Thursday, February 28, 2013

LA Air Raid

Two weekends ago Michael and I attended the LA Air Raid at Fort MacArthur down in Long Beach.

The event is a reenactment of the "Air attack" on LA in February of 1943, the attack was actually a false alarm. But the reenactment is a fun mix of WWII militaria and vintage music and dancing.

And this last weekend was the perfect weather for it!! Sunny and warm, in the 80s warm, and so clear you could see all the way out to Catalina!

Michael wore a new vintage jacket, it's a really nice weave and great blue grey color. He looked great in head to toe vintage :) 

Air Raid 1.jpg
I wore a new day dress that I have been working on resurrecting, it came to me in pretty bad shape and I have done a lot to put it back together, it still needs a bit more but was fun to wear. And I also got to wear my silly big brimmed hat and when it got cooler after the sun went down I threw on my favorite camel wool swing coat.
Air Raid 3.jpg

We met up with a few friends (Beth and Lauren) and had a picnic lunch of sandwiches, cookies and coca colas :)

Overall it one of my favorite events, it always has such a great atmosphere!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Edwardian Ball LA

As stated yesterday Michael and I went as crew for our friends fashion show. I helped her prep for her show as a dresser.

As a result I didn't get to see anything upstairs until after 11 which was after their show. Though i didn't mind at all, I had a great time hanging out backstage with all the rest of the crew and running around helping with the show :)

When I did finally make it out I had fun, lots to look at and good music. We had quite a few friends join us so there was lots to do. 

Michael wore white tie and tails with his best top hat along with our other friend in the same outfit they were practically mobbed everywhere they went because people wanted photos with them cause they looked so great!!

And my dress was a hit, I wasn't in it very long but it was impressive and worth all the effort :) (bad red eye in the photo I couldn't fix :( makes it look kinda creapy actually)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Edwardian Ball Idea

So we attended the Edwardian Ball in LA last weekend with friends who came down from the bay area.

Now the ball is not historically themed as it may sound but rather it is based on the work of Edward Gory. So when it comes to dressing for the event . . . Anything goes :)

I was recently inspired by this fashion plate:

I love the little hunt coat she wears, the short tails are just barely visible at the back and the contrast of narrow waist with giant sleeves combined with the strong color contrasts of black, white and red really make for a striking look.

That all being said I hate the look of those huge sleeves on me and so would never make the outfit as a historical piece but it works wonders for a costume with a few modifications.

As in the photo below, I decided that a large lapel and collar that stood out would be my size contrast rather then the wide sleeves of the original

Then for expediency ( this whole thing was done in a month while sewing two other projects and having a cold) I decided to borrow a corset from my friend as I didn't have time to make the white waistcoat. The corset is a cream with pink lace trim which actually works quite well and is a combination I have always been fond of. The bodice below always ends up on my inspiration boards for just that reason

As the outfit is meant to be riding/ hunt ish I wanted to wear my fabulous top hat, the hat came with a leather top hat case that Michael bought a few years ago to store his nicest hat while traveling, when he bought it he knew the hat would be too small for him and figured he would just selling it off. But when it arrived we tried it on me and it fit like it was made for me! So we had to keep it and this was my first opportunity to wear it!! I added a little black veil for a little extra drama ;)

The skirt is just the 1890s cut flared skirt done in my favorite black cotton velvet. I have a feeling it will be useful in other future out fits as it is so simple. A good foundation piece.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Embroidering the New Chemise

It also counts toward HSF Challenge #4 which is to embellish something :)

In order to ensure that I would finish by/ near the deadline I chose a simple pattern from this book:

I'm doing this in a light pink, as it will match the new corset I have coming soon. (yes I have a new corset coming, no I am not making it myself, details later, I promise!) 

What was also appealing about the pattern is the diamond of French knots, it's a stitch I am really fond of. 

Okay back to it :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Chemise

So I finally got around to making a new chemise! I wanted to do this well before Dickens last year but ran out of time.

The old one is still okay but starting to look dingy from so much wash and wear and it would be nice to have a spare to change into when we do multi day camp outs/ reenactments.

The pattern is coming from this simplicity pattern but I decided to nix the sleeves as it would be helpful to have one with out for ball gowns.

I have left the yoke unfinished so I can add embellishment, I'm embroidering the top edge and will set a crocheted trim just under the embroidery on the seam line.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vintage Hair - some thoughts

Vintage is a relatively new era for me, thanks to Michael ;) I did my first event with him about two years ago and as its not an era we do frequently it's taken me awhile to start to feel comfortable with it. 
Which is why my hair for the Art Deco event recently was such a big deal. I finally feel like I'm figuring vintage hair out! All the setting and curling, brushing out, waving and so on is a lot of work and is taking a lot of trial and error but it's paying off now for sure. 

I set my hair in pin curls following this diagram:

Then ran off for the day to Disneyland :)
Then when it came time to get ready I brushed out the pin curls pretty heavily and shaped them into waves, pinning here and there for shape and stability and walked away with this:

For the Air Raid last weekend (post to come soon) I did a completely different style which involved victory rolls and some really creative tips and tricks that I can't take any credit for: 

While i'm still way off from being good at this, what has really helped me evolve, aside from practice, are some great blogs out there on the interwebs. Tomorrow's post will be all my favorite Blogs and Pintrist sites :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Embracing the challenge

And totally spending the whole weekend sewing like a fiend to try and catch up . . . I was feeling a little under the weather this whole week and lost valuable sewing time!

Here's a look at some of my favorites from HSF challenge #2 which was to finish and an Unfinished Object:

Loren made a Victorian skirt using one I my favorite Truly Victorian patterns. I just love the fabric she used!!! It's such a wide aggressive strip. It's a bold move and I like that :)

Gemma made a bustle from the laughing Moon pattern I have (and have been avoiding) it was great to see how hers turned out. A real inspiration to just bite the bullet and make mine since I'm going to need it soon!

Mouse Borg is one of my favorite new Bloggers, she is young and just started up this year but is already making really impressive things (go look at her strawberry pockets!). For this challenge she finished a fichu, simple, lovely and totally a necessity.
I love her title art! It's hand drawn and it features two of my favorite things old sewing machines and rodents. . . I am a rat lover and have them as pets :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

This is a post card from the teens that my mom gave me this morning :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Art Deco Evening

The LA Art Deco Society holds a handful of events each year and one of them was last Saturday. 

It's a night of fun at the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club, which is an old deco building and a private club that has been around since just after the turn of the century.

I wore an original 30s silk velvet, that I got last year and finally got a chance to wear my big black cape :)

The evening has a theme of a casino night with food and drink, live music and gambling. With fake money of course, the idea is to win money to buy raffle tickets for the prize drawing at the end of the night. 

My friend Laura joined us for the evening and we had a blast! It was such a great little event :)

I played craps all night, with Michael and laura on either side of me, we all lost money but laughed a lot trying to learn the game and having fun losing money that didn't matter. 

I apologies for the lack of photos! The fact that I even got these is kinda amazing, if more show up I'll do another post :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


My friend Laura came down from up north for a Disneyland vacation and I hadn't been in years!! So I joined her for a day, we had a total blast then got all dressed up and headed out for a night on the town ;)

We did a little bit of vintage hair, it was too cold to go for full vintage but since we both needed to set our hair for the Art Deco event in the evening this was the result:

We both agreed we want to do Disneyland again later on in the year after it warms up a bit so we can rock a full vintage look :) it was fun having people comment on how cute we were with our hair, and all I could think was that it hardly counted as a hair style . . . 

Monday, February 11, 2013

HSF Challenge #3

The Challenge: Every great historical outfit starts with the right undergarments, and, just in time for Valentines day, here's you're excuse to make them. Chemises, corsets, corded petticoats, drawers, garters, stockings…if it goes under your garments, it qualifies.

I went super easy on this challenge and am using the quilted petticoat I made last month to go with the 1840s dress.
Fabric: Light blue poly cotton pre quilted fabric with a poly batting and back lining.

Pattern: I was told how to make a petticoat this way by my aunties, and examined a few of their own garments for visual comprehension. I made this petticoat based on what was in my head but then a few days later came across this blog that has lovey step by step directions with very helpful pictures for doing exactly what I did :)
Year: okay this is where it gets a little tricky . . . The pattern is mid 18th century, but it was made for and worn with my 1840s dress, yet I also measured and made it wide enough that if needed I could wear it over my 1860s hoop. All that being said I still left it short enough that if need be I could wear it with an 18th century dress. 

Notions: blue bias tape.
How accurate: well based on the above info about the year, I'd say the only thing accurate about the whole garment is the pattern, everything after that is not from the material used to the machine sewing to put it together and the wide range of eras it can be worn for. So it gets a gentle 2 out of 10 from me.

Hours to complete: 1, yes that is correct 1 hour only. It's very simple and with the machine sewing it was very quick.

First worn: I wore this first on January 13th, for the pre civil war event at the Campo de Cahuenga
Now I know all you non California's think us to be cold weather wimps, and for my part you would correct, it never got above 55 that day and I would have froze with out that wonderful quilted layer, it really made a difference in helping to keep me warm!

Total cost: the fabric was about $5 a yard and I used about 2 1/2 yards and the bias tape came from the stash so, $12 or $13, somewhere around there.

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Notes from the first quilted petticoat

    The first "quilted" petticoat I made was a test of the pattern I had, but I didn't have enough fabric so it was very short and ended up just getting scrapped so I won't really count it.

    The real one came shortly after that first practice, but instead of using pre quilted material I made it out of a yellow matalaise. The fabric was perfect with the overdress and still had a stiff drape.

    I used the petticoat instructions from the JP Ryan pattern I made the dress from and while it worked I wasn't totally happy with the outcome. The waist band was too wide for starters ( my fault I can't do math ;) but also after conversing with my Aunts who do a lot of 18th century I realized that there was a better and easier way to set the closure on the waistband. 

    So while I intend to go back to that petticoat and fix it accordingly, i did incorporate this other way into the new "quilted" petticoat that I am using for the HSF challenge #3.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Quilted petticoats continued

    I decided to break this up into two posts: the petticoats by themselves and then here as part of an ensemble.