Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ACG Ball 2010

I have bought a ball ticket. In particular, I will be attending the Australian Costumers Guild ball in Adelaide in late August. My cousin suggested this to me recently, and I thought that it would make a lovely costuming trip. I know I am not a member of the ACG and don't really intend to join back up but I am quite willing to go along to a couple of things, just so that I can dress up. My cousin and I got into the ACG together and one thing that I have missed lately is getting dressed up together, so what better opportunity than the ball where we get to catch up with friends from other states as well.

As to what costume I will be wearing, that is a whole other story. And debate. I don't really have the time to make anything new, so I will be re-wearing something. I have come down to a few choices:
- White Queen from Alice in Wonderland
- American McGee Alice
- Padme (Packing Gown)
- Victorian bustle (the ballgown I am making for July)

I just can't decide....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

14th Century #4

And there is progress. I have finished sewing my 14th Century Kirtle. It was mainly a matter of finishing all the hand sewing. And believe me when I say that there was a lot. I finished all the seams by folding in the raw edges and whipstitching down the join. In hindsight I probably should have just french seamed them straight out, but I just didn't think of it at the time. And then there was the hem. Because my dress is so full at the hem it takes quite some time to do.

And to finish it off, I just had to attach the sleeves I finished a few days ago. Of course in the matter of a few days I had managed to loose them in my sewing room. Luckily in the clean up process to find them, I stumbled across some brown cording that is perfect for my brothers monk costume around the hips.

So now that the kirtle is done, I am working on the cotehardie. Not much more to go (again heaps of hand sewing). But I really do need to get it done sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Medieval Monk

It was a busy weekend. Friday night, saw me finish one of the four upcoming costumes that I am making. In specific this one is my brothers monk costume for him to wear to the Medieval fair in July. The last couple of years that we have gone, he has been wearing his Spanish inquisition costume (from Monty Python - I made it for a Halloween costume a few years ago). And while it is a great costume, he wanted something else and he asked me to make him a monk costume instead.

You may remember a post about a month ago when I was despairing over fabric dye. This is the result. Originally the fabric was bright yellow and only cost $1.99 / metre instead of $5.99. A couple of packets of dye later and we have the perfect brown. The fabric itself is a linen cotton blend, so it's breathable and comfortable to wear. The costume comprises of a hooded robe, a cape and a belt. It's very simple and really works on someone of his stature. (Mind the fact that I had it on my mannequin for photos). I am really pleased with how it turned out and can now cross one of my projects off my list. The next one I need to get cracking on is my own medieval gown. And I will make sure to get photos of him wearing this one when we go to the medieval fair. (Less than a month away now).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Golden NF Bustle Ballgown #1

And since I am working on 4 different costumes at once; (I can be a stupid girl sometimes) I have made a small amount of progress on my natural form bustle ballgown. In this respect, it is the bustle foundation. I found photos of an extent natural from bustle pad and decided that I wanted one. I drew up a pattern, cut it out, sewed it together, stuffed it and finished it off. And voila, I now have the foundation garments for my natural form ballgown complete.

Now, you may wonder about the fabric that I have chosen, but ever since I saw a red paisley bustle pad in my V&A book, I have wanted to make one, so technically it is a correct fabric choice, even if the extent one that I was going from was made of a cream coloured fabric. At any rate, I am really pleased with how it turned out, the shape is fantastic and because of the gathering on the front to allow for the padding, it makes the bad curl around, thus fitting comfortably against my butt. Plus, who could fault a built in cushion?

The next step is to cut out the fabric. I have drawn up all the patterns and I know what I want to do. Unfortunately a couple of the pieces need to be mocked up first (hello scrap fabric) but I wholeheartedly intend to get the toilles whipped up this weekend, cut out the fashion fabric and make a start on the sewing. Because I have only just realised that I will need both this gown and my mum's gown done within five weeks. Thankfully mum has volunteered to do that handsewing on her gown, so that should simplify matters incredibly, but I know that I will feel better once they are at least cut out and I have started on the machine sewing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

14th Century #3

With History Alive now done and dusted, I don't have to worry about regency anymore. The next projects to gain my focus is the preparation for the Abbey medieval festival on July 11th. Originally I had every intention of using the gown that I had made last year, however I am unable to dance in it because of the skirts (massive train and very heavy). It would have taken too much re-modelling to justify fiddling with the current dress, so I decided to make a new one.

In specific, the costume consists of a deep red kirtle and a blue/green cotehardie. I am working on both at once, so that it should not take me too long, but it is things like eyelets that hold me up. Which brings me to yesterday. I did the eyelets on the sleeves of the kirtle. I had already done the placket and hem of the sleeve so it was just a matter of marking out where the eyelets are to got, backstitching the outline of the eyelet and then binding them. It really is quite simple, I just gouged the hole with my awl and then using a doubled-over length of DMC embroidery cotton in a matching colour, bound the edges. It only really takes time, anyone can do it, it is so simple. The annoying part is that there were 16 of the wretched things to do.

But now that they are done, I just need to get cracking on the rest of the gown. At some point I will need to buy leather thonging to lace them up, but I am not really worried about that right now.

History Alive 2010

Phew, what a busy weekend. I attended History Alive (a re-enactor event) with my group RIFF. The event represents different periods of time which include war re-enacting. There is everything from Ancients through to the Vietnam War (1970s) included. We become part of the Napoleonic scene and display the upper class.

Friday morning saw me hopping out of bed early with my baking shoes on. I had volunteered to make a couple of pies and a cake to take along as part of our food for the weekend; and of course the car had to be packed. I met up with a couple of other members out at the site (Fort Lytton) at around 3pm. Though, that was after making the drive out twice. I made it about 5 minutes away from the house and realised that I had forgotten to pack all of my dresses. We got cracking with the set up, trying to get as much done as possible before evening fell.

Which brings us to Saturday. We were up early to finish setting up the encampment before the public arrived at 9am. This included setting up my new shade shelter. It is made of two lengths of canvas fabric (12 ounce from an art supply shop) each 4.5m long, sewn together with a french seam across the length. The poles that I used are ex-army poles (15 in total, all 1.5m tall) that my wonderful father spent his time preparing for me; sanding, painting, joining, sleeving and adding spikes to the tops. He also whipped up all the ropes for me, splicing the ends together and making wooden adjusters. He really is a wonderful father. It worked really well, looks fantastic and kept us all shady for the weekend. I am so glad that we got it done, and now I have shade for whenever we want to go historical camping again.

It really is amazing how fast a day can go when you are re-enacting. We had breakfast, set up the encampment tables, chairs, cushions etc, then wrote the invitations for our afternoon tea that we would be hosting. By the time that this had been delivered it was time for the males in our group to head off to help out with the Napoleonic war scenario. They got back and we had lunch spread out. We cleaned up and prepared for our afternoon tea; where we invited all the officers and ladies of the various Napoleonic reenactor groups to join us for tea. We ended up going through quite a lot of pots of tea and my macarons were the favourite of the day for nibbles. By the time we were done (everyone was very appreciative of being able to meet the other Napoleonic reenactors in a social scenario) it was time to clean up and the public were off site for the day. Which is when the real party begins and the pub opened at 7pm with live music.

Not everyone was quite so bright and sparky come Sunday morning, and there were quite a few late starters to the day. We ended up using our breakfast as a bit of a show after our group meeting in the morning. It was a much more leisurable day, with both myself and another member joining our dance group for a 1/2 hour of regency dance. We even managed to find time for a round of whist and a promenade in the afternoon before it was time for pie. And before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. With only an hour or so until sundown, we were quick getting into action, but thankfully I made it home just on 6pm.

I have never been so happy to have a hot shower and lay down in bed with the internet. I slept like the dead. And 10 hours later woke to start the public holiday Monday. Which in hindsight, its a good thing it was a public holiday or I would have needed another day off work to recover. I am looking forward to next year though; and have many plans for both new dresses and camp equipment from clothing trunks to folding tables. I just hope that it is a bit warmer next time around.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

1800s Shade Shelter

And how eventful was my weekend? After a Lolita meet on Saturday, I had plenty to do come Sunday (and last night for that matter). They are all completed now, but my Dad and I were still working on my 1800s shade shelter. We did a trial run on Sunday afternoon, and realised that we needed to make a few adjustments. Namely, add eyelets to the centre for tying the fly to the ridge pole ends (the stitched ones just pulled off), adjusting the ridge pole connection on one end and shortening the ridge pole, as well as adding a couple of more ropes to tie down the corner poles. All in all, not that much to do, but it wasn't until last night that we were done, and now my shelter is ready to go for this weekend. I promise that there will be photos, but as we didn't have room in our yard to set up, we were in the park trying to be as quick as possible for the trial run.

Meanwhile, I spend most of the day on Sunday making cushions. Since I haven't been able to acquire any seating that I find particularly appropriate for regency re-enacting, I will just be taking along my picnic blanket to sit on. I don't find this completely unappealing, but I know that my butt is going to get supremely sore from sitting all day. After a dig through my fabric stash, I found some left-over fabric and a chunk that I had bought for a project but never used (perfect for cushions). I made it a fair way through, before I realised that I would need to make a trip to spotlight for trims, and cushion stuffing. And after all the mad dashing about and the speed sewing (no visible machine stitching since they are historical), I managed to get them all finished last night. Mind you, it was getting pretty late by the time I was done. There are six in total (3 round and 3 square). All of them are adapted from standard sewing patterns, and instead of a zip down the centre back, they just have an overlap for the cushion insert to slide in. The round one required me to make a cushion insert to fit (hence the stuffing), however for the square ones, I ended up cutting up a couple of spare (unnecessary) pillows that we had lying around in the spare room. I added a little extra stuffing and stitched them up.

So not only do I have cushions, they came together quickly and I managed to create extra space in the sewing room, by chopping up pillows that were lying around and using up some stash fabric. The only thing that I didn't consider is that once I return from History Alive, I will in fact have to store said cushions somewhere. I am thinking that once the spare bed is clean (it will happen one day) that they can be decoration. Of course this will require me to actually make up all the sewing projects that are draped over the bed.