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 :)