Saturday, October 22, 2011

The joys of packrattery

I'm participating in a Victorian Haunted House, as noted previously.
I've been working on the ensemble, and today I went through the costume closet for accessories. I have four pairs of black gloves. Three black fans. No mourning hankies, but I could easily change that. But when I went to grab the random black decorated wrap that I made yeeears ago out of half of a faux-woolen table skirt, the hanger was inexplicably heavy.

Possibly because the giant black taffeta reticule I made back at my very first Costume College was attached, and said item was filled with black mourning ensemble accessories. ::facepalm::
Make that five pairs of black gloves, a black veil, a glitzy Victorian cross on a chatelaine pin, and one giant black taffeta reticule.
Add to that black boots, black stockings, and a black button-down shirt with tuxedo pin-tucks and a black blazer like jacket that I got at Target yeeears ago - and um, I'm pretty much good to go. Yay!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The To Do List

I'm attempting to actually post here more, partly because LiveJournal is truly on the wane (despite what the gap between my last two posts would have you infer), and partly because I feel like I could compartmentalize more and not have to hide so much inane costume drivel from folks.

So I need to get in the habit of using this thing instead. Right, here goes.

This summer I went to Costume College in the new location. It was fabulous and totally different from the event when it was held in Van Nuys. *So* much better. And this upcoming year's theme is "The Golden Age of Hollywood", so I'm dreaming of 1930s and 1940's gowns and trying to figure out the correct combination of girdle and undergarment and stockings. (Tricky!) I literally have a three foot stack of fabrics. It's a bit obscene. Especially since I haven't yet even got to the part where I'm ready to start - oh no - I have too many other projects in the queue at the moment.

First off, I have a quickie faux-Victorian ensemble to put together for a Victorian Haunted House I'm going to be a part of. That should be a fun event, and I can get away with (costuming) murder there because a) it'll be dark and b) I'll be dressed in mourning. Acetate taffeta? Not a problem! Anachronistic hair color? Nobody will see! Happy times.
So that piece came out of the Tub of Blackness, and it turned out that I had some huge old formal gown skirt in black taffeta that someone had ripped down a side-back seam, ostensibly to reuse the nice heavy fabric for something else. I restored the seam, slit the center of the back and added a continuous placket, then pleated it into a waistband. I need to try it on before I sew everything down, and thither did I falter. The thing is draped across my ironing board currently, looking forlorn.

Next, I owe some attention to a slew of Renaissance garments - first I need to take in the MAAS bodice, which I wore today to Casa as well. It could use a chunk taken from the back, but the front is a bit more important at this point, so I can actually get some support from the silly thing. I may do that by adding tucks astride the lacing, and then covering them with bias guarding. Still not sure.
Once I've got that sorted, I need to take the alteration to the pattern and make a very similar gown for St George. Households, you know. Plain English, but of a style that I have a bit of trouble getting behind - I realize now that there is much better research out there now, and what I see as households looks rather anachronistic. Nevermind, I'll make it and wear it and it'll be fine.

And since I mentioned Casa, I'm now jonesing for a German gown. I'm going to paw through my collection of woolens and see what I've got that's of the correct length. I've already started accessorizing the thing, inadvertently as it turns out. I bought a pair of duckbill shoes from Claudia when my old Faire maryjanes died unexpectedly at Notes at MAAS, and I now have a certain amount of golden neckbling. Hurrah!

Right, where was I again? Oh yeah, and then there's Dickens. I still need to make the butt-bow to go with the 1860's bodice for the Blues. That shouldn't take long, but it's also been sitting there staring at me for a good while and I've had too much of a case of CADD to touch it.

Oh, and Laurie was kind enough to help me fit a pattern for a medieval gown, which I have not yet made up. And I still have three different pairs of Regency stays I ought to finish, and at least enough yardage to make another three Regency sheer gowns.

And this is _on top of_ the 1930s stuff I want to make. This is going to be a long haul.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pieced Pockets

Finally, I have proof that what I visualized is actually what he meant!

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk, withered little dames, in close-crimped caps, long-waisted short gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city innovation. The sons, in short square-skirted coats, with rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the fashion of the times, especially if they could procure an eel-skin for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the country as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.
---Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1820

And then... via Augusta Auctions:


In block, resist & cylinder cotton prints from late 18th C-1830s, each pocket lined & backed w/ home spun linen & attached w/ brown & cream calico band: 1 pocket w/ 19 different prints & 1 pocket w/ 3 prints, Wd 10.5", L 16", excellent. Montclair Historical Society

Now I don't feel like such an idiot after all!