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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Outlander 18th Century Plaid Dress

In a few weeks I am going to an Outlander-themed dinner party hosted by my local costuming guild. I don’t subscribe to premium cable so I have never actually seen the show, just lots of pictures, but I am always a fan of dressing up and eating!

I’m aware that there are some fabulous silk dresses in the second season of the show, but I wanted something relatively quick and inexpensive, so I decided to go with a plaid 18th century dress using a pattern I’ve worked with before. (I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise Pattern when I made my Ljusoga dress).

I found a decent plaid cotton from the “Wales plaid” Fabric.com collection. (I ended up purchasing it through Amazon due to a 20% off promotion and free shipping!) It was cheap enough I used the same fabric for lining the bodice and skirt. I dithered for a long time as to whether I should make the fabric out of the same fabric or make a fancy quilted one. In the end I could not find a suitable pre-quilted fabric or bedspread to repurpose, and some well-priced wool appeared on a destash group I am part of, so my decision was made.IMG_1861

In real life the bodice fit is rather different (and much better!) because I would be wearing stays to provide a smooth front. My mannequin is not wearing stays because it does not have a compressible torso and the boobs would be in the wrong place. Right now the front is pinned with regular straight pins while I await some proper 18th century reproduction pins in the mail. IMG_1866

See how the middle point of the back of the bodice rides up a little? I’ve got to adjust my underpinnings a bit to fix that, but what prevents it from flipping up all the way is a split bum pad.IMG_1864

My old half-moon bum pad was too small and not up to the task of the much larger faux butt I wanted for this outfit, so I made a new double bum pad. The split down the back  is what gives it this particular shape. I should have curved the top edges but this was a rather quick project. It is just twin trapezoid pillows bound with a single twill tape at the top.IMG_1740

The front comes forward enough to increase my hips too. The way I constructed these bum pads is not period correct, but works for my particular body shape.IMG_1739

See how gloriously wide it makes the petticoat compared to my real figure?IMG_1859

Final project costs:

  • 8 yards (45 inch wide) cotton plaid fabric: $45.31 from Amazon (affiliate link) including tax and discounts; I still have leftover fabric.
  • 2.5 yards (60 inch wide) brown wool fabric: $20 plus $6.50 shipping from Facebook; Normally I use 3 yards for a petticoat but this was wide enough to do piecing in the back.
  • Pattern: $0 (already used for another project)
  • Bum pad fabric, stuffing, and twill tape: $0 (left overs from other projects)

Total (without notions): $71.81 (Not bad! I was originally planning $50 just for the main dress and I can reuse the petticoat for other outfits).

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1940s Star Trek Ladies at Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017

Yesterday I went to Silicon Valley Comic Con with two other members of my vintage-style 1940s Star Trek mashup crew. We got a few “Star Trek pin-up girls” comments, but were pleasantly surprised at how many people called us the Andrews Sisters! That wasn’t our intention but still neat how many people got the vintage reference.

The highlight of our day was meeting Jonathan Frakes aka Commander Riker!HBZU8021.JPG

He was super nice! It was really exciting to meet and take a photo of him, but the experience was even better than we expected because he seemed excited to see us too! When he spotted us his jaw dropped and he said, “Look at you guys!” He complimented our outfits and style. We would have liked to talk more but after a quick photo the staff herded us away and we were left with some really great memories!

The other fun part of the day was geeking out with other fans. We took literally hundreds of photos for and with other people that were excited to see our handmade Star Trek costumes. We took so many photos our cheeks hurt at the end of the day and we quickly settled into our “standard” pose for the day.IMG_1749

I wish I hadn’t forgotten my shoulder pads though! My dress is made of rayon (which is so wrinkle-prone). The front is supposed to be blousy and fall into soft gathers, but without the pads it looks too wrinkly.

We also ran into some storm troopers! At first one pointed to his or her chest to indicate our comm badges and then made disapproving gestures, but eventually we achieved detente.IMG_1747

We also had an encounter with the Borg when we went outside to the food truck area.IMG_1751

And I got to meet Dark Helmet!IMG_1766.JPG

These two Mr. Jones were great. They portrayed the characters well, teasing each other with lines from the Indiana Jones movies. The elder Dr. Jones was really convincing with an impeccable costume and props, and passed out tickets to his upcoming lecture. We had fun with these guys.18076507_10104937819382180_2893655046594490592_o

There were a lot of really fantastic costumes that I weren’t able to photograph, either because they walked past too fast, or I was busy taking photos with someone else.

By the way, I am on Instagram now. I just opened my account so there is much yet but you can follow me as @freshfrippery.

Regency/Napoleonic Court Train (Part 1)

The blog has been a little quiet lately since my last post on Regency diadems because I’ve been having some issues with my wrists and haven’t done much sewing except for things I can make completely by machine, like curtains. However, I have received all my materials for my court train, to go with my beaded court dress.

I have 6 yards of silk velvet, which depending on the light and the direction of the nap appears either a deep rose color or a silvery-pink. (I tried getting swatches of cotton velvet, but they were the wrong texture and stiffness and were obviously meant for upholstery). I didn’t realize before starting my search how hard it is to find a nice rose-colored velvet that isn’t either baby pink or hot pink! I would have been happy with a synthetic velvet if it was the right color, but ended up having to go over budget and buy silk. Of all the places I looked, you’ll never guess that the final winner was Amazon!IMG_1454

After a few tries at swatches of lining I settled on a linen-cotton blend from Renaissance Fabrics. The dusty pink color is good match to the underside of the silk velvet, and lighter than the deep rose but close to the silvery-pink. (Left to right: underside of the silk, the velvet, and the lining).IMG_1452

The lace I ordered online was a brighter gold than the stock photo (and what I was able to photograph below), but still rather pretty. However, I think bronze would be a better match to my dress, so I’m going to have to tone down the lace. I have a friend who has sponge-painted acrylic craft paint onto lace before, so I will be doing some experiments! I hope it works; after the purchase of the silk velvet I’d rather not spend any more money on this project buying new lace and crossing my fingers that it is the right color!IMG_1455

Mmm so buttery soft!IMG_1451