Thursday, June 9, 2011

Daily dose: 20s

My husband and I have a joke that as you get older you need to "cultivate your eccentricities." Mostly we make silly comments about what that could be, but there is a real life part of it too.

Something I've been wanting to do for a long time is incorporate more costuming into my daily life. Mostly what this means is 20th century vintage or vintage-inspired outfits. So I've decided that I'd blog a bit about that too with the idea of a "daily dose" of costume.   Mostly these are not things I've made but pieces I've thrifted, bought online, or found at regular stores like Target.

Recently I got a pretty and oh so comfy 20s-inspired dress from this etsy seller and today it's making it's debut.   I paired it with some chevroned tights and a black cardigan from Target and some black wingtip oxfords from Naturalizer.  I put my back hair in a ponytail and curled the front layers under to simulate a bob.

Fancy a bicorn?

I love perchy little hats.  Not the super tiny doll-sized ones, but some of the more modest perchy little hats are just so cute.  And I'm blessed with good hat wearing-fu, if I do say so myself, so I'm a big hat collector.  Anyway, I've been sewing and brainstorming on the fancy dress costume and have decided I need a perchy little bicorn.  I've seen many tiny top hats and quite a few mini-tricorns (I've made two myself in fact) but I've never seen a mini bicorn. Most of the harlequin fancy dress images I've seen have bicorns.  And while this one from a reprint of the 1892 Masquerade and Carnival: Their Customs and Costumes isn't a harlequin, her bicorn is kinda mini and about what I was going for. Hilariously enough she's supposed to be Lord Nelson!

Last night I looked though my books for a bicorn pattern, I was sure Patterns for Costume Accessories had one, but I eventually found it in From the Neck Up.  Like some origami animals, it took me a while to grok it, but I finally did and made a paper mock up of the book's pattern at 200% enlargement which seemed about right for a mini.  I'm afraid the paper doesn't look like much but I'll take some pics of construction once I start.

I'm wondering a bit as to how to construct it (anyone ever made one from scratch with buckram vs. blocking one in felt?) I've made a lot of hats.   But exactly how I construct them changes with materials, pattern and my whims but this is complicated enough, essentially it's a hat with a brim on top of a brim, that I think I need a plan.

In any case, the goal is a little black velvet bicorn perched at a rakish angle atop a bunch of fake hair with some pretty curls hanging down my neck.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All over the map

I did a whole lot today but was kind of all over the map as far as projects go.  I had a little detour in my fancy dress and breeches projects and whipped up a 20s dress.  It's not finished yet, I'm waiting on my big sewing machine to come back from the shop since it's the one that does the killer narrow hems but it's nearly finished with just sleeves and hemming needed.  It looks rather sad hanging in the bathroom but 20s dresses, like Mad Men era styles, just don't have a lot of hanger appeal I'm afraid.  It has a lovely floaty quality when worn that you'll just have to trust me on for now.

I also worked on the underskirt for my fancy dress costume.  It's pretty boring at the moment so I didn't bother to snap a pic.  It's just big black mess of silk organza over a layer of silk shantung, but it's only the underskirt so it's not meant to be all that exciting.  A bit more interesting though were the experiments I did with the diamond patterned fabric.  I want to have the diamonds dags all around the bottom of the overskirt and since the fabric is sort of flimsy I put a facing of shantung along the back, sewed the diamonds then cut, turned and pressed it.  I think it looks pretty good but maybe needs a little trim to make it pop.  I thought you'd also like to see the mask I plan on wearing with it.

I only worked a tiny bit on the breeches today.  I'm getting in that cocky phase where I can see the end is in sight and I've got a whole other costume to finish so I've started on that because there's no way I can't NOT finish the breeches now.  At least I hope so!  Anyway, I promised pics of them too so here they are.  They are a lovely golden caramel color - a golden brown shot with white.  Trust me when I say they look a lot better on my husband than they do on the floor!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Into the breech(es)

So my husband waistcoat is finally finished and I'm happy to say fits well. Now it's on to his breeches. I was looking for a brown, green or tan to go with a the coat he'll be wearing which I purchased on etsy. The waistcoat is a little earlier than the coat but I wanted maximum bling for this event and that meant using the embroidered fabric.   Later I'll make another waistcoat to go with this frock.

Lucky me, I found a perfect caramel color silk taffeta at Home Fabrics in the remnant bin for only $5 per yard and there's enough for me to make another frockcoat for him! So I've been working on his breeches. I made a pair for him years and years ago from the Eagle's View pattern which was pretty easy so I thought I'd use it again. But he weighed a lot more back then so I needed to make the next size down. Conveniently enough I also have a pair of linen breeches I brought for him from Jas. Townsend which fit nearly perfectly. So I re-cut the pattern using the Townsend breeches as my guide and I'm happy to say he just tried them on and they seem to fit well! I'm about 2/3 of the way done, I still need to do the buttons and button holes, knee bands and back eyelets and gusset.  I'll take some pics when they're done.

Then I need to start MY costume!   (Or decide to just wear something from my closet!)