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!


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”.


Co Co…the newbie waxes poetic

I have dozens of photographs from the event that could spawn dozens of posts.  I don’t even know what direction this post will take. What I do want you to take away from this is I HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE!  The organizers did a great job!  I’m sure there were glitches, witches and stitches that did not go to plan and made their work HARD but to the uninitiated, it went smoothly!

I also want to say there was never a moment where I felt lonely or like an outsider. No, I lied!  I felt like a small little lonely mouse when I saw how big LA is!3

I wanted to shut down.  I was feeling trapped and surrounded by cars and concrete!5

I was all alone in the big city, not really knowing anyone except for the few familiar faces that following blogs gives you.

But, CoCo folk are good people! When I walked into a room alone, someone would say “Hey, are you waiting for someone or are you here alone?”  Once they knew I was alone, they’d invite me to join them.  Paige and her mom were the first to do this for me.27

One lady, who’s name I have now lost, had sympathy when I said I needed the grocery store but was too chicken to venture out on my own ( I literally only had to cross the street but I was scared to leave the safety of the group.) She took me under her wing and walked over with me.  Her kind act meant I would get some fruit into my diet and not spend the weekend with furry legs.

There was always random groups I could join if I weren’t keen on being alone.21

The one I used the most was the hospitality suite.

And it was easy to find a way to break the ice…comment on a witty part of someone’s costume.  “Fabric Hoarders Unite” was pretty funny!39

We had to rent a whole hotel to do that!

Sometimes, someone was dressed just like me!29

Will I go again?  You bet!

If you see yourself here and don’t want to, or you want more or less information included, please let me know.  I check this site twice a day.

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.


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?

Year in Review and Final HSF Challenge

Happy New Year!  And as every sewing blogger knows, now is the time to reflect on how much we managed to get done.  Wow!  It is really amazing how much I got done once I got out of my slump and there is only 2 reasons I was so productive-Deadlines and Challenges.  The vast majority of those came from The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenges.

There was crochet fingerless gloves and an 1950’s costume for work.  There was my 1900 widows weeds that includes a petticoat, skirt, bodice with hand-made frog closures, a serious hat and a “scary hat” for Halloween, and a cape.SAM_1466

I’ve knit a modern scarf and a Victorian shawl.   I have worn the shawl with my 1840’s Copper Penny dress and that includes 3 petticoats, the dress, bonnet, reticule, hand-made lace collar, and a muff.SAM_1559 (2)

I upgraded a hat for my 1890’s walking suit and made several pieces of jewelry.

I made a complete 1890’s swim suit which includes the suit, the skirt, the hat and shoes.

15I’ve made my first corset and I’ve made a handkerchief to give away.

I’ve made an ugly 1880’s Tea Gown…twice.SAM_1619

I’ve made my 1873 Polonaise that includes skirt bodice and hat.SAM_1371

Now for the final challenge I give you my new 1870’s mantle (that may or may not be worn with the above outfit).




The Challenge: 26 Celebrate

Fabric: Unknown, likely a synthetic blend

Pattern: TV501 1871 Mantle

Year: 1871

Notions: buttons, trims, thread, hooks and eyes.

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is accurate, the print is plausible to my eye, it is half machine sewn, half hand sewn which is plausible as well. The fiber content of the fabric is not. 70%?

Hours to complete: 15

First worn: just for this photo.

Total cost: $90

Swim suit gets out!

Shirley and I went to the beach for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.  One of the nice things about wearing a costume is getting an idea about how a person might feel in these garments.  And sometimes we learn that some of our preconceived notions are wrong.  For example, the notion that a corset is uncomfortable and regular life is impossible in it is WRONG.  My preconceived notion that a bathing suit that goes from neck to knee would be hot turned out to be incorrect.  Granted, it wasn’t one of our more blazing hot days but it was warm.  And I was not roasting alive.  I was quite comfortable.  In fact, I was more comfortable than in a bathing suit.  Sand was not in places it shouldn’t be.  I was not checking to see if the girls and behind were staying contained in the suit.  I didn’t have acres of skin cooking away in the sun.  And Shirley, after getting her suit wet, found it dried in a most cooling fashion.  Now, on with the photos.

We started out nice and dainty....

We started out nice and dainty….

I really like this one!

I really like this one!

After a little picnic lunch, we explored the rocks.

After a little picnic lunch, we explored the rocks.

Oooo, the sun...!

Oooo, the sun…!

A dip in the water.  Notice the skirt is removed.

A dip in the water. Notice the skirt is removed.

Shirley was braver than I.

Shirley was braver than I.

Time to dry off.

Time to dry off.

Until next time!

Until next time!

HSF Challenge: #15 White

This is a total cheat but I’m going to submit my bathing cap for this one. A girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do to conserve time and avoid making something not on the to do list!


The Challenge: White

Fabric: cotton

Pattern: 253 Folkwear

Year: 1890s

Notions: thread

How historically accurate is it? Plausible fabric. Machine sewing was also possible. Pattern claims to be authentic. So 95%. It looses 5% for the fact that it was made by someone in the 21st century!

Hours to complete: I can’t remember. May be 2?

First worn: Just for the photos.

Total cost: $3?