Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So I've Been Thinking...

Very early in my costuming and historical clothing obsession I stumbled upon the Victorian Trading Company. My grandma had a subscription to their store and would on occasion order trinkets and do-dads.

Some of their items are purely in the nick nack trinket realm (albeit still expensive) but they every now and then would have a item that I thought was gorgeous or a must have. 

One item that I've been lusting after for some time (from reading historical fiction and non fiction) has been a ladies calling card.

How cool would I be, if when perchance, I happen to meet someone at an event and I handed them not a business card but a calling card! 

Sophistication to the max! 

It would totally be the 'bees knees' the 'cats meow'! 

Lol, I know I'm mixing my eras. 

But 'squee'!!! 

A calling card for Costume College?  

 High Tea

Needlepoint Roses

Either one is lovely.

Calling cards "served a number of social purposes, such as a means of introduction, to further acquaintanceship, to express congratulations or condolences and to provide notices of arrival or departure. Card etiquette had strict rules."

Unlike business cards of today and the way they are used historically particularly in the 18th century those rules sternly governed societies interactions. Business cards are stylized and individualized to the max, with special fonts and pictures. Yet, the high ranking society and trend setters used calling or visiting cards that "reflected simplicity and elegance. Women’s cards measured approximately 2.75 to 3.5 inches wide by 2 to 2.75 inches high. Men’s cards took on a longer, narrower aspect from 3 to 3.4 inches long by 1.25 to 1.5 inches wide." Typically with a simple coat of arms and block or script print.  

One simply did not bring their calling card and wait in the parlor or drawing room, especially if they were relatively unknown to the recipient. They visited in their carriage and had a servant deliver their calling card, if they were especially bold they could deliver the card themselves and 'fold the corner to signify that it was delivered in person'. Typically the receiver could and had the right to take several days to respond to the card, by sending their own card or sending an invitation for tea. 

Either way there were many rules and guidelines to polite society and the use of this handy little slip of paper.

I'm not sure if I could afford Victorian Trading Company on my budget but this is definitely on my list of to-do craftiness! 



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A New Book!!

Ok so the Tudor era isn't my thing but I've been drafted into being party of a costumed group for CoCo15. 

Specifically the 16th Century Disney Princess Group... 

I won't tell you who I will be at this time .... 

I'll post a hint in the near future!

Anyway,  since I've never done the Tudors or anything really before the 18th century I needed a lot of help... 

So my daily perusal of the web and Pinterest was increased ten fold. 

This book "The Tudor Tailor" by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm Davies kept coming up when I spoke to other seasoned costumers.

Finally, after a long discussion with Rebecca my motivational teacher from afar, I caved and purchased this book. 

Can I say that this book is amazing and so easy to understand!!!

A Yellow Corset .....Talons aiguilles et vieilles dentelles: Corset ensoleillé

Talons aiguilles et vieilles dentelles: Corset ensoleillé:   La première fois que j'ai vu un corset jaune, c'était dans l'atelier de restauration du Musée Galliera , et il m'a li...

Gorgeous Yellow Corset!!! Well Done :) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A 'Lil Red Riding Hood' for 'Lil Bit'

So, after completing a Ladies Jacket and Anglaise Gown for myself I had some yardage left over. 

What to do! 

Make 'lil bit' a outfit!!!! 

So I started searching the MET, Pinterest and one of my Colonial Williamsburg books. 

And I found these pictures...

Embroidered Linen Dress 18th C. Front
Back of Embroidered Linen Dress


Glazed Cotton Dress 18th C. 

 After finagling the remaining pieces of fabric I was able to work out the shape needed. 

What pattern did I use??? 

Why my 'Lil Bit', of course!!! When she woke up this morning after hugs, kisses, and some juice to start her day; she gladly obliged to my request to lay down on mommy's fabric. I simply traced her body out making sure to keep her arms straight out. 

From studying and enlarging the pictures researched, several things became apparent; 1) there were no front princess or waist seams, 2) the sleeves were not separate pieces, 3) there were only side seams, a somewhat pleated side and back at the waist area. 

Unfortunately,  I did not have enough fabric to make all the pleats in the skirt so I simplified my dress. I cut the back a tad too wide and made a box pleat at the top neck and ended it about waist length.

I rolled the neck hem and slip stitched it down.
The front and hem are folded twice and slip stitched as well. I wanted to be able to simply un-hem the front or hem to add extra width/length if she needed it.

On the extant dress and the descriptions provided with them, no obvious closures are discussed. Since I do want to be able to let out the gown I don't want anything to permanent and I didn't want to use pins. (Too dangerous for a toddler). So I will probably be adding some type of threaded loops with ribbon to laced down and close it at center front. 

With the dress 90% done I couldn't leave her with out her outerwear!

So I quickly cut a cape out of some red wool remnants.

Again, fabric was limited so the front panels are a little skinny.

The hood is lined with some white taffeta I found in my scrap bin.

The casing for the ribbon ties is bias tape, which has been stitched to the top inside selvage edge and slip stitched down.

I also used bias tape to hem the bottom. 

Here's a picture of 'lil bit' running away cause she didn't want to try on the cape.....

She's quick!! 

Hopefully, I can find some linen in my stash to make a bonnet and a petticoat or chemise to go with the outfit. 

Then we can take a picture of it all together!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Costume College 14 ! A Longish Picture Friendly Post

How much fun did I have?!?!? 


The amazing Val Labore from Time Traveling in Costume created a group called the Murder of Crows. Mourning (funeral) wear from any era was to be worn on Friday for the Ice Cream Social.

Here's a group shot!

My Close Up w/ Jerry

It was great seeing the many different variations of the dress in the same era.  We had over five talented ladies who created bustle gowns from the 1870s-1880's. This picture isn't even the whole group!

On Saturday I had classes in which I had to be fitted so to have ease of fitting (and breastfeeding) I opted to wear street clothes to my class called '1860's and Still Handsewn!". 

Here's a sneak peek of the gown bodice in progress and my fabric!

Saturday Night was the Red Carpet and Gala
Here's a pic of my gown and my hubby and 'lil bit', they walked the red carpet with me!


 A lovely Edwardian lady named Tisha

Vanessa and her matching purple gown.
How gorgeous is that purple velvet!

And finally Sundays Fantasy Tea
Bathroom Not So Selfie Selfie

Me and the Time Traveling Val LaBore

Maegan (Our CGW Hotel Liaison for CoCo), Myself and Rebecca (Current Dean for 2015 CoCo)

Me and the Broker Costumer herself Ms.Cindy Piselli

 There's so much more about Costume College but I will save that for another post!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Finished a Book!

Why is this such an accomplishment??
Because being a mom to an infant/toddler is hard work.
 'Lil bit' is a mover and a shaker, always running around and getting into things.
Being a SAHM isn't easy and unfortunately, me sitting on the couch and eating bon bons and watching the soaps is not an option.
So for me, it is a major accomplishment for me at this time to read and FINISH a book. 
(I used to read a book a week for my graduate classes and for recreational reading I could read a 300-500 page book in a day!)

Anyway so here it goes.... 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though at times I was annoyed by Sarah's almost judgmental attitude toward those she thought were judging her (I hope that made sense!). It seemed at times that Sarah assumed everyone was out to get her because she wore a corset. Yet and still it was a refreshing view of a modern girl whose views of corset wearing, changes dramatically over the course of several years. Sarah is able to create a world for herself where she feels beautiful and ultimately a place she feels she belongs and feels comfortable in time. Even with her dramatic change, she is at times rather opinionated about other costumers who use less than perfect fabrics and historically inaccurate costumes for their reenacting. Truth be told I too, cringe at some obviously horrifically inaccurate costumers as well, but I tend to say  'live and let live', if their having fun and hurting no one...so be it! 

Anyway, Sarah's transformation was interesting to read, but several times throughout the book I was in wonderment that she omits an integral part of Victorian wear, a chemise. A chemise was worn between the body and corset to keep sweat from dirtying up your corset (which is difficult to wash, unless you have an removable lining). It also stops you (for the most part) from having the 'angry red criss cross marks' on your back, where you lacing dug into your skin. Other then this major omission Sarah relates a very interesting and humorous journey.

Sarah Chrisman's Before & After

To costumers, corset wearers and the novice clothing historians this would be an interesting read. 

Toodles !

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Updated 2014-2015 Sewing List .... Why? Because I Think I'm Superwoman!

An continuation of my previous post...

Every year I try to make a to do list of the dresses I would like to create. 

Either I've purchased some fabric that I just must sew into a historical costume or upon perusing the infinite black hole of Pinterest, I come across a gorgeous extant gown, fashion plate or painting of the era...and I am smitten or hooked on recreating it (this doesn't mean recreating it to a 't' but more like the general feeling or major components of the gown).

Anyway, My Updated To-Do List
50's style dress Butterick 4790
Kirtle and Skirt
1860's Striped Work/Day Dress
Pink Regency Gown

Green and White Stripe Regency Day Dress w/ Chemisette
Black and White Plaid Regency Bib Front Day Dress w/Detachable Sleeves
Black Regency Bonnet
Pink Polka Dot Sari (For Costume College Ice Cream Social 2015)
Beauty & The Beast -Belle - Disney Princess of the 16th Century Concept Dress (Costume College 2015 Project)
White Regency Day Gown
White Regency Evening Gown
Late 1880's Victorian Corset - Grey & Black (Truly Victorian )
1910's Edwardian Corset - Lilac and White Stripe W/ White Lace (Links to a Blog with Pattern & Directions!) 
I still have other items that keep popping into my head but these are the main ones.

I also have a UFO List (Unfinished Outfits)
And an 'lil bit' Costume List


But that will be my next post.

Costume College 2014 and An Amazing Scholarship!

Awesome Scholarship Opportunity!!

In the winter of 2012-2013 I was notified via email that I had won one of the coveted 
Costume College Full Scholarships!

It was an amazing surprise! 
It was also something that I very much needed at the time. 

So many things in life were going horribly. I was very ill with Hyperemesis Gravidarum due to my pregnancy (a pregnancy that we were ecstatic about!), my job had denied allowing my co-workers to donate additional sick days to me due to my non-union status and since I was sick and was without pay for several weeks Good News in need. (On top of that I had to pay back several hundred dollars due to a automatically set check deposited.)

Anyway, the scholarship came at a time when I very much needed Good News!

What did I have to do to win the scholarship??
I completed the essay scholarship (but there are several other options available)

"Essay – for service, hardship, education, or skill

Essay scholarships are awarded by the CGW Scholarship Committee so that the individual may be rewarded for their service to the organization; OR be assisted due to hardship; OR be exposed to resources, gain experience and be encouraged in their costuming life. Scholarships may be awarded based on a combination of of these criteria or on a single one.

 (From www.costumecollege.net )

A picture of a costume you created had to be submitted with your entry, I submitted the below pictures.  

Me and a Fellow Alaska Attendee!! (Small World)

Oh Dear!!

Don't you love the facial expression !

The scholarship paid for not only my CoCo registration fees but my membership fees, two nights stay at the hotel and a $30 dollar credit to use toward a limited attendance class!! 

But you may be saying, um...so why aren't there any post from Costume College 2013?? 

Well, my 'lil bit' was due July 15th and Costume College is the last weekend of July! 

Cutting it a lil close don't ya say! 

Anyway, after emailing the board about my diagnosis of Hyperemesis Gravidarum and my due date they graciously allowed me to roll over my scholarship! 

They are awesome!!

Anyway 2013 CoCo came and went... 'lil bit' was born on the 18th of July and I waited in anticipation for CoCo 14!

To those would like to attend CoCo check out the scholarship information on the their website!