More is more?

I finished the over skirt for Lilac Dream.

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Now is the time to decide what, if any, trim will be added to the over skirt.SAM_2678

At first I liked it with nothing but I rather like the lace. With some fancy foot work I can get a lot of the ties done with the same lace.

In the modern world, less is more, but in the 1870’s they seemed to live by a MORE is more philosophy. So let’s try more. I made a pile of bows and still have 3 left. SAM_2679Hmmm.  That doesn’t seem quite right. Asymmetry bothers my modern mind.SAM_2680Nope.  Not the asymmetry that is off.SAM_2681Nope.

Let us try the more is more theory again.SAM_2682I don’t hate it…more?SAM_2683

Gads! I don’t know!  I think I need to walk away from it for a bit and let it marinate in my mind for a bit.

There is also the issue of the contrasting side panels that I am having a love/hate relationship with.  I have to love them…they are there because I ran out of the floral fabric. Maybe they need something…more….SAM_2676

Neither rain nor snow…

Shirley and I were a pair of brave troopers and headed out to our Victoria Day event in spite of the near torrential rain. Here are some of my favorite photos.

We were given a ride on a sheltered golf cart to the "Big House"

We were given a ride on a sheltered golf cart to the “Big House”

Unlike last year, we spent quite a bit of time in the basement checking out the kitchens.

Unlike last year, we spent quite a bit of time in the basement checking out the kitchens.

We did a few lady like "at work" poses.

We did a few lady like “at work” poses.

Then we got a bit silly.  Shirley wanted to flaunt her lovely Victorian shape.

Then we got a bit silly. Shirley wanted to flaunt her lovely Victorian shape.

And I wanted to show of my thrift store find of "sensible shoes".

And I wanted to show of my thrift store find of “sensible shoes”.

We then decided to brave the rain (which had slowed down) for some outdoor shots.

We then decided to brave the rain (which had slowed down) for some outdoor shots.

We walked out of the the Fort walls to some of the outer building.

We walked out of the Fort walls to some of the outer building.

The river gave us some interesting, if gloomy, back grounds.

The river gave us some interesting, if gloomy, back grounds.  As you can tell by my expression, I’m feeling bedraggled because of the rain and because my skirt was too long and I kept stepping on it and dragging it through the dirt!

Shirley is managing to look dainty and fine!

Shirley is managing to look dainty and fine!

Ah!  Dry land!

Ah! Dry land!

I wanted a photo like this...I liked last years so much.

I wanted a photo like this…I liked last years so much.

I made Shirley do the same pose.  Once the photo was done Shirley looked at me and found that I had put my hat back on...backwards!  I wish I could say I planned it that way!

I made Shirley do the same pose. Once the photo was done Shirley looked at me and found that I had put my hat back on…backwards! I wish I could say I planned it that way!

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!

 

Elliptical hoops short cut

Am I the only one that thought of this?  Probably not.

I was just about to cut out the last few pieces on my pattern TV103 when the light bulb in my head went off.  They were the strips for cutting out the support ribbons for the hoops.  I asked myself why I would bother cutting them out at all as I wasn’t cutting out the sides of the ribbon, I was only cutting out the length.  By keeping all the pattern pieces together I was saving myself the time of cutting them out and preventing the risk of loosing the cut pieces all together.  So this is what I did.SAM_1972By not cutting them out, all the pieces stayed together.  I pinned the ribbon onto the paper, thus keeping them all together in one spot and all organized.  Once the ribbon was pinned to the paper, I couldn’t see which ribbon strip was for which spot, so I simply labeled the paper.SAM_1973

No hassle!

Well that is more work than I thought

I’ve been working on my elliptical hoops.  I’m not having any problems but it is taking more time than I originally planned.  The dead line has come and gone for the HSF 14: Under it All challenge and I”m thinking I will be at least a week late.  Ah well.  It will be worth it.

In the mean time, I’ve been considering what style of hat to make for the 1860’s Silky Skies dress.  What do you think of this?CI60.23.23_F I’m pretty taken with it.  Should it be blue? White? Pink?

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Love it.  I wonder if I have enough buckram to pull it off or will I be shopping again soon?  Hmmmm. I wish I could remember what I have in my stash!

Pardon me ma’am your hoops are showing

One of the things that costumers like to achieve is a smooth skirt which is achieved with enough petticoats over the hoops.  The hundred dollar question is “was the lumpy look truly inauthentic?”

Today, a woman may go for a popular look but not quite pull it off.  It doesn’t fit right. She can only afford a poorly made knock off.  It doesn’t suit her age/build/style/coloring….  I’d like to argue that this happened 150 years ago as well.

This carte de visite shows a woman (likely from the 1850-60’s) whose hoops are plainly visible under the skirt. It can sometimes be said that nearby furniture pushed the skirt over, causing the hoops to appear but I don’t believe this is the case in this photo.  I think this is a case of not enough petticoats to hide them.

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So, if you ever look back at your costume photos and see hoops, don’t think yourself (or any other costume enthusiast) inauthentic.  Victorians weren’t all perfect Victorians so how can we expect ourselves to be?

Oh boy! Here we go!

While on vacation last fall in the States, I found a place that sells real silk fabric at prices I can only dream of here in Canada.  I found some at a price that I’m hard pressed to find in a decent cotton.  If I do find it here at that price, it is so hideous that you’d have to pay me to cart it out of the store.

The thing is, the cost of silk is ordinarily so prohibitive for me that I’ve never knowingly used it.  (I did hope that a bolt of fabric I once found at a thrift store was real silk but I’ve never found out for sure).  That prohibition has caused me to fear the day I’d cut into it and sew it.  What if I botch it up and I’m left with a huge pile of expensive useless?  What if I pull it off and manage to sew something that fits and stays on my body and I wear it and dump cranberry juice on it or tear it on the car door before I even get to my event?  What if I try to wash it and it shrinks into some sort of horrid worm shaped doll dress?  Oh the humanity!  These fears have hung over me, even though I didn’t actually pay the high price.  KNOWING that I would have paid a high price for it HERE has frozen me solid!

I’ve stalled and procrastinated on that project long enough.  Today I took the plunge.

Hard to tell in this dark "selfie" but I'm cringing as I make the first cut!

Hard to tell in this dark “selfie” but I’m cringing as I make the first cut!

The skirt is cut out now and there is plenty left over for a bodice and perhaps I can use the scraps on a hat.  SAM_1685Tomorrow we bite the sewing bullet and put this puppy together.

Now I have to decide what to call this dress.  1860 …..hmmm….Silky Skies Dress?  Sure why not.

I’m freezing to death!

It is only November and winter is here like the jerk that it is.  I’ve spent nearly half of my Saturday on line trying to find myself some sort of warm vacation to look forward to.  I need to get me some more pesos!

Well, this is a Victorian/costuming blog  and not a “poor poor pitiful me blog” so topic change!

Does this lovely 1860's carte de visite warm you up?

Does this lovely 1860’s carte de visite warm you up?

No?  Me neither.

She does have a great skirt…it looks like it is put together the same way I put my hoop skirt petticoat.  She has a watch hanging at her waist…it looks like it has be tucked into a belt.  I love her curls!  How does one get those to stay put without hair spray!

Some days are meant for that.

I decided my Saturday was meant to be a pajama and TV day.  I did diddly squat all day.  This means I have no photos of exciting outings or sewing progress to show you.  So I must delve deep into the archives of past projects….back to the days when I was a teen….

Please ignore the wrinkles. She has been a box for literally a few decades!

I made her from scratch.  I had some sort of clay recipe that I whipped up in my kitchen.  Then I molded her head hands and feet.  I don’t recall if I had to bake the dough or not.  Once she hardened I painted her.

I had the idea that she needed a hoop to keep her skirts out but had no idea how it was done…obviously.

I also had a very good concept of what the hair should be like.  I must have seen a movie or two…Hopefully, I will get dressed today and do something useful!