Plum & Chartreuse at the Portrait Gallery (+ A New Hat!)

Back in mid-August I had the opportunity to participate in a really great experience. My friend Gloria (of In the Long Run) and her husband, Mike, organized a meet-up of historical costumers and photographers at the National Portrait Gallery here in DC for an afternoon photoshoot.

photo by Justin Schneider

There were 8 of us in costume (from left to right: Gloria, Stephani, Glynnis, Me, Nastassia, Tarisa, Taylor and Maggie) and 3 photographers (Dan, Justin and Mike). So we split into 3 groups of costumers and each group rotated through the photographers for about an hour with each, taking turns getting photographed. And what costumer doesn’t love an opportunity to get good photos of their hard work in a beautiful setting?! Continue reading

Mid-1870s Day-to-Night Bustle Dress

For the first weekend of February this year I got to have a little costuming adventure in Ft Worth, Texas. This was especially exciting as I’d never been to Texas before! And I have to say that what I saw of Ft Worth left a very good impression! It was so clean, the people were so friendly, the prices and portions for food were fantastic (even if the portion sizes were a little overwhelming) and the hospitality was overall so gracious!

The reason for the excursion was an event organized by the Dallas/Ft Worth Costumer’s Guild, entitled the “Victorian Soiree.” They found out that the Ft Worth Symphony was going to perform a selection of pieces from the later Victorian era and decided to make an event of it!

So, we went to the Symphony in costume and it was just delightful!

I had initially planned to re-wear my CoCo 2017 Gala gown but have decided I don’t think the bodice is really all that flattering on me and I’m feeling self-conscious these days about my flabby upper arms. Add to this that an idea for a new 1870s bustle dress had been planted in my head by a silk purchase a few months ago and I couldn’t resist making something new – with sleeves, lol!

Voila!:

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1875 Autumn Plaid Dress – Construction

If you’re just joining, this is my follow-up post to last week’s that was full of pretty photoshoot pictures of my recent 1875 bustle gown, made for my Big Ass Birthday Bash. This post focuses on construction and the insides of the ensemble. And thank you to everyone who responded to the last post with questions about the making of this outfit, I’ll do my best in answering them!

The foundations for this dress are my trusty pink Victorian corset along with the Laughing Moon bustle/crinoline I made earlier in the summer…..

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My BIG BUSTLE BIRTHDAY!!!!

My birthday is right at the end of September and this year was a milestone/slightly depressing one (though I’m really not that fussed about it, thankfully). My actual birthday was a little over-shadowed by the wedding of very good friends in Toronto (my husband was best man and I made the wedding dress – yes, there will be a post about that in the near future *winky face*). So, I decided to throw myself a big birthday party down here in DC a couple of weeks later; and to make it even bigger and better I made it a Big Bustle Birthday Bash! The main idea was Victorian bustle dresses but I also allowed late 18th century ones so as not to be *too* restrictive.

The party was set in 2 locations. First, we had a picnic together at the National Arboretum; then cake and champagne/cocktails at my house on Capitol Hill.

It was a pretty big undertaking but it was such a blast! I highly recommend costumed birthday parties if you can get the people together for it!

So now, without further ado, I’m just going to post a whole pile of pictures of the day!

Note: Photos with the watermark “In the Long Run Designs” in the lower right-hand corner were taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Making the Dress

This dress is old news now but in case you’re interested in how it went together I finally got my construction post for it done and up!

For most of this dress, both skirt and bodice, I used the draft from Patterns of Fashion for the 1870-71 dress – the one with 3 bodice options, I used the day bodice. Although this pattern is from a few years after my date, in looking at lots of fashion plates and extant garments I realized that pattern piece shapes from the early 1870s were largely the same as those of the mid-late 1860s – it was fashion evolution not revolution going on at this time!

1871-73 I think this is the dress from the Patterns of Fashion 1860-1940 by Janet Arnold

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Sesquicentennial Ensemble: Skirt Foundations Trials and Tribulations

Quick re-cap of this project:

This year is Canada’s Sesquicentennial – aka: 150th birthday. I went to Ottawa for Canada Day this year (or Dominion Day for those who go old school) which was on July 1st when some friends and I celebrated in 1867 style. If you’re just tuning in you can see the finished outfit in this post.

The silhouette and style I went with is more 1867-ish than straight on 1867 because, to me, the whole 1840s through 1860s is such a snooze fest fashion-wise. I just do not like 1860s fashion; so I pushed mine more into 1868/beginning of the bustle-era. What’s the point of making something that I’m just not interested in, right?

I’m doing a whole post on just the skirt supports because, lemme tell you, this was a whole journey in itself!

For reference, this was my primary inspiration for the dress overall:

Dress

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Raspberry Mint Sorbet Bustle Dress Part the Third: The Hat – Both the Making and In Action!

This is the third and final post on the construction of my Raspberry Mint Sorbet bustle dress completed back in May

If you’re just joining now, here’s the first post, about the skirts, and here’s the second, about the bodice.

I started thinking about the hat while I was finishing sewing the dress. In looking at mid-1880s fashion plates I quickly knew I wanted to do one of those small-but-tall crowned hats from the period. They just look so pert and jaunty – and have such ridiculously fun trimming!

Some examples:

the upper and lower left-hand ones here

Illustration of bonnets and hats - 1887

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Celebrating Canada 150 in 1867 Fashion(s)

I’m posting about this project in a backwards manner, showing you the finished ensemble being worn before the construction post(s) – and before I’ve finished with the Raspberry Mint Sorbet. But I wanted to get this up as close after the July 1 weekend as possible, and so you get the good stuff first!

So, as you may have guessed from the title of this post this year Canada celebrated its 150th “birthday,” maybe not such a big deal as a centennial or bicentennial, etc but still significant for us as quite a young country; plus, I wasn’t around for the centennial and will have to live to nearly 90 to see the bicentennial, so I’ll take it!

For the occasion a few friends around Ottawa and I decided to make historical dresses inspired by the year of Canada’s confederation, 1867, and get up to some shenanigans around the capitol over the holiday weekend. We initially intended to have picnics throughout the weekend but the weather ended up being just about as un-co-operative as could be and rained heavily, thundered and lighteninged most of the time. So we had to make some hasty re-arrangements and I’m quite pleased with what we managed to throw together last minute. I also actually quite like that we ended up doing something different each of the 3 days.

For the Friday we found a teahouse to accommodate the 4 of us who could make it (Me, Sarah, Liz, Catherine):

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Raspberry Mint Sorbet Bustle Dress Part the Second, aka Adventures in Bodice-ing

If you’re just joining, this is the second in a small series of posts about my most recently completed project, which I dubbed the Raspberry Mint Sorbet bustle dress, for probably pretty obvious reasons.

Here’s where we left off (because I haven’t shown this image enough already, lol) – which is where I left off last summer (post covering the skirts here).

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My initial inspiration for the bodice was this fashion plate that I also liked for showing a similar colour combination to my own, which still feels a little too, I don’t know, for HA.

Le Salon de la Mode 1884:

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Victorian Christmas Tea

This is the event for which I busted my butt making my recent Natural Form gown – a Victorian Christmas Tea I hosted at our historic Capitol Hill house (built in 1908).

As hostess I didn’t really have a chance to take photos, but a couple of my guests, Gloria of In the Long Run designs (all her photos have her watermark) and Maggie (sans watermark) appear to have well taken care of that for me!

The theme for attire was Victorian but open to any part of the period to make it as easy as possible for people in a heavily 18th century/Regency-oriented region to attend.

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