Monday, December 28, 2015

A Christmas trip to the seaside

It was a chilly, wet and windy weekend. Just the perfect time for hitting the beach! Well, it was in my 1900s replica swimsuit. The weather was rather reminiscent of England.

For our Australian Costumers Guild Christmas bash this year, we decided to make it a period trip to the beach. It seemed a fine idea at planning time and the weeks leading up were hot and humid—perfect beach weather. But the weekend of our seaside trip dawned drizzly and cool. Those of us committed to partying it up made our way out to Scarborough. It was a pretty relaxed affair. We enjoyed conversation, lunch (both packed and from the nearby caf├ęs) and spent some time posing on the rocks between showers of rain. A successful event all in all, and at least there was little danger of sunburn. It seemed that vintage was the order of the day, with two ladies sporting their 1930s beach pyjamas, and four in vintage seaside attire.

Leaving myself dressed in an Edwardian onesie swimsuit. As it turns out being covered in jersey is by far warmer and more sun smart than most modern swimsuits, a blessing on a wet day at the beach. Both the suit and the swim cap are based on museum photographs of originals. The suit was quite an easy pattern to draft up, I simply butchered a yoked bodice pattern and added on my boxer shorts pattern (with quite a bit of tweaking). The hardest part of the costume was finding a modern jersey that was somewhat similar to a period Jersey. I settled on a navy blue with a herringbone weave and very little stretch. It’s cotton at least, so I won’t swelter in the heat should I bring it out for other occasions. The braid trimming though comes from my stash, I am happy to say. And the swimming cap comes from some left over fabric scraps of cotton sateen and silk. It’s simply a circle gathered up to a thick band. The band has two casing with ribbon red through to draw it up. I did attach a little elastic in the middle of the ribbon drawstrings just for comfort. And then I simply added the crazy fabric yoyos to decorate it up a bit. I adore how this costume came out. I think though that I would love to make a swimming corset to wear with it instead of my late Victorian one.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Party by the pool

It wasn’t long before the Christmas parties started. The first costumed one that I attended / hosted as for my re-enactment group RIFF. This year we decided to have a retro themed pool party – making use of the pool at my place. We all brought along a number of vintage dishes to share and of course had more food than you could poke a stick at. In fact, the food was so impressive, I think that’s pretty much the photos that I took of the day.

I didn’t make anything new to wear for the occasion, but simply raided my wardrobe which is mostly vintage pattern clothing and paired my green capri pants with my retro cherry swimsuit and a short cardigan. I did festive it up a bit with a lei and the grass skirt that my mum had in her wardrobe. But the real showstoppers that I put all my effort into was the food. I made empanadas, punch, a sandwich loaf (3 layers of sandwich – egg, chicken and salmon), and a strawberry cheesecake. I certainly did not need dinner that night after snacking on our delicious retro recipes all afternoon.

It was certainly a start to the festive season and it was great to have so many of our members there with us.

Monday, December 21, 2015


I spent the remainder of November working my fingers to the bone getting my new costume ready for our last convention of the year – Supanova. This year, it brought the summer heat and storms to our Queensland shores. But despite the heat and hail, the event came and went with a plethora of costumes on show. Various friends were in attendance over the weekend, but I just could not resist costuming it up and attending the entire weekend.

It started on Friday afternoon. I arrived with my sister Jeannie (DianaDaring) freshly dressed for our meet and photo with Barbara Eden, the original Jeannie herself. She was lovely to meet and Abi and I were so pleased that we were able to see her in person and especially to have our photo with her – a special memory to keep. Our afternoon was filled with visiting friends at stalls and chatting the afternoon away to our Jeannie best.

Jeannie photos below by Rebecca Burton Photography:

Saturday dawned and the heat was here to stay. The humidity had risen overnight and it wasn’t getting cooler. But between a Disney fairy costume and some much needed air-con set to Hoth, I lasted out the day. My fairy costume of Periwinkle was quite appropriate for the weather for once and I didn’t overheat too much. For my second wear of the costume, I had made a new corset to support everything and I was wearing my new fairy wings which weren’t quite ready to wear at my Birthday party. Oooh, and some furry pom poms on my shoes just to take it up that next level. I love this costume and how well it turned out. Now, I kinda want to make the rest of the Disney fairies.

Photo below by Pandom Images.

The weekend rounded out with another hot day on Sunday. I was excited to wear my completely new costume that I had spent the last six weeks desperately sewing and was relieved when it all came together smoothly. The costume is the Disney princess Merida in Art Nouveau style – based on artwork by Hannah Alexander. I tried my best to completely replicate the artwork in fabric – quite a challenge when I am so much shorter and differently proportioned to the art, but my historical experience came in quite handy. I started with a longline corset to give my figure the correct shape. Then it was a matter of applying a number of new and different techniques to finish it all – beading, ombre fabric dying, freehand machine embroidery, adding colour wefts to my wig, wired headdress, making the arrow (sculpy tip and feathered end) and the bow, shaped, sanded and oiled timber finished with leather and padded hand grip (the best prop I have ever made). It was a hell of a lot of work to get done in six weeks but I somehow managed it all and love the results. I just need to dedicate a whole photoshoot to the costume, but I do love some of the photos that did get taken.

The comparison:

Photo below by Kristabella Photography

Photos below by Pandom Images

It was another full day of sore feet and keeping out of the heat before it was all drawn to a close with a hail storm. It was a great weekend and I was so pleased to have the Monday after off to recover. And finally, below I have included my phone snaps. I’m amazed each convention at the number of costumers in attendance. We now far surpass the regularly clothed people in numbers and there are so many amazing costumes out there.