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Wedgewood Blue Gibson Girl Gown and Undergarments

I attended a dinner party on the Delta King River Boat in Sacramento. The event was hosted by the GBACG and people were encouraged to wear clothing from 1870-1900. I decided to make a Gibson Girl dress out of a Wedgwood blue silk taffeta, trimmed with white lace.IMG_2870IMG_2856

My inspiration was the famous Wedgewood pottery. IMG_1670.JPG

I have some additional appliqués I purchased that I didn’t have time to add for this event, but will for the next wearing to make it even more like pottery. IMG_2096.JPG

The bodice is made with Truly Victorian’s 1892 ball gown bodice and 1893 bell skirt patterns. I found the fit of both to be good, but the bodice is very long and I had to cut a bit from the bottom, even though I am long-waisted.IMG_2796

Some bodice in-progress photos that show the amount that needed to be trimmed:

My jewelry is by In the Long Run. My gloves are vintage and the purse is from a bridal shop. I am wearing Tissots from American Duchess.IMG_2742

I did not use the sleeve pattern that came with the bodice pattern. Instead I gathered up a rectangle of silk chiffon to make flowing sleeves.IMG_2727

The top was gathered and serged.IMG_2673

The back closes with hooks and eyes.IMG_2729.JPG

I decorated the front with a silk chiffon sash and little flowers that I put faux pearl centers in. IMG_2725

I would have liked to hem the end of the sash and add little pearls to the edge, but I was recovering from a hand injury and couldn’t do any hand-sewing, so it’s just a pouf for now. Thus I had to get creative with ways to avoid it!

Ways to save on hand-sewing:

  • I used a white silk chiffon scarf to trim the bodice, so the edges were already hemmed!
  • I serged or machine-sewed any seam I could.
  • I hemmed the skirt by machine, and then covered the machine stitches by sewing lace over it.
  • Instead of cutting a facing, I used a wide vintage rayon ribbon as a hem facing.
  • I used boning that already came with a casing, so I didn’t have to make the casing. I also had casing that had little “fins” on it so that I could machine-sew the boning onto the seam allowance of the bodice.
  • I used hook and eye tape instead of individually sewing on hooks and eyes.
  • Oh horror: I serged the bottom of the bodice, then flipped it up and held the hem in place by ironing on Stitch Witchery!

Because I flat-lined the fashion fabric to a cotton base, and I couldn’t hand-baste the pieces together there is some puckering. Although it’s not up to my “usual standards” I am still quite proud of what I was able to do with what I could, and I had fun with my friends!IMG_2848

Underneath the skirt I wore a long petticoat based on the Truly Victorian bell skirt pattern, with a big ruffle and trim attached.IMG_2162.JPG

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I wore a custom S-bend corset from Redthreaded, with hip pads, and a bust pad. The padding is necessary to achieve the exaggerated Gibson silhouette. I went from an 8 inch differential in my waist and hips to 13 inches, with only a 1 inch waist reduction!

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I used the “bust improver” pattern from Wearing History, which comes in 2 sizes. I recommend it to give your girls a little extra something!Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 8.11.32 PM.png

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Project costs:

  • 8 yards silk taffeta: $113.44 including tax from the LA Fabric District (I still have 3 yards left!)
  • 10 yards white veins lace: $34.01 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • 15 pairs grape leaf appliques: $36 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • bodice pattern: $10.75 from Truly Victorian (digital file)
  • skirt pattern: $0 (already used previously)
  • vintage rayon ribbon spool: $3
  • silk chiffon: $0 (gift from friend)
  • 3 yards white cotton for petticoat: $12 from eBay
  • pink trim for petticoat: $3 from garage sale
  • boning, thread, hook and eye tape, flowers, etc. from stash: ~$10

Total cost: $222.20 (plus I have a lot of silk and lace leftover I’ll probably sell to recoup some costs). Normally I don’t tally the costs until the dress is finished, and I still have to add the grape appliqués, but at this point it’s additional labor and not additional materials, so I added everything up. (When I started this blog my goal was to make things for $100 or less, and I’m seeing costs creep up because of nice materials. Hopefully my next project is a lot cheaper!)

All the hair you can see in the picture below is my own, which is currently shoulder-length. I pinned a big hair rat to the top of my head and two smaller ones on the sides, and then all the hair was pulled over the rats and pinned into place. The messy center was hidden by a faux hair bun pinned on top.IMG_2856

I’m not sure yet, but this might be a nice gala gown for Costume College 2019, when it’s all done!

 

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Crimson Peak Picnic Outfit Costume

Last year I made a Crimson-Peak inspired costume to wear to a spooky tea party.  I skipped a cost tally at the time because there were some fixes and upgrades I wanted to make so the outfit wasn’t done. You can see this older post to view the original version and inspiration images from the Guillermo del Toro movie. I wore it again at Costume College this year in its final form.

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Photo by Gloria of In the Long Run

My Crimson Peak group was rounded out by Adrienne as evil sister-in-law Lucille and Elizabeth as another Edith. (After CoCo Adrienne added more details to her costume to make it more screen accurate, and Elizabeth has some really gorgeous textures in her flowers, so be sure to see their IG accounts for more photos).IMG_0732IMG_0735

My blouse is made of a finely-pleated silk chiffon, with a cotton gauze base. I put crinkled silk in hot tea then cold vinegar, which caused everything to shrivel up into tiny little pleats. The silk, cotton, and lace was all dyed with black tea. The collar is interfaced with cotton organdy.IMG_0258

The back closed with silk-covered buttons and loops.IMG_0253

The skirt was made with a bronze silk and I swapped out the heavier glass buttons I had before to these faux tortoise shell ones. Underneath I wore this lace petticoat and bum pad.JMQB6829

The belt was made by pleating silk scraps and sewing down box braids to the top. IMG_0289IMG_0287.JPG

I bought the buckle on Etsy, but I’m afraid the shop appears to be closed now.

You can see how I made my hat (by cutting down a taller straw hat) and why I chose this particular design in my previous post about this costume.IMG_0760.JPG

I am proud to say that our group was Kate Hawley approved! The costume designer for Crimson Peak left us a comment on Instagram!IMG_E1265 copy.JPG

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Photo by Gloria of In the Long Run

Project materials:

Skirt:

  • 5 yards bronze silk taffeta from friend’s garage sale: $43.50
  • Fan tail skirt e-pattern from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy: $6.19
  • 10 faux tortoise-shell buttons from eBay: $5.98 including shipping

Belt:

  • Hand clasp belt buckle by Anneliese van Overbeek (Etsy): $66.48 including shipping
  • 24 pack of box braids from Aliexpress: $5.90 including shipping
  • Black silk taffeta (scraps left over from other project): $0

Blouse:

  • 2 meters crinkled silk chiffon from Halo Silk Shop (Aliexpress): $22
  • 4 yards cotton gauze from Amazon (affiliate link): $17 (I have plenty left over)
  • 1 yard beige lace from Britex Fabrics in SF: $17.55
  • 2 meters black floral lace from Aliexpress: $4.22
  • More miscellaneous beige lace, thread, tea, organdy, buttons, etc. from stash or leftovers from other projects: ~$5

Hat:

  • Straw boater hat from Amazon (affiliate link): $13.98 (You can find cheaper boaters on eBay but I was in a hurry so Prime to the rescue!)
  • Painted feather butterflies from Amazon (affiliate link): $10.99
  • “Ribbon” was scrap of silk from my skirt fabric
  • Hot glue

Miscellaneous costs from stash (thread, hooks and eyes, hot glue, etc.): $5

TOTAL COST: $223.79

For footwear I wore Tavistock boots and silk stockings from American Duchess.

I enjoyed wearing this costume and I’d like to make a dark version! I have the hand belt in black, so Goth Edith is on my to-do list!

Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2018 Picnic

(Hi everyone! Sorry I’m a bit behind on blogging because I’ve had to limit my computer time due to a hand injury, so posts are written slowly, bit by bit. I haven’t forgotten that I need to give details of my Crimson Peak outfit, and I have posts planned for my Gibson Girl project!)

Last month I went to the annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon at the Dunsmuir House in Oakland, CA. It went by so quickly I didn’t take a lot of pictures this year but I’ll share the ones I have!

Here I am with Kelsey (in 1930s sportswear) and Natalie (in a self-made dress using vintage fabric).IMG_1943

My dress is vintage, but actually 1970s vintage that happens to look like a 1930s dress! (Although the colors, cut, and print are correct for the time period I could tell it wasn’t really 1930s because of the label inside the dress, and because the brown trim is serging instead of piping). It was apparently quite convincing, because I was a finalist in the fashion contest!IMG_1896

You can barely see them but I am wearing Gibsons from American Duchess, an 18th century straw bergere that I trimmed, and vintage Bakelite and cut steel bangles.IMG_1878

I considered a few other pairs of shoes but ultimately chose the ones in the middle.IMG_1828.JPG

We might have gotten a little rowdy at some point. Kelsey found a croquet mallet that matched her outfit perfectly and decided to menace Mena with it.IMG_1951

As always there were vintage cars!IMG_1971

Thank you John Carey of these following photos of me with the other Vintage Style Council gals!41497323_1687158268078098_3411786410644996096_o41572276_1687159128078012_7237750721100120064_o

I had a lovely time as always. See you there next year!

Costume College 2018 – The Big Post!

I shared pictures of my own costume line-up in my previous post, so here are some of the many clever, beautiful, and wonderful costumes I saw at Costume College this year! (For those of you that don’t know, CoCo is a 4-day costuming conference filled with classes of all types for various skill levels, with social events in the evening. It takes place in a hotel in Woodland Hills, California). There were 650 attendees, so this is only a small fraction of what I saw.

THURSDAY

The first day (evening) of CoCo kicks of with picking up our registration packets, then heading to the pool party.  I’m afraid the lighting around the pool is not conducive to photos, but the quality of my pictures does improve over the weekend. =) This year’s theme was “In the Realm of the Goblin King.” Here I am with Gloria as the DC Bombshells Catwoman.IMG_0405.JPG

I was amazed by the details in these Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala costumes from “Hellboy: The Golden Army.”IMG_0425

I loved this rendition of the Paper Bag Princess by Carolyn. IMG_0368.JPG

Terri as a mouse from Cinderella was absolutely adorable!IMG_0370.JPG

Tanya wore a lovely monarch butterfly ensemble.IMG_0446.JPG

This Medusa with the light-up eyes was amazing!IMG_0422.JPG

The rest of my Thursday night photos are on this Flickr album.

FRIDAY DAYTIME

The ever-lovely Merja in her 18th century!IMG_0632

Amanda was sporting a pretty ensemble, complete with a Burnley and Trowbridge handkerchief. IMG_0648

Rebecca was perfect in 1890s.IMG_0651

I spotted Mena in vintage and Gina in sailor!IMG_0590

Nicole, Lauren, and Natalie were having a great time! (I have a series of not-so-serious photos of these ladies).IMG_0580

Sherry looked so relaxed in her tropical outfit. I adored her necklace.IMG_0557.JPG

And our brave adventurers! (Photo by Gloria of In the Long Run).29122203937_6343cbca72_o

FRIDAY EVENING

The Friday night social brought out a lot of fancy outfits!

Here’s Abby looking sassy.IMG_0698

Vanessa looked so regal.IMG_0727

Jez did an amazing Gamagori cosplay!IMG_0764

Ginger had a beautiful Regency ensemble with a diadem.IMG_0770

Jennifer did one of those crazy English regency court gowns!IMG_0768

A showstopper from Emily.IMG_0765.JPG

Breanna hand-painted this gown to recreate the famous Schiaparelli lobster dress!IMG_0775.JPG

I finally got to see Adria’s Her Universe fashion show entry “Rebellion Reborn” as well! Definitely check out her Instagram for better pictures of this amazing beaded and feathered ensemble!IMG_0690.JPG

Kelsey is always a vision in pastels.IMG_1290

Elizabeth’s Crimson Peak dress had so many beautiful details!

And Adrienne was appropriately creepy as well, with her hand-formed leaf details.

I have a detailed breakdown of my Crimson Peak costume for a future post.IMG_0732

The rest of my Friday photos are in this Flickr album.

SATURDAY DAYTIME

I didn’t take a lot of Saturday daytime photos because I was busy with classes and my Maid Brigade meet up (photos by Gloria of In the Long Run).29171653207_38c272ae40_o

Since we have been called each other’s names repeatedly throughout the years at CoCo and other costume events on both the West and East coasts, for your reference from left to right, with links to our Instagram and blog names: Vivien of Fresh Frippery, Christine of Sewstine, A.J. of Confused Kitty, Ashley of Evil Sewing, Adrienne of Wax Sealed Costumes, and Gloria of In the Long Run.29171655517_4eebc81c1e_o43390886044_c2d000176a_o29171651157_676e89fc80_o.jpg43390881224_8bc0636c97_o

SATURDAY EVENING

The theme was “Royals” so there were plenty of people pulling out all the stops! (Please keep in mind not everyone attends the gala, and plenty of people dress casually and watch the red carpet as paparazzi, and the royals theme encouraged over-the-top costumes. These outfits are not representative of everyone or every year, so don’t think you have to “costume at a certain level” to attend Costume College!)

First up, my friend Kelsey in her amazing Queen Amidala! She spent so much time on all these details, hand-beading her gown!IMG_0934

Natalie’s court presentation gown was absolutely gorgeous.IMG_0958IMG_0954

Lauren and Emily had fun with the bourdaloue.IMG_1010.JPG

Karen’s Alien Queen was so creative and wonderful.IMG_1001.JPG

Katherine’s 1920s Cersei was lovely!IMG_0911.JPG

Aimee’s Grandmaster was a hoot.IMG_1069

There were some amazing queens.IMG_1046

Stephanie, Jessie, and Kim made a beautiful trio.IMG_1051

I loved Maria’s Mayan wedding ensemble and her detailed explanation of it!IMG_1066

Check out all the details of Twila’s 1924 Viola Dana costume!IMG_1077

Beth looked gorgeous!IMG_1084

Behold some impressive royalty from Atlantis!IMG_0851

The Homemade Historian and Seamingly Vintage were 1950s beauties!IMG_0862

Ashley’s dress reminded me of candy!IMG_0863

The rest of my Saturday photos are in this Flickr album.

SUNDAY

The last day of CoCo started out with a line to get into the bargain basement! It’s a can’t-miss for me each year; I always find something interesting to take home and the proceeds from the donated items go to the Costume College scholarship fund.IMG_1117

I skipped the tea this year but there were many delightfully dressed attendees. I thought Val’s chess costume was very clever.IMG_1237

Tanya’s dragonfly suit and clever lilypad fascinator made up a chic ensemble.IMG_1238.JPG

There were some ladies who decided to do a “Dress of Wrong” theme, using non-historically correct fabrics to make a historically correct silhouette. These 18th century outfits by Gretchen (Strawberry Shortcake) and by Taylor (Beauty and the Beast) were part of this group.IMG_1191IMG_1195

Some people opted for stylish comfort during Sunday. Kelsey sported a glamorous vintage PJ ensemble.IMG_1218

Natalie’s robe volante was a big fluffy pink sack of silk!IMG_1173

The rest of my Sunday photos are in this Flickr album.

Thanks for reading; that was a lot of photos! I’m looking forward to the fabulous fun of next year!

If you are interested in attending Costume College next year, take a look at their website. You can also ask questions on the Facebook forum. The classes change every year and will be announced later. Don’t worry about being “good enough.” Many people do not dress up for the classes and not everyone attends the evening costume socials. There are attendees of every skill level and interests vary from cosplay to historical costume to vintage to steampunk! Come join us and have a wonderful time!

Costume College 2018 Outfit Recap

I went a little overboard at Costume College this year and brought 8 costumes. Originally I thought I’d just dress up for the evening events and then bring some vintage dresses for casual daywear. Then I got recruited into various group costumes and things snowballed from there . . . I’ll be following up this post with more featuring the costumes worn by the other talented individuals at Costume College, but for now, here is my parade!

At the Thursday Night Pool Party the theme was “In the Realm of the Goblin King,” so of course I had to dress as Jareth! Elizabeth was my baby Toby.IMG_0366

The boots are American Duchess Tavistocks and the blouse is a vintage Gunne Sax. Everything else was cobbled together from modern clothes.IMG_0476

On Friday I  wore my Victorian bicycling outfit with the “Adventurer’s” group of sporting ladies.IMG_0639IMG_0643IMG_0613

Friday night I wore my Crimson Peak Edith picnic outfit, along with my Elizabeth as another version of Edith, and Adrienne as our “sister-in-law” Lucille. I’ve worn this outfit before but it wasn’t fully finished then. I’ve made a number of upgrades and will be making a more detailed construction post on the blog.IMG_0674IMG_0737IMG_0735

It was a delightful surprise to even get some kudos on Instagram from Kate Hawley, costume designer for Crimson Peak!IMG_E1265

On Saturday I was a member of a surprise group of Downton Abbey maids. It was decided I was the “head maid” since I had the most lace, and our pregnant friend Christine played the part of “the fallen maid” that got a little too friendly with the young master of the house.IMG_0790IMG_0797

We passed out buttons as prizes to people who could identify us correctly. (As Asian costumers we’ve experienced people calling us by each others names at conventions for years, so we thought it’d be fun to dress alike this year). Christine also made embroidered patches for us to wear with this same design.IMG_0823

Saturday night was the grand gala! I have so many wonderful pictures for a future post, but here I am in my Vice Admiral Holdo, along with my brilliant friend Kelsey in her Queen Amidala.IMG_1017IMG_1022

On Sunday I wore a vintage peignoir with feather trim over a black nightgown, and joined other ladies wearing their glamorous “Sunday undies.” IMG_1136IMG_1139IMG_1169

For the rest of the day on Sunday I rewore my vintage-style Star Wars First Order uniform, with a new purse and re-tailored collar. I had the privilege of a photoshoot with Gloria of In the Long Run, and here is a preview image I received. I can’t wait to see the final photos!38122893_551589561924580_164237582304018432_o.jpg

Adrienne also took this slow-motion villain cape action video. (Click on the link, not the photo). https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl2G7-vDvse/?taken-by=freshfripperyScreen Shot 2018-08-10 at 10.17.34 AM.png

For those of you keeping track, outfit #8 was a fuzzy Totoro kigurumi (which I forgot to photograph).  It was very useful during the evenings when I wanted to feel cozy. (FYI, for anyone feeling a little unease, I am an outlier that brings more costumes than average. You are absolutely not required to dress all day, every day for CoCo. Many people attend classes in jeans, and not every attends the evening social events).

I had an incredible time at Costume College! Stay tuned for more posts featuring other costumers.

Medieval Princess Dress

I recently made a medieval princess dress that isn’t historically correct (although inspired by 14th century cotehardies), but was fun to make, and a gift for teenage me. When I was in high school I wanted to have a medieval princess dress for prom but had neither the sewing skills to make one or the money to buy one, so this is a fulfillment of a dream! IMG_9966

Yeah, it was a bit breezy that day.IMG_9980

This dress was also a reminder that costuming and sewing is supposed to be fun, even if the details are “wrong.”  This dress has inexpensive polyester velvet, a zipper down the back, shiny jacquard trim, polyester sleeve tippets and a wrap belt made from curtain fabric, an impractical train, and princess seams! To someone concerned about historical accuracy these might be a bunch of no-nos, but this gown, despite all its anachronisms, is something I would have loved and felt pretty in back in high school. This dress is a gift for little former me.IMG_9969

I used Butterick B4827 as my pattern base. I skipped the back eyelet lacing and used an invisible zipper instead. The tippets and belt were drafted by me.  My goal was to machine-sew as much as possible, so the hem, neckline, and cuffs were machine-stitched and then covered with jacquard trim.MJNT1739.JPG

The tippets are T-shaped pieces of fabric sewn together and then turned inside-out to hide the raw edges. The tops of the Ts are then overlapped to make the cuffs.

The hair consists of 2 fake braided buns on a headband:

  1. Cover a headband in fabric matching your hair; I used black velvet.
  2. Make a short braid and cover in a hair net to help control flyaways.
  3. Wire the braid to the headband using gold wire, and insert pearls as you go.
  4. Make 2 long braids and coil each one into a bun shape.
  5. Use bobby pins to secure the bun shape.
  6. Glue pearls to each bun.
  7. Cover each bun with a hair net to control flyaways.
  8. Glue the bun to each end of the headband.

Project materials:

  • 7 yards micro-velvet from Fabric Wholesale Direct: $62.93 (I had some leftover; if you are petite and cut carefully you might be able to get a dress out of 5-6 yards).
  • 1 yard gold jacquard damask 118″ wide from FWD: $10.99
  • 6 yards jacquard trim from eBay: $12.62 (including tax and shipping)
  • Thread, buttons, pearls, wire, etc. from stash: ~$5
  • 2-3 packages of fake braiding hair and headband from stash: ~$10

Total cost: All of the fabric was a gift from my friends at Fabric Wholesale Direct, so my out of pocket cost was about $27.62 (instead of ~$101.54 plus tax and shipping). Thanks FWD!

If you’d like to make a medieval dress of your own, check out this tutorial I made. Happy sewing!EJIY8518

The Lilac Petticoat (Upcyling an Old Bridesmaid’s Dress)

My last project was all about taking a 70s bridesmaid’s dress and giving it new life as a petticoat and bum pad for a late Victorian or Edwardian costume.C18CCFD1-8D0C-4032-9873-C16C3C447BA4

There was so much lace, taffeta, and chiffon that I couldn’t resist. (The striped fabric is a scrap from another project).IMG_0155

I love upcycling and repurposing, but it has to be from something that is modern and mass-produced, really damaged vintage, or ugly and unwearable as-is. I was on the fence about this dress because it’s not entirely bad looking, and there might be someone out there who likes to wear 70s bridesmaid’s dresses. Might be. This is what the dress looked like before. 91758DB7-052D-4B41-8F10-616F530AD3AB

In the end I decided there were enough issues with it that it would be better to repurpose it. The dress had some stains and tears, it was meant for an unusual figure (slim and super tall), and the lace was scratchy. I figured super models who like itchy clothing are hard to come by, so out came the seam ripper. (Can you guess what movie I was watching?)IMG_0130

A list of my modifications:

  • I separated the bodice and skirt and removed the back zipper.
  • I put a new waistband at the top of the skirt and added a hook/eye closure.
  • I hemmed up the bottom of the skirt lining and enclosed a strip of horsehair braid for structure.
  • I removed the bottom flounce of lace because it was too long.
  • To make a bum pad out of the bodice I sewed up the openings, stuffed it using parts of a lumpy pillow I was about to throw out, and added some ribbon ties.

 

There was nearly no cutting, so aside from the loss of a zipper, some lace, and some hooks and eyes, some intrepid fashion archaeologist could conceivably remake this dress in the future.

Note: I don’t condone cutting up nice vintage! Please don’t cut up nice old wedding dresses unless they are really trashed. There are plenty of neglected polyester prom dresses that you can use for your own petticoat project.

This dress was thrifted, and most everything else was leftover from another project, so this cost me about $20-25 total! I don’t think I could have bought all that lace new for that price.