Year in Review: costumes worn

I had big plans to wear all my dresses this year but that didn’t happen.  I blame my new job…not having vacation time, Shirley and I were not able to go to Saskatchewan for the Dickens Festival.  That trip alone would have had at least 4 dresses out and about.

But lets see how well I did.

1838-40 Queen V dress.  Check. That was worn at the Coco Gala.172

1845 Atessa dress was worn for Halloween.

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The 1860’s  Silky Skies dress got put on for this photo but I can’t figure out where I wore it.  I wouldn’t have put all that on for a chance to try on the apron!IMG_20160807_121745

Oh, wait!  Good ol’ Facebook!  According to Facebook I wore Silky Skies to the 7 Oaks Museum.  For some reason, those photos didn’t get posted here!  I will remedy that next post!

1861 Senora dress was worn to the St Boniface Museum this year.

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1872 Basque in Blue was used during Coco’s Steam Punk Tea.  200

My 1872 Lilac dream was worn to a play (I had almost forgotten about this fun event!)SAM_3652

1873 Purple Polonaise went to Little Britain Church.53

1880’s Half Grand Surprise Dress was used during the Circus themed social at Coco.

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My 1880’s travel outfit was chosen for our annual ride on the Prairie Dog Central Train.

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The 1882 Tea Gown finally got a real wearing during the Sunday breakfast with the artists at Coco.  I still don’t love the gown but I no longer loath it.189

My 1890’s swim suit was worn by the pool Friday night at Coco.29

My 1895 Summer Ensemble made an appearance at the Steam Punk wedding.img_20161022_130710981_hdr.jpg

1900 Widows Weeds got worn twice.  Once by myself at a celebration and fashion show at work…img_20160930_153444423

…and once by another person at the Vaughn Street Jail event last spring. (Serious nip tucking needed on the dress for this event.)

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Four dresses didn’t make the cut this year: 1840’s Copper Penny, 1850’s Tea Dress, 1895 dinner gown, 1895 Walking outfit.  It is probably best that I have only one dress on the docket for 2017.  If I can’t get them all worn, then I have to slow down production.  Or I have to part with some of them (gasp!)  Trouble with that is, if I am disenchanted enough to be willing to part with one of my babies, I am disenchanted enough to feel that no one actually would want it!  Then factor in size…nah.  I’m just going to have to find more times to wear them or set my goal to “wear once every two years”.

 

Apron: I couldn’t resist

A few weekends ago, the hubby and I checked out a few antique shops. We made a stop at The Old House Revival Company, which is a multiple vendor shop that has old house fixtures, furniture, knickknacks and clothing for sale.  I saw many things I wanted…many of which I could afford, but I couldn’t justify them.  Except for one thing.  An apron that was beautifully trimmed and starched to near cardboard crispness.  That I couldn’t resist!  IMG_20160807_121745

I will find a way to make this useful.  Perhaps, dear Victorian at Heart girls, I will host a costumed tea this winter.  You will come to my non-Victorian home and pretend you are my Victorian girlfriends come to tea and a hand sewing/knit session.  May be we will get really authentic and watch a Victorian themed movie!

Are there any apron experts that can tell me what the best time period would be for this apron and if there is anything I should do to make is more Victorian.  Did they have the neck strap or was the bib just pinned on?  IMG_20160807_115725766

Year in review: outing addition

My goal this year was to wear every dress I have made.  How can I justify making more dresses if I can’t manage to wear the ones I have already?  How did I do?

1838- 40 Green Queen V dress

I wore my Green Queen dress to the Dickens Festival.

I wore my Green Queen dress to the Dickens Festival.

1840’s Copper Penny dress.

Also worn at the Dickens Festival.

Also worn at the Dickens Festival.

1850’s Tea Dress

This is what Shirley and I wore the first night at the Dickens Festival.

This is what Shirley and I wore the first night at the Dickens Festival.  I also wore the 1870’s shawl so kinda two for one.

1860 Silky Skies dress

Dickens again. I got a lot of mileage out of this outing.

Dickens again. I got a lot of mileage out of this outing.  Two for one again as I wore the 1871 mantle with it.

1860 Sontag.  There is a miss there.  I wanted to wear it with the dress above but it was too big.  But strictly speaking it isn’t a dress so we wont count it against my goal.

1870-90 Pineapple Shawl.  I still don’t have anything to wear that with so another miss, but again, it isn’t a dress so that doesn’t count.

1872 Basque in blue.

I wore this to our Halloween event.

I wore this to our Halloween event.  I also wore my 1871 Mantle with this so it got used twice this year (after lounging in my closet for a couple of years!)

1872 Lilac Dream

All aboard! The Prairie Dog train ride.

All aboard! The Prairie Dog train ride.

1873 Polonaise

First outing with our tiny groups newest member Lottie

First outing with our tiny group’s newest member Lottie

1880’s Half Grand Surprise Dress-Doh!  This is a definite miss!  I did have plans to wear it but an event or two got cancelled because of weather and this is one of the dresses that didn’t make the cut.  It has gotten a lot of wear other years.

1880’s travel outfit-dang!  Another one that got missed.  Also due to weather.

1882 Tea Gown (aka Ugly Bag of Tea Gown).  First time ever.  That is a win right?

Me in my Tea Gown reading how to be a Victorian. It got worn but didn't see the light of day or other humans other than Shirley.

Me in my Tea Gown reading how to be a Victorian. It got worn but didn’t see the light of day or other humans other than Shirley.

1890’s swim suit

Halloween costume for work.

Halloween costume for work.

1895 dinner gown

Out for dinner.

Out for dinner.

1895 Summer Ensemble

To my favorite house museum

To my favorite house museum

1895 walking outfit

Again, at my favorite house museum.

Again, at my favorite house museum.

1900 Widows Weeds

At the old jail.

At the old jail.

So not too bad.  Two dresses that got a lot of wear in years past, didn’t get worn because of cancelled events.  I think I can justify making two more…

The plan is one like this black one.tv242colorfin

The black will be done in reds and the blue will be cream and black.  I want to use my vintage treadle machine for this one.  The challenge will be to use as many of the attachments as possible.

And the paisley material I bought at the Dickens Festival will become something like this…1840-49 dress day a Augusta AuctionsI hope to make more accessories as well and I hope they will get some use!  I also hope to wear the two dresses I didn’t get to wear this year…we have to keep it fair after all.

 

It is hard work to be a lady!

Shirley and I decided to be like a real Victorian lady who wore several outfits throughout the day.  But before that, we had our little Christmas morning.

I gave her the gloves I made for her.

I gave her the gloves I made for her.

Mine was a birthday/Christmas combo with a little tiara, a cabinet card, a vintage wallet with some funny coins for "ladies of the evening."

Mine was a birthday/Christmas combo with a little tiara, a cabinet card, a vintage wallet with some funny coins for “ladies of the evening.”

Then we dressed for a morning of shopping.

Then we dressed for a morning of shopping.

We found an excellent deal at a fabric store. Shirley is getting hers measured out and mine is in the bag.

We found an excellent deal at a fabric store. Shirley is getting hers measured out and mine is in the bag.

This is my fabric. I think it will be a day dress for a more common woman in the 1840's.

This is my fabric. I think it will be a day dress for a more common woman in the 1840’s.

There were some lovely photo ops all over the place.

There were some lovely photo ops all over the place.

While walking around, I found this quote and I think it suits me just fine!

While walking around, I found this quote and I think it suits me just fine!

We went back to our hotel at lunch time and the sun in the window made a lovely photo!

We went back to our hotel at lunch time and the sun in the window made a lovely photo!

One for Shirley and one for me.

One for Shirley and one for me.

After a quick meal and a very Victorian rest we got ready for the afternoon.

After a quick meal and a very Victorian rest we got ready for the afternoon.

As you can see by my taped shoulder, I am the walking wounded.

As you can see by my taped shoulder, I am the walking wounded.

We went to the local church for a high tea.

We went to the local church for a high tea.

And then enjoyed a carriage ride.

And then enjoyed a carriage ride.

I love carriage rides.

I love carriage rides.

Then it was back to the hotel to don our evening wear. Isn't this the prettiest outer wear!

Then it was back to the hotel to don our evening wear. Isn’t this the prettiest outer wear!

I wore my Green Queen dress.

I wore my Green Queen dress.

The Queen and her Lady in Waiting.

The Queen and her Lady in Waiting.

All in all, an excellent time!

HSF 14: Challenge 14

 

SAM_2432The Challenge: Paisley and Plaid

What it is: a reticule for my 1860’s blue plaid dress

Fabric: unknown fiber content velvet silk plaid lining

Pattern: self drafted

Year: reticules were used through a variety of decades

Notions: ribbon, trim

How historically accurate is it? About 50% Shape is plausible. Lining accurate. Outer fabric is an unknown fiber content. Machine sewn.

Hours to complete: 2

First worn: not yet

Total cost: $0 all stashSAM_2433

HSF 14: Challenge #9 Black and White

I’m still rollin’ and finishing ahead of schedule!  I completed the 9th challenge of Historical Sew Fortnightly! For the black and white challenge I decided to make a snood to go with my 1860’s silky skies dress.  (Not on time for its inaugural wearing, alas.)

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Okay, I know, you can’t actually see anything in this photo.  I just kind of liked it in an artistic sense.  Lets try this photo.SAM_2065

Just the facts ma’am:

The Challenge: 9 black and white

Fabric: none

Pattern: self drafted 

Year: 1860’s

Notions: cotton crochet thread, plastic pearl beads

How historically accurate is it? Hmmm.  Good question.  I know that they tended to have dark thread with dark hair but would brunettes use black or brown? According to the Met they did use beads.  Probably not plastic ones though. Would they have crocheted it?  With such thick strands?  I do believe it is plausible that a woman who knows how to crochet might have come up with something like this.  I have no idea if I have the right size  for my amount of hair and I have no idea if I am wearing it right. Should it go up higher on the head?  There is enough of it that I could wear it that way if I decide that is the way to go. I guess I could also argue that the snood was worn over a hair style to enhance and to protect it so it would be worn in such a way that would protect and not damage the style. So how it was worn was dependant on how the hair was worn.

Hours to complete: Lots…may be 50

First worn: for the photo

Total cost: I think the thread was about $7 and the beads were about $3.

First event of the season part two

Okay, I got some permission from more of my models and for the one I did not get, I decided to “conceal her identity”.SAM_2059 - CopyHere is the crew in order of decades and appearance.  There was a 90’s dress and a bathing suit out on mannequins as well.  My dress is sitting funny because we were too close to the wall and that made it sit oddly.  Glory be, the dress fits.  I still find the sleeves to large and I must remember to make note of that on the pattern for future reference.  But, it doesn’t bother me enough to take it apart again to fix it.  The sun fading is there but again, not bad enough to remove the panel and try to make another with the left overs.  I made the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 80’s dress and Shirley made the 30’s and 70’s (which she wore for the show).

Time for the amusing stories.  Myself and the model in the 1850’s dress had some work to get used to the hoops.  For myself, I needed to get used to how far the elliptical hoops stuck out behind me and for the other model, it was getting used to having hoops at all.  Sitting, of course is the biggest challenge.  Poor Miss 1850’s ended up knocking her chair over.SAM_2057 - Copy

And she got it caught in the dress itself.SAM_2058

We were all very supportive and stood there laughing and taking photographs.  She was a great sport about it.

The other amusing story happened to me.   I often get asked what I am wearing under the dresses so I asked the audience if they wanted to see.  They did, so after the tea and dessert (which I thought was the end of the program) I went and striped.  At first I was very pleased, they were interested and I was roasting alive in the dress and therefore much cooler in my undies.  I forgot that these teas always end with small gifts being given to the new brides (the tea originally started out as a bridal shower 20 years ago) followed by flowers being given to women celebrating new babies and major wedding anniversaries.  Guess who had to go up and accept a flower for her 25th wedding anniversary in Victorian underwear.  And yours truly can not keep my mouth shut…even in church…and I said loudly “this is how you keep a marriage fresh!”  Had some misgivings about it later but it seems no one took offence and I shan’t be excommunicated or shunned!

 

HSF challenge 8: UFO

This has been done for a couple of weeks but still within the guidelines of the challenge (which is 6 weeks before the due date).  How refreshing to be done with a ton of wiggle room compared to high pressure last minute sliding in across the finish line or coming in 2 weeks after every one has packed up and left the race track.SAM_2026

I had started the bodice for the bodice challenge but only got as far as the mock up.

The Challenge: 8 UFO

Fabric: silk

Pattern: TV 443

Year: 1861

Notions: lace buttons

How historically accurate is it? probably one of my more accurate because it is real silk and not a fake. I didn’t use an 1860’s sewing machine, my buttons are plastic, the lace is machine-made and I have no idea if that was happening yet. I have no hot clue if my fabric is weaved (wove? woven?-lol) like they did it in the 1860’s so I’ll give it an 85-90%

Hours to complete: I forgot to count. 30?

First worn: not yet. I hope to wear it May 7th for a fashion show. That is if emotional eating doesn’t cause so much weight gain that I grow out of it 

Total cost: about $50

I also finished the hem on my skirt, which I had left undone until I had the hoops finished.

 

How I made my hat

Disclaimer: I*have only vague ideas about how a hat may have been made so don’t take this tutorial as the gospel on millinery techniques. *

I wanted the general shape of this hat.CI60.23.23_S

I know many hats were made with a wire frame for a foundation.  I could not find my floral wire anywhere (which is what I’ve used on other hats) so I used the next best thing I could find-wire hangers.  I cut, bent and taped (with electrical tape-sue me-I have an electrician in the house) until I ended up with this frame. The bottom was formed to my head.  The top was the same shape but a bit smaller. The sides were just cut bars of similar lengths.  If I were to do it again, I’d make the bottom wider and I’d make the side bars shorter.

SAM_1999

 

Yeah, I know that tape is ugly but it is only temporary.

Guess what? Wire cutters and fingers don’t mix well. SAM_0006

Nice little blood blister there.  It reminds me of the tall tale my dad used to tell me.  He told me that blood blisters came from mosquitoes who bite you after biting a moose.  The mosquitoes inject the moose blood into you.  Thanks for that visual Dad!

Once I had the frame built, I traced the top and two sides onto the buckram and I cut two for each section.  If I were to do it again, I’d cut of piece of each pair about a 1/4 inch smaller on all of the seam edges.  You will see why later on.

SAM_2000Then I traced the buckram pieces on some flannel…one for each buckram piece.SAM_2001

That is a bit hard to see with the white on white.  Also, because my frame is not perfectly symmetrical, I labelled the front, right, left, inside and outside on all the pieces I cut out.  I feared that if I’d mix them up, they wouldn’t end up fitting each other or the frame.

The next step was cutting out a single lining piece for the top, left and right sides.

SAM_2002I made it much bigger than the buckram so I could wrap it.  Then I cut one piece of the fashion fabric for the top, right and left sides (also made bigger for over lapping.)SAM_2003

The grey underneath is the fashion fabric.  As you can see, it doesn’t need to be pretty or exact.

The next step was to glue a piece of flannel on each buckram piece.  The flannel goes on the side that the fabric (either the lining or the fashion fabric) will be on.

SAM_2004It is impossible to tell but this is buckram and flannel glued together.  I used hot glue…and no, that is not authentic.

The pieces that were going inside of the hat were my next goal.  I hot glued the lining down to the buckram, with the flannel sandwiched in-between.  Again, not pretty.  It doesn’t really need to be.

SAM_2005Once that was done I switched my attention to the outside of the hat.  I dismantled my hat frame-bye bye electrical tape.  I hot glued the frame pieces to the corresponding buckram pieces and then wrapped and glued the fashion fabric down.SAM_2006

To hide all the down and dirty seams I was creating, I glued in some cord piping.SAM_2007

Further damage was done to the hands-ie first degree burns from the hot glue.

The side pieces were a bit trickier to manage.  I had to glue them to the bottom of the frame.SAM_2008

You can see one of the support bars there in the middle.

I ran cording along the bottom edge and then stuck a tab on for sliding a hat pin in.  That turned out to be a waste of time.  It was totally in the wrong spot.  But, the pin does slide pretty easily into the cording….

SAM_2009

Next step was attaching the top to the sides and then gluing in the lining.SAM_2010

I missed the obvious fact that the inside of the hat is smaller than the outside (duh) and that is why I should have cut the seam edges smaller.  As it was, I had to do some folding, wrinkling and jamming to get it in.  I couldn’t be bothered to redo that properly.  I was too anxious to get to the fun bit…DECORATING!

So I glued lace, ribbon and cording using this as the inspiration.

1865 hat

1865 hat

Fabulously gaudy isn’t it!

Unfortunately, the mess with the too big innards made a nasty gap in the front of the hat that I couldn’t hide.SAM_2011

I wasn’t too pleased with the seam in the lace either.  What to do?  What to do?  Ah ha!  I had three tassels left over.  (I had used four of them to cover the cut ends of the cording that was hanging at the side of the hat).  I also have a small stash of buttons.

SAM_2012

 

The hat has taken on a decidedly Scottish flare, has it not?  Perfect with a plaid dress.  Inspired!  Sometimes my screw ups are very serendipitous.

SAM_2015There are some of the cord and tassel details I mentioned before laying on my shoulder.  The tassels came on a strip that I bought from the curtain section of my fabric store.  I cut the strip apart and applied glue to the strip and wrapped that around the cut ends of the cording.  Those puppies wont be unraveling any time soon!

And that is my down and dirty tutorial on how to make a hat in just about any shape you want!

 

 

 

 

 

The sun really does fade fabrics!

I knew the sun has the capacity to fade fabrics over time.  What I didn’t know was how fast it can happen.  My new, as yet unworn, 100% silk dress has faded. I had it in my living room window for a couple of weeks-cloudy weeks at that!-and it has faded.  Grrrrrr.

SAM_2035Can you see the difference?  Lie to me and tell me you can’t.  All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t spend $52 a meter.  I’m also wondering if I should ever buy silk again (even at the great prices I found in the States).  It is just too fragile.  I doubt the dresses I made out to curtain fabrics would have done this! Sigh, live and learn the hard way!