A goal…not a resolution

Have any of you made new years resolutions?  I tend not to do those any more.  They never make it past January.   But I do have a couple of goals.  One is to reduce the amount of stuff in my house.  I used to go through the house twice a year and ditch things that no longer served a purpose but I haven’t really done that in a few years and the amount of “stuff” that has started to amass is getting uncomfortable.

My other goal is along the lines of the first but more specific.  That is to reduce the sewing and knitting hoard by getting rid of started projects by either finishing them or getting rid of them.  So, for example, if I look in a bag and see a knitting project that I can honestly say I have no desire to finish, I will unravel the wool and either set it aside for another project or sell it in a garage sale or donate it to charity.  Some of that wool was purchased because it was on sale but now I feel it is ugly.

In terms of sewing, I’ve been hoarding fabric for 4 projects. Since I no longer do Historical Sew Monthly, I have no need to put these projects on the back burner AGAIN and run out and buy more fabric for projects that better suit the challenge.

Here are the four projects:

  1. The olive dress using fabric I bought a year and a half ago at CoCo.146
  2. A corset with fabric bought a year and a half ago (also at CoCo).147
  3. An 1896 dress with fabric I bought last spring for a Historical Sew Monthly challenge but never started.IMG_20170629_102241680
  4. Decide on and make a dress with the fabric my costuming buddy picked up for me when she went to CoCo last summer.IMG_20180104_073824267In years past, I worked out a project plan based on the Historical Sew Monthly challenges but this year I’m just saying “goals” not “plans” and I will tackle each project when I have completed a current project and I will decide on which one to start next based on what I feel like making.  Historical Sew Monthly was useful for helping me build my costume wardrobe and for pushing me into motion but now I don’t want the pressure.  I want to make what I want when I want.  I feel I can “up my game” not by rapidly trying new projects, eras and skills but by slowing down and working on quality not quantity.  I no longer need to build a wardrobe.  Now I need to fill it out with accessories and I need to start thinking about replacing dresses with ones that better represent what I know and what I can do.

Have any of you made plans or goals for this year?

Car shopping

I think I’m starting to see a light that might mean the end of my nightmare tunnel of car accidents and auto insurance.  A sad but tolerable amount has been agreed upon by the insurance company and I for the loss of my car.  I am one physiotherapy treatment away from being done with the whip lash injury.  And I have completed a weekend of car shopping.  It started out with some head butting between hubby and I but it is with great relief, I can say we easily agreed on the winner of the search.  Tomorrow, he commences the haggling with the current owner and with any luck, I will have a car before I head out on vacation.

In celebration lets look at my hands down favorite paper doll dress from my Christmas paper doll book.img_20170108_163639848.jpg

Of course it is a Worth gown.  I would really love to see this gown but I can’t find anything better than sketches and attempted copies.  If anyone knows of a picture of the gown please point me towards it!

It reminds me of the gown I saw at Coco last summer.  Loved it!  The train lifted just like a peacock’s tail.  Pretty sure the Princess of Sagan’s dress didn’t do that!

Crazy inspiration sources

I’ve been binge watching the many Star Trek series.  (Thank you Netflix)  And lately, I’m on The Next Generation.  In the second season, Data and Jordi go into the holodeck to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery.  The doctor goes along and I gasped and hit pause when I saw her dress!holodeck_tng_s02e03

I have a real thing for black on red (old high school colors don’t ya know).


Cute little jaunty hat too!


Ooooo, that black soutache is so yummy!  And the broach is lovely too.3a60dae00ee7b40a11b26a6afdd774c4

I’d be lookin’ smug too if I looked that fine!

My first instinct is to say “I must make that!”  But then I realized I have one that looks too much like it already.  Not exactly, but too close to go through the process of making another one.


Last worn at CoCo’s Circus themed social.

I was also temporarily side tracked by a comment from one of my readers.  She asked if I’d be making a dress for Canada’s 150th birthday, which will be happening next July 1.  I considered it for a second and then decided against it ….for now.  I have two dresses that are 1860’s and one is red and white (and black).  It will do…especially if I can find a pattern for a corset so it fits better.

My plans for this coming year is a complete Edwardian suit (one year to late for women’s vote anniversary and several years past the Titanic anniversary).  Plus an earlier period corset.

5 costumes, regular clothes, 2 suit cases

Yes it can be done!  A reader asked how I managed to get all my crap to Coco.19

All that fits into one suit case, one carry one bag and one purse.

All the credit goes to a knock off version of these!Space-Bag-Suitcase_Gallery_1_2X_new

With the air squished out, the mountain reduces to this.18

Which fits into this.17

The checked luggage was full but well under the weight restrictions.  There was still a bit of room in the carry on, but it was heavy…dragging it from one end of the Vancouver airport to the other nearly killed me…next time I invest in a carry on with wheels.

I was careful to chose costumes that could share elements (petticoats, bustles, jewelry, corsets…) to save space.  With it being summer, my regular clothes didn’t take up much space.  This left me room for snacks, and things to do on the plane.  Hope that answers your question.

I hope my next post will be a completed project but the dang thing has been fighting me.  I hope I can finish today….

Coco shopping

I scored some good stuff while at Coco.  While on the FIDM tour, we made a pit stop in the scholarship store and low and behold, the last Friday of the month is 50% off day!

The first score is about 5 yards of very wide fabric.  It feels very linen like and in fact, I’m sure it must be linen.  The photograph got the color right.  So the color,feel and amount of the fabric says some sort of walking suit-in the later years, probably 1890’s.  I’m playing with the idea of dying it.  But I’ve never dyed that much fabric before.  I also got a couple of lace yokes that I think could work as collars.  And there is some lace ribbon too.  If I keep the color of the fabric the same, I may tea stain the lace to take some of the stark white out.  It feels too harsh a contrast.


I bought two pieces of leather that I think are big enough to try my hand at glove making.  Every other pair of gloves I have picked up have either looked far to modern or far too small.  Leather stretches some but lets face it, they wont go from pencil thin to sausage thick!  I will definitely need to do a mock up to make sure my glove pattern will fit me because there is no wiggle room for mistakes!  I also need to do some research on how to cut and sew leather as I have never done this before!


The above bits cost me $17.  I was torn between laughing and crying with joy when I heard the price.  I’d NEVER in a million years find that kind of deal at home!

Next, I went to the FIDM student book store.  I found these French Curves for $7.  My local fabric store has them for a much higher cost.  I couldn’t justify the expense.


When I went to the market at Coco, I found these metal buttons and figured they would be a wonderful addition to the costume kit I am building.


I also found some coutiel, which I can’t find in my local fabric store. I have wanted to take another run at corset making and knew my biggest problem with my first attempt was not coutiel-my corset stretched on first wearing.  I snapped this package up because it saves me the cost of shipping.   I also prefer shopping in person to on line shopping.  I like to see and feel what I am buying.147

I got a pretty good haul at the bargain basement.  I got some random trim that I have no plans for yet but I know one day….

I picked up some plaid because I have been wanting to try working with that again.


One of the plaids and another plain fabric seemed like they may make good contrasts fabrics for my linen suit kit. I also picked up some plain buttons that may work as well.198

So my sewing line up is: finish my Spanish inspired gown (Just need to finish the waist band and make the belt), sew the paisley I bought last December into an 1840’s dress, then the gloves, the corset and then the walking suit.  I also have two or three knitting projects in the line up as well.  Whew!  I need to retire so I can have more time!

Coco Sunday 2016

Are you sick of these posts yet? I’m almost done.  This one is about the last day, the next will be about shopping and what I plan to do with my haul.

So, Sunday I was up early enough to catch Breakfast with the Artists.  This is my first real wearing of the Ugly Bag of Tea Gown and its final incarnation, with accessories is passably good looking and is exceptionally comfy.

It was comfortable enough to sit through Luca Costigliolo’s class on getting the correct shape for your gowns.191

The word of the day is “padding”.  We should not alter the pattern to fit the body (because we then loose the silhouette the designer was aiming for), we alter the body to fit the pattern.  You size up the pattern to fit the corseted body.  Those baggy bits in the mock up, should not be altered to make them go away.  They should be padded out.  As a busty girl, I end up with loose fabric on my upper chest near my arm pit.  Apparently, this is a common thing.  The corset causes the bust to create a hollow near the arm pit and that is filled in with padding.  Smaller busted ladies would use bust enhancers.  If sloped shoulders were in then padding was added to help give that illusion. 192

Luca did make a caveat, that this practice of padding was very common in all social classes in places like France and Italy , but not as common in England and North America, but wealthy folks who shopped in France did have padding.  He thought it was a more conservative option to not pad.

Once the class was done (and I was done taking photographs of this fabulous hand beaded number)193

I headed off to the bargain basement and did some more shopping.  Funny story that…  While in Luca’s class, I heard/felt a popping sound and thought it might be my corset, which was first attempt at corset making, settling or shifting, so I ignored it.  When I was shopping, I came to the conclusion that it was actually my petticoat hook that was the popping sound and that the petticoat was now neatly wrapped around my ankles.  Suzi Clark (the speaker I saw on Friday) happened to be standing there and saw my dilemma (how embarrassing!) and asked if she could help me.  So sweet, but having recently injured herself and needing help to get around I thought it might be best if I manage on my own.  I thanked her and said I thought I’d just let it drop and step out of it.  Turns out it was neatly trapped by the corset strings on one side…loose enough to trip and kill me but not loose enough to actually drop.  So in front of Suzi, I jacked up my dress and tucked that petticoat deeper into the strings so I’d be able to walk again.  And off I elegantly glided to the till with my hoard of goods in my arms, my petticoat in my strings and my ego slightly dented.189

In the afternoon, I went to the steam punk tea.  Not my scene.  I probably horrified the true Steam Punks by opting for the “just stick gears on it and shorten the skirt” version of the genre.

I ran into this lovely girl (who’s name I’ve lost from my head…it wasn’t a common name so I couldn’t hang onto it…sorry about that).  We shared a dinner table and chatted at a few events and I really enjoyed her company.201

The remainder of the weekend was spent in the hospitality suite.  A few of us found a brighter lit room for doing hand work and playing card games and we chatted together until it was time to head back to my room for some packing and down time.

Okay, once we get past the shopping post, you will be done with all these Coco posts!  0


Coco=busy Saturday

I kept myself hoping on Coco Saturday.  I saw the market and picked up a few things.  To be shared at a later date.

I caught a few classes.  The short course, Millinery Mock ups clued me into why my bonnets don’t like to stay on my head. I saw Leimomi’s  talk “From Boteh to Paisley” and her talk on her experiment living as a woman in New Zealand would in 1916.  That was so cool!  I wish I could do that but in the Victorian Era.148

(I forgot to mention the talk by Suzi Clark on the write up for Friday.  It was really a sharing of her career in costuming.  She was a very interesting speaker.  She knew some of the big names in costuming personally.  And she was pretty personable.  I spoke with her a couple of times through out the weekend.  Such a nice person!)

I saw the Gallery of Costumes as well.  Some really impressive works there!

There was the Red Carpet and the Gala in the evening.  For financial reasons, I opted out of the dinner but did join the group for the dancing afterwards. 172

Well, I don’t really dance any more but I did sway to the beat! Here are my top picks for that night.

And top billing goes to the Worth Gown Reproduction!  I literally sobbed when I saw it!177

CoCo tour and social

Next in my series on CoCo, is Friday.  I went on the FIDM tour during the day and went to the Run Away with the Circus Social in the evening. 40

I was very pleased with this as my limited class option.  It was everything I hoped for and more!

We got a tour of the school itself and we saw behind the scenes where the clothes were stored.


Marlene Dietrich’s suit


Mae West’s shoe


Cute wicker dog purse.




I will use the photographs I took of the Victorian dresses for a later posts.  Got to have fodder for those dry spells!


I’m hanging with the pussy cat angel waiting to board the bus.  Note the bag.  There will be a shopping post at some point.  Momma has a new project waiting in the wings.

Once back at the hotel, it was time to get ready for the Circus themed social.


I wore my 1880’s Half Grand Surprise dress because it has a slight military/circus master look and I added a rubber snake so I’d be a snake charmer. 

I named the snake Hector.

To add to the effect, there were acts to watch.

I don’t know how she did that with her back.  I get stiff if I sleep funny or stand to long!

Lots of folks dressed according to theme.

Some wore what they wanted, with equally fabulous effect!141

According to theme or not, we were all friends in spirit!130a

Pool party

My last post was about how awesome CoCo is but it was also, informally about the pool party.  This post is going to be a pictorial of some of my favorites from the pool party.

Most folks stuck to the 1960 theme.  Hippys to Jackie O.  And even the fellas got into it!



And some went for an “outside the box” perception of the 1960’s (both of which I adored!) Star Trek and Pan Am stewardess.  That is so great!

Not every one went with the theme and that is okay.  I loved this gown!  It was great how she got the birds on her back to kiss.

More on CoCo next time.

*If you see yourself here and you don’t want to or you want credit, please comment and I will make the changes.

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.