Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gwen Gillam - Dressed By The Best

Yesterday I attended the very first costume event of the year for the Australian Costumers Guild - Dressed by the Best at the Queensland Museum. We were there to see an exhibition of Gwen Gillams work. She was a very prominent Brisbane fashion designer in the 1950s and 1960s. In face her studios didn't close until the early 1990s. The work was incredible and very beautiful. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, but you have my word that I was impressed (Below is the promo image that the museum use for a snipet of her work). I was amazed to learn that she drafted all her work straight onto the fabric - meaning no patterns or mannequins - just drafting and fitting. And everything was hand finished. It was all just beautiful and really makes you appreciate the styles.
Afterwards we headed over to the fox for champagne and lunch. It was a lovely day out with the girls and made me feel like a real lady - despite the heat. For the occasion, I dressed in my peach halter dress and paired it with my nana's vintage bag and my vintage sun hat. I also tried my hand at doing a wet set on my hair. It turned out quite well but by the end of the day the humidity and heat had destroyed it. I think where I went wrong was that my foam rollers were a bit too big to get the right sort of curl. But I am not disheartened. Next time, pin curls. Oh and, I aired my newly purple hair got an airing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the roaring 20s

If you are looking for a 1920s makeup tutorial, head on over to my Makeup Artistry blog. I have put one together, that others will hopefully find helpful.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January and links

Well the New Year has well and truly rolled in and I have been sewing up a storm. Mostly vintage dresses so that I will be appropriately attired when I find a new job later this year. I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but as I worked for the Queensland Government and we went through a re-shuffle of everything, my job was made redundant. I was not impressed but I am moving on and will hopefully find something better.

In the meantime I have been working my freelance Makeup Artistry and Hair Styling business. I am starting to get into the rounds of vintage markets doing hair and makeup and selling a few supplies. If you are interested I do have a facebook page:
and a blog:
for my business that I am in the process of working on. In terms of sewing, I have been making makeup brush rolls and retro headscarfs out of cute fabrics in preparation for the next fair. So far so good.

Other than that I have been getting ready for my trip to Japan later this month. It's only a week and half away now and time is fast running out for me to get ready. I am making myself a new winter coat to take. It's made out of the leftovers from my regency pelisse, interlined with leftover flannel and lined with a soft polished cotton. I also raided my teddybear fur stash so that it is plush. At the moment I am in the process of sewing the fur onto the cuffs and around the hood. It's an absolute nightmare to work with and driving me up the wall. I have inhaled so much fluff!

I will be heading away for 2 weeks, so won't be posting here much in that time. However if you are interested in my travels - my travel blog is the place to follow. I will do my best to update it every day but I guess that will depend on the hotel's internet connection. It's apparently very good, but we shall see.

In costuming news though, it looks set to be a pretty eventful year. My first project is to work on my next steampunk costume. This one is another take on a safari ensemble - more feminine this time for a trip to the zoo. We did it last year and it was such a success that we wanted to do it again. So far, my patterns are drafted and my fabric is cut. At least I have until mid march to get it done.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

NYE 2012

And I rounded out the year on a costume high. This year, I attended New Year at Draculas on the Gold Coast. It is a vampire theme dinner theatre event. We had VIP tickets, so there was no waiting in line in the heat outside, and instead got to go into a special cocktail bar waiting area. We sipped on themed drinks before making our way to the ghost train which would then deliver us to the theatre for dinner. The show was amazing and I highly recommend going. No photos inside though as they're not allowed, but I did get a couple of shots.

As for what I wore, I just couldn't go to a vampire theme event without dressing up to some extent. I think I went a little over the top though. :P I decided to make a costume that I would be able to use again. In this instance it will be a steampunk geisha. To start with, I pulled out my roll of black fabric. It is a heavy satin with a very dull sheen and small spots woven in. I decided to use the pattern from my recent tartan bustle for the underskirt and apron along with the bodice from my Princess and The Frog Lottie costume.

As for trimmings, I used up most of the black lace that I had in my collection around the hem of the underskirt and apron. I then pleated up a heap of black paper taffeta. I decided to do 5 small pleats followed by one large instead of the usual same size pleats all around. It probably took longer, but I really like how it turned out. I used a black braid trim and black velvet ribbon to sew them all on. On the apron, I stitched 1" wide black velvet ribbon down the side seams and finished them off with ribbon loops and large fabric covered buttons. The bodice laces up the back seam with large eyelets and wide silk ribbon. To add the Japanese influence, I used a vintage piece of obi silk trailing over the bustle, and I made an obi out of teal silk and partially lined it with the black satin. The final touch was a Geisha style hairstyle and a kanzashi hair clip. I was very pleased with how it turned out. The next step to steampunk it up will be props, but I am really happy with the gown itself.