Friday, March 29, 2013

18th C repro clothing vendors

Let's face it, we don't always have to time or inclination to make all the costumes we "need" for a particular event, so when crunch time comes who do you turn to if you want to purchase 18th C ready-made costumes?  Since I know some friends have been sewing frantically for 18th C events I thought I'd share a few of my favorite vendors.

I love the The Silly Sisters. I've bought custom stays, 2 caps and a hat from them, and on my numerous trips to The Fort Frederick Market Fair I've seen many wonderful off the rack dresses, petticoats and jackets.

I also like April C Thomas, who sells at Fort Frederick Market Fair.  I've bought mitts and a muff from her and I have friends who've bought other pieces of ladies' wear from her.

Verdanta is one of my favorite Etsy sellers.  I've bought two 18th C frock coats for my husband from her and couldn't be more pleased with the cut, fabric choices and price.  She also sells women's gowns and petticoats as well as some early 19th C costume pieces.

This coat is very similar to the one I bought my husband

Jas Townsend is my old standby for 18th C menswear, I've bought shirts, a great coat and breeches from them and was very happy with the quality and price.

Keep in mind when you buy "off the rack" you are buying just that; unless you're extremely lucky the fit will rarely be as good as tailor made, but sometimes it can be the perfect solution when you have a time crunch.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

From the bookshelf: Draping Period Costumes: Classical Greek to Victorian

Thanks to Chantal for the heads up on this new book.  While I haven't actually made up any of the garments yet I've been impressed with my first pass through.  It has detailed draping instructions for costumes from the Greek to Victorian eras for women AND men and is only $19.22 for the kindle version or $34.95 hardcover.  It starts off with basic draping instructions and step by step on setting up a dress form for draping and then goes garment by garment through the years.  While this book is geared towards theatrical costumers I can see it finding a place next to Hunnisett's books on many a historical costumer's book shelf.  Given it's a draping book there are no scaled patterns, so I bought the ebook to save space, money, and give myself a nice costume reading  option while on vacation!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #6 Stripes - Man's Victorian Vest

The Historical Sew Fortnightly hosted by thedreamstress.comI had high hopes for working on the Tissot-ish gown for this challenge but I'm really still in the monkeying with mockups stage on the bodice so I put it on the back burner (I'm hoping I'll some of it finished for the "By the Sea" challenge) and worked on another vest for my husband.

It's another fantasy Victorian that will go with an upcoming fancy dress costume I'm making for him so it's not all that historically accurate. 

The Challenge: #6 Stripes - Men's Victorian Vest

Fabric:I used all small bits of stash fabrics for this - black linen for the lining, black silk for the vest back, black cotton velvet for the collar and welt pockeks (what a bear that was!) and some black and silver pinstriped man-made mystery fabric for the front.

Pattern: Buccaro Bobbins Men's Victorian Vests
Year: 1880s-ish
Notions: Interfacing, buttons thread
How historically accurate is it? Not very given the fabric!
Hours to complete: I rarely keep track of this since I usually work on multiple projects at once.
First worn: Will be worn to the Myth Masque Masquerade Ball in May.
Total cost: All stash so free?

18th C shift kits

Hallie Larkin at the Sign of the Golden Scissors has started an Etsy store  selling kits to make 18th C shifts.  While shifts are not all that hard to make having a kit, takes out all the guesswork.  Added bonus - she also sells 18th C quilted petticoat patterns and batting for the petticoats.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wearable Technology

While I mostly do historic or historic-inspired costumes, I've always been a fan of high tech costumes.  You know, the crazy ones you see at fantasy balls or cons with light up or move?  So when my husband told me that Anouk Wipprecht was giving a talk on wearable technology at the LA Makerspace I snapped up a ticket. While you may not know Anouk's name if you saw the Black Eyed Peas perform at the Superbowl in 2011 you've seen her work.  She designed and fabricated Fergie's costume and illuminated boots.  If you haven't seen the video of their halftime performance it's worth a glance, the costumes are some of the best illuminated ones I've seen.  The amazing sparkle is created by using a mesh overlay of Swarovski crystals with LEDs scattered throughout and attached to the mesh.  Wow!

 In addition to that Anouk's done some other amazing high tech designs you may have seen around the web like the famous moving spider dress. The key to much of her costuming is micro-controllers like the arduino lillypad, raspberry pi and (pink!) sakura to create the movement or power the lights.  Motion sensors, medical equipment, LEDs, luminex fiber optic fabric and thermoplastics are just a few of the materials she uses for her amazing artistic creations. While I must admit that some of her talk was more my programmer husband's language than mine, it definitely got me pumped for some some future collaborations on high tech costumes.  Maybe for Labyrinth of Jareth next year....?  After all, he did create Rita Skeeter's Quick Quotes Quill for me!