Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Quarter Century

Well well, the 1950s Birthday Party I had planned turned out well. Just this Saturday gone, I had a few friends over for a 50s themed Birthday Party. It seemed appropriate with me turning quarter century myself. I made everyone dress up, whipped up a baking storm (we are talking traditional 1950s type diner food), played party games and watched movies. I had a great time and was glad that those that came along could make it (to the rest of you - grrrr) :D

In terms of sewing, I wore the new 1950s party dress that I had intended to make. I ended up putting the zip in on Friday and stitching down the back facing on Saturday morning, before a quick iron so that I was ready to party. I was very pleased at how it turned out. I adore the colour, and I love how soft and feminine the dress feels. I also stacked on the petticoats underneath. I had three in total, but probably could have gone with one more. I must get onto making another one.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Picnic at Pemberly

Once again, this weekend it was time to pull out the regency dress for a dancing session and some tea drinking. For another year, the Abbey Museum held its annual regency get together. This time toted as Picnic at Pemberly.

Kaleidoscope had been asked to dance, so I once again got all done up in my latest regency ensemble to perform. I did have to pin up the train on the outer most skirt for dancing, but the lining that I built into the dress made it very modest (no ankle porn for me). We did manage to find some time for photos though.

Friday, September 17, 2010


So, the pattern that I had chosen. Failure. It was missing some pattern pieces (major ones) I will re-make them in the future, but at this stage, I just didn't have the time or inclination to do so. So instead i picked another simple pattern and have gone with it. The fabric is now cut out and awaiting my sewing abilities. Thankfully it should not take too long; I just need to make sure that I get a zip so that I will be able to finish it completely.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And there's more

Now it is onto my next project. I ask you, why does it seem like I finish one, and immediately have to start work on something else? It's all these invites. I guess you really are in the costume world once you start having to turn down events because your weekends disappear completely one after the other.

At any rate, my next project is a 1950s dress. I have 2 weeks to get it done (thankfully there are a couple days off work in that timeframe that will translate into sewing days). I am whipping this one up in time for my Birthday party. In honour of my quarter century birthday, I decided to do a 50s theme party. So far, the invites have been sent out (see photo), I have decided on my menu, games, movies etc. I need to make a couple of decisions yet about decor, but that should not be too much of a problem.

As for my dress, I decided to go hunting through my fabric stash last night (instead of buying something new. I dug out a lovely yellow floral piece of fabric that was gifted to me after sitting in my mum's cupboard for about 15 years. I had always admired it and she thought that I could do more justice with the fabric since I do actually wear vintage dresses. To me it screams 1950s. I have picked out one of my vintage patterns, and now I just have to size it up a smidge and cut it out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ACG Annual Regency Picnic

Today, I attended a regency picnic with the Australian Costumers Guild. Now, I don't normally attend ACG events in Brisbane, but as a bit of a regency fanatic, I decided it would be nice to go along. In fact I made a new gown for it which I alluded to in my recent posts. This is said gown, and the painting that I was going from. Noted that I did add a bonnet to the ensemble so that it would be suitable for outdoor wear.

And as you can see, I decided to go with the orange silk since orange is my favourite colour and I keep finding myself drawn to it. I promise though, I will make a sash and bonnet in another colour to wear with the dress at some point. I really like the idea of having a base white gown and dressing it up with other colour accessories for a completely different look. The gown is made of white muslin and the bodice back, sides and sleeve are lined with cotton voile for a bit of strength. I think what drew me to the original painting was the fact that the dress is so full and billowy, which I tried my best to replicate. I think the only change that I need to make to be happy with it is a little gathering thread at the top of the shoulder to hold everything in place.

Anyway, onto the picnic. It was a lovely affair held at the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens. It turned out to be a sunny but lovely spring day (so happy that the heat stayed away). I managed to get myself a little sunburt but it was lovely just being able to sit and chat with friends, while indulging in our love of regency fashion and picnics.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bye Bye Weekend

Well, my weekend powered along and disappeared before I knew it. On Saturday afternoon, I headed on out to a Kaleidoscope Dance evening where we were facilitating the dancing for a Birthday Party. I dug out my pink cotton and silk regency gown that I made for JAFA earlier this year. I am so glad that I actually got to wear one of my evening gowns for something, it doesn't happen often, but I saw the opportunity and thought why not. And this was the first time that I had done my hair in regency since I got it chopped off. I'm not sure if I mentioned it at all, but I went from almost waist length hair back to a short 1920s style bob. It has grown a bit since I got it cut, but I am still liking it, and actually enjoying finding new ways to style my hair. Anyway, I whipped up into some hot rollers for an hour in the afternoon, and once I had some curl to it, I pinned up on top of my head (as much as one can), added some pearl tipped pins and some fake roses. I was actually very pleased with how my hair turned out. I didn't end up taking that many photos, but here are the couple that I did get...

On the sewing front, I spent Saturday morning cutting out my fabric. I ended up using almost all of the 6 metres of white muslin. I did flat line the back of the bodice, sleeves and waistband with cotton voile though, just to give it a bit more body. I think where all the fabric got used up though was in the skirts. Both front and back are very full to give a soft gathered floaty sort of appearance, but I also decided to build in a petticoat. Because of the shape of the bodice in the front, I will be unable to wear my existing petticoat or stays underneath the dress, and with the muslin being so thin, I thought it prudent to add an extra layer. It's one of the concessions that you tend to make with muslin. You want the floatiness of the fine fabric but you are also after some form of modesty. I guess I could have made a full length chemise to put underneath, and I may yet do so, but since I had enough fabric, building in a petticoat was just the easier method. On that note though, the petticoat is not as full as the skirt.

Yesterday afternoon (after my 2-hour-long 10 minute nap) I decided it was high time to get cracking on some more of the dress. I was bailed up all morning and lunch pampering my father with baking as it was father's day. I sat up into the late hours of the night sewing away. Currently, I have a put together bodice with sleeves and it is all sewn onto the underbust waistband. Tonight I am hoping to get the skirts sewn on, and then it is just a matter of finishing the back closure of the gown, gathering up the sleeves for decoration and hemming the dress. My plans are to get the gown itself finished this week so that I can spend Saturday getting a new bonnet and waist sash done. I just need to decide what colour I am going to use...

(I didn't realise that I had so many options until I dug them all out). And then comes the bonnet pattern option....

Opinions anyone?

Friday, September 3, 2010

The next step

My next project is once again a Regency one. I will be attending a regency picnic in a couple of weeks, and since I don't really like some of my older regency dresses anymore (I am hoping to sell some of them), I thought it high time to whip up a new dress. As a plus, it will put me down one for the Jane Austen Festival next year.

I am going from a regency painting that I found online somewhere. It is a very early regency dress and looks quite full and very Grecian inspired. Tonight, I whipped up a draft pattern and cut out a mock up. A bit of sewing later, and I have made the necessary adjustments to the pattern.

In the morning, I am planning to cut out my fabric and get cracking on making my new dress. I am going to use the muslin that I purchased for my Egyptian costume last month (it didn't work how I planned) so that it is lovely and light but still vastly full. I am planning on building in a petticoat as well so that it is not so sheer. I will see how far the muslin goes, but I might end up cutting into my white voile for this part. I am hoping that I can get it done in a couple of days and maybe have time to pull whip up a new bonnet as well. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adelaide 2010 Day 3

And that brings me to my last day in Adelaide. (I say last day because I really can't count Monday where we caught a 6am flight home). We woke up a little late after our fun-filled ball night but were ready to hit the Vintage Fashion Fair. Abi popped over in the morning and we headed out to a little cafe up the street for a touch of breakfast, though it may as well have been lunch by the time we got away. A quick taxi trip away and we arrived that the fair. Where they had on display some of the most beautiful historical gowns it has been my pleasure to see. And of course as a costumer and re-enactor I took as many detail shots as I could get. They are of course wedding gowns, which was the theme of the display for the fair this time. Apparently they have different things on show each time.
After drooling over the dresses, we started our wander around the stalls gasping over the vintage goodies. I picked up a lovely Bakelite 1920s belt clip, a vintage half slip, a 1950s nightgown and a 1937 home journal. Unfortunately vintage has come back into fashion at the moment so things can be a little pricey. Well worth it though if you can find a bargain. We rounded off the afternoon with some chatting over hot chocolate, before we made our way back to the hotel by bus for Thai takeaway dinner. It was great to spend some time just chatting and catching up over dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even if my feet were killing me from the heels I decided to wear all weekend.
I was just over the moon to make it down not only for the ball but to check out the local fabric shops and vintage fair and spend time with those friends that I don't get to see so often (you know who you are). I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am hoping that I can make it on down next year as well. Not sure what costumes I will be wearing though.

Adelaide 2010 Day 2

I thought it might be easier to read of my weekend journeys if I put them up day by day. So, we come to Saturday. (I will put the rest of my ball photos up on facebook.)

After tossing and turning on my hard bed through the night, it was rather nice to get all dressed up in Vintage to head out fabric shopping. The lovely Wenz and I were ready early, so we sat down to a continental breakfast at our hotel restaurant "The Snooty Fox". With a full belly, we were ready to go. Our first stop was DKs fabrics. Price-wise, I would not say that they are great (apart from the sale fabric), but they do have a very large range, which is one of the most important things when fabric shopping. I picked up a couple pieces - a remnant of blue dupion silk, and 3m of a blue polkadot fabric that is perfect for a 1920s or 1930s dress. Funnily enough, they actually had the same fabric for sale that I had made my dress out of, only I paid $3.95/metre instead of $14.

Our next stop on the map was to caffinate up for the day. A quick stop for food and coffee and we were back on the fabric road and on our way to Eastern Silk. I shop through Eastern Silk online quite a bit, as it is my place to go for silk. They have a lovely range of items and best of all, free shipping within Australia. But one thing that they have in the store is a larger range of embroidered silks and stripe silks. I could not leave without getting a few metres of a lovely pink and yellow stripe. To me, it screams Georgian. At this stage, I don't know what I will be using it for, but I knew that I would regret not purchasing some. The other lovely touch at Eastern Silk is the decor. It is actually split into to shops, which are a lovely vintage style on the outside with modern fittings. One is all the homewares...

and the other is pure fabric....

After making our way back to the hotel, I decided it was time to relax for a little while. At least until Abi came over to start getting ready for the evening ahead. The reason for our journey south... the annual Australian Costumer's Guild ball. We were a little late arriving to the ball (actually, we were a lot late) we went out for dinner beforehand and unfortunately were so intent on catching up that we did not realise that an hour had passed before we had even been brought our food. Note to self in the future, either get dressed first or get takeaway. At any rate, I had an absolutely fantastic time being there. I wore my Alice In Wonderland White Queen costume that I had made for supanova earlier this year, though I did have a new wig, which is just the perfect colour. (Amazing after all the drama I went through with the first two wigs that I bought). And even better I was photographed with a fellow costumer as Red Queen, her husband as the Mad Hatter and her daughter as Alice. It was great to see so many people that I don't see all that often, and to get the whole experience of the annual ball. I think I can safely say that I will be going next year, and may be convinced to enter the competitions too....