Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fluffing feathers

I did a longer post on fluffing feathers a few years ago, but since I was doing it again the other day I thought I'd do another short one....I was happy to discover a big stash of black ostrich feather seconds I'd bought on one of the last big sales Ostriches Online had before they disappeared.  Seconds often have "holes" in the feathers - places where the barbs are missing, and are generally not as full and fluffy but after some fiddling, curling and layering they can be quite nice.

First I ironed some of the feathers that had barbs pressed up against the shaft of the feather to make them fuller and steamed them with the iron to make them fluff up a bit.  Then I steam ironed the feathers right side down, starting at the shaft and ironing towards the tip and curling the feather as I did to create a nice curve in the whole feather.
feather1feather2
You can curls the barbs by taking a blunt scissor to them in much the same was as you do with ribbon to curl it.  You will lose some of the barbs but this will make them look much fuller and fluffier.   Then I stacked three feathers together, trying to match feathers with similar curves, and shaved the bottom off the stem of feather that goes on top, top and bottom off the middle and top off the bottom feather so they stack better.  Then the stems can be hot glued or sewn together.

layers
So from left to right: feather straight from the store, feather with curled fronds and stem, layer of 3 feathers with curled fronds and stems.
comparison

Be forewarned, this is a bit messy, you can end up with barbs, feather "dust" and bits of the shaft everywhere so do it over a trash can!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: #2: UFO

After cleaning up the sewing room the other day I spent a large part of the day sewing!   A while back I decided that I really wanted more Victorian mix and match stuff, like I had in my 18th C wardrobe.  So when I started the Tissot gown I also started a basic bustle skirt out of some old black silk satin I'd gotten from fabric.com back in the days when they had sales on such things, than then left it in the UFO pile.  I had finished the bulk of the skirt and had partially made a pleated ruffle for the bottom that I'd never gotten around to finishing or attaching.  So finally I did that and topped it off with a pleated velvet ribbon trim. It makes a smart, but rather plain, bustle gown skirt that I can add over skirts to or use as-is.  I have enough of the satin left to make a matching bodice and over skirt.  Given this was pretty close to being finished I may try to do a double header and get another UFO off my list before the deadline of 1/28.

 bustleskirt
The Challenge: #2 UFO
Fabric: Black silk satin
Pattern:  TV 261.
Year: 1885
Notions: ribbons from the stash to attach bustle
How historically accurate is it? Somewhat.
Hours to complete: ?  Hard to tell with a UFO, the pleating of the skirt ruffle took the longest.
First worn: not yet!
Total cost: ? Fabric.com sale in 2004ish?  Too long ago for me to remember!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Myth Masque

While Costume College has loomed large in my recent costume musings I've got a few other costume events on the horizon from a Bustle picnic to the LA Edwardian Ball. But the one I'm feeling I need to plan most for is Myth Masque in May.

Besides the fact that Myth Masque looks even more over the top than Labyrinth of Jareth, it also happens to be our wedding anniversary (16 years!) so we want to make it really special.  And we have a few added constraints - first of all I wanted to use as much of H's existing menswear as possible.  I hate making men's costumes and it saves a LOT of time if I don't have to make two crazy costumes from scratch.  That means either Victorian or 18th C.  But while 18th C seems the obvious choice for over the top, H really likes Victorian on me more (he's not a fan of wigs or big hair) and is IS our anniversary...so I started thinking Victorian.

I've been wanting to make a repro of the "Think of Me" gown from Phantom of the Opera ever since I first saw the movie.  It's a lovely gown based on this painting.


But being a married lady of a "certain age" and kinda gothy to boot, the white is a bit too precious for me.   It's also a tad more hoop-y than I'd like, so I'm going to go for something a little more bustle era in black and silver.  Something like a mix between the original inspiration, this pink Simplicity version of the Think of Me gown (I like the big butt bustle) and this gown from the 2nd Edition (1882) of Ardeen Holt's Fancy Dresses Described:
bustle star

I also have no intention of embroidering a humongous skirt or buying super-expensive star beaded fabric.  So I want a design that works but lets me use the fabric I have along with other trims to give this impression.  Luckily the LA garment district has everything I need: rhinestone/beaded star motifs ($2-4 each), tiny star sequins ($1 per pack), cheesy-yet-awesome poly organza with silver stars printed all over it ( only $2/yd and 60" wide baby!)  All this will supplement the black silk satin and black sequined fabric I already have and the black silk organza I ordered recently. And my husband can wear his trusty Gentleman's Emporium black frock coat and pants and I'll just have to make him a star-studded vest - and voila!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bowers Museum Exhibit "Cut! Costume and the Cinema"

I recently got to see a bunch of friends from the Costumers' Guild West at the Bowers Museum's event "Skirting the Issue: Dressing the 18th and 19th C Woman."  Mela Hoyt-Heydon, organized a wonderful fashion show of us for the museum goers in conjunction with the exhibit of Cosprop costumes in the "Cut!  Costume and Cinema" exhibit (up until March 10th.)  I was so busy prepping and socializing I didn't actually get to see the show!  But those in the LA area may want to make the trip, I'm certainly planning on going back.  Costumes from Ever After, The Duchess and Phantom of the Opera are all on display.  Those who live too far afield may want to check out this gallery of shots from the exhibit, link care of the Costumers Guide website. I wore my "Victory Gown" repro from the Duchess and my blue and white striped seaside bustle gown.  And I've got the bad iphone pics to prove it:
 duchess2duchess seaside