Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Suffragettes at History Alive

Once again, June brought to us that annual Re-enactment event at the historic Fort Lytton in Brisbane, History Alive. For those who don’t know, History Alive is a timeline event run by the re-enactment community in Queensland. We all collaborate to put on period displays and encampments for the public for one weekend each year. This year, unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse and we were rained out on Sunday and sent home amidst the bursts of showers. There was three inches of water pooling through the eating area, the fields had turned to slush and the entry roads became slippery mud puddles.
But despite the wet turn of the weekend, Saturday was a beautiful sunshiny warm day. I was re-enacting with my group RIFF (Re-Enacting Independently For Fun). I started out the morning with three of my fellow members dressed as Queensland Suffragettes from the 1890s. We greeted the public at the gates, asking them to join the cause before proceeding to march the grounds with the call “Votes For Women”.  (PS: I'm the blonde one below)

By midday, we had switched back 100 years to the regency period and joined the remaining members of our group for a picnic lunch and games. 

I had a wonderful weekend, event though we were only able to participate for the one day, but there will always be other opportunities to get the kit out and spend time in our costumes. I thankfully was able to re-wear my costumes this time, but there were a couple things that I did have to make in the lead up - two regency petticoats (as I tore my old one last year), one tablecloth (it always gets dirty on the first day), 1890s blouse (the one I wore last year is actually a 1900s style one). But I'm incredibly pleased with how the blouse looked - it was a fabric grab from my stash and butchering two patterns to get something with the correct shape and seamlines for the period. Let's just hope that when next year comes around I am a bit more organised and don't have to make anything new the weekend before. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

QAGOMA Marvel Exhibition

Open until late September at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a most fantastic exhibition: Marvel, creating a cinematic universe. If you are at all interested in the Marvel universe of films, then this is the exhibition for you.

In late July, I lined up, purchased my ticket and strolled on into the exhibition to take a first hand look at design art, comic collections, props and costumes from the many Marvel movies to hit our screens. Displays included:
  • The Avengers, 
  • Thor, 
  • Iron Man, 
  • Doctor Strange, 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, 
  • Ant Man, and 
  • Captain America. 

I was blown away by the amount of props and full costumes on display. So it was a bit of a treat to be able to get up quite close to take photos of some of the costumes. My only disappointment was the dim lighting in some rooms and that there were less walk- around displays of the costumes thus limiting my ability to get back photos. The best part of seeing the costumes though is being able to see close up all the detail that they have worked into them. Layers of different fabrics and the sheer amount of techniques used to create them all. It's incredible to see first hand and I apologise at the lack of quality in my photos as I only had my phone on hand.

My favourite display was the Asgardian throne room from the upcoming Thor movie. The whole setup was built in Australia when the movie was filmed in Queensland earlier this year. This also proved a magnificent backdrop for some of the costumes that are featured in the Thor movies.

Unfortunately my trip was dampened by the sheer number of parents and children packed into the exhibit. I’d love to go back at a quieter time (if there is such a thing) with my DSLR camera to get some photos detailing more of the costumes. Thankfully, it’s got a few more months in our fair city.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Every six months, the Brisbane Convention Centre plays home to the Lifeline Bookfest. An event that sees thousands of second hand books sorted and displayed for readers alike to browse through, and give a new home. It’s a great way to fill up your bookcase, fill gaps in your collection and for costumers to add to their resource collection.

Back in my early days of attending Bookfest, I was simply interested in finding those out-of-print novels to complete the series. These days, I’m heading there with sewing and costuming in my mind. And the event never fails to give.

While I was a little more restrained in my purchases this time, I still came home with a great selection of costuming resources—finding books on sewing techniques, pattern, design and history. The hardest part of finding these is knowing which section to hit up. The areas you want to be looking in are:
  • Music and Art (by far I find the most here), 
  • Leisure (a lot of sporting and animal books to sort through, but the technique books are more  likely to be found here), and 
  • Rare and Out of Print (so many categories jumbled in, but the books we’re looking for are there). 
A particularly good find from my January trip, was what seemed to be a costume and historical fashion book collection in the rare and out of print section. I have deduced they came from an older ladies personal library. There were quite a number of books with her name listed in the front as owner.

But one of the biggest tips I can give is to take a fellow costumer with you. It will speed things up immensely. We hit the tables, one on each side and pass over any books that we think the other might be interested in as we browse. Less double handling of books and your back and feet will thank you in the long run.

But in the end, I came home with a great selection of books for my costume bookcase, and I can safely say that I will be heading to the next one in January 2018. I highly recommend keeping an ear out in your town to see if it’s hosted there and when the next one will be there.