Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stays in progress

Well the fronts are done, all the boning channels have been stitched and the bones set in and the pieces joined.

Now to attach the lining and set the eyes and it will be done :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Period food

Oh the dilemma of period food!!

This is a very real dilemma at re- enactments but a detail that is often over looked for smaller less involved events like picnics, for example. And it is most definitely now picnic season :)

This lovely little site has a history of food from oh you know the dawn of time (and I'm not even kidding) and going till current. It has recipes and period menus. It also breaks it down by meal type too , so you can see the difference between a breakfast and a brunch.

Michael and I used the picnic description from 1908 to help us make our food choices for the Lanterman summer whites picnic last weekend. Even though the event had no real era designation we went in teens and so went with a teens-ish meal.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lanterman Summer Picnic

This Sunday was the Lanterman summer whites picnic and ukulele rendezvous. It was not an era specific party, though everyone was encouraged to wear their summer whites. The gathering  spread out across the lawn and back yard for the picnic and the house was open for tours. There was even live music for dancing up in the ballroom.

Since the event was not era specific Michael and I chose to use our teens era outfits. Michael in his linen plus fours and blue blazer and I in my original early teens cotton lawn dress with Swiss dot and inset lace. And I finally got to use my new cream walking parasol that Michael had fixed for me, I carried that thing around with me the whole afternoon, I was so excited to use it :)

We did a full picnic set up complete with table and chairs and all our fine china. And I made three varieties of sandwich and home made Madeline cookies :) Michael rounded out the menu with very refreshing gin and tonics to drink.

The weather was perfect, sunny but not too warm. And we had quite a few good friends in attendance, so there was lots of fun chatting and hanging out.

So glad that picnic season is here and looking forward to the next one! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

18th Century embroidered pockets

You'd think I was bored or something, or didn't have anything to do all day. Which is so not the case as i actually work long hours every day and sew every evening not to mention other events on the weekends.

And yet here I am deciding it's a good idea to embroider my 18th century pockets just like they would have done.

I realize that they will likely not get done in the next 5 weeks for the pirate fair but there's no harm in trying, and I do spend quite a bit of time sitting on the train each week. And if I don't get them finished it is a very period thing to sit around and work on during the fair :)

And let's not even mention the fact that I am planning in wearing pocket hoops under my dress and won't even need to wear separate pockets ;)

I have a huge book of embroidery designs from my grand mother who used them for quilting designs, and there was a whole section that just looked perfect for this. I pieced a few designs together to get each pocket front and chose to have each side a little different then the other for variety.

I got started last Friday on the train and was able to get one little flower done. It's a little rough but embroidery is new to me and I know I will get better the more I work on it. Practice makes perfect, or atleast a finished pocket ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

18th century - the dress

So I have finally chosen the style I am going with for the pirate fair! :) I was wavering a lot between the robe a la francais and the robe a l'anglaise. I have decide to go with the robe a l'anglaise because I like the idea of simpler lines for the pirate fair and I love things worn a la polonaise. The real turning point was this extant gown:

As I have this blue and yellow patterned strip which is very similar to this that I was already planning to use. 

I love this one a lot too and am thinking about doing a quilted petticoat in a single non patterned complimentary color.  That can be worn with the bodice of the striped fabric.

I have this golden yellow matalaise that gives the quilted look with out having to actually quilt the darn thing ;)

My patterns are coming from JP Ryan
Even though I was too lazy to use their corset pattern, I really love their dress patterns. As this is an all new sewing era for me I feel it is the easiest jumping off point while still maintaining my historical accuracy 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

18th Century hairstyle tutorials

To continue my choice of wig vs styling for this era, I started looking for styling tutorials. 

I found two really good ones for using your own hair. The American Duchess does a very nice one complete with lots of pictures and drawn diagrams.

Example of one of her great drawn diagrams!

The second one from my moving finger writes, is more 1700s "inspired" but who would really notice under a hat and this has a nice video . . .

Then I found this site, the article is step by step directions on how to build your own wig using frames and fake hair. Though this is probably the hard and more complex way to go, it really tickles my fancy and I want to try it :)

She also makes custom wigs on commission for a decent price. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

18th Century stays - final decision

I have finally decided to go with the simplicity pattern.

 I am going to try to make a few adjustments to the boning structure to try to incorporate a few horizontal bones as shown in this drawing.

I also like what this seamstress did with her corset.

Here are my fabric choices: the white is for the outside, the patterned green for the inside and the lace is for all the bias. I am going to try to make it nice enough that it will be reversible but that is yet to be seen ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

American duchess shoes - 18th century

As if I wasn't already going into nutty detail over my first 18th century ensemble, American Duchess goes and releases a new shoe that I am just drooling over!! Check it out at:

The Pompadour is an early 18th century style shoe done up in silk with a stunning Louis heel. It has to be my favorite of all her shoes now!!
Unfortunately the shoe will not be available for this June event but I will get it to use for future events.

And since she is doing a give away I just couldn't resist the temptation to try and win a pair rather then purchase them, which is the explanation for this post ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

18th century hairstyles

This is the next train of thought . . . 

The question is though can I do it myself or should I purchase a wig?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

18th century stays

The next big project looks like it will be a 1770s polonaise for the pirate fair up north in Vallejo.

The event is still about a month out so I'm not in any sort of rush mode which is why I think I have started looking at making a real set of 18th century stays to go with this dress rather then wear the old 16th century stays I had intended to use. 

After reading this review from The American Duchess I realized I have the same pattern in my stash. So the possibility grows . . .

Then I came across this nice post using this Simplicity pattern:

Which I have also in my stash ( I guess I have more patterns then I think I do). I like this review as she makes almost no design modifications but a few construction ones, which I don't have to do. 

So next step I think is to lay out both patterns side by side and figure out which one I am going to use.

I also need to choose my fabric, I'm thinking about trying to make them reversible with a nice plain white on one side and a bright solid color on the other. I have seen lots of extant examples for red stays. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Avalon - or a weekend on Catalina Island

It's been a really long time since I was last on Catalina Island, but this weekend was like a vacation on a tropical island for me! We had so much fun and all the vintage events were great! 

The house we stayed at with friends hosted the cocktail party Friday evening. Though many of us were dressed up for the occasion, many wore their period lounge wear which was so much fun.

Michael broke out his favorite smoking jacket :)

Saturday was really only about the ball, or at least getting ready for it ;) we had dinner before hand at a great restaurant called the Catalina grill. 

Walking down from the house to the grill and then over to the casino sure did turn a lot of heads :)

The ballroom was nothing like I had ever seen before! It was huge and can hold over 1000 people and had windows nearly the whole way around. 

The center piece on the ceiling was stunning and all the art and architecture just screamed art deco! 

The balcony was great for pictures, strolling and cooling down between dances :)

On Sunday those of us still on the island met for lunch at one of the beach clubs. Many showed up in their period vacation fun wear and even a few in period swimsuits though the water is still much too cold for swimming.