Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Victorian Picnic

Well, it’s now time that I play catch up with my blog posts. I was inordinately busy for the month of September with events and working on projects and then finished out my month with the worst head cold / sinus infection that I have ever had. Put it this way – eye mucus. At any rate, after a good round of antibiotics I am all better and trying to catch up on everything. So I will start with the first event that I attended in September – a Victorian Picnic.

The event was hosted by 19th Century Queensland, a re-enactment group with a lot of member crossover in the Australian Costumers Guild. They were hosting a simple Springtime Victorian Picnic. This is the first one of their Victorian events that I have actually been able to attend this year. It was held on Father’s day, (a bit of a shame since my Dad couldn’t come) but I did take my mum along with me in the 1870s linen bustle that I made for her earlier this year. The event itself was held at Newstead House, one of our regular historical haunts around Brisbane. The day proved breezy and cool while we picnicked under one of the large shade trees in the parklands surrounding the house. It was quite a relaxing day, but with grey clouds imminent my mum and I headed home to finish our Sunday out of the rain.

As for my outfit. I finally got to wear my new 1850s sheer gown. I made it way back in May, but was too sick to attend the event I was making it for. A real shame as I had stitched my fingers sore getting the bonnet ready. At least when it came to dressing up this time, I knew exactly what I would choose. I couldn’t wait to put it all on. The dress is made from a sheer white cotton with a fine check and features frilled sleeves and a gathered neckline. I based it on an original gown that I found online and fell in love with. I paired it with an apple green petticoat and sash so that a pop of colour would show through. But the part that I love the most is my bonnet. Again, based on an original, it’s hand sewn of silk dupion in green and white and the same check cotton fabric from my gown trims the top in frills. I love how frilly and girly the bonnet came out and I am so glad that I made it as I feel it really completes the outfit.

As for the inspiration behind my ensemble...

Monday, October 5, 2015

ACG Ball 2015

Back in August, I made the annual pilgrimage down to Adelaide for the 19th Australian Costumers Guild ball. This was my sixth year attending. And this time, not only did my mum come along with me, but so did my dad. Which meant that I have had quite the busy month leading up to the event trying to get everything ready. I had already decided that I would rewear a costume myself, so I just had to make my decision. I chose to wear my Santa version of Vocaloid Hatsune Miku as it seemed to be one of my most weather appropriate costumes (rather than November in Brisbane when I wore it the first time). And it just needed some repairs on the gloves.

But what I did have to do, was whip up something for each of my parents to wear. I promised my mum that I would finish her 1850s ballgown. It’s one that I had started back in November last year for an event that was later cancelled. Without a deadline, I put it aside. But the ACG ball just seemed the perfect opportunity to finish it for her to wear. And she loves it. It’s made from a purple/black shot silk taffeta that I gifted to her for her Birthday last year. I kept the design quite simple with a straight skirt (with massive hem) and a bodice featuring black silk piping, handsewn lacing eyelets and lace trimmed pleated sleeves. We learnt quite a while ago that anything too fussy made her look top heavy and bulked out her shoulders too much, so simple is better. I also quickly whipped up a simple reticule with the leftover taffeta and lace to complete her outfit.

As for my father, we decided to add to his pirate costume. I had previously made him black linen pants, a Georigan vest and sash. And paired with his Regency shirt, this was great for New Year a few years back. But the ball is in Adelaide where it is freezing this time of year. So, I decided to add a few accessories, a wig and a frock coat. The accessories were easy – purchased boot covers, baldric, leather pouch, plastic sword, gun (mine), hat (mine again), and telescope. For the wig, I picked up a long grey lace front from ebay. I would have liked a curly one to start with, but alas, there was only straight in the correct colour. So, I took to it with perm rollers, foam rollers and hot water. What I got in the end was a very messy curl that works rather well for his pirate character. Then there was the jacket. I picked up a beautiful green linen. It’s made from a commercial pirate costume pattern, but I wasn’t really going for period accuracy here. I trimmed the edges with brown braid that I found in my stash and gold metal buttons. All put together, I love how it looks. And best of all, I know there are opportunities for this to be worn again soon.

But, the ball itself was a blast. We arrived early to claim a table as our base, and were soon joined by the remaining Queensland and New South Wales contingent. This year, the ball was run a little different with two competitions – an informal cosplay comp and the master of the guild competition. I entered the masters competition which included pre-judging on workmanship. There is nothing more nerve-wracking than explaining your costuming decisions to a panel of judges, except maybe the 45seconds of performance that we must do. There were only three of us entered, and Teri in her amazing bustle gown took out the prize. But I am planning to enter next year!

The evening rounded out with the usual dancing and socialising. I didn’t realise how much dancing I did until I tried to stand up the next day. But again, I had a blast of a time and cannot wait until next year.