Friday, December 5, 2014

Halloween 2014

My dearest friends of the Internet variety,

I had the great pleasure of meeting quite a few of you at Costume College this past August.  Many, many thank yous to everyone who volunteered!

I'm going to start this post with a bit of advice for all college-bound costumers. TAKE STUFF WITH YOU!!!

You will get to your dorm. You may or may not have any space to store costumes or sewing supplies. It doesn't matter. You will make room. You will have a costume to wear for your first collegiate Halloween. Alternatively, should you have brought fabric and notions, you will make a costume to wear for your first collegiate Halloween.

If you, however, do not take my advice, you may find yourself asking/begging your unsurprised mother to please ship your costumes to you.  Expect the following note on the shipping label:

From: An incredibly lovely and indulgent,
not to mention busy, mother
Thanks, mom!

My inspiration for this outfit came from this print from 1909, which I found in my research for Gibson Girl era golfing way back in February in preparation for a CGW event.  I didn't finish the outfit in time and went to the event in my (not historically accurate) Edwardian costume from Halloween 2013, but I finished the skirt in time for prom (May) and got the vest to a wearable point in time for SDCC (July).  The blouse I used in the Halloween 2014 iteration of this costume is a lucky coincidence from my muggle closet.

Harrison Fisher, 1909

Hark, What Light Through Yonder Window Br--Oops, I'm Outside
Adi (Costume, Model) and Fury (Photographer), 2014

Please excuse the inaccurate silhouette.  I am wearing my Victorian corset.  I haven't made an Edwardian one yet.

Fun fact: college campuses make great settings for photoshoots.  College bookstores, not so much.

I should like to add that the vest was not actually finished when I had my mother send it to me.  I added the buttonholes (by hand!!!) and the buttons on October 30th.  Yup.  I have a great work ethic.

(I did wear this outfit, minus the blouse and the buttons, at Costume College for the Fantasy Tea and at SDCC, so this is not a very recent project... oops.  Disclaimer: the blouse is from my new favorite store.  I made the skirt and vest.  And the underpinnings.  'Cause I have priorities.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Delicate Company - Part 3

The last post about the Delicate Company weekend a few weeks ago will highlight the not-so-delicate aspect of the group.  Note: most (all) of the "indelicate" photos showcased in the post are staged.  There were no laudanum addicts or ladies of the night at the weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Delicate Company - Part 2

In my attempts to remain in the immersive experience, I only took photos sporadically.  Which is why I have pictures from the first immersive night and second full day, but not the first full day and second immersive night.  (I specify immersive nights because we ate at a restaurant near the house on the actual first night when we arrived and then hung around in our wrappers while we got to know each other.  Oh, and then, as we retired for bed, the ladies used me as their doll to play dress up.)

On the first night, we did a Jane Austen murder mystery to get ourselves used to being in first person.  It was super fun because everyone already knew the characters we were portraying - chosen randomly from picking out of a hat - so we actually had things to talk about that we thought our characters would be talking about.  (Because the weekend was an event for people who may not have already had a first person impression, most of our attempts to be in first person were stilted at first because we still weren't sure exactly who we were and what we knew about...)  


Friday, June 13, 2014

A Weekend of Delicate Company - Part 1

For all that it was supposed to be an immersion event (as in, no modern conveniences), I took a lot of pictures.

But first, let me set the scene: the weekend was held at the Shapley Ross House, which was built around 1820 and lived in continuously until some time in the 20th century, the exact date of which I have forgotten.

(Side note: the Shapley Ross House is named after the original owner/builder, who was  "the wealthiest man in Lincoln County and was recorded in the tax records owning two mills, over 1000 acres of land and 25 slaves"(Delicate Company).  His name was Shapley Ross.  I thought "Shapley Ross" was the names of two different families that owned the house over the years, but nope.  End side note.)

The house is not actually that big.  It has two floors, with two and a half rooms on each floor.  The two sides of the house are mirrors of each other.  The half room on each floor is the entrance hall (on the first floor) and a strange staircase landing / bedroom hallway (on the second floor).  That is all.  It is not a stereotypical plantation mansion or anything like that.  But my goodness it was gorgeous and perfectly decorated to give it a period feel.

The house has museum quality reproduction and antique furniture, but feels like a home.  No chairs were roped off to keep people from sitting on them and we could explore anything, dig through any drawer we felt like.  I would randomly open a cupboard to find extra linens or open a drawer in a vanity to find period hair clips, combs, and pomade.  Karen Duffy, the docent of the Shapley Ross House and the hostess of the Weekend of Delicate Company, did an excellent job to make the house feel like a home for the weekend.

This post has tons of pictures of a house, which may not interest everyone, so I'm putting it under the cut... 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I leave tomorrow for A Weekend of Delicate Company, an immersion event being held at a historical home in Missouri.  I'm super excited!  I'm also very disappointed with myself, because I did not make the new dresses I planned to make according to the Epic Master Plan Schedule of Tasks.

I realized sometime between finishing my corset waaay back in January and finishing my hoop skirt waaay back in February (and finishing a petticoat... which I guess I never blogged about.  Sorry about that.  I have been extremely neglectful of this blog.) that I can either focus on school work or on sewing.  When I am occupied by one, I forsake the other (to the detriment of my grades or the progress of my sewing projects).  Since I am a student first and a costumer second, I chose my schooling over my sewing.

Since the AP exams almost a month ago, which was essentially the end of my academic high school career (with the exception of a few essays for non-AP classes), I have had a lot of free time.  In that free time, I could have potentially finished every item on my Epic Master Plan Schedule of Tasks.  I debated doing a monthlong sewing marathon (there were a lot of items on that list), and ultimately decided not to do so because I knew the quality of whatever garments I finished would be very low and the whole endeavor would be a waste of time and fabric because I would not be happy with the finished products.  I'd rather take my time and complete good quality garments without having to adhere to a deadline.  So instead, I read books and relaxed and went to Hawaii with my class and went to graduation rehearsals and got sunburnt and then finally graduated.

I did complete a few smallish projects and do costume-y things (look for more on these in the following weeks!):

  1. 1860s chemises and drawers (I might only have one outfit to wear during the Weekend of Delicate Company, but at least I'll have clean underwear!  I haz priorities.)
  2. Elizabethan Franken-smock and blue linen stays (and my Foundations special studies class)
  3. 1860s skirt (yes, a single skirt! Whoohoo!) and shawl
  4. Prom skirt (and prom photos, because why not?)
  5. Ft. Tejon Civil War event
  6. Bodice block-making
And here's a picture from my recent high school graduation for no other reason than because I think this post needs a picture.

Photo by Mr. Bleimeister
I have a moderate-sized stash to be used up this summer, so I will have more to post about in the next few months!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blog Award!

I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to the Mouse Borg Queen of Mouse Borg Designs for nominating me for the Liebster Blog ♥ Award.  I'm flattered and honored that you think so highly of me!

In the spirit of the reason Mouse Borg nominated me, my nominees for the award are also teens, Bascha and Theresa over at Two Teen Seamstresses, and Privatepen of Ruffles not Rifles.  I'm pretty darned impressed with them for balancing making impressive costumes (and handsewing!) while balancing high school work loads (and college apps, 'cause that stuff is eeeevil).

Nominees, upon receiving this award you must:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Nominate other blogs, preferably ones with less than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions asked by the one(s) who gave you the award.
4. Make a list of questions for the other nominees to answer.

Mouse Borg's questions for me:

What first got you interested in costuming?

Steampunk!  I went to a Steampunk 101 panel at Comic Con 2012, which taught me a bit about the components that go into a generic Steampunk costume, then wanted to make my own Steampunk costume for Comikaze a few months later, in September of junior year.  I looked at tons of blogs for inspiration and ideas and they taught me a lot about costuming and the historic elements of Steampunk costume.  And then suddenly I found myself obsessed with historic costume.  I'm not exactly sure how it happened.

How old were you when you began sewing? How long ago was that?

I think it was the summer between fourth and fifth grade - my sister and I took a weeklong sewing course over the summer.  I got a machine for the course, but then didn't touch it much until eleventh grade for anything other than small projects.  Seriously, I think the coolest thing I did in those six-ish years was make knitting/sewing bags for my mom, my grandma, and myself.  Maybe I made a poncho for my doll.  Then I got into costuming, took a corset making class, and now my sewing machine has its own spot in my sewing corner (*cough* half of the living room *cough*).

Do you have any bad sewing habits? If so, what are they?

I don't iron enough.  Also, I hold pins in my mouth, which I've recently learned is a very, very bad habit to get into because of the dangers of swallowing pins accidentally.

Name one piece of sewing related equipment that you wish you owned.

A better iron and a bigger ironing board.  That was two pieces of equipment, but whatever.

What is your favourite thing about costuming?

Oh, definitely wearing the costume and bragging about how, "Why yes, I did make this myself."  In terms of the actual sewing part, though, I enjoy making bodices.  They're the funnest thing to watch come together.  Also, I love doing research.  I spend more time researching the fashions of different historical periods than I spend doing my homework.

Which part of costuming do you most dread?

God, mockups.  I hate making mockups.  I like fitting them just fine on other people, but I dislike fitting them on myself, and for somme reason, I dislike making them.  Even bodice mockups.

Do you sew many everyday garments, or do you only do costumes?

At the moment only costumes, but my Muggle wardrobe is sadly lacking so I'd really like to make myself from nice outfits.  Wearing a uniform everyday to school really does a number on your sense of what it acceptable to wear outside of the house.

How has costuming affected your life?

I can't watch period dramas anymore, unless the costumes in them are done really darn well.  Otherwise, I just end up yelling at the characters and informing my fellow movie-goers how inaccurate the costumes are.  (My family and friends find this to be very annoying.)

If you had unlimited time and money, what would you sew?

Gah, everything.  More underwear.  Waaay more petticoats.  You can never have too many petticoats.

My questions for Bascha, Theresa, and Privatepen are:

  1. What period was your first love or your introduction to historical costuming?  Wanna share a picture of your first costume?
  2. What period do you find most difficult?  Why?
  3. How have you balanced school work and costuming and a social life?
  4. Looking back at all the costumes you've made, which are you the most proud of?
  5. Where do you see yourself five years in the future, in regards to costuming?
  6. How does your family feel about your hobby?
  7. What is one piece of advice you can give to someone new to the hobby that you wish you'd gotten when you were just starting out?  (Or, alternatively, what is one piece of advice you got as a newbie that you'd like to pass on?)
  8. What is your dream fabric to work with?
  9. If you are comfortable with doing so, give us one random fact about yourself that you've never mentioned on your blog!
That's it!  Mouse Borg, thank you very much for the nomination.  Privatepen, Bascha, and Theresa, I wish you all the best!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vista Civil War Event

I just came home from a great weekend.  Seriously.  I'm exhausted right now, but I wish I were still there.

I went with the Historical Citizens Association and enjoyed the amenities of my friend's tent and parlor.  (Our little group portrays the civilians of a little town that has been destroyed by passing troops.  We don't have quite have the money to rebuild, so life goes on in makeshift homes (ie, tents and flys).)

I don't have many pictures of the event because I was trying to limit myself to period activities and conversation (succeeded on the first, failed on the second, but mainly because the company was full of like-minded women that enjoy the social time) and so I didn't want to take out my small SLR (but SLR nonetheless) camera.  (Next time I'll get a small disposable camera for the weekend that I can quietly slip it out of my pocket when I want a picture and not have to deal with the very electronic sounds of modern cameras.)

I absolutely had to get a picture of my hair.  Way back in November, Miss Betsy of In the Past Lane had a giveaway.  I was soooo excited to receive my new hairnet and bookmark in the mail.  (I bugged my parents for days with "Has a package arrived for me yet?!?")

Photo by Betsy C. (In the Past Lane)
The bookmark has faithfully been serving me in my very modern copy of Anna Karenina, which is about ten years post-period and take place on an entirely different continent, but which allows the bookmark a great deal of publicity (one of my English classes this semester is entirely focused on Anna Karenina, so I take the book with me to class).

The hairnet has not until this weekend been able to be so admired (and it's all my fault).  I wanted to do it justice by photographing it in the correct context, when I was wearing the correct hairstyle and clothes and that meant I had to wait until the next event when I would have the correct hairstyle and clothes.

Well.  It was worth the wait.  I got so many compliments!

Sunday morning, I did my hair and had breakfast in a friend's parlor in my undies (ugh, soo inappropriate, I know.  I must make a wrapper.  Fortunately, my friend was in a state of undress as well, so I didn't feel too immodest.  The one gentleman that came over whilst we were so attired covered his eyes).  It happened that I was wearing striped stockings.  The ladies commented that my striped stockings and the striped ribbon of my hair accessory meant I now have to make a striped dress.

I wore a borrowed Garibaldi blouse and a borrowed belt, but managed to whip out a skirt in time.  Sadly, the skirt lacks the trim I'd intended for it.  (And I am now boycotting JoAnns.  Their prices are not supportive of my budget.)  I've read that a Garibaldi blouse would typically be considered street attire only for young women, but could be worn in the comfort of one's own home by a greater range of ages.  (Oh, look at that, I'm a young woman.)  The breadth of my hoopskirt would push me into the upper middle class/wealthy range and if I used nicer materials, I would plant myself firmly in the wealthy range.  (Not too shabby, considering I was aiming for upper middle class.)

The event is held at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, which has tons of old machinery just lying around.  The civilian town happened to be tucked in a little corner with a lot of old tractor-type-things.  Not the most period setting, but easily ignored.

And the curse of the inability-to-take-serious-photos strikes again!

Saturday night was tons of fun.  The museum provided spaghetti dinner for a small fee and then there was a dance afterwards.  I broke my six-year streak of vegetarianism with the sauce at the dinner, and then made up for it (emotionally, at least) by dancing the first few dances.  The number of men-willing-to-dance to women-willing-to-dance worked itself out such that I had a partner for each dance I stayed for.  Our little group then retired back to my friend's parlor to play some period games in the lamplight.

I met lots of new friends and I'm very upset that the next two events fall when I'm going to be out of town and the weekend before my AP exams.  Sadness.

(Also note that I'm counting this as my first Civil War event because the real first one was miserable.  I felt utterly out of place.  It's amazing what the correct outfit will do to one's enjoyment of an event.)