My Gala gown is wearable! I would say it's done but I just remembered a few things I want to neaten up. But I'm really excited to wear it! It was a huge pain for the longest time and I'm still not completely happy with the fit, but oh well.
Can't wait to see you all at Costume College!
I leave tomorrow morning for California to spend a week with my family before Costume College starts. I really want to have all of my CoCo prep done as soon as possible so that I can focus on my family and give my wrist a true rest from working. I was super good for the first two weeks after surgery but then I really needed to get stuff done, so I started sewing again... Mostly machine work and Michael was sweet and did some hand sewing for me. All that's left is to put hooks and eyes on my Gala gown, wrist ruffles for the Dutch print gown, four more buttons on the Oriental fancy dress bodice, and possibly three bows for the Gala gown as well. I'm partially packed. Not in a bad place!
While I wasn't sewing right after surgery, I was still incredibly inspired by the 17th c clothing conference, so I went slightly nuts buying fabric for future projects.
Today this amazing yellow silk came for an "imperial" yellow 1760s gown.
And this will be a 1560s gown (black silk satin) and kirtle (silk damask).
I also did some promo work for an event I'll be doing in September portraying Rebecca Rolfe. I want a new gown for that as well, probably out of the wool satin I bought a couple years ago. Should be quick to put together since it will be the exact same style as this green gown.
I should have thought of doing this gown of Padme's as straight Elizabethan for the historical Star Wars group this year at Costume College! Even if I had, I wouldn't have had time to make it on top of everything else. Oh well!
I don't even know where to begin...
So much has happened in the past two weeks, but I don't have the energy or dexterity to write out a detailed post on it all. You may have noticed my previous posts about the 17th century clothing conference I helped organize. Well, it finally happened last weekend! It really was just my boss and me running this show, which was horrendously exhausting but so worth it in the end. The feedback we have had from our participants and presenters is just overwhelming. The conference included tours, workshops, lectures, and interpretive demos. Everyone had a fantastic time and learned so much. We assembled a veritable powerhouse of 16th and 17th century clothing historians and costumers, including The Tudor Tailor, and it all took place at Jamestown Settlement. We partied in the reconstructed fort and ate fantastic food, and watched the sun set over the James River from the deck of one of the recreated ships. It really couldn't get much better than that!
But right after a showstopping weekend, I went right into wrist surgery. It was just time to get it over with. That means all sewing has come to a screeching halt, and everyday tasks are pretty painful, including typing! So while I want to gush about what a fantastic event I helped put on and how much I learned, I physically can't. I also am desperate to sew but, again, I can't. My doctor is quite sure that the surgery will be the cure to my troubles, but I won't really know until everything is healed up. I'm less confident. I just hope I can finish the last few things I need to do before Costume College...
Here's just a few pictures from the conference, and links to other folks' albums. There are too many great pictures to share them all here!
Jen Thies' photos from the weekend: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52716085@N
From the fort party, by Fred Scholpp:
By Victoria Dye:
And a couple of me in hospital and my wrist! :-P
As part of the three day conference at Jamestown Settlement, The Tudor Tailor is giving an entertaining presentation on June 24 that is open to the public! After the presentation, you can shop at The Tudor Tailor store, chat with Jane and Ninya, and examine reconstructed garments, all while enjoying complimentary refreshments. Organizing this conference has been the biggest project of my short career, and I'd love for you to be there!
This presentation on June 24, 2016 from 7-9 p.m. by The Tudor Tailor is based on exciting new research to be published in their next book, The Typical Tudor.
See inside the wardrobes of two Elizabethan women living in England in the 1570s and go through their garments to discover how very differently they live their lives. Barbara Bundock, a much-married merchant’s widow, and Margery Trollope, a soap and candlemaker, meet for a gossip and to enjoy their favourite conversation – the ailments they suffer and their imminent gathering to heaven, which they have discussed weekly for more years than either can remember. Each is blessed with clothes that represent their wealth and standing among their neighbours. They are competitively well-informed as to the relative value of their dress: the raw materials, where they come from, who made them and how they rival each other in quality and cost. But their clothes also carry a heavy burden of responsibility as tokens to be passed on to friends and family. Not only must they decide who is most deserving of their own garments, there are many items of their husbands’, which demonstrate their doings in more detail than is necessarily comfortable. Barbara and Margery assess which of their grasping friends and family may benefit from the best rather than the worst items on offer.
Join Jane and Ninya for this lively presentation and dressing demonstration which draws on the wealth of material gathered by The Tudor Tailor team since the publication of The Tudor Tailor ten years ago, and gives enjoyable insights into the exciting new content of their forthcoming book The Typical Tudor.
Now that the museum commission is finished and delivered, I can finally start working on my outfit for the 17th century clothing conferece next month. For the past couple of months, I really wasn't feeling historical sewing as much as I used to, but my mojo is finally back. As a result, I'm seriously questioning whether or not I should go through with my fantasy gown for the Gala. I haven't spent tons of money on the supplies, and I'm sure there will be another event in the future where I can wear it. I just wish I hadn't gone and posted the picture! But I guess we all change our plans every now and then, right?
What I'm thinking of doing instead of a fantasy gown that I really don't "need" is using the time to make some nice new accessories and, more importantly, a new pair of 18th century stays. Mine are about four years old, many of the reeds are broken, it doesn't fit as well as it could, and it was made before my internship, which is when I feel things really changed in regards to how I approach researching and making historical clothing. I have much better resources now.
So... I think I've just talked myself into it! The 1610s silk gown will be plenty fancy and flashy for the Gala. I really want to wear my "old" white silk 1770s gown too, with a new big crazy cap and hair. But I'm not sure what to do for the Ice Cream Social... Does anyone not change for that?
Friday: 1770s white silk gown
Ice cream social: 1770s white silk gown
Saturday: 1780s Dutch print gown
Gala: 1610s silk damask gown
Sunday: Wedneday Addams
Because I don't like posting without any pictures, here are the inspiration images for my c.1616/1617 silk damask gown. I'll be wearing my rebato like the last two images instead of making a new ruff, but I will make matching cuffs. It will have a closed skirt and the long hanging sleeves in the first three images. The trim will be most similar to the green gown, with rows of silver lace. I need new bodies, too, since the neckline gets so low during this period. My current pair of bodies is better suited to 1600-1610. (Clicking on pictures will take you to the Pinterest source.)
I'd been working on my 1780s Dutch print gown but had to set it aside to finish a commission for a museum. While I don't take commissions from private customers (I know better than that now! I genuinely dislike it...), I do make exceptions for museums. The gown just needs sleeves cut, sewn, and attached, and then it's done! The tiny pleats were a headache and they aren't as even on the inside as I would like, but the outside looks great and that's what matters, right?
Yesterday a bunch of the materials for my secret (?) Gala gown arrived! I'm so excited to start this, but commission first...
Other things occupying my mind and my time have been taking more time and care in my outfits and appearance. Some recent favorites...
I bought seven yards of this silk satin because the price was good, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it.
Then Crimson Peak came out. :)
So someday... hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I'll make a gown inspired by Edith's!
I might regret this... but I went ahead and bought supplies for the potential fantasy Gala gown. No, I don't really have time for a frivolous from-scratch project but I'm feeling really inspired and I had some cash from finally selling my Belle cosplay. So some awesome fabric and tons of rhinestones are on their way to me! Luckily I do have fabric for the bodice of the gown already in the stash, and the rest of the fabric I need is dirt cheap (black tulle).
However, if I do finish this, I have to rearrange my plans for the weekend. Since my last post, I've had a few revelations about my original plans:
Getting the Costume College packet online and in the mail has me so excited to attend this year! Incredibly, both of my classes are back to back on Friday morning, which means I have the entire rest of the event to hang out and attend other classes at my leisure. There are a couple unlimited classes that have piqued my interest, but I’m on the fence about limiteds. The one I’d most like to get into is Cathy Hay’s corset patterning class, but it would take up half of my Saturday… and I’d hate to miss out on time to hang out with people! Although that has me worried too because even though I consider myself a well-mannered and well-spoken person in public, I get really self-conscious about “imposing” myself on people to hang out… I don’t want to be annoying! But Costume College is always more fun when I get to chat and laugh with you all. There’s also no guarantee I’d get into that class to begin with… I guess I have a little more time to decide.
I thought I had my costume line up all figured out, but I keep having terrible bouts of CADD along with being disillusioned with my current options. I was all ready to wear Felicity to the Ice Cream Social, but she feels so boring to me at the moment… But it would be a good chance to finally style that outfit the way I’ve been wanting to, with the right hair and the new trim now complete (she does need a new, wider tucker though). I also don’t know how the royal blue will look with my black hair… Do I need to get a red wig??
A major part of the CADD is an idea I got for the Gala, which involves an entirely new costume. I’d be able to machine and hot glue the heck out of it, though, so I don’t know if that makes it any better. But I'm putting so much work into my 1616 gown for the conference in June that I think I should be wearing that to the Gala... Although after the conference, I might feel differently about it.
So here is my potential lineup… And if you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see in person, please let me know!
Friday day: 1780s Dutch print gown
Ice cream social: Felicity or 1616 silk damask gown
Saturday day: 1840s green wool gown
Gala: 1616 silk damask gown or fantasy gown
Sunday: Wednesday Addams
Longtime readers and friends might know that I have an
One of my main motivations in studying and interpreting 1860s mourning is that there are a lot of misconceptions about the topic. Some of the most prevalent are that every black dress/bonnet/veil/brooch/cap/etc was for mourning, and that all women were absolutely required to follow prescribed mourning customs and did so regardless of their circumstances. What I've discovered in my research is that process of mourning and the clothing or accessories worn for mourning were actually deeply personal, and the extent to which a woman followed mourning customs was greatly informed by her economic situation, the community she lived in, and her personal beliefs and feelings. I'm hoping to write an article on my research in the not-too-distant future, so I won't go into much more than that in this post, although I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. I've chosen to focus my area of study on the years 1850-1869 because practices and fashions change quite a bit throughout the century, and I don't believe in lumping them all in under "Victorian mourning."
My display was made up of original cartes de visite of women in full mourning, including a few widows identified by their widows caps; reproduction full mourning bonnet, veil, and collar; an original hair brooch with the name and death date of the deceased; mourning pins from At the Eastern Door; Lincoln mourning cockades; reproduction jewelry from The Victorian Needle; an original mourning envelope; a reproduction belt buckle from Aldridge Clothiers; printed cotton fabric suitable for half mourning (which I started a dress from); and a reproduction half mourning bonnet.
Full mourning bonnet covered in crape. Fiddly to work with, but well worth the effort to get something that's "right"!
Almost the whole display.
The light mourning side of the table:
The full mourning side of the table. Forgot I had a shawl in there too!
Crape full mourning collar with original hair brooch and repro buckle in the background.
Reproduction Lincoln mourning cockade made from crape and silk ribbon. Original mourning envelope.
My original hair brooch.
The back is engraved, "Jessie Ewart died 22nd May 1863."
I had hoped to finish the half mourning cotton dress AND make a new full mourning dress, but I ended up devoting my time to making a new cage crinoline, petticoat, and reworking my half mourning silk dress. My hope for the next time I can set up this display is to have both of those dresses finished and available to be displayed.
I had some excellent discussions with visitors, but the most interesting conversations were those I had with small children. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to talk to small children about death. Would their parents be offended? How much would a small child (say, under 10 or even under 5) really understand about death? So I turned the conversation to "How do we remember people?" and "What things do you do when you're sad or miss someone?". That ended up being the ticket, and my little visitors responded well. I'm really looking forward to setting up this display again and hope that I can do so sooner than later!
Along with having my mourning display set up, my friends had a display set up for a women's sanitary fair and were engaged in reproducing a flag in the collection of the Mariners' Museum. I was able to put a few stitches into it, and although we didn't complete the flag, we were still able to present it to Mr. Lincoln on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea, who came to help stitch the flag, was gracious enough to share some of the pictures she and her husband took during the weekend.
( Check them out behind the cut!Collapse )
Longtime readers and friends will remember this dress from 2014, when I went back to Greenfield Village in Michigan
And I am so happy I stuck with it! I absolutely love the dress now, even if it's not the fanciest or flashiest thing out there. It's well made and well fitted, and I can put it on and not fuss with it the rest of the day. I finished and wore the new dress for an event at The Mariners' Museum, where I had an interpretive display set up of original and reproduction mourning items and gave a brief lecture. The next post will be about my display and the event itself, so stay tuned!
The first thing I wanted to do was cut a new bodice. The original bodice didn't fit quite right and I wasn't happy with the double points. Also, the trim was fraying like nuts because I cut it on the wrong grain! So I reused the bodice back and cut new fronts out of the black and white checked silk. I toyed with the idea of entirely new sleeves but ended up just putting double puffs on the sleeves I had already made. The style is very pretty and it saved me time! I used buttons and buttonholes to close the bodice, since I can now do buttonholes in my sleep when I used to dread them (thanks sewing-for-a-living!). The buttons are antique black glass, inspired by the buttons on this extant dress. This time around, I went with a very simple trim: a lovely black fringe. While the lavender trim of the first version was nice, I was really feeling a more subtle direction for this version. And as with all trim, I can always change it later!
The next change was to lengthen the skirt, which was just a bit too short for my taste. I added about 5" to the top of the skirt. The plaid doesn't match but I find it charming, since plaids don't always match on originals and I think it adds that element of realism to the dress. I also added 20" to the circumference of the skirt because Michael and I worked together to make me a new cage crinoline! I finally splurged on the Needle and Thread kit, which is truly an awesome reproduction. Everything is a perfect copy of originals! I knew I wanted something bigger than my previous cages, which were always 108". My new cage is 116" and that bit of extra circumference really makes a difference. I am very happy with the shape and silhouette the cage gives. I'll do a post on the cage itself eventually, along with the new petticoat I made to go over it.
The rest of the images are here.
A few detail shots...
The antique buttons:
Sleeve construction. The sleeves are flatlined in cotton and then the bottom few inches are faced with the silk.
Double points, piped:
Back single point:
The center back of the skirt is gauged (cartridge pleated) to take up fullness.
The side back seams are topstitched by hand. Finger for scale
The dress laid out.
The skirt is faced with cotton and a wool hem tape applied at the bottom.
This was an inexpensive and last minute outfit for Teslacon 2015, but it ended up being my favorite outfit of the weekend. It's comfortable and easy to wear (except I definintely need a slip or petticoat underneath since the skirt sticks to any tights I wear) and it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.
I took the aesthetics of Wednesday Addams and tried to interpret them in the late 19th century. The dress is based off of children's dresses from the period. I chose the print wanting something other than solid black, similar to the dark print dress that Christina Ricci wears in Addams Family Values.
I think I might bring this to Costume College as a spare outfit... I just love wearing it!
And yes, the parasol and glasses are Crimson Peak inspired...
It snowed today!!
I dragged my poor, sick husband outside to take pictures for me before the snowflakes stopped coming down. I really owe him one! But he's been sleeping all day and hasn't had an appetite, so I think the best I can do is let him continue to sleep... I did scrub down the kitchen and the bathrooms, though, so maybe that will be a nice surprise when he gets up!
I got so excited when I saw nuranar's post about wardrobe capsules, because they are exactly the kind of lists that I am constantly scribbling on random bits of paper at work! So it seemed like a good idea to write those lists online, where they are easier to edit and I can get some feedback!
Aaaaand Costume College thoughts. I've decided that at this point I'm going to try to wear only things I'm making for other events this year... I may very well cave, but here are my plans right now:
Friday: something 18th century...
Ice Cream Social: Felicity
Gala: 1610s silk gown
Sunday: something Regency?
I initially thought 2015 wasn't going to be a very productive year for me, since I couldn't sew for three months because of my wrist. But I still did a lot! And now I know how to do more machine techniques, which has been very helpful when I can't hand sew.
My first big event, though, is a Civil War event in March at which I'll be presenting on mourning clothing. I have a lot that I want to do for that... but I may have to stick to wearing my old undergarments and only finishing the dresses (two of which are half done...).
I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I sincerely hope your 2016 is wonderful!
So... I didn't get the 1840s dress done for the event last weekend, but that's okay! It will be shiny and new for Costume College, and I'll be all set for the 1840s event NEXT year!
In the meantime, I have a bunch of finished projects that need to be shared! Mostly Teslacon and a couple things I made in October. The theme for Teslacon this year was Wild West, and I was really inspired by Annie Oakley's cute outfits and others like hers. Short skirts, fringe, etc. I came up with "Steampunk vivandiere goes West" as one of my outfits. It's made from teal wool from Burnley and Trowbridge with hand-cut deerskin fringe. The outfit consists of an underskirt, overskirt, Swiss waist, blouse, and jacket. I actually thrifted the blouse because... why not! It was perfect for the outfit and saved me a lot of time. Plus it goes perfectly with a 1940s Western outfit that's been sitting in my closet for a couple years. I was going for an 1860s silhouette, and I think it turned out okay. I cut down an old cage crinoline but I'm not completely happy with the shape. Starting a cage from scratch would have been better but I just didn't have time! This was the first outfit that I could really have fun accessorizing. It just begged for goggles, and for once, goggles seemed totally appropriate! It's very sandy in the West, you know. ;-) I also got an old ammo container and I snagged Michael's hat. Michael Steampunk'd my barrel, which was just awesome and got so many compliments. He's so creative! It really lights up!
I'm so happy with how this bonnet turned out! And I had everything I needed to cover and trim it in my stash!
This bonnet is for a c. 1842 outfit that I'm suddenly working on! It's mostly for Costume College, but there is also a small 1840s event a week from today that I will hopefully have it finished for! At least I hope to have the gown wearable, even if it doesn't have all the trim.
The bonnet form is from Timely Tresses, and I covered it using their pattern. I decided to pipe the tip of the bonnet and do a bias binding on the front edge for added interest. After looking at dozens of original bonnets and fashion plates, and playing around with my silk satin ribbon and velvet flowers, I came up with this trim design.
The pink silk is sarsenet from Burnley and Trowbridge. The ribbon and flowers are vintage pieces from an antique store in Michigan. I bought them without a project in mind but knew they'd come in handy eventually!
Now on to the gown!
The curtain is gauged after this original bonnet.
Bonnet insides are rarely a thing of beauty... Silk taffeta brim facing and a cotton "head liner".
I wrote out this entire long post agonizing about the 1840s dress I want to make for Costume College...and by the end of it I had come to terms with my decision! Sometimes all you need is to hash out your ideas.
So, a black silk "Jane Eyre" dress is on hold for the time being, and I'll be doing a crazy acid/apple green wool dress with a pink silk bonnet instead! :)
In what is undoubtedly the most ambitious project of my fledgling museum career, I have been organizing what I hope will be an amazing conference next June 24-26! Check out the details below. Registration opens December 1 and is limited to 72 participants! I will let everyone know when the webpage has been updated with the link to buy tickets.
Come to Jamestown Settlement for a weekend focused on the study and recreation of late 16th and early 17th century clothing. “Tailored to a New World” brings together The Tudor Tailor team from England and historical clothing scholars from around the United States for a truly unique learning experience that combines hands-on workshops with traditional lectures. Participants will also enjoy field trips, behind-the-scenes tours, and an evening reception in the recreated James Fort.
Tickets are $300. Registration is limited to 72 participants and includes:
*A special presentation by The Tudor Tailor followed by a question and answer session and the opportunity to examine recreated garments, take photos, and buy from The Tudor Tailor shop
*A private archaeological tour of clothing-related artifacts from Jamestown Rediscovery at Historic Jamestowne
*A behind-the-scenes tour of Jamestown Settlement’s costume shop, highlighting the role of historic clothing in the museum’s living history interpretive areas
*An exclusive embroidery pattern taken from a blackwork coif circa 1600 in the collections of Jamestown Settlement
*An evening reception where participants are encouraged to wear their finest historical clothing and enjoy food and period music in the recreated James Fort
*Boxed lunches and refreshments between workshops and lectures
Jamestown Settlement is pleased to welcome Brenda Rosseau (Costume Design Center, Colonial Williamsburg), Daniel Rosen (Old England Grown New), Mathew Gnagy (The Modern Maker), Noel Gieleghem, Bly Straube (Independent Archaeological Curator and Material Culture Specialist), Mark Hutter (Historic Trades, Colonial Williamsburg), Neal Hurst (Museum of the American Revolution), and Samantha McCarty (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation) as speakers.