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
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!
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:
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!
the upper and lower left-hand ones here
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):
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).
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.
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.
This project was finished about a month ago, but I only just got photos of me in it this week, so waited until now to do a proper post. I started this early in the year and used it as my entry for the Historical Sew Monthly challenge for March: Stashbusting.
My teagown is a combination of this inspiration original piece (It’s dated 1886 but I don’t know by what authority and the overall silhouette looks comparable to Natural Form to me):
As part of my adventures in Natural Form foundations garments I also made a new corset. This is something I’d wanted to do for a while anyway. My previous Victorian corset was fine, but I wasn’t getting quite the curve in my figure or roundness in my bust profile I wanted. It also makes my hips sore because – and this was a big revelation for me! – there wasn’t enough fullness at the hips built into the corset. Duh! One of those things that seems so obvious once you realize it. The adjustability gained from having a lacing gap at the back will get you only so far!
Enter this beauty from Jill Salen’s book, Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques
***WARNING***Image-Heavy Post – I really love this outfit!!!!***
This was a very spur of the moment make. Only a couple of weeks before Christmas I decided to make it all of a sudden one afternoon to wear out for a holiday dinner with the same
co-conspirators friends as the Victorian picnic summer before last. I could have worn my Autumn 1880s ensemble, and planned to do so. But all of a sudden in the afternoon one week before our intended dinner I was struck with inspiration for a new ensemble specifically for winter and vaguely Christmas-y. Within the space of a few hours I had the fabric and design picked out. I don’t know when I’ve ever gotten a sizable project sorted so quickly!
I got most of it done in a week, but ultimately our dinner was postponed until after Christmas. That gave me time to finish it properly, make the hat, and add an extra piece!
In case you missed my year-end round-up post, I won’t keep you in suspense, here it is: