Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Ancient WDR

And that brings me to Saturday. My re-enactment group (RIFF) had our Christmas party, which was actually an ancients Wine, Dine and Recline or WDR. It's a great theme for a summer party because we all end up wearing what are essentially sheets. It also makes for a very comfortable evening when you are eating lots of food because lets face it, you don't have to worry about your pants getting too tight. After my first failed attempt earlier this year at an Egyptian wig and draping white fabric around my body, I decided that this time I would do an Ancient Roman ensemble.

It was a great evening, we had way too much food, but it was all fantastic and actually made from recipes that are true to the time. I sometimes find it amazing what sort of research you can do on the internet. We spent the evening laying back on some comfy cushions, stuffing our faces and sipping on wine. I was really pleased with how my ensemble turned out and am really looking forward to maybe wearing it all again some time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Proclamation Day 2010

And now onto my very eventful and busy last weekend. It started out with my attendance at Proclamation Day at Newstead House after work on Friday. They do it every year and it is always lovely. It was a stinking hot afternoon and I was perspiring quite badly (ladies don't sweat! ;) ) while I was getting ready, but because of where Newstead House is situated on top of a hill on the point of the Brisbane river, it is always breezy and cool. Which is a really fantastic thing when you are layered on up in Historical clothing.

It was the occasion to wear my latest ensemble. Normally I am super organised and well done before the event, however this time I just kept procrastinating and ended up finishing on Thursday night. Note to self - never again! It is way too stressful, all week I was trying to get away early from work to get my project finished, but it just wasn't happening. At any rate, I wore my new round crinoline ensemble. I made this one out of some lovely tartan silk that I picked up on-line. I only bought about 5 metres of the stuff so I was scrimping as much as I could on fabric. I cut the skirt with the bare minimum width necessary, made the waistband out of cotton (you don't see it) and faced the skirt instead of hemming it. The facing actually helped to weight the skirt down anyway which is always important with silk. On top of that, my bodice is cut straight across at the bottom which again saves fabric and I used a matching plain silk for the waist sash and reticule lining (a lucky remnant find at a fabric shop - there was just enough at 70cm). I actually went very simple on my dress, the sleeves are cut using the lining pattern piece so that they are small and only slightly gathered instead of full puffed, and it is trimmed with a simply matching fringing. I was also stupid enough to hand-stitch eyelets up the back of the bodice. They look great but I always end up putting them too close together and I had 20 to sew over instead of a more realistic 14.

I also made a half hair garland that sat around the back of my head above a low roll of my hair. It was a bit of a challenge working out how to make the garland. It's easy enough to see pictures of how they are decorated in fashion plates, but there are no sketches of the inside or how they are constructed - so it gave me a bit of free licence. I ended up using a strip of 1" wide raffia (the stuff that they make a lot of race hats out of these days). I wove some of my hat-making wire through both edges and bent the ends over. When I was decorating the pieces, I ended up folding the raffia in half at each end so that it would be thinner at the fronts on my head. I then decorated it. I started with some velvet leaves as a base and then added the flowers. It would have been a lot quicker to hot-glue everything on, but I didn't want to destroy my flowers if the garland turned out badly. In the end it really worked. I just had to bend the ends up slightly so that they curled around my head correctly and then bobby pin it all in place.

At any rate, it all worked out really well and I was pleased with the final look. My cousin also looked absolutely fabulous in her new bodice and we had my dad with us as an escort and driver (it is very difficult to drive while wearing a crinoline). I even got him all dressed up in his grey Victorian suit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

As the end of the year approaches...

Who can believe that December is upon us again? But that brings me around to the planning of the coming year ahead. In this case 2011. I am hoping that it will not be quite as full on with the sewing so that I don't quite burn myself out as I managed to do this year. It has taken me a couple of months to get back on track and into the sewing process, and even then it is not 100% commitment I am feeling right now. But, in working out the year ahead...

December 2010

10th - Proclamation Day Event - 1850s

Coming up fast, and my outfit is in the making. Bodice is underway and I only have the sleeves, trims and eyelets to add to it. Skirt just needs some hooks and I am making a hair garland as some point too. But I am determined to get this ready in time.

11th - Wine Dine and Recline - Ancients

Our end-of-year re-enactment event. I could of course make up the Egyptian costume that I had planned for earlier this year, but I just don't look quite that good wrapped in a white and my wig turned out a little too Cher. Instead, my plan is to go for Greek. I have some dark blue fabric in my stash that is perfect, I just need to get some shells and beads to work the jewellery side of things. I've also got a blonde wig in may stash that I don't have a specific use for, so I am planning to style that up.

31st - Mad Hatter's New Year's Party

I am actually hosting this one. Not strictly costume but everyone must wear a hat. Me though, I will be making a whole ensemble that goes with my hat. I am intending it to be very cool to wear so that I survive our Brisbane summer evening in it. At this point of the party planning, the invitations have gone out and I am starting to make a lot of plans. Especially in terms of food, games and decorations.

March 2011

25th - 27th - The Way We Wear Vintage Fashion Fair

After attending the one in Adelaide, I am really hoping to make it along to this fashion fair as well. It will of course call for a new Vintage Dress. I am not entirely sure what era it will be yet, but there will be one.

April 2011

1st - 3rd - Supanova - 3 costumes

Normally I would have sorted out everything that I am intending to wear by now. So far, I have my Stargate Offworld Uniform in order for one day and I generally re-wear on the first day. But my third costume is up in the air right now - it really depends on how toned up I can get my body before April next year.

14th - 17th - Jane Austen Festival Australia - Regency / late Georgian

I have all my fabric, and am determined to start soon. I will be re-wearing a couple of dresses that I already have, but there is still a lot to be made. Including outer garments like capes and pelisse's this time. Not to mention that I will need reticules, bonnets and new stays. Good thing that I am planning some time off after Christmas. Should put me in order for a head start on getting it all done.

May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean Movie 4 - Tia Dalma Costume

I love going to the movies in costume, and this presents the perfect opportunity to wear my Tia Dalma costume again. I just need to rope in a couple of people to dress up and go with me.

June 2011

10th - 12th - History Alive - Regency

I will be camping out at this re-enactment event again next year. Thankfully though, I won't be putting together new costumes as I will have all the stuff that I made for JAFA in April. Tents are already sorted as well. Though I am hoping to get Dad into helping me put together a table and maybe a chair or bench as well. Good thing we have a trailer and my new car came with a towbar.

Heritage Ball

I attend every year, well so far for that last 3 at least and I intend to be there again. Thankfully I don't need to make my parents anything new next year. As for myself, I am thinking that I will pull out the blue/black bustle gown that I wore a couple years ago and re-trim it, maybe making a new apron and bodice. The theme this year is also really inspiring me - mask. I am actually thinking that I might go all out and trim my dress and mask to a theme.

July 2011

8th - 10th - Abbey Medieval Fair - 15th Century

It will be my very first time camping at the Medieval Fair. So far, we have a plan for a 15th Century group, and I believe that our proposal has been put in, but it takes a bit of waiting to find out all the details - how much room we have etc. And of course, I will end up making two gowns and complete undergarments.

August 2011

Mrs Beatons - 19th Century

A full-immersion historical event that is in the planning stages. With the option of 19th Century, a couple of us are thinking crinoline gowns would be nice to wear at some point, though we would be camping regency style since we already have the tents and everything. Again, all set for that, what with JAFA at the beginning of the year.

27th - Australian Costumers Guild Ball

I had such a blast attending this year, that I fully intend to make the trip again next year. As to my costume, that is up in the air, but I do have a lot of time to plan it. I haven't even decided if I would wear a film character of historical. I am tempted though to put some time into it and enter the competition too.

On top of these definite plans, there are a few others that I have been discussing with various people. A few things that we would like to do etc. And of course, with my involvement with the Kaleidoscope Dancers, will see me out and about in my Regency dresses throughout the year. It really is a good thing that I make a heap of them to wear at JAFA. Sets me up for the numerous events that I attend during the year. Hmmm, I start looking at this list and it really is no wonder that it feels like my year just flies on by.