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An Evening at the Moulin Rouge

Recently I went to a Moulin Rouge-themed event hosted by the GBACG. It took place at Michaan’s Theater in Alameda, a gorgeous Art Deco-style venue. There were talented performers, a chef making crepes, absinthe-tasting, dancing, beautiful decorations, and a lot of fun in a festive atmosphere.

I originally planned to wear my Gibson Girl dress, but it needed some alterations, and the weather was rainy, so I wore a traditional Indian salwar kameez and shawl with golden embroidery and matching jewelry. (Just like my last post I am wearing black and gold in front of a red curtain, plus the same shoes!)


I bought the outfit several years ago to wear to an Indian wedding that took place in a temple with a strict dress code. I was a little nervous about wearing it out of context, but after a discussion with a Desi friend and her mom who assured me that it would not be offensive for me to wear the ensemble as formal wear in a respectful way, I went ahead and I’m glad I did! I purchased golden bangles and a jewelry set from Amazon.

There was a live band (Lee Presson and the Nails) that was full of energy!image

There were cancan dancers!image

Les Ballets Russe, a comedic dance troupe, performed as well.image

Artists drew portraits of attendees.image

There was also a fan dance and some singing, but I didn’t get pictures of all the performances because the venue had multiple areas to explore.

At the event there were some amazing decorations, like this heavily bejeweled elephant, which the organizer decorated by hand!image

I didn’t get a good picture because it was dark outside but there was also a lighted windmill standing in for the famous red windmill of the Moulin Rouge. I am looking forward to the next GBACG event. Lynne, the event coordinator, always thinks of every detail!

O-T-Tea Party 2016

Last week I went to the 2nd annual O-T-Tea Party in San Francisco. (The name is a reference to OTT, meaning over-the-top). The attendees were instructed to build opulent, imaginative, and or themed outfits using Japanese lolita fashion as a base.img_9740

I didn’t have time to make a new outfit from scratch, so I recycled an old dress I made years ago and jazzed up my coordinate with accessories and new embellishments. I wore the dress over a satin blouse with balloon sleeves and put on satin gloves with pearls and cutouts in the fabric. I carried a black velvet clutch purse with gold embroidery and had a golden rhinestone brooch at my waist. img_9704

I made my dress using a very soft and plushy black cotton velvet, screenprinted with gold. The crown motifs are accented with golden bows made of vintage jacquard ribbon and faux pearl and golden buttons I had in my stash.img_9751

I also wore a golden tiara with faux pearls (from Amazon) and a gold and black lace neck ruff from Aliexpress. These items were purchased new, but otherwise I already had a lot of things in my closet to complete my outfit!img_9755

I finished my outfit with Miss L Fire Vistas, which I previously wore with my 1920s outfit.img_9757

The event took place at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, where we had delicious food, a vendor room, and many generous raffle prizes.

We were all given these pretty acrylic brooches with a number that was used for voting in the outfit contest.img_9749

Here are some group photos taken by the Lens Collective!lens-collective-1lens-collective-4lens-collective-2lens-collective-3

McCall’s 9900 Vintage Skirt Pattern

Happy first day of autumn! It’s the perfect time to build up a collection of wool skirts.

I used the last bit of fabric left over from my Victorian bathing suit to make a simple A-line skirt using McCall’s 9900, a vintage 1954 pattern.img_9587

The cutting took longer than the sewing because I only had about 1.5 yards instead of the recommended 2, and I had to very carefully line up the pieces and introduce some additional seams in order to match the stripes. To give it a bit more flare when wearing it I’ll probably use a petticoat or maybe add some horsehair to the hem later.img_9589

It’s not quite perfect, but was still satisfying!img_9592

The skirt closure has a side zipper and a button.img_9597

It was a nice easy pattern and I will definitely use this again!img_9588


1930s Vintage Dress at the Gatsby Picnic

Yesterday was the annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon, hosted by the Art Deco Society at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. (This wonderful event is open to the public, but buy your tickets early because they sold out this year!) There is a live band, dancing, gorgeous antique automobiles, and many great costumes. I found a car that matched my dress! image

The dress I wore is a vintage 1930s gown made of a very fine cotton or rayon net. It was such a lucky find in great condition!  I am wearing the 23 Skidoos from American Duchess and a hat I trimmed myself.image

I bought the hat base from Amazon and decorated with a scrap of green silk taffeta from my stash, and some pink blossoms from Michael’s.image

A group of us reserved an umbrella table and organized a luncheon.image

We also had delicious cocktails (that matched Samantha, winner of the fashion contest!)image

For the first time I was invited to sit inside one of the vintage cars! image

Bonus photo: I realized my dress matched the car so well it looked like I had extra “assets.” Hah!image

Here is the brochure with the schedule if you are interested in the many activities and performances that happen at the picnic. Hope to see you next year!imageimageimage

1830s Romantics at the PEERS Victorian Gothic Ball

This weekend I went to the PEERS Victorian Gothic Ball. We were invited to wear 1830s or 1840s clothing and dance the night away, along with actors portraying characters from Jane Eyre and readings by Mr. Edgar Allen Poe and other poets. There is a mini-reunion of our Hopeless Romantics group, along with a few new ladies in 1830s clothing.IMG_9359

I wasn’t quite sure until a few hours before the ball that I would be wearing that particular dress because I had a back injury and could not wear a corset or spend a lot of time with my arms above my head doing elaborate hair. Luckily I already had an easy hairpiece from a previous outing (with a tutorial here) and managed to squeeze myself into the dress sans corset by shifting my petticoats down a bit. The silhouette is not perfect, but I made it to the ball!IMG_9365I am wearing jewelry from Dames a la Mode and Pemberly slippers from American Duchess.

I tried to pose like a serious portrait.IMG_9308

A close-up of the hair and jewelry.IMG_9307

And I shall end with the delightfully silly menu from the bar that evening.IMG_9301

1770s Robe à l’Anglaise Retroussée Using Ikea’s Ljusöga Fabric

At Costume College I wore my finished robe à l’Anglaise retroussée, previously debuted in an unfinished form at the Pirate Festival.  I don’t have all my formal portraits yet, but Andrew Schmidt, the official CoCo photographer, put up this picture as one of the preview shots.

18th century elegance by Andy Schmidt

Photo by Andrew Schmidt

The dress is made from one king-sized Ikea duvet cover! And I still have plenty of fabric left over for another project, such as a jacket. The bodice is lined with linen and I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat pattern. (I highly recommend this pattern. It was simple to follow, relatively quick to put together, and I had to make very little adjustment to the fit).IMG_8771

(I am wearing red Kensingtons with paste buckles and clocked silk stockings, all from American Duchess). The back of the dress can be worn down as a regular Anglaise, or retroussée by looping the two twisted rayon cords around the fabric-covered buttons.IMG_8772


I would like to get a bigger hat (this one goes with a different outfit) but ran out of time. I also attempted hair buckles, but that was a disaster, so I  just put my hair up in a high bump over a rat, then put flowers in the back.IMG_8774IMG_8776


The sleeves also have a little loop of rayon cord and a slightly smaller fabric-covered button.IMG_8982

Unlike the previous time I wore this dress, this time I am wearing the correct stays. Here’s a silly selfie in the hotel bathroom while still in PJs and messy hair. Now you know what I look like in the mornings! (Well, except for the stays).IMG_8731

Project costs:

  • Ikea king-sized duvet cover: ~$30
  • Linen lining: $0, leftover from another project
  • Period Impressions pattern: $13.95 + $4.85 shipping from Etsy
  • Buttons: from stash
  • Rayon cord: ~$5 from Britex

Total: ~$53.80

Way under budget! I got to splurge a little on the accessories.😉 Onsite I happened to hear about Dames a la Mode’s trunk sale, and bought this lovely set that I wore with my dress.IMG_8973

Costume College: Saturday and Sunday

On Saturday at Costume College I dressed up in my 1770s robe à l’Anglaise retroussée and got together with some other ladies wearing the same “LJUSÖGA” Ikea print. We previously wore the dresses at the Pirate Festival, but my dress was not fully finished at the time. (Close-ups and construction details will be in my next post).IMG_8767

Saturday at Costume College started with the wonderfully informative class “Dark Secrets from the Care and Storage of Museum Objects,” taught by Carolyn Jamerson, a Collections Manager and Mount Maker at FIDM. I learned a lot of about the storage of clothing in museums, and some tips I can use at home. Carolyn also went over what not to do, and had many anecdotes about items donated to the museum in various stages of disrepair.

Later I ran into these dapper military gentlemen:IMG_8753

Rebecca had this fetching plaid ensemble.IMG_8764

Maggie had this great Mad Max outfit that she roughed up to look dirty, but wasn’t. I almost didn’t recognize her out of regency attire!IMG_8780

This Marie Antoinette dress was so charming!IMG_8782

This “Mountain Man” gave me an informative impromptu lecture about the life of a mountain man and the significance of all the little items hanging on his neck.IMG_8762

After lunch I took two more classes before getting ready for the gala. “A Fortnight in 1916” was a great lecture by Leimomi Oakes about life on the homefront during WWII in New Zealand. She lived for 2 weeks like a lady in 1916, even cooking recipes from newspapers of the time. I also took “Fancy Footwear: Vintage Shoes 1920s to 1940s” from Lauren Stowell of American Duchess, and after class I got to try on some of the samples from her new line at Royal Vintage Shoes.

For the evening red carpet, dinner, and gala I dressed as Lady Tremaine. I made a lengthy post with many details that you can read here.IMG_8853

There were so many wonderful costumes at the gala I can’t post them all! I also ran into a lovely Cinderella cosplayer!IMG_8870

Lynne and Natalie (check out that train!) looked impeccable as always.IMG_8839

Molly’s Kaylee Firefly dress set many geek hearts aflutter.IMG_8836

The Dreamstress and the Lady Detalle! So regal!IMG_8844

These 18th century ladies (Lauren, Loren, and two other amazing people) were fabulous in silk.IMG_8848

Christina’s  1830s hair was a work of art.IMG_8863IMG_8866

And of course, Cynthia’s faithful recreation of the Worth Ironwork gown was the talk of the night!IMG_8895IMG_8898

On Sunday I decided to have a more casual outfit by wearing my vintage 1950s purple taffeta dress with my Lady Tremaine hat.IMG_8948

Natalie portrayed the artist Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun.IMG_8932

Christina had this fabulous Bar Suit recreation.IMG_8937

I found Taylor, Jenny, Jen, and Ginger near the hotel lobby. Can you believe the cutwork on Jen’s sleeves were done by hand?IMG_8922

Gloria was also hanging out near the lobby, and wearing 18th century.IMG_8930

On Sunday I took three classes. “Achieving the Perfect Nineteenth Century Silhouette 1830 to 1894” by Luca Costigliolo, the guest teacher from Italy, was an incredible class that emphasized how common padding was to achieving the perfect silhouette, regardless to the lady’s figure. I wish I had had the chance to get into his limited classes! The next class I took was “Creating a Miss Fisher 1920s/30s Wardrobe” by Lauren Stowell, who asked me to come model my 1920s cocoon coat. Afterwards, I asked Lauren to try it on. IMG_8951

My last class of the day was “Wearing Your Food” by Janea Whitacre of Colonial Williamsburg, who discussed names of food being used to describe different colors of dye and it was an interesting lecture. This year I took 3 classes a day and I think that was an ideal amount. There was room in the schedule for more, but it gave me enough time to socialize and eat in between.

I had a wonderful Costume College, and am already planning for the next one!

The rest of my photos are on Flickr.