Friday, September 30, 2011


So what's next? October....

Yes, insanity has struck again and as the weather starts to get warmer in Brisbane, I am still costuming. In fact, I already have something on each weekend in October. The best thing about it all is that for much of October I am actually re-wearing a lot of my costumes, so it really gives me a chance to put a lot more effort into the new costumes that I am actually making. Let's look at what's upcoming.

9th - Steampunk Tea
I will be re-wearing my key maiden costume for this one. I am definitely going with the blue wig again, I love how it looked last time I wore it, so I am all set for this event. It's actually my only complete steampunk costume. I have a lot of ideas about new steampunk costumes and I am currently collecting bits and pieces for the next one, but that won't happen any more until next year.

14th - 16th - Napoleonic Camping Weekend
A stress-free re-enactment (no public) weekend with my fellow Napoleonic re-enactors. I haven't really sorted out what I am going to wearing, but it will all just be pulled out of my wardrobe. I may have to resort to a wig a some point though. (My hair is currently half turquoise, so not really historically accurate).

20th - Steampunk movie outing to 3 Musketeers
Again, a re-wear of my key maiden. It could turn out to be a little simplistic. This event is falling on a Thursday night, so I will be getting ready at work. I will have to see how it goes. I am very tempted though to use my actual green/brown hair instead of the blue wig. I will have to think about it.

23rd - Victorian Picnic
Both my parents are coming along, but thankfully re-wearing the costumes that I made for them when we did Newstead House a couple of years ago. As for me, I am making a new Natural Form bustle. It's actually out of the same gold fabric that my last natural form bustle was made out of (I have butt loads of that fabric - it's 3 meters wide and only cost $7.95/meter). At any rate, I have been able to get a new skirt and bodice out of it. And I am using the leftover sherbet orange silk as the apron and bodice trimmings. I have most of it put together and am just up to the trimming and finishing stages.

28th - Vintage Fashion Fair
Whether or not I have new frock for this will remain to be seen. I do have a few that I can wear and quite frankly, I probably should, but then I do have a few new vintage dresses cut out and ready to be made up. I guess it will depend on how inspired I am to have something new. The real question is going to be if I do 1940s or 1950s.

29th - Playford Ball
Regency again. This is the yearly regency ball (that hasn't been on for the last 2 years - go figure). No stress for me, as I am wearing my 1823 ballgown. I really love this dress so am more than happy to wear it numerous times. And I guess winning the award for workmanship on it has really made me love it that much more. Vanity is thy name. I just want to wear it again and show it off! I'm also running a hair and makeup workshop this same afternoon for the ACG. On the other hand though, I would like to try and get my mum's open robe made up for her to wear to this event. It's cut and I have started making it.

So there you have it. Not too much sewing, but not none either. Somewhere in there I will also need to get ready for Supanova in November - only mending and 1 new costume!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Georgian Feast

To celebrate the introduction to my 26th year of life, I hosted a Georgian dinner party for several of my friends on Saturday night. I baked like there was no tomorrow all Friday and Saturday, prepping for the evening ahead. I swapped around the furniture in my living room and dining room so that I could set the table up with an extra oval top piece with room for the nine of us to dine. I set the table up with candles and roses, napkins, cutlery and crockery along with a paper fan at each setting for if the evening became a little too warm. We sat down to dinner at 6.30 for our first course of dinner rolls, sausage mignons, salmon tartlets, garlic prawn toasts, asparagus, potato mash and pumpkin soup. The main course followed with a selection of baked ham, roast turkey, macaroni, peas, honeyed carrots, and cauliflower au gratin. We had a short break before dessert by playing an historical version of celebrity heads (everyone was a famous dead person). Dessert followed with angel cake, chocolate mousse cakes, strawberries, blueberries and Camembert and crackers. By the end we were all thoroughly stuffed. There was much toasting of champagne, and apple cider, and we rounded our evening off with a cup of chocolate mint tea.

It was a fabulous evening. Everyone dressed up for the occasion which was really lovely to see. I didn't take many shots on my camera as I was so busy in the kitchen getting everything ready, but the camera was passed around a few times for other to take photos for me. As for my sewing of costumes, I put together an outfit for my brother - a white linen shirt, a blue / white brocade vest and blue knee breeches. I learnt him the grey cravat that I had made for our father some time ago. I was very pleased with how his ensemble came together as it is always a challenge for me dressing him (he is actually larger than the largest size on all the mens patterns). I also put together a new outfit for myself as well. I used the yellow and pink stripe silk that I bought last year in Adelaide at Eastern Silk to make an open robe and I polonaised it up at the back with a couple of fabric covered buttons. I somehow managed to scrimp the entire ensemble out of 3 metres of the fabric. The sleeves are a little tight, but that should be fixed by the next time I wear it (as long as I get back into exercise mode). The only other change that I would like to make is to add some eyelets down the front so that I can lace the gown up instead of pinning it. I also used a multitude of the yellow muslin that I had bought for a regency dress to make a full skirt for underneath. Add my wig, some flowers and a few feathers and I was all done for the evening. I was just extremely pleased to get my costume done in time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Redcliffe Festival

Yesterday I attended the Redcliffe Festival. Costumers and Reenactors have been involved for at least the last 3 years of the festival. This year, we were invited to attend in any historical era to act as colour in the area. I was representing both RIFF (as its only attendee) and the Australian Costumers Guild. Summer, it seems has hit early in Brisbane this year with our spring having pretty much disappeared for temperatures in the 30s. Not the most of fun for a costumer, but at least the use of natural fibres allows for a little relief. There was thankfully a lovely sea breeze blowing in over the bay to keep us a little cooler. It was a lovely morning out at any rate and it was really great to see so many costumers out in style.

For the occasion, I had decided to wear my purple tartan crinoline and velvet bodice. I spent all last week putting the finishing touches on the new matching hat so even with the warm weather I was determined to wear it all. If you can get your crinoline swinging you can make your own breeze. But I am lucky that my velvet bodice is a very light silk velvet and it only lined in cotton, so it does actually breath well, and it really kept the sun off me. The hat, of which I am so proud, comes from a Lynne McMasters pattern. I have always adored this style of hat and have actually had this one cut out for some time ready to be made up. I just didn't get it made in time to wear last time I wore my crinoline. This proved the perfect deadline. One tip I have for you all though, don't put glue on your hat. I stupidly followed the instructions and used glue to attach the bias over the edges of my buckram frame (where the wire is sewn) and then had a devils own time hand-stitching through it to attach the flannel layer and the final decorative layer. I am really happy with how it came out though. I also pulled out one of my long brown wigs for the occasion so that I could have a lovely large bun at the back to compliment the hat (my own hair is just that bit too short).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stripping in Reverse

The event I attended on Sunday last weekend was a Reverse Strip show for a fund-raiser out at Sunnybank with the Australian Costumers Guild. For those not sure what that it is, it's a "show" where the costumers start in their historical undergarments (chemise, drawers, socks, boots, stays) and get dressed, thus demonstrating the layers that make up a historical costume. It's actually quite interesting for people who have no idea about historical garments. And I know that most costumers get some rude person grasping the bottom of your dress, lifting it up and saying "what's underneath". This displays that. This time, we covered 3 centuries of fashion with a snippet of 3 costumes. 1750s Georgian, 1865 Crinoline and 1907 Edwardian. I was the 1907. It was a lovely and very simple afternoon. After our strip we answered any questions, posed for photos and then sat down to tea before heading home.

It was lovely to be able to wear my gown again. I think this makes it only the 2nd time that I have actually worn it. However, it really makes me realise what I crappy job I did on the corset. It was actually one of the earlier ones that I did. I think my shape has changed a bit as well, so it doesn't really fit me properly anymore. Add to that the dodgy machine stitched shop bought bias binding on the top and bottom and the bone casings, plus the eyelet that I heard tear when I was lacing it, the boning that doesn't have well rounded edges and jabs at me, and the wrinkling. All in all, I think it is about time for a new one. At least I have the pattern to use as a guide and make the adjustments from there. Definitely in time for next year when my re-enactment group is looking at doing the early Suffragettes. I think this one might end up being a Christmas holiday sewing project.

Gangster Time

A little late in posting this up, last weekend I attended the Gangsters Ball with a couple of my fellow costume friends on Saturday night. It is held at the Tivoli, which is an old theatre that has been done up in a very beautiful Art Deco style. The show was amazing with high ribbon twirls, a big band and singers, burlesque and circus and comedic acts. My favourite of all the acts were the two men who were both in vintage boy leg stripe swimwear, and doing gymnastic lifts as a competition. They had on the typically historic mustaches. They also ran a swing dance-off and a rock 'n' roll dance-off. All in all it was a wonderful night. The men looked fabulous and we were surrounded by many a set of suspenders and fedoras. We spotted a vintage sailor in the crowd too. The women's costumes on the other hand were a little bit of a let down. There were some amazingly beautiful ladies there in flapper dresses and poodle skirts, and one particular woman with a very impressive beehive. But there were a lot of women who seem to think it appropriate that they show off as much of their body as possible. We are talking costumes from adult shops, corsets with fishnets and not much else.

We on the other hand, had all made vintage dresses. Donna in a beautiful green late 1930s dress, Cat in her 1940s ensemble with fur collar and my gown from the early 1950s. We all got together earlier in the afternoon to do vintage hair and makeup and head on in together. I was so proud of myself with this costume, I ummed and ahhed over which dress to make, but finally settled on the pattern that I already had instead of drafting a new one. It turned out that drafting my own pattern would most likely have been a lot quicker as this gown really wasn't what you would call simply to whip up. But I got it made and completely out of fabric from my stash. My only purchase was the invisible zip in the side seam (I wanted a matching one instead of just using a black or white one that I already had). I was actually really glad to use up the fabric, I bought it for another costume, but didn't have enough so ended up using something else. And low and behold, this one ends up sitting in one of my boxes of fabric. Now, it can hang in my closet until I find another appropriate occasion to wear it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Picnicing at Pemberley

My first event for September has come been and gone. And it really was a very lovely event. I attended the Picnic at Pemberley event at the Abbey Museum in Caboolture. They have been running it for the last 4? years and each year it just gets bigger and better. This year it was held out on the lawns in front of the church and museum. It made for a beautiful location with lots of green lawn, trees and shade. This year it didn't fall in the school holidays so I was able to take my parents out for the day. (A father's day gift for my dad). It turned out to be a lovely day, a bit windy but at least there was no rain.

It was lovely to not have to make anything new this time. Both my parents simply pulled costumes out of their cupboards. I did have to lend a bonnet to my mum as I have not yet made her one to match her yellow gown. But I think the sherbert orange looked really wonderful with the yellow. I did lend her my new wool embroidered shawl to wear for the day as well as it made a great accompaniment. As for me, I just pulled our my blue muslin dress, silk bonnet and spencer. So again, I was in all shades of blue. Not a bad thing really, I do tend to stand out. But I did see some lovely dresses there on other girls that make me itch to make more regency. Hmmm, maybe it's time to start using up some of that stash fabric again. I know I have a few pieces put away for Regency in there.