Finally! A costume event!

Various issues, both personal and global, (COVID being the biggest one) have kept my little group from meeting up in costume and touring the local sites and taking photos.  Therefore, I’ve had nothing Victorian to write about.

But, last week, Dalnavert put out a call for volunteers to come in costume to be photographed for future ad campaigns.  To keep the rules, the group was kept small and most of the photos were out doors.  I confess, we weren’t always good about keeping 6 feet apart but our city has done very well with the virus.  (Something like 30 active cases and 7 deaths total) so it has been hard to remember to be vigilant!

Here are some photos I had taken with my phone of the event.


I have always wanted to have enough of a wardrobe that I could mix and match pieces for completely different looks.  I used the hat from my Olive dress, the shirtwaist from my walking suit, the skirt and reticule from my summer ensemble and the belt from my senora dress.  I think it looks pretty good together!

Most of the official photos were taken outdoors in the gardens but after the shoot, we models wanted some indoor photos with our phones so we headed to the solarium.  There was an absolutely gorgeous tea set in there that I had never seen before!


This model is one of the biggest assets the house has-very knowledgeable.  We shall call her the lady of the house.


We had a gentleman model.  Very dashing in his tails!


Then there is the lovely Mrs. M!


It was a lovely time!  So good to get back into costume!  I look forward to seeing what photos they end up using in their future ads!

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!


Robbed again

We went for a train ride on Sunday.

The Prairie Dog Central Line really needs to get some Mounties guarding the train.  I think this is the 5th year in a row we’ve been robbed!  There was a sheriff but I think he was in on it.  3

We were riding to the next town, enjoying the view and each others company.


Suddenly the train was stopped and we saw masked riders.

They boarded the train and robbed us.  They claimed they were donating it to cancer research but I think it went to the desperado’s whiskey fund.

Poor Lottie got the worst of it.  She was so destitute it was like seeing Anne of Green Gables waiting and forlorn.37


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”.


Steampunk Wedding

I went to a Steampunk Wedding yesterday.  It was a small affair and I went dateless-just not the hubby’s thing.  It was an excellent opportunity to eat cake and wear one more costume.  I wore my 1890’s summer ensemble, 1850’s knitted shawl and my early 1800’s gloves.  I know…nothing remotely plausible about that age range but, hey, it is steampunk so historical accuracy isn’t the goal!img_20161022_130710981_hdr.jpg

Hope you had a nice Saturday too!

Rationalize the apron purchase.

Earlier this summer, I gave into my impulse to buy an apronIMG_20160807_115725766I wondered if it was a viable option for wearing with costumes.  My biggest concern was the neck band.  In my limited memory, I thought the common way to support the bib front was pins, not bands.  But a quick search on the Met’s site showed the bands would be fine.





The next apron shows that white with lace is also acceptable.



My costuming pal, Lottie Lovette pointed out, however, that Battenburg lace was not really a thing until the late 1800s so I will have to confine the aprons use to my 1890s outfits.


It would work with this outfit.


Or with this skirt and the other shirtwaist.

The white apron on a white shirtwaist may be a bit much so perhaps I need to make another shirtwaist.  But what color…?  A pale yellow may work with both skirts.  Not a fan of yellow though.  Both skirts have stripes so I think I will avoid stripes in the new shirtwaist.

I’d also like to make an apron (or two) more suited to earlier times…. One should be practical, something a lady might actually do some work in and one should be more decorative.  The examples posted above are excellent inspirations.  So many project ideas…so little time!

Match box a la Victorian

The hubby and I went to a flea market today and I made a small purchase. It is a portable container for matches.  They were called Vestas because that is what the match was originally called.

In 1832, William Newton patented the “wax vesta” in England. It consisted of a wax stem that embedded cotton threads and had a tip of phosphorus. Variants known as “candle matches” were made by Savaresse and Merckel in 1836.


Gold tone…I believe it is brass.


The back side is plain.


You put the matches in here. The hinge moves easily and closes firmly.


It has a built in strike surface on the bottom.

I found another one on Pinterest that is very similar and is dated at 1890’s.

By the 1890’s, some attempts were made to make the manufacture of matches safer for the workers.  They also attempted to solve the problem of the matches rubbing together and igniting on their own. They came up with matches similar to what we have now.  This means I will load this baby up with some matches and hang them from my home made chatelaine. SAM_1852 (2)

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.


Tea on the porch

This past Sunday, Victorian at Heart had its first official outing.  We headed off to the newly reopened Dalnavert Museum.

SAM_2871Dalnavert is my favorite house museum and last year I had a little cry-fest when it was announced that it wasn’t doing well and would be converted to office space (horrors!)  Enough people rose up and it was saved with a new plan to try to salvage it.  I for one, will be doing my bit and going a few times this year.

We started our afternoon on the porch. With some iced tea and shortbread cookies.SAM_2873

Shirley and I had the joy of meeting our newest member in person for the first time.  We had met through the internet but had not yet met her in person yet.  This is our new friend Lottie Lovett trying out my stereoscope.

SAM_2879Lottie is an excellent seamstress who made her lovely 1880’s bustle dress!SAM_2876aAfter our little snack and get to know you session, we toured the house.  We started in the kitchen.SAM_2884a From there, we went to the dining room.SAM_2894

Then the main hallway where I left my calling card.

SAM_2899aIn the parlor we saw some of the dresses from The Costume Museum that Shirley and I helped dress.SAM_2905

I saw a box for stereoscope cards that makes me think I need one….SAM_2910

From the parlor we headed upstairs…SAM_2899cand had a seat in the window seat.SAM_2919b

SAM_2919cI will conclude is posting now but I think I will show you some of the more interesting me aspects of the house next time.