Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I've been trying to reduce not only my fabric stash but my stash of existing costumes and have been trying to make more mix and match outfits all in an effort to save space.  As I made the latest pass through the costume closet I realized that there were a few costumes that I never wore any more but that had fabric I liked that I could remake into something new.  So I started deconstructing.  Some of you may remember the infamous Poison Polonaise.  An outfit I worked on forever and was never fully satisfied with when I finished.  But it DID have a nice large swath of black velvet in the skirt...and so did another project, a UFO German Ren gown that never got off the ground.  So I cannibalized them both for a new project I'm working on!  Creating closet space AND something new all in one fell swoop.

I also ran across this bustle outfit I made way back in I think 1999?
red bustle cu
Look how young and skinny I was then!

Anyway it's something I made long ago and it's not something I see myself wearing again.  The skirt I'll give away but the jacket I saw some use for.  So I ripped out the seams connecting the jacket to the red vest front and removed all the old red and worn out trim.  Then I started to re-trim it and I plan on creating a way of adding new vests fronts so it can work with  a multitude of different outfits.

Added bonus, the hat in the second pic goes with a Regency spencer I made but I think can do double duty with this new outfit.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice!

So Saturday was the annual Jane Austen Evening here in Pasadena.  It's a tea and ball in a lovely Masonic Hall that I've gone to every year since I moved back to California.  I had a nice time at the tea with friends but was feeling a little under the weather so only stayed to take a few pics of the ball. 

You can see all my pictures on flickr here.

This year was a bit different: since the 200th Anniversary of P&P was the following Monday (today!) ABC news was there -- and they interviewed me and actually used the segment I'm in.  I'm in the yellow dress and black hat/spencer.

Historical Sew Fortnightly #2 UFO x 2!

So despite doing the Bee costume for the Costume College gala last year I guess still had a bit of a bee in my bonnet because when I found this fabric on Fabric.com I just had to buy it and make a big bee-ish early bustle skirt.  I'd sewn the seams but needed to clip and press and attach the waistband and hook/bar/snaps.  I think this would be a fun thing to wear to the Edwardian Ball.

The Challenge: #2 UFO double down!
Fabric: Flocked faux silk dupioni, totally man-made and horrible/wonderful
Pattern: TV Grand Parlor Skirt
Year: 1869
Notions: Thread, hook and bar, snaps
How historically accurate is it?   The pattern is and striped fabric are accurate the synthetic aspect not so much.
Hours to complete: about 8 hours total
First worn: Not worn yet, probably will wear to the Edwardian Ball.
Total cost: About $40

Flora and Fauna

Is the theme of the 9th Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge, which I love!  Aside from my known partiality for Victorian Fancy Dress and the obvious flora and fauna connections there, I just love the recurring influences of flora and fauna in costume in general.  Lovely fur muffs, feather trimmed hats and gowns dripping with flowers.  The natural world has always been a source of inspiration to me and I already have projects I'm planning to work on that fit right in with this theme!

A few sources of inspiration:
From a Museum:LACMA Butterfly and floral evening gown 1865

From a photo: late Victorian lady in fur and feathers from Morning Glory Antiques

From a painting:  Madame MolĂ©e-Reymond wears feathers and carries a giant fur muff  -Vigee Le Brun  the Louvre

From a movie:  The Golden Bowl, Uma Thurman in a peacock feathered Cleopatra Victorian Fancy Dress and another lady in feathers.  It's a downer of a movie but the costumes are lovely.
Source: google.com via Loren on Pinterest