Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why do we blog?

It seems like a simple question but I think it's worth thinking about.  Some blog because they have a writer's soul, some want a place to share information or images, others want a place to have a portfolio for their work or to promote a business, there are a whole host of reasons.

But for me there has always only ever been one answer: community.

care of
Would you believe I've been in online communities for nearly all my life?   I didn't stop to do the math until I started writing this but I've been in online communities for  - 33 YEARS!!
Because my dad worked in the tech industry I had access to one of the first online communities:  The Source, when I was in middle school.  After that came the Well, then AOL and listservs like H-Costume, then Live Journal and now Blogger.  In some of these communities I was part of the old guard and in others I was a newbie, but in all cases the communities changed over time.  Technology changed, the people changed, companies went under or got new leadership and how things started out in the beginning were not how they ended up.

And the online world has changed a lot just in the last few years with the rise of Facebook and Tumblr and, more recently, Pinterest.  And I only expect this to continue.  That's how technology is - constantly changing.  But that means it's worth reflecting every once and a while on what your personal motivation is for being in the community you're in.  Sometimes those changes may not be in allignment with your goals and you may need to switch communities or change your tactics to adapt to the new technology.  For example, posting details about your personal life along with your costume stuff may feel okay with a small group but a bit uncomfortable when it's not so small.  Similarly, ideas and techniques shared amongst your friends can be rather casual but when shared amongst a larger group takes on a more formal tone.

The good news is most blogs, online communities and forms of social media do have controls that allow for a lot of personalization of what others see of you online.  There are often settings that allow you to control you who sees your posts, whether your images are pinnable, and how linked to other social media you are. 

Because community is so important to me I'm going to try to do more to help strengthen that by  posting more, commenting more and trying to share more information about other costumers to strengthen the bonds between us.  If you've found some particularly interesting or fun online costuming communities or little known costume bloggers, please share.  I'd love to hear about them! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My new Pomps!

My new Pompadour shoes arrived from American Duchess the other day, aren't they pretty?

Now those of you who know me know, I'm a bit of a shoe-o-holic in general, and an 18th Century shoe fanatic in particular. Aside from recovering shoes to make my own 18th C beauties I've also bought repro shoes from Jas Townsend, Burnley and Trowbridge, Fugawee and American Duchess.  I also happen to have hard to fit feet.  My feet are somewhat large at a 9.5, my toe box is wide and my ankles are narrow.  This makes finding shoes that work for me rather difficult.

So how do the Pomps compare?  I'm happy to say that they fit me!  And I thought you might like some of the fitting details so you can get an idea of how they fit you.  I got the size 10 and as said before I'm a 9.5 wide.  While they are a tad roomy (as 10s often are on me) I think some foam inserts will help.  They are definitely wide enough for my feet which may mean others on the cusp of sizes but who are more narrow might need to size down.  The fabric is lovely and the shoe looks to be sturdy and of good quality.  The toe is much more pointed than the Georgiana shoe, the latchets are smaller and have a metal eyelet for the ties.  The Pomps come with a a narrow synthetic ribbon which I found to be a tad slippery.  I was able to tie the shoes tighter so they'd stay on my feet better with a silk ribbon - and that's oh so much prettier anyway, isn't it?  All in all I'm quite pleased with my pretty new black shoes!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Curtain call

So my curtains arrived today, that was fast!  They are really lovely in person, a nice light cotton, not as heavy as I thought.  (Not like the Ikea curtains for example.)  I threw them in the wash straight away to get out any sizing and shrink them, I plan on using this as a picnic dress so I want to make sure I can throw it in the wash after I make it up and not worry about it shrinking.  This is how it looks straight out of the dryer: fabric The colors are very "autumn" - sage green, mustard, saffron, coffee-with-cream, scarlet and a salmon pink on a black ground.  A few little things you may not have caught - the curtain is 50 x 80" but as Jen Thompson noted it can be unpicked to give a little more length and width.  For a tall girl like me - 5'9 - one curtain is probably not quite enough for a petticoat worn over a bumroll. Two probably are enough for a petticoat and matching jacket though.

By the way, I'm sure you noticed my blog looks a little different!  I've been wanting to change things for a while and have only now finally gotten around to doing it.  I'm not quite finished yet, but I'd love any feedback you have (good or bad) on the new look. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Curtains for Me

When Jen of Festive Attyre blogged about the 18th C print curtains she found at Lowes I resisted.  When American Duchess blogged about starting her print gown of curtains fabric I still held out.  Then more costumers joined the curtain crew and Jen set up a pinterest board so everyone could share pics of all their curtain creations...and I was sunk.   I'm joining the curtain-along!

I dragged my sons to both Lowes and Jo Ann's but to no avail, so I went online and bought them in the black colorway.  I'd like to make something simple, similar to this gown from the Kyoto Costume Institute which has been on my to-make list forever:

The cool thing about this is that I've got a white sheer embroidered petticoat already and it's made from curtains too!!  Other curtain-o-philes might be interested to know that Target's "Shabby Chic" collection includes these lovely embroidered voile curtains which a bunch of us have used to make 18th C petticoats similar to the one above.  Is that hilarious or what?  I may have to call it my 18th C Scarlett outfit...

Costume College - Finally!

It's been over a month and still haven't posted a con run down! So I'm thinking maybe I'll just be brief this year - I had a blast seeing wonderful costumes, meeting some online costumers in real life for the first time, shopping, taking great classes -- and most of all hanging out with dear friends.  The only bad part about costume college is that there are so many of my good friends there that it's impossible to hang out with them all as much as I'd like! 

And to those of you who didn't make it this year, you were missed and we all really hope to see you next year!

Anyway, here are some of my highlights of the weekend:

The entire set of 468 photos that I took that weekend can be found here. Feel free to take pictures of yourself I only ask that if you republish them in your own blog that you credit me as the photographer.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pattern Bar

My husband and I finally made it to the Pattern Bar last night and had a wonderful time.  It's a year-old bar in the LA Garment District with a pattern design theme.  There are antique sewing machines and old barstools in a slightly industrial 1920s looking space.  It's not huge so if you're planning on eating there too, as we were, you may end up at a bar instead of a table, but it's well worth the visit.  Heavenly designer cocktails with names like the Lagerfeld (which was what I had - skyy vodka, Kings ginger, muddled cucumbers, lime juice, organic agave, a dash of bitters and absinthe mist) and the Galliano (which my husband had - Spicebox whiskey, Kings gingers, fresh squeezed lemon) don't stint on flavor or strength.  And the tapas we had, L'Argula, Tortilla Espanola and the Poulet Poulet, were delicious and fresh and more than enough for two and the servers were all very friendly and laid back. 

And Pattern Bar is at 9th and Main downtown, a mere 3 blocks from Michael Levine!

Tissot Up Close

Close up of "Still on Top"
I've been pouring over my Tissot book and searching for images on the web and had a few things I thought I'd share since I know he's a favorite amongst costumers.  First of all there is a great website: with a complete or nearly complete image catalog of his paintings.  This is really a nice resource for costumes because, as I noted before, he often paints the same dresses, so if you can find all the images with the dress you've fallen in love with you can find more details and views which can help in construction.  I found two more images of the striped gown on this site! 

And while these images aren't the largest ones they do all include the painting titles which can help you search for larger versions of the paintings online.  I was very excited to find a large, downloadable image of his 1874 painting "Still on Top" online because it shows the back of striped dress without the black wrap, something I'd never seen before, and confirms that there is a black bow on the back of the sleeves.  After finding large high res images I imported them into iphoto and zoomed in so I can see details that were a bit fuzzy.  Seamlines, trim and grain placements are easier to see now.  I love that the pleated ruffle trim has a strip of bias fabric sewn along the top of it!

Close ups from "Return from the boating trip"