Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More and more...

And here I thought that I was done with the hard core costuming for quite some time. I am all set for History Alive in June, but am now focusing on what I will be wearing in July. In particular there are two events that I will be attending: Abbey Medieval Festival and Heritage Ball.

The first, the Abbey Medieval, I will be dancing at on the Sunday. I had every intention of wearing my dress from last year, but when I tried it on last night it was 4 inches too big around the middle. (No idea how that has happened!). I could take it in, but then I realised that even if I did, it would still be overly cumbersome to dance in because the skirts are so full, and even with them tied to my wrist, it still drags on the ground and would trip me up. Not to mention that because it is all linen, it weighs quite a bit. So now, I am looking at medieval gowns that I can make. I have settled on an image I found of a 14th Century dress that has a kirtle and cotehardie (over-robe), and have even decided on my colours (based on a John William Waterhouse painting). Now I just need to make a trip to the fabric store for supplies.

The second is the Heritage Ball. And I will be making a bustle gown again this year. The first one to make is for my mum. She has come down to a decision between two fashion plates (early bustle - 1870s) and which one will depend on what fabric we find. As for myself, I fell in love with a fashion plate from the natural form bustle era and am determined to make it. At least for myself, if I can't get it done in time, I can always wear the dress that I made for last year, but I would really like a new one. And this time, it will be in a much brighter colour. I will keep you posted.

On a side note, I spent part of the long weekend cleaning up my cupboard and stacking away my costumes. I have come to the decision that I would like to sell a couple of them, as they either no longer fit properly or I just don't wear any more, and I would much rather sell them than have them collecting dust in my wardrobe. I am not sure where to try selling them, but I am thinking that etsy would probably be a good start.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Evening #4

That evening was a very relaxed one with an early evening theatre session. They performed Sense and Sensibility.

To this, I pulled out the dress that I made for the Kaleidoscope Christmas Dance last year. It's not the sort of dress that I would ever wear to a dance again as the train is an absolute nightmare. You have to either hold it up (no thanks) or pin it up, and in my opinion, that ruins the look of the dress. So it turned out as the perfect thing to wear to the theatre. This time though, I had a full length petticoat underneath so that my chemise could not be seen and I also wore the diadem that we started in our evening head wear workshop. (Yes, I was determined to get it done). This night, I didn't even bother adding any new hairspray to my hair, I just used the build up that was already in there (ew, I know, but it worked). My hair was in a high ponytail and then I borrowed Donna's hot sticks (must get a set of them for myself) and curled up all my hair, plopped on the diadem and I was done.

Kerry was lovely again in her open robe, this time with a turban (yes, we will now be exploiting that skill) and Donna dressed up her pink gown with a silk bodice that sits of the top. It looked lovely (especially the tassels, but you know I am a sucker for a tassel) and is such a good idea to dress up a gown so that you have a different look. Very clever.

To the photos...

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Day #4

Our last day of the festival saw us heading out for a costumed promenade and picnic. Everyone was dressed in the picnicy best as we strolled along the waterfront to the bell tower and island where we set up our picnic. A few of us got a little distracted by the coffee kiosk on our way, but we made it and set up for a relaxing lunch. A few photos and some scrumptious food later (stupid hotel bar fridge froze my strawberries, grrrr...) we made our way back to the hall for a costuming talk and regency tea. It was actually quite interesting to learn about the intricacies of tea in the period.

This was the day I was most looking forward to dressing up. I got to wear my 1780s open robe and skirt. It was the very last outfit that I got complete but I am so glad that I did. The skirt is made in the Georgian way with side seam splits and two waistbands, one that ties at the back and one at the front. It is also made of about 7 metres of white cotton voile, but by wearing the lemon petticoat underneath it gives the fabric a very light creme cast. It would be interesting to try this with a bright coloured petticoat underneath (red or blue). The open robe is made from the JP Ryan pattern again, though it does up down the front with my hand sewn eyelets and satin ribbon in spiral lacing. I am very pleased that about how it looked, and I even got to wear my pockets under this outfit. Not to mention the large hat. As for my hair, I had intended to use the wig that I styled, but on the morning decided to instead use my own hair so that it would all be up and off my neck. Turned out to be a very good decision, but next time I will be using rats instead of just teasing.

Donna also chose to go for the late Georgian look with her redingote and monstrous hat. She looked absolutely amazing. For that matter, everyone look fantastic (except the guy with the too tight pants - don't need that image *shudder*), as we all dressed up. Kerry in her white drop front gown and new green silk spencer, Sam in her pelisse, Lynne in her green stipe gown and Wendy in her blue gown. I thought that we all looked fabulous. Photos!!!! (The plastic cow was in the foyer of our hotel, odd I know).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Evening #3

That afternoon, we headed home early so that we could nap and roll up our hair in preparation for our evening entertainment... The Ball. It's the sort of thing that is most looked forward to in terms of regency. The gowns are just so much more fancy and the evening feel a lot more special. The evening started off with dancing, and I did participate for a little, but then found myself congregating outside to socialise, as all good ladies do at a ball. We then progressed into the card room. This had to be the highlight of my evening. I love playing cards, and Kerry and I won quite a few gold coins.

For this night, I wore my lemon yellow ball gown. It is made with a crinkle chiffon overskirt and sleeves over a white silk base. While I love how the overskirt and sleeves turned out, I think that I can really add a bit more to this dress with some trimming. It would be as simple as some beading on the bodice and sleeves, and perhaps at the waistline as well. I did like my hair though. It was more of an accident that it worked, I had no real plan in mind, just curled it, twisted it and decided that it would work. I also made it a little prettier by weaving a strand of pearls though and adding flowers and feathers. Like I said, more good luck than good management.

Donna and Kerry however, were stunning in their gowns. We all went with the silk idea (of course, it is a ball), but Donna had a lovely combination of colours all worked into her dress that matched the trimming. Very creative, and it looked fantastic. Kerry glowed. Her gown was beautiful with piping and puffed sleeves attached to a cross-over gown. She looked beautiful and Donna and I did a great job getting her hair how she wanted it. (I am proud of us).

And the pictures...

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Day #3

And we come to the weekend. I started the day off with a workshop to make evening headwear. In particular, a diadem. (I did get mine finished). Basically it is a tiara sort of thing that you decorate to match your gown. I have photos of me wearing it, but that wasn't until Sunday evening. We finished the day with learning regency card games and a talk on a country estate dinner and what it would involve in terms of food. Very nifty. But we decided to head back to the hotel a little early so that we could start to get ready for the evening - the ball.

For the day, I wore my new blue cotton check gown along with my matching blue silk spencer, bonnet and reticule. and on all three is ribbon embroidery. It's amazing really how much more comfortable this gown is than my white gown, even though they are the same patterns. In the white version, the sleeves are a little tight which makes movement a little uncomfortable. So this time, I added about 1cm extra. Good thing too, the gown is so much better. And I had thought that it was about time that I tried my hand at embroidery and wanted to do something that would go nicely with the silk - hence the silk ribbon. However, don't ask me where I got my ribbon, a couple of the colours I managed to find on Ebay while the rest I picked up for a bargain while I was on holiday in Japan. The only issue I have with wearing a silk spencer is that it crushes like there is no tomorrow.

Donna wore her white gown again with the open robe over the top. I adore the open robe. The fabric is just so beautiful. And Kerry pulled out her brown cotton gown with the detachable sleeves. I love the self woven stripe in the fabric and am aiming to keep an eye out for this sort of thing for myself in the future. Very pretty. But for the photos:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Evening #2

That evening saw us attend the evening formal "dinner with the dashwoods". In my opinion this was the best evening event that we attended (with the ball coming a close second). While not everyone had period correct costumes, they all dress up formally which added a really nice touch to the evening. It started out with taking our assigned seats and then lining up for dinner; which was made up of veggies and roast meet. Once dinner was finished we sat to watch the evening entertainment (a singer who really wasn't to my taste that much) and then the dancing. I wasn't really in the best of costumes to dance, so ended up watching and socialising for the remainder of the evening.

To this, I wore my very first Georgian gown. Well, late Georgian at any rate, around the 1870s. The dress is based off one of the ones worn in the film "the Duchess". It is a pretty simple dress that I based off the JP Ryan robe a englaise pattern. (I believe I wrote about it at the time of making). It actually laces up in the front at an under-layer and then has the skirt gathering at the waist and at the neckline to fit in place. Underneath I was wearing my chemise, Georgian stays, false rump, and two petticoats. All in all, giving it a rather nice shape. Donna laced me in, so it was quite a bit tighter than my mum can lace, but overall I was very comfortable. I didn't really plan anything special for my hair, I just started with some hot rollers and then teased and twisted to my hearts content to get it all up and rather poofy. Next time though, I think I will definitely remember to take along my hair rats, and I definitely need to make some hairpieces to go with this, maybe some feathers.

Donna looked stunning in her pastel pink dinner gown. I just love how the fabric is so sheer (I will definitely have to get into the use of muslin). And Kerry was in natural tones again in her cream evening gown. Instead of making completely new gowns for everything like me, she made detachable sleeves for her dresses making them usable for both day and evening. Very smart girl that one. Sam's white gown was just beautiful. That is one girl who can really wear white. And Wendy look fabulous with her new turban. Selected photos below...

Jane Austen Festival 2010 Day #2

Day two of the Jane Austen Festival dawned and we all crawled out of bed to start getting ready. Thankfully day wear usually involves a hat of some sort, so the hair tends to be very simple buns, but the hot rollers were still pulled out and fastened into place. The iron was turned on as we slipped out of our modern PJs and into our chemises, stockings and stays. A quick press to remove the worst of the crushing (hotel irons tend to be a little lacking in the quality department), some primping in front of the mirror and we were ready to head out to the church for our day of workshops and tutorials.
Donna looked lovely in her brown cotton gown and linen spencer, G was adorable as always and quite stole the hearts of some of the ladies, and Kerry in her cotton gown with detachable sleeves, while I donned my white cotton gown and bonnet and the new robe that goes over it. The comments of the day ended up with the description "Grecian" and "nautical". It makes sense really as the fashion plate that I was inspired by had the young girl positioned by the water. I think that is what appealed to me about it. I was very happy with it though, and of course I love the tassels. I must have been a cat in another life, 'cause I just adore playing with my tassels.

I started my day with learning how to tie a turban. It's quite simple and just requires a bit of practice and a similar amount of luck and dexterity to get something that looks quite presentable. They are great though, in that if trying to do a hairstyle and failing or having very short hair, it is quite easy to simply hide it all. I am thinking though, that I would like to make an outfit of some sort in the future and work a contrasting turban into the look. I have seen some very inspiring fashion plates around with turbans involved. After lunch, we tried the waltzing class, where I discovered that I really have a natural ability to screw up the waltz. As soon as the twirling starts, I step wrong and stuff it all up. Maybe it was because I was trying to learn with someone inexperience though. It bears consideration, because I have waltzed quite creditably with Kerry before.

We finished the afternoon with a class on all the layers of a female regency dress (most of which I was actually wearing at the time). And a talk on Jane Austen's Craft, which was done by the lady who actually wrote the book (I have seen it available around the place - ie Big W). I am not quite considering getting the book to add to my collection because there looks to be some very neat crafts in there. Donna was particularly taken with netting (you can make little coin purses) while I simply adored the tambour work and can definitely see me working something up in the future.

My photos of the day (including the trendy turban workshop) ...