Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016 In Review

I can't believe the year is already coming to an end! And what a great year it has been.

It's always fun to look back in the year and review the things I have sewn. It's funny, I felt like I sewed quite a bit, especially this summer, but all in all, not too many outfits were made. Though, I did make loads of undergarments and accessories that went into each ensemble. Then, of course, there are some UFO's leftover in my sewing room and finished things that didn't get worn or photographed...

So here we go.

The year started out with some early Edwardian undies: drawers, chemise, a frilly corset cover, and I reworked my S-bend corset. It was so much fun to work with lace, I went a little overboard.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Highclere Castle's Vintage Garden Party

A couple months back I received an invitation to buy tickets to Highclere Castle's Vintage Garden Party. There was no passing this up! My husband and I have loved watching Downton Abbey for years, so naturally, we had to go!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Goldfield Days

Between Reno and Las Vegas is Goldfield, Nevada. The first weekend of August is Goldfield Days. We traveled up from Costume College and opened our historic building, The John S. Cook Bank Building, for the weekend. Opening the building for Goldfield Days is our building's biggest fundraiser for restoration all year. This is the first time we have dressed for the occasion. It was a blast! I don't think we will ever not dress up for it again. The guests loved it and I think we added to spirit of the event.

Our building was built in 1907. We went for early teens again. I copied a period dress I bought on eBay. It has to be one of my very favorite dresses I've made.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A bit more from Costume College

Off to the Thursday night pool party! I wore some new Wearing History pants I made out of very lightweight wool. I love this pattern! They are just the best pants.

We had an absolute blast staying in our Airstream by the beach. It was kind of a bummer to drive back and forth to the Marriot every day, but I think the view was worth it! It was only about a 20 minute drive through the canyon. And we were able to have our pups with us!

I didn't dress up fro Friday, but Saturday morning I got up and into the 1770's early so I could make it to my limited class, which required one to come dressed in stays and petticoat. For fun, I went the extra mile and dressed completely in 18th Century undies. I wore my new stays and shift, a Marseilles cloth petticoat, striped linen bedgown (which I love love love!), dimity kerchief and Sarah Juniper shoes. I also dressed my hair. I had brought a wig, to make it easy, but I decided I hated it at the last minute. Surprisingly, my hair only took about fifteen minutes. I teased the crown, smoothed hair over it, and strategically arranged my shoulder length hair into buckles with a curling iron. I'm shocked, but I have had better luck making historical styles out of shoulder length hair than I ever did with hair down my back! I didn't bring any period hair dressing supplies with me, so I used hairspray and brushed on some face powder.

After the class, I changed into my yellow silk gown for the afternoon. I attended a very full class, so I got a bit wrinkly smooshed into the seat. I'll have to get better pictures of it one day, because I really like the dress, and it fits well.

Sunday morning I was totally exhausted, but wanted to make it to one of the 9am classes. Laying in bed, hitting snooze, I decided it was just as easy to put on early 1900's as it was to put on jeans, and it was the last day anyway, so I put on the Robe de Madras for the class. I like this dress, but hated it on me that morning. I should have taken the time to accessorize properly and do my hair, but I was just too tired. I had a cap with me, but was holding it when someone snapped my picture in the Starbucks line. 

When I packed, I wasn't sure how much I would get to actually wear. I am pleased to say, I made the effort, and wore everything I brought, except my teens evening coat. When I left for the gala, I totally forgot to bring it! But it was fine, because I would have been hot anyway and then had to carry it around. I'll try to remember to post about it soon.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

An Edwardian Robe du Soir for the Coco Gala

All of Costume College was great, and the gala was definitely the icing on the cake. So many gorgeous gowns to drool over!

You know what happens when you're having fun? You don't take enough pictures! Ah well, I was happy to at least get my dress from most angles.

And I really loved both making and wearing the gown I chose. The gown was mostly based off of this 1913 - 1914 gown. I had some serious time constraints, so the fabric had to change, as finding the perfect coral silk was difficult. Also, the silk satin I chose was much too drapey for the more structured skirt on the original, so I used the skirt pattern from Ageless Patterns #1362, which I had on hand. That worked beautifully, and gave me more time to play with the rest of the gown, but more on the construction further down.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


So today I am packing not only for Costume College, but for Goldfield Days the following weekend, too. Ah, what to bring? My 1910's gown and opera coat for Saturday night are musts (on the right). The white 1910's dress, second from left, is going to Goldfield, but could have an appearance at Costume College, too. The blue bedgown is coming whether or not I take my limited class (I hope I can! There was a billing issue, which hopefully gets worked out). Either way, it makes an awesome bath robe! 

Other than that, I'm kind of up in the air. I've never been able to attend the whole weekend before, and I'm traveling with my husband, who I don't want to completely ditch for costuming fun, so I don't really know how much I'm going to dress up for. I thought the new, Golden Anglaise and my older Robe de Madras, neither of which have ever had an outing, would be fun back up outfits to bring and hopefully wear. 

Also, not pictured, because it's still hanging on my mannequin awaiting a hem, is a new Poiret Robe Minute, which I would love to take. It's not tremendously impressive, but easy to wear, and not too big to pack.

And the final challenge: between Coco and Goldfield Days, we will be traveling in our Airstream for two weeks. Let's see what fits!

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Golden Gown

Ah, another UFO down. Feeling satisfied!

I started this one last summer. I had just gotten the At the Sign of the Golden Scissors pattern for an English Gown. I grabbed some silk and got moving. Returning to this, almost a year later, I realized I only ever had six yards of the silk. I don't know how I eeked a fully trimmed, matching-striped gown and petticoat out of only six yards. 

Oh, wait, yes I do. I pieced the crap out of it. But I love that, so it's fine :)

As per usual, I started by following the pattern, and then swiftly detoured away. I made it a closed front. I added cuffs from another pattern, I never checked if the pattern showed a polonaise option, but I did that, too. The pattern instructions were great for reference and information, though. I also referenced some extant gowns I have in my collection. That was extremely helpful! If I have learned anything from extant pieces, it's that they're generally put together much messier than I would want for my own sewing. It seemed like the faster I tried to put together the dress, the better it looked. The imperfections added charm.

All in all, I'm rather jazzed by it. And extremely jazzed that I got it out of only six yards (part of the petticoat was sacrificed for this). I wasn't originally planning on trimming it, because I liked the back neckline, but nearing the end of the fabric, I was curious to see just how far the yardage would go. I was able to trim it, by cutting up the leftover cabbage. Some pieces were only about two inches long!

And here's all that's left. I was so tempted to use the rest, but I couldn't think how to do it in good taste. 

So, if I don't finish the gown I really want for the gala next month, I have a pretty good back up! Yay!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

UFO's off the pile!

A couple weeks ago I got my limited class list from Costume College, and was lucky enough to get the class I wanted. Woot woot! And then I read, at the bottom of the page, that I needed to come wearing stays, shift and petticoat...

Let me confess, I haven't sewn anything since like February.

Reading that got me all excited, though, and lit a well needed fire under my bum roll.

And what did I have festering in the UFO pile, but some almost done stays and a shift! Perfect! I got cracking and finished them up. And a dress, too! But that's for another post :)

The shift pattern was from At the Sign of the Golden Scissors. Actually, it wasn't a pattern, it was a pre-cut kit, which was supposed to make this a fast project. 

I started it in 2013... Whoops!

It went together really well. The instructions were helpful and I tried to keep to them. I do wish the linen was a little softer, but being the weight that it is, it will be perfect for keeping boobs tidy while trying to drape patterns in public.

The stays were started, I think, about two years ago. I thought my yellow linen stays never fit quite right in the bust. Too small. So I drafted this pattern on top of my old stays. They are blue worsted wool, with reed boning, and edged with leather. I only cheated with the machine on the channels. At the time, as in two years ago, I just didn't have it in me. These pictures were from the final fitting, before I closed them up on the bottom.

I'm sure a theme can be sensed here: I needed new undies so no wardrobe malfunctions mid-class :) Maybe I need a bedgown, too...

My favorite part was cross stitching my initials into the shift. Sometimes it's the little details make the most mundane of projects exciting. 

And, nope, they're not lined. Yet. I'm sure I'll have time soon, but I sacrificed the lining to work on more fun, exciting things :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Oops! The corset and chemise I forgot to post about...

Woopsie! I was on such a roll in February, and then I forgot to post about it!

Then I found these photos hiding in my computer last night. Time to share!

I redid my Edwardian corset and I think it's such an improvement on fit. I originally made it in a workshop and it never fit correctly. It smashed my hips, was too big in the chest, and didn't give the correct silhouette at all. Now that I let out the hips, the waist can reduce nicely, and so now the bust fits, too. Yay!

It's not terribly impressive lying on a table, so I'll have to put it on soon and take some proper pictures... But I've been so costuming lazy lately. Which might be why I never posted about it...

I had a lot of fun trimming this corset. I stitched some rows of lace and beading together for the bust and added some yummy silk ribbon. The garters were surprisingly easy. I stretched elastic as I fed it through the machine, stitching lace trim to the sides, to add a bit of fluff. The top of the elastic loops around safety pins to attach them to the body of the corset. The ends are fed around garter pieces, with slides to adjust the length. I also flossed it - love details!

Because I was redoing a corset, and not starting from the bringing, the grommets and busk were already in place. I made the lace work around them by slicing though it, turning it under, and stitching the lace around the grommets and busk. 

And then I made a new chemise! With the move, and a lot of my costumes still being in storage, I couldn't find my edwardian chemise I had made just before the move. But that's ok - I made a newer, better one! 

I really had a lot of fun with all the lace and insertion. Now I just need to motivate myself to get working on the outer layers. I'm feeling a little more inspired, though, since the costume college packet came!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

HSF #1: Procrastination

I'm quite happy I finally quit procrastinating and got working on my new Edwardian Undies. I first bought the pattern and intended on beginning it two years ago! It's about time I got around to starting them. And finishing them.

Ah, but if I had a nickel for every time I did that...

The Challenge: #1, Procrastination

Material: Cotton Batiste

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE02

Year: About 1903

Notions: Lace, china buttons, silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it? The materials are correct, though after starting the project, I questioned using a zig zag stitch on the insertion, as I didn't see instructions for insertion like that in my antique sewing manuals. After looking into it, as far as I can tell, the zig zag stitch was invented in the late 19th century, but was only used in industrial sewing until the late 1940's. But I had gone too far to switch the stitching... Ah well, with each project I learn more to be better next time!

Hours to complete: About a week of sewing in the afternoons.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: I didn't count. I had pretty much everything in my stash. Just ordered some extra insertion and ribbon after running out. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Frilly things ahead!

Yay! I've been so productive this last week! I dove into making new Edwardian undies with full force. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rotten Row

When researching riding habits, inevitably, one comes across any number of prints and paintings depicting Rotten Row and riding in the Row. Rotten Row (corrupted from Route du Roi, or the King's Road) is a bridle path in Hyde Park, that was thee place to be seen riding in London, most famously during the 19th century. Riding there in the morning was quite a social, and fashionable, experience.

Much to my delight, one can still go for a ride there! I booked an early morning ride, before the joggers and cyclists came out. The park was beautiful and misty and quiet. I could not believe we were right in the center of London!

Not quite side saddle, but I'll take what I can get! I got to ride a cute little Irish Cob named Buzz. 

And there it is, Rotten Row. Check one off the bucket list!

Now I'm quite inspired to make a riding habit. I can't believe I haven't made one yet! Goal for this year, I think!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection was definitely a highlight of this London trip, and I can't believe I have never heard of it before! 

The Collection is housed at Hertford House in Manchester Square, which is the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It's a little off the beaten path, just north of Oxford St, but very a walkable distance from the shops. 

The house is beautiful and full of some very well known pieces of art. And... it's free to go in! 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Off to England! A short trip on the British Pullman

To leave Paris, we boarded the Orient Express and had a lovely breakfast on our way to Calais. In Calais, we took the Chunnel to Folkestone, where we boarded and took off for London.

The British sister train of the Orient Express is the British Pullman. There are also trains in the North that go up to Scotland. Oo next time, I hope! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Versailles: The Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet

My favorite part of Versailles! The Petit Trianon was beautiful. I love me some Marie, so it was just fantastic to be there.

The Hamlet, her faux village, was very cool, too, if a little spooky, but that might have been the misty twilight.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Versailles: The Palace and the Grand Trianon

Ah, Versailles. Can I even begin to illustrate the amount of people? I don't think I have ever been anywhere more crowded. These pictures don't do the crowd justice. Inside the palace especially, we were quite literally elbow to elbow. Worse, even. But once we stepped out into the gardens, it was so spacious and lovely. The Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon were a much better experience. They are a bit of a walk from the Palace, so most of the tour groups don't venture there. Much nicer! I mean, how can one mentally "travel back in time" when one is being poked with a selfie stick? Quite.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016