Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas comes early - RSN Embroidery books and Hand embroidery GOLDWORK

YAY, Christmas came early today: I splurged on the entire set of RSN Embroidery books plus a hoop seat frame from England, well worth it: I'm looking forward to learning more hand embroidery!
Set of Royal School of Needlework (RSN) Essential Stitch Guides
Very excited to use these in 2018 and beyond, as I delve deeper into HAND EMBROIDERY as an art form! 
I also started a practice GOLDWORK sampler with fleur-de-lis and wreath surround, so that I can practice on silk taffeta, and also plan to use this on a reticule I'm making: definitely plan to do more with hand embroidery and goldwork in future!
TLD Goldwork practice sampler in progress - far from perfect,
but it gives me a chance to practice the skill

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New project: making a bustle from two sari's

I recently started a new sewing project, my second Victorian bustle dress, mid to late 1880's, using two matching dark teal green BLUE silk Sari's. The sari/saree's are solid lightweight silk with gold metallic embroidery edging and the pallu end has a wavy metallic gold embroidery design and fringe ends.

Victorian BUSTLE gown from 2 Sari's - In progress
Fabric is stash, added this past spring from a friend's costumer yard sale, so basically she de-stashed to me and now I'm using it! Patterns: TV460 Curaiss Bodice, with TV261 Four-Gore Underskirt, with TV305 Apron Overskirt.

I'm sharing an in-progress picture here of the underskirt, although it's still partially pinned at the top back and bottom sides, it shows the in-progress skirt. I attached one of the pallu ends on the bottom as a train. I'm almost done with the apron overskirt, and then I'll need to sew the bodice, trim, as well as finish the underskirt.

This project was originally intended for a costumer friend's Victorian Christmas Tea next weekend that is being postponed/re-scheduled. I'm looking forward to finishing it and wearing it to that or another event: having fun with bustles! Has anyone else ever tried making a bustle using sari's?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My first "buh, buh, buh, buh"...BUSTLE!!

*SQUEEEEEEEEE* I finally made my very first Victorian bustle.......aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
My first late 1880's Victorian bustle gown in blue and red plaid Jomar silk dupioni
(photo by InTheLongRunDesigns)
My first mid-late 1880's bustle! This is a big deal for me, since I've only been planning it for over a decade (seriously, ridiculous - can you tell how much I dislike making foundation garments, lol). I FINALLY made it happen this year in October, thanks to gentle prodding and encouragement from my dear friends Judy and Kat. And Carolyn. ;)

Also a promise to finally get bustle for a friend's annual Victorian party private event done sometime this year, plus Carolyn from The Modern Mantua Maker was hosting a Big Bustle Birthday Bash in October (the pictures in this post), where bustle was preferred but late 18th century "big butts" were acceptable also! If I couldn't get my outfit together, late 18thc was my back up plan, but I pushed and pushed to finish before Carolyn's event and I'm so glad I did!

I literally finished sewing my bodice an hour and a half before Carolyn's event started (so stressful) and immediately started doing my hair so I could get dressed for the event! I'm pinned into my entire outfit (no time for sewing closures). We had a picnic in a local park, with a really good turnout, it was quite an enjoyable day! 
Bustle from the back (photo by InTheLongRunDesigns)
"Why yes, shocked I DO like wearing bustle!"
(Photo by InTheLongRunDesigns)

Back-side view, er, um, side-back view?! LOL
It was a super fun event, other than a few pushy and persistent yellow jackets, which kept insisting on invading my personal space. *shudder*...we had a lovely time though, the weather was warm yet cool, muggy yet not too bad: lots of delicious food and enjoyable company, with beautiful bustle dresses everywhere!

Really fun dress to wear, I enjoyed how the dress and silk fabric moved, and the gathered ruffles, it was just really enjoyable to wear, and just somehow felt "right."

My dress is a blue green and red plaid silk (Jomar find!) using TV460 Curaiss Bodice, with TV261 Four-Gore Underskirt, with TV305 Apron Overskirt. With TV101 Petticoat with wire bustle foundation (underneath, not pictured), with TV170 Victorian petticoats in cream silk petticoat (underneath, not pictured). Also TV110 Late Victorian corset (underneath, not pictured) in embroidered blue linen. Accessories: mini tricorn I made a few years ago, hair by me, with a red brown Lioness curly wig mixed in with my hair. Jewelry: real pearl and gold bow earrings plus matching real pearl bracelets by Lady Detalle, with a vintage pin I picked up years ago at the bodice neck. Cream lace parasol from Loren of Costumer's Closet in a purge she did years ago, and black velvet reticule by VeryVictorianStudio. American Duchess 'Balmorals' in black finished the look!

All my photos from The Big Bustle Birthday Bash are here. A lovely day of fun, thank you, Carolyn! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

American Duchess book on 18th century Dressmaking is now available

It's not often that a new fashion book is added to my core historical fashion collection, but this one is well worth adding!

"The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking" by Lauren Stowell with Abby Cox includes all sorts of tips and tricks, as well as pattern grids for various accessories, and from what I could tell, how to build/sew a gown the 18th century millinery way.

I've not dug in very far yet, and although I'm likely to use it more for inspiration than a straight how to (since I love 18th century and have made quite a few outfits to date) - still, looking forward to learning and trying things from here at a future point!
Late 1790's transitional period
You can get it on Amazon, thru American Duchess or many other sources I'm sure.
Recommend picking one up as a resource if you're interested in 18th century sewing!


Black Friday Sale starts now at "Historic Accessories & Supplies" and goes thru Monday night!

Check out the new CROWN tiara, Amethyst grape cluster earrings, Sparkly blue rhinestones with real pearl earrings or gold BOW real teardrop PEARL earrings, & much more! Over 50 new listings added!

I enjoy jewelry making, making muffs and reticules, and scouting out historically appropriate tiaras, vintage sari and dupatta and more - I do this because it's FUN, although it does eat up sewing time. ;)

11th Regency Pumpkin Tea and Candlelight Soiree

Yay, recently I hosted the 11th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea, and (bonus) Candlelight Soiree the evening prior. The candlelight evening is a chance for us to have a preview evening (I first did the double event last year for the 10th Annual celebration) and to include men in our Regency party, as well as dress up in evening wear instead of daytime wear: it's always such a delight!

And now some pictures!
TheLady Detalle at my 11th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea (photo courtesy InTheLongRunDesigns)
So happy with my new bonnet, my commissioned "B" bee reticule and my bee muff!
11th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea GROUP shot (InTheLongRunDesigns)
It was a lovely group of ladies!
Have you ever seen those Regency fashion plates that look like the ladies
are picking a wedgie? YEAH, that's what this is, group Wedgie shot! 
Group Regency wedgie shot!
Kat and I pose outside with our muffs!
Kat made a new striped pelisse for the occasion, isn't it stunning?!
During the candlelight soiree, we smile for the camera!
A lovely evening of food, laughter and fun!
The hb and I pose for a quick couple of photos!
Yay, my hb is a good sport and especially enjoys the tea food! ;)
Here you can see one side of my new Regency
striped silk stovepipe bonnet!
Here I am talking about the huge table of food!
Ashley and I at the tea! 

Afternoon tea went by so quickly, with food, laughter, chatting and more. Then we retired outside for a group picture and some picture taking, before coming back in to do the fabric de-stash exchange, before more tea food, drinks and laughter.

What I wore:
I re-wore one of my favorites, a mustard yellow striped cotton finished with black cotton triangle (Van Dyke) trim! I commissioned a custom Regency stovepipe bonnet this year from 1800'sMillineryShop on Etsy, sending them a mustard and dark taupe striped silk (I have more fabric to make something up in future). I adore how the bonnet turned out, I'm very happy with their creations! Accessorized with a mustard and black silk vintage dupatta and real pearl earrings from LadyDetalle on Etsy. For the candlelight soiree, I re-wore my white embroidered cotton crossover gown with a vintage dupatta and a silver pearl reproduction tiara.

Had an amazing time with the lovely ladies (and gentlemen) who came out for the Friday candlelight soiree and the Saturday tea: thanks so much for joining in the fun!

All of my photos are here!

Monday, November 13, 2017

You do you...historical costuming resolution for 2018.

This is my historical costuming resolution for 2018. YOU DO YOU.

I'm a self-proclaimed historical COSTUMER.
I've been a re-en-actor, dressing in HA clothes and doing demo dances for the public in historic houses/museums. I've been a costumer, dressing in close to HA clothes and going to private events or public events in costume. Historically costumed, I've been  to fancy private houses, to fancy public houses, and everything in between: I've done demo dances for historic hours tours, I've been an extra in TV/film, I've been asked if I'm Amish, if I'm Victorian, if I'm in a play, or going to the Renn Faire, or if I work for Colonial Williamsburg, I've been photographed and featured on websites, in promotional videos, marketing materials, in newspapers, and in magazines, complimented by well-known politicians and more,and almost always in as-HA-as-possible historical costume. That's all great, but what matters is, I do this historical costuming hobby because it's F-U-N.

I'm not saying this stuff above to claim some sort of fame - if it were about that, I'd list and share and mention every time "I was noticed" in this hobby - I'd tell you all about the who and the what and the why, but none of that matters. What matters is that this is my JAM, it's me. I'm appreciative of each and every moment in this hobby, the private ones and the public ones, because to me, that's what it's all about, the fun. It's a way to enjoy myself, to express myself and to BE myself: I love to sew and I love historic fashion. I'm being me. Historical costumed me is me.

In this our costuming and re-enacting world, I'm tired of drama, of being told to let mean girl behavior slide because 'we all need to get along.' I'd LIKE to all get along, but we don't NEED to all get along. And there's a difference. I'm not willing anymore to sit down and be silent when my friends are treated poorly, or when I am treated poorly. To ridicule someone in public or in private, online or not, who is taking part in this historical costuming hobby (or cosplay, or re-enacting) or to pick apart their attempts to join in this hobby simply because it's "not HA enough", or they used a zipper or faux fabrics, or safety pins or the look is 'off' or whatever - I'm sorry, there's NO excuse for that sort of mean girl behavior. We all started with zippers, and it's totally ok if you use them now (I personally safety pin myself into my costumes often because it's not seen and it doesn't matter to me). And if you somehow skipped the zipper phase, you're not special and allowed to push your own standards on others. If someone is asking how to be more HA, great, share away, but please do it in love and kindness. Anything else I've found is or becomes unacceptable behavior. You do this to help others learn about HA fashion? Great, share away, in kindness and when they ASK for help. You graduated with a masters in this? Great! I have one too, just in business, not in theatre/art/fashion/costuming/sewing.  I do this for fun, many of you do this for fun or WANT to do this, but are too afraid to join in. I learned how to hand and machine sew from my mother, who is a professional quilter, and I am self taught since and have also learned from other historical costumers too, over the years. Please know, Your standards are not my standards. My standards are not your standards. Their standards are not your standards. Historical standards are not THE standards - we have a limited view into what they did in the past and sure, we research and confirm and learn things, but that doesn't mean that it matters or applies to everyone taking part in this hobby, to each her (or his) own.

Historical costuming is my hobby. It's a way to be creative, to sew, to dream, to plan, to dress up in fun clothes, to try different materials and methods, to learn, to grow, to enjoy life. To have fun myself, with my family and with friends, with others who like to do this and even at times with the public. I do a lot of research, I pour over fashion plates and portraits and extant garments. I like using materials that are close to what they had back then, I like to get the look close to what I see in the fashion plates and the portraits, and later the photographs. And I'm a SILK ADDICT, so yeah, I use that stuff A LOT. But the reality is, we often don't have the same materials, we don't have the same fabric or weaves, and we don't have the complete picture of what they did back then, because we only have snapshots and little windows into the past. I love to hand sew! I started young, with quilting as a child, but I don't do this full time. And I adore my sewing machine. I do both hand and machine sewing. And I have a small business that I do for fun and to help support my hobby, and because business is fun to me. I limit myself in historical costuming by my budget, time constraints, skill, other interests, family commitments, business, my career choices and so much more - by my choice. Yes, I like to be HA, but I'm not asking how to be so. I do my own research or ask for HA opinions when wanted. My standards are not your standards, they are mine only. I do me. You do you.

I stress again, this hobby is all about fun, for me, for my friends, for many others. If you're in this for fame, and you're miserable because you're not noticed or because someone else gets noticed, then we're probably not a good costumer friendship match. I'm happy for others successes and I'm here cheering you on! And there are many others who feel that way too! If you want to be invited to events to feel good that you're popular, but you have no intention of ever going or you only go to turn up your nose at things, or you're a bad guest to the hostess or other guests, we're simply not going to gel. And that's ok. Private(and public) events take a lot of time and effort, and my 1-2 costume private events a year I'm space limited. In the past, I've invited folks to be nice or to include or not make waves, but that's a thing of the past. No more. Personally I'm done rewarding or ignoring bad behavior. I'm resolved to take back my enjoyment in this hobby. I hope you join me.

And like so many of you out there, I'm an introvert. An extroverted introvert, but an introvert non-theless. For someone who likes to dress up and have fun, I'm a fairly private person. Sharing my costumes and sewing adventures online doesn't come natural to me. Sharing this here is definitely a huge step for me. There is no secret club, at least not one I'm in - I've just been doing this awhile, and so have others and we've all gotten to know each other over time. Many of us poured out our lives together, the good and the bad, on venues like Live Journal, and we bonded over a shared love of historic fashion and empathy over life's struggles. I know some wonderful folks in costuming, those are the people I'm going to surround myself with, along with new costumer friends, folks who believe as I do, who do this for fun and who I become friends with over time.

A dear costumer friend passed away two years ago yesterday, who had the kindest and most welcoming heart of any costumer I know. She knew her HA and did it spot on, and yet still welcomed me to my first private fancy costumed evening (late 18th century Twelfth Night) with open arms and a welcoming heart, even as I stepped in, with my faux taffeta late 18th century pocket hoop gown, an early attempt at HA. That didn't stop her from encouraging the beginner that I was in historic fashion. Let's take a page from her book and treat each other with kindness always. I do me. You do you.

TheLady Detalle