a Southern Nevada Living History Association event at the Old Mormon Fort yesterday and I took the opportunity to finish up my riding bloomers (skort, pretty much...) and get down there to take some good photos. What an appropriate backdrop! I owe photo credits to the talented Lisa Coffey.

This was a really fun and easy outfit to put together. I went for like 1905ish. The pants are a Truly Victorian pattern, that (for once) I didn't change the design of. It went together beautifully, though I did deviate from the instructions and I fully lined it (flatlined) and faced the hem, much like you would a skirt of the era. My only issue, which was not bothersome enough to change, was that the crotch seam ran a little snug. It's not tight, but for a pant so loose around the legs, I assumed it would be a little roomier in the seat.

The button holes are all fully functioning and hand sewn. It is made of twill wool left over from my brown 1880's dress. It is lined with cotton. I chose the "bicycle length" as opposed to the "riding length." I wanted to show a little leg. Wink wink ;)

The rest of the outfit was all acquired previously, but not made by me. The blouse and corset cover (scroll down) are antique and of the era. The boots are Oak Tree (super comfy!) and the spurs are my actual riding spurs. I found the gloves at a western store. The hat is a felt blank from Jas Townsend. I accessorized with a little enamel antique pin, at the neck, and my pocket watch and chain. A gal's gotta know what time it is on the prairie!


Spring! Fig trees blossoming. So pretty:)

Below you can see a pic of the corset cover. It's a little rumply, as this pic was from when I got undressed. You can see how the cut of the corset cover creates a pouf to support the pouter pigeon shape of the blouse. The cotton is a little stiff, which helps hold the shape as well. I read once, that girls would stuff hankies down the front to support the shape even more. Kind of like stuffing your bra... except it's stuffing your stomach... Hmm...

And because it's always fun to have a black and white one...

Hope everyone is having a good weekend! Cheers!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sewing on the horizon!

Red and black print cotton from

In the past months, I have been so busy with other things, sewing has had to take a place on the back burner. I haven't finished anything new since February. Yikes.

But not for much longer!

I have been inspired by some fabric and a painting by Tissot and, hopefully, as soon as the materials arrive in the mail, I will get to stitching.

La soeur ainĂ©e,  James Tissot

(P.s. I'm posting about this so hopefully I feel like I will have to finish it...)

I'm not usually a fan of red and black... I really surprised myself when I chose this to work on. Sometimes the uglier the fabric, the more I end up in love with it. I'm clueless as to why.

And in other news, today I got a chance to work on my riding bloomers. Yay! Hopefully I can finish them by the end of the week. Fingers crossed!


Monday, April 22, 2013

No fabric in sight...

So, something just pretty for today. Because it's monday and everyone needs something pretty on a monday :)

This was pretty cool. The other night, at the Cosmopolitan, there was a fashion show of gowns made entirely of paper and plastic. No fabric in sight. The gowns were designed by artist Jennifer Henry. The exhibit/collection was called Flock Flock Flock.

The creations were really fabulous to see. Huge, fluffy dresses, wafting and sparkly, glittery ones slinking down the runway. My personal favorite was a cinderella confection of clear cellophane that caught the light and practically luminesced. Too pretty! There was also a really dramatic pouf of black paper that made quite an impression.

Take a peak at the video below and catch the end of the show, when all the models came back out together. Pretty, pretty!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Working with wardrobe (or costuming as a job). I got a taste and it was fun!

I had a very interesting week. 

My friend, Jose, called me up and I ended up going on a job with him. He is a professional stylist/wardrober. He was styling for a music video and it was all very short notice, so the models/actors didn't bring enough looks. I raided my closet and headed over. 

I ended up working with him for two days, not only supplying clothes, but helping style the actors and musicians and work with the wardrobe (aka costuming!). It was a blast. A lot of waiting around and picking lint and threads off of people, but definitely a blast.  

The best was being able to get creative with the clothes and making them work for the characters. The look of the video was, "electro rock... post apocalyptic black futuristic... leather pants, jacket, rocker heels, anything with spikes," (not my words, by the way). Lots of layers, lots of metal and leather, lots of edgy. We filmed in dusty, dirty alleys and tunnels and a condemned warehouse. Way different than what I usually do with costumes. 

Filming down a dusty alley...
On a windy day. Messy!

The most fun part was taking a new leather jacket, well fake leather, and distressing it to make it look less, well, new (and fake). When I was at the V&A for their last costume exhibit, I read about how the costume designer distressed and destroyed Indiana Jones' famous leather jacket for the movie. Made it look like he'd worn it a million times. I think they even ran over it.

Distressing a jacket. Took the "new" right out of it!

I didn't go that far, but I did get down and dirty with it out in the parking lot. I stomped on it and rubbed the edges along the asphalt. It worked like dirty sandpaper. Perfect! I paid close attention to wear spots, like the elbows and wrists and pockets. The pictures here were midway through the process. Unfortunately I didn't get a good one when it was done (or before I started). I was busy :(

By the time the actor put it on, the jacket looked night and day from where we started. The distressing took away the shiny fake look. This made me think, how excellent a little wear on the hem etc might make a historical costume look. Perhaps just that much better, or more authentic. 

I always find, after a wear or two, a little dust on the skirt and wrinkles make my costumes feel a little more real. That being said, you don't want to go crazy with any artificial distressing. What I've seen on extant garments is a lot of patching and piecing (signs of wear and alterations) and maybe a little roughness or a few thread bare spots on the hem. Nothing crazy, since things like hem facing and hem braid were used to protect against such wear. Maybe the best option, for the historical side, is to just wear your costumes and see how they naturally age...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mexican Embroidery

Hey folks! So I just got back from a vacation in Mexico and it was amazing! I'm so bummed to be home :( 

Well, I did miss my dogs...

But anyway, while I was there I picked up some souvenirs I thought I would share. They had the most darling embroidered tea towels, locally made. I absolutely fell in love.

Each scene is a little different. So charming!