Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Victorian Birthday Bash

Back in July, I attended a rather significant Birthday Party for one of my re-enactment / costume friends. She had decided to host a Victorian Tea Party.

The day was filled with sweets and savouries, tea and punch, chatting and croquet. We all had a splendid time and it was lovely to see friends that I hadn't seen for some time. And everyone looked beautiful. We all pulled out the stops and dressed up in our victorian bustle finery for the day. Oh and in case you are wondering, the red tartan bustle is indeed mine (I loaned it to the lovely Christine to wear for the day as she hadn't been able to make something in time).

The croquet battle begins...

For the occasion, I finally finished my late 1860s Bustle. The bodice design and hat come one of my Frances Grimble pattern books. The skirt is of my own drafting, while the apron is butchered from a Truly Victorian pattern. The beauty of this whole outfit is that it was made entirely from stash fabric. The main floral fabric was originally an 1830s day gown that I made a few years back. I hated how the dress looked on but I loved the fabric so much I wanted to re-use it. I pulled the dress apart and it sat there for a few more years until I finally decided what to do with it. I had enough fabric for a bodice, apron and skirt trimmings.

And boy did I go to town on the trimmings this time. The skirt has a pleated trim, and then a gathered rouche (which is straight off the old 1830s dress) with bias trimmings. The skirt is made from a soft hailspot white rayon, which I also carried throughout the costume for it's trimmings. The apron is trimmed with the same pleating from the skirt, blue velvet ribbon, tiny lace and silk ribbon bows. And it's all carried through to the bodice with lace sleeve ruffles, tiny lace trimmings, velvet ribbon and more silk ribbon. I also took the time to make a balayeuse (or dust ruffle) for my skirt. It was the first time making one, but I will definitely be doing them for my trained dresses in future. This one is made of scrap cotton with scrap cotton ruffles and a bit of scrap laces. It's quite pretty but it is also functional. It helps keep the train of my dress out beautifully, and it simply buttons on so. It worked a charm and just went straight into the washing machine saving my skirt from any dirt.

Now, I don't have any close up photos of the costume worn. At the time, I was about 4 days out of dental surgery. I had all four of my wisdom teeth out at once and puffed up big time. There was even some charming yellow bruising going on. Needless to say, I couldn't eat anything at the party, but it was still lovely to socialise. (I'm in the first photo on the very end). But I will definitely be getting some photos the next time I wear this.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Catch-up time

Wow. It's been a while. I've been rather slack in my posting. And to be honest, I really haven't attended many events this year. It's not like I've been taking a break from costuming. There's just been events that I haven't been able to attend, either due to work, other commitments or injury. A few of those injuries are rather obscure. One, I missed an event because as I was getting ready, I managed to throw my back out completely and spent the next two days in bed. Another, I ended up in hospital with chest pain - turned out to be a pulled muscle. But I have been sewing, and here I am posting again. It's time to catch up on the events that I have attended over the last few months as well as a few tutorials I have been compiling. So stay tuned as I improve my posting and get back into the swing of things.

Monday, July 25, 2016

History Alive - Suffragettes

History Alive...

When Sunday comes around we jump forward to the 1890s were we portray Queensland Suffragettes. We’re only a group of four at this point, but we do our best to show what it was like in Australia for women trying to gain the vote. The biggest fallacy is that Suffragettes were all extremists and violent. But because Australian women had the vote so early in the piece, it was quite the peaceful movement. We run a bake sale to raise funds for the cause, hand out information sheets, organise a petition, give speeches and organise marches.

I wasn't quite so happy with the costume that I made last year (skirt was a bit short and not full enough for my happiness), add to that a bit of weight gain and I really wanted to put together something new to wear this year. I managed to put the whole thing together out of my stash. The skirt is made from a lightweight grey wool, lined with flannel and with a canvas hem facing to help hold the skirt out. I added a new vest with welt pockets and of course a new hat to match it all. I must say, I was very pleased with the ensemble. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

History Alive - Regency

History Alive. It’s the focus for so many Queensland costumers who have joined in with the fun of re-enactment. I myself am one such costumer. I’m a member of RIFF (Re-enacting Independently for Fun). So this year, I will show you around the RIFF encampment and what we do at History Alive.

History Alive is a timeline event that showcases many different periods from the re-enactment community across Queensland. As an open period group, RIFF portrays a number of different eras. This year we tackled two different times over the two days of the event. 

First off, we started with the Regency period. (1795—1825). We are set up for the day with a number of tents and a shade shelter. We start out our day with a breakfast buffet at 10am (as would be done in the period). After we’ve assuaged our hunger, we settle in for the day with some genteel pursuits—games, sewing, sketching, reading and promenading. It makes for quite the relaxing day.

And once the public head off for the afternoon, the re-enactors relax for the evening - to a lovely sunset. Stay tuned for day two when we jump forward a 100 years in time...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Art Nouveau Tea

Back in May. (I know! Where does the time go?!) I attended an Art Nouveau tea with my fellow Queensland ACG members. It was a simple event where we all turned up in our Art Nouveau gear and descended on the Shingle Inn café at Brisbane City Hall. The café was installed a few years ago when City Hall was refurbished (it was sinking into the mud) and it is the original café from the 1930s re-installed. It’s been done quite beautifully, and while not as old as our costumes, it still provided a lovely backdrop for tea and cakes.

And for the occasion, I decided to wear my Art Nouveau Merida again (of course, I didn't actually get any photos of myself other than a selfie). I put so much work into the costume that it was great to be able to wear it again, and I thought it appropriate as the artwork the that costume is from is based on original artwork designs from the Art Nouveau period. Plus, doesn’t everyone love Disney?!