Year in review: costumes that got out of the closet

I really thought more of my costumes got out of the closet this year but I guess not.  I think it was because there were no events like the Dicken’s Festival or Coco where multiple costumes get worn. Here are the ones that did get out.

Seven in total.  Eight if you count the time I played a hooker at the old jail and stood in my undies for the audience.

I’m hoping, this new year, my costuming buddies and I will make it out to the Dicken’s Festival in Saskatchewan.  That will increase the number of dresses that get worn!  I also hope that I will have the opportunity to wear the ones that didn’t get used this year.  I don’t like the idea of dresses languishing in the closet too long.  But perhaps that may encourage me to part with the ones that no longer thrill me.  The ones that have flaws that now seem glaringly obvious.

PS.  I hope you folks had a good New Year’s celebration and you enjoy this new one.  May your troubles be few and your joys be many!


Out and about…at least my body was!

Victorian at Heart went to the old fort for our end of summer outing.


Shirley wore 1850’s, Lottie wore early 1860’s, I wore early 1870’s (which I ran around telling everyone was late 1860’s) but, look at  the expression on my face…. I was quite clearly strung out from the excessive heat.  I forgot the icepacks I usually wear under my hats to keep my brain functional.

In spite of the heat, it was a pleasant afternoon wandering around looking at things.  The big house, which is the highlight of the place, was shut down for renovations which was too bad. But the smaller houses were charming as were the workers.IMG_20170827_141541415


Here are a few of the better shots.  Please excuse all the crazed, uptight expressions I am sporting.



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.


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.


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.


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


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.)



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”.


Mosquitos and graves: Little Britain Church

I went on an outing this weekend with my good costuming bud, Shirley.  This time we went to a little church called Little Britain Church.00

Shirley wore her new 1886 Butter Scotch dress.  Great colors!14

I wore my 1873 Purple Polonaise.8

Will they let us in, do you think?11

The original church from the 1850’s is gone now.  The current building (which is still in use) was built in the 1870’s.20There are graves from the 1850’s up to today.2864

We walked along the river which was an infested breeding ground for mosquitos.  All the layers of clothes were a blessing except the only exposed flesh they could get at was our faces!53

Shirley and I seem to have a bit of a problem with staying in character!


And sometimes we are just silly!


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.


In our Sunday Best

Victorian at Heart, small group that we are…


….headed out to St Andrews Rectory and Church yesterday.  For a quick bit of info read this photo. You may need to click on the photo to see it more clearly.


Here are some photos from the Rectory.


There are only a few artifacts in the Rectory.


I wore my 1873 Polonaise

I liked the basin and Shirley liked the old ringer.


Shirley wore her early 1860’s Cotton Candy Day dress.

Lottie looks lovely next to the old organ.


She is wearing her mid 1880’s cotton print gown. I suspect she was much cooler than Shirley and I.

The best photos were taken outside on the porch.SAM_3140


There is always one of THESE of me.  How do I manage that every time! SAM_3151My camera died before we got to the church so I will have to wait until I get some photos from the other ladies.


HSM: Challenge #3: Stash busting

True to my goals for this year, I did not buy more material or start a new dress and I added to a dress I already have.

This plain skirt belongs to my 1873 Polanaise

This plain skirt belongs to my 1873 Polonaise

1873 Polonaise

1873 Polonaise

I had a lot of the green left over so I decided to add some trim to the skirt.  I had considered pleats but there was not enough for that.  I went for a Vandyke trim, as that was a skill I was wanting to try.

This is what I added to the front of the skirt.

This is what I added to the front of the skirt.

Much better photo!

Much better photo!

The whole skirt.  I was too lazy to undress and dress Trudy the mannequin.

The whole skirt. I was too lazy to undress and dress Trudy the mannequin.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the whole thing looks.  I haven’t any firm plans for costume events this year but this one might not get out until next December.

What the item is: Trim

The Challenge: Stash busting

Fabric: something synthetic

Stashed for?: Left overs from the skirt which I decided was too plain.

Pattern: A Vandyke fold that I found on the internet that I believe was common in the Victorian era.

Year: The skirt is 1873

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? The fabric is not. The fold pattern in the trim is good. Having tons of trim on a skirt is authentic for a wealthy woman’s visiting dress or walking dress (which is the look I was going for).  I machine sewed the tube for strip (this is plausible in the 1870’s), but hand sewed the tacks after ironing and hand sewed it on the skirt.   So I’d give it about 90%

Hours to complete: The skirt was completed in August of 2013. The trim is new and took about 15 hours to make and attach.

First worn: Without the trim, The fall of 2013
But I have not worn it as it is now.

Total cost: I paid about $50 for all the fabric for the outfit and the new trim was part of that purchase.

Fabric origami

I have been working-literally for hours-folding and ironing a HUGE strip of fabric to make a trim. It is for the stash busting challenge in Historical Sew Monthly (formally Fortnightly).

photo 1I used this tutorial. The tutorial is for a ribbon but I wanted to “bust some stash” and I wanted it to match the skirt I am making it for so I first sewed a long fabric tube from some scraps left over from the skirt and I pressed it flat.  I made the tube so that the edges would be finished and I wouldn’t have to worry about right side and wrong side as I was folding-just like it would be if I were using ribbon.

Next, I have to tack this at strategic places so that I’ll be able to remove the pins and plan how it will be laid out on the skirt.  As I mention on March 2nd, I will be adding the trim to a relatively plain skirt.

Finished top to bottom

I have finished 1872 Lilac Dream’s hat and that completes the whole project.  Sometimes, after wearing a dress for a few hours, I realize that there are things that need to change and that may happen with this dress.  There are no events planned until spring, so this will have to wait.  For now it is done.

Trial run on my head.  I'll have to fiddle with my hair styles to make sure there is something to shove that hat pin through.

Trial run on my head. I’ll have to fiddle with my hair style to make sure there is something to shove that hat pin through (other than my scalp).

My husband said he thought there was too much on that hat.  I always worry I don’t put enough on because I can’t seem to find that line between embellished and crazy.

Another difficulty I have is with being too matchy-matchy.  I tried to live on the edge and add a detail to the hat that didn’t match.

Big ol' pink rose.

Big ol’ pink rose.

I hate it because it doesn’t match!  It might come off yet.  It is in the back so if I don’t have to see it I might be able to let it go.  I may trim back that netting too.  For now it is best to just walk away and let it be for now.  I’ll look at it with fresh eyes in a week or two.SAM_2707

And here it is with the dress.  Not to shabby, I think.

And here it is with the dress. Not to shabby, I think.

On to the next project which is stash busting for Sew Historical Monthly.  I’m planning on using up some of the left over fabric to add some more trim to the very plain skirt for this dress.SAM_1371

There’s an app for that

I’m always a bit slow to get on board with new trends.  When answering machines came in, I hated them.  When cell phones came in, I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t just make their phone calls before leaving home.  I finally got a flip phone when my Dad got sick and I needed to be easily reached.  I hated texting on the thing because you had to hit the number buttons various times while it scrolled through the alphabet.  It would take a half hour to write a message.  Unfortunately, it was the only way my teens would communicate with me.  You can text your mother discretely but you can’t phone her without all your pals knowing.

I finally retired my flip phone last summer (yes it is true, I had a flip phone until last year) and got an iPhone.  Well, dang it all!  I now get what all the fuss is about.  I’m never far from that thing!  It is for that very reason, I don’t have a data plan and rely on wifi hot spots.  If I had a data plan I’d be surgically attached!

One thing I like is the apps.  Especially the free ones.  I’m all about the cheap thrills!  My latest fun thing is Photo Lab.  Oooo the great “WORKS OF ART” I have been creating.  How about me as an oil painting…


Or me in my husbands pocket watch.


I can’t remember what this one is called but it is pretty cool too.eab86cc1_o

My favorite is the sketch look.  I did several of these.


Shirley and I at the train station was followed by me on the beach.


I think the beach one looks most realistic.  The next one could be a future tattoo…


Awe!  What is your favorite app?  Would you give up your phone and computer if you could go back to the good old days?